Get To Grips With SEO – A Beginner’s Guide

It has only been a little over two decades since Google first launched. However, many people would struggle to recall what it was like to live in a world without it. A pre-digital life is unimaginable for younger generations, who were born into this world with ready access to information online. Today, there are 63,000 search queries made every second, totaling approximately 2 trillion global searches a year! Search engines have become an integral part of our lives. Some industries entirely depending on the web, especially in terms of marketing and sales.

Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is one of the practices that businesses use to ensure their relevance. They also use this to build their credibility online. SEO acts as a marketing tool for companies to gain trust and traction on the web. At the same time, some may think nothing about how Google’s top searches get to the site's first page. Businesses and brands put in a lot of time, effort, and expense to show up as the first site on search results.

Perhaps you're wondering how SEO came to be and precisely what it might take to have good practices. Here's an SEO beginner's guide to help you through.

The history of SEO

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Today, SEO practice primarily revolves around the search engine superpower Google. Its metrics and methods have defined many of today’s common standards. It is one of the most used sites by people worldwide. However, it may be unknown to many that search engine optimization is a little older than Google itself: the practice began in 1997, a full year before Google even came to be.

While the web was relatively new to people, marketers and brand managers were upset that their web pages weren’t showing up on the first page of search engines. They already saw the need to develop a system that would boost credible pages as early as then.

The dawn of search engines towards the end of the 20th Century saw intense competition between pages like Yahoo, Lycos, and AltaVista. Search engine criteria for ranking pages were also very different. On-page content, domain names, and site structure determine the rank of pages. But when Google came onto the scene, it changed the criteria. It ultimately revolutionized the way search engines were able to retrieve data and provide search results to users. It all continued to develop: Google Ads, paid advertisements, link collection, geographically relevant results, analytics, and more. They defined considerations as to what content should be ranked first and seen as valuable by people.

Search engine basics

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Essentially, SEO helps you get to the top of search results. Of course, it’s better the higher that you rank — the first search result on Google receives 25.7% of the traffic, with the number only getting lower as the pages list down. When optimizing your website and content for search engines, more comes into play than when SEO was first used by users before.

There are a few critical things for web admins and marketers to ensure aside from just the aesthetics of their websites or the names of their domains.

Fundamental Preparations to Consider

Here are some of the fundamental preparations that can help increase your page’s chances of ranking higher:

  • Crawl accessibility. A crawler is what search engines use to find your site, read it, and save the information in their index. Crawlability is how possible you’re making it for engines like Google to crawl your site. Some texts in your script will determine whether or not Google is allowed on that site and, in the case of content, whether your text and images are deemed necessary enough.
  • Relevant, compelling content. Google is more likely to rank your page higher if it’s more relevant to the topic's searches. This means that you need a decent idea of what people want or require for you to create content that’s valuable enough to show up on the first page of search engines.
  • Optimization of keywords. Selecting the best keywords for your articles can help drive higher quality and quantity traffic to your page. It’s handy to evaluate your current SEO on your website and determine what keywords might work best for your niche or industry.
  • User experience. Another factor influencing your search engine ranking is how well you build and design your site for users. Creating and maintaining a user-friendly site helps Google decide whether or not they should rank your page on a higher spot.
  • Title, descriptions, and URLs. While the goal is to meet search engine standards, one of the essential parts of writing content is to be still able to appeal to humans. Don’t write repetitive or formatted titles — the more unique, the better. Remaining readable (and not too lengthy) is a vital part of it. The same goes for descriptions. URLs should look credible and not spammy.
  • Schema markup. Lastly, schema markup is code that helps search engines understand your content. It also helps determine what categories, niches, or keywords it could fall under.

Measuring SEO success

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Now that you know what it takes to create sites and content that can be potentially high ranking on Google, it’s also essential to know if your SEO efforts are working. Getting to the front page of Google won’t happen overnight! There are other ways to measure if your page’s credibility is growing and if you’re well on your way to the top search results. Whether you’re just starting to get a feel of what your page’s SEO ranking might be or want to check where you currently are, here are some ways you can analyze your success:

  • Identify your SEO competitors. Often, we consider our competitors to be people or businesses in the same industry or our local area. On Google, your competitors could potentially be anyone around the world. In SEO, your competitors are the people who rank before you (and even those who rank after you) in search results. Having an idea of who they are and what their practices might be can help you up to your ranking.
  • Evaluate your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Check out what their site is like, their domain, their content, how they use social media to drive traffic to their site, and similar factors. You can also use SEO tools to determine the ranking of your competitors. Look for their weakest areas or parts that they can improve and continue to develop your site and its content.
  • Check on your content. There are multiple ways that you can measure your SEO success. You can check how many page visits you’re getting, how long people are spending on your site, how many people sign up for the site or complete transactions, how far people scroll down, and everything that your visitors do on your page.

Final Word

Search engine optimization takes a lot of effort but, when done correctly, can lead to highly beneficial payoffs for businesses and creators. True enough, SEO can sometimes be intimidating and can often feel overwhelming for new marketers. There’s a ton of information to take in! However, once you get a grasp of digital marketing, it will become relatively easier to learn about this practice — after all, everything on social media, SEO, and online marketing operations do tie together.

Want to learn more about how digital marketing can give your business the boost it needs? Learn more about how companies can survive and thrive as we continue to rush headlong into this increasingly digital age!

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