What Does SEO Stand For: A Beginners’ Guide
Let us admit:
While each and every one of us internet users enjoy the fruit of SEO every day. Hardly 2 or 3 out of 10 such users might be aware of what does SEO really stand for and why it is important in our daily life.
Well: Let us make it simple.
Suppose today is that day that you want to treat your family to a good dinner, and since you are done with all good or bad restaurants that you’ve tried so far. You want to try some new place with a new culture and cuisines.
So what do you do?
Yes: You go to the big G: Google, and search keywords like “Chinese restaurant” and Google treats your eyes with a map of your vicinity and the names of the restaurants (local businesses) with reviews, address and contact details, etc. This is one example of “what is SEO“.
However, this is not enough. This defines a small part of a big SEO puzzle; this is called Local SEO. But SEO is not just local, it is global.
Consider yourself a student who is looking for a lucrative full bright scholarship; the keyword that you use to find a scholarship, shall look like this “Fulbright scholarship SUBJECT 2019” and Google will line up a number of universities offering scholarships and websites that offer a great deal of information or help about the scholarship.
This help that you get from Google is basically “why SEO is important“.
You want to import salt lamps, you want to export software, you want to buy something online, you want to find a forum for a line of work relevant to you, for every single thing that you want to find over Google, SEO works like a genie that brings up the most relevant results.
Let us try to understand what SEO is after all:
1. What does SEO stand for?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It is a two-fold thing. For owners of websites and blogs, it brings free of cost and organic traffic straight from Google (or Bing, etc.) Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
For those who google for everything, every result that you see after entering a keyword in Google search engine comes to the surface because someone did a little or more SEO for that web page.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is basically a set of tried and tested tactics and techniques that every SEO expert tries while working on their website as well as off of it.
In this brief guide, we will briefly discuss both on and offsite search engine optimization. However, before we get into detail, let us set some basic points that define the meaning of SEO.
- SEO helps bring web pages to better and higher ranks in search results.
- It is done on-site by toying with the site’s content, tags, and structure, etc.
- It is also done off-site by spreading the word about the website and fetching some link-juice from high authority websites.
- SEO brings traffic to the website and with the passage of time, it increases the quality of traffic (organic) as well as the quantity of traffic (number of users).
2. How SEO Works?
Let us again start with the example of a restaurant.
You go to a restaurant and you order one or two certain dishes.
After some time they’re served to you.
Google (or other search engines) and SEO work the same way. Search Engine is the restaurant where you go and your ordered dishes are actually the keywords that you entered in Google search. Well, guess what, search engine optimization is the entire process of cooking that you cannot see.
All you do is enter keywords, get your results in 0.40 (less or more) seconds and then open a link and do what you want to do.
SEO brings all those results from the unseen kitchen to your dining table. Google and other search engines have crawling bots that sneak into all the websites to find out as to what the website is about, and once a specific web page gets crawled, these crawlers bring it to a query related to that page.
So where does SEO stand in all this?
SEO is actually what dictates whether your page will appear in top ten search results or in the graveyard of page 3, 4 or beyond.
SEO has to account for a lot of factors to please Google or other search engine’s algorithms. For example, if your SEO technique overlooked the importance of responsive web design or any one of Brian Dean’s 200 ranking factors, Google algorithm will punish the web page by not letting it have a good ranking.
3. How to do SEO?
I am sorry to disappoint you but there is no definitive guide on how to do so.
Top ranking on a search engine result page is like mountaineering.
There is no road to the summit and every trekker has to find its own way.
Had Google or Bing explained how to please their algorithms in a certain way and rank to the top, all websites would have ranked for page 1, but this is not possible.
Here’s the deal:
People who know Google’s algorithm. People who know SEO and people who have been working with SEO giants like Neil Patel and Mathew Woodward etc. know how to rank a website.
But they cannot tell how long it will take.
Some would rank their websites by on-site SEO, paying ordinary attention to off-site SEO.
Then there are those who ace the art of back-linking and only do on-site just as much as needed for the job.
Let us try to understand both strategies but before understanding below strategies, make sure you truly understand what is the meaning of SEO and why you need it for the marketing of your business:
A. On-site SEO
There are two main pillars of search engine optimization: on-site and off-site. Let us first understand the meaning and function of on-site SEO.
As the term suggests.
It is the type of SEO that is associated with the actions that you take on your website. In simple terms.
It means improving and devising best website structure, content strategy and style, keyword research and application, optimization of tags and metadata and page load speed as well as its responsive design.
Let us briefly discuss all of them:
- Content & Keywords – From a content strategy that encompasses everything from content topics to style, to keywords strategy, the biggest chunk of on-site SEO is made of content and keywords. There are multiple keyword tools that are used by professionals to perform keyword research.
- Tags – Talk about H1, H2 or H3 tags or canonical tags, all of them either define the status of a heading in HTML language or they establish the ownership of content.
- Page Metadata – This is the mixture of keywords and phrases that define your page for the target audience. Correct use of metadata helps the visitors skim and scan a page and tell the search engines that your page is associated with a certain string of keywords or topics.
- Speed and Design – It is now confirmed that Google considers page speed as a ranking factor. Google’s approach is dictated by one simple principle – the user’s ease and convenience. This is why Google considered page speed a good omen and now for mobile search as well, page speed is a big factor (Google Speed Update: Page speed as a mobile ranking factor).
Speaking of mobile.
Let us talk about mobile-friendly and responsive design. It is one of the basic principles of on-site SEO. If your website is not optimized for mobile phone and tab screen. It’s a bad omen because it goes against a few basic on-site search engine optimization practices.
B. Off-site SEO
Enough about on-site SEO; this is only one side of the coin, let us now talk about the other side of the coin.
Well, it is every effort to rank your page that you do outside your website.
Take your website as your campaign office.
When you are off the office and going door to door asking for support (in SEO language asking for backlinks), that is called off-site SEO.
Here is a little detail of the actions that one takes in off-site SEO campaigns:
- Backlinks – Well, tell you what, when someone says off-site SEO 90 out of 100 times they mean struggle to get do-follow backlinks. What is a backlink? It is the hyperlink to your webpage mentioned on other web pages. It becomes a do-follow backlink when the pages giving reference to your web page let Google and other crawlers follow the link and land on your web page. Unless a web page owner specifically turns the hyperlink into no-follow, it remains a do-follow link. Backlinks are so awesome because they bring the link juice to your web page. In SEO terminology, link juice is the quality of hyperlinks to your web page. All the hyperlinks that come from other web pages form the link juice.
- Other than Backlinks – Actions other than backlinks are also an important part of off-site SEO strategy. What are these actions? Well, if you market your website on social media and bring a lot of social signals, that is off-site SEO. If you bring traffic via guest blogging, blog commenting, brand mentions and influencer marketing, etc., this all is termed as off-site SEO.
Pals, trying to sum up something like what SEO really stands for in a blog post as small as this can only help at the novice level. For more in-depth SEO guides on each aspect of SEO, stay connected and keep asking!