What is SEO: Search Engine Optimization – A Complete Guide!

Last Updated on 29th November 2022 by Ajmer Singh

Bloggers and site owners that have been blogging for a while will definitely know What is Search Engine Optimization and its importance in blogging.

Many people approach SEO companies to optimize their websites and generate more traffic.

But it can be costly as you have to maintain the site for a long time.

So instead of spending your money on SEO, you can learn it yourself.

SEO can be complicated theoretically, but you will get the hang of it when you try to do it on your own.

All you need to do is follow a beginner’s guide and try to do it on your own.

Most of the tools you need for SEO are available on the internet. You can use this guide along with the tools to learn SEO.

Without further ado, let’s proceed:

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

what is search engine optimization

Most people avoid search engine optimization due to the complexities they feel comes along with optimizing a site, they build their social media presence and get traffic from there.

1. SEO Definition

SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization.

SEO does not stand on its own, it comprises different elements such as keywords, on-page SEO, content, off-page SEO, technical SEO etc.

It is the step-by-step process you follow that gives and increases your brand awareness online, it also drives traffic thereby increasing your prospect, and it is the basis for ranking on search engines.

SEO is a very important aspect of blogging as it helps you understand what query searchers type into search engines.

It also makes it easy for the search engine to find your site, understand the content, and index quickly.

SEO creates room for a good user experience. 

You have to do it in such a manner that it will be shown at the top of search results.

You have to take advantage of the keyword while doing it.

If you want your website to rank on top, you have to optimize the content as per people’s search intent.

If it matches their search intent, your website will get a higher rank. To do this, you have to focus on many SEO activities.

2. Learning SEO for Beginners!

When you know how to do SEO for your website, nobody will be able to beat your site ranking.

When you work on optimizing your website’s content, you will know precisely what changes you need to make.

You can simply focus on your site instead of wasting your money on paid ads.

You will not only be able to rank your website but take advantage of your competitor’s site as well.

3. SEO Terms!

You need to know about the basic SEO terms before you learn how to do it.

On-page SEO: 

It means every change you make on your website. On-page means on your website. It includes posting quality content with appropriate keywords.

Off-page SEO: 

It means any change you make outside of your website. Off-page means not on your own site. It includes guest posting and creating backlinks.

Technical SEO:

It means removing all the technical errors your website is suffering from. Including duplicate pages, HTTP to HTTPS etc.

Semrush is the best tool for overall SEO audits.

Backlinks: 

These are links on other people’s page or website that leads people to your site. You need to create only quality backlinks.

Read our guide on backlinks and their importance.

Black Hat SEO: 

These are practices condemned by Google. You will face a penalty for using these techniques.

White Hat SEO: 

It means SEO is done in the right way. You need to focus on this type of SEO.

Read our guide on the difference between Black and White hat SEO.

4. Search Engine Ranking!

what is search engine optimization

It merely means the rank of your website in search results. If your page has a high ranking, it will appear on top of the search results.

If it has a low ranking, it will not appear on the search page.

Search engines use various algorithms and factors to rank websites.

Google uses web crawlers that crawl different websites to check the quality of the site.

Read our guide to increase your Google crawl rate.

Google uses more than 200 factors to rank websites. However, some elements are more critical than others. Like,

Referring Domains: It means websites that link to your site. If you have links on reputed websites, you can quickly increase your ranking.

Organic click-through rate: It means the number of times people click on your website from search results. 

Domain Authority: It means the authority of your website. You can build authority by creating quality backlinks and posting quality content.

Domain Relevancy: The content on your website should match the main topic. If your site is about food recipes, you should post about food.

It is recommended to Choose your niche carefully.

Mobile Usability: It means the ease of use of your website on a mobile platform. Themes play an important role in this.

Always choose a theme carefully. You can’t change themes every day.

Themify Ultra is what we use on our websites.

Dwell Time: It means the time a user spends on your site. 

Number of Backlinks: It refers to your links on other sites. 

Content Quality: It means posting better quality content on your page or site.

Website speed: The most important google ranking factor. Use good hosting, avoid bloated themes and optimize the website. Make use of Cloudflare free CDN.

We use,

Only these two will improve your score to 90+ in Gtmetrix and Pagespeed Insights.

These are some of the factors on the basis of which ranking is done.

5. Basics of SEO!

what is search engine optimization

The basics of SEO include the following:

6. Keywords

Keywords are an important part of SEO practice.

They are words or phrases that best describe the content on your site.

It is also a word, phrase, or query that searchers type into the search engine to perform a search.

Keywords are as important to your content and internet users as yeast is to bread.

Your duty as a website owner is to ensure that the keyword you are targeting is related to what searchers are looking for.

To go about this, you can use any paid SEO tool out there (like Semrush) to ensure that the Keyword has a very high search volume and very low keyword difficulty, this is to ease your ranking process.

It is extremely outrageous to go for a keyword with high search volume and high competition as a newbie, the truth is your site will take forever to rank.

You should also make use of short and long-tail keywords.

The reason why I won’t advise you to use short-tail keywords as a newbie is that it has extremely tough competition.

It is not precise, you don’t know what exactly it is searchers are looking for.

Using long-tail keywords is the best as there are a lot of long-tail keywords out there with less competition,

this gives startups like you the room to rank on the search engine.

You can also look at inputting your target keyword on your URL, image alt text, and meta description.

This gives the search engine a clue as to what the content on your blog is all about.

It is also an essential SEO practice.

7. Content

Content is an integral part of SEO because you get to reach and engage your audience via this medium.

Before writing content ensure what you have in mind is the value you will add to your target audience.

Understand the type of content they want.

However, some content also depends on your target audience.

To make your content writing readable and understandable, you can do searchers intent on your focused keyword by using Semrush, or by visiting the ‘People Also Ask’ section on Google.

what is search engine optimization

I am not saying you should copy all the suggestions here, but you can draft out your subheadings from them, and build your post around the searchers’ intent.

Your duty as a site owner is not just to create content, it is to provide tangible answers to the questions of your visitors.

Spice up your content by adding images to your post.

Adding images to a post grabs the attention of your audience and gives them a proper understanding of the content of your post.

Read our guide on the importance of images for SEO.

8. ON-PAGE SEO

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your web page content for search engines and their users.

It involves optimizing your meta description, URL, images, etc.

The importance of on-page SEO is that it signals to search engines that your webpage has enough details about a targeted keyword.

In order to get the highest ranking, your On-page SEO should be on point.

As we have discussed earlier, on-page SEO refers to anything you do on your site to optimize the content.

It consists of many things.

Research Keywords: 

The first thing you need to do before posting or writing anything on your site is keyword research.

You need to choose keywords with high volume and low competition.

Apart from that, you also need to understand the intent of the search. 

Semrush is the best SEO tool for keyword research.

Title and Subheadings: 

After doing the keyword search, you need to try to fit into the title and subheadings.

Don’t put the keywords where it is not necessary.

You have to write the meta title and meta description because it is what the user will see. 

Read our guide on writing engaging titles.

Readable URLs:

This is a very important step. Most people ignore this, but it is a game-changer.

You need to use URLs that are easy to read. Use user-friendly URLs so that people can get an idea about your site. 

Rich Media:

You need to make your site attractive by adding images and videos.

People love multimedia because it makes your blogs visually attractive.

Make sure you optimize the media before adding it. Also, don’t forget to add alt text so that Google can read it.

what is search engine optimization

Link for Other Posts:

Internal linking is very important.

You need to create internal links so that users can explore different pages on your site without any hassle.

They can easily click on the link to check other pages too.

Mobile Optimization:

Your site should be mobile-friendly because most people use their phone browsers to open the site.

If your site easily opens on mobile browsers without taking too much time to load, you will get a higher ranking. 

Consider getting a theme from Themify. We are using themify ultra on this site.

Check out our review of Ultra Theme by Themify.

Voice Search:

Nowadays, people are using a voice search option to search for content.

To appear in voice search results, you need to be under the top 3 sites.

You can increase your chances of appearing by adding FAQs to your site.

Snippets:

When you search for something on Google, there are sometimes boxes visible on top of the page. These are snippets.

You can optimize your content so that it can appear in the snippets.

You need to appear on the first page of search results and use question-based content. Example, How to, Who is, Where is, etc.

9. Step by Step guide on how to do on-page SEO!

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do on-page SEO,

Your keyword should be found in the first paragraph of your content

If you are writing an article about the ‘Best WordPress plugin’, your first paragraph should include the keyword ‘Best WordPress plugin’.

Look at the image below for more understanding,

seo keyword in first paragraph

Google is more interested in terms that show up early on your page.

The best you can do is to ensure that your targeted keyword is found in the first 100 words of your content.

The title of your blog post should be in an H1 tag

Including the title of your blog post in an H1 tag gives Google and users a proper understanding of the structure of your page.

Some blogging platforms such as WordPress automatically add an H1 tag to your blog post title, while others don’t.

In this case, you will have to add it yourself.

All you need is to check the code of the content of your title to be sure it is included in the H1 tag.

Optimize your title tag for SEO

This is the most important part of the on-page SEO practice.

It gives search engines an overview of what the content on your page is all about.

Your targeted keyword should be close to the beginning of your title tag.

Check out the title tag on the image below,

seo keyword in title

Your subheading should be included in an H2 tag

One of your subheadings should include your target keyword and H2 tag.

Use outbound links  

An outbound link is a link that points out to other domains from your website.

They are a very important part of search engine optimization as they give the search engine a clue to what your niche is about.

It also helps to increase the trust and quality of your site on the search engine, thus playing a vital role in your SEO.

Add modifiers to your title tag

Modifiers such as best, fast, free, and paid can be used in your content depending on how it tallies with your title tag.

Modifiers also help you rank for long-tail keywords.

Add your targeted keyword to your URL

Ensure your URL is short and contains your targeted keywords.

See the image below For more details,

seo keyword in url

Optimize your meta description for SEO

A meta description is like an advertisement copy of your content.

It is a brief summary of 160 characters of the content of your page that gives visitors a clue about what a page is all about.

seo meta description

The keyword in the image above is “meta description”

An advantage of meta description is that if beautifully crafted, it increases the Click Through Rate (CTR) of your site.

Your keyword should also be included at least once in your meta description.

Plugins such as Rank Math, Yoast SEO, and SEO Framework can be used for On-page SEO.

Follow our guides with the best settings:

10. OFF-PAGE SEO

Off-page SEO involves all activities done outside a website to increase the ranking of the page on the search engine.

It involves the building and earning of links, local SEO, social media shares, and much more.

what is search engine optimization

Off-page SEO plays a vital role in the growth of your website.

The more backlink a website gets, the more likely it is to rank higher on the search engine.

Off-page SEO has a lot to do with increasing the authority of your site.

A site’s authority affects its ranking on a search engine. When it comes to content, sites with lower authority can’t outrank a site with higher authority.

One of Google’s ranking factors is link building.

Off-page SEO goes beyond link building, there are other off-page search engine optimization tactics you can adopt to increase your site’s authority.

Below is a list of them;

  • link building
  • brand building
  • content marketing
  • social media shares
  • local SEO

Some recommended plugins for Search Engine Optimization:

  1. Yoast
  2. SEO Framework
  3. All-in-One SEO
  4. Rankmath
  5. SeoPress

For off-page SEO you need two things:

  • Hard Work
  • Patience

SEO needs time of at least 3-4 months. Don’t expect things to work immediately.

11. Why is Search Engine Optimization important?

what is search engine optimization

SEO aids visibility and ranking

Searchers tend to click on the first five pages displayed to them when a query is searched for on search engines.

SEO helps your site rank higher on search engines aiding more visibility to your site online thus making more prospects and clicks on your site.

SEO increases organic traffic

The main purpose of increasing your ranking on the search engine is to attract more traffic to your site.

Once this is done, you tend to get more customers and leads.

It gives you an edge over your competitors

Optimizing your site not only helps you rank higher on a search engine, but also helps you move ahead of your competitors.

The higher you rank on the search engine, the further you move from your competitor.

It creates room for a good user experience

Google is more interested in adding value to its users, hence the need to thoroughly scrutinize your site.

Apart from providing quality content, your page load time also matters in the ranking.

The longer it takes for your page to load, the more increase you get on your bounce rate.

Visitors tend to leave a site that takes so much time to load.

Your page load time is also a criterion for ranking on google.

Increasing your page load speed, on-page and off-page SEO incorporates a positive user experience.

Consider choosing the best theme and hosting when looking for speed.

12. Content marketing and SEO!

what is search engine optimization

Content marketing and SEO are complimentary. You have to focus on both these aspects if you want to maintain your website. 

If you have excellent content, but you haven’t done the SEO, then it won’t appear in search results, and nobody will read it.

Similarly, if you have a well-optimized website but no quality content, again, nobody will read it.

The trick is to focus on both.

Types of Content

There are a few types of content that are preferable. You need to focus on these. The content should be,

  • Research-based
  • Tutorials
  • In-depth Guides
  • Visual Post

These types of content help to engage the users. It also helps you to get backlinks.

Content-Length

If you want to get the top three ranking positions, you need to write more than 1000 words per content.

Content with such length helps you get a higher rank.

Keyword Research

what is search engine optimization

Before writing the content, you need to know what keywords to use. For this purpose, you need to research it. 

The first thing you need to do is get ideas for the topics related to your site and list the topics you want to include.

Now, put the topic in Google search and check the keywords.

When you type it in the box, there will be suggestions from Google. Also, check the related search box at the end of the page. 

Right Keywords

After you list down all the keywords, you need to check if it is right for your post.

You can check it by using various SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, etc.

However, we recommend Semrush. Why – check yourself using their free trial.

You need to check all these factors.

  • Search Volume: It should have a decent volume.
  • Keyword Difficulty: Go for low-competition keywords in the beginning.
  • Keyword Trend: You can use Google Trends to check the keyword suitability.

Semantic Keyword

Apart from using the primary or main keywords, you can also use Semantic Keywords. It is also known as LSI.

These keywords relate to the main keywords. You can use the LSIGraph tool to get these keywords.

Use them with original keywords to optimize the content. Make sure you use all the keywords naturally.

Link Building

what is search engine optimization

It is very important for website ranking. It means getting links from other reputed sites. These links help you to build your authority.

But you need to focus on quality backlinks. Not all backlinks are good for you. Some may lead you to a penalty.

You need to use backlinks from,

  • High authority sites
  • Relevant sites
  • Unique domain sites

Building Quality Links

You need to get “do follow” links. These links are useful. Don’t go with “no follow” links as they are not useful. 

Resources pages: 

You need to find sites that post useful content. After you find them, request them to post your content.

Your content should be resourceful.

Link Roundups: 

Some sites regularly link to other sites after every month.

It is known as link roundups. You need to find such sites and ask them to post your content.

Competition: 

You can check where your competitor is getting links from. You can approach the same sites to get links.

Final Note!

Search engine optimization requires a lot of patience, time, and effort but it’s really worth your time.

Remember SEO is not limited to on-page, off-page, content, keywords etc…

But you also need to have an SEO-optimized theme, perfect website loading speed and a good web hosting provider.

All the information given here is enough for you to start optimizing your own site.

You can use various SEO tools like Semrush to save time and get the data.

My recommended ones are,

Have any SEO issues or recommendations? Use the comment section.