Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a common buzzword rotated around in the blogger and digital marketing community. While the term itself seems quite self-explanatory, it may sound like rocket science to a layperson. SEO essentially entails optimizing the content on one’s website or blog in a way that makes it appealing to search engines such as Google.
Search engines operate on algorithms that rank and index blogs based on keywords searched by users. For entrepreneurs and blog-owners, getting high rankings on search engines is key to generating higher traffic, bringing in more revenue. Therefore, website owners need to implement best SEO practices on their websites.
However, people often get confused by the jargon that gets floated around. For that purpose, this article will explain the basics of SEO and how website owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs can use it to their advantage.
SEO 101 – The Guide to Getting Started
The basics of SEO revolve around keywords or how credible and relevant an article on a blog or website is. This relevance and credibility are determined by search engine algorithms. A common mistake websiteowners make is to optimize their blogs according to keywords they “think” people use instead of using keywords people”actually” use. While keyword research impacts increasing traffic, using the wrong keywords can lead to irrelevant traffic to the website leading to less fruitful results. This begs the question regarding what parameters search engines use to rank and index websites?
Algorithms are fine-tuned to rank content that based on:
- Quality traffic (legitimate users searching for content using relevant keywords)
- Quantity of traffic (websites that users frequently select)
- Organic results (content that provides actual value to users)
There are two primary ways website owners can optimize their content to rank higher in search engine results – through On-site optimization and Off-site optimization. If one wishes to learn more about SEO, they can check SEO tips for beginners and start their learning journey. However, understanding the difference between on-site and off-site SEO is critical. Both forms are crucial to running a successful blog. But they need to be addressed strategically; otherwise, they may lead to counter-productive or redundant outcomes.
Step 1 – Optimizing On-site SEO
For simplicity’s sake, one may argue that On-site SEO includes optimizations that a website owner works on “within” the context of their website, while Off-site SEO involves everything that a website owner does “outside” their website. To elaborate, On-site SEO is the name given to adjustments website owners make to their site to make it more search-engine friendly. The components website owners should play around with to make their page rank higher in search results include keywords, website loading speed, titles, image alt-tags, inbound links, and most importantly, the content.
However, one has to be careful when trying to optimize these components for maximum results. Creating keyword farms or stuffing keywords excessively in one’s blogpost tends to get flagged as spam by search engine algorithms. While features like attractive titles and relevant keywords are crucial in getting a site ranked, the content’s quality remains paramount.
At the end of the day, search engines give preference to sites that provide high-quality, relevant content over spammy, clickbait links. Attempting to ‘hack’ search engine algorithms through keyword farms might create high-traffic initially, but it can lead to negative ranking for the website in the long-run and, under extreme circumstances, can also lead to penalties on the website.
Step 2 – Adding Off-Site SEO in the mix
Off-side SEO tends to be a bit trickier when compared to On-side SEO. While on-site SEO deals with how the website looks and what gets posted on it (internal changes), Off-site SEO deals with the external environment and aims to rank a website higher through referrals on other credible sites or blogs that link back to one’s website. This awards a degree of authority to one’s website when other credible sources share or link back to one’s content. Off-site SEO can be enhanced through guest blogging, social media marketing, influencer marketing, and testimonials
To run a successful website, website owners must utilize a combination of both on-site and off-site SEO. If you’re wondering which of the two optimizations is more practical and relevant for your website, clarifying your business objectives will be helpful.
Step 3 – Revenue and Profit
It is important to note that both optimizations are necessary. However, without effective on-site SEO, off-site SEO techniques will render useless results. At the heart of every successful website or blog is relevant and valuable content. Without good content, it is challenging to compete for keywords and audience attention. Moreover, websites that post content regularly have higher chances of getting ranked by search engines simply because every time you post a new blog or page, search engines get access to new indexable and searchable pages. Consistency in posting content is vital to make one’s website more search-engine-friendly.
Therefore, all beginners and entrepreneurs aspiring to generate sizeable traffic on their website should start by investing their resources in building their website through high-quality content (on-site SEO) and should worry about off-site SEO later. Once they have created a robust website backed by quality content, they can divert or expand their resources to include Off-Site SEO as well.
To think of it in simpler terms, on-site SEO serves as a foundation for one’s website, while off-site SEO can be equated to the roof. Without a strong foundation to build a website on, working on strengthening the roof will be counter-productive.
Creating a revenue-generating and search-engine-friendly blog is not impossible by any means. However, it requires consistency, patience, and the right set of strategies. The guidelines mentioned above might help beginners start their journey in creating highly credible sources of information and content. But the vital thing to keep in mind is to understand that content is king at the end of the day.
Without great content, even the best SEO tricks and strategies will not render the results expected of them. Therefore, focus on on-site SEO first. The purpose of off-site SEO is to complement on-site SEO instead of relying on either one. Pairing them together will set the course for a creating a good website that leaves long-lasting impressions on SERPs.