Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Question By Every Beginner - What is SEO and How To Do It?

If you are one of those regular visitors at this blog who are learning the basics of blogging through my "How To Start A Blog" section, you would have learned the basics of writing and gathering traffic by now.

So now is the best time to start learning about the basics of SEO too.

Now the first question in every beginner's mind is - What is SEO?


Then there are the questions like - What is its importance and how to perform SEO?

Before diving deep into the sea called SEO, let us have a look at the follow infographic to understand the meaning of SEO.

What is SEO?

What is SEO - Infographic

This infographic would have already made the concept clear.

Now let us try to understand SEO with the help of an example.

Suppose you search Google for the term 'What is SEO'.You would get many lakhs of websites in the results. All the results are distributed in thousands of results pages.

So how do you think Google distributes all these websites? I mean how do you think that Google ranks all these websites and blogs for your search term?


Not at all!

Google (and other search engines too) ranks all those results in the decreasing order of their quality, importance and value decided by them. Now you might be aware that search engines are not handled solely by humans! They mostly rely on robots (or you can say bots, they are like super computers) to determine the quality of a web content and to rank it for all those millions of search queries among those millions of other websites.

So how do they do it?

As shown in the infographic, robots use certain set of algorithms to determine the relevancy and quality of a web content.

For major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. these algorithms count to thousands or maybe lakhs!

And SEO is the art to optimize your blog and blog posts according to those algorithms.

So in simple terms -

SEO is the art to create such a web content that convinces the search engine robots that your content is good in terms of quality as well as relevancy.

Importance of SEO

I think there isn't any further need to explain the importance of SEO to you, is it?

With proper SEO you can get your blog to rank high for the targeted search queries (keyword is a more proper term for this) and can get a lot of traffic.

Common Practices in SEO

As mentioned earlier SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is based on optimizing you content for search engines.

So to understand what you really need to do for SEO, you must understand what a search engine robot can understand. The more easily and the better those robots can understand your content, the better is your SEO.

So let us understand the basic funda behind the working of robots and understand the common practices related to it.

The last point that I have mentioned here is the most important one. So make sure that you don't skip through these points!

1. Robots understand a content by its keyword density.

Check again - I said 'understand' and not 'rank' or 'evaluate'

You know what? I think those robots don't understand the meaning of any word. They can't understand what I say, they can read my words but can't understand the meaning of any single word.

The above statement may be wrong but try to assume that it is true. This will help you in understanding my point.

Robots scan through the whole content and decide the topic by those keywords in your article which are repeated most frequently. Now it is obvious that if you are writing about 'SEO' then the words like 'SEO' and 'search engines' will be used more frequently. So by determining the density of some set of words among the whole content, those search engine robots determine the real topic discussed in an article.

So how to apply SEO here?

Yes you got it right!

Maintain a good keyword density.

You need not to worry much about it because if you have been writing naturally and are focused on the real topic then the keyword density would be managed on its own.

2. Robots respect authority sites

Just like humans, these robots also respect high authority people and their sites.

That is why even for the most simple to the most complex search queries, you see sites like Wikipedia on the top.

Focus on building a good authority, respectful blog. Do not indulge in spamming activities or go on distributing copyright protected stuff.

Focus on building good quality backlinks only (don't know what are backlinks? Read the next point!), work on increasing your domain authority and Page rank (no, I am not talking in any alien language, domain authority and Page rank are two of the many systems used for ranking a blog's authority.)

3. Robots know that if more people link to you, you are better!

Now let us talk about links.

Whenever some other site links to your site, it creates a good impression in the minds of search engine bots. So more the sites link to you, more is your reputation and more is your optimization.

But sadly, today most of the bloggers won't link to you without any reason :(

So you have to build backlinks to your site yourself!

Guest authoring and blog commenting are the two best ways to build backlinks to a blog according to me. There is another method of reciprocal link exchange but it has been dying and can be dangerous to practice now.

4. Robots can't see images :(

This is true.

Robots can't actually see images and so they can't understand any content that is hidden in a image.

That directly means that robots can't use images to judge or grade your content :( They can't even see the lovely infographic used in this post!

But there is one HTML tag specially designed for bots - the 'alt' tag.

This alt tag is used to describe the image to a robot...usually in less than 5 words. But use of this alt tag can be very beneficial in terms of optimizing your images.

5. You have to explain everything to the bots

Just like images, search engines can't understand the real value of many other things like your links and sometimes the basic description of your articles, etc.

So you need to explain everything to these robots in short, to make their work easy and to improve your optimization.

Use of title tags in links and images are preferred. Use of meta tags are still important even though they are losing their popularity and importance. Title tags are used to describe your links as well as images. Meta tags are also HTML tags used to describe your blog or blog posts to these robots.

6. The king of all SEO - Keyword Research

Keyword research is actually a very advanced form of SEO, the most skill consuming, the skill which we normally get to understand and learn after having some experience with blogging, but at the same time is the most important skill.

Once you understand the real value and magic of keyword research, you will be using it before writing any blog post without any hesitation and with real pleasure.

For now all this may seem confusing and time consuming.

Once you get familiar with the basic SEO skills, try to focus on learning about keyword research.

Can't wait? I can understand... Here is an in-depth article about using keyword research and getting ranked high on Google's results.

Basics of SEO - Summary

Let us have a quick look at what we discussed here:

Your blog - your sample post - want traffic from search engines - Optimize your post for search engines - keyword research, keyword density, optimizing images, etc - Getting high rank on Google - Enjoying the traffic

This was the answer to one of the most important questions by every beginner - What is SEO?

Did you get to learn something from this post? Did you get confused anywhere? Do comment and share your views!