Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Updated: Tue, 01 Jan 2019 by Rad

SEO - stands for "Search Engine Optimization." SEO is the practice of improving and promoting a website to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web.

Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.

All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn't involved, as it is with paid search ads.

Aspects of SEO

Early versions of search engines relied on webmaster (human) provided information such as the keyword meta tag, or index files which provided guide to each page's content.

By relying so much on factors such as keyword density which were exclusively within a webmaster's control, early search engines suffered from abuse and ranking manipulation.

By 2004, search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce the impact of link manipulation. The leading search engines do not disclose the algorithms they use to rank pages.

"Big Data therefore refers to that data being collected and our ability to make use of it."

Bernard Marr,
SEO keyword cluster
Credit: Alexis Wilke (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA.

Ranking Factors: Moz's 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors presents survey data from over 100 search engine professionals and provides insight into the inner workings of the future of search. MOZ - is a software as a service (SaaS) company based in Seattle, that sells inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions

Some of identified ranking factors:
  • link signals (inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc) - are still believed to be the most important part of the algorithm (approximately 28%).
  • on-page signals - usage on the page is still fundamental, and other than links - is thought to be the most important type of factor. Presence of name, address, phone number, keywords in titles, domain authority contributes at estimated 26%
  • behavioral signals - overall web engagement with your site and your brand, click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc estimated at 11.5%
  • social factors - may be not that important, estimated only only at 3.5%

On page factors, off the page SEO

No single SEO factor will guarantee search engine rankings. Having a great HTML title won't help if a page has low quality content.

It is generally estimated that Google uses about 200 various factors to rank a site. Other search engines will use similar algorithm with many ranking factors.

Generally in order to rank well it is impotant to focus on:

  • great content - quality, research, words and keywords
  • html - meta titles, descriptionn, headers (h1,h2), structure and data formats,
  • architecture - crawlable, handling of duplicate content, speed, short urls, mobile friendly

On the page factors

  • Keyword in title tag. The title meta tag is one of the strongest relevancy signals for a search engine
  • Keyword in description tag. The importance of the meta description tag today is often discussed in SEO circles.
  • Using keywords in the pages copy. Up until not long ago, stuffing your page with keywords was a surefire way to increase its rankings for a particular keyword.
  • Length of the content. Humans want to be educated and won't satisfy with basic, sketchy information. Search engines therefore look for authoritative and informative content to rank first.
  • Duplicate content. This can influence your rankings in a negative way. Having similar content across various pages of your site hurts your rankings.

Free Resource: Full list of ranking factors: Google's 200 Ranking Factors

Off the page factors

Off site factors are also very important for your SEO. These things have to be done after the completion of on page SEO. You must be aware of your competitors and also nasty techniques - like building a negative reputation against your company/website.

Major search engines now determine the value and importance of sites based on links they receive from other sites.

Off site Search Engine Optimization is accomplished from sources other than your site.

Some off site factors to focus on

  • Community creation in social networking sites
  • Blogging
  • Forum postings
  • Directory submission
  • Local listings & yellow pages
  • PPC ad campaigns
  • Link building

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Crucial SEO ranking factors in 2019

  • Optimized & superior content
  • Backlinks
  • User experience
  • A secure website (HTTPS)
  • Voice search -- optimize for how people speak
  • Search intent and rich snippets

Search Engine Optimization - from around the web

  • SEO - wikipedia - is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results.
  • Google's SEO Starter Guide - translated to 40 languages, glossary to define terms throughout the guide, ways to optimize your site for mobile devices and more.
  • 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors - Moz's 2018 search engine ranking factors presents survey data from over 100 search engine professionals and provides insight into the inner workings of the future of search.
  • Search Engine Land's Guide To SEO - designed to depict the factors that will help your website succeed in gaining ore visitors from organic search.
  • Analyzing Search Engine Results Pages on a Large Scale - tracking your own rankings in the SERPs, as well as that of those of competitors'. How to obtain SERP data and import it to a DataFrame (table / CSV / excel sheet) for analysis, on a large scale, and in an automated way.
  • 19 Awesome SEO Blogs and Websites You'll Want to Bookmark - it is critical to keep up with all the SEO news. Reading list of the best SEO blogs on the internet today to help you become a better marketer.
  • SEO Ranking Factors 2019 - tired of 200 point lists with Google factors? Try to focus only on 3 ranking factors that really matter.

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List of similar terms - ordered by latest database record

External IT glossary resources.