A Beginner’s Guide to SEO – Part 1

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This blog is part of four-part series that offers a beginner-level understanding of SEO.

Definition of SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a term that refers to all the activities that are conducted in ranking a webpage higher in search engine result pages (SERPs) to direct more non-paid visitor traffic to it. SEO is now a crucial tool in a company’s marketing arsenal. A heavy amount of visitor traffic to websites comes through search engines, with Google seeing the largest amount of traffic (88.44 per cent) directed to it compared to other search engines in the world

The Role of Consumers in SEO

SEO’s starting point is possession of a deep understanding of the needs and wants of consumers. This understanding enables businesses to create user-friendly websites with a razor-sharp focus on customer experience and feature content on those websites that meets some consumer demand or solves some problem of theirs. Consumers are expected to be in markets looking to fulfill some needs or wants of theirs and/or seeking solutions to some problems. For example, their need could be as simple as wanting to be entertained by high-quality content to release feelings of stress, or more complicated, such as the need for a consulting service that provides excellent tax and accounting solutions.  

The Basics of SEO

Before we look at the three main categories into which SEO can be divided, we must understand the SEO basics, namely how the search engine ranking system works. Crawling is a process done continuously by Google or another search engine’s bots (these special programs are also known as crawlers). They scan the internet for old and new webpages and any updates to pre-scanned webpages. When starting out, the process sees the bot programs look for the file robots.txt to find out which webpages or parts of webpages to crawl and which ones to exclude. 

The crawler then sees the content featured on the crawlable webpages or parts of webpages to examine them for originality and relevance. If the content is considered worthy of display on SERPs, it will then be indexed. Indexing makes a record of all of these webpages—this record is browsed within a split second by a search engine to quickly prepare a list of results, rank the results according to the relevance to the user’s search query, and display them. The results are ranked by a search engine’s ranking algorithms, which are kept confidential. 

Also, to keep the search engine optimisers busy, there are updates to these algorithms, which means that SEO is never a one-off task but a continuous process. One of the most recent updates expected to complete its integration by August 2021 into Google’s algorithms is called “Page Experience Update,” which is concerned with the mobile-friendliness of a website, its loading speed and security, among other aspects. Together, these new aspects will now be considered among existing search engine ranking factors to determine a page’s rank.

We will talk about the ranking factors of SEO as well as the types of SEO in the next post in this series titled A Beginner’s Guide to SEO – Part 2.

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

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