Hi there, welcome to your journey of SEO enlightenment! As with any journey, you have to start at the very beginning. And we’re here to help and guide you, every step of the way! To do that, we must, of course, start by defining what SEO means in its simplest form. SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It refers to the process of making a website more visible on a search engine’s results page.
We will break that down into a simple scenario. Imagine you decide to go on a trip, and you’re looking for the best hotels in the area. Another thing you could be looking for might be the cheapest hotels in the area. One of the next sure steps you will take, is to go to a search engine to search, right? Now, we all know the biggest one, Google, but there are still others like Yahoo, Bing, Duckduckgo.
This search would typically provide you with results. You can now decide on what page to visit, knowing with utmost assurance that your search engine has provided you with the best results for that search. Now, to you, you have performed a simple search. But, for those websites that appeared on the result page, it is a little more complicated than that. The thing is, they have set up a couple of things that have enabled them to appear on your result page when you searched. These things are what we call Search Engine Optimization.
Now that you understand a little bit better, we can delve in a little more. Search Engine Optimization (we also call it SEO) is also about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they want, the words they’re using, and the type of content they wish to consume. Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to connect to the people who are searching online for the solutions you offer.
Having fun yet? Let’s go deeper now.
Search Engine basics
Like we said earlier, search engines are designed to provide the most relevant results to a person searching. Back to the example, we gave earlier. When you searched “best hotels in Lagos” (we’re filling in the area now), you were looking for content that should show you exactly that. Your search was a keyword (more about this later) and it helped serve you exactly what you needed. People use keywords to find results, while websites use keywords to understand what people search for and optimize for it, which in turn serves their page in results when a search is initiated. In other words, SEO helps to make a search relevant to the user and can be critical in driving traffic to your site.
Search engines do all of this by discovering and cataloguing all available content on the Internet (web pages, PDFs, images, videos, etc.) via a process known as “crawling and indexing”, and then ordering it by how well it matches the query in a process we refer to as “ranking.” We’ll cover crawling, indexing, and ranking in more detail in subsequent chapters.
Types of SEO
There are two main types of SEO, organic and inorganic.
Organic SEO is a natural way to rank a site in the first search engine result pages (SERPs) without paying for it. It is considered a trustworthy and best way to secure a high rank on SERP.
Methods such as boosting keywords, backlinking and writing high-quality content can all improve a site’s page rank. Other SEO methods including the use of keyword stuffing and link farming, can also boost organic SEO.
Inorganic SEO is about paid search. It includes banner ads, cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA), pay per click (PPC), and classifieds. It is expensive and is best for businesses and site owners that need immediate results. But the effects are generally less effective in the long run when compared to organic SEO
In the next topic, we shall speak about where, to begin with, Search Engine Optimization.