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Introduction to SEO – Part 4 – Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a web page in organic/natural search engine results, and is a process used by both businesses and individuals for marketing purposes – to promote awareness of their brand, products and services.

Remember – Search engine algorithms are tightly held secrets and not publicly available.

SEO is therefore based on:

  • assumptions made about search engine algorithms (based on search engine algorithm update announcements and published guidelines), and
  • demonstrated results with specific SEO strategies (gained through experience).

Search Engine Optimization (at it’s most basic level) involves elements we have already addressed in the Introduction to SEO series, most particularly in Part 1 – The Anatomy of a Webpage and Part 2 – The Anatomy of Search, including:

  • Webage URL
  • <TITLE> Tag and <H1> <H2> Tags
  • Meta Description
  • Keywords
  • Meta (HTML) Tags
  • Search engine algorithms and page importance formulas

SEO Factors:

There are multitude of factors that can influence search engine results. Search Engine Land has compiled a periodic table of SEO Ranking Factors:

Period Table of SEO Factors

As shown, there are a number of factors that influence web page rankings in search results including:

  • Web page content quality, social engagement, and freshness (i.e. is it regularly and consistently updated?).
  • HTML titles, headers and descriptions.
  • Web page architecture including the speed of upload, URL quality and whether the page is easily ‘crawled’ by search engine spiders.
  • Quality and number of incoming links.
  • Social Media reputation and number of shares/likes.
  • Web page authority – do all ranking factors combined demonstrate that the web page is a trusted authority?
  • Web page trust (includes authority as well as the history of the page/domain name (URL).
  • Country, local area, history, social network.

SEO Practices Include:

  • Keyword Research – (as we have already seen) is the process of finding the actual keywords used to find a specific search result. Google has facilitated this immensely with their Keyword Tool.
  • Keyword Optimization – ensuring the proper keywords are used consistently throughout the web page (both on-page and off-page content), ad campaigns, or other online content.
  • Quality Content – updating web page content on a regular and consistent basis, thereby providing the target audience with a reason to stay engaged, return to the website, and/or share the information with their own social networks (another tactic called Social Media Marketing).
  • Content Marketing – creating fresh/new content on a regular basis (e.g. with blog articles) and marketing this new content online (e.g. with social media platforms, relevant groups and directories).
  • Website Structure Optimization – ensuring that all web pages are systematically organized and easily ‘crawled’ by search engines.

For a more thorough look at SEO Practices, see the diagram below created by RMI (an online marketing agency):

SEO Tactics

Search Engine – Violations:

Violations of Search Engine Best Practices include:

  • lack of quality content (sparse webpages)
  • keyword stuffing (repeatedly using the same words in an attempt to get a better SERP ranking)
  • hidden text (e.g. white text on a white background, is part of keyword stuffing)
  • paid inbound links (links to the web page that were purchased, not earned)
  • link spamming (mining blogs, directories and forums with links to the web page)

When a search engine deems that a webpage has violated their Guidelines they have the ability to wipe the site from their index, and it will no longer appear in search results. Webpage owners must then demonstrate to the search engine that they have fixed the violation(s) and complied with the Guidelines before the web page will be accepted.

There are also several factors that have a negative effect on web page ranking, including Site Blocking which happens when an internet user decides to “block’ a web page from appearing on their web browser. This action has a negative effect on the web page authority, and therefore web page ranking.

Listen to Wysz (Michael Wyszomierski) from the Google Quality Search Team describe Google Webmaster Guidelines:

This is the final article in the Introduction to SEO series, hopefully you now have a better understanding of SERP ranking factors, SEO manipulation to gain rankings, and search engine updates designed to combat (and punish) malicious, uninformative, spam web pages, and reward those with quality content that is regularly updated and shared on social networks!

The Introduction to SEO Series includes:

Blue seo image courtesy of Stuart Miles

  1. Seo Firm Calgary

    The Periodic table for SEO is a new thing for me. How did you get it actually. I would love to know such interesting details about the same.

  2. Jorge

    SEO was well explained in this article. Language was also easy to understand.

  3. Barbara

    This periodic table thing for SEO is so cool.

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