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What is SEO: 5 Powerful Secrets That You Might Be Overlooking

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The best place to hide a dead body is Page 2 of Google Search Results. – Anonymous

Scenario 1: SEO is anything but dead!

If the opening quote seems cryptic or doesn’t make much sense to you, welcome, you’ve come to the right place. You’ve reached a planet called “Basics of SEO”. This is the place where we talk about SEO, SEO definition, SEO examples etc etc. This is where we go deep in search of true meaning….errr, true SEO meaning. Afterall, what is wisdom if not basic, don’t you agree?

Scenario 2: You’re well versed with the realities of the opening quote. May be the awareness is so much that the simplicity of this quote hits home and hits hard. Well, this is when you should go back to where it all started and see how can you ramp up your SEO game. Afterall, basics is where most people are getting it wrong, at least for SEO, wouldn’t you agree?

I believe in the power of basics. And the thing about basics is that the more you revisit, the clearer they become. So every once in awhile, I make it a point to go back where I started and look at everything again, right from there. It reveals the whole journey in front you, you can clearly see all the gaps and act on filling those. In this article, I go back to the basics of SEO and you’re welcome to join me on a short trip to that magic potion for every digital marketer – veteran or starry-eyed beginner – known as Search Engine Optimization.

Quick Stats: 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines. (Source: HubSpot

Let’s get started with our introduction of SEO.

What is SEO: Meaning of SEO, SEO Definitions and SEO Examples

“SEO refers to search engine optimization, or the process of optimizing a website in order to make it easy to find via search engines like Google.”

  • WordStream

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”

  • Definition by Moz

“Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website on organic (“natural” or un-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs), by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website. A successful search engine optimization campaign will have, as part of the improvements, carefully select, relevant, keywords which the on-page optimization will be designed to make prominent for search engine algorithms.”

  • WhatIsSEO.com

These are some simple definitions provided by some of the leading players in the industry. Though all of these definition are not exactly the same they essentially carry the same meaning, the only difference being the elements that are emphasized upon. Let’s try to further break down, simply and understand what is SEO.

Following are the key factors sitting at the core of understanding SEO:

  • Search Engine

If you can optimize your website, or your client’s for that matter, for Google alone , you’ve already won the SEO battle. Optimizing for Google is no mean feat so forget about doing it for multiple search engines, definitely not as a beginner. Even if you could put in great efforts and succeed in optimizing for multiple search engines, just ask yourself, if it’s worth it.

Quick Stats: Google currently holds 80.5% of total search engine market share (up from 65.5% in January 2016). (Source: NetMarketShare.com)

P.S. For the sake of this article, we’ll refer to Search Engine and Google interchangeably.

  • Traffic: Quantity versus Quality

Do you want to increase quantity of traffic by SEO?

Or do you want to improve the quality of the traffic that the website receives and increase the volume of this quality traffic?

The objective of performing SEO is to increase both the quantity and quality of traffic by using accepted SEO best practice and without compromising anything on the user experience. The key here is to walking the tightrope of balance to keep improving the quality of inbound traffic and to keep finding new resources to increase this volume.

Good quality traffic but too little traffic won’t help you getting a good SEO ranking.

High volumes of poor traffic won’t help you either.

The success of SEO lies in the balance between these two extremes.

  • Organic/Unpaid/Natural Search Results

When someone runs a query on Google, it returns results, referred to as Search Engine Results. These results are of two types:

  1. Paid advertisement relevant to the search query
  2. Unpaid results relevant to the search query, also known as natural or organic search engine results

Search Engine Optimization works to optimize inbound traffic via these organic search engine results. As the website would be optimized using SEO best practices consistently, it would rank higher and higher in these unpaid results coming across as the most relevant place to find the information that the user seeks on the search engine. That’s the purpose of life for SEO.

Hence, we can simply define SEO as a set of best practices and methods using which a website aims to receive the best search traffic from a search engine, both in terms of high quality and high quantity by ranking as high as possible in all the relevant organic search engine results.

Thinking of making a Career in SEO?

What is SEO

SEO is anything but dead!

Quick Stats: The total job market has grown by 0.3% from August through December, while SEO has surged by a whopping 2.0% in that time span! (Source: Indeed.com)

You must have been hearing things like SEO is dead, SEO is no longer ruling the Digital Marketing job charts, if you’re in SEO jobs it’s time to move on etc. Well, the above statistics from job portal Indeed after a survey across USA in 2016 says otherwise. It’s true that SEO jobs are changing but assuming that SEO jobs are dead would be a fatal reading of trends.

One of the significant changes that has occured in SEO job market is that SEO is increasingly perceived as an essential skill to have on many job descriptions rather than being a job title in itself, as it has been so far. And it’s the natural evolution in the right direction, wouldn’t you agree?

SEO jobs are anything but dead, they’re growing and they’re beating all other job growth trends, though the job titles are evolving. Many leading job search and digital marketing platforms have dedicated sections or pages for SEO related jobs only and there is no dearth of options for the right candidates.

If you’ve been thinking about making a career in SEO, the time has never been better. The key for your career growth as an SEO expert would be to continuously keep working on upgrading your skillsets and stay relevant.

How to go about making a career in SEO is a vast topic of discussion in itself and we’ve already done a detailed post on this earlier. You can get all the information that you need about building a career in SEO.

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5 Commandments of New Basics of Search Engine Optimization in 2017

  • People are living on Mobile, and so is Google

Quick Stats: 87% of people who own a smartphone use a search engine at least once a day. (Source: Go-globe)

Well, it’s no secret that we’re living in a mobile world. You will find tons of data confirming that. You don’t need statistics to prove this to you, just look around. So when the world has essentially started living on their smartphone screens, naturally, web search also has to go on mobile.

SEO Tip: Keep mobile at the center of your SEO strategy to reap the benefits or else perish and get lost in the world wide web by becoming irrelevant and invisible.

  • Lines between “Web” and “Social Media” have blurred and will blur further

Quick Stats: 2.80 billion global social media users in 2017, equaling 37% penetration. (Source: WeAreSocial)

It’s time to change the age-old adage of Humans are social animals to Humans are Social Media Animals. If we really start noticing how much of our actual life is being consumed by social media, it would be a terrifying realization. Humans being trapped between screens is no longer a plot for a futuristic sci-fi drama.

Remember the episode from Black Mirror, titles as Nosedive? A world ruled by social media rankings in which a young girl is trapped in those elusive rankings and a rude wake-up call to her as a result of living her life by those stars on social media.

Well, we’re already there. But no wake up call for us, not yet, not in near future.

SEO Tip: Carefully craft your website’s glorious Social Media appearances and add these mentions to your tools of boosting your SEO rankings. If Social Media loves you, Google returns the love by ranking you high. Yeah, its a real consideration factor.

  • Content is what makes Google go weak on its knees

Quick Stats: 72% of online marketers describe content creation as their most effective SEO tactic. (Source: Hubspot)

Content is one factor of SEO that never gone out of fashion and it’s going to continue to rule the SEO strategy. At the end, all your tips and trick of SEO kept aside, it all boils down to one thing: Content.

If you’ve managed to create valuable, useful and unique content that your users are eager to lap up and are searching for, your SEO strategy wins hands down. If not, then no matter what SEO practices you implement, it’s all going to go down the drain.

SEO Tip: Focus on building the content that your users want and invest in creating the highest quality content once you know what they want. This is one investment which is going to take your website places, literally.

  • Future of Search is on Command of Your Voice

    What is SEO

    Voice Search Growth Trends

Quick Stats: Voice searches have increased to 10% of all search volume according to The Internet Trends report, released in June 2016. (Source: Search Engine Land)

Quick Stats: 20% of search queries on Google’s mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. (Search Engine Land, 2016)

Both of these statistics present an interesting correlation if you look closely. Voice search share is increasing and mobile is playing a significant role in that. And we’ve already established how mobile is taking over everything. Both voice and mobile search upwards trends create a virtuous cycle of growth for each other.

Also, voice search is still at its nascent stage. As it gets more refined and its utility expands, more and more people are going to use voice search as their primary command mode.

SEO Tip: Consider including keywords and search queries that people are likely to use during voice command. People tend to speak differently as compared to when they write a question.

  • Context is officially the new king on “the Iron Throne”

Quick Stats: Over half of search queries belonged to contexts which lasted over a month. (Source: Google)

Google has always been working towards making search led by context and intent rather than plain keyword clusters, and it has always made its intentions amply clear.

With release of Hummingbird and RankBrain, it has already changed the way it interprets search results. Google is interested in knowing the user’s intent behind a search query and then in turn showing the most relevant results to help fulfill that intent. It’s a win-win for all. And it has only started.

SEO Tip: If your SEO strategy is still led by keywords and search query terms, you’re probably losing the game already. Pay close attention to how you can help Google fulfill the user’s intents behind those and put things into context, and you’ll do fine.

Have you recently spotted some significant yet quiet shift in SEO that we’ve not covered here? Let us know in comments section and we would be happy to include those in this article with due credits.

Image Courtesy: HindiSoch.com, RightBlogTips.com, MarTech Today

About the Author Ritu Jhajharia Founder – Rolling Circle Pvt Ltd | Communications Consultant | Aspiring Writer Ritu has dabbled into various roles across functions in marketing, brand management, communication, public relations, content management, consulting, technology & entrepreneurship for over a decade. She is currently working as a full-time entrepreneur heading her venture Rolling Circle Pvt Ltd, an Integrated Marketing Communications firm. She likes to help growing start-ups with marketing strategy and thought leadership via content. She likes to write on various topics, is a successful blogger and is an avid traveler.
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