What is SEO? This question is often asked by people who are just starting to create a website or blog. The reason is, by implementing several SEO optimization steps, it is easier for your website or blog to rank high in Google search results.
Is this assumption correct?
Yup, in simple terms, that’s the benefit of implementing SEO on a website or blog. However, that’s only a small part of the SEO concept. In this article, we will discuss in full what SEO is from understanding SEO, how it works, the leading SEO indicators, and why SEO is essential for your website.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is an effort to optimize a website to get top rankings in search results, by getting high rankings in search results, your potential for organic traffic increases.
Apart from generating high organic traffic, SEO will also help you get the right traffic. So you focus on increased traffic and the right traffic according to the primary purpose of your website.
To get high traffic that is right on target, you need to follow the rules set by search engines, in this case, Google. You need to understand how SEO works, Google algorithms, and the leading indicators of SEO. You will learn all of these in the following chapters below.
How SEO Works
Search engines use specific algorithms to determine which content is worthy of ranking in the top search results. This applies to all search engines, be it Google, Yahoo !, Bing, and Duckduckgo.
We will not discuss algorithms in every search engine. Here we discuss only the Google algorithm. Why? Because Google controls more than 90 percent of the search engine market share worldwide. So when it comes to how SEO works, Google’s algorithm is the benchmark.
Google is continuously updating its algorithm to provide more relevant search results and solutions for its users. From 2011 to date, there have been at least eight significant updates to Google’s algorithm.
So it would help if you always were updated about this Google algorithm because the optimization step based on Google’s old algorithm will not have any effect. For example, one of the older tactics used was keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is the practice of entering as many focus keywords as possible in an article. This tactic used to be quite useful, even if your content was short and not at all relevant to the focus keywords you entered.
However, with Google’s algorithm update, this tactic is no longer useful. You can even get a penalty if you get caught practicing it. Your content can be considered spammy if you repeat too many focus keywords.
If so, what kind of SEO optimization steps are by the latest Google algorithm? There are at least eight SEO indicators based on the latest Google algorithm, from URL structure to website speed.
8 Key SEO Indicators
The leading indicators of SEO are always changing regularly. This indicator varies depending on the Google algorithm. When Google updates its algorithm, the SEO indicators change.
1. URL structure
The simple URL structure makes it easy for search engines to identify your website and the main topics you cover. It’s a good idea to create a simple URL structure containing just the domain name and article title. Here’s an example of an ideal URL structure:
2. Use of SSL / TLS
Since 2014, Google has started to prioritize websites that use SSL / TLS. Because a website with SSL / TLS encrypts all data transfers that occur on the website. So the security of user data is safer.
Besides, Google Chrome has marked websites without SSL / TLS as not secure. If your website domain doesn’t already use SSL / TLS, now is a good time to activate it.
The way to find out whether your website is already using SSL / TLS or not is to see the website address in a browser. If it still starts with HTTP, it means that your website is not using SSL / TLS. A website that has activated SSL / TLS, the website address begins with HTTPS.
3. Content Topics
It would help if you had several main topics that are interrelated to build a good website structure. After determining some main issues, you need to create content on those topics.
For example, you have a travel blog. At least there are several main topics such as traveling, culinary, and lodging. These three topics are interrelated with the main topic of the blog, namely traveling.
The more content that discusses related topics, the more likely your website will appear on the first page of search results for that topic. Because search engines more easily recognize websites with content whose issues are related.
4. Search Intent
One keyword can mean two or more different things. Search intent is what most searchers want for one particular keyword.
For example, when entering the keyword “ball” on Google, the top search results will show various football news portals like this:
Why can’t a website that discusses the meaning of balls, types of balls, various balls win on this keyword? This is because most users who search for the keyword “ball” intend to look for soccer news, not the definition of balls and their types. So Google prioritizes content that matches the search intent of most users.
5. Content Structure
Apart from customizing your content with search intent, you must also create content that is easy to understand. Make it easy for readers to find answers in your content with a clean and neat structure.
The method is relatively easy, using headings and subheadings for the most critical points in the content. You can also add photos, illustrations, infographics, or even videos to help readers understand your content.
6. Meta Tags
Meta tags consist of the title tag and meta description. Its function is to help Google understand the overall content on a website page. First, the title tag is the title of your article that appears in search results. The article title cannot be too long because Google will cut it according to applicable standards.
Second, the meta description is a text that summarizes your content in search results. This text is located directly below the article title and URL. Meta description usually consists of 120 to 130 characters.
Backlinks are still one of the main factors of SEO. The more backlinks to your website, Google will consider your website to have high credibility. However, the backlink must also come from a quality website or blog, not a low-quality blog or website.
Website loading speed plays an essential role in your SEO. Since 2018, Google has set website loading speed (on desktop and mobile devices) as one of SEO’s leading indicators. The faster the website loads, the more likely it is to rank higher in Google search results.
Types of SEO
There are two types of SEO, namely on-page SEO and off-page SEO. They are both essential and related. So you have to apply both of them for optimal SEO practices on your website.
1. On-Page SEO
What is on-page SEO? On-page SEO is the SEO optimization steps that are carried out on your website. Some of the on-page SEO optimization steps include permalinks, content titles, content structure, headings, website speed, responsive themes, and internal linking.
2. Off-Page SEO
Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO is several SEO optimization steps taken outside of your website. So it’s not enough to optimize your content and website. There are many factors outside of the website that can affect the quality of your SEO.
One of the factors outside the website that entirely affects SEO quality is backlinks or inbound links. Backlinks are an indicator that your content is referred to by other websites. Google rates your website as a credible website and increases your chances of ranking up.
Apart from backlinks, there are still several other essential factors for off-page SEO.
Why Is SEO Important for Websites?
SEO is no longer an option but an obligation for all websites. Why is this optimization step so important? What are the benefits of your website?
So let’s know Why is SEO important for Website.
1. Search Engines are a Source of Information
Now people can get information with just one click, namely the search engine. In Indonesia alone, 75 percent of internet users are accustomed to using search engines such as Google to find various kinds of information, from price information, news, health information to political communication.
2. Traffic is dominated by content on the first page.
Appearing in Google search results is not enough. If your content only appears on the second, third, or even above pages, it is less likely to get traffic. Your content must appear on the first page at least!
According to Infront Webworks, 91.5 percent of traffic is dominated by websites that appear on the first page of Google search results. In more detail, 91.5 percent of the traffic is dominated by the top three positions. Sequentially, the first, second, and third positions received traffic of 29.6 percent, 13.1 percent, and 9.2 percent, respectively.
3. Your Website Is Found Through Various Keywords
By implementing SEO optimization steps, your website will be easier to find from various keywords. You can reach more audiences using a variety of keywords related to your main topic.
For example, the main topic of your website/blog is sports. There are many sports-related keywords that you can target. You can discuss football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and other topics that are still related to sports.
4. Brand Awareness and Credibility Increased
As many as 88 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. This situation requires business owners to have good brand awareness always to be found in cyberspace. One of the best ways to build brand awareness in this digital era is by improving SEO quality.
The easier it is for your website to be found in Google search results, the more people will find out about your website. That way, people will be more familiar with your business and increase your online brand awareness.
5. Organic traffic is more comfortable to convert.
One of the reasons why SEO is so important to businesses is the ease of conversion. Visitors who come organically tend to be more easily converted into leads or customers. Based on SimilarWeb data, organic traffic is ten times easier to recycle than traffic from social media.
Are you ready to implement SEO optimization?
This is an explanation of what SEO is and how it works, indicators, and benefits. The hope is that by reading this article, you will understand SEO basics, from understanding SEO to the main factors that influence it.
If you understand the basic concept, download the free ebook below to start the SEO optimization steps on your website. Apply the 30 necessary SEO optimization steps in this ebook and get high traffic for your website!