Basics of SEO

Table of Contents

Definition of SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is optimizing a website or webpage to improve its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords and phrases. SEO aims to increase the visibility and traffic of a website or webpage by making it more easily discoverable by search engines and users. This process involves researching relevant keywords, optimizing the website’s structure and content, and building backlinks from other websites.

An SEO expert is a professional who specializes in optimizing websites for search engines. They have the knowledge and skills to help a website improve its ranking in SERPs by researching relevant keywords, analyzing its structure and content, and building backlinks from other websites. An SEO expert can provide a range of services, such as: analyzing the website’s current performance, monitoring the website’s ranking position, optimizing the website’s structure and content, and building backlinks from other websites. They can also provide regular reporting, competitor analysis, and insights and also create a long-term SEO strategy for your website.

Here are a few common terms you might come across when learning about SEO:

Keywords: 

People type these words or phrases into search engines when looking for something. For example, if you own a bakery and someone is looking for “gluten-free cookies,” the phrase “gluten-free cookies” would be a keyword.

On-page optimization: 

This refers to the process of improving individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page optimization can include things like keyword research, title tags, and meta descriptions.

Off-page optimization: 

This refers to the process of improving a website’s visibility through links from other websites. This can be done through link building, which involves getting other websites to link back to your website.

Backlink:

 A backlink is a link from one website to another. In the context of SEO, backlinks are important because search engines view them as a vote of confidence. The more backlinks a website has, the more likely it is to rank well in search results.

SERP: 

SERP stands for “Search Engine Results Page.” It is the page that a search engine returns with the results of a query.

Link Juice:

Link juice refers to the strength or value that a link passes on to the page it’s linking to. The idea is that a link from a high-authority or high-traffic website will pass on more “link juice” to the linked page than a link from a low-authority or low-traffic website. This link juice can help to increase the ranking of the linked page in search engine results. It is important to mention that link juice is not universally accepted in the SEO community, and the influence of link juice can be limited by many factors.

On-page optimization: 

On-page optimization refers to the process of improving individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.

Keyword research: 

Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing keywords that people are using in search engines. By understanding what keywords your target audience is using, you can optimize your website’s content and meta tags to rank for those keywords.

Content gap analysis: 

Content gap analysis identifies the content that is missing from your website compared to your competitors. By identifying these gaps, you can create new content that fills those gaps and helps you rank better in search results.

Long-tail keywords:

 Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that people use in search engines. These keywords are often less competitive and can be easier to rank for, but they also have less search volume.

Semantic keywords: 

Semantic keywords are related words and phrases that help search engines understand the context and meaning of a webpage. Including semantic keywords on your website can help search engines better understand your content and improve its ranking.

LSI keywords:

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are words and phrases that are related to your main keyword and help search engines understand the context of your content. For example, if your main keyword is “dog,” LSI keywords might include “puppy,” “canine,” or “pet.”

Meta Description: 

A meta description is a short summary of a webpage that appears in search results. It should be a concise and accurate description of the page’s content and should include the main keyword for that page.

Internal linking: 

Internal linking refers to the process of linking to other pages on your own website. Internal linking can help search engines understand the structure of your website and can also help visitors navigate your site more easily.

Pillow keywords: 

Pillow keywords are similar to LSI keywords, but they are slightly more broad and are used to help search engines understand the overall theme of a webpage.

Keyword stuffing: 

Keyword stuffing is the practice of overusing keywords in a webpage in an attempt to rank higher in search results. This is considered a spammy practice and can actually hurt a website’s ranking.

Meta description: 

A meta description is a short summary of a webpage that appears in search results. It should be a concise and accurate description of the page’s content and should include the main keyword for that page.

Meta tag: 

A meta tag is a snippet of code in the HTML of a webpage that provides information about that webpage to search engines. Meta tags include the title tag and the meta description, as well as other tags that provide information about the webpage’s content and its relevance to search queries.

Title tag: 

The title tag is a meta tag that appears in the title bar of a browser and in search results. It should be a concise and accurate description of the webpage’s content and include the page’s main keyword.

Inbound links: 

Inbound links (also known as “backlinks”) are links from other websites that point to a webpage on your website. Inbound links can be important in determining a webpage’s ranking in search results.

Outbound links: 

Outbound links are links on a webpage that point to other websites. Outbound links can be useful for providing additional information to visitors and can also help improve a webpage’s ranking in search results.

CTA: 

CTA stands for “Call to Action.” It is a button or link on a webpage that encourages visitors to take a specific action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.

Link attributes: 

Link attributes are the characteristics of a link, such as its anchor text, target (e.g., _blank or _self), and rel attribute (e.g., nofollow or sponsored). These attributes can affect how search engines and the user experience for visitors interpret a link.

Anchor text: 

The anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. In the context of SEO, anchor text can be used to help search engines understand the context of a webpage and the content it is linking to.

Target: 

The target attribute specifies where to open the linked document. Some common values for the target attribute include “_blank,” which opens the link in a new window or tab, and “_self,” which opens the link in the same window or tab.

Rel attribute: 

The rel attribute specifies the relationship between the current and linked documents. Some common values for the rel attribute include “nofollow,” which tells search engines not to follow the link, and “sponsored,” which indicates that the link is sponsored content.

Some common values for the rel attribute include:

Nofollow: 

The “nofollow” value indicates that search engines should not follow the link. This is often used for links to untrusted or low-quality websites, or for sponsored content.

Sponsored: 

The “sponsored” value indicates that the link is sponsored content. This can be used to help search engines understand the nature of the link and to provide more transparent search results.

Noreferrer: 

The “noreferrer” value indicates that the linked webpage should not be able to see that the current webpage has linked to it. This can be useful for privacy purposes.

Alternate: 

The “alternate” value indicates that the linked webpage is an alternative version of the current webpage. This can be used to provide different versions of a webpage for different languages or devices.

Author: 

The “author” value indicates that the linked webpage belongs to the author of the current webpage. This can be used to link to an author’s homepage or social media profile.

Off-page optimization: 

Off-page optimization refers to the process of improving a website’s visibility through links from other websites. This can be done through link building, which involves getting other websites to link back to your website.

Link gap: 

Link gap is the difference between the number of backlinks that your website has compared to your competitors. By identifying this gap, you can identify opportunities to build more backlinks and improve your website’s ranking.

Link equity: 

Link equity is the value that is passed from one webpage to another through a link. Websites with a lot of high-quality backlinks tend to have more link equity and tend to rank better in search results.

Backlinks: 

A backlink is a link from one website to another. In the context of SEO, backlinks are important because search engines view them as a vote of confidence. The more backlinks a website has, the more likely it is to rank well in search results.

Referring domains: 

Referring domains are the unique websites that have links pointing to your website. Having a diverse range of referring domains can be a sign of a healthy link profile.

Link velocity: 

Link velocity is the rate at which a website is acquiring new backlinks. A website with a high link velocity may be seen as more popular and may rank better in search results.

Toxic links: 

Low-quality or spammy links can hurt a website’s ranking in search results. It is important to regularly check for and disavow toxic links in order to maintain a healthy link profile.

Impression and clicks: 

Impressions are the number of times a webpage appears in search results. Clicks are the number of times a webpage is clicked on in search results. Both of these metrics can be useful for understanding how well a webpage is performing in search results.

Citation flow: 

Citation flow is a metric that measures the quantity of backlinks pointing to a website. While citation flow can be an indicator of a website’s popularity, it is generally not as important as trust flow in terms of determining the quality of a website’s backlinks.

Spam score: 

The spam score is a measure of how likely a website is to be penalized by search engines for spammy or low-quality links. Websites with a high spam score are at risk of being penalized by search engines.

Domain Authority or Domain Rating: 

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. Domain Rating (DR) is a similar metric developed by Ahrefs. Both metrics are scored on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating a greater ability to rank well on search engines.

URL Rating: 

URL Rating (UR) is a metric developed by Ahrefs that measures the strength of a webpage’s backlinks. It is scored on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating a stronger backlink profile.

Anchor text: 

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. In the context of SEO, anchor text can be used to help search engines understand the context of a webpage and the content it is linking to.

Spammy links

Spammy links are low-quality or spammy links that can hurt a website’s ranking in search results. These links are often created in an attempt to manipulate search rankings or to mislead users. Some common ways that spammy links are built include:

Link farms: 

A link farm is a group of websites that are created solely for the purpose of creating links to other websites. These links are usually low-quality and do not provide any value to users.

Blog comment spam: 

Blog comment spam is the practice of leaving spammy or irrelevant blog comments, with the intention of getting a link back to a website. These comments are often automated and do not provide any value to the conversation.

Forum spam: 

Forum spam is the practice of posting spammy or irrelevant messages on forums, to get a link back to a website. These messages are often automated and do not contribute to the conversation.

Link schemes: 

A link scheme is any attempt to manipulate search rankings by creating links that are not naturally earned. This can include tactics such as buying links, creating links through automated processes, or using link exchanges.

Local SEO: 

Local SEO refers to the practice of optimizing a website to rank well for local search queries.

Local citation: 

A local citation is any mention of a local business on the web, such as a listing in an online directory or a mention on a local news website. Local citations can help improve a local business’s visibility in search results.

GMB: 

GMB stands for Google My Business. It is a free tool offered by Google that allows local businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including in search results and on Google Maps.

Directories: 

Directories are online lists of businesses in a particular category or location. You can improve your visibility in local search results by getting your local business listed in relevant directories.

Technical SEO: 

Technical SEO refers to the practice of optimizing a website’s technical elements in order to improve its ranking on search engines.

Orphan page: 

An orphan page is a webpage that is not linked to from any other page on a website. These pages can be difficult for search engines to find and can negatively impact a website’s ranking.

Dead links: 

Dead links are links on a webpage that lead to a page that no longer exists. These links can frustrate visitors and negatively impact a website’s ranking.

Structured data/ Schema: 

Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a webpage to search engines. By using schema markup, you can help search engines understand the content of your webpage and display it in a more useful way in search results.

Meta tags and Metadata: 

Meta tags are snippets of code that provide information about a webpage to search engines. Meta tags include the title tag, which appears in the title bar of a browser and in search results, and the meta description, which is a short summary of a webpage that appears in search results.

Mobile friendly:

Mobile-friendliness refers to the degree to which a website is easy to use and navigate on a mobile device. With more and more people using smartphones to access the internet, it is important for websites to be optimized for mobile devices in order to rank well in search results.

Robot.txt: 

A robots.txt file is a text file that tells search engines which pages or files on a website should be crawled and which should be ignored. This can be useful for excluding pages that are not relevant to search engines or that you do not want to be indexed.

Sitemap: 

A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on a website. It helps search engines understand the structure of a website and discover new pages.

URL structure: 

The URL structure of a website is the way that the URLs of the pages on a website are organized. A well-organized URL structure can make it easier for search engines to understand the content of a website and can also be more user-friendly for visitors.

Core web vitals: 

Core web vitals are a set of metrics that measure the speed and usability of a website. Google uses these metrics to help determine the quality of a website and its ranking in search results.

Site structure: 

The site structure of a website is how the pages on a website are organized and linked to each other. A well-organized site structure can make it easier for search engines to understand the content of a website and can also be more user-friendly for visitors.

4XX errors

4xx errors are HTTP status codes that indicate an error with the webpage. Some common 4xx errors include:

400 Bad Request: 

The server could not understand the request due to invalid syntax. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s request or by a problem with the server.

401 Unauthorized: 

The client must authenticate itself to get the requested response. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s credentials or by a problem with the server’s authentication system.

403 Forbidden: 

The client does not have permission to access the requested resource. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s permissions or by a problem with the server’s access controls.

404 Not Found: 

The server can not find the requested resource. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s request or by a problem with the server’s routing.

405 Method Not Allowed: 

The method specified in the request is not allowed for the resource identified by the request URI. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s request or by a problem with the server’s routing.

406 Not Acceptable: 

The server can only generate a response that is not accepted by the client. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s request or by a problem with the server’s response.

410 Gone: 

The requested resource is no longer available at the server and no forwarding address is known. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s request or by a problem with the server’s routing.

415 Unsupported Media Type: 

The request entity has a media type which the server or resource does not support. This can be

429 Too Many Requests: 

The user has sent too many requests in a given amount of time. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s request rate or by a problem with the server’s rate limiting system.

451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons: 

The server is unable to provide the requested resource due to legal reasons. This can be caused by a problem with the client’s request or by a problem with the server’s access controls.

3XX errors

3xx errors are HTTP status codes that indicate that the client needs to take further action in order to complete the request. Some common 3xx errors include:

300 Multiple Choices: 

The request has more than one possible response. The client should choose one of the responses and follow the corresponding link.

301 Moved Permanently: 

The requested resource has been permanently moved to a new location. The client should use the new location in all future requests.

302 Found: 

The requested resource has been temporarily moved to a new location. The client should use the new location in the current request, but should continue to use the original location in all future requests.

303 See Other: 

The requested resource can be found at a different location. The client should follow the link provided in the Location header field of the response.

304 Not Modified: 

The client’s cached copy of the requested resource is up-to-date. The client should use the cached copy instead of requesting the resource again.

307 Temporary Redirect: 

The requested resource has been temporarily moved to a new location. The client should use the new location in the current request, but should continue to use the original location in all future requests.

5xx errors:

500 Internal Server Error: 

The server encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling the request.

501 Not Implemented: 

The server does not support the functionality required to fulfill the request.

502 Bad Gateway: 

The server received an invalid response from an upstream server while trying to fulfill the request.

503 Service Unavailable: 

The server is temporarily unable to handle the request due to maintenance or capacity issues.

504 Gateway Timeout: 

The server did not receive a timely response from an upstream server while trying to fulfill the request.

Broken links: 

Broken links (also known as “dead links”) are links on a webpage that point to a webpage or resource that does not exist or is no longer available. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as if the webpage has been moved or deleted, or if there is a typo in the link. Broken links can be frustrating for users and can also hurt a website’s ranking in search results, as they can indicate a poorly-maintained website.

Links to redirect pages:

 A redirect page is a webpage that automatically forwards visitors to a different webpage. This is often used when a webpage has been moved to a new location and the old URL needs to be redirected to the new one. Links to redirect pages can be useful for maintaining the integrity of a website’s URL structure and for providing a seamless user experience. However, if the redirect page is not configured correctly, it can cause problems with search engines and with users. For example, if a redirect page creates an infinite loop, it can cause the browser to crash or to become unresponsive.

Semantic SEO: 

Semantic SEO is the practice of optimizing a website in a way that helps search engines understand the meaning and context of the content on the website. This can involve using related words and phrases (semantic keywords) and structured data (such as schema markup) to help search engines understand the content of a webpage.

EEAT 

 EEAT stands for “Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.” It is a term used by Google to describe the qualities that a webpage should have in order to rank well in search results. EEAT is similar to EAT, but it emphasizes the authority of the webpage and its content.

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Anup Joshi
Hello, I am a digital marketing analyst and an SEO practitioner. I love to work and talk about digital marketing and its recent trends. Feel free to catch me any time if you need digital marketing services, especially SEO, no matter from which part of the globe you belong.
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