SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a broad topic. There are many misunderstandings about SEO. Besides being thought of as an illegitimate way to market online, it is the best tool available! Since the inception of search engines, there have been people trying to game the system for their personal gain. Sure SEO is a great way to get tremendous amounts of traffic, but it is not as easy as it seems.
And increasing amounts of competition is both of a good news and bad news.
Bad news: Because greater competition leaves no place for those looking for shortcuts.
Good news: Because it’s up to you whether you look for shortcuts or long-term success.
Here are 25 quick frequently asked questions about SEO.
#1 What is SEO?
SEO is an abbreviation of Search Engine Optimization. This is a set of techniques, methodologies and small tweaks to make to a page, to make it rank higher in SERPs. SEO is about learning, testing and predicting about how major search engines and especially Google works.
#2 What is SERP?
SERP is an abbreviation of Search Engine Results Page. Pure and simple – It is the page that returns results to a search query. To explain, the page that comes with 10 blue links after you search a query in Google is called known as SERP or Search Engine Results Page.
#3 What is a search query?
This may a word, number, combination of words typed to search for information on search engines. Like for example, if I’m looking for WordPress themes, my search query could be “wordpress themes”.
#4 What is Search Engine Optimizer?
This is a person who analyses webpages, practises art of SEO and tries to understand how search engines work. But what exactly does an Search Engine Optimizer do? Well.. an SEO’s set of activities include: link building, content SEO, marketing, psychology, etc.
#5 What is Meta Description?
Word ‘meta’ means ‘data about data‘. For example the page you’re currently on must have data about it. Details like page title, backlinks, # of social shares, etc. But what exactly is Meta Description? Plainly it is description about the page itself. This is the description or snippet you see beneath URL of an entry on a SERP. It briefly introduces page to the potential visitor.
#6 What is Meta Keyword?
Similar to Meta Description, Meta Keyword(s) is a keyword or bunch of keywords/tags that describe the page. For example keywords for this page might be seo, seo faq, google ranking, etc. All these describe what this page is about, right? Though Google doesn’t utilize meta keywords as a ranking factor anymore, but search engines including Bing, Yahoo! do consider meta keywords as a crucial factor.
#7 What are keywords?
Keywords, separately, are not to be confused with meta keywords. Why? Because there is difference between the two. We learned about search queries earlier. When search queries are being targeted to rank a website, then typically these queries are called keywords. As an example suppose I want my site to show up in SERPs when “photography tips” is searched. Then “photography tips” is my keyword, or more specifically targeted keyword.
#8 How does SEO help get traffic?
You know billions of searches take place every day. The first website you came to know about was Google. It is probably the most popular website with billions of visitors every day. But where do those visitors go? Well Google directs them to pages containing information they’re were searching for. In a way, it is distributing visitors to sites that deserve them. So if you know how SEO copywriting works, then you can optimize your content to suit Google’s eyes and get more traffic than otherwise without SEO knowledge.
#9 What is a search ranking factor?
Factors, ranking factors, signal are a synonym words. Search ranking factors are signals that Google analyses a page against to determine how to rank it. Factors can said to be questions that Google asks about a page to determine it’s relevance. Questions like how fresh the page is, when it was last modified, how many words does this page contain, frequency of grammatical errors and typos, etc.
#10 What is index?
Okay, suppose you wanna build an effective search engine. First of questions will be how are you going to detect new pages as they’ree published? Good question. Google founders asked this. So they assigned a crawler (look above for definition) the job of going through a list of websites, following links on those pages, and gathering all these pages in a sorta big sheet called Index. Index contains 60 trillions pages! And it’s constantly growing! It weights over 100 million gigabytes.
#11 What is algorithm?
Now that you have an Index with trillions of pages to be ranked. How do you rank them? Which page is more useful, resourceful and credible than others? How do find that out? Of course, page that is most useful will be ranked better than others. Google solves this stuff by defining programs, formulas and algorithms. Algorithms help understand a page’s contents.
#12 What are 200 search ranking factors?
It has long been known that Google utilizes a plethora of 200 search ranking factors to rank pages. All these search factors help Google understand which web pages should be ranked better than others. Though there are lists concerning 200 ranking factors, but all these are results of speculations, testing and observing pages. No ‘official’ 200 ranking factors has been enumerated, yet. So answer is: Nobody exactly knows.
#13 What is Google Webmaster Tools?
At it’s essence, it is a suit of tools from Google to help publishers, webmasters and bloggers comply with Google guidelines. With Google Webmaster Tools or GWT, you can inspect your website. A must tool for any blogger!
#14 Why SEO is important?
SEO is very important in terms of online marketing. For some it is source of their living. For others it is way to reach wider audience. If you’re an online publisher or running an online business, SEO should be important for you! Why? Because this is how you get attention or better yet, targeted attention.
#15 What is backlink?
Link building is art of directing/building links from other websites/webpages to one you want better rankings for. A backlink is an hyper-text link. Alternatively a text link is a backlink. For example I write Google, then link to it. It has become a backlink for the site. You ask why bother knowing what a backlink is? Let me tell you why: as a rough guess around 90% of rankings depend upon backlinks; how many links page has, from which websites, etc.
#16 What is crawling?
In context of SEO, crawling is the act of a bot jumping from one website to another and discovering new pages. It is through crawling that Google’s Index has incredible amounts of pages indexed! Right after crawling comes indexing process. Read on to know what that is about.
#17 What is indexing?
Followed by crawling is indexing. Indexing as the word suggests is about gathering/collecting/enumerating pages in Index. It’s also Googlebot’s job to index pages.
#18 Who is Googlebot?
The robot responsible for acts of crawling and indexing is called as Googlebot. There is a big number of Googlebots crawling and indexing the web 24/7.
#19 What is crawler?
In general language, Googlebot is crawler. It crawls web pages cross the web.
#20 What is nofollow tag?
Crawlers or Googlebots jump from page to page, go from link to link, right? When they do come across links, you can dictate these bots; whether to pass PageRank juice, an indicator of authority, to these links or not. That is done via rel=”nofollow” tag. Embedding rel=”nofollow” in a link’s code tells bots to not to crawl given page.
#21 What is dofollow link?
By default every link is a dofollow link. If code of a link doesn’t include rel=”nofollow”, that makes the link a dofollow one! A dofollow link encourages crawlers to crawl these links and signify page’s importance.
#22 What is PageRank?
PageRank is the algorithm or technology that let Google dominate search market. Before inception of Google, pages used to be ranked by the frequency of keywords appearing on the page. Simple, but not bullet-proof. Any person could game the system by adding good deal of targeted keywords in their pages and get better rankings without breaking a sweat. Then came PageRank: It is an algorithm to rank relevant web pages and it works by calculating # of links pointing to a page and the quality of those links.
#23 What is anchor text?
Text upon a link is anchor text. For example, Google. So is Microsoft. Here anchor text of former link is Google, whereas anchor text of latter is Microsoft. It is important to know anchor text, because Google utilizes this text to know what a page is about.
#24 What is image alt tag?
You already know that robots can’t see. They can’t hear, they can’t sense. They can only read. To rank text-based page, they can go through page and identify the topic. Unlike text-based pages, images cannot be read. So what? How are images gonna be ranked then? Well.. that’s where alt tag comes in. It is a tag that describes image; colors, scene, location, etc.
#25 What are Google Answers?
People use Google to find information and to explore, right? Apparently there are there are lots of searches of hows, why, whats, whens, etc. That’s where Knowledge Graph comes in. It is a way for Google to give direct answers to questions like when is Christmas, when Mahatma died.
So what’s your SEO question? I’m stoked for an insightful conversation.