What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Technically, any activity which improves the visibility of your website in terms of the search results on search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing falls under the category of SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO). Whenever internet users make use of the search engines to explore the information pertaining to a specific area of interest, the search engines make use of highly sophisticated algorithms to present the most relevant results at the user end. The principal objective of the persons responsible for optimizing a website is to accommodate their website within the first or second pages of the search engine result pages primarily due to the fact that most users usually scroll through only the first few pages of the search results.
Quoting the website moz.com – “SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” This particular definition, among many, of SEO, is both comprehensive and concise elucidating all the vital parameters in a single line. Looking at the above definition carefully, we can highlight the following points demonstrating the objectives of SEO.
- Standard of Website Congestion – Many website owners follow a nasty practice of incorporating a mix of various keywords, based on their web content, to attract more traffic. However, this practice is not a healthy one and may be responsible for diverting a huge number of irrelevant users towards the website. In simple terms, being a dealer of Kiwi shoe polishes, you will not want people interested in kiwi farming to visit your website solely because of the usage of the keyword: KIWI.
- Quantitative Measure of Congestion – For any website owner captivating the right kind of audience is undoubtedly crucial but at the same time having a large number of such interested users is a cherry on top. In short, we want all the right kind of people to click the link of our website, appearing in the result pages of the search engine.
- Organic Search Engine Results – Organic results are those website links that appear in the search engine result pages due to the relevance of the content desired by the internet user and the owner do not have to pay a single penny for attracting the right traffic.
The above points thoroughly elucidate the purpose and importance of SEO without going into the finer technical details of how the above objectives are achieved.
Many confuse SEO with paid advertising. However, the entire idea of SEO involves Organic Ranking meaning that there is no financial burden on the website owners to secure a location in the search engine result pages based on a specific search. However, for businesses based on digital platforms SEO is of paramount importance for Digital Marketing Strategy. Proper SEO-based practices rank a business website at higher positions during search results and attract more clients for the online business.
Main Elements of SEO
- Subject Matter–The content one intends to write for his/her website is crucial for attracting the right audience. The content must provide all the necessary information on the subject but at the same time should be engaging and interesting for the readers. Suppose you want to start a business that deals with a special class of construction chemicals known as Superplasticizers and you initially started with a website of your own. For your website to gain visibility in terms of relevant search results it is always advisable to put a few articles and blogs related to different construction chemicals, especially superplasticizers. Next time when some client will make a search related to this chemical, your website will be listed in the search results pages.
- Keywords –Keywords are decided on the basis of all the probable words and phrases which the users may enter in the search engine to obtain information pertaining to a specific subject or topic. Though it appears simple, the choice of the right keywords involves a lot of research by the website owners. However, solely basing the SEO of a particular site on keywords is not at all a wise choice.
- On-Site and Off-Site SEO – On-Site SEO refers to all the relevant actions undertaken directly within a website for achieving an improved rank in the search engine result pages. The quality of the source code, the server speed and URL structures are few, out of many, facets of On-site SEO. On the contrary, Off-Site SEO includes the measures undertaken by the site owners external to the website for better visibility and improved ranking under a search engine call. Here the owners mainly aim at creating high-quality backlinks – links providing the mapping between different websites.
Page Speed and SEO
Thinking from the perspective of a user, the speed of a website is directly related to the user experience. Websites with high loading time fail to attract intended users and it is very common for these users to migrate to other sites to realize the desired objective which may include – getting online solutions for a particular issue; obtaining some information on a relevant topic; online shopping, etc. Hence, in 2010 Google incorporated the speed of a webpage as one of the benchmarks to decide the ranking of that particular page in its search results. As per a survey conducted by Google, it was reported that more than 50 % of mobile internet sites are totally rejected when the loading time exceeds 3 seconds. The following points will decode the importance as well as the relevance of website speed for SEO, especially considering the present competitive world.
- As illustrated above, the website speed is central to user experience. No website owner will want his/her clients to get annoyed due to the slow loading of pages. Further, optimizing the webpage for speed is a necessary means to address the spatial variation of the quality of internet connectivity over the entire globe.
- The rate at which a web page loads is also dependent on the size of the page. For quick loading of a webpage, it is always advisable to keep the size within the endorsed limit, which is of the order of Kilobytes. However, due to the rich variety of content presented by standard websites, the size increases to the order of Megabytes.
- Practices like keeping a minimal image size, without compromising the quality of the image, and lazy loading of images help in improving the site speed. Lazy loading of images is a standard practice where the images which are directly not in the viewport are loaded at a later stage when the user scrolls down the page.
- Again, the site speed should be independent of the type of device with which the page is accessed. The website owners should always keep in mind that their website will be accessed by different users using a wide spectrum of devices, ranging from old models to most high-end technology-based devices.
- Accelerated mobile pages (AMP), though discarded by many has proved to be useful for optimizing the page speed in the mobile device. AMP is an open-source endeavour started under the aegis of Google and Twitter and the whole project is aimed towards making the webpage load quickly on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
From the above points, it is crystal clear that the web speed is an important parameter to be kept in mind while optimizing the websites for search engines but it should not be the sole focus as far as SEO is concerned. Providing relevant content on a website is far more important than page speed in relation to SEO. Having said that, owners must incorporate all the necessary measures to improve the web speed of their site due to the reasons mentioned above.