What is SEO optimization and how does it work?

Are you thinking about starting a website and starting to appear in Google?

In that case, SEO will be the right start for you!

In this comprehensive article, you will learn all about what exactly SEO is and what you need to know about it in order to start optimizing your website.

All In One Seo Pack

What is SEO?

SEO (from Search Engine Optimization ) is the process of optimizing websites in order to improve their positions in the search results of the Google search engine and ultimately increase traffic on the web.

SEO as an industry was created already in the 90s, when Internet search engines for ordinary users began to appear for the first time. Currently, it is one of the main marketing industries in the online space, which is constantly evolving and improving.

SEO as such is oriented primarily only on organic (unpaid) results in search engines – thanks to this, it is possible to get visitors from the search engine to your site “for free”.

Although SEO includes basically all search engines (Bing, Yandex, Baidu, etc.), in practice it mainly focuses on the Google search engine, as it is the most popular search engine in the world.

How does SEO work (in short)?

In principle, SEO can be described very simply:

  1. Internet users enter keywords into the Google search engine and are then shown results with pages
  2. Website owners try to optimize their websites for these keywords so that they appear in the highest positions in the Google search engine.

Whether you own an e-shop, write a blog or simply offer services online, SEO optimization will help you get relevant people to your site.

Although SEO can be described in a few sentences, in practice it includes a large number of things that must be done to successfully optimize your website.

SEO can be divided into 3 basic aspects to focus on:

1. On-page SEO – often called technical SEO. This aspect represents all the technical aspects of websites that you must have covered for good optimization. In practice, this can mean a number of things, such as:

  • Keyword research
  • Optimization of Title Tags
  • Performance and loading speed of web pages
  • Visibility in search engines, etc.

2. Off-page SEO – in practice it mainly includes the quality and quantity of backlinks to your site. Backlinks indicate to web search engines like Google how authoritative a particular website is and whether (or which) reliable websites link to it. Building backlinks the so-called linkbuilding ) includes a number of techniques that will help you get quality backlinks such as:

  • Creating blogs on external websites
  • Addressing authoritative websites by email
  • Building and repairing broken lines
  • Creating useful links on forums and so on.

3. Quality of content – the quality of the content on your site is one of the most important aspects of SEO. If you have web pages that have crappy (or even malicious) content, web browsers will simply ignore them. Although “quality content” is rather difficult to characterize (as this quality depends on the nature of the website and the industry in which it is located), in principle it is about providing useful and original content for visitors.

In order to be able to start optimizing web pages in each of these main aspects, it is necessary to understand how the web browsers themselves, such as e.g. Google.

How do web browsers work?

In short, a web search engine is an online tool that searches, categorizes and provides information from web pages to internet users.

The web search engine process itself consists of 3 main steps that are important for SEO to understand:

  1. Crawling – crawling is a process during which a web search engine scans all available web pages in the world. For this, web search engines use small pieces of programs – browsers (in English, so-called ” bots ” or ” crawlers “), which simply follow and visit web pages through hyperlinks. In case they get to a new or renewed page, these bots scan the necessary information that is stored in the index of the web search engine
  2. Indexing – whenever crawlers find and deliver the necessary information to the Google search engine, Google begins to analyze, categorize and store the collected content in its index. Thanks to this, this stored information can be used and displayed to users who may search for it in the future.
  3. Selection and sorting – if the user enters a keyword or phrase into the search engine, Google looks through its index with the collected information and selects those pages with content that could be the best answers to the keywords entered by the user.

Selection and sorting of content, or of search results for the user is influenced by a large number of algorithms and signals that search engines like Google use.

However, it is extremely important for SEO to understand these signals, as it is only thanks to them that it is possible to get to the top positions in Google search results.

Google algorithm and signals

In layman’s terms, the Google algorithm is a complex system that analyzes and evaluates all content (or web pages) that it has available for display.

The algorithm itself and most of the signals are of course unavailable to the public, but many of these signals are known and confirmed by Google representatives themselves.

In order for Google to display the best and highest quality web pages in the search results, it takes into account various factors when ranking the pages, such as:

  • Page relevance – search engines like Google always try to understand what the user is looking for under a specific keyword and provide him with relevant pages where he could find a satisfactory answer.
  • Website accessibility – any website that wants to appear in search results must be accessible for Google to scan and evaluate.
  • Quality and original content – there are hundreds and thousands of possible pages in the world that are trying to appear for specific keywords. However, in order to get to the top, they have to provide the best content among all the other websites.
  • Website speed – the very speed of loading pages for users affects the position of pages in the search engine.
  • Optimization for devices – web search engines such as Google also monitor how the page is displayed on different types of devices (computer, mobile, tablet, etc.).
  • Web security – unless the web pages are safe for ordinary users, Google simply will not provide them as relevant results in its search engine.

The signals mentioned above are only a fraction of what Google uses when evaluating and ranking web pages (the algorithm itself takes into account several hundred signals that affect the position of individual pages in the Google search engine).

From the SEO point of view, it is therefore important to take them into account and try to optimize the pages so that they comply with Google signals and get you to the top positions for the given keywords.

Let’s now look at the practical fundamental steps that are necessary for SEO optimization.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO, as the name implies, primarily refers to SEO aspects that you can apply directly on the pages. There are countless on-page techniques that are used, but here we will mention only the most important ones.

1. Keyword research and analysis

Finding the keywords you want to appear for in search results is one of the most basic tasks in SEO.

In other words – if you want to appear for popular keywords in the Google search engine, you must first find out what they are .

However, keyword research and analysis also brings you other important benefits:

  • You get to know your industry – during keyword research, you have the opportunity to find out what topics in your industry people are interested in, which topics are popular more and which less, and based on this you can decide what pages you will create.
  • Web content planning – keywords will help you think about what content you should create. Be it blog sites, products, etc., thanks to keywords, you can really start creating content.

How to find keywords for SEO?

If you are a complete beginner in the field of SEO, the first and easiest step is simply brainstorming – think about what keywords could best describe your website and think about which keywords people could use to find you in the Google search engine.

a) Google “whisperers”

When entering keywords into the Google search engine, you must have noticed a long time ago that it also offers various other word/sentence suggestions that you could use in your search.

Google whisperer - example

These words are just as important in SEO as they reflect the phrases that people use most often for the specific keyword you entered.

You can also find different keywords in the ” Similar queries ” and ” Related searches ” sections that occasionally appear on Google pages.

Google related queries - example

Although this is a very primitive and imprecise way to find suitable keywords , it is one of the easiest ways

b) SEO tools for keywords

If you plan to start a serious SEO strategy, you will need to turn to professional keyword research tools.

These tools will help you find all the relevant words that people usually enter in a search, along with various useful data such as e.g. the number of searches per month, difficulty of the keyword, etc.

Among the most popular SEO tools that are currently in common use are, for example:

  • Ahrefs – ” all-in-one ” SEO tool that covers not only keyword research, but also other aspects of SEO
  • Mangools – a simple and convenient package of SEO tools that you can start using even as a complete beginner
  • Collabim – a popular SEO tool in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which has been liked by many domestic website owners
  • Keyword Planner from Google Ads – this is a free SEO tool directly from Google that will help you (albeit with some limitations) to find relevant keywords.

In principle, all these SEO tools work the same way – you simply enter your basic keywords that you have thought of and the tool will show you hundreds if not thousands of other keywords that may be important to you along with other important metrics about them.

Which brings me to another important aspect of keywords – metrics

Keyword metrics

The goal of keyword research and analysis for your website is basically to find keywords that are relevant to you, have a high number of searches, and have a low difficulty (or difficulty) of showing up in Google search.

Let’s take a closer look at these metrics:

1. Number of searches – this is probably the most direct metric: if you want your website to be found by as many people as possible in the Google search engine, you must try to optimize your pages for the “biggest” keywords.

Of course, it is necessary to take into account the fact that if you only have a starting website, it would be almost impossible for you to start from the beginning trying to “rank” in high positions for such keywords.

2. Difficulty of the keyword – this is a metric that expresses how strong the competition is for a given keyword.

For most SEO tools, this value is simply expressed on a scale from 0 to 100. This is an important metric that will tell you not only what your chances are of appearing in the Google search engine for a specific keyword, but also which competing websites are the “strongest” in your industry.

The difficulty of the keyword increases with the authority of the pages that appear on it – the more authoritative the pages, the greater the difficulty of the keyword.

3. Relevance of the keyword – this is perhaps one of the most important metrics when searching for keywords.

You can find out whether a certain keyword is relevant for your website simply by analyzing the Google search results page (in English SERP ) and viewing the pages that are displayed on the Google page.

By looking at the SERP, you will immediately find out whether the given keyword would be relevant to you and whether it matches the intent of your potential site.

The intent and relevance of a keyword can be expressed by 4 types of keywords:

  • Navigational keywords – these are words that the user enters into Google in order to search for a specific brand, place, website, etc. (e.g. keyword: samsung ):
navigation keyword - example
  • Informational keywords – these are the word/words behind which the user tries to find certain information (e.g. keyword: “ how to inflate a tire ”):
  • Transaction keywords – words with which the user tries to find a product/service for the purpose of a potential purchase (e.g. ” adidas samba tennis shoes “):
  • Commercial keywords – a word/phrase in which a Google user tries to find information about a specific product or service (e.g. ” apple iphone 12 review “):

By using SEO tools and analyzing the search volume, difficulty and relevance of keywords, you can create a list of phrases that you can then use to optimize the content on your web pages.

Processing keywords for pages

Individual keywords can often express individual topics that users are interested in, but vice versa – several keywords can also express one topic.

For example: keywords such as ” iphone 12 price “, ” iphone 12 black ” or ” iphone 12 purchase ” express one topic – a page with the iPhone 12 product that users would be interested in.

Based on this, it is therefore important to look at the list of keywords that you have obtained and group together those that could express the same topic – the given group will thus represent 1 page, which you will subsequently optimize for these keywords.

However, it is important to optimize the given topic on the page for only 1 main keyword (” focus keyword “) from the group.

Therefore, when choosing this keyword, you must take into account all the metrics we have already mentioned (number of searches, difficulty and relevance).

Let’s now take a look at how you can actually use these selected keywords to optimize your website.

2. Content optimization

If you have already selected keywords for which you want to optimize your website, you can start implementing them.

Keywords are added in several important places on the web pages.

a) Subtitles and meta descriptions

Title tags are one of the important places where your keyword should be (the title is the heading that will be displayed within your page in the Google search engine).

The meta description should also ideally contain your keyword.

In principle, it is important that these 2 elements contain your chosen keyword naturally in a way that summarizes the content of your page.

keyword in title tag and meta description - example

b) URL

Although the URL itself is not the most important signal for Google, you should definitely include your keyword in it – your URL should also be short, readable and to the point.

c) Headings, subheadings, main content

Within the content, it is quite important that the main heading (H1) and sub-headings (H2) contain your keyword.

Finally, the keyword should also appear several times in the main text/content on your page.

However, it is important to remember that you should not insert/write the keyword “by force” so to speak – the Google search engine can perceive unnatural spamming of keywords on pages as a negative signal.

d) Image metadata

You can also insert the keyword into various image metadata, such as:

  • Image file name
  • Image title
  • Image alt text
  • Image description

From the SEO point of view, the most important alternative text (alt text) is as it serves as a description of the image for visually impaired visitors as well as a description for search engines such as Google (which also literally “can’t see” the given image).

If you use WordPress to manage your website, you can easily add alt text to images directly in the editor:

alt text in WP - example

e) Anchor text

Anchor text is the visible part of a hyperlink – a link. The text of such links indicates to web search engines the topic of what the given linked page may be about.

So if you link to your site, it’s important that those links contain your chosen keywords.

The same applies to external links from other websites – as long as the given anchor texts contain your chosen keyword and link to your page, Google will assume that your page has something to do with the topic behind the keyword.

➡️ Note: Although inserting keywords into anchor texts is important, you shouldn’t overdo it and especially don’t try to manipulate all external links that could link to you.

Google penalizes the artificial creation of links that contain only 1 identical anchor text.

f) “Mobile-friendly” optimization

Google, as a web search engine, evaluates the content on the pages primarily in mobile form.

In practice, this means that your content must be well-optimized for mobile devices – otherwise it could impact your positions in search results.

Websites that are optimized for mobile devices should therefore have a responsive design.

These are navigational elements on pages that adapt to the size of the screen on the device (be it bars, images, lines or the text itself).

If you have a quality WordPress theme, you don’t have to worry about this factor – most WordPress šablón also cover mobile devices, thanks to which they will be displayed correctly to users on mobile phones and tablets.

If you want to test the compatibility of your web pages for mobile devices, you can test them in the Test for mobile devices from Googlesimply enter the URL of the page into the tool and after a few seconds the tool will evaluate it for you :

mobile friendly test - example

g) Internal lines

Internal hyperlinks are an essential aspect of SEO – thanks to them, search engines can find all your available pages on the web and gradually store them in the Google Index.

In addition, however, internal links also serve as navigation for users, thanks to which you can improve the user experience on your website and, ultimately, people will stay on the pages longer.

Internal links also serve as an SEO signal – links transfer the value (so-called link juice or PageRank ) of the linking page to the referring page.

In practice, this means that if you link to important pages on your website from other pages that you own, Google may consider that page to be important and increase its position in the search results.

There are several types of internal links that you can use on the site, such as:

  • Contextual links – these are classic links within the content itself, which may be of interest to the user
  • Links in the menu – navigation links that quickly move the user to the content he is looking for on the web
  • Categories – similar to the menu, such links serve for quick navigation

h) Sitemap

A sitemap is basically a list of all the pages on your website that you want to be found by web browsers.

With the help of a sitemap, you can speed up the process of searching the web by Google bots and thus you can appear faster in the search results.

If you own a small website with only a few pages, a sitemap may not be your priority, but as your website grows, you will eventually need to implement a sitemap.

The implementation of the sitemap is relatively simple – all you need to do is to install one of the SEO plugins in WordPress, such as Yoast SEO, which will help you with this.

i) HTTPS security

HTTPS is currently a necessity for any website in the world – it is a security element that protects users from misuse of their data.

In addition, HTTPS is also one of the signals for Google , according to which it ranks websites in search results:

https security - example

An SSL certificate for HTTPS security can be obtained for free and quickly, just choose one of the free options such as Let’s encrypt .

j) Speed of web pages

The speed with which pages are loaded and displayed to users is one of the most important aspects from the SEO point of view.

If users take too long to load your pages, they will simply leave them – not to mention that the Google search engine also measures the speed of your website and can increase or decrease the position of your pages in the search results.

If you want to find out the average loading speed of your pages, you can use various free tools such as Google PageSpeed ​​​​Insights .

Speed optimization itself can be achieved in different ways:

1. Fast and high-quality web hosting – one of the priorities for website optimization should be the provision of good web hosting. If you have a slow web host, you will not have much influence on the speed of your website.

2. Implement cache memory caching is the process of saving parts of your site to the user or server so that they can be loaded much faster the next time.

Caching can be achieved using WordPress plugins such as WP Rocket .

3. Image optimization – images on pages are one of the biggest eaters of loading speed.

For this reason, it is important that you always pay attention to them and try to optimize them as much as possible for web search engines.

Optimizing images to speed up your website can be achieved, for example, by using a suitable format for images – JPEG format is most often used on pages as it takes up the least amount of space and preserves image quality relatively well.

However, if you need high quality for some illustrations, you can also use the PNG format.

Content quality

Currently, the effort to rank high in the Google search engine for practically any keyword is very difficult – most keywords display hundreds if not thousands of pages with similar content.

For this reason, it is more important than ever to create quality content that will satisfy Google users enough to keep visiting your site.

Content quality is rather difficult to define, but it basically includes:

  • Thorough coverage of the topic – you simply have to create better content than your competition
  • Current data – providing the latest information will increase your chances of ranking high in search results
  • Expertise – for certain topics it is important to demonstrate that you are an expert and know what content you are providing to your visitors

In addition, however, in SEO you have to perfectly fine-tune the appearance and performance of your website – UX design.

a) UX (User-Experience)

UX design includes many aspects – from the appearance of the page, through the division of parts on your page to the readability of the content.

Although there is no direct rule on how you should design your website, you should definitely follow these tips:

  • Display the most important content first – no visitor is interested in secondary topics, products, etc. It is important for the user to find what he needs as soon as possible.
  • Add visual elements – images, videos, illustrations, etc. improve the user experience
  • Readable text – avoid strange fonts that are difficult to read. You should also break up text on pages into small paragraphs and sections (rather than creating large walls of text that are difficult to read)

b) Content length

For sites such as blogs or other text sites, it is important that the given topics are covered as much as possible and as well as possible.

Nowadays, it is no longer enough to write a simple blog post of 500 words – Google users want more quality information about the topic, with content that goes into the depth of the issue.

Of course, this does not mean that you artificially lengthen the text just for the purpose of increasing the number of words on the page – in this case, you can only harm and not help.

💡 Tip: If you’re not sure how much you should cover a certain topic you want to show up for in search results, simply look at the top 10 pages that show up for your chosen keyword.

The length and quality of their content will tell you how much you should at least try to create a quality content page.

Off-page SEO and link building

Off-page SEO optimization primarily focuses on obtaining external backlinks – backlinks.

External links are one of the most important SEO factors that affect the position of pages in the Google search engine – their number and quality can raise a page to the highest positions in Google, but vice versa, when manipulating links, pages can be penalized.

The quality of a backlink from a certain page is defined by the PageRank metric – it is the value by which the Google search engine evaluates pages and their external links.

PageRank is defined by 3 values:

  • Number of backlinks – the PageRank value of a specific page increases with the number of backlinks obtained
  • By the number of links on a given page – the PageRank value of a given page is dispersed across other pages to which the original page links
  • The PageRank value of external links – the PageRank value of 1 page is also affected by the PageRank of other pages that link to it.

As part of off-page SEO, it is therefore important to try to get backlinks to your pages from websites that have high authority, are relevant to your website, and achieve high positions in search results.

In practice, this means that if you collected 1000 backlinks from small websites that do not do well in Google search, it would have almost no positive effect on your website.

On the contrary, if you manage to get 2-3 backlinks from larger and successful websites, Google would take them into account and your positions in the search results could increase.

Nofollow vs. Dofollow

When it comes to links, it is important to remember that not all of them should convey a PageRank value – some links (such as affiliate links or links in comments) simply do not want them to affect your position in the Google search engine.

In that case, you can implement the so-called “nofollow” attribute. – this is a small piece of HTML code in a given link, which indicates to search engines such as Google that the given link should not be taken into account when evaluating the page:

no follow link - example

Thanks to this, you can have full control over all the links on your site and you can decide which ones should transmit PageRank value to other sites and which ones should not.

SEO agencies

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably already realized that SEO is a relatively lengthy and demanding activity.

However, you don’t have to worry – unless you plan to fully devote yourself to website optimization, there are various SEO agencies and SEO specialists who can help you with SEO on your website and thus ensure higher positions for you in the Google search engine.

There are different types of SEO agencies – some focus purely on on-page SEO or off-page SEO, while others can cover all aspects that SEO entails.

When choosing an SEO agency or specialist, it mainly depends on what exactly you need and are looking for and to communicate well with the given agency about the activities you wish to do on your website.

WordPress plugins for SEO optimization

Several WordPress plugins help to optimize WordPress pages. The most famous WordPress plugins for SEO optimization are Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack .

💡 Tip : If you need advice on a certain aspect of SEO, you can contact me at the e-mail address: vladimir.jurosko@gmail.com .

As a WordPress enthusiast and programmer, I have many years of experience in website optimization, thanks to which I can help you or recommend experts who will be happy to help you with SEO optimization.

 

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