SEO can be defined as a marketing technique that helps increase the quantity and quality of the traffic to your site.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through unpaid organic or natural search engine results.
With over 1.3B websites in existence today, how can you ensure that people find you when they search on Google, Yahoo, Baidu or Bing?
In short, SEO can be defined as a marketing technique that helps increase the quantity and quality of the traffic to your site.
Instead you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in products that you offer.
When a user searches for a term on a search engine like Google, the results that he or she is presented with is a series of websites that are relevant to the query and websites that have a solid domain authority.
The crawlers bring all those 1s and 0s back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your query.
What is a Google algorithm for SEO? As mentioned previously, the Google algorithm partially uses keywords to determine page rankings. The best way to rank for specific keywords is by doing SEO.
SEO essentially is a way to tell Google that a website or web page is about a topic.
Launch date: February 24, 2011
Hazards: Duplicate, plagiarized or thin content; user-generated spam; keyword stuffing
How it works: Panda assigns a so-called “quality score” to web pages. This score is then used as a ranking factor.
Initially, Panda was a filter rather than part of Google’s ranking algorithm, but in January 2016, it was officially incorporated into the core algorithm.
Panda rollouts have become more frequent, so both penalties and recoveries now happen faster.
Launch date: April 24, 2012
Hazards: Spammy or irrelevant links; links with over-optimized anchor text
How it works: Google Penguin’s objective is to down-rank sites whose links it deems manipulative. Since late 2016, Penguin has been part of Google’s core algorithm; unlike Panda, it works in real time.
Launch date: Aug 2012
High volume of copy writing infringement reports.
How it works: The pirate update has brought out more rules for sites which are violating copyright laws. The pirate update stands against online piracy and limits the power of illegal online services.
Launch date: August 22, 2013
Hazards: Keyword stuffing; low-quality content
How it works: Hummingbird helps Google better interpret search queries and provide results that match searcher intent (as opposed to the individual terms within the query).
While keywords continue to be important, Hummingbird makes it possible for a page to rank for a query even if it doesn’t contain the exact words the searcher entered.
This is achieved with the help of natural language processing that relies on latent semantic indexing, co-occurring terms and synonyms.
Launch date: July 24, 2014 (US); December 22, 2014 (UK, Canada, Australia)
Hazards: Poor on- and off-page SEO
How it works: Pigeon affects those searches in which the user’s location plays an important part. The update created closer ties between the local algorithm and the core algorithm: traditional SEO factors are now used to rank local results.
Launch date: April 21, 2015
Hazards: Lack of a mobile version of the page; poor mobile usability
How it works: Google’s Mobile Update (aka Mobilegeddon) ensures that mobile-friendly pages rank at the top of mobile search, while pages not optimized for mobile are filtered out from the SERPs or seriously down-ranked.
Launch date: September 2012
How it works: The EMD stands for “Exact Match Domain” is a filter to prevent poor quality sites from ranking well simply because they had words that match search terms in their domain names.
When a fresh EMD Update happens, sites that have improved their content may regain good rankings. New sites with poor content or those previously missed by EMD may get caught.
In addition, “false positives” may get released. Our latest news about the EMD Update is below
Launch date: October 26, 2015
Hazards: Lack of query-specific relevance features; shallow content; poor UX
How it works: Rank Brain is part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. It is a machine learning system that helps Google understand the meaning behind queries and serve best-matching search results in response to those queries.
Google calls Rank Brain the third most important ranking factor.
While we don’t know the ins and outs of Rank Brain, the general opinion is that it identifies relevance features for web pages ranking for a given query, which are basically query-specific ranking factors.
PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.
According to Matt Cutts, “The difference between a blog that’s six months old versus one year old is really not that big at all.”
Keyword in Title Tag: The title tag plays an important role and thus, sends a strong and robust on-page SEO signal.
User-Friendly Layout: Google prefers those sites which contain user-friendly layout.
Multimedia: If your site contains images, videos, and other multimedia contents, then these will boost your ranking.
URL Path: a page which is closer to the home page may get a slight preference by Google.
Useful Content: Google prefers those contents which are useful and hold a good quality.
Content Adds Value: Google is desperately looking for those sites which provide fresh, meaningful and new content. So, if your site contains some unparalleled, new and impeccable content, then it will get preferred by Google.
Contact Us Page: Google prefers those sites which have proper contact information. So, keep all the necessary information on your contact page.
Domain Trust: this measure how many links away your site is from highly-trusted sites as it plays an important role in your ranking.
Site Update: If you update your site frequently, then this will add value to your Google ranking.
Sitemap: Sitemap helps search engine index to find your page easily. So, if your site contains a site map, then you will get a higher ranking.
YouTube: YouTube videos are preferred by Google in Search Engine Result pages (SERPs) as b own it. So, try to incorporate some YouTube videos on your site.
User Reviews: A site’s reputation plays a pivotal role in Google’s algorithm. If your site receives good reviews from the users, then it will get a higher rank over the sites which don’t receive any review from the users.
Site Usability: A site which is difficult to use or navigate can tarnish your Google ranking. So, try to make a user-friendly site if you want to enhance your Google ranking.
Use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools: If you use Google analytics and Google webmaster tools, then these can directly influence Google (by providing more data) in making your rank higher in SERPs.
Linking Domain Age: backlinks from an aged domain are more powerful and preferable than the new domains.
Click Through Rate (CTR) for a Keyword: Pages which receive more CTR may get SERP boost for that keyword.
Organic CTR for all keywords: A page’s organic CTR for all keywords gets a better rank.
Bounce rate: The pages where people quickly bounce is probably not very good for SEO ranking.
Direct traffic: sites which receive direct traffic are preferable than those which get a very little traffic.
Repeat traffic: The site which gets repeated traffic may get a higher rank by Google in SERPs.
Blocked sites: This sends a quality signal to Google.
Chrome bookmarks: Pages which get bookmarked in Chrome might get a boost.
Query deserves freshness: Google gives newer pages a boost.
Query deserves diversity: Google adds diversity for keywords like Ted, WWF, ruby, etc.
User browsing history: Sites that you frequently visit may get a boost in ranking.
Use search history: Google is more likely to show toaster review sites higher in the SERPs.
Geo targeting: Google prefers to sites with a local server IP and country-specific domain name extension.
Safe search: Search results with curse words or adult content won’t appear for people with safe search turned on.
The Number of Tweets: The tweets of a page directly influence its ranking.
Authority of Twitter Users Accounts: Tweets coming from an account are more powerful than the tweets coming from a new account.
The Number of Facebook Likes and Shares: Facebook shares play an important in your ranking. If you have more shares, then your page will get elevated in the ranking.
Authority of Facebook Accounts: Facebook shares and likes coming from popular Facebook pages are more powerful.
Pinterest Pins: Like Facebook and Twitter, Google considers Pinterest Pins a social signal. This will influence your ranking.
Votes on Social Sharing Sites: Google uses shares at sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg as another type of social signal
The Number of Google+: Though some people think that Google + doesn’t have any direct influence on Google ranking, still Google can’t ignore its own social network site.
The Authority of Google+ User Account: Google would weigh Google +’s coming from authoritative accounts.
Known Authorship: Google uses some form of authorship to determine influential content producers online and give them a boost in ranking.
Social Signal Relevancy: Google probably uses relevant information from the account sharing the content and the text surrounding the link.
Site Level Social Signals: Sitewide social signals may increase a site’s overall and its rank.
Brand Name in Anchor Text: Brand name in anchor text provides a strong signal.
Branded Searches: If people search for your site in Google, Google takes this into consideration when determining a brand.
The Site has Facebook Pages and Likes: If your brands have Facebook pages with likes, then they will get higher rankings in SERPs.
The Site has a Twitter Profile with Followers: Twitter profiles with a lot of followers signals a popular brand.
Official LinkedIn Company Page: Most real businesses have company LinkedIn pages.
The Employee Listed at LinkedIn: If your employees are on LinkedIn, then this will work for your company as a brand signal.
Brand Mentions on News Sites: Big brands get mentioned on Google News site all the time, and this will uplift their rankings.
Panda Penalty: sites with low-quality content are less visible in SERPs.
Links to Bad Neighbourhoods: Linking out to bad neighbourhoods may hurt your visibility and ranking.
Redirects: Sneaky redirects is a big no.
Popups: Pop-ups and distracting ads are the sign of low-quality.
Page-over Optimization: Unlike Panda, Penguin targets individual page.
Hiding Affiliate Links: If you try to hide affiliate links, then you can get penalized by Google.
Excess Page Rank Sculpting: Google discourages excess page rank sculpting.
IP Address Flagged as Spam: If your server’s IP address is flagged as spam, then this may hurt your ranking.
Meta Tag Spamming: If Google thinks that you have added keywords to your meta tags, then your rank will get hampered.
The Unnatural Influx of Links: A sudden (and unnatural) influx of links is a sure-fire sign of phony links.
Penguin Penalty: Sites that are hit by Google Penguin are less visible in search engine pages.
Linking Domain Relevancy: The sites with an unnaturally high amount of links from unrelated sites were more susceptible to Penguin.
Unnatural Links Warning: Google sent out thousands of Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links messages. This basically hampers your ranking.
Poison Anchor Text: Having “poison” anchor text pointed to your site may be a sign of spam or hacked site.
Manual Penalty: Google has been known to hand out manual penalties, like in the well-publicized Interflorafiasco.
Selling Links: selling links can hurt your visibility and tarnish your ranking.
Google Sandbox: New sites that get a sudden influx of links are sometimes put in the Google sandbox, and this may limit their search visibility.
Disavow Tool: Use of the Disavow Tool may make a negative impact on your site’s ranking.
Reconsideration Request: A successful reconsideration request can lift a penalty.
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There are many benefits of SEO (especially if you're using peripherally beneficial strategies like content marketing and social media marketing), but the most important thing is traffic that converts.
As your rankings increase to meaningful positions in search engine results pages, you'll gain more traffic for your site, which means more brand visibility and sales.