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SEO 101 – What Is It, And Why Is It Important?

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In this post, we hope to build on your foundational knowledge of SEO so that you can comfortably move forward with making your business more visible online. Let’s jump right in!

What is SEO?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, which encompasses all of the activities aimed at increasing both the quantity and quality of organic website traffic, along with the exposure to your brand through the search engine results.

While it might seem otherwise at first glance, SEO is as much about the people as it is about the search engines themselves. It’s all about understanding what people search online, the kind of answers they are seeking, the kind of content they wish to consume, and the words they’re using on search bar. With these answers in mind, you’ll be able to connect better to the people looking for products or solutions you offer.

If understanding the intent of your audience is one side of the SEO coin, then delivering it in a way that search engine crawlers understand is the other.

Basics of Search Engines

Search engines are basically answer machines. Their work is to scour billions of content pieces and evaluate a set of factors to figure out which content is most likely to answer the search user’s query.

They do all this be cataloging and discovering all of the available content on the web, including web pages, images, PDFs, videos, etc. via a process known as crawling and indexing. They then order the content in the search results based on how well it matches the query through a process referred to as ranking. We’ll cover indexing, crawling, and ranking in more details in Chapter 2.

So, What are Organic Search Results?

As we mentioned earlier, organic search results are ones earned via effective SEO (not paid for). Previously, these were quite easy to spot, where the ads were clearly distinguishable, and the remaining results would typically take the form of “10 blue links” that were listed below them. However, search engines have evolved, and it’s not as easy to spot organic search results.

The search engine results pages (SERPs) of today are full of both ads and more dynamic organic results formats, usually referred to as SERP features. Some examples of these SERP features include featured snippets (answer boxes) Image carousels, ‘People Also Ask’ boxes, etc. New SERP features emerge every now and then, and these are mainly driven by what users are seeking.

For instance, when you search “Denver Weather”, you’ll get an elaborate weather forecast for Denver directly in the SERPs rather than a link to a website that might have that forecast. In a similar way, if your search for “Denver pizza”, you’ll get a more localized result that features the top pizza places in Denver. All this is meant to enhance user experience.

Keep in mind that search engines make most of their money from advertising. Their aim is to effectively solve the user’s queries with relevant SERPs, so that they’ll keep coming back, and also keep them on the SERPs for longer.

Some of the SERP features on Google Search are organic and are influenced by SEO. These include related questions (‘People also Ask’ boxes) and featured snippets (promoted organic results containing answers inside a box).

Keep in mind that there are many other search features that although they aren’t paid ads, they can’t be affected by SEO. Such factors have data obtained from proprietary sources like WebMD, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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Why is SEO Important?

Although social media, paid advertising, and other online platforms can help to generate traffic for websites, much of the traffic online is driven by the search engines. Organic search results appear more credible to the savvy searchers, generally cover more digital real estate, and tend to receive way more clicks compared to the paid advertisements. For instance, in all of the US search only about 2.8% of the users click on paid advertisements.

Generally speaking, SEO has around 20X more opportunities for traffic compared to PPC ads on both desktop and mobile. Moreover, it’s one of the only marketing channels that when done correctly, can continue paying dividends over time. Publishing a high-quality content piece that attracts the attention of users for the right keywords can keep your traffic snowballing over time. On the other hand, advertising will need constant funding to send traffic to your site.

While search engines keep getting smarter, they still need your help. Optimizing your website will help to deliver better information to the search engines, which will in turn index your content properly and display it higher in the search results.

 

Should You Hire an SEO Professional, Agency, or Consultant?

Based on the complexity of your website, your bandwidth, and your willingness to learn, you can actually do some basic SEO on your own. Otherwise, you may discover that you prefer getting the help of an expert SEO. Either way is fine.

If you do choose to work with a professional, it’s important to know that many consultants and agencies offer SEO services, though these can vary greatly in terms of quality. Choosing the right SEO company will save you a lot of time and money, since wrong SEO approaches and techniques can be detrimental to the success of our site.

Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO

Black hat SEO refers to SEO strategies aimed at trying to fool the search engines. Although black hat strategies can work, they have ethical implications, and risk having the website being penalized or de-indexed (removed from SERPs) by the search engines.

On the other hand, white hat SEO refers to the strategies or best practices that are in line with the rules of search engines; to offer more value to the users.

It’s worth mentioning that penalized websites have actually bankrupted businesses. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant when choosing an SEO agency or expert.

Search engines have similar objectives with the SEO industry

Search engines actually want you to succeed. Google even offers an SEO Starter Guide, which is much like a beginner guide to SEO. They’re also supportive of efforts made by the SEO community. Google also helps SEOs and webmasters through their Webmaster Central Help Forum, and often hosts live office hour hangouts.

And while the webmaster guidelines vary from search engine to search engine, the fundamental principles remain the same – never try to trick the search engines. Rather, always try to provide your visitors with a great experience.

seo

Web Design and Tech Basics to Get You Started

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What Is Web Design?

Web Design is the process in which ideas are collected after which they are, with the use of certain principles for a set purpose, aesthetically arranged and properly implemented. Web design could be described as a form of creation, the intention being to present the created content on electronic web pages, this is so that those those who will be using it can have access via the internet with the assistance of a web browser.

What are the Elements of Web Design?

The same key visual elements which are used in all other types of design are also incorporated into web design, these elements are as follows:

Layout

Layout is the way in which text, ads and graphics are arranges. A key goal in the web world is to help the person viewing find the information they are looking for with a simple glance. This means that the consistency, balance as well as the integrity of the design must be properly maintained.

Color

The purpose of the web page as well as the client in question are what will decide the color scheme, all that may be required is a black and white design but then there may also be a multi-colored design desired. The personality of the brand, organization or person is conveyed with the use of web safe colors.

Graphics

Graphics could include photos, icons, logos or clip-arts, these are all used to enhance the design of the web design. In order to be user friendly, the graphics must be appropriately placed, they have to work with the content and color of the web page all the while not making it slow to load and overly congested.

Fonts

By using a variety of fonts, the website design can be enhanced. The majority of web browsers are only able to read certain fonts, these fonts are called “web safe fonts”, generally a designer will work with in this group that is widely accepted.

Content

The message of the sight can be greatly enhanced by content and design working together through text and visuals. Any written text must always be useful and relevant, this is so that the reader is not confused and receives what they want, this will make them want to stay on the page. It is important for content to be of suitable length and optimized for search engines, relevant keywords should be incorporated.

How to Create a Web Design Which is User Friendly

Other than the basic elements of a web design which make a site aesthetically attractive and visually compelling, the end user should also be taken into consideration by a website. Here are a few factors which if payed attention to will help to achieve a user friendly web design:

Navigation

The architecture of a site, menus as well as other navigation tools incorporated in the design should be created taking into consideration the way users search and browse. The end goal is to allow the user to easily move around the site and efficiently locate the information they seek.

Multimedia

Video and audio stimuli which is relevant to the design can assist users in understanding the information and develop this understanding in a way that is quick and easy. This will encourage users to spend longer periods of time on a webpage.

Compatibility

The webpage should be designed to perform just as well on various operating systems and browsers, this will also increase its viewing.

Technology

Designers are given the freedom to incorporate innovation and movement thanks to advancements in technology, this allows for web designs to always be dynamic and fresh yet professional.

Interactive

By adding opinion polls and comment boxes to the design, you can increases user involvement and participation. You can turn a simple user into a client with the use of newsletter signups and email forms.

It is important for web design professionals to create excellent UI (User Interface) design in order to offer a web experience that is satisfying.

This can be accomplished by using critical analysis and planning for the design at hand and by paying close attention to the specifications of each individual client and turning a process which is quite intricate into an sophisticated yet simple piece of technological art.

HTML, CSS, and Java Script Basics