We don’t live in that era anymore where having a website is considered as a secondary option.
Today not having a website means leaving a big opportunity to market your brand.
Not all businesses deal with online transactions, what is the purpose of all this hype?
The answer is simple. Promoting business online is cheaper than giving a print ad in a newspaper having sizable readers.
And if you know what is SEO and how is it done; you know the art of increasing organic traffic on your website, you could promote your business in the local market without paying a dime.
People look for information everywhere, and gone are those days when newspapers ruled everything.
Today all you need to have a smartphone to explore everything.
Whether you are looking for a restaurant, grocery shop, or an institute, you need to search on your mobile.
Even if your business is dealing with local people, not having an online presence means losing customers.
If you don’t know where to start and how to do all these things, don’t worry; you are in the right place.
You will have a fair idea about how SEO, and if you dig deeper, you will become an SEO analyst too.
Prerequisites for SEO: You don’t need to have any prior knowledge for this.
What’s the first step in the search engine optimisation process for your website?
The first step in the search engine optimization is to do keyword research and optimize the web pages according to that.
All search engine optimization activities start with doing keyword research.
But before that, you need to understand the website structure and to update it as per the search engine guidelines.
We will discuss keyword research after that.
Types of SEO
Search engine optimization is of two types;
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
First, we will discuss the on-page SEO.
What is on-page SEO
On-page SEO means optimizing the web pages to get a higher ranking.
For this, you need to check and optimize the source code of the web page.
Here source code means, optimizing some HTML in the website.
What is off-page SEO
OFF-page SEO means the activities you do outside of the website to increase your ranking and visitors.
In case you don’t know, there is a controversy going on whether someone needs to learn HTML or not to start a career in SEO.
How to do on-page SEO
As we mentioned above, here you will do everything within a website to get a better rank in search engines.
In on-page seo, you need to update the title tag, keywords, meta description, H1, H2, H3, image, creating sitemap and submitting url of the websites.
Apart from that, you need to set up an analytical tool to track your visitors.
Though there are many analytical tools, Google Analytics is popular because it gives in-depth details, and is free of cost.
Should I learn HTML to understand SEO
The answer is Yes, but you don’t need to be an expert in coding.
Some basic knowledge is enough to continue your learning.
Here is the crash course of HTML (not really).
HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language.
Here is the structure of HTML
<meta name=”Keywords” content=”keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3″>
<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” />
<meta name=”Description” content=”This is a description that google displays in the search result”>
<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<h2>My Second Heading</h2>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>
Let’s discuss below what we need to know in HTML to optimize a web page.
Here, in the title section, you will update the page title that will display in Google search result.
Example, You have a health website, and you want to give a title.
“Best Weight Loss strategy“.
<title> Best Weight Loss Strategy | My website Name </title>
P.S: Keep your title length under 60 characters though there are no limits, and nobody knows how Google works on it.
The objective of the title is that users should read this completely.
Here is an example of an incomplete title tag.
You can see the dot marks on the right side. It’s because they use more than 60 characters.
Here is an example of a good title tag
You can see on the above image, they first put the page title, and then their website name.
Whatever you type on Google search is a keyword itself.
Usually, there are two types of keywords; short tail and longtail.
Short tail examples: Jobs, fitness, wristwatches
Longtail examples: how to find the best fitness website, best wrist watches under 5000
Long tails are more specific than short tail keywords.
In the meta name=”keyword” section, you will put the desired keywords which you want to rank for.
For example, you want to update your health keywords, you can use weight loss strategy, best weight loss guide.
<meta name=”Keywords” content=”weight loss strategy, best weight loss guide”>
P.S: These are not exactly relevant, but you can use by targeting a primary keyword.
You can read more about Keyword Research here.
In this section, you will write a description of the page that search engines will show in their search results.
The ideal length of the meta description is within 160 characters.
Here is an example of the meta description
If you update the title tag, keywords, and the meta description, your web page will look in the search engine like as below
Meta Robot attribute
This looks like this
<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” />
This will inform search engines to perform certain activities as below
- Index/noindex: This will tell search engines whether to display the page in search result or not
- follow/nofollow: They will tell whether to trust the links on that page or not. If it mentions follow, then search engines will trust the links. If it mentions nofollow, it means they won’t trust the links.
We will discuss more about dofollow and nofollow later.
You may ask if meta keyword is not used anymore when optimising a website for search, what impact do meta and title tags have on the search engine
In simple, when optimising a website for search,
- The title tag will have the main impact on your ranking in search engines and users notice it first while doing a search.
- Meta description will tell users about the content they are looking for and from here, they will decide whether to click that search result or not.
- Some search engines are depreciating meta keywords but you need to put keywords within your content.
- Meta robot will inform whether to index the page or not in the search result, and trust the links within the page or not.
H1, H2, P tag in HTML
H1, H2, P are the structure to represent the information.
When you are writing an article, you first put a heading, then subheading, and then paragraphs.
This will help search engines to organize the information.
Here is the example below
<h1>List of best wrist watches </h1>
<p> I am going to mention about the best wrist watches here </p>
<h2> Rolex </h2>
<p>Rolex is the most expensive wrist watches in the world </p>
<p>Timex is one of the cheapest wrist watches</p>
In the above, we see the HTML structure. If we want a normal view, it will look like below.
List of best wrist watches
I am going to mention about the best wrist watches here
Rolex is the most expensive wrist watches in the world
Timex is one of the cheapest wrist watches
If you are using a content management system like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or any other, you don’t need to edit the HTML code to optimize the page.
Here is an example of updating on-page SEO in WordPress using a plugin
Each CMS has some plugins for on-page SEO. Those are super easy, and all you need to learn how those plugins work.
Now let’s discuss the final part of the HTML where you will learn how to optimize images for search engines.
Let’s see how HTML displays the image
<img src=”image_name.jpg” alt=”Image Name”>
<img src=”folder_name/image_name.jpg” alt=”Italian Trulli”>
In the above code, you need to mention the image destination in src and give a name to the image in the alt tag.
Here, alt tags will help search engines to identify the image because they can’t understand images.
Suppose you upload an image of Mango, you will mention the name Mango in the alt tag so that they will get to know that the image is talking about mango.
P.S: Always use images having 72 resolution and PNG format is better for faster loading.
Alt tags are nothing but another form of keywords.
Just like you put keywords in the meta description and within the article, you can use alt tag for keyword optimization too.
But here, you can’t use multiple keywords for each image. Only one keyword for each image.
In the Content Management system, you don’t need to optimize images by using HTML code. After uploading the image, in every CMS, there will be an option to give a name to the image.
In WordPress, the section is called Alt text (Alternative text) and looks like as below in the image.
It stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is known as a website address that specifies how information from the link is transferred.
In the above, all the URLs are the same.
www: The world wide web
http:// : Hyper Text Transfer protocol
https:// : Hyper Text Transfer protocol secure
If we use a SSL certificate, https will come instead of http. Now, search engines are giving priorities to https:// due to security concerns.
In fact, using a SSL certificate can save your website from many security problems.
SSL stands for secure sockets layer and it keeps internet connection secure and prevents criminal activities such as reading and modifying personal data while two systems interact.
For example, a website and a browser or between two servers.
Now you created a website that has some pages as below
Like this you can create unlimited pages and give it names according to your requirements.
But you need to inform search engines that you created a website. Although search engines crawl websites, still, it’s better to inform.
Here, we will talk about how to submit your website to Google.
To submit your website, Google offers two ways
- Submit a sitemap
- Use the Fetch as Google tool
Submit a Sitemap
There are three ways to submit a sitemap
- Using XML
- RSS, mRSS, and Atom 1.0
Here is the structure of a XML sitemap
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
You don’t need to write sitemap manually. There are many sites, where you can create your sitemap easily.
Here are some websites where you can create sitemap.
https://www.mysitemapgenerator.com/ (Free upto 500 pages)
If you want to know more about sitemap, you can visit the link below
If you are using WordPress, you can simply install a plugin for sitemap. There are some SEO plugins that also offer sitemap creation.
RSS, mRSS, and Atom 1.0
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication mRSS stands for Media RSS.
Generally, every blog has an RSS or Atom feed. In case you don’t have a feed for your blog, you can use a software to create this.
You can submit these feed’s URLs as a sitemap.
If you have videos on your website, you can use mRSS feed to give details about your content.
You can find more information about mRSS below the link
Your website has pages like
Now open a text editor like notepad or notepad++ and create a list of URLs of your website you want to submit to Google.
Save it as sitemap.txt format
Your text file should not contain anything apart from the list of URLs.
Use the Fetch as Google tool
Now here is another method where you can inform Google about your website or a particular URL.
You need to login your Google account and request Google to crawl or recrawl a URL
Now you know how to submit your website to Google.
We discussed the URLs of a page above, but not all are SEO friendly and while doing search engine optimization, we need to take care of the URL as well.
Let’s talk about URL structure and identify the good and bad one.
What is a bad URL structure and how it affects your search engine rankings
Excessive long URLs are an example of bad URLs.
It’s because they look complex and have unnecessary parameters that make the website disorganized.
There are many subfolders present in a bad URL.
They have repeated words, non-user-friendly symbols, and special cases.
It may give the impression of a spam link.
This affects the structure of the URLs and makes both users and search engines confused
Some bad URL examples,
What is a good URL structure and how it helps
A good URL is simple, short and meaningful.
They look organised and don’t have any unnecessary parameters.
A good URL should look like this
URLs should define meaning.
If you are writing a blog “How to Lose weight after 40”,
You should not create a URL like
You should create like
The link should be meaningful and easy to understand for users and search engines as well.
When you write an article, make sure that you follow the above URL structure
Why short URLs are better
- It doesn’t make users and search engines confused
- Short URLs are easy to remember and look organised.
- It tells the search engines about the page.
How to make SEO friendly URLs
- Always try to make the URL short and meaningful.
- Don’t use any special cases
- Avoid subfolders unless it’s necessary
How to perform keyword research
Now we came to the most important part of the discussion in the search engine optimization.
Keyword research is the inevitable part of SEO as everything starts from it.
Back in 2000, creating an article based on simple search was easy, but now it’s impossible to create content just by using some keywords is impossible.
Even now meta keywords became irrelevant where people used to put keywords as many as possible.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t rank the content we create.
First of all, Google always looks for the right information, and if you follow their guidelines, getting first page rank won’t be difficult.
Let’s see how typical Google search looks like
When we type the best smartphone, Google gives us nine other suggestions.
That means people are using these keywords too.
Now we clicked the first keyword “best smartphone under 10000” and saw this result below.
The answer we are seeing is a featured snippet from NDTV and it happened because it answers a specific question that Google finds useful.
Let’s scroll down and check other results
You can see the “People also ask” section and that means users are typing these exact questions in Google.
Below that you can see “Best Mobile Phone Under 10000 in India (28 June 2020)”.
These two websites made more specific content on that keywords and mentioned the location (that is in India) and also the date.
The date and year make the content fresh, which means they are talking about the latest price.
Again after scrolling down, we can see the YouTube video results that indicate that users are looking for the content in YouTube too.
The surprising part of this keyword is we don’t see any ecommerce website result in the first place.
It’s because the users trust the reviews of different websites than ecommerce sites.
But that doesn’t mean this result will stay there forever as Google constantly crawls different websites and checks users behaviour.
Maybe one day we can see any ecommerce site in featured snippets.
In the above image we can see the ecommerce results and Q&A on Google. Here, users are using the Google question and answer feature to ask the question.
Now come to the bottom of the search where we can see some keywords in green colour border, and related searches at the end.
The keywords in green border are some brands related to smartphones and the bottom results are indicating that users are also using these queries in Google.
Images are also showing the results users are looking for and if we click on any of them, it will redirect to the Google Image search where we can see more results.
You can see the image search on the above picture.
So what is the purpose of showing this?
The purpose is to show what Google shows when we type a keyword and whatever results you are seeing are based on that.
Gone are those days when you can use a short-tail keyword in your article and get the first page.
Now Google becomes smarter and it no longer ranks for the sake of keywords.
Most importantly, searches are no more text based and users looking for a particular answer.
So when you start creating content, you need to write a particular answer and all these search results are keywords itself.
You can put them in images, YouTube videos, headlines, and the first 100 words of the introduction.
Keep in mind that you should not use one keyword more than once; else Google will think you are doing keyword cannibalisation.
What are three key considerations when evaluating keywords for search engine optimisation?
In the above we talked about how to perform keyword research but if we don’t know how to find the right keyword, our efforts will be worthless.
We mentioned earlier that going for a long-tail keyword is the only solution to get some results and apart from that, while evaluating keywords for search engine optimisation, consider these three
- Keyword Difficulty (KD)/ Search Engine Difficulty (SD)
- Search Volume
- Clicks/ Estimate visits
Keyword Difficulty/Search Engine Difficulty
When we use a keyword tool, it will mention the search difficulty from 0 to 100.
The higher the number, the more difficult the keyword is to rank for.
Usually, you shouldn’t choose a keyword that scores more than 35.
Search volume means the number of times people are searching for that keyword.
The number may change every month depending on the queries.
The higher number of searches, the more people are using that keyword.
Clicks/ Estimate visits
The average number of clicks happen on that search results while people are using that keyword.
Sometimes, visitors click on the multiple results while some click on one result.
The rank of the pages are based on the clicks which means Google gives priority to the results that get more clicks on that keyword.
That’s why sometimes we don’t see the changes in website ranking while using a keyword.
Apart from that, if you are doing paid campaigns, you should focus on the Cost per click too.
Cost per click (CPC)
This means the average price that advertisers are paying for that keyword to show their result on the paid ads for a target keyword.
You can see some keywords CPC are zero that means advertisers are not using those for their paid ad campaign while some cost a few hundred dollars that means those are popular in ad campaigns.
When you are using a keyword tool for search, always prefer high volume search with low KD/SD.
That means people are looking for the answer but not sufficient results are available.
Pro tips: If you see a keyword is giving forum results, that means you will have a higher chance if you write an article.
If you are seeing more video results, that means people like the videos more than text-based results.
While using a SEO tool, focus more on the click rate. If a keyword has lesser search volume, less keyword difficulty, but higher click rate, that means the conversion rate is high.
When you are selling something, use cheap or absolute cheap keywords instead of free.
If people are using free before the keyword, it means they won’t convert into your customer.
List of keyword research tools
Though Google itself is a keyword research tool, however, the data we are looking for is difficult to get from it.
In this case, it’s better to use keyword research tools. Here are some popular keyword research tools (free and paid)
Answer the public
If you want to find content ideas, you can use Answer the public tool just by typing a keyword.
Once you click the search option, you will find hundreds of content ideas in different formats like prepositions, comparisons, questions .
You can also find content ideas alphabetically also.
They have both free and pro plans.
Free consists of limited daily searches and pro offers many extra features.
Ubersuggest by Neil Patel
Ubersuggest works like a complete SEO tool where you can do many things like site audit, keyword research, and check monthly visitors.
In the search bar, you need to type the domain name or a keyword and you will see results like this.
You can find how many people click on the SEO results, their age ranges, keyword volume, CPC, paid difficulty(PD), search engine difficulty(SD).
If you click View all keyword ideas, you can find the list of websites that get ranks based on a keyword.
You can also see how many visitors from that particular keyword.
Apart from that, you can find the number of backlinks they get in their articles, their social shares for that content, and domain score.
Also, you can click the “view all content ideas” and where you can find estimated visitors, backlinks, and their Facebook likes, and Pinterest pins.
From these contents and keywords, you can understand which contents are working better and which keywords are easy to use.
P.S: You should focus on the SD which are green colour because those are less competitive.
Ubersuggest is free for limited daily use and if you want to without limitation, you can purchase a paid plan.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz works the same as Ubersuggest and at the same time offers both free and paid plans.
When you type a keyword, you will get the complete data that includes monthly search volume, difficulty, organic CTR, and priority.
You can find keyword suggestions with monthly volume and SERP analysis.
If you scroll down, you can find how many websites, mention that keywords with their Domain Authority, and the published/updated date.
In summary, the first step of search engine optimisations are
Understanding website structure
Updating title, meta description, meta robot,
Optimising image alt tag
Focusing on good URL structure
Now you have a fair idea about search engine optimization, and can start doing experiments. But this is the beginning of your SEO career, and you need to dig deeper.
SEO changes always, but here we have covered everything applicable all time.