SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an important component in the world of digital marketing. If you have a particular blog or website, surely you want traffic to increase, right? Well here comes the role of SEO.
What is SEO
Quoting the book Kitab Sakti SEO written by Su Rahman, SEO is a series of techniques that are done so that the website is easily found by information seekers through search engines (search engines) especially Google.
Whereas according to Kent (2006) in Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, SEO is a technique to get a profitable position in search engines that correspond to keywords that are on the website page.
From these two notions, it can be concluded that SEO relates to efforts to optimize a website to appear on the front page or top-ranked search results. This way, the web or blog will be frequently visited.
Historically, SEO first appeared on July 26, 1997, through spam messages posted on Usenet. At the moment the search engine algorithm has not been as complex as it is today so it is easy to manipulate.
According to Danny Sullivan founder of Search Engine Land, ancient search engine algorithms in determining website rankings were based on meta tags and HTML code used on websites. Meta tags contain the information contained on a website page with certain keywords. At that time many website owners committed fraud by entering inappropriate keywords, so the search results in SERP did not match what users were looking for.
This is the concern of search engines to do a series of search algorithm updates so that the results appear relevant and quality. Two computer science doctoral students from Stamford University Larry Page and Sergey Brin overcame the search engine’s algorithmic problems by building Backrub. Backrub is a simple search engine that uses a mathematical calculation called “PageRank” to rank website pages. This is the forerunner of the birth of Google until now.
How SEO Works
Search engines use certain algorithms to determine which content is eligible to top the search results rankings. This applies to all search engines be it Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or Duckduckgo.
We will not discuss algorithms in any search engine. Here we only discuss Google’s algorithms. Why? Because Google controls more than 90 per cent of the search engine market share worldwide. So when it comes to how SEO works, Google’s algorithm becomes the benchmark.
Google is constantly updating its algorithms to provide more relevant and solutive search results for its users. From 2011 to the present, there have been at least eight major updates to Google’s algorithms.
So you should always update about Google’s algorithm. Because optimization steps based on Google’s old algorithms will not have any effect. For example, one of the old tactics used was keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is the practice of including as many focus keywords as possible in an article. This tactic used to be quite effective, even if your content is short and irrelevant at all with the focus keywords you enter.
However, with Google’s algorithm update, the tactic is no longer effective. You can even get penalized if you get caught practising it. Your content may be considered spammy if you repeat too many focus keywords.
Then, what kind of SEO optimization steps are in line with the latest Google algorithms? There are at least eight SEO indicators based on the latest Google algorithms, from URL structure to website speed.
In SEO, there are two types of SEO namely SEO On Page and SEO Off-Page. The two are equally important and interconnected with each other. In the previous discussion about the difference between SEO and SEM, SEO On Page is like vegetables and Off-Page is like salt, the two complement each other. Well here’s the full discussion about SEO:
1. SEO On Page
SEO On Page is a website optimization step that is done on your own website. The essence of SEO On Page is the quality of the content, no longer how many keywords are on the page. The core of SEO on-page on the website is as follows:
- Useful content for website visitors
- The website navigation makes it easy for visitors
- Visitors linger on the website
- The website is easy to understand by search engines
Search engines can assess the satisfaction of website visitors from the 4 SEO indicators, the higher the bounce rate value means the worse the website.
2. SEO Off-Page
SEO Off Page is a technique of doing website optimization from outside the website. The easy description is that you provide links from other websites to your website. With so many links that Google will find your website useful. But it is worth noting that the incoming links must be natural instead of links that are deliberately created to perform website optimization. Google also assesses not the number of incoming links, but how good they are.
SEO Traffic Types
Websites with good content but minimal visitors are absolutely meaningless. You should be able to attract visitors and keep them at home for a long time on the website.
There are many things you can do to bring in and manage traffic.
First of all, know where the traffic is from. There are three types of SEO traffic:
For business websites, the more site visitors change their status to buyers, the better the quality of traffic.
Conversion rate can be used as a reference in determining the quality of website traffic. While conversion rates depend on your business type and goals, a value of 5% can already meet the quality of your conversions.
Visitors who access the website and find out what products are offered also create good traffic. For example, if the products sold are iPhone and Android smartphones, the traffic that comes is not traffic to buy laptops and computers.
Quantity of Traffic
The quantity of traffic is no less important than the quality of traffic.
Generally, the amount of traffic is calculated based on the number of visitors who enter and access the site. However, there are still many things to consider and monitor: site visitors, page views, and visit duration.
All things mentioned earlier do not need to be calculated by manual method. You can use tools, such as Google Analytics or StatCounter, to analyze website traffic.
Organic Traffic (Free)
The type of traffic that is preferred by most website owners is organic traffic. In addition to being free, organic traffic is also able to bring in more site visitors and increase conversions.
For example, some internet users type certain keywords or keywords in the browser search field. After that, they click on the link displayed in the search results. Visits through these links are referred to as organic traffic.
Although it looks easy, the competition to get organic traffic is very tight. Therefore, you should implement good SEO practices to get satisfactory results.
Google Functions and Objectives
What, anyway, is Google aiming for? What is this search engine looking for and wanting? And what can we do to achieve it?
Actually, understanding how Google works is simple. You type one or a combination of keywords in the search field, and moments later Google will show you the most relevant search results.
The main purpose of the search algorithm is to display search results that not only match the keywords you type but also answer the needs of your audience. Usually what appears in the top search results is the website with the best user experience. Meanwhile, websites that cannot guarantee user comfort and satisfaction will be penalized by Google.
The position and ranking of websites on Google have to do with loading speed and time. Every website owner and maintainer should understand this.
If the website tends to be slow, visitors will give a negative response and the bounce rate rises. Google will also continue to analyze other aspects that make a website get a penalty, such as unqualified content and design and navigation that trigger dissatisfaction with visitors.
A high bounce rate indicates something is wrong with your website. Often visitors press the Exit button or exit in a quick period of time as if to tell Google that your website is not eligible to be in search results.
So, what is bounce?
The picture looks like this: Google displays a number of pages related to the keywords you’re looking for. You then click on the link, but a moment later instantly ‘leaves’ without interacting further. Well, this kind of situation is called ‘bounce’. A bounce occurs because visitors are not satisfied with the intended website or the website does not have the content they are looking for.
By default, the bounce percentage on each website is about the same. Even on large sites, the bounce rate is between 25% and 40%.
You can’t ‘force’ visitors to linger on the website. However, at least you know what makes the bounce rate high and people don’t do any interactions.
If the website takes from one second to three seconds to load perfectly, the bounce rate will touch the figure of 32%. Then from three seconds changed to six seconds, the bounce rate to 106% or even higher. In conclusion, the longer, the higher the percentage.
Although it contains quality content and attractive layouts, websites with slow loading will only aggravate the bounce rate by up to 90%.
From here, you can already get an idea of the appearance of the website in Google’s ranking system. Search engines do not know the exact reason behind the site visitors who just came out to cause a bounce rate of 90%. However, search engines know that website pages do not meet expectations or do not answer their needs. This further reinforces the dissatisfaction factor of visitors when ‘visiting’ your website.
The same applies to the duration of the visit. If a visitor doesn’t find any content that catches his attention, he or she just looks around or maybe goes straight out of the website. For Google, this activity indicates that the website falls into the bad search category. In the end, this search engine will give you a penalty.
Rand Fishkin of Moz tried to do this experiment on Twitter. It manipulates web pages that appear in search results. To do this, he asked his followers to ‘bounce’ from page to page and stay there for a while.
As a result, website speed impacts the duration of visits and page views per visitor.
If the loading time is only two seconds, the website will have an average of 8.9-page visits per user. However, the page view will decrease to 3.3 whenever the website takes up to 8 seconds to open perfectly.
In addition to giving satisfaction to visitors, fast websites will also get more traffic and conversions.
Search results are said to be good when internet users click on the link of the site that the search engine displays.
Usually, users don’t click on just one site link. They tend to search for search results while opening multiple links. So, if there is one web page that gets more clicks than the other web, that page will be placed in the top position. Other webs that get fewer clicks will be at the bottom.
This was also confirmed by Udi Manber as the former Chief of Search Quality of Google. Check google patents and there you will find an interesting fact. This search engine uses data that contains information on how users interact with the search results displayed. It is this data that will then encourage Google to modify search results in the future.
Although not very visible in the data in Google patents, loading speed still plays its role in shaping SEO as well as interaction and visitor satisfaction.
As many as 75% of internet users will never return to access a website whose loading time is more than 4 seconds. Although the numbers are relatively small, four seconds is more than enough to make visitors interact. In the future, if your site appears in the keywords you’re looking for, they won’t hesitate to skip it.
This situation not only ‘hurts’ website rankings, but also SEO.
A poll shows that as many as 52% of customers will continue to return to e-commerce sites or online stores with little loading time. This percentage can be obtained if loading is fast and the website ranking soars.
One other thing that determines the SEO of the website, namely the experience told by word of mouth. Whether it’s negative or positive.
Usually, internet users who wait a long time until the website is fully loaded will tell the experience less to other users. As a result, this user and his friend will no longer open the same website a second time. This is the consequence of a website with slow loading.
Google has a wide variety of indicators to determine which websites are worthy of being at the top. The following are the eight main indicators used as a reference to optimize SEO quoted from the book Becoming a Youtuber 2020 plus SEO: Youtuber Beginner writing Risma:
1. URL Structure
It’s a good idea to create a simple URL structure to make it easier for search engines to recognize the website and the main topics covered. The URL simply contains the domain name and title of the article.
2. Domain Security
Google tends to direct searches on websites that have good security standards. Good domain security can be seen from SSL (HTTPS) ownership in the domain. With SSL, data transfer within the website becomes more secure and encrypted.
3. Content Topics
You need to have some key interconnected topics to form a good website structure. Then create content based on those topics.
The more content that addresses a particular topic, the more likely it is to appear in the first ranking of the search results of the topic in question.
4. Search Intent
A keyword can refer to two different things. Well, that means search intent is what most searchers want against one particular keyword.
For example, when typing the keyword ‘Big Bang Theory’ in Google, what appears on the top page is the title of a television series, not a theory about the formation of the universe.
This is because there are more users looking for television series, not scientific theories. Therefore, before creating the content adjust with its search intent.
5. Content Structure
You’ll need to create structured content so readers can find information easily. The trick is to use headings and subheadings for important points.
Also add graphics, images, and more that help readers understand the content. The longer the time readers spend on the blog, the greater the chances of content reaching a high position.
6. Meta Tags
Meta tags consist of title tags and meta descriptions. A title tag is a title that appears in search results. Try not to get the title too long. Meanwhile, a meta description is a short description that explains the content, usually consisting of 120-130 characters.
Backlinks are links that are posted on other websites that lead to your website. The more backlinks to your website, Google will consider the site to have high credibility.
8. Website Speed
Website speed, both on desktop and mobile will be rated by Google to rank in search results.
The Importance of SEO For Websites
SEO is now a must-do for you who own a website. Moreover, nowadays website competition in Google search pages is not easy, a lot of other website competitors do SEO strategies.
Please also note that SEO is suitable for all website needs whether it’s just a company profile to a business though. For that, you need to understand the importance of SEO implementation for website purposes. Here’s the discussion:
1. Your business is easy to find
The main purpose of SEO is to make the website easy to find, whether it’s by keyword search or being on the first page of a search engine. That way your business website is easier to find and known by the crowd.
2. Increased website traffic
Appearing on the first page of a Google search will have the effect of more and more visitors coming to the website. Of course, you need to do SEO optimization in terms of On-Page and Off-Page SEO. Please also make sure your website is ready with upcoming traffic so that it does not go down.
3. Search engine source of information
Nowadays all are looking for any information relying on Google search engine. Data in Indonesia today about 75% more people search for all information through Google, some even call it “Google” because it knows all the information searched by everyone.
The easier it is to find means that your business is getting more and more known to many people. You can do branding by providing useful information plus doing soft selling of your business to become more known to everyone.
5. Increased credibility
The easier your website is found in search engines then the credibility of your website will automatically increase. That way people will trust your business more.
6. Easily get conversions
Well, the latter is easy to get a conversion. If your SEO goal is to do business, organic traffic coming from SEO is targeted traffic. This means that the people who come to your website are the ones who need the goods and services you have. For that, you can add Call to Action to get sales conversions from website visitors.
So the discussion about knowing what SEO is and how important it is for websites. Please do your website optimization with SEO both On-Page and Off-Page. To be more maximal can be added by using SEM (Search Engine Marketing) strategy to bring traffic on a paid basis.
Now you’ve learned a lot about what SEO is in this article.
SEO is a very important tool to increase the visibility of your website. If you are currently struggling in the business world, SEO will bring more traffic and that means there will be many customers or buyers.
To be able to create high traffic, you must run onsite SEO methods as well as offsite SEO.
Before implementing SEO, you must know one of the most important things about the website, namely traffic. Here’s a summary of traffic types:
- Quantity of traffic. A number of visitors coming to the website.
- Quality of traffic. Target visitors are relevant to the website.
- Organic traffic (free). Traffic obtained by the website from search engines.
Now you already know why SEO is so important for website growth and development. Remember that SEO is an endless and continuous process. To find out what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means and how to implement it, you can read various articles and tutorials online.