[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
Why do we need a Search Engine?
Search engines essentially act as filters for the wealth of information available on the internet. They allow users to quickly and easily find information that is of genuine interest or value, without the need to wade through numerous irrelevant web pages.
we are just going to cover the fundamentals or the basics. It is going to be much much more in-depth than what you have learned about SEO so far. But at the same time, it’s not going to be enough. We are going to become a T shaped digital marketer, which means learning all the aspects of digital marketing first, and then going deep into one topic later.
So if you think that SEO is the area in which you want to become an expert, you could kind of specialise in SEO or a later date. But let’s first have a look at all the basics. You don’t need to learn everything that is there about SEO to become a successful digital marketer, you just need to learn the basics, and as long as you can put together a digital marketing funnel run campaigns, and make a profit.
You will be successful in your digital marketing career. When you become an expert in SEO, you will be able to get a lot of free traffic from the search engines, but at the same time, it takes a lot of time, as he was always a long term game, you cannot expect a lot of free traffic to come to your site in the short term, it takes at least six months to one year to start seeing the results from SEO.
Once you start publishing content start optimising your site, then you will start getting free traffic to your website. I get more than 10,000 visitors per month, via search traffic to my website, but you have to remember that my website is now seven years old, I started in 2013, and since then I have gained thousands of backlinks SEO is like planting a tree. If you want to get fruit from a tree, it will take at least five to 10 years, but if you want that, then you have to plant the tree today so that you can have it five years later.
Let’s have a look at why we need Organic traffic in the first place. Organic SEO traffic is free and of high quality, because when people are searching for certain terms on the search engine, and when they are visiting your website, they know what they want very clearly, and they are seeking you out. So, the traffic quality is generally high. It will help you offset the costs from paid ads and referrals if you are advertising.
And let’s say if you are generating leads from Facebook ads and Google ads and your lead cost is 20 rupees. If you want to generate a thousand leads, it will cost you 20,000 rupees. But if you go ahead and get extra 500 leads from organic SEO traffic, which is technically free. Then you are going to offset the lead costs that you are paying for paid traffic.
You can also learn organic SEO, feel free to check out this blog “Why content is King and SEO is Queen”
Usually in most of the digital marketing campaigns, and in most of the integrated digital marketing campaigns. People do both. They also run paid ads, and they also try to get traffic from the search engines. Most of the brands have a mix of both strategies. So your lead cost will average out and your cost per customer acquisition will also go down a little bit. When you are taking SEO seriously.
When you get traffic from the search engines directly to your content properties such as a blog, then you will be able to use opt-in tools, just like landing pages, but these opt-in tools will be either as a chat bot or like an exit pop up which will appear on the site, which will help you convert the visitors into leads.
When I talk about search engine traffic or SEO traffic, I’m still thinking about lead generation as the ultimate code. A lot of people have very high traffic websites, they get a lot of traffic from search, but the only monetisation method that they have is to run display advertising on their site, and try to make money from display advertising. I would not recommend doing that, because that is something that I have done before.
I used to get millions of visitors every month from the search engines by running the Display Ads, but my only monetisation strategy was to run display ads. The problem with display ads is that it will not scale, and the amount of revenue that you are making from every visitor coming to your site is the lowest when it comes to displaying ads.
If people are running websites, related to humour, news, or let’s say something like, entertainment, which is related to Bollywood music or something like that, they cannot monetise the visitors, apart from paid advertising, and it actually becomes a huge challenge.
In fact, when you look at most of the news media publications today. I would not name any of them. But, you know, the usual suspects, all the news media publications, the only way for them to monetise their visitors, is to run ads on their websites, and they will earn more money. If they get more visitors to their website, and to get more visitors to their website, all these publications, go ahead and try to publish some sensational news, and they have very click Beatty headlights.
Even if you go ahead and visit a website. And if there are a lot of flashy banner ads on the website, you will naturally ignore those ads, you will not go ahead and click on those ads, and a lot of websites struggled to increase their ad revenue, and in 2020, most of the websites have seen their ad revenue go down because businesses are not really flourishing. Right. So, for me, The best way to go ahead and monetise the traffic is to create a funnel and actually have a product or service that you can sell to the customers.
So when you are driving SEO traffic to your website, you have to focus on lead generation, because you cannot sell anything to your audience, without generating leads in the first place. If you want to take people from traffic to marketing to sales, then you need lead generation, so that is why I keep my focus on lead generation always. And that’s one of the reasons I have also put the SEO chapter as week 10. After a lead generation, content paid ads, because I want you to understand the power of lead generation, and I want you to use the power of SEO for lead generation.
When people want to discover you, you should be discoverable, search presence is important for getting discovered. Let’s say you tell someone about my blog. The first thing they will do is Google about it. So, Google has become the number one search engine.
And when we talk about search engines. We are technically talking about Google and most of the cases, but you also have to understand that Google is not the only search engine, and there are many niche search engines that we are going to talk about in this particular blog.
so, let’s say somebody goes ahead and searches for my blog. They should be able to discover me right, and Google also has created the Google Chrome browser, and because Google Chrome browser is from Google, if you go ahead and just type something on the address bar directly, then it goes to Google search by default. So that is what Google has done, which is actually creating a lot of market dominance for Google.
So I have to be discoverable on Google right so without taking SEO seriously. You will not be able to know to get that discoverability, and if you don’t have that search presence, you might be losing a lot of customers who are looking for you directly. So that is why SEO is very important, and search traffic is very important.
Traffic from the search engines is inbound and the quality and the intent are high. So what do I mean by inbound traffic means that people are looking for us, outbound traffic means that we are looking for people, and people in the sense, his potential customers.
You are still targeting keywords, but instead of going after paid advertising, you are creating content assets, and these content assets will attract traffic from the search engines. And you might be getting a lot of high-quality visitors and customers at a very low cost. When I say, low cost or free. I don’t mean that it’s really free right you still have to pay for it. The payment comes in the form of spending money on content, even if you don’t spend money to build content or get content written, you are still going to spend your time writing content. If you are spending your time writing content, then your time is valuable, which means that there is still an amount of investment that goes into getting SEO traffic.
But one of the advantages of SEO traffic is that it is long term. So I always tell this example, SEO versus paid ads is like buying a house, versus renting a house. If you want to get a house, immediately. And if you don’t have a lot of capital, you can go ahead and rent a house. So let’s say I want to live in a pretty good house in Bangalore, and I’m ready to pay a rent of 50,000, a month. Then I can actually get a house, which is worth two crores in the market, which will only cost 50,000 a month for me to stay in there. However, in the long term, I might end up paying much more than two crores. So let’s say I stay in that rented flat for 50 years, I might be paying much more than two crores, especially adjusted for inflation and however you want to do the math. If I go ahead and buy the house for two crores and let’s say I have the capital to go ahead and invest upfront. Then, the average monthly expense of living in that house will be almost zero, because the house will hold the value, and in the future, I might even be able to sell the two crore house for three crores or four crores, which means that I am not really staying in my house for free. My house is also making money for me. But the biggest problem is that I need a capital of two crores, which I don’t have.
I like to go ahead and create content, which is a long term, like evergreen content. When I write a piece of content, I make sure that the content is still going to be relevant even five years 10 years down the line. And what happens is that if I keep creating these content pieces, then these content pieces will start compounding in the long term. And I don’t need to talk about compound interest here because I’m pretty sure you know that even investments when it goes into compounded returns, it becomes very very big in the future. So what do you need to do is that instead of depending on other content assets, then you are going ahead and advertising in their content. You have to go ahead and create your own content assets. And these content assets will become like the properties that you buy like the house that you buy.
Even though initially, it might end up consuming a lot of capital in the long term, it is going to give you a lot of returns. So that is how I want you to go ahead and look at content creation, and at the same time. I also want to mention that, unless you create very high-quality content. The content is not going to fetch you traffic for the long term. Just like if you don’t invest in a very good locality, in a very good house. It might not appreciate, right, we know stories of people who invest in very bad neighbourhoods, and they go ahead and construct a home that is not going to be of very high quality, it might actually depreciate in the long run. And that is the mistake that I see people on the internet also do you know just for the sake of posting content, they go ahead and just create some pieces of content, and they expect traffic to come to them, and unfortunately a lot of websites who create content. The content is short term content, you know, especially news media sites. When they create News, the news is not going to be useful, any more than 24 hours or 48 hours in most of the cases, right.
So, as a digital marketer who thinks long though, I would never go ahead and create news media type of content because news media type of content is short term, you can still keep your subscribers updated about what’s the latest things happening in the industry. You know, I still do webinars I talk about the latest changes that have happened, but I don’t report on things because if I’m just reporting on things then I’m not creating as much value as going ahead and creating in-depth content, which will be useful for the long term. If you go ahead and browse shekhar4g.com. And if you look at the articles, you will realize that these articles will be valid and relevant, even 10 years 20 years down the line. And sometimes I go ahead and update these content pieces and make it better. So they actually become perennial sources of traffic and perennial sources of high-quality attention and appreciation for me.
So Google organic search listings, get a hundred times more clicks than paid ads listings on search in a lot of people think that most of the clicks come to the paid search results on Google, but it’s just 1% of the amount of traffic that is coming to organic and organic basically means that the listings that you get on the search engine. When you search for a keyword, which is after the paid ads on top. So, the biggest advantage with Google organic search is that people who use Google also know the difference between a paid ads listing and an organic listing. And when people are looking for content, they actually seek out the organic listings more than, paid search. So that’s one of the biggest advantages that we have that most of the internet users know the difference.
And we can go ahead and capitalize on it. It is also difficult to rank for short-tail keywords, right, so what do I mean by short-tail keywords. When you have a keyword like marketing, then there will be a lot of competition for that particular keyword and it will be very difficult to rank for it.
So when you go for a longtail keyword, then the amount of competition for a longtail keyword will be less. And instead of publishing, one article and trying to rank for a short tail keyword, you can publish a lot of articles and rank for longtail keywords and with enough content, you can tap into a lot of traffic and it will give you high-quality traffic over a period of time.
The competition for longtail keywords is also low, and you can go ahead and keep publishing content over time and keep improving it. And in the long term, this traffic will start compounding. That’s how I am getting thousands and thousands of visitors to my website, every week from the search engines for free.
A lot of people who do SEO just focus on SEO and do not take care of community building, they do not do paid ads, they do not do lead generation, they do not build an email list. And when people do not do all these things around SEO, it becomes very difficult to promote the content that you have created, and it is very difficult to start getting backlinks and some traction to the content that you have created.
So, when you already have an audience and when you already have a community, then the advantage is that you can go out and publish content on your blog, make sure that it is optimised for the search engines and share it with your community. Once you share it with your community. And if your community likes your content, then your community will go ahead and share it with other people. And once the search engines start tracking the amount of activity that is happening on your content, it will start rewarding you with more and more traffic over time.
So people share content on social media. So apart from getting more traffic from the search engines, You are also going to get more traffic from social media websites as well. So that is how you have to approach SEO, you have to approach SEO, with a mindset of being an integrated digital marketer, and that is when you will get the maximum benefit out of this.
For example, if you run Google ads, then you will understand search terms and what people are searching for. And based on those keywords you can create content, and the content that you create the traffic that you get from the search engines will also help you with paid ads because it helps you build a pixeled audience, it helps you build a target audience on Facebook or not Google. And you’re also building the brand. So this is how you become a better digital marketer, right, you don’t try to approach.
You can go for in depth about local SEO you can check out this blog “What is Local SEO?”
One of the areas of digital marketing in a very narrow way, you know, earlier, when people used to run ad agencies, they used to have different channels of advertising, they used to advertise on newspaper, radio, TV, magazines, and all these different channels, and all these different channels used to work independently, and people even do that right now. So, the same mindset is also there for most of the digital marketers out there, and they treat each and every channel of digital marketing separately, they treat email separately. They go ahead and treat search traffic separately they go out and treat social media separately they go ahead and treat paid ads separately.
But you need to understand that everything is interrelated. It’s the same audience out there on different channels, and you need to go ahead and try to attract this particular audience, via different mediums, as much as possible, and make sure that you are building a strong brand in the minds of your customers.
So you need to focus on trying to increase the amount of impressions that you have with your search results, and you need to increase the amount of clicks that you get for your search results using SEO.
Search Engines From A User Perspective
Now, let’s talk about search engines, from a user perspective. Why do we need to look at this thing from the users perspective, we need to do that because, as I told you earlier, there are three parties involved in the entire process. We have a platform, which is the search engine. We have the user who is our website visitor, or our customer. And then it’s us, the business, the webmasters who create the content in the first place. And it is good to look at this from different perspectives because it has to be a win-win-win situation.
In this entire equation, if there is one party losing, then everybody will end up losing. When you look at black-hat SEO, which is a way of manipulating the search results, and trying to get poor content ranked, you’re not really helping the users. And when you don’t really help the users in the long term, the search engines are going to catch up. And they are going to you know see that you are manipulating the search engines and black-hat SEO is not going to work for the long term anyway. Black-hat SEO is unethical. And being ethical is just being greedy for the long term. Being unethical is being greedy for the short term. That’s how I would look at it.
So I would not try to give the search engines, I would not recommend that you try to game the search engines, because there is a genuine way of building content building value for the users, and also for the search engines. So let’s look at search engines from a user perspective.
Search engines are basically an evolution of classified listings, which is yellow pages. So and yellow pages are basically a directory of different distances and long back before search engines existed, people would get this yellow pages book, along with their telephone. And whenever they wanted, let’s say a plumber or electrician or any kind of services or products, they will just look at the phone numbers of these businesses and call these phone numbers directly.
Now, search engines are an evolution of classified listings right instead of going and having a look at the Yellow Pages search engines are being used. So people go to the search engines and search for something. People will only search for something that they know exists right. Usually, content products and services are what people search for content can be news, entertainment, or helpful information. People will not be able to search for something that they don’t even know exists. When you look at search engines are a demand fulfilment engine, not a demand generation engine.
What I need to do is that I need to look for what people are looking for, and then go ahead and give it to them, so people are looking for digital marketing training, and I give my free digital marketing course to people who are looking for digital marketing training. I try to rank a lot of different digital marketing articles on my blog for different keywords. I build my email list. And then I go ahead and sell my internship program to the audience that I already have.
So when you look at Amazon. Amazon is also a search engine, but it has better metrics because they get searches from buyers, not just content seekers. So one of the biggest differences between Google and Amazon is that Google is a search engine. But, Amazon is also a search engine, apart from being an e-commerce store, but people who search for something on Amazon. They are buyers, they are not just looking for content like they are searching for in Google, a search engine, need not be Google. Right. Zomato is a restaurant search engine. practo is a doctor search engine.
Google is a search engine. This is the biggest search engine that we have ever seen. But we have niche search engines as well. And I will also show you a lot of examples of, you know how search engines make money and what are the different types of niche search engines that we have. And you will kind of start you know getting a better idea about it, right. So, whenever you are looking at a search engine, a new product or service which doesn’t have any awareness, cannot be advertised by other search engines fulfil a demand display ads generate demand.
Let’s say, an iPad or a tablet computer wouldn’t have had any search volume in the year 2005, because in 2005 tablet computers, iPads, didn’t even exist. So, today you might have a search query, like, you know, 10 inch Android tablet, or iPad Pro 11 inch or something like that right today you will have a lot of search queries because these products have come into the market. And there is an awareness that has been already built.
So search engines basically fulfil the demand so people search for it, and they get the results from the search engine. But when the iPad was introduced for the first time, they wouldn’t have gone ahead and try to advertise in search, or tablet computers would not have tried to get customers from search because customers are not even looking for it. So, in that case, you need to generate the demand, and demand generation can be done by our display ads YouTube ads viral campaigns, or whatever so
I need to attract people with the search terms that they are already looking for. And then I need to generate demand for this by presenting this to them. So this is something that you know you need to understand, and you will understand this only if you look at this whole ecosystem from a user’s perspective, and end of the day we are all users of search engines as well, so it wouldn’t be very difficult for you to understand this.
How do Search Engines Work?
Now, let’s go ahead and have a look at how to do search engines work. And as I told you, there are three parties involved in the ecosystem, the search engines the users, and the business owners, and we need to look at the entire ecosystem from each person’s perspective.
When you learn how search engines work and how the ecosystem works for the search engines, you will be able to go ahead and even create a search engine in the future for yourself, for your website, and you will also be able to go ahead and make sure that you are appealing to all the parties in the ecosystem, so that they also go ahead and, you know, try to improve your search listings. If you help the search engine the search engines are going to help you if you help the user, then the search engines are going to help you again.
So how search engines work, is to deliver quality and relevant results to their users. It’s not just results, right, it has to be relevant results. And it’s not just relevant results, it has to be quality results relevancy is the most important. So if you are a search engine. And if you want to deliver results to your users. You want to keep the results relevant. Let’s say you are searching for restaurants, but the search engine is showing you a list of supermarkets, it is not going to be useful. It has to be relevant. There are multiple levels of relevancy, let’s say if you search for Tibetan restaurants, but it shows you results of Japanese restaurants, then it is still not relevant, like, it is showing you restaurants, instead of supermarkets, but you need more specificity you need more clarity, the more relevant search results are, the more the people are going to use it, and that’s one of the reasons Google is the most used search engine in the world because the results of Google is the most accurate in the world, other search engines like Yahoo, Bing and ask.com, and a bunch of other search engines kind of stopped, you know, being relevant in the market because their results were not relevant.
Relevancy also includes location subcategory pricing range and more depending on the niche and the search query. There is no limit to, you know how much relevant it can get because there are just, you know, so many factors probably more than a hundred factors when it comes to search queries.
The second is the quality of the results. So first we have relevancy, and second, it has to be quality. Let’s say you are searching for restaurants, the list has to be useful for you to make decisions on which restaurant to go to or what to read, or what to buy. So let’s say you are searching for restaurants and the first result that the company is not close to you. And it’s not a good restaurant, it has bad ratings.
And let’s assume that you know there is a restaurant out there in the city, which is not having great customer service, and does not have great food, but they charge very high. And let’s say this particular restaurant owner, tried to manipulate the search engine to get his restaurant listed on the top. So what basically happens is that it results in a poor user experience, you open a search engine. You try to, you know, search for restaurants, and you go and click on the top listing. And this top listing is actually not useful for you. So, in such a case, if the quality of the results is not great, then it becomes a poor user experience and you will not go to a search engine that gives you a poor user experience right.
So, search engines will also try to give you quality results, and qualities usually determined by a bunch of factors. When it comes to businesses, it might be ratings, when it comes to content, it might be backlinks time spent on site, you know, that is where on-page off-page SEO and a bunch of other things come into play.
To get the best search engine visibility, web designers should follow the Five Basic Rules of Web Design, which state that a web site should be
- Easy to read
- Easy to navigate
- Easy to find
- Consistent in layout and design
- Quick to download
By following these rules, you are building your web site to satisfy your target audience. The added benefit of following these rules is that both directory editors and search engines are looking for these same characteristics.
The following design components help form the foundation of an effective search engine marketing program:
- Text component
- Link component
- Popularity component
Web pages that contain the words that your target audience is typing into search queries generally have greater search engine visibility than pages that contain little or no keywords.
The way your web pages are linked to each other also affects your site’s search engine visibility. If search engine spiders can find your pages quickly and easily, your site has a much better chance of appearing at the top of search results.
If two web sites have the same text component and link component “weights,” the site that end users click the most will usually rank higher. Sometimes, a popular web site will consistently rank higher than sites that use plenty of keywords. Therefore, building a site that appeals to both directory editors and your target audience is very important for maximum search engine visibility.