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SEO BASICS: A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

SEO is optimizing content to be discovered through a search engine’s organic search results. They are like libraries that store copies of websites and Webpages. So when you search for a query, the search engine will look for it through all pages and its index and brings out the most relevant results. SEO helps demonstrate to search engines that your page is that result.

Someone may ask why he should focus on SEO when there are other marketing mediums? But there are three major things that attract marketers to search engine optimization, making SEO the best traffic source. They are

  1. Free search traffic
  2. Organic traffic is typically consistent once you are already ranking high
  3. You have the opportunity to reach massive audiences


  • Crawling and indexation

These two are how Google discovers web pages and create their search index. So to obtain information, Google used spiders (crawlers) to gather any available information from all over the web. The spiders will start crawling from a list of known URLs called seeds and throw the hyperlinks on these pages; they crawl the newly discovered pages. This process goes on and on, allowing them to collect tones of information and then take all these data back to Google service to be added to their search index, and that is what people like you and I are searching through when we queue in a query on Google. If you search for something and Google returns every result that mentions your words on the page, you will end up with horrible results.

  • Google ranking algorithm

Google has hundreds of ranking sequences, and they make adjustments to their search algorithm like 500 to 600 times every year. These regular adjustments make it difficult for anyone to know exactly how the algorithm works. But they have given us clews and some guidelines to better understand the most important factors. In addition, third-party companies have also done studies to test and better understand these factors.


  • Backlinks

These are links from a page from one website to another. According to Google, if other prominent websites link to a page, it is a good sign that the information is well trusted. A study on the effect of backlinks on search traffic showed a positive correlation between backlinks from unique websites and the pages of organic traffic.

  • Search intent

This is simply the reason behind the searchers’ query. And if you think of Google’s work for such, their job is to return the most relevant result for any given query. So with that said, you can discover search intent simply by looking at the top-ranking pages for the query you want to rank for. For example, if you search for weight loss exercises, you will see that the top-ranking pages are blog posts with a list of weight loss exercises.

Weight Loss Exercise Search Intent

So if you are trying to rank a product page or are selling weight loss equipment, then you won’t match search intent, and therefore you won’t rank. But if you change the query to machines for weight loss, you will see that the dominants types of pages are ecommerce category pages.

Machines for Weight Loss Searcher Intent

So if you try to rank a blog post of weight loss exercises, then you probably won’t rank because you are not matching search intent. This is a simple concept to understand, and it would help you a lot in your SEO journey.

  • Content depth

Search intents are made up of computer programs, so they actually can’t read and understand texts like you, and I would do. Nevertheless, Google has poured millions of dollars into creating sophisticated technology that understands the content to a certain degree. But it is your job as a content creator to provide context about the subject. For example,

If you look at the top-ranking pages for the query how to prepare pizza, you will find out that they talk about things like pizza ingredients and a step-by-step guide on how to make pizza. Some even went further to add tips that every novice should know for a better result. This means that basically, your aim should be to answer the searcher’s query the best that you possibly can. And naturally, it should lead to content that has dept. Now it’s important to note that debt doesn’t always translate to length. For example, a topic like How to turn on a desktop computer doesn’t need to and shouldn’t belong. In fact, the top-ranking page is only about 230 words. But the content itself solves the users’ query from start to finish.

Emeka Okorie

Emeka is a microbiologist, a content creator and an affiliate marketer. His marketing style centres around SEO traffic and list building.

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