SEO for beginners

For a web page to be successful, it is essential that potential customers can easily find it on the web, especially when visitors access it through search engines such as Google. Bringing a website to the highest positions in the results of the main search engines, involves using SEO tools, acronyms that correspond to Search Engine Optimization. We have compiled the basic concepts and the most common terms when talking about SEO optimization of web pages.

What is SEO?

For some years, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the main branches of Online Marketing and its operation is very simple: those quality content, focused on the user get a better position in the search engines. While SEO is based on the organic or natural positioning of a web based on its content, the SEA or Search Engine Advertising seeks to improve it through paid advertising. Both areas are part of the so-called search engine marketing or SEM (Search Engine Marketing). The latter defines in general all the activity of online marketing in search engines.

Organic and sponsored results

When a search is made in the network, two lists of results are obtained, organic and sponsored, the latter being the result of paid advertising campaigns carried out with the Google AdWords tool. These sponsored links appear in the results as such, visually differentiated from the organic ones, which are the result of a correct optimization of their contents thanks to a previous SEO analysis, and not of payment campaigns.

What is the goal of SEO?

The idea is basically to get an online project, be it a store, a blog or a news portal, to appear at the top of the Google organic results list. For this it is necessary to optimize the contents of the web according to the most relevant keywords (keywords) searched by users. A page dedicated to the sale of women’s bags, for example, will be interested in search terms such as “cheap women’s bags”, “buy women’s bags” and other possible variations. If you can position yourself among the top positions, you will have a better chance of getting a potential client to click on your link. And although there are other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo, Google is still the most widely used search engine worldwide.

Advantages and disadvantages of SEO

One of the great advantages of the application of SEO techniques is profitability, since positioning is not achieved by paying, but rather it is the result of a well-achieved content. The organic optimization of a web page implies a greater investment of time and money, but in comparison with the expenses involved in a payment campaign, the long-term results are more satisfactory.

Once Google has detected that a web page is visited frequently by readers or clients and that, depending on the offer, they also buy from it and recommend it in their circle, it is possible to build a good reputation online, thus improving the position of the web in the search engine ranking. Thanks to the large number of SEO analysis tools available, such as SISTRIX or Searchmetrics, it is possible to analyze the success of your own website, as well as that of the competition, to see what measures have worked on other pages. (For more information we recommend the guide of the best SEO tools).

SEO also has its disadvantages, among them, depending on Google and the updates it carries out regularly. A good SEO strategy that has worked well for months can stop doing it with a new update of the Google algorithm. Building a good reputation can cost weeks and even months, and involves expenses that are difficult to foresee, while paid advertising usually yields results in a few hours. Of course, once the campaign of SEA (paid advertising) the page loses visibility fairly quickly, while SEO optimization guarantees positive results that remain long term.

SEO OnPage and OffPage basics

SEO is applied in two major areas: OnPage and OffPage. With SEO OnPage visibility is achieved through the structure and quality of the web page: content, format and images, among others, play a fundamental role. SEO OffPage, on the other hand, is responsible for carrying out measures outside a web page: seeking to indicate to Google that the contents of this are also relevant for readers of other websites. Here it is decisive to have external links. A successful SEO strategy has to take these two aspects into account.

SEO OnPage

OnPage optimization consists of all those actions that are carried out within the same page, so that they depend largely on the administrator and not on third parties, as in the case of OffPage. It is mainly concerned with the adaptation of contents, although the structural and technical components also play an important role.

The most important fields of action of SEO OnPage:

  1. Content : Our objective is to offer information of great value, novel and relevant, what is called unique content in marketing (Unique Content). Duplicate content and plagiarism of information are not allowed, and the use of keywords should not exceed the readable, being able to use synonyms. Do not forget that the texts are directed to a person, not exclusively Google’s robot.
  2. Structure : In addition to good content, format elements such as titles, subtitles, paragraphs and lists increase the readability of articles for both the user and Google.
  3. Multimedia content : Images, videos and graphics are an ideal way to enrich texts, but for Google to “read” it is necessary that the word or keywords are also found in the file name, in the title and in the description (Alt).
  4. Metadata : Metatags also include information that browsers and search engines can interpret. The most important attributes for an OnPage optimization are the title and description.
  5. Links : Internal links not only help users navigate through a page, but also Google. When it comes to optimizing the internal structure of links, it is essential that the clickstream, or the path a user follows and its registration, is not very long.
  6. Programming : Another aspect to take into account is the optimization of the source code, where you can also apply a user-friendly design for search engines: excessive load times, drops or failures in the code are fatal signs for Google.

SEO OffPage

OffPage optimization includes those practices that indirectly affect the page, that is, that take place “outside” the page – unlike the OnPage, which takes place on the same web. They can be considered as a kind of “signals” that point to the website from the outside and that Google interprets as “votes of confidence”. When page A links to page B, it favors the online reputation of page B, because Google understands that the content of this page is especially relevant; Page B increases its authority and, therefore, its positioning. The backlinks (inbound links) and mentions from other pages or from social networks are, thus, a very important factor to take into account when it comes to getting a good position in the list of results.

The most important fields of action of SEO OffPage:

  • Linkbuilding:  Links are one of the most important factors when positioning a web page, since they serve to measure the degree of estimation of a page. This is why the creation of links or linkbuilding concentrates a large part of the efforts of SEO OffPage. This concept defines the set of measures that are taken to generate incoming links (this is not about quantity, but quality) and achieve agreements with third parties through various strategies.
  • Social signals:  This concept refers to all those indicators that come from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+, although in some cases you can also include comments on blogs. Although there are no official figures that support the importance of these signals for the positioning in the search engines and the opinions of the experts are in this disparate field, it is a fact that the positive signals (the number of “I like”, the number of times share content and comments) are not entirely irrelevant. Those companies that are active in social networks through contests, surveys and other strategies, get an increase in visibility, qualified visits and customer engagement.