What is SEO in Digital Marketing? Beginners Guide 2024

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an online marketing tactic to optimize a website to improve its organic visibility in search engine results. It involves changing a website’s structure and content to make it SEO-friendly and drive traffic. 

This is just a basic introduction to SEO. It is a comprehensive concept that comprises various marketing strategies. The aim of SEO is to improve the quality and performance of a website, which will lead to an increased viewer-to-customer conversion rate. 

It is the heart of digital marketing that helps businesses build brand awareness and credibility while boosting their ranks on SERPs. With the right SEO campaign, website can improve its authority and relevance in the eyes of users and search engines, which will further attract maximum organic traffic. 

This blog will define search engine optimization in detail and in clear language. This beginner’s guide will help aspirants take the first step of their SEO and marketing journeys.

What is SEO Marketing?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) includes a set of practices to improving a website’s online visibility on search engines, such as Google and Bing, and increasing organic traffic. It boosts website’s traffic on SERPs, which increases the chances of people discovering it and clicking on its link.

The objective of SEO search optimization technique is to attract more visitors to the website and turn them into loyal buyers or subscribers and compel them to return consistently. 

For example, there is a website publishing blogs, informative content, and tutorials related to technology. However, it doesn’t rank higher on search engines. It can be because of the following reasons:

  • Use of weak or irrelevant keywords
  • Slow loading speed of web pages
  • Bad user experience
  • Competitors have better content
  • Poor link-building practices
  • Website is de-indexed by mistake

Therefore, any website or business that wants to achieve the top rank on search engine pages and drive organic traffic must use SEO strategies. 

SEO is different from PPC, which is a paid advertising technique to appear on the top on SERPs. With SEO, you don’t have to pay to be listed. It’s your credibility and quality content that play a major role. On the other hand, PPC involves paying Google and other search engines to appear at the top. Every time a user clicks on your ad, you pay a specific amount to the search engine. 

Companies often use SEO and PPC campaigns simultaneously to attract as much traffic as possible and seek the benefits of both marketing methods. 

To understand how you can boost the ranking of your website or content, we’ll discuss how SEO works in detail. But before that, let’ take a look at the importance of SEO

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Why is SEO important?

Trillions of searches are conducted on Google and other search engines every year. According to a study, around 83.9 billion people used Google in April 2023 alone. No wonder that Google is a massive source of traffic for most websites. Moreover, more than 60% of website traffic comes from search engines, and organic searches account for 53% of traffic on websites. 

So, even a tiny fraction of these numbers could make a great difference to your website and business. Suppose your website ranks 30 on search engine results, which brings 100 conversions. 

Now, assume it ranks number 1 or even 5 for the same product or service. Imagine the number of conversions you can have. It can reach 10,000 or more units. So, if you are not in the top position, you can lose a significant number of potential consumers and hamper your revenue. 

That is why SEO in digital marketing is an essential tool for businesses. The global SEO industry is expected to reach around $122.11 billion by 2028. It is a major source of traffic and sales for most businesses, brands, and companies, whether they are big or small. Whenever somebody has to find an answer to a query, buy a product, or seek information, they start with a search on Google or other similar search engines. 

SEO can improve your online visibility and search engine rankings, giving you an edge over competitors and driving sales. The best part is you don’t have to pay for the traffic coming via SEO. You just need to invest time and effort in link building and content creation, and your business can receive great rewards. 

Online searches are no longer limited to Google and include social media platforms, web searches, and retailer websites. Also, search engine result pages are now super competitive with various search features and paid ads. There are several SERP features, including:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Featured snippets
  • Maps
  • Knowledge panels
  • People Also Ask
  • Carousels
  • Top stories (news)

Also Read: How to Learn SEO in 2024? Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Businesses and websites are making every effort to mark their presence across all channels, and they rely on SEO to get sustainable results. It builds a strong foundation of holistic marketing, so everything that a business does matters a lot. 

With a solid understanding of SEO and related concepts, you can implement your knowledge across website, marketing campaigns (paid and organic), social media, etc. 

When done right, it drives the traffic required to attain business goals and build trust among users. Here are a few reasons why businesses need SEO to stay in the market:

  • Builds trust and authority
  • Optimizes websites and content
  • Improves user experience
  • Increases web traffic
  • Analyzes and monitors competitors
  • Enhances online visibility
  • Provides competitive advantage

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How does SEO work?

After understanding what search engine optimization means, let’s learn how SEO works. When you search for something on Google, you prefer visiting the first five websites or links to find answer to your queries. There are multiple reasons why those five websites are on the top. 

Google and other search engines consider numerous factors when ranking websites, such as website authority, quality content, backlinks, keywords, trust, etc. SEO focuses on optimizing all such elements of a website so it is accessible to search engines and users. This boosts its rankings on SERPs and improves its visibility. 

The following are the key components that are crucial for any SEO strategy:

Processes: These are the actions we take to enhance the efficiency of SEO campaigns.

People: Marketing professionals working on tactical, strategic, and operational aspects of SEO.

Technology: The tools and platforms marketers use 

Activities: The result or output.

Although no one knows all the factors that search engines assess to rank websites, there are a few aspects that marketers work on to generate results through SEO:

a) Keyword Relevance:

Search engines evaluate keywords used in the content to know if it aligns with users’ search queries or not. Hence, keyword optimization is required to strategically place relevant keywords in meta tags, titles, headers, and throughout the content.

b) Crawling:

Search engines have automated bots, also known as spiders or crawlers, that navigate the web to find quality and useful content. They follow high authority links to discover and index different content. 

c) Indexing:

Once bots crawl web pages, they analyze and store them in the search engine’s index, which is similar to a massive library catalog that search engines refer to while providing answers to search queries. 

d) Content:

Developing quality content is important to show search engines that you offer informative, valuable, and engaging content. Make sure that your content meets users’ search intent, providing comprehensive answers to users.

e) Ranking Algorithms:

Each search engine has a complex algorithm to analyze the authority and relevance of indexed content for different queries. These algorithms include different factors, such as user experience, keyword relevance, backlinks, content quality, etc. 

f) Backlinks:

Inbound links are links you build from other websites to yours. High-quality links show trust and authority, which boosts your website’s rankings. 

Also Read: All Types of Keywords in SEO With Examples (2024 Guide)

Basics of SEO

Search engine optimization is a continuous process that involves numerous factors coming together to generate desired results. Below, we have discussed all the important things needed to develop a comprehensive SEO strategy:

1. Keyword Research

Keyword research refers to finding relevant and quality search terms that people enter into the search box. You must pull out relevant keywords to create optimized content and rank higher on search engines. Find relevant keywords to reach the target audience by using different cutting-edge tools, such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, etc. Your keywords should have the right balance of competition and search volume.  

a) Elements of Keyword Research

Keyword research is much more than simply creating a list of relevant phrases and words using keyword research tools. While selecting the right keywords for the content, you need to pay attention to a few factors, including search intent, relevance, and competition. Here are the key elements of keyword research:

b) Search Intent:

You must evaluate search intent to zero in on the keywords that can increase conversions and lead to sales. You need to analyze what the target audience is looking for and then offer products or services that align with their demands.

c) Relevance:

Choose keywords that are relevant to your business and attract the target audience. So, if you offer technical courses, you don’t want people looking for consulting services or technical services. Your target audience includes aspirants, working professionals, and students who want to learn and upskill themselves.

d) Competition:

In the beginning, avoid selecting keywords that are too competitive and have high search volumes. If you are a startup or small brand, it can challenging to rank higher for keywords with thousands of searches every day. The best way is to avoid short-tail keywords and go for long-tail keywords, as they are easier to rank for and bring more targeted traffic. 

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2. Content

No matter what type of content you develop, text, videos, images, or infographics, it must be SEO-friendly and of top quality to engage users. Also, the published content should be updated regularly to keep it relevant. 

a) Elements of Content

Here are the major elements of creating optimized content for your website:

b) Quality Content:

A few years back, creating quality content wasn’t a challenging task. However, with the rapid increase in competition, the standard of content has also increased significantly. Writing lengthy articles is not enough for Google to trust you. 

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In an update by Google in August 2022, it introduced an important point: rewarding sites that offer exceptional user experience. You must cover an array of topics and produce comprehensive write-ups that provide useful information, engage readers, add value to user experience, and attract more links.  

c) Intent:

Your content must match users’ search intent because Google and search engines highly emphasize this factor when ranking websites. The keywords you target in the content must match the users’ intent that Google has assigned to those search terms. So, understand what users want while searching for a query and accordingly offer exactly that. 

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  • Ashima Jain

    Ashima Jain is a Content Editor and Strategist at WsCube Tech and has been in the content marketing industry for 6 years. She is a writer by day and a reader by night. It was actually her love for reading that made her try her hands at writing. She has completed her postgraduation in Economics and Financial Management and has also done diploma courses in Journalism and Digital Marketing. When not working, you can find her in a cafe enjoying a cup of joe and a book.