What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization (SEO) and its relationship to webpage ranking is crucial for any business. Having a good understanding of SEO will let you know what steps to take to improve organic search results (search rankings) and beat those search engine algorithms. The purpose of your web pages is to drive quality traffic and, therefore, sales.

One knowledge bite for SEO 101 basics is that if your webpage ranking is low, it means that potential customers cannot find you.

Now imagine not being found! That is not what you want, is it? SEO and website rank go hand in hand. One needs the other without any doubt.

In this guide, we will take you through the “whats,” “whys,” and “hows” of the many different facets of SEO.

You’ve landed on the ultimate SEO beginners guide, where you’ll get a crash course on the fundamentals of this core aspect of digital marketing.

With that said and done, let’s start from the beginning!

What are search engine optimization and webpage ranking?

Search Engine Optimization, popularly known as SEO, is the practice of driving website visitors – also called “traffic” – to a website via organic means while raising its search engine ranking based on certain criteria.

In other words, the goal of SEO is to get your website ranking higher on search engine result pages (SERPs). It sounds like a difficult task, but there are countless ways website owners can optimize their website. These help you rank better, get more traffic and drive conversions – win-win!

A strong SEO strategy optimizes a website to provide the optimal user experience, utilizing different techniques to appeal to search engines bots too. There are so many techniques and ways to go about it, SEO can be viewed as an art as well as a science. But this begs the question – why do it at all?

What does SEO include?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs). Four different factors can influence a website’s ranking in the SERPs, and SEO professionals work to optimize websites for as many of these factors as possible. These factors are:

Technical SEO

Technical SEO includes optimizing a website’s code and structure for better indexing and crawling by search engine bots.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO involves optimizing the content and design of individual web pages to make them more relevant and engaging for users and search engines.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO encompasses activities like link building and social media engagement that can help to raise a website’s profile.

Content SEO

Content SEO refers to creating high-quality, keyword-rich content that will help to improve a website’s ranking in the SERPs.

By focusing on all aspects of SEO, businesses can give themselves the best chance of achieving success in the highly competitive world of online search.

What is a search engine, and which one is commonly used in Hong Kong?

A search engine is a tool that helps you find information on the internet. The most common search engine is Google, which is used by billions of people around the world.

However, there are other search engines available, such as Bing and Yahoo.

In Hong Kong, the most popular search engine is Google. This is because it provides reliable results and has a user-friendly interface.

What is the most popular search engine in Hong Kong?

It’s Google! Read more about some of the latest Google SEO trends for Hong Kong.

Additionally, Google offers many useful features, such as search suggestions and web history. As a result, it is no surprise that Google is the go-to search engine for many people in Hong Kong.

What is a SERP Page, and what are its features?

SERP stands for search engine results page. It is the page that is shown to a user after they have entered a query into a search engine.

The SERP page includes a list of results that are relevant to the user’s query. The results are typically sorted by relevancy, with the most relevant results appearing first.

The SERP page may also include other features, such as ads and images. SERP pages constantly change as new results are added, and more relevant results are sorted to the top.

Therefore, it is important for businesses to keep their SERP pages up-to-date to ensure that they appear at the top of the list. SERP pages are an essential part of the internet, and they are here to stay!

How does a search engine work: index and crawl?

SEO 101 Basics, bots and crawlers
These creepy bots job is to crawl your website.

Imagine you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. Now imagine that the haystack is the entire internet, and the needle is the one piece of information you’re trying to find. That’s what search engines are up against whenever someone types a query into the search bar. But how do they do it?

The answer lies in two processes: crawling and indexing. Crawling is when search engine bots scour the internet, following links from one page to the next to discover new content.

Indexing is when those bots take all the information they’ve gathered during the crawl and create an index, which is a giant database of everything they’ve found.

When you type a query into a search engine, it uses that index to find websites that match your search terms and displays them in the results.

So that’s how a search engine works: crawl and index. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, but those are the basics.

And the next time you use a search engine, you’ll know just how amazing it is that you can find exactly what you’re looking for in such a vast and chaotic place like the internet.

Ranking factors by Google: What factors determine search engine rankings?

Webpage ranking and SEO, how to get there.
Image courtesy of Moz

Now that we’ve outlined how search engines work, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of what criteria search engines use to actually rank pages in their index.

Did you know, as part of your SEO 101 basics knowledge, that there are over 200 individual factors that determine site ranking, we will summarize the ones you need to know the most.

SEO techniques fall into one of two categories: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO refers to altering the elements of the web page you can actually see.

This involves optimizing the HTML code, the onsite content quality, and its structure. In off-page SEO, you’ll focus on practices outside of the website, including building backlinks, ensuring they are relevant, accumulating social signals, and more.

Want more sales? Want more leads?

See how First Page can drive insane sales. See real results from your SEO campaign!. Contact us!

Algorithm updates by Google.

Google’s algorithm updates are enough to make even the most seasoned SEO expert pull their hair out.

The seemingly endless cycle of changes can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that Google is just trying to improve the user experience.

After all, that’s what its algorithm is designed to do. The most recent updates target two types of content: helpful content (aka Helpful Content Update) and spam content (Spam Content Update).

Helpful content will be rewarded with higher rankings, while spammy content will be demoted.

This update is just one more example of how Google is constantly working to ensure that its users get the best possible results when they search for something.

Like to learn more Google’s recent updates?

We have a great on-page Google Helpful Content Update post you can read to learn more fast!

Why SEO is important to a website / online business.

SEO and webpage ranking
Improve your ranking today!

For businesses, simply having a website is not enough. Your webpage ranking is also important. To make this happen and to get the most out of your website, you need to implement SEO best practices.

If you’re running a website, there’s one thing you need to care about above all else: search engine optimization.

Here’s why: SEO is how you get found on the internet. When somebody looks up something relevant to your site on a search engine like Google, chances are they’ll find a whole bunch of results. And where do you think you want your site to be?

Right at the top! People rarely bother to click past the first page or two of results, so if your site isn’t near the top, it might as well not exist.

Luckily, that’s where SEO comes in. By optimizing your site for search engines, you can make sure it appears near the top of the results for relevant keywords.

That means more traffic for you and more business for your website. So if you’re not already paying attention to SEO, it’s time to start. Your future depends on it.

With a strong SEO strategy behind you, you’ll achieve better outcomes and experience more tangible benefits from your website, ultimately resulting in more revenue for your business.

So how does it all work? SEO uses organic methods to gain organic traffic, but this type of organic isn’t talking about your fruit and vegetables!

What does organic mean in SEO?

SEO 101 Basics, SERP

The term “organic traffic” refers to searchers who locate your website by:

  • Directly typing in your website URL
  • A link from another website
  • Unpaid Google search listings

The third point is the one site owners have the most direct power to influence, and therefore will be our main focus in this guide.

An unpaid Google search listing is also called an organic listing, which means that the site achieved its webpage ranking by using SEO to get there rather than using paid search engine marketing (SEM) methods.

Websites that achieve rank 1 for their webpage ranking on a set of search terms in Google, Baidu, Bing or any other search engine get the lion’s share of organic traffic.

According to studies by Search Engine Journal, over 25% of searches end in the user clicking an organic page 1 search result. Additionally, the first five search results account for 70.4% of all clicks.

This puts organic traffic and SEO right at the top of the digital marketing hierarchy. But how do search engines work out which websites go where on SERPs?

Want more sales? Want more leads?

See how First Page can drive insane sales. See real results from your SEO campaign!. Contact us!

More detail on the most critical on-page SEO ranking factors.

Here are some of on-page SEO ranking factors you should be mindful of:

1. Keywords

These are the search terms that users type into search engines. By including search terms nominated through research on a relevant platform, your website stands a better chance of ranking higher. A note of caution: onsite content must be readable, first and foremost. “Stuffing” keywords where they don’t make sense can actually decrease your ranking, as it is not an ethical SEO practice.

2. Content Relevance

High-quality content reads well, contains the keywords you want to rank for, and is relevant to what the user is searching for. Content is your primary directive for achieving engagement and can include video and pictures as well as the written word.

3. Webpage Structure

This refers to the HTML tags that communicate succinctly to search bots. The easier your page structure is for them to understand, the more favorably your site will be indexed. These include optimizing meta descriptions, meta tags, header tags (H1, H2, etc.), and more.

These ensure users have easy access to other relevant pages on your site, making it easier for bots to crawl and navigate your website too.

5. Page Optimization

On the performance side of things, page load speed and optimization for different platforms or devices also contribute to your site’s ranking. For instance, if your images are too large and take ten seconds to load, this isn’t good. Likewise, now that mobile SEO is crucial, you can no longer get away with not having a mobile-optimized website.

Like to learn more about on-page SEO?

We have a great on-page SEO blog post you can read to learn more fast!

More detail on the most critical off-page SEO ranking factors.

Here are some of off-page SEO ranking factors you should be mindful of:

1. Domain Authority

This evaluates how trustworthy your domain name is. This considers numerous factors, such as how many other domains link to yours and how long you’ve had it.

Arguably the king of off-page SEO, your backlink profile is the collection of links from other sites that point to yours. Building backlinks is challenging, but taking measures like posting a link to your website on social media and doing guest blogs, among others, can go a long way.

Common SEO tools (e.g. keyword research tools / Website Audit tools / Performance Analysis Tools).

Any good SEO campaign starts with keyword research. After all, how can you optimize your website for search engines if you don’t know which keywords people are using to find your site?

Fortunately, there are plenty of keyword research tools available, such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Moz Keyword Explorer.

Once you’ve identified the right keywords, it’s time to audit your website. This will help you identify areas that need improvements, such as broken links or duplicate content. There are many website audit tools available, including Screaming Frog and Lumar.

Finally, you need to monitor your website’s performance to ensure that your SEO efforts are paying off. Google Analytics is a great option for this, as it provides detailed insights into your website’s traffic and engagement levels.

Can you do SEO by yourself?

SEO is a tricky business, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. You might be thinking to yourself, “Can I really do SEO myself?” The answer is maybe.

If you’re the type of person who’s always tinkering with your website, trying to get just the right mix of keywords and content, you might be able to pull it off.

But SEO is also a full-time job, and if you’re already working full-time on your business, you might not have the time or energy to tackle it yourself.

How easy is SEO to do by yourself?

SEO is also a full-time job, do ask yourself… Do I have the time? If not, best to leave it to professionals or an SEO agency. Contact us!

That’s where an SEO agency comes in. An SEO agency can help you create optimized content for search engines and get your site in front of potential customers.

So if you’re wondering whether you can do SEO yourself, the answer is maybe.

But if you want to ensure that your website gets the most traffic possible, it might be worth hiring an SEO agency.

What issues could you face if doing SEO by yourself?

Doing your own SEO can be incredibly rewarding. After all, who doesn’t love getting free organic traffic from Google and being top of search results?

However, it can also be a bit of a minefield – especially if you’re not up-to-date with the latest algorithm changes. Also, using tools like Google Search Console can be difficult to master.

One of the biggest issues you could face is ranking. If your page cannot get keyword ranking, then it’s basically invisible to Google.

Another issue is that your page might not be crawled by Google at all. This means that even if you do have great content, no one will ever see it.

So, unless you’re confident that you know what you’re doing, it might be worth leaving the SEO to the professionals. This is so much better than trying to have search engines discover your website blindfolded!

Why an SEO company or agency can help you succeed!

There’s no denying that SEO is a complex and ever-changing field. Trying to keep up with the latest algorithm updates and best practices can be a full-time job in itself.

And that’s where an SEO company or agency can really help you succeed. By staying on top of the latest industry developments, they can help you ensure your website is always optimized for the search engines.

In addition, they can provide valuable insights into your website’s performance and offer recommendations for improvements.

So if you’re looking to give your website a boost in the search engine rankings, an SEO company or agency can definitely help you achieve your goals.

Why should you pick First Page as your reliable SEO company?

You’re looking for an SEO company to help your website rank higher, but there are so many options out there. How do you know who to trust?

It can be hard to know who to trust when it comes to SEO. Many companies make big promises but don’t deliver results.

First Page is a top-ranked SEO agency in Hong Kong that has helped businesses just like yours see real results. We have the experience and expertise necessary to help you beat the competition and reach the top of the search engine rankings.

Ready to reach page one on Google?

We know you want to make real money! Get ready to convert customers like crazy. Please do not delay. Contact us today!

Unsure of getting in touch? We don’t bite! If you’d prefer, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services. Don’t delay, get ahead of the competition now!