What is SEO (search engine optimization)? To answer it briefly, it's the technique that attracts free traffic from search engines like Bing, Google, Baidu, Yandex and others. The free traffic happens each and every time somebody performs a search on the search engines before mentioned and the most well optimized website appears on the 1st position and the user performing the search clicks on the result.

All major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo have so called primary search results, where indexed web pages and other content such as videos or local listings get shown and ranked based on what these search engine considers most relevant to users conducting the search, based on their location, language and other factors.

What is SEO?

What is SEO?

Technically, the search engines use complex mathematical formulas called algorithms to give a score to every website and match every search people to do in them to figure out which website should rank best for what these searches are really looking for. Think of the algorithms like collection of empty buckets. One bucket gives you, the website owner, a score for the quality of your website, one bucket gives your site a score for how many sites link back to yours, one bucket gives your website a score for how people trust it. Your job as the website owner is to fill up more buckets in the search engines algorithms than any other websites competing with you. You can affect your website search engine ranking by having the highest score in terms of website quality, of having the highest score in terms of domain authority for your website, of having the highest score in terms of the most well reviewed or trusted store for that search people are doing. The good thing is that there are hundreds of buckets (opportunities), and for every single one of these opportunities these scores put together in the algorithms to figure out where you rank is always an opportunity for you to fill it up and rank better. So optimizing your website for search results really means getting the highest score in as many of these opportunity points as you can.

So thinking about it, SEO is really just a process of proving to the big search engines that you are the best website there, the most authoritative, the most trusted and safe, the most unique and interesting site that they can offer to their customer - the ones doing the searches. Get many people to talk about you, review you, produce great quality content, get people to link to back to your website, and Google, Bing and all the others will be more confident that your website is the best result that they can offer to their visitors, and that’s when you will start ranking on the first page of these search engines and when free visits will start showing.

More academic research on the topic:

1. What is SEO

1.1. Introduction

SEO is the set of techniques, inside and outside the website, that are used to improve the positioning of a content in the results returned by a search engine by entering a certain keyword. SEO corresponds to the acronym Search Engine Optimizacionque in Spanish means optimization for search engines. We will start by defining what is SEO, an acronym in English that means optimization for search engines. They consist of a series of techniques that we can apply to our Web Page (SEO On Page) and other actions that we can do in other Internet sites (SEO Off Page) that have as objective that when a search is done in Google by the keywords worked with the SEO On Page and SEO Off Page our Web page appears in the first positions of the pages of results also known as SERPs.

Given that Google has more than 90% of the market share of searches, it is referred to as Google or SEO in Google. Other names frequently used to refer to SEO are: Web Positioning, Search Engine Positioning or Internet Positioning. Normally SEO is not an objective in itself but a part of the online marketing strategy that usually consists of 3 elements:
1. Impressions, which are achieved through SEO.
2.CTR, we want this ratio to be as high as possible and for visitors to click on the content that we have positioned
3. Conversions, visits to our website that become customers or leads. The alternative is the sponsored positioning also known as SEM, for which an entity pays Google so that its website comes out in the first positions of the search engine, above the so-called organic positioning, which is the one dealt with in this manual.

1.2. How position is determined on Google

When someone enters a keyword in Google, it returns a series of results, 10 per page. These pages that contain the search results are known as SERPs by its acronym in English.
The order and position in which web pages are displayed in the SERPs is determined by Google's algorithm, the exact functioning of which is secret, although Google offers general guidelines and recommendations to position it as best as possible.
Sudden variations in positioning are called Google Dance (Danzade Google), is a common term used in the positioning of web pages in Google. It occurs frequently in a short period of time, which may be hours you hate. Finally the order stabilizes.

The algorithm of Google has been receiving different names according to each one of its versions. In the website of the well-known MOZ service we have a complete list of all the important changes that have affected the Google algorithm.

The best-known Google algorithms are:
● Google Vince (2009), improves the positioning of brands giving importance to reputation and authority. This favored the big brands.
● Google Caffeine (2009), increased the speed with which Google web spiders search for changes to index pages faster.
● Google Venice (2012), improves the results of local searches by geolocating the user to offer the results related to their environment.
● Google Penguin (2012-2016), penalizes the misuse of inbound links.
● Google Panda (2011), prioritize content quality.
● Google Hummingbird Hummingbird (2013). It is the most important modification fromGoogle Caffeine. It gives more relevance to searches with complex sentences and natural conlang.
● Google Pigeon (2014), improves the user experience by offering search results based on their location and improvements in spelling correction.

1.3. SEO vs SEM

In general, it is considered that an SEO strategy of organic positioning is more effective than a SEM strategy of medium-term payment positioning. Although it is very important to emphasize that both are compatible and can coexist, it is more, it is a recommendation of ours.
In the following infographic you can check the percentage difference in clicks between content positioned by SEO or SEM.

1.4. How to do an SEO project

To start an SEO project we will make a document where we will reflect the needs of the client, its positioning objectives, the key words for which it wants to appear in the first positions of the SERPs, the existing competition and the period of time necessary for it.

One of the first questions that customers interested in an ESO project usually ask is how much it will cost. However, this is impossible to answer without prior analysis. We must know for how many keywords you want to compete, it is not the same as 10, it is also necessary to take into account the number of results returned by the key words and if there is a geographical factor, for example "neveras Mataró" returns 61,000 results and "refrigerators Barcelona "510,000, logically in the second case it is always necessary to work harder to achieve results.
An SEO project has a timeline, not by entering many contents at the beginning we will be immediately positioned in the first pages of Google, usually takes a time that is lengthened or shortened depending on the resources that are invested.
It is not worth doing analysis to pages that are starting to build or have less than 3 months of presence on the Internet, to start studies and tests we must wait at least 3 months, not since we registered the Web, but after having entered all the contents and relevant optimizations.

Here we will see some practical examples based on real experience.
● For new pages or a few months old, although they are well designed and with ample contents, the concepts will take months to start "uploading" in Google, and they will only do so if all the aspects discussed in this article are well done. It will be a slow but sure result.
● In a "new" page, that is to say that it has between 3 and 6 months you can quickly position an article if you have many visits, we have verified how a news with 500 visits in 24 hours appears in 36 hours on the 1st page of Google over 1,000,000 references, but when the number of visits drops by 48-72 hours the article falls to the 7th-8th page.
● In a well-designed website with an average of 2,000 visits per month, weekly incorporation of content, after a year all the news that is added will appear in the first pages of Google at 48 hours if 2 keywords are in the address of the page and in the title, then it falls a bit. These are experimental results that may be subject to variation by the Google criteria changes.

2. SEO on Page

In this chapter we will explain all those factors that influence the positioning of a web page according to its structure and content, therefore a division of the factors according to these concepts is carried out.

2.1. Structure of the web

2.1.1. Structure of web pages

In the structure of pages, each key concept that we want to highlight in our website should have its own page with its title, description and contents where there are references to the concept. A well structured page will position better.
There are two types of web structures: horizontal and vertical. Within the vertical structure one must know is the silo structure where the pages are organized in a hierarchical manner according to their content. If the second level of the structure is made up of pages that expand the content of the page of the upper level generating keywords in addition to the upper one, then we have a very powerful way of positioning pages. An excellent example of this structure is the Guide 40 SEO of Fever and that occupies the first positions of the SERPs by several keywords.

2.1.1. Pillar articles

Are those items that interest positioning with priority over other content. In a silo structure would be the reference items that would be in the top position. If we have a blog with many articles we can use Google Analytics to see which are the most important and most visits that are the most traffic to the website.
The Yoast SEO Premium plugin offers when writing which are the recommended articles that will link to do the interlinking within our web. A strategy to improve the SEO of these articles is to add them to the Home page or to the menus. These menu links can also come out as extended information if someone does a search for our name.

2.1.2. Optimize category pages and labels

Category pages and tags (tags) position very well if they are configured correctly. To adapt the page of categories and / or labels for SEO, an article is introduced in the header of the same that is fully optimized for SEO, keywords, put them in bold and in H2, images with ALT, etc.
This system works very well to position because it meets two requirements of Google:
● SEO content (the one in the header)
● Continuous refreshment by automatically incorporating the new items that are being generated for the category or label.

The precaution that must be taken is to avoid that the name of the category cannibalize the key words that we have well positioned with another article of the Web or between both taxonomies.
Creating many labels for each entry to position by the keyword of the tag does not usually give results if in the end we have many entries with a single label. This system does not have the continuous refresh and is not well positioned by Google according to several web pages analyzed.

2.1.3. Elements related to the domain

1.Name of the domain or web, is the first and most important factor of all, if there is a word that is fundamental for us it must be in the name of the Web page. As of today (2018) it is not so important to include keywords in the domain. If the keyword is at the beginning better, if you have the exact keyword combination also better (ExactMatch Domain). The closer they are to the root of the domain the better.
2. Age of the domain, to the oldest best. It is not vital but the older the better, it is combined with frequent updates is more powerful still. A study published by Ahrefs reveals that old web pages dominate the first page of Google's search results and the new ones, with less than a year to live, represent only 0.3% of the top ten search engine results pages. for 2 million keywords selected at random.
3. Register of the domain, if you have paid 4 years instead of a better one and if you have had one entity also better. Have a public whois and a clean record of penalties.
4. Extension of the domain, it is important to extend the domain in the field of laterritoriality. A page will be more relevant in the Spanish Google if it has the .es domain. The new extensions of TLD names position the same as the traditional ones.
5. Key words chained in the URL, for example to position SEO and effective tools: midominio.com/seo/tools.
6. Key word in subdomains, as the previous case. Although it must be taken into account that the subdomains position separately as if they were independent websites
7. Domain with or without www? There must be a default domain with www or without www, WordPress generates it by default with www and in Google Search Console we can confirm one or the other. It is indifferent in terms of SEO to use the domain with www or without www what you do not have to do is change it over time because it generates problems in search engines.
8.URL of the pages. is the 2nd criterion in importance for Google, the name of the page. The pages that are called midominio.com/modules.php?name=ejer&op=53, do not rank well as descriptive URLs or permalinks.
9.Title of the page, the title of the page is the name given by us and can coincide in that they are the same or similar words as the address. In a search Google gives relevance to the title, when the words of the title match those of the search, it stands out in bold.

2.1.4. Influence of hosting on SEO

● Load speed of the page, at higher speed better positioning. Of caraal great number of consultations from mobiles is also very important. We can use Google Page Speed ​​to control this section. Reference values ​​for Pagespeed are 60 for mobile and 70 for PC.
● Hosting of quality that guarantees the previous point and that does not suffer frequent falls.
● Hosting in the country, having a hosting in the same country to which the contents of the page are directed also helps to improve the positioning of the same.
● Hosting authority, the more important is the best hosting company for SEO.
● Having SSL certificates helps the authority of all pages, e-Commerce and all others.

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