Welcome to your SEO learning journey!
What you’re going to get from this guide is almost all if your inclination to learn search engine optimization (SEO) is overreached only by your desire to execute and test concepts.
This guide comes with all the vital aspects of SEO, from perceiving the terms and phrases that can produce qualified traffic to your site, to making your website friendly to search engines, to getting links and marketing the great, unique value of your website.
The world of search engine optimization is intricated and ever-changing, however, you could easily lay hold on the basics, and even a small amount of knowledge can make all the difference. Meanwhile, free SEO education is also widely present on the websites, bringing in guides like this! (yay!)
If you combine this great piece of information with some practice, then you will be well on your way to become an expert SEO.
Here’s what you’ll find in the guide
Did you ever hear of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Basically, it’s a theory of psychology that prioritize the basic human needs (like air, water, food, and physical safety) over more advanced needs (like esteem and social belonging). The theory is that you can’t obtain the needs first without a guarantee the basic needs are met first. Love doesn’t matter if you don’t have food.
Our founder, Faizan Akram, made a similar arrangement to throw light on why people need to go about SEO, and we’ve affectionately named it “Maslow’s hierarchy of SEO needs.”
- Crawl accessibility so engines can reach and index your content
- Compelling content that answers the searcher’s query
- Keyword optimized to attract searchers & engines
- Great user experience including fast load speed, ease of use, and compelling UI on any device
- Share-worthy content that earns links, citations, and amplification
- Title, URL, & description to draw high CTR in the rankings
- Snippet/schema markup to stand out in SERPs
Here’s what it looks like:
Throughout this guide, we’ll go through each of these areas, however, we love introducing it here because it provides a look at how our local SEO Pakistan specialists designed the guide as a whole:
CHAPTER 1: SEO 101
What is it, and why is it really important?
For true beginners. Know what SEO (search engine optimization) is, why it does matter, and all the need-to-know basic to begin yourself right.
CHAPTER 2: HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK – CRAWLING, INDEXING, AND RANKING
First, you need to show up.
If search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo can’t find you, then your work doesn’t matter. This chapter shows how the robots of search engines crawl the internet to find your website and bring in to their indexes.
CHAPTER 3: KEYWORD RESEARCH
Figure out what your audience wants to find.
If you want to get rewarded by search engines, target users first. This third chapter of the beginner’s guide to SEO covers keyword research and other methods to go for what your audience is finding.
CHAPTER 4: ON-SITE OPTIMIZATION
Use your research to craft your message.
This is a large chapter, bringing in an optimized design, user experience, information architecture, and all the ways you can set right how you publish your content to optimize its visibility and resonance with your audience.
CHAPTER 5: TECHNICAL SEO
With basic technical, practical knowledge, you can optimize your website for search engine and build credibility with developers.
By executing the responsive design, robot directives, and many other technical elements, bringing in structured data and meta tags, you can tell Big G (a robot itself) what your website offers. This actually allows it rank for the right things.
CHAPTER 6: LINK BUILDING & ESTABLISHING AUTHORITY
Turn up the volume.
Once you’ve got everything perfect, now the moment is to build your good influence by catching attention and earning links from other relative websites and influencers.
CHAPTER 7: MEASURING, PRIORITIZING, & IMPLEMENTING SEO
Prepare yourself for success.
An important part of any SEO strategy is being well aware of what’s working and what’s not, setting your approach up approach as you move along.
THE SEO GLOSSARY
Understand key terms and phrases.
Learning SEO may sometimes experience like learning another language, with all the jargon and industry terms you’re thought to understand. This chapter-by-chapter glossary will assist you to know all the new words.
How much of this guide I should read?
If you’re really interested in improving search traffic and don’t know anything about search engine optimization, we strongly recommend you reading this guide front-to-back. We’ve made this guide as short and easy to understand as possible. Meanwhile, what’s the important first step to achieving your online business goals is to learn the basics of SEO.
Start on the step that looks right on you, and don’t forget to take a note of a lot of resources we link to all through the chapters – they’re also valuable.
Are you getting excited? You would be! Search engine marketing is an awesome field and can be great fun! If you get confused on any step of this guide, don’t give up; we have teams of specialists who can help you with instructor-led SEO training seminars.
We’re really excited seeing you here! Grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive into Chapter 1 (SEO 101).
What is it, and why is it so important?
Welcome! We’re tickled pink that you’re here!
Do you already have a complete understanding of SEO and know why it’s crucial? Skip to Chapter 2 (but we’d still put forward skimming the good practices from Big G and Bing at the end of this chapter; they’re valuable refreshes).
Through this chapter (SEO 101), we will help you beef up their foundational SEO knowledge and confidence as you move forward.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It’s the doing of maximizing the quality, as well as quantity, of the site traffic and advertising to your company, through non-paid (also called “organic”) search engine results.
In spite of acronym, search engine optimization is as much about folks as much it’s about search engines themselves. However, SEO is all about mastery what folks are searching for online, the questions they are asking for answers, the words they are typing, and the type of content they wish to use. If you know the answer to these questions, then it will help you tie up with the internet users who are searching online for the solution you provide.
If knowing your target people’s purpose is one side of the SEO coin, offering it in a way search engine crawler could get and figure out is the other. So, you will take in both in this complete guide.
What does that word mean?
If you get in trouble with any of the definitions in this chapter, head over to our SEO services.
Search engine basics
Search engines are answers machines. So, big search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo scour million of content’s pieces and weigh up thousand of factors to single out which piece of the content is most likely to answer your search.
Search engines see to all of this by finding and systemize all available content on the internet, including web pages, PDFs, images, videos, etc. by a process called “crawling and indexing,” and after that, ordering all of available content by how perfect it matches the in the procedure of ranking. Chapter 2 delivers more details of crawling, indexing, and ranking.
Which search results are “organic”?
Well. As you read earlier, organic search results are the one that is built through successful SEO, non-paid (i.e. not advertising). However, these take to be uncomplicated to spot – the ads were clearly labelled as such and rest of the results are usually designed with “10 blue links” catalogued below them. But the search is getting modified constantly and now how can we put our fingers on organic results?
Today, search engines results pages – often named as “SERPs” – come with more advertising and more dynamic organic results styles (known “SERP features”) than we’ve ever taken into consideration. SERP features bring in featured snippets, answer boxes, People Also Ask boxes, image carousels, etc. Search engines results pages are emerging and driving new SERP features via what folks are seeking.
An example would be, if you search for “Karachi weather,” you’ll note a weather forecast for the city of Karachi straight in the SERP rather than a link to a website that may have that forecast too. And, when you make a query regarding “pizza Karachi,” you’ll get a “local pack” result come from Karachi pizza places. Convenient, right?
When it comes to advertising, it’s good to remember that search engines make money from it. Their goal is to provide the best results (within SERPs), to keep users coming back, and to keep people on the SERPs longer.
Don’t forget to visit our SEO content marketing.
Google has some SERPs features organic and they can be leant on by SEO. These bring in featured snippets (an optimized organic result that shows an answer inside a box) and related questions (a.k.a. “People Also Ask” boxes).
Remember, there are a lot of features that, even though they are non-paid advertising, can’t usually be leant on by SEO. These features often have data obtained from authentic data sources such as Wikipedia, WebMD, and IMBD.
Why SEO is important and Crucial?
Although paid advertising, social media, and other online platforms are good sources to generate traffic to websites, yet the majority of online traffic is produced by search engines.
Organic search results come with more digital real estate, appear better to shrewd searchers, and get more clicks than paid advertisements. For example, of all US searchers, only 2.8% of internet users click on paid advertisements.
In a nutshell: SEO gives 20X more traffic opportunities that PPC on mobile and desktop. When SEO set up correctly, it becomes one of the only online marketing platforms that can go on to pay benefits over time. So, your traffic can increase over time, when you come with flying colour to provide a great piece of content that deserves to rank for the right keywords, whereas advertising requires continuing funding to drive traffic to your website.
Although search engines are becoming wiser yet they need our help.
Optimizing your website will assist to send a better piece of information to search engines so that your content may be precisely indexed and shown within search results.
Should I hire an SEO expert, consultant, or company?
Depending on your bandwidth, passion to become competent, and the complexity of your site, you could do some basic search engine optimization by yourself. Or, you think that higher an SEO expert is a better idea. Either way is alright.
If you end up expecting expert help, it’s necessary to know that many companies and consultants provide SEO services, but can be vary extensively in quality. What can save you a lot of money and time is knowing how to choose the best enterprise SEO agency, as the wrong SEP strategy can really harm your website more than they will assist you.
White hat vs black hat SEO
“White hat SEO” refers to search engine optimization techniques, good practices, and great strategies which abide by search engine rule, so, its main focus to provide more value to folks.
“Black hat SEO” refers to search engine optimization techniques and strategies that set out to spam/fool search engines. Although black hat SEO can sometimes work yet it puts sites at dangerous risk of being penalized and de-indexed (removed from search results) and comes with ethical implication.
Penalized websites have completely lacking in businesses. So, it gives another cause to be careful when choosing an SEO specialist or SEO agency and audit SEO and assessment services.
Search engines share similar goals with the SEO agency
Search engines want to help you do well. Actually, Google has an SEO starter guide, much the same Beginner’s Guide. They’re also a bit supportive of efforts by the SEO community. Digital marketing conferences – such as Unbounce, MNsearch, SearchLove, and Moz’s own MozCon – often engage engineers and representatives from big search engines.
Big G helps both webmasters and SEO experts through their Webmaster Central Help Forum and via hosting live office hour hangouts. (Meanwhile, Bing has closed their Webmaster Forums in 2914.)
However, the webmaster guidelines are quite different from search engine to search engine, the fundamental principle is the same: Avoid tricking search engines. Rather, put forward your visitors a great online experience. Do follow search engine good guidance to perform that and satisfy user intent.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
- Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users.
- Fight shy of intentional tricks to boost search engine rankings. A useful rule of thumb is whether you feel good to through light on what you have done to a site to a Big G employee. Another good test is to ask, “Is this helpful for my users? Do my users like it? Would I do this if Google didn’t exist?”
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging.
Things to avoid:
- Automatically generated content
- Participating in link schemes
- Creating pages with little or no original content (i.e. copied from somewhere else)
- Cloaking — the practice of showing the search engine crawlers different content than visitors.
- Hidden text and links
- Doorway pages – pages created to rank well for specified terms to drive more traffic to your website.
- It’s important to understand Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Make time to get to know them.
Bing Webmaster Guidelines
- Provide clear, deep, engaging, and easy-to-find content on your site.
- Keep page titles clear and relevant.
- Links are considered as a signal of popularity and Bing rewards links that have earned organically.
- Social shares, as well as social influence, are positive signals and can have an effect on how you rank organically in the long run.
- Page speed is important, along with positive, useful user experience.
- Use alt attributes to describe images, so that Bing can better understand the content.
Things to avoid:
- Thin content, pages displaying mostly ads or affiliate links, or that if not redirect visitors away to odd websites will not rank well.
- Abusive link tactics that target to increase the number and nature of inbound links, for example, buying links, getting involved in link schemes, can take to de-indexing.
- Confirm clean, succinct, keyword-inclusive URL structures are in place. Dynamic parameters look dirty and can result in duplicate content issues.
- Assure your URLs descriptive, short, keyword rich when possible, and keep them at arm’s length non-letter characters.
- Duplicate content
- Keyword stuffing
- Cloaking — the practice of showing the search engine crawlers different content than visitors.
Guidelines for representing your local business on Google
Your business is qualified for a Google My Business listing, if it operates locally, either out of a storefront or goes to customer’s locations in order to perform services. For local businesses like these, Big G gives guidelines that direct what you need to do and what you don’t need to do in creating and managing these listings.
- Make sure you’re suitable for inclusion in Google My Business index; you will have a physical address, no problem if it’s your home address, and you will serve clients face-to-face, either at your place (like a retails shop) or at theirs (like a plumber).
- Add all aspects of your local business data honestly and accurately, bringing in its name, address, phone number, website address, business categories, hours of operation, and other features.
Things to avoid
- Creation of Google My Business listings for entities that aren’t eligible
- Misrepresentation of your core business detail like “stuffing” your business name with geographic or service keywords, or making listing for sake of fake addresses
- Use of PO boxes or virtual offices instead of authentic street addresses
- Costly, novice mistakes stemming from failure to read the fine details of Google’s guidelines
What’s local, national, or international SEO?
Local businesses would often want to rank for local-target keywords like “[service]” + “[near me]” or “[service]” + “[city]” to get potential customers’ intention finding products and services in the specific location in which they specifically provide them. But not all businesses offer their services locally. A lot of sites don’t offer a location-based business, however, rather they prefer to target their particular customers on a national or even an international level.
Fulfilling user intent
Rather than flying in the face of these guidelines in an effort to trick search engines into ranking you well, pay attention to understand and fulfil audience intent. When a person looks for something online, they have a wished outcome. Whether it’s an answer, concert tickets, local service, or a dog photo, that desired content is their “user intent.”
searches for “photography” is their intent to find wedding photography, pet photography, bridal photography, or something else?
Now, what you should do as an SEO is to quickly provide users with the content, they wish in the format in which they want it.
Common user intent types:
Informational: Searching for information. Example: “What is the best type of camera for videography?”
Navigational: Searching for a specific website. Example: “Wikipedia”
Transactional: Searching to buy something. Example: “good deals on MacBook Pros”
Googling your desired keyword(s) can bring a glimpse of user intent and the current SERP evaluation for you. An example would be, if there’s a photo carousal, it’s 90% – 100% probability that folks searching for that term search for images.
Also, asses your top-ranking competitors that what type of content they are providing and you’re still not. How can you offer 10X the value of your site?
Do you want to rank higher in search results? Provide relevant, best content on your website. As it comes with to establish credibility and trust with your users.
Before doing any of that, you should understand the goals of your site to put a strategic SEO plan.
Know your site/client’s goals
Every website is different, so make the time to actually figure out the business goals of a specific website. This will assist you to make your mind wish areas of search engine optimization you need to focus on, where to track conversion, and most importantly, how to set benchmarks, also it will help you make talking point for chew over SEO projects with clients, bosses, etc.
If you are really serious to learn SEO, don’t forget to visit our corporate SEO training.
What will your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) be to take the measure of the return on SEO investment? Let’s get it simpler, what’s your barometer to take the measurement of the success, effectiveness of your organic performance? You’ll desire to have it documented, even if it’s this easy, as well as uncomplicated.
For the website ____________, my primary SEO KPI is ____________.
Here are a few common KPIs to get you started:
- Email signups
- Contact form submissions
- Phone calls
And if your business owns a local component, you will want to set out KPIs for your Google My Business listings, as well. These includes:
You might have taken in that things like “ranking” and “traffic” weren’t on the KPIs list, and that’s not unintentional.
“But wait a minute!” You say. “I came here to become an expert in SEO because I heard it can help me rank and get more traffic, and you’re clueing me in those are unimportant goals?” Isn’t this?
Not at all! But you’ve heard right. Search engine optimization can maximize the ranking of your website in search results and as a result, drive more traffic to your site, it’s just that ranking, as well as traffic, is a means to an end. There’s not a big use in ranking of no one is clicking through to your site, and there’s not a big use in maximizing your traffic if that traffic isn’t satisfying a larger business objective.
For example, if you run a lead generation site, would you rather have:
- 2,000 monthly visitors and 6 people fill out a contact form? Or…
- 500 monthly visitors and 80 people fill out a contact form?
If you’re performing SEO to bring traffic to your website for sake of conversions, we hope you would pick the latter! Before having a go on SEO, confirm you’ve planned your business goals, after that, use SEO strategy to help succeed in them – not the other way around.
SEO brings off so much more than vanity metrics. When it’s done well and good, it assists real businesses to obtain real goals for their success.
The most important and critical thing you can perform as an SEO is to set and achieve the right goals. So, you can head over to reputation management SEO.
Actin upon the guide will help you become more data-driven in your search engine optimization SEO efforts. Instead of haphazardly throw arrow everywhere on the place (and getting lucky every once in a while), you’ll put more wood behind fewer arrows.
Grab a cup of coffee and let’s go to Chapter 2 (How Search Engine Work – Crawling- Indexing and Ranking).
HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK: CRAWLING, INDEXING, AND RANKING
As we mentioned in Chapter 1 (SEO 101), search engines are answer machines. So, they come into existence to find, understand, and arrange the content of the internet to provide the relevant results to the questions users are asking.
If you want to appear in search results, then your content should be first visible to search engines. It’s possibly an essential part of SEO: If search engines can’t discover your website, there is no way that they will show your site in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
How do search engines work?
Search Engines come with three important functions:
- Crawl: Scour the internet for content, looking over the code/content for each URL they discover.
- Index: Store and arrange the content discovered during the crawling process. Once a page enters in the index, it’s in the process to be visible as a result of relevant queries.
- Rank: Offer the pieces of content that will excellent answer a searcher’s query which shows that results are organized by most relevant to least relevant.
What is search engine crawling?
Crawling is the finding process in which search engines send out a team of spiders to discover new and updated content. Content can be different – what it could be is a webpage, an image, a video, a PDF, etc. But without regard to the format, content is found by links.
Googlebot starts up by getting a few web pages, and after that, it follows the links on those webpages to discover new URLs. By having every intention along this path of links, the spider is able to discover new content and add it to their index called Caffeine – a major database of discovered URLs – to later be recovered when a searcher is looking for information that the content in that URL is a perfect match for.
What is a search engine index?
Search engines take forward and store information they discover in an index, a great database of the content they‘ve found and consider enough well to provide the information.
Search engine ranking
When a person goes for a search, search engines scour their index for relevant content and then organize that content in the purpose of solving the searcher’s query. This arranging of search results by relevance is called ranking. You can generally take it that the higher a site is ranked, the more relevant the search engines consider that website is to the query.
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It’s not impossible to block search engines crawlers from either part or all of your website, or direct search engine to keep away from storing certain pages of the site in their index. So, there can be some reasons to do this, if you don’t want your searchers to find your content in the search results, you have to make crawlers inaccessible. Otherwise, it’s as great as visible.
By the end of this chapter, you’ll see the context that you wish to do with the search engines, rather than against it!
Crawling: Can search engines discover your pages?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s so essential to make sure your website gets crawled and indexed to appear in the search engine result page. When you already own a site, starting off by knowing how many of your site’s pages are in the index might be an excellent ideal. This will come out with some good insights into, instructing you how many pages, which you want, Google is crawling, and how many pages, which you don’t want, Big G isn’t crawling.
One of the best ways to check your indexed pages is “site:yourdomain.com”, an advanced search operator. Go to Google and type “site:yourdomain.com” into the search bar. What this will result in is Google has in its index for the specific site:
The number of results Big G shows (see “About XX results” above) isn’t correct, however, it gives you a simple idea of which your site’s pages are indexed and how they are now appearing in search results.
Monitoring and using index Coverage report in Google Search Console leads you to get more accurate results. If you currently don’t have access, you could sign up for a free Google Search Console account. This tool allows you to submit sitemaps for your site and keep an eye on how many of your submitted pages have really been put on Google’s index, among other things.
Are not showing up anywhere in the search results? There can be a few possible reasons why:
- Your website is brand new and hasn’t been crawled yet.
- Your website isn’t linked to from any external websites.
- Your website’s navigation makes it hard for a robot to crawl it effectively.
- Your website contains some basic code called crawler directives that is blocking search engines.
- Your website has been penalized by Google for spammy tactics.
Some people think about enabling Google can discover their only important pages, but they let slip that there are likely pages you never consider Googlebot to find. These might bring in things like old URLs that have a little bit of content, duplicate URLs, special promo code pages, test pages, and so on.
Robots.txt can help certain pages and section of your website detach Googlebot.
Robot.txt files are built in the root directory of your site (for example yourdomain.com/robots.txt) and put forward which sections of your website search engines need and don’t need to crawl, as well as the speed at which they discover your website, by definite robots.txt directives.
How Googlebot deal with robots.txt files
- If Googlebot is unable to look a robots.txt file for a website, it goes on to crawl the website.
- If Googlebot discovers a robots.txt file for a website, it will usually follow the suggestions and keep going to crawl the website.
- If Googlebot sees an error trying to reach a site’s robot.txt and can’t decide if one has existence or not, it may not crawl the website.
However, not all web robots abide by robot.txt. Folks who have bad intentions (e.g., e-mail address scrapers) created bots that avoid following this agreement. Actually, some bad actors make the use of robots.txt files to look for where you’ve placed your private content. Meanwhile, it might seem reasoning to block crawlers from private pages like login pages, as well as administration pages, so that they may not appear in the index and search results, basing the location of those URLs in a publicly reachable robot.txt file also means that folks with malicious aim can, without difficulty, discover them. What’s better is to NoIndex these pages of your site and keep them behind the login form instead of locating them in your robots.txt file.
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Defining URL parameters in GSC
Some websites (most common with e-commerce) make the same content present on multiple different URLs by adding specific parameters to URLs. If you did shop online, you might have made less search by filters. For example, you may search “clothes” on Amazon, and then touch up your search by size, color, design, and style. Each time you touch up, the URL changes slightly:
The question is that how does Big G know which version of the URL is to put in front of the searchers? Google works great at understanding the representative URL on its own, meanwhile, it allows you to use the URL Parameters feature in Google Search Console to instruct Google precisely how you desire them to deal with your pages. When you try this feature to direct Googlebot “crawl no URLs with a _ parameter,” you want to hide this content from Googlebot, which might answer the removal of those page from search engines results page. That’s what you do if those parameters make duplicate pages, however, not best possible if you wish those pages to be indexed.
Can crawlers discover all your important content?
Now that you go through some strategies for ensuring search engine crawler stay away from your unessential piece of content. It’s time to learn about the optimizations that would assist Googlebot to look for the important pages.
By crawling, sometimes a search engine would be able to discover only parts of your website, however, other pages or sections of the site can be hidden for some reasons. So, it’s essential to confirm that search engines are able to find all the content you need to be indexed and not just the homepage.
Ask yourself this: Can the bot crawl through your website, and not just to it?
Is your content obscured behind login forms?
When you need users to log in, either fill out the forms or answer surveys before reaching specific content, search engines will not look at those protected pages. A crawler is surely not about to log in.
Do you depend on search forms?
Robots can’t have search forms. Some folks believe that if they create a search form on their website, the search would be able to discover the lot that their users search for.
Is text hidden within non-text content?
Non-text media forms (photos, video, GIFs, etc.) don’t need to be used to show the test that you want to be indexed. Although search engines are working at recognizing photos yet there’s no promise, they will come with flying colors to read and figure it out. Giving the best results, it’s always good to prepend text within the <HTML> markup of your webpage.
Can search engines follow your site navigation?
Just as a crawler needs to find your website by links from other websites, it is in need of a path of links on your own website to control it from page to page. You created a page and want search engines to look for but it isn’t linked to from other pages, it’s very nearly invisible. Some websites make huge mistakes designing their navigation in ways that are actually unreachable to search engines, setting back their ability to show up in search results.
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Common navigation mistakes that can keep crawlers from seeing all of your sites:
- Having a mobile navigation that displays different results than your desktop navigation
- Displaying unique kind of navigation to a specific type of users vs. others can show up to be cloaking to a search engine crawler
- Forgetting to link to the main page on your site via your navigation – remember, links are the paths crawlers follow to unique pages!
- This is why it’s important that your site comes with clear navigation and helpful URL folder structure.
Do you have clean information architecture?
When it comes to information architecture, it’s all about the practice of arranging and designate content on the site to boost efficiency and findability for browsers. Intuitive is excellent information architecture, meaning that the user shouldn’t take time to think extremely hard to discover something through your website.
Are you using sitemaps?
A sitemap is a list of URLs on your website that helps crawlers to discover and index your content. There are a lot of ways to ensure Big G is looking for your important pages, but one of the easiest is to develop a file that satisfies Google’s standards and send it through Google Search Console. However, submitting a sitemap can’t replace the requirements for well website navigation, yet it certainly assists spiders to follow a path to all your highest priority pages.
So, you don’t have any other websites linking to your site? Don’t worry. You are still able to get it indexed by confirming your XML sitemap in Google Search Console. They don’t promise to include a submitted URL in their index, but it’s too good to try.
Are crawlers encountering errors when they attempt to access your URLs?
In the process of crawling the URLs on your website, a crawler can get the errors. If it encounters errors, then move to Google Search Console’s “Crawl Errors” report to discovered URL on which this may be happening – either server errors or not found errors, this report will show you. Meanwhile, server log files can also display this and also a treasure trove of other pieces of information such as crawl frequency, because accessing and dissecting server log files is a modern tactic, we’ll chew over it at length in the Beginner’s Guide, however, we let you learn more about it here.
Before you can do anything serious with the crawl error report, it’s so essential to completely understand server errors and “not found” errors.
4xx Codes: When search engine crawlers can’t access your content due to a client error
4xx errors are client errors. They mean that the requested URL comprises of bad syntax or can’t be completed. So, “404 – not found” error is a common 4xx error. How they can happen is because of a URL typo, deleted page, or broken redirect, just to name a few examples. Search engines are unable to access the URL when they find a 404.
5xx Codes: When search engine crawlers can’t reach your content due to a server error
5xx errors are server errors. They mean the server web page is placed on failed to complete the searcher or search engine’s request to reach the page. In Google Search Console’s “Crawl Error” report, there is a tab that’s specifically dedicated to these errors. These errors usually occurred because the request for the URL takes a long time or timed out, Googlebot rejected the request. Don’t forget to view Google’s documentation to have more knowledge about fixing server connectivity issues.
Thankfully, there is a way to instruct not only searchers but also search engines that your webpage has moved – the 301 (permanent) redirect.
Let’s suppose you have moved your webpage from example.com/cats/ to example.com/dogs/. So, search engines and searchers need a bridge to go across from the old URL to the new URL.
The 301-status code indicates that the webpage has permanently converted to a new location, so stay away from redirecting URLs to irrelevant pages – URLs where the content of the old URL doesn’t really locate. If a page is ranking high for a query on search engine result page, you 301 it to a URL that varies the content, it may drop in rank position because the content that made it relevant to that specified query isn’t there any longer. 301s are strong – so, move URLs in a sensible manner.
There is also another option available for you that’s 302 redirecting a page, but this needs to be reserved for temporary proceeds and in the case where passing link equity isn’t as great of a concern. However, 302s are kind of like a road detour. For a moment, you’re syphoning traffic via a definite route, but it will not be like that forever and ever.
Once you’ve confirmed your website is optimized well for crawlability, the next process is to see to it can be indexed.
Indexing: How do search engines interpret and store your pages?
Once you’ve confirmed your website has been crawled, the next step is to see to it can be indexed. That’s good – making sure your website can be found and crawled by a search engine doesn’t necessarily show that it will get in their index. We have already mentioned in our previous section on crawling that how search engines find your webpages. The index is where all the websites’ discovered pages are stored. When a spider discovers a webpage, the search engine presents it as a browser does. In the process of performing so, the search engine analyzes the contents of that page. Every single piece of that information is stored in its index.
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Can I know how a Googlebot crawler sees my pages?
Definitely, you can! The cached version of your page will show a snapshot of the last time Googlebot crawled it.
Big G crawls and caches web pages at different frequencies. Highly ranked, more establishes sites that publish articles frequently like https://www.nytimes.com will be crawled more frequently than an unpopular site for Roger the Mozbot’s side hustle, http://www.rogerlovescupcakes.com (if only it were genuine…)
What a cached version of your page looks like, you can see via clicking the drop-down arrow next to the URL in the search engine result page and selecting “Cached”:
What you can see more is to view the text-only version of your website to make your mind if your main content is being crawled and cached successfully.
Are pages ever removed from the index?
Yes, pages can be removed from the index! The major reasons why URL is removed bring in:
- The URL is showing a “not found” error (4XX) or server error (5XX) – Either this can happen accidentally (the page had been removed and a 301 redirect was not set) or intentional (the page had been deleted and 404ed to get it removed from the index)
- The URL comes with a no-index meta tag -This tag can be added by a website owner to direct the search engine to shut out the page from its index.
- The URL has been manually disciplined while not complying with the search engine’s Webmaster Guidelines and, as a result, was disappeared from the index.
- The URL has been stopped up from crawling with the adding in a password needed before users can reach the page.
If you are sure that a page on your site that was formerly in Google’s index is no longer appearing, then what you can do is to either use the URL inspection tool to see the status of the webpage, or use Fetch as Google which has a “Request Indexing” feature to send individual URLs to the index. (Bonus: GSC’s “fetch” tool also adds a “render” option that gives you a green signal to detect if there are issues with how Big G understands your page).
Instruct search engines how to index your website
Robots meta tags
Meta tags are actually instruction you can give to search engines as regarding how you want your website page to be dealt with.
Search engines crawlers allow you to tell things like “avoid indexing this page in search results” or “don’t pass any link equity to any on-page links”. These instructions are performed by Robots Meta Tags in the <head> section of your HTML pages or by the X-Robots-Tag in the HTTP header.
Robots meta tag
You can use robots meta tag within the <head> section of the HTML of your webpage. It may deny access to all or specific search engines. The following are the most common meta tags, along with what conditions you may apply them in.
Index/no-index instructs the search engine whether the webpage need to be crawled and kept in a search engines’ index for retrieval. When you chose to execute “no-index,” you’re telling to crawlers that you desire the page deny access to search results. Nonetheless, by default, search engines reckon they could index all pages, so utilizing the “index” value is important.
- When you might use: You may choose to mark a page as “no-index” If you’re testing to remove thin pages from Google’s index of your website (ex: users-produced profile pages) but you still desire them to reachable to browsers.
Follow/no-follow instructs search engines whether the links on the webpage needs to be followed or nofollowed. Follow results in bots following the links on your webpage, as well as proceeding links value via to those URLs. Or, if you elect to employ “no-follow,” the search engine will never go along with or proceeding link equity via to the link on the page. By default, all pages are presumed to have the “follow” attribute.
- When you could use: no-follow is frequently used together with no-index when you’re doing your utmost to stave off a page from being indexed and stave off the crawler from following links on the webpage.
No-archive brings in use to control search engines from saving a cached copy of the page. By default, the engines will uphold visible copies of all the pages they have indexed, reachable to users via the cached link in the search results.
- When you might use: if you work on an e-commerce website and your prices change, again and again, you might think about the noarchive tag to fend off searchers from viewing outdated prices.
Here’s an example of a meta robots noindex, nofollow tag:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow” />
What this example do is excluding all search engines from indexing the webpage and avoid it following any on-page links. If you desire to shut out multiple spiders, like Googlebot and Bing for example, it’s all right to use multiple robot exclusion tags.
Meta tags affect indexing, not crawling
Googlebot has to crawl your page before seeing meta directives, so if you’re doing all you can do to prevent crawlers from accessing certain pages, meta tags are not the way to execute it. Robots tags should be crawled to be respected.
The x-robots tag is used within the HTTP header of your URL, delivering more flexibility and functionality than meta directives if you need to block search engines at scale because you might use frequent expressions, stop up non-HTML files, and use sitewide no-index tags.
An example would be, you can uncomplicatedly shut out entire folders or file types (such as gigestudio.com/no-bake/old-recipes-to-noindex)
<Files ~ “\/?no\-bake\/.*”>e
Header set X-Robots-Tag “noindex, nofollow”
The derivatives used in a robots meta tag can also be used in an X-Robots-Tag.
Or specific file types (like PDFs):
<Files ~ “\.pdf$”>
Header set X-Robots-Tag “noindex, nofollow”
For more information on Meta Robot Tags, explore Google’s Robots Meta Tag Specifications.
Figuring out the different ways you could impact on crawling and indexing will assist you to stay away from the common pitfalls that can fend off your main webpages from getting found.
Ranking: How do search engines rank URLs?
How do search engines conform that when some person types a query in their search bar, they offer the most relevant results to the searchers? In fact, that’s a ranking process or the organizing of search results by most relevant to least relevant to a specific query.
Search engines take help of algorithm to decide relevance. So, algorithms are a formula by which gathered information is get back and arranged in great ways. To boost the standard of search engines, these algorithms have gone through a number of major changes over many years. When it comes to Google, it makes the algorithm changes daily. However, some of these updates are a small quality adjustment, whereas others are broad algorithm updates used to take forward a specific issue, such as penguin to approach link spam.
Why does Google algorithm change frequently? Is Big G just make an effort to keep us on our toes? So, Google avoids telling specifics as to why they perform what they do, meanwhile, we know that Google aims to improve and better overall search quality when adjusting the algorithm. This is why, in response to the question on algorithm update, Google will always give an answer with some something along the line of: “we’re always going on with making quality changes.” This reveals that, when your website ranking reduces after an algorithm tweak, compare it with Google’s Quality Guidelines or Search Quality Rater Guidelines, both will lead you well that what search engines want.
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What do search engines require?
What search engines always expect is the same thing, to offer meaningful answers to the user’s question in the most useful formats. If that’s true, why does it say that search engine optimization is quite different today than in years past?
Take it as someone is learning a new language.
At the initial stage, their grip of the language is very primitive – “See Spot Run.” By and by, their comprehension starts to deepen, and they move to semantics – the meaning of the language and relationship between in words and phrases. At long last, with much practice, the students understand the language completely to even know nuance and are able to give answers to even uncompleted questions.
When search engines were starting to learn our language, it was so easy to fool the system by using different stratagems and tactics that actually don’t abide by the quality guidelines. Let’s take keyword stuffing, for example. If you aimed to rank for a specific keyword like “wedding photography,” you might use the words “wedding photography” a bunch of time onto your webpage, and make it bold, with the purpose of improving your ranking for that particular keyword:
Welcome to wedding photography! We offer wedding photography in the world. Wedding photography is the best. You can get wedding photography services at the lowest rates. We are the best wedding photography studio in the world. Don’t forget to read our wedding photography pictures.
This tactic made for unwell user experience, and rather than getting wedding services, folks were fired on by annoying, difficult-to-read text. It may have made someone successful in the past, however, this isn’t what search engines expect.
The role links play in SEO
When it comes to links, we can mean two things. Backlinks or “inbound links” are links from other sites that indicate to your website, on the other hands, internal are links on your own website that indicate to your other pages (on the same website).