Are you new to SEO? Do you want to know how it works and why you should consider SEO in 2020? You are at the right place! By the time you reach the end of this SEO beginner’s guide, you will have a strong understanding of what search engine optimization actually is, and why it’s important and valuable in an ever-changing SEO environment.
In this beginner’s guide to SEO, you’ll learn:
☛ What Is SEO
☛ Why You Should Consider SEO
☛ How Search Engine Work
☛ Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices
☛ On-Page Optimization
☛ Technical SEO Checklist
☛ Further Technical SEO Hacks
So, let’s get started…..
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a method of improving rankings in organic search results in search engines. The higher the site is, the more people see it.
The history of SEO dates back to the 90s when the search engines came to light for the first time. Currently, it an essential marketing strategy and ever-growing industry.
If you want to learn standard SEO, you should be prepared for tons of technical, creative, and analytical work. There are many techniques with various goals, however, the main point remains the same- to be among the top results in search engine.
In simple terms, SEO is about running the correct website for the right people.
It is not only about the perfect technical or structural background of the site. Your website has to be filled with well-optimized and quality content tailored to the requirements of your audience. And obviously, it has to be good enough to be linked from other sites.
Why Should You Consider SEO?
Many people search for things. This can be very powerful for a business not only because there is tons of traffic, but because there is a number of very specific, high-intent traffic.
People are looking for any kind of things directly related to your business. Beyond that, your prospects are also looking for all kinds of things that are only loosely related to your business. This gives even more chance to connect with individuals and help answer their questions, solve their problems, and become a trusted resource for them. This might have given an answer to why you really need it.
How Search Engines Work?
Search engine holds three main ingredients:
✓ Picking the results
This method goes like this:
Once the site is crawled, the indexing happens. Consider the index as a gigantic catalog or a library full of sites from all across the world. It generally takes some time for a site to be indexed. From a professional’s experience, it’s from 1 to 10 days.
You can check what pages of your site have already been indexed by utilizing the search operator: site:domain.com
Furthermore, every time it is modified, the crawler scans it again. Remember that until the updates on the site are indexed, they won’t be visible in search engines.
Crawling means scanning the website, its content, headings, sections, hyperlinks, images by thousands of small bots. Any data that is there on the site is crawled.
Crawlers go through all hypertext links on a site that point to other sites. Then they parse those pages for new links again and again. Bots crawl everywhere on the internet daily to update the data.
3. Picking The Results
Results are complicated for both users and developers. Once the internet user submits a search query, the search engine goes deep into the index and pulls out matching results. It is a method of checking the query against many websites according to various algorithms.
Companies running search engines (Microsoft, Google, Yahoo) maintains the exact calculations of their algorithms in secret. Nonetheless, many ranking factors are well-known. And you can also know how to write good article for blog post.
Now, back to SEO basics! Let’s go into the actual strategies and tactics of SEO for high traffic.
Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices
The first step in search engine optimization is to analyze what it is you are actually optimizing for. This means finding out the terms people are searching for that you want your site to rank for in search engines like Google.
Sounds simple, right? People want their ice-cream parlor to show up when people look for “ice-cream”, and maybe when they type in things like “best ice-cream parlor”. Onto step three!
Unluckily, it is not that simple as you think. There are some factors to consider when analyzing the keywords you want to target on your website:
✓ Search Volume- The first factor to keep in mind is how many people are genuinely searching for a specific keyword. The more people there are looking for a keyword, the bigger the audience you stand to reach. Conversely, if no one is looking for a keyword, there is no audience available to find your content through search.
✓ Relevance- If a phrase or word is frequently searched for that’s great: but what if it is not that relevant to your audience? Relevance looks straight-forward at first- if you are selling an enterprise email marketing automation software you do not want to show up for searches that do not have anything to do with your business, like beauty products”. But what about keywords like email marketing software”? this might look like a great description of what you do.
✓ Competition- As with any business opportunity, in SEO you want to keep in mind the potential costs and likelihood of success. For SEO, this means knowing about the relative competition (and likelihood to rank) for certain terms.
First, you have to understand who your prospective customers are and what they are searching for. If you don’t know who your prospects are, thinking about that is a good place to start, for your business as well as for SEO would be wrong. For more clarity in your thoughts, read out basic SEO risks list.
Once you have your keyword list, the next step is to implement your targeted keywords into your website’s content. Every page on your website should be targeting a core term and a “basket” of related terms.
(a) Title Tags
While Google is working to get a better understanding of the actual meaning of a page and de-emphasizing aggressive and effective use of keywords, including the term that you want to rank for in search engines. And the single most effective place you can put your keyword is your page’s title tag.
The title tag is not your page’s main headline. The headline you see on the page is basically an H1 HTML element. The title tag is what you can see at the top of your browser, and is filled by your page’s source code in a meta tag.
The length of a title tag that Google will present will differ but in general 55-60 characters are a good rule of thumb here. If possible you can work in your main keyword, and if you can do it in a compelling and natural manner, include some related modifiers around that term as well.
Remember: the title tag would be seen by searchers in search results for your page. It is the headline in the organic search results, so you also have to consider how clickable your title tag is.
(b) Meta Descriptions
While the title tag can affect your search listing’s headline, the meta description can affect your site’s additional ad copy. Google takes some liberties with what they present in search results, so your meta description may not always show, but if you have an engaging effective content creation for your page then searchers would likely to click. You can massively gain traffic.
(c) Body Content
The real content of your page itself is, obviously, very essential. Various types of pages will have different “jobs”- your cornerstone content asset that you want many to link to needs would be very different than the support content that you want to ensure your audience find and get an answer from instantly. Saying that Google has been increasingly preferring some types of content, and as you build out any of the pages on your website, there are some things to remember:
✓ Thick & Unique Content- There is no magic number in terms of word count, and if you have some pages with high-quality content writing on your website with a couple of words you won’t be getting out of Google’s good grace, but in general recent Panda updates favor longer, unique content. If you have tons of extremely short pages or lots of duplicated content where nothing is changed but the page’s title tag and say a line of text, that could get you in trouble.
Go through your site: are a large percentage of your pages thin, low value, and duplicated? If so then try to make a way to thicken those pages, or check your analytics to see how much traffic they acquiring, and just remove them from search results to keep from having it appear to Google that you are trying to flood their index with many low-value pages in an attempt to make them rank.
✓ Engagement- Google is increasingly weighing engagement and user experience metrics more intensely. You can impact this by ensuring your content answers the questions searchers are asking so they probably stay on your page and engage with your content. Ensure your pages load quickly and don’t have design elements that would be likely to turn searchers off and send them away.
✓ “Shareability”- Not every piece of content on your website will be linked as well as shared multiple times. That’s why you should know why writing for SEO is very important. You want to be careful of not rolling out large quantities of pages that have to think content, you have to look who would share and link to new pages you are creating on your website before you roll them out. Having large quantities of pages that are not likely to be linked or shared will not rank in a good position in search results, and will not help to create a good picture of your website as a whole for search engines, either.
(d) Alt Attributes
How you mark up your images can influence not only the way that search engines perceive your page but also how much search traffic from search your website generates. An alt attribute is an HTML element that permits you to deliver alternative information for an image if a user can not view it. Your images may break as time passes. So, having a valuable description of the image can be advantageous from a whole usability perspective. This also delivers you another chance, outside of your content, to assist search engines to know what your page is all about.
You don’t want to do keyword stuffing and cram your core keyword and every possible variation of it into your alt attribute. In fact, if it does not fit organically into the description, don’t include your target keyword here at all. Just make sure not to skip the alt attribute, and try to deliver an accurate, thorough description of the image.
By writing naturally about your topic, you are neglecting “over-optimization” filters and you are giving yourself a better opportunity to rank for valuable long-tail variations of your core topic.
(e) URL Structure
Your website’s URL structure can be essential both from a tracking point of view (you can more conveniently segment data in reports utilizing a logical, segmented URL structure) and a shareability standpoint (shorter, informative URLs are convenient to copy and paste and tend to get mistakenly cut off less frequently). Again: don’t add as many keywords as possible; make a short and descriptive URL. Furthermore considering effective guide to SEO friendly design and development can also help you to reach a wider audience.
Pro Tip: if you don’t have to, don’t modify your URLs. Even if your URLs are not that pretty, if you don’t feel as though they are negatively affecting users and your business in general, don’t change them to be more keyword focused for “better SEO”. If you want to change your URL structure, ensure to use the proper type of redirect.
Technical SEO Checklist
We can consider technical SEO as a part of the on-page SEO that takes care of technical stuff. It generally needs at least some development skills or say a web developer. But don’t get worried too much, there are many things you can do conveniently in websites like WordPress.
Listed below are the most essential technical SEO factors you should consider:
1. Search Console
Connecting your website to the Google Search Console is the basic thing in SEO. It assists you to maintain and monitor your website’s performance and presence in Google search.
The search console assists you analyze your keyword rankings, CTRs, possible Google penalties and many other beneficial data for technical SEO.
Other features include content mobile usability, selecting what you want to indexed and what not, site errors, links and structured data errors. This is one of the best SEO tips for startups that you can get.
2. Website Speed
Website speed is the major ranking factor so you should always aim to increase it. It is known that about 50% of web users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less than that. If it does not load in 3 seconds, they will leave.
3. Mobile Optimization
Mobile optimization is important. The world is shifting from desktop to mobile. Even, running a site that is not mobile-friendly will negatively influence your rankings.
Google began rolling out the mobile-first indexing in March 2018. The mobile-first indexing means that Google will utilize the mobile version of your site for ranking as well as indexing. Furthermore, you can also read the knowledgeable guide to blog SEO to make people stop at your website and purchase something from you.
You can also consider the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). It is an HTML code extended with customer aspects that enable to render static content faster. In the year 2017, it was the main Google’s projects of mobile search.
A sitemap assists search engines to go through your content. It is a file where all site sections are listed. It is great to have one when you run a large website with a difficult structure or when you utilize rich media content.
Having a sitemap does not mean your rankings will improve. As per Google, it is an advantage but you will never be penalized for not having one.
Robots.txt is a file that tells crawlers which site sections you do not want them to be accessed. It is located in https://example.com/robots.txt and the most fascinating fact about it is, it’s public.
It is handy when you don’t want some scripts, unwanted images or files to be indexed.
✓ Disallow: / (e.g. /images/pizza.png)
✓ User-agent: * (e.g. Googlebot)
Further Technical SEO Hacks
There are many SEO hacks that will improve your website performance. First, begin with the analysis of the current state. It will assist you to find the chances.
Set up Google Tag Manager for advanced tag management, so you do not require any help from web developers.
✓ HTTPS vs. HTTP: In 2014, Google declared that they will boost rankings of SSL/HTTP sites. Today, you know that it is a light weight ranking factor influencing a small percentage of search queries.
However, security is a strong factor. Google Chrome, for instance, labels a site that is not encrypted with SSL as “not secure”, which effects the user engagement.
✓ URL/IP canonicalization: IP canonicalization is essential when a site is indexed under both its domain name and IP address. URL canonicalization is:
https://example.com and https://www.example.com/ should resolve to the same URL
Wrapping It Up:
SEO is the most important factor in ranking high in search engine results. Always remember Google does not care much about how many links you have, but rather consider the experience users get from your website.
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