Are you not familiar with SEO practices, but want to learn SEO? In this article, we will be discussing what is SEO, and the various techniques you need to learn to start your SEO campaign.
Search Engine Optimization practices have come a long way. Back in 2010, SEO essentially meant you could spam a hundred keywords on your website to get a decent rank, things such as relevancy were from sight at that time.
However, SEO has grown and Google has done some great efforts to do so. It has constantly updated its indexing algorithm, pushing the content creators towards publishing relevant content.
Penguin, Panda, Panda 2 updates are the results of these efforts. Gone are the days where meta keywords were relevant and you could spam keywords to get the top 10 ranking positions.
Performing SEO on your website can be a big game changer for your sales. It can help you make new clients, reach out to bigger audience and achieve a better conversion rate. Not only this, practicing positive SEO will also push you to upgrade your website in several ways that will ultimately enhance user experience.
Now, as we progress through the article, there are numerous things you might already know. If you are low on time, you can consider skipping with the help of the table of contents, however, I strongly urge you not to do so. Not only will reading the full-length of the article revise your already known knowledge, but it might also give you a new SEO-related insight or technique.
What is SEO and how it works?
Search Engine Optimization comprises of techniques that you can use to rank your website better in search engines. Simple? Yes, or maybe no.
SEO is a practice that allows you to configure your website in a way that Google or any other search engine finds relevant for the users. When the numerous crawlers come to crawl your website and index its pages, all the SEO optimizations you have done are analysed.
Previously, Google gave you a PageRank based on how well your SEO was optimized and how authoritative your website was due to it. However, PageRank was discontinued back in 2013 with its last documented update.
Today, there is no official way to know how well your website is doing rather than to check all the metrics manually and compare them to a previous time-period range. However, various other SEO tools and sites, such as Moz, Ahref, Ubersuggest, provide their own domain authority-checking metrics, e.g. Moz DA, Ahref DR and Ubersuggest DS, based on multiple algorithms and data.
However, Google has no direct relation with these rankings and they can just be another metric for you to compare your website to others. Any of these third-service provider rankings do not affect your site performance or ranking at all.
SEO can be majorly divided into two parts, on-page and off-page SEO. A brief information about on-page SEO can be found in the below mentioned site optimization & meta tags section.
Why is SEO Important?
So, is it important? The answer is a big YES, it is very important.
If done properly, 80-90% of your traffic can be generated through organic search. Moreover, organic search is probably the biggest way through which you can find new customers and clients.
In order to learn SEO, you need to learn about keywords. A big part of an SEO campaign is keywords.
The more ranking keywords you have, the better your chances are for finding new audience. You can lead people of various different demographic location and interests to your website, thus boosting your engagement rate.
What is SEO Marketing?
You have understood what is SEO and why it is important for your brand/website. Next comes, SEO marketing.
As with any other form of marketing, you would want to reach the maximum amount of the right audience. Why is the right audience in bold? Because quality of audience matters.
Suppose you have a recruitment-based website, looking for new management recruits, but a search engine keeps redirecting a person to your site when he’s actually searching for a tech-related job. Neither you, nor the person feels satisfied. That is not quality traffic.
Things to look out for:
Quality of Traffic: You would probably not want someone looking for a tech-job to apply for your management job, would you? The quality of traffic determines your conversion rate and whether the person actually wants your services.
Quantity of Traffic: Once the right people are looking for your services, you need to widen the reach and reach more possible prospects.
Organic Traffic: Focus on getting organic traffic. Most search engines will display ads on top of their results, clicking on these does not generate organic traffic, its ads or ads referral traffic.
Starting with a Campaign
Your SEO campaign needs to start with a research of the audience you wish to target. Look for relevant and related keywords. Do your keyword research, find topics that are trending and have good search rate. You can use the Google Keywords planner for this. Go to keywords ideas, type in your keywords and you will see the monthly traffic range. You can also build a campaign around the keywords you select.
And if you look closely, the most searched keywords are right in front of your eyes. When you type in a keyword at google, it will automatically show you related queries. These are the most searched related queries to the keyword you just entered. Mix these suggestions with the Keyword Planner for the most optimal results.
Once you have the right set of keywords, you can move onto to write content for your website/blog.
Your need to write content which is relevant and to-the-point. People do not linger on your post to read 300-words of irrelevant content. Get straight to the topic and use precise sub-headings.
Put yourself into the reader’s shoes and think what you would want to read if you were searching for the same topic.
For more information regarding this, you can read our post on 6 effective content writing tips.
Learn SEO Through These 6 Top Search Engine Optimization Practices
Once you have set up your website, completed your keyword research and done writing content, you need to get your SEO done. Now, SEO is a very wide topic to cover. But we will be listing the 7 key search engine optimization practices in brief that will help you get your basic SEO done right.
1. Keyword Relevancy
As discussed previously, relevancy is a key term which Google wants you to think about. The topics you publish or write about on your site must be relevant to your website. If you are offering technical services on your website, your blog should relay information regarding the same.
Your keywords need to be neatly tailored into your content. Use keywords that reflect the intention of your topic and are relevant to the content of the page. Search engines have grown extremely intelligent in discovering the relevancy of the content by analysing the keyword and other synonyms.
One practice that can get your far ahead in the SEO game is the use of LSI keywords. As shown by various researches, LSI keyword woven into the content, title and meta tags provide a significant boost in SEO rankings.
LSI keywords are keywords, which are semantically linked/co-related to the main keyword. In content, these keywords help the crawlers to better understand the context of our article.
One great tool to find LSI keywords is the LSI Graph.
By typing in your keyword, you can find hundreds of LSI keyword for that particular keyword. The free version allows you limited searches. In order to unlock more searches and advanced metrics, you can subscribe to LSI Graph packages, starting at $27/month.
2. Site Optimization
Your website on-page SEO is a crucial part of your SEO strategy. A well-laid out website performs better, loads faster and enhances user experience.
Let’s start off going point-by-point on the major aspects that are crucial for on-page SEO
Start Your Title With Your Main Keyword
By starting off your title with your targeted keyword, it provides more weight to the title and the intention of the topic. Search engines consider this move SEO-friendly and can boost your individual page rankings.
Use SEO-Friendly URLs
While posting any post or content, make sure that your URL reflects the topic in an understandable, crisp and short manner.
Don’t make your URL look clingy with archive or post numbers, such as this:
Rather, this works much better
Use Long Titles With Modifiers
Modifiers, such as guide, tutorial, reviews, 2019 can help you lengthen your title, but still keep it within snippet-friendly bounds.
These are also eye-grabbing and usually help you describing your post in the SERPs better.
Use <h1> </h1> Tags For Titles
The H1 tag is essentially your Headline tag. Use it for your title.
Most CMS, such as WordPress, automatically wrap your title in H1 tags. However, some themes may override this functionality, which is why it is important to check it manually.
Use Mix of Outbound & Internal Links
Have a good mixture of relevant links in your content. You can refer to your audience to a great piece of content through outbound links, while have them browse through your other posts with internal links.
More in-depth information regarding site optimization will be coming shortly in another post.
3. Social Media Sharing
Social media platforms are where millions of people are connected to one another, constantly sharing content that interests them.
These are a great source to find audience that might have interest in your website and its content. And Google also agrees to this. Most high ranking pages in Google have a strong social media share count.
Google admits that social media shares do not count as individual links, but that doesn’t mean that there is no correlation between social links and ranking position.
While no one actually knows what Google’s algorithm is, good content is likely to be shared by people. There is no way Google would pass this indication as a way to identify good content.
By sharing your content on social media, you present yourself in front of a bigger audience and also boost your ranking factors. It’s a win-win situation.
Backlinks have throughout remained the most important ranking factor in SEO.
Backlinks keep the link juice flowing to and through your website, and while creating backlinks were simpler in the past, Google has been working hard to differentiate the spammy links from the authoritative ones.
Each website on the web holds an authority in Google. With the higher ranking websites having more “authority” than the low ranking ones. When linking happens between two sites, the sites are basically telling the search engine that they trust each other.
Beware of Spammy Links
More backlinks usually mean Google will trust you more. However, it is not always true and has led to various penalties implied by Google. Good authority websites have relevant content, a great link profile, and traffic driving them towards high ranking positions.
Backlinks from gambling, porn sites, etc. provide more harm to your link profile. People engage in practices, such as excessive blog commenting, irrelevant site linking, which are seen as spammy link practices.
Both inbound and outbound links are big parts of backlinking practices. If you don’t want a crawler to follow links in your post, you can make the link nofollow. This will tell the crawler not to follow the link, stopping any link juice from passing through and not affecting your “authority”.
More detailed information about backlinking, inbound and outbound links, dofollow and nofollow tags coming soon!
5. Meta Tags
Meta tags are crucial to your on-page optimization strategy. They basically tell the search engine and the crawlers what your content is, and how it should be viewed in the search engine page results (SERPs).
There are three different meta tags you can use:
Meta Title – Specifies the title of your page, which is then displayed in the SERP.
Meta Description – Specifies a short description of around 80-100 characters of your page.
Meta Keywords – Specifies the keywords used in your page. However, google admits that it does take meta keywords into account anymore.
The use of meta title and meta description make up your snippet preview in a SERP. These are put in the <head></head> section of your page. With the use of WordPress, you can use plugins, like Yoast, to configure the snippets.
An example of how your can edit your Snippet with Yoast. The Snippet preview shows how your snippet will show in a SERP in real-time.
SEO Title specifies your meta title and must contain the page title and can also include the brand/site name with a separator.
Slug refers to the URL of the page that will be used after publishing the article.
Meta description is the same as explained above.
6. Mobile SEO
Mobile SEO is more important than ever. With 63.4% of people accessing the web through their mobile phones, need for mobile-friendly sites and SEO practice has become evident.
Moreover, with the introduction of mobile-first indexing, Google has made it obvious that you need to focus on mobile platforms.
A mobile version of your site allows the users to browse through smoothly. Google also promotes the use of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which is basically a web framework. The main purpose of it is to eliminate any unnecessary elements on the mobile page to instantly load the page.
The snippet for mobile google search has also a smaller space as opposed to the desktop version. If you are using WordPress, you can use various plugins to make your website mobile friendly, through AMP and customize snippets with Yoast or other SEO plugins.
Will it pay off?
The simple answer is: Yes
You can start by working slowly and learn SEO practices.
Positive SEO practices have a direct impact on your sales, traffic and reachability. By implementing these practices, you are boosting the online potential of both, your brand and your website.
When will I see results?
The thing about SEO is, you might not see immediate results.
SEO is a recurring practice, you need to constantly do it. Make up a strategy, follow a 15-day or 30-day plan and track your results. If you want to learn SEO fast, there is no shortcut.
Learn all SEO basics, make a list of keywords, start creating content around them and start creating backlinks.
You will start witnessing fruits of your labour within 2-3 months and soon your SEO campaign will kick off!