What Is SEO and How Does it Work?July 10, 2021 2021-07-10 20:11
What Is SEO and How Does it Work?
What Is SEO and How Does it Work?
If you are a beginner who wants to learn the basics of SEO or search engine marketing, here’s a quick guide for you.
When it comes to learning how to optimize your website for search, there seems to be an almost limitless amount of information to absorb.
But, there are certainly some principles that will give you a solid basis for your search engine optimization (SEO) education and ensure that your website has a fighting chance with all of the competing ones out there.
These are easy principles of SEO that will ensure your site has the best chance possible of getting traffic as soon as possible.
However, there will be more advanced concepts to learn after you master these. But these tips give you a solid foundation, so let’s get started!
Table of Content
What is SEO?
Either you call it Search marketing, search engine marketing, or search engine optimization (SEO), it is all related. SEO is the procedure of optimizing your contents online for search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)
This marketing tactic will help search engines to show your content in the top search result when people search for information related to your business.
When potential customers look for search terms that match your product or services, you rank higher than other blogs or platforms aka your competitors. And users tend to click the first search results, they hardly check the second page of google results. So, if your content or business page is on the second page, you won’t be able to gain customers or business exposure.
Being on the first page of Google search results is good but being first on the first result is great! It means you will get a lot of free traffic to your website without investing a dime in ads. So, how do you get started with search engine optimization and marketing?
To create this foundation, we will look at some of the most important tips that you need to follow in order to optimize your website properly.
If you can take these things and implement them, then you will have a major advantage over all websites that do not prioritize SEO, and who knows you could even surpass those that do too.
These are some of the benefits of SEO.
- SEO can increase the number of users actively searching for your products and services online.
- SEO brings you a higher return on investment (ROI) than any comparable form of marketing. You make $4 on every $1 spent on SEO.
- Appropriate optimization ensures all pages of your site are accessible by search engine crawlers so that your website can be easily indexed with the correct classification.
- SEO procedures make your website more available to all users, increasing the potential for lead generation, conversion, and more sales.
- By complying with the basic optimization criteria, users have a more pleasant user experience on your website, which increases their trust and likes for you and your business.
- Reach a wider audience and gives your business larger exposure and awareness.
Key Factors of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are basically three (3) things that affect your SEO effort — they are Technical, On-page, and Off-page SEO.
These factors are to be executed effectively if you want your website pages to rank in search engines.
Let’s break them down a bit.
This aspect of SEO is fixated on how well search engine spiders can crawl your site and index your content.
Imagine you are trying to get into college. You will need to have good grades for you to get admitted.
Technical SEO is the school board that ensures that you met all the requirements need to be granted admission. That’s basically what the technical aspect of SEO looks like.
You need to fix any technical issues that might arise on your website before proceeding to On-page and Off-page SEO.
So here are a few things you need to look at:
- How well does your website work?
- How fast is it?
- How is your metadata?
- Have you fixed your URL permalinks structure?
- Is your site free of spam?
- Have you fixed broken links?
- Have you fixed duplicate content issues?
- Does it have a working XML sitemap?
- Is your website mobile responsive?
- Have you added your site to webmasters or search consoles?
If you can fix all the issues listed above, your website technical structure will be as strong as an ox. At least, work on the speed and mobile responsiveness of your website as a start, which will boost your SEO ranking.
This aspect of SEO is primarily concerned with the content of the site and how well it is optimized for the relevant keyword. As well as how well it provides a good user experience for visitors.
This aspect of SEO involves users more than any other factor of SEO, if a user has a bad experience with your website, it will affect the On-page SEO which will, in turn, affect your ranking.
Here are some On-page SEO factors you need to look at to optimize:
- Is the keyword density too low or high?
- How long is your content?
- Have you used the focus keyword in the subheading(s) in your copy?
- Does your content have an outbound link(s) and inbound link(s)?
- Do your images contain alt attributes with the focus keyword?
- Does your focus keyword appear in the first paragraph or the first 100 words of the copy?
- Does your meta description contain the focus keyword?
- Have you defined the length of the meta description? (142 max character count is recommended!)
- Hope the SEO title has a nice length? (76 max character count is recommended!)
- Did you use the focus keyword in the URL slug?
If you can fix these things on your website, your visitors will have a pleasant experience which will be good for your website.
This aspect of SEO is focused on inbound links from other websites to your site. Natural links from authoritative and relevant websites act as a “vote of confidence” which helps search engines trust your website more.
Unlike on-page SEO, Off-page SEO refers to activities you can perform outside the boundaries of your website.
This is in fact; one of the most important SEO factors because your published article getting a few links from authoritative websites means other people enjoy your content. Your content is valuable and useful to people, hence the share and vote of confidence.
But the truth is:
Off-page SEO is the hardest of all. You need to master the art of publishing shareable and linkable articles.
Here are some off-page factors you need to do after publishing your content:
- Social Media Marketing
- Social bookmarking
- Link Building
There are more but as this beginner’s guide to SEO, we will stop here.
SEO Strategies For Beginners
Next, we are going to look at some of the SEO strategies that you can use to boost your ranking on search pages, and yes everyone, even a beginner can execute these strategies.
1. Content is king
The first thing you need to do is have quality content. Quality content is king when it comes to SEO. You have to have a content strategy for your website. The term ‘content strategy’ refers to the development and management of content that you post on your website.
Having a good content strategy means that you will be able to choose the right keywords that will rank higher in the SERPS as well as headlines that are too irresistible not to click.
You will also know what your ideal post length is, what keyword density works best, and how to divide your content up for best results.
The content strategy that you pick should be based on the type of website you have. For example, your strategy will be different if you have an e-commerce website that is more into product descriptions than a review website that writes long-form reviews of various products and services.
How you define your content strategy will hinge on what works best for your website. Which means a lot of experiments will be done. You are going to do a lot of trial and error to find out what sort of content performs the best in your niche and how you can tweak it for even further improvement.
Having quality content on your blog or website is one of the best SEO practices you should adopt.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to get started. There are lots of information you can get online about new strategies to try and which ones you should avoid. Plus, when you are feeling lost or confused, just take a look at what your competition is doing and implement your own version of their work.
2. Research Keywords
Keyword research is absolutely crucial if you want to rank in the search engine results. Many websites do not optimize for keywords nor do any research on them at all, not knowing that it is exactly the lack of keyword research that is limiting their traffic.
Keyword research allows you to find out what search terms people are actually using to search on Google, and then you optimize those keywords for the users. So, there is a greater chance of ranking high enough for that keyword phrase and on SERPs.
Though good keyword research can be challenging to learn, the basics are pretty simple and anyone can grasp the concept quickly.
To do keyword research, there are a number of free tools out there to help you discover the keywords themselves, as well as information on how to use them within your content.
They can help you with the sort of headlines to create, how to include them in your headers and what sort of keyword density to use in your content itself. There are also tools out there to help you assess the competition so that you don’t waste time by optimizing for keywords that you aren’t going to be able to rank for.
As you become more invested in your website and start to develop more advanced SEO strategies, you’ll want to do even more comprehensive keyword tracking. You can use analytics software to see how your keywords are performing and possibly even invest in premium tools that will make keyword research even easier.
Some of these tools are SEMrush, Ahref, KWfinder, Longtail pro, SEMscoop and so much more.
3. Make Use of Headings
Something that you absolutely want to do with your content is to use headings (Htags like H2, H3, etc.). There are a couple of reasons why headings are a good idea.
First, they break up your content so that it is easier and less daunting to read. When people see a huge block of text online their natural inclination is to pass over it.
But when the content is separated by headings that explain each section, it becomes much easier to entice someone to read it.
Another reason to use headings is when you use headings within your content, and you put the keywords that you are targeting in those headings, you are optimizing your site for search even further.
That’s because putting something in a heading or subheading tells Google and other search engines that the words within that heading are important. That’s why headings should contain some of the keywords that you are targeting.
4. Use pictures and videos more often
Content of almost any length should have at least one picture included in it. Websites that use pictures within content have several advantages over content that doesn’t have them. We live in a generation of memes, use them to tell or sell your story. People are more receptive to pictures.
First, you get the opportunity to validate your point or tell your story using a completely separate method.
A good picture can speak volumes. It even provides the advantage of breaking up content even further to make it more enticing to the reader.
Content with pictures is more fun to read and more attractive than text alone – even if headings and subheadings are included. Your pictures can make a good article even better, and when it comes to long-form articles and reviews, additional media content like pictures and videos are crucial to holding a reader’s attention.
Finally, using images gives you the opportunity to optimize your keywords further by using alt tags.
All you have to do is, before you upload your images, rename them to include the keyword you want to rank for and when you upload every image, make sure you put the alt tags.
Alt tags are descriptions for images that search engines see, and using the right keywords to the right image can give you an SEO boost across your entire website.
5. Quality over Quantity
Finally, you need to ensure that you are always prioritizing quality over quantity. You might be able to write a post every day for your website, but it isn’t going to be nearly as good as one that is a little longer and takes you several days to research meticulously and rewrite until it is perfect.
Quantity might get you listed in the search engines more often and might seem to drive more traffic, but what most people don’t realize is that creating quality content is actually what gets you ranked higher for the keywords that you are already targeting.
Plus, an incredible piece of content is going to be shared by readers, and your comments section could give you a huge SEO boost if it becomes particularly active.
You don’t have to be a perfect writer to create quality content. But you do want to make sure that you have adequate knowledge on the subject that you are covering, and that your content is presented and organized in the best way possible.
You also want to make sure that you have gone over it as much as you can, editing typos and grammatical mistakes, or paragraphs that simply sound awkward and need to be rewritten.
If you aren’t that great at generating content yourself, there are plenty of writing services you can outsource your content needs to.
Getting started with SEO is actually not difficult. You want to ideally start with a content strategy. Developing this strategy will take some time as you research what works in your particular niche.
Your content strategy should contain the sort of keywords you are going after, how you set up your posts or other content, how often you post new content, and many other factors.
You also want to find out which keywords are achievable by your website and use them in your post titles, headers, and content.
Keyword research and optimization around those keywords is one of the most efficient ways to get traffic quickly.
Use headings in your content to break up the text lets the search engines and readers know what a section is about. Make sure that your content is of high quality and that you are using various multimedia to enhance posts as well.
Lastly, always strive for quality over quantity.