Understanding SEO basics and applying it to your website is vital to get your business on the SERPs
(or Search Engine Results Page), to gain traffic, to reach your audience, to build a relationship, and to achieve your ultimate goal which is to make sales, increase brand awareness, promote your services, etc.
People search for products/services, reviews, or simply to search for information to solve their problems.
If you have a photography business based in Portland, then you’d want to be on the first page of a search result for “photography services in Portland,” for example.
Ranking on the first page of search results simply means that more people will see your website and guarantees a higher click-through. It’s up to you to keep them there after the click, which is why it’s so incredibly important to understand the intent of the keywords that you use.
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO simply means making your website optimized, so the search engine will get to understand that your contents are relevant to answer a search query. One of your goals in improving your SEO is to make the search engines believe that your website offers quality content and that it is reliable and helpful.
People are looking for solutions and answers to their problems, and you can use this process to help you develop your SEO strategy- that is, to convince them and the search engines that your website can give them the help they are seeking.
Know your SEO tools
We assume that you have a website and you are ready to optimize it for search engines because you want that organic (unpaid) traffic for your website. But first, you’ll need to understand where your website stands, how it performs, and the problems you need to fix.
We found this helpful article about 16-Step SEO Audit Process from ahrefs.com that will detail some tools they recommend and use in SEO auditing.
Auditing is the process you’ll need to do to start optimizing your website. And we know, it can be overwhelming for beginners, but tools such as google analytics and google search console will make your auditing easier.
What are the ranking factors?
Ranking factors are probably the biggest concern we see among new and experienced SEO marketers alike. It’s likely the reason why you clicked on this blog post. As we mentioned above, an SEO audit will give you an overview of important factors that search engines consider in ranking a website.
This article from backlinko.com has a long list of SEO tools you can use to examine your website.
By being familiar with different SEO tools, you’ll have an idea of what is important to rank in SERP. To summarize, here are the most important ranking factors you need to know as a beginner:
– Your website should make it easy for search engines to crawl
– You have reputable sites or those with high domain authority and in the same niche linking to your pages or contents
– Your contents are high quality and targeted to answer search queries
– Your site’s design can cater to a user’s device
– You are consistent in updating your website
– Your website’s speed should be fast
These ranking factors can be improved by focusing your effort in on-and-off-page optimization.
SEO Basics of On-Page Optimizations: Actionable Tips
On-page optimization refers to improving your site’s content and pages by fine-tuning the back end of your website and pages to enhance your site’s search engine visibility. On-page optimization involves the following:
Index your website- it means that your website qualifies itself to be shown and be found in the search engine results. You can check if your site is indexed by typing “site:yourdomain” in the search bar. If your site is not indexed, you can head on over to this post from semrush.com to help you fix it.
Indexing is essential and a way of saying to search engines that “Hey! Here’s my website”.
Do Your SEO Keyword Research- Keywords are relevant in SEO because these words or series of words are what will connect your website to search engines. Resources such as ubersuggest, google keyword planner, and google trends will help you find the keywords ranking in your niche.
Using a keyword research tool, you’ll be able to see how many searches there are in a particular keyword. As a basic rule, you should target keywords with high search volume and low competition. You can write amazing content, but if you fail to target the right keywords, no one will even know that your website exists.
To optimize your website, include your keywords in the following:
– Your post’s URL
– Your post’s introduction
– A variation of your keywords in subheadings
– Related keywords in the body of your content
– In your images
– In the title and meta descriptions
However, it is essential to note that keyword stuffing is not advisable. Instead, the suggested keyword density should be at least 1 to 2%.
Offer high-quality content- craft contents that will present information and solutions to their problems. Ensure that your contents are easy to read and cater to your target audience’s knowledge.
That’s why it is crucial to define your target audience because knowing your audience will give you ideas on how to structure your content.
Also, you’ll need to be consistent in adding quality content in your website. Try to have more than 1,000 words per blog post to have a better chance of ranking.
Give importance to user experience- search engines look at how long a visitor stays on your site as it gives them a signal that the website’s contents are relevant and offers a good quality information corresponding to a search query. To make your visitors stay longer to your site, you can do the following:
- Check your design and layout- no one wants to stay on a website that’s too overwhelming and all over the place. Ensure that your sidebars are not cluttered, and ads, if any, are put in the right place and will not distract the readers. You should also use themes that are responsive- or themes that can adjust its layout depending on the user’s device.
- Check your speed- You can’t retain your visitors if your pages took forever to load. Ensure a great user experience by enabling your readers to navigate your pages easily.
Other On-Page Optimization Tips:
– Add a table of contents
– Use a caching plugin to improve your website’s speed
– Use SEO plugins such as Yoast and RankMath
– Do internal linking or linking your audience to other pages on your website
SEO Basics of Off-Page Optimizations: What You Need to Know
Off-page optimization is the improvement you can do to tell the search engines how reliable, valuable, and reputable your website is. The big word related to off-page optimization is the so-called- backlinks.
Backlinks refer to the links made by a website to other websites. Using SEO tools will help you see that websites ranking in SERP are those with quality backlinks. In a way, another site linking to your website’s contents is signaling the search engines that you are trustworthy.
For backlinks to improve your SEO, you should understand that these links pointing to your website should be of quality. You’d want to receive backlinks from sites related to your niche and have competent authority.
Link building genuinely takes time and patience. To have quality backlinks, you’ll need to ensure that your website makes a strong impression about its expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in your niche.
You can try the following tips to start link building:
- Guest Posting
- Reaching out and building a relationship with highly trusted websites
- Have a resource page- other websites will most likely link to you if you have a long list of resources.
- Improve your content and encourage your readers to share it
By now, you already know the importance of SEO. We hope that this blog post gives you valuable information that will guide you in improving your search engine rankings.