The SEO Starter Guide

August 19, 2021

The search engine is used by millions of users every day. When online users search for their queries in the search engines, they go through what is known as search engine results pages (SERPs). In order to make it easier for their content to be visible, website owners must ensure that their websites are listed in the first few pages of the SERPs. This is because most users do not go beyond the first few pages when searching for content. There are many methods to improve the chances that a given website is seen in the SERPs. This is what is known as search engine optimization or SEO. SEO involves adopting different strategies with the aim of ensuring that a given website is more visible in the search results. However, it is important to note that search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, and what works today may not work in the near future. Therefore, in order to maintain a good search ranking, it is important for website owners to observe the different methods recommended by SEO practitioners.

The SEO Starter Guide

In search engine optimization, we are looking to understand SEO and its importance. It is beneficial to take the understanding at first, and then we can take the next step of further optimizing our website. SEO is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to our website through organic search engine results. Straightway you can classify the optimization into two categories. The onsite optimization is the process of making changes to our website to optimize for better SEO. Some examples of onsite optimization include maintaining a high keyword density, using meta tags, and optimizing the website loading speed. The offsite optimization is the act of optimizing our website for better search results by increasing the number of relevant and reputable websites which link to our site. Offsite optimization includes things such as ongoing posting to forums and commenting on other related blogs but mostly the focus is on obtaining quality, relevant links pointing to our website which can only really be achieved through proper, ongoing marketing on the internet. Through analyzing the meaning of SEO and the strategies to obtain SEO, we can understand that the importance of SEO would be coming from a few aspects. First of all, the use of SEO will bring free and continuous traffic to us. Secondly, compared with the paid advertising, the results of using SEO would be a lot better, more relevant and well received. Because, as mentioned, users trust in search engine and presume the website that is ranked high by the search engine would also be a reputable source. Last but not least, the success of SEO is not immediate, but it would be long lasting and sustainable. It is totally worth the time and effort when we eventually see the good results coming in and even better than we thought. With such understanding, we should start to embrace the importance of SEO and the impacts it brings to us. Work it smart, not hard! Next, I will show you how to fix the metadata and re-index them in the webmaster tools. So stay tuned and I will come back on teaching you all how to enhance onsite optimization. Now go for a break!

The Role of User Experience in SEO

– User Interface: The layout of your user interface and how easy it is for a user to navigate around your site. – Site Speed: Slow loading times can be very frustrating for users and can mean that they end up leaving your site before they’ve even seen it. This will now seriously affect your SEO rankings. – Responsiveness: Making sure that your website works just as well on laptops and desktops as it does on mobiles and tablets. – Quality Content: Making sure that the content you are serving is relevant and useful to the user – no clickbait!

Certainly, modern user experience covers a vast array of factors, but here are some important categories to consider when thinking about how your website performs in this area:

Search engine algorithms are becoming increasingly complex, such that the user’s experience is now one of – if not the most important factors in how your site will end up ranking. Google and other search engines prioritize providing their users the best experience when they are searching for something. This now means that it is not just about making sure that your website is filled with unique, high-quality content, as has been the case for a number of years. While quality content is still a very important aspect of SEO and always will be, user experience is now equally as important – if not more so. When we talk about user experience, we mean things like how easy it is for users to find what they’re looking for on your site. Can they find the information they want easily? Is your site simple and easy to navigate? Is your site fast and free from bloat? And now there is a new called Core Web Vitals which will also be factored into user experience. These vitals measure your website loading time, interactivity, and visual stability. So if you want your website to be successful, you now need to make sure that your website is optimized for user experience so that it can start getting your pages up to the top of the search results. Modern SEO is all about giving the user what they want and removing anything that could stand in the way of them getting the best experience possible – and search engines will be actively searching for the sites that achieve this.

On-Page SEO Techniques

The basic technique of optimizing title tags and meta descriptions is the first thing you are taught in an SEO course. This is because once you get it right, the results of your efforts can be seen quickly, as search engines pick up and display the changes almost immediately. Both the title tag and the meta description collectively describe what a web page is about. This is what shows up in a search result and is crucial for attracting users to click on it. Every web page, whether it’s a homepage or a blog post, should have a unique title tag and meta description. However, if no manual input is done, some content management systems will automatically use the first line of your page copy as the meta description, and the same algorithm that searches for a focus keyword in your content will generate SEO title analysis. This will then give you feedback on how well your focus keyword is used throughout the page. However, having green lights across the board doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to leapfrog other search results and claim the top spot – it’s more of a benchmark to aim for as you write your content.

After creating an effective SEO strategy, it is important to devote some time to conducting keyword research. The purpose of this is to find keywords that have sufficient search volumes that will help your page rank higher in search engines. To get started, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and consider what types of words they would type into Google. For example, if you are trying to rank a blog post about ‘beef stew recipe’, a user is likely to search ‘how to make beef stew’ or ‘best beef stew recipe’. To help with your brainstorming, try using the Google Keyword Planner – a free tool that is part of Google Ads.

Conducting Keyword Research for Effective Optimization

By the end of this process, you should have a refined list of keyword phrases that you can use to directly inform the design and content of your website. By only selecting keywords that are relevant to your site and that have high search volumes and low competition, you can give yourself the best chance of ranking highly.

Once you have a list of potential keyword phrases, you then need to assess the supply and demand of each. In other words, it is important to pinpoint which keyword phrases are being targeted by other sites and how hard it will be to rank on the first page for those terms, as well as how often users are actually searching for the phrase in a search engine. This requires the use of keyword research tools that allow you to pick a suitable keyword phrase, and then collect and visualize data on the term’s search volume and trends over time, its competition and its commercial intent.

The first and most critical step to keyword research is to start by identifying the keyword phrases that are most relevant to your website. These are the words or terms that a potential visitor might use to find your site in a search. For example, if your website is about power tools, you should look for keyword phrases that are related to power tools and that reflect what someone interested in power tools would type into Google. Usually, starting with a general topic and then getting into more and more specific keyword phrases as you go is the best approach for carrying out effective keyword research. Also, it can be helpful to think of short, or more general, keyword phrases as ‘head terms’ and longer, or more specific, keyword phrases as ‘long-tail terms’, as this can help to categorize your research.

Keyword research is a fundamental part of SEO. In order to effectively optimize your website for search engines, you need to identify and select the best and most suitable keywords for your site. As defined by Moz, an authority on SEO optimization, “Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website.” In essence, successful and effective keyword research can both unlock the benefits of an organic search engine optimization strategy and pave the way for near immediate improvements to your website’s search performance.

Optimizing Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

When you perform a Google search, what do you see? The results, as well as the titles and descriptions under each search result. These titles and descriptions are your first impression as a user and also play a key role in helping search engines understand what your page is about. It’s important to note that a title tag for SEO and a title on your page are not always the same thing. In fact, you can put any message you want in your title tag, regardless of what’s actually on your webpage. However, ideally, you want the title tag and the on-page title to match. Similarly, a meta description is a snippet of up to about 155 characters – a tag in HTML – that summarizes a page’s content. Again, meta descriptions are not visible on the page itself. Instead, these short descriptions are (sometimes) used in search results to help the searcher to decide if the link is appropriate to them. As well as being a good SEO practice, this also allows users to quickly identify if a page is what they’re looking for. So, how do you optimize these titles and meta descriptions for SEO, and how do you ensure it gives the user the information they need? Here’s three steps! First, conduct keyword research and select focus keyword for each page. Second, make sure each title tag is unique and descriptive, accurately and briefly summarizing the content on each page. Similarly, ensure every page on your website has a meta description, and that they’re all unique. Familiarize yourself with title and meta description length best practices lastly; how do you measure the effectiveness of your title and meta descriptions? Well, a good way is to track the click-through rate garnered by each title and meta description. The one with the highest click-through rate may be considered the most effective, as it generates the most user traffic to your site. In addition, tools such as Google Search Console may also be used to analyze performance, as they allow webmasters to analyze search term performance and provide insights and opportunities for improvement. So, in summary, title tags and meta descriptions play a vital role in SEO, but they also directly impact the user experience. By creating unique, keyword-driven and user-friendly title tags and descriptions, you can ensure that you and the users are happy – and that Google will be too.

Creating High-Quality and Relevant Content

Different surveys and reports have found that around 60-70% of content online is never seen by anybody. There is simply so much out there on the web, it’s so natural to mix into the background. Your objective when creating top-notch content is to catch the peruser’s eye and keep it. Make the content interesting – something that really demands to the peruser and gives them some sort of significant worth. It is convenient to number of words or add some significance to cutting-edge perusers. For example, a blog entry with the title “Top 10 Tips” will give beginners in the space some idea of what’s in store and will probably be simple and fun content to follow. Studies have shown that perusers are 28% bound to share verbose content. Try not to keep down when making content. Spend the most time working on your presentation; this has the most obvious opportunity with regards to catching the peruser’s eye. Google generally savors the experience of content that is about 1800 words or more. Most thorough, considered pieces will normally be in excess of this length, and this kind of content will in general catch the peruser’s eye more. Creative containing basic sentence structures and using an assortment of words and expressions will vary up the rhythm of the text which will keep the peruser interested and hold their thought. Specialist web indexes like Google have an obligation to satisfy their customers with the most important data. By creating and advancing elite content, you increment the likelihood that your site will get ordinary, natural interest. Creative containing basic sentence structures and using an assortment of words and expressions will vary up the rhythm of the text which will keep the peruser interested and hold their thought. Master web crawlers like Google have a responsibility to satisfy their customers with the most significant information. By making and propelling world-class content, you increase the probability that your site will get ordinary, regular interest. Anyway much as could sensibly be normal, articulate in headers and sub-headers, and have them reflect the veritable idea…

Off-Page SEO Strategies

So when you’re considering how to improve your off-page SEO, remember it’s a gradual and long-term process. The quality of your site and content is paramount, as well as making sure that you’re keeping on top of new and emerging technologies and social media and the wider digital landscape. Being aware of how SEO is associated with content and the importance of backlinks is beneficial, as is knowing how you can create a content strategy that helps improve your website.

Backlinking and social media can work together as part of a wider digital marketing strategy. As well as with the potential for reaching large audiences, content shared on social media could help your website secure more valuable backlinks. For instance, tweets and retweets can generate backlinks. Social media activity won’t, in most cases, help improve a website’s search ranking straight away, but it will contribute to the SEO site of things in the longer term.

There are a few different strategies you can use to build good backlinks. One common technique is creating useful or interesting content, which naturally encourages another site to link to your content. You can also manually apply for backlinks or reach out to sites that are relevant to your content and would benefit from linking to your material. Alternatively, internal linking – where one page of a site links to a different page on the same site – is also a good strategy for backlinking from your own content.

However, not all backlinks are valuable. A key part of any backlinking strategy is making sure that you seek out high quality and reputable sites. Links from low quality or spam sites can actually have a negative impact on your search ranking.

Another key concept and strategy in off-page SEO is backlinking. A backlink is any external link that brings a user from another website to your site. Backlinks can be a powerful aspect of off-page SEO because they can act as endorsements for your content. The more reputable and relevant the sites that link to your content, the more positively it can affect your ranking. This is because when another site links to yours, this is seen as a signal to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant. In the eyes of a search engine, this is a sign that your site is a good and trustworthy resource.

Building Quality Backlinks to Boost Website Authority

Another important factor to consider when it comes to backlinks is the quality of the websites that are linking to your website. If the websites are relevant and trustworthy, then your website will be considered reputable and also added to the list of websites that are not only available, but also recommended for related searches. Google doesn’t recommend creating backlinks in a spammy or manipulative way, because that would throw up red flags for your SEO efforts and actually harm your website in the long run. Instead, the best way to go about it is to earn your backlinks, with effective and legitimate outreach strategies. One way to do this is to write guest posts on other websites or create a research project that others in your industry find new or particularly noteworthy. Then, contact reputable websites and ask them to consider sharing your content – most of the time, they will get something out of it as well, if you can offer a backlink in return. Also, performing regular backlink analysis is a critical part of understanding your website’s overall SEO health. Websites that link to your site can affect your SEO performance, whether those links are good or bad. Toxic backlinks from poor sources are the opposite of what’s considered a “healthy” backlink profile, and can include anything from seemingly okay websites that in reality were set up as link farms or clickbait and low-quality, high-volume links. Such websites are not useful to the reader and if your website is associated with them, this will signify to search engines that your website isn’t useful either, because it’s essentially connected to substandard or irrelevant platforms. On the other hand, backlinks from high-quality and relevant websites are seen as invaluable, and can be game-changers in your off-page SEO endeavours. However, without performing a complete backlink analysis, you may not know which type of links are benefiting your SEO efforts, and which ones could potentially harm your website rankings. So, it’s really important for you to use a backlink analysis tool or instrument every couple of weeks to ensure that your steps to establish quality backlinks are headed in the right direction. By engaging with sites that already have a good standing and producing worthwhile content, many internet marketing experts believe that SEO can be organically improved by simply allowing time for backlinks to register, mature and accumulate. Backlinks tend to be self-reinforcing, as better search engine performance will boost your website into more visible positions and generate a greater opportunity for other high-quality websites to link to your content. By focusing on developing online relationships with reputable website owners and creating genuine link-building opportunities, you may eventually attain a level of authority and SEO strength that will help your website maintain a page one position for years to come.

Leveraging Social Media for SEO Benefits

When it comes to finding and choosing a social media platform to connect with potential customers, there are a number of options to consider. Often, the best platform to choose is the one that is most relevant to your customer base and is popular in your industry. For example, a B2B oriented business selling products such as industrial machinery, office furniture or other business necessities could find that LinkedIn is the best social media platform to focus on. This is because unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is used specifically for professional networking. As well as providing a platform where businesses and individuals can connect and showcase their products or initiatives, it also has a built-in search engine which means that profiles and posts are often indexed and can appear in external search results. In contrast, a B2C business could find that it is more beneficial to focus on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, particularly if the business is aimed at a younger customer base. However, this is not always the case and in order to make the most of these social media platforms for SEO as part of your digital marketing strategy, it is important to keep up to date with changes in search engine algorithms and be aware of current best practices in the industry. Some key benefits of using social media to help with SEO can include: increasing the amount of traffic which comes to your website, improving your site’s authority and impacting positively on search engine crawling. However, it is important to be aware that the success of this as a digital marketing strategy relies on using it in the right way. For example, consistently publishing quality posts and engaging with your audience are much more effective in the long run than simply using a social media account to post links back to your website. By adding dedicated ‘share’ buttons to your website, it can encourage visitors to post your content to their own social media platforms, therefore extending the reach of your material online and boosting your website’s visibility overall. Each time a piece of content is shared, it creates a backlink and for SEO this can have a significant impact. A backlink is essentially a vote of confidence in the quality of your content which can strengthen the authority of your site. It is a direct link back to your webpage from another. Often building a large number of backlinks has been seen as a go-to tactic for increasing page rank but it is important to be aware that the quality of the backlinks is equally as important as the number. By choosing to go with more natural, organic and truthful dialogue around content and sharing this through social media, you can help to cultivate a much firmer and supportive network of links, resulting in a longer lasting and more successful SEO effort.

Monitoring and Improving SEO Performance

Measuring and tracking website rankings is crucial and can help in identifying weaknesses of the SEO strategy. Thankfully, there are a plethora of tools and software that can track and measure a website’s SEO performance. One of the most common tools is Google Analytics. By utilizing Google Analytics, site owners can view the keywords that are driving the most traffic, the websites that send the most traffic, the most viewed pages and a whole lot more. This in turn can help in making decisions to improve various SEO strategies. For example, realizing that a particular keyword has not been driving enough traffic can prompt a content creator to make some changes by either editing current content or creating new content. On the other hand, realizing that certain websites keep referring visitors to the site can solidify a relationship with that website and focus on creating more backlinks. Not only that, site owners can also track the website performance using a variety of parameters based on a selected period of time. For example, the bounce rate, the number of new visitors, the page per visit and the average time on site can all be tracked and graphed to show the performance of a website on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. This can help in identifying trends and making smart adjustments to capitalize on internet traffic. By being able to measure the success of every SEO strategy implemented, website owners are able to repeatedly analyze and improve the site’s SEO performance over time. This is a dynamic process that should be constantly reevaluated and reshaped, given fluctuations in search engine algorithms, shifts in the demand of goods and services, and the evolving market trends. By measuring strengths and weaknesses and finding areas of opportunity whilst tracking progress, time and money can be used more effectively, return on investment can be maximized and the position of a website will rise in search engine rankings.

Utilizing Google Search Console for Insights and Optimization

Google Search Console is a powerful tool for website owners and webmasters, offering valuable insights into website performance. If you have not done so already, the first step is to get your website verified – this requires you to prove that you are the owner of the website, which can be done using one of several methods such as uploading a small HTML file to your website server or adding a short piece of code to your website’s homepage. Once you have verified your website with Google Search Console, you can start using it to understand and improve your website’s presence in Google Search. For example, the ‘Performance’ report allows you to see your website’s performance on Google’s search results. This includes things like how many clicks and impressions your website gets for different searches, what the average click-through rate is and where your website appears in search results. These insights can be used to make sure that you are targeting the right things with your search engine optimization and to identify aspects of your website that could be improved. For example, if you have a page on your website that you expect to be popular but the ‘Performance’ report shows that it is not getting many clicks in search results, this could indicate that you need to review that page and make it more appealing or easier for people to find. Thanks to the ‘Coverage’ and ‘Enhancements’ reports in Google Search Console, it’s also easy to find and fix technical issues that might be preventing your website from performing as well as it could in search results. For example, the ‘Coverage’ report shows you the pages on your website that have been discovered by Google and how well they have been indexed. It can also highlight problems with pages, such as whether they produce an error when Google tries to index them or whether they have been deliberately excluded from Google’s index. By resolving these kinds of issues, you can maximize the visibility of your website in search results. Last but not least, Google Search Console also provides feedback on the mobile friendliness and speed of your website. These are important factors for search engine optimization because search engines prioritize websites that work well on mobile and load quickly for users. For example, the ‘Mobile Usability’ report may identify issues with certain pages that can make it harder for users on mobile devices to use your site. The ‘URL Inspection’ tool also allows you to check that a specific web page is ‘mobile friendly’ and that it appears correctly to Google when it’s being viewed on a mobile device. By using this feedback to ensure that your website is providing a good experience for mobile users, you can improve your chances of ranking well in mobile search results.

Analyzing Search Queries to Enhance SEO Strategy

Another impressive feature of the Google Search Console is the ability to analyze the actual search queries that led to a user clicking on your site. You will, however, be able to access a more limited database of search terms – for the majority of cases, you will only see search terms that have been used at least a couple of times and have led to a click on your site. Despite these limitations, analyzing these search queries can be an extremely valuable exercise that can help to inform and enhance your overall SEO strategy and keyword research, as well as potentially help to shape your on-site content and website user experience. By looking at the queries that result in high click-through rates, you may begin to identify the importance of certain keyword themes and start to adapt your content to provide answers to users that search for those terms – potentially opening the door to creating new content or expanding your website. Conversely, analysis of high impression search terms and their click-through rates can help you identify areas of improvement against user expectations – for example, if a certain term related to your site is getting a lot of impressions but a relatively low click-through rate, this might suggest more could be done to optimize the title or meta-description tags that relate to this term. However, it is recommended that search query analysis be seen as a longer-term strategy that is balanced with proactive development of content, keyword research, and other aspects of SEO, rather than something that is done in isolation in reaction to changes in performance.

Measuring and Tracking Website Rankings to Rank Higher

All of this information can be used to further enhance your SEO strategy and improve your website’s ranking.

Lastly, it’s crucial to measure and track conversion rate, which is the percentage of visitors to your site that complete a desired goal. This goal could be subscribing to a newsletter, creating an account, or making a purchase. You can track conversion rates through Google Analytics too – just navigate to “Conversions” and select “Goals.” By knowing not just how many visitors you get from organic traffic but also how many of them are completing the desired goals, you’ll be able to identify what aspects of your site or which landing pages are in need of optimization.

Another valuable SEO KPI is tracking organic traffic. This metric measures the number of visitors finding your website through search engines, as opposed to through a paid advertisement. You can track organic traffic using Google Analytics – simply navigate to the “Acquisition” tab and then select “Overview.” Increasing organic traffic is a sign that your content and optimization efforts are working, and will in turn lead to higher conversion rates.

When tracking keyword rankings, the most important metric is the position in which your webpage appears on the search engine results page (SERP). Your main goal is to have your page ranked as high as possible, preferably in the top three results, because as many as 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

First and foremost, you should focus on tracking keyword rankings. Keywords are the search terms that people type into search engines. For example, if you have a website that sells vegan beauty products, a potential keyword could be “vegan lipsticks.” To check your keyword ranking, you can use a keyword research tool like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner. These tools allow you to see how your page is performing for a specific keyword and to compare your keyword rankings with those of your competitors.

To measure and track your website’s performance in terms of SEO, you need to employ key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics such as keyword rankings, organic traffic, and conversion rate. By keeping an eye on these metrics, you can gain valuable insights that help improve your SEO strategy.

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