What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of increasing your website’s visibility on search engines like Google and Bing. The better your site’s SEO, the higher its ranking will be on search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Why is it important?
Well, the higher your site ranks in relevant searches, the more people will visit your site. Over time, this can mean improved brand awareness and conversions or sales for your business.
- How does it work?
In short: by following a few best practices like content, on-page optimization and link building. When you do that, search engines will reward you with higher rankings on SERPs which means more traffic to your site.
Create an SEO Plan.
You have a lot of factors to consider when executing an SEO plan; your time, and resources. When making an SEO plan, you must make sure that it is realistic and manageable. You should start a plan with the help of site auditing and for that, you can use tools like Webmaster tools like GSC and other 3rd part tools like Ahrefs, Moz, Semrush and so on. Your SEO plan should outline the content strategy, on-page optimisation and planning for building high-quality backlinks.
Create a List of Keywords.
Keywords are words or phrases that a person types into a search engine in order to find information. When you create content, you have to make sure that the keywords on your page match the words or phrases that people use when they search for information. For example, if someone searches for “running shoes” and your web page is about running shoes, then the keywords on your page should include the phrase “running shoes.”
There are many keyword research tools available to help you figure out which keywords to use, including Google AdWords Keyword Planner and SEMrush. No matter what tool you use, though, it will only be effective if you feed it with relevant data. So before you start searching for keywords, ask yourself these questions:
- What is this web page about? What is its purpose?
- Who is my audience? Who do I want to reach with this content?
Optimize your Site’s Structure.
Now that you know what SEO is and why it is important, let’s get started with the best practices to optimize your website.
The first and most important of these best practices are as follows: Optimize your site’s structure thoroughly. What do we mean by this? There are many elements to take into account when ensuring that your site has an optimized structure. These elements include:
- The responsiveness of your site to mobile devices, because more than half the world’s population now accesses the internet via their mobile phones or handheld devices
- The ease with which users can navigate through your pages and content in order for them to find what they need quickly
- How accessible all content on your platform is for search engines to crawl successfully and easily so that it can appear in search results, thereby increasing traffic and driving conversion rates up as well
Write High-Quality Website Content.
Writing content isn’t easy. You want to write useful and informative content that helps readers or solves a problem, but you also want to rank well in search engines. To do both, you need to understand how people will search for your content and what they’re looking for when they land on your page. You should also check the uniqueness of your content before making it live on your website. Use online resources to make quick plagiarism check free and determine which text is unique and which is plagiarized from the online data.
When you have a clear idea of the audience for your website, it becomes easier to understand their intent as well as their mindset when searching for information online. This is what we call keyword research:
- Who is my target audience?
- What are my audience’s pain points?
- What questions does my target audience have about my industry that I can answer in an article?
- How can I help them solve their problems or answer those questions?
Use Internal Links.
Using lots of internal links (anchor text) on your website helps Google discover new pages on your site.
Internal links help spread the link juice (ranking power) of your “authority pages.”
Internal links help Google understand your site’s structure.
Publish Long-Form Content.
Google prefers longer articles. Interestingly, long-form content tends to have a lower bounce rate and higher time on page than shorter articles. This is because people are happy to read long articles when they’re good, but often don’t want to waste their time reading short or poorly written pieces.
Your article should be at least 1,000 words long, preferably 3,000+. In addition to having a better chance of ranking well on Google for lots of keywords, the more you write about your topic, the less likely you’ll be to cannibalize your own keywords by targeting similar ones in different blog posts. Longer posts also tend to get more shares on social media.
Optimize Your Meta Tags – Titles and Meta Descriptions.
So, you have an SEO strategy. Now what?
At the top of your SEO checklist should be optimising meta tags. Titles and meta descriptions are HTML elements that describe the content of a web page. Titles appear as clickable headlines on search engine results pages (SERPs) and as the title for social media posts; meta descriptions show up on SERPs as snippets below each headline that describe a given page’s content.
Create a Sitemap.
Sitemaps are the list of all pages on your site that are available for crawling. They help search engines collect and organize information on your website and make it easier to crawl them. Creating a sitemap is not complicated but you must be careful when doing so, as minor mistakes can lead to big problems. You should check different types of sitemaps (HTML and XML) and decide which one is right for your purpose. If you want to make sure that search engine bots will find all the necessary documents, it is better to use both types. You can check out the Google Sitemap Help Guide if you have any difficulties or questions regarding creating a sitemap or submit your site’s URL on Google Search Console in order to see what pages were indexed by the Google bot successfully (or not).
Submit Your Site to Search Engines.
- You can submit your site to search engines directly.
- To make sure your site gets indexed, there are a few tips you can follow:
- Your website should have lots of content related to the same niche. Make sure it is well-organized, updated and easy for people to read and use it.
- The website should be responsive and easy to access through any device or browser. For example, if you are using WordPress, you need to choose a fast-loading theme that is optimized by the developer for any screen size including mobile devices.
- As Google’s indexing bot only crawls text links on web pages, you may consider submitting a sitemap of your website via Google Webmaster Tools in order to speed up the indexing process.
Ethical Link building is a big part of SEO. It’s basically asking someone else to link back to your website. For example, if I have a gardening blog and I want more people to find my blog on Google, I might reach out to other gardening blogs and ask if they would link back to my blog. Sometimes this can be a friendly request and sometimes you may have to pay for a sponsored post or guest blog post on that site. The main thing to remember when building links is that you are building up your own website’s reputation for SEO ranking by getting links from trusted sites.
As a beginner, you should also start reading SEO books /Blogs and watch videos to understand the concepts and then start implementing them.
Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer who helps online businesses grow with smart marketing tactics to improve sales and leads. He is passionate and driven to grow businesses online and is responsible for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and managing promotional and media channels.