SEO Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
SEO is one of the most important factors when it comes to getting your business online.
Here at RevenueWings, we have specialized in highly effective SEO Services.
Your website needs to be optimized in order for people to find you when they are looking for products or services that you offer. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which means optimizing your site so that search engines can better understand what your content is about and rank you higher in search results pages (organic search results). The top three search engine providers are Google, Bing, and Yahoo! It’s important to have a well-optimized website because if someone searches “dog grooming” on Google but all they see are websites that sell dog food then chances are they will click back over to the previous page, very frustrated with their lack of options available.
- 1 How search engines work
- 2 Why your own website needs good content to get found on Google
- 3 What words would someone type in Google to find your products – an introduction to keywords
- 3.1 Keyword research:
- 3.2 Keyword targeting:
- 3.3 Why keywords matter:
- 3.4 Keyword search volume matters for keywords
- 3.5 Identify your focus keyword (money keyword)
- 3.6 Track keyword rankings is essential for your success
- 3.7 Optimize your keywords for search intent of your target audience
- 4 Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and Headlines (H1-H6)
- 5 Information Architecture & Internal Linking
- 6 URL structure
- 7 Optimize for On-Page SEO
- 8 How Anchor text helps to rank higher in Google
- 9 Help Google find your content
- 10 Analyze Google's First Page
- 11 Use Google Analytics to track your search engine traffic
- 12 What to avoid as a website owner
How search engines work
Search engines are programmed to rank websites according to their relevance. Search engines detect the words that someone has searched for and ranks them based on how often those words appear on the pages of the website. A good way to determine if you're doing enough SEO is by checking your ranking on Google. You can use one of Google's tools, like Webmaster Tools which will show you how your site is performing in relation to other sites ranked for your keywords you’ve selected. If you find that your site is not ranked as well as it should be then it might be time to step up your game and start optimizing your site more efficiently.
What organic traffic means
Organic traffic is the type of website traffic that you receive from Google and other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. This type of traffic is generated when people search for your company or business name, see that you rank on the first page, and then click through to your website.
Organic traffic provides a sustainable way of attracting clients to your business because it does not cost money to generate this type of web traffic. You can't guarantee that organic traffic will come in, but if you have a good SEO campaign with keywords that are popular, you're more likely to get referred visitors to your site. When you're getting organic traffic, it feels like free advertising because there are no costs associated with generating this type of web traffic.
Organic traffic is the best source of visitors because they are looking for your site! Plus, it's the most cost effective form of web traffic. Its not easy to get this type of website traffic though. You have to work at it with a good SEO process in place. By targeting popular keywords you can attract organic search engine traffic to your page.
Almost every company that has invested in SEO is reaping the rewards of positive organic traffic growth. You can see it when you look at Google Analytics data for almost any business website. According to HubSpot, businesses are now seeing an average of 86 percent more organic visitors than they did before investing in SEO.
Organic traffic is best when you are starting out in search engine optimization. If your site ranks well, it will start getting organic visitors right away which is when you want to begin building your list of leads.
What search engines are out there?
Google is the most popular search engine in the world. The Google search results are the most accurate and will bring you the most search traffic to your website, if you focus on SEO.
Bing and Yahoo are the other popular search engines in the US.
Make your benefit out of the Google Image search
Google Image search being so popular is that it uses Google's web crawling algorithm to find images. This means people are more likely to use your images if they're hosted on the same server as your site.
Google indexes images by looking at their filenames, file extensions, alt text, and other textual elements found in the HTML code of web pages. So make sure you name your images descriptively and accurately with your targeted keywords to get listed in Google Images.
People are more likely to use click on Google images that have alt text, so make sure you have alt tags on all of your images. About 16 percent of the average webpage's content is made up of text-based elements like images which means they can be a great source for SEO keywords.
Understand Search engine algorithms
The algorithms used by search engines have been developed to show the most relevant pages in response to a user's search query. Search engines have a goal of providing their users with quality results, which means that irrelevant or poor-quality pages should not appear in the search results list at all. The aim of SEO is to improve your site so that your pages appear in response to user queries.
When webmasters use certain techniques that are against search engine guidelines, the search engines penalize the site by penalizing these techniques. To avoid being caught doing some of these tricks, it is important for you to know how algorithms work and how they can be used to your advantage.
Know the basics of search engine algorithms
Typically, search engine optimization algorithms are affected by two key elements: on-site and off-site. On-site refers to the elements that you control and off-site refers to the factors that are beyond your control. We'll cover search engine rankings by on-page SEO and off-page SEO later in this article.
Why your own website needs good content to get found on Google
Google is programmed to rank websites based on their relevance.
Your website needs good content to get found on Google by having a well-optimized site that’s relevant for what people are searching, otherwise your business can be left unnoticed and unranked even if you have the perfect products or services!
What words would someone type in Google to find your products – an introduction to keywords
In this paragraph, we will be discussing the importance of keywords in SEO and how they help you get found on Google.
Keywords are words or phrases that people type when searching for something online. They can also be called “keyword phrases” when more than one word is used together to describe a particular subject or search term. For example, if someone types in ‘dog grooming' into the search engine then the website that has that topic within its content will rank higher in search engine results pages than other websites with similar topics but no mention of dog grooming. There are different ways to optimize your site using keywords so it ranks high on Google's search results page such as having a well-optimized site and including targeted keywords throughout your content
Keyword research and keyword targeting best practices
Keywords are words or phrases that people type when searching for something online. They can also be called “keyword phrases” when more than one word is used together to describe a particular subject or search term. For example, if someone types in ‘dog grooming' into the search engine then the website that has that topic within its content will rank higher in search engines results pages than other websites with similar topics but no mention of dog grooming. There are different ways to optimize your site using keywords so it ranks high on Google's search results page such as having a well-optimized site and including targeted keywords throughout your content.
The first step of search engine optimization is keyword research, which means finding out what words people are actually searching for on the web. That can be done with a keyword research tool. For example, if you had a website about dog grooming then it would be wise to type in ‘dog grooming' into Google's search engine and see what results come up. This is where you can begin to see what people are typing into Google when they're looking for something that may include your business or product.
Once you've found your target keywords, it's good to use them throughout the content of your website so Google knows what your site is about and where it ranks on search results pages. It can sometimes be difficult to find the perfect keyword that people are actually searching for online, but once you do – that's where some SEO magic begins. Keyword research need some practice and keyword research tools to get the most out of your time.
It’s also good to use keywords in the title of your website, meta titles & descriptions and within the content itself. This is known as ‘keyword targeting'. You can include these key areas throughout your site for optimal optimization. When you're setting up your website's structure it's best to try and put your keyword as close to the beginning of a title as possible so it ranks higher on Google's search results page – for example ‘dog grooming Auckland'. You can also include your keywords within each page's meta description.
Avoid using the same words over and over again because you don’t want your site to look spammy. Plus, Google doesn’t like websites that try and ‘game' their search engine.
Why keywords matter:
Google and other search engines such as Yahoo! and Bing use algorithms (coding) to determine how a website should rank on the results pages. Google has millions of websites to sort through, so they use keywords as a way to weed out the good from the bad. If your website includes relevant keywords that are related to what you're offering then that's a good thing because it will be easier for potential customers to find you on Google with their search queries.
Keyword search volume matters for keywords
When you want to know what keywords to use for your search engine optimization campaign, it is important to prevent yourself from falling into the trap of determining keyword volumes based on guesswork and statistical tools. It is possible that the search volume Google provides you with an estimate using their Keyword Tool might be contested by other sources that show different numbers. This is because the keyword search volume comes from an automated process and we can never be sure that it is completely accurate. To get a better overview about the search volume it is helpful to compare some sources.
Identify your focus keyword (money keyword)
When you know the volume of your focus keyword, it will be easy to determine which campaign and keywords you want to focus on. This means that once you have decided on your focus keyword, you should then identify all those search terms that rank well for that particular keyword and arrange them in order of their relevance and conversion value.
When it comes to opportunities on the web, you should prioritize keywords that are more likely to give you ready-to-buy customers. However, if your company is in the early stages of development and you are still building up your site's conversion value, then choose keywords that give you an opportunity to improve the number of conversions on your site. Here it is time to use a target keyword for conversion optimization.
Once you know how to prioritize your target keyword, you should also identify other sites that are ranking well for these terms so as to determine whether or not they give you a chance of beating them. If there happen to be too many websites with good positions, then it is time for you to make changes to your site or page so that you can improve its chances of ranking well for your focus keyword.
Track keyword rankings is essential for your success
After taking time to carefully define your keywords and develop a detailed strategy that will help you improve the rankings of those terms, it is now time for you to track their progress. Some effective ways of tracking your keywords include: Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, and some paid keyword tracking tools.
Optimize your keywords for search intent of your target audience
Optimizing your keywords for the search intent of your target audience is another way to make sure you are reaching out to your best audience. Optimizing keywords with semantic meaning is a major component in optimizing your web page for specific interests pertaining to your business. A web-page that ranks on Google's search results page will most likely rely on optimized keywords if it wants to rank well. The more visitors a site gets, the higher the site's rank will be. People will then find that website and potentially buy from it based on what they're looking for. It's best to know who you're targeting before including their interests within your site by using keywords with semantic meaning.
There are many different things you can do when optimizing a site for Google's search result page. One of the best ways in the keyword research process is to use targeted keywords throughout your website's content so it relates to what you're offering.
If you know exactly who is searching for what you're selling, it’s a good idea to use their keywords within your site. For example, if someone is searching for “dog grooming Auckland” then you’d want your website to be on the first page or near the top of Google’s search result pages. This way they will easily find what they’re looking for and more potential customers will see your site. It’s best to include the keywords you want to rank for within the title, meta description and content of one specific page.
We often see problems with keyword cannibalism. This totally destroys your seo success, because multiple pages try to rank for the same keyword. Help search engines understand what the page is about and what keywords you want to rank for. This way you can see more search traffic hitting your page over time and you get generally more traffic.
This is especially important if you're selling a product or service online because then people will be searching for what you're offering and Google might eventually find it. If you don't rank high enough on the search result page, then those potential customers will be searching for someone else who can offer them what they want. Even if your competition is ranked higher than you, it makes sense to optimize your website and promote it online because that's where most people are finding their information and making their decisions.
The better you can help to understand search engines and potential customers what your page or website is about, the better you will rank over time.
Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and Headlines (H1-H6)
The title tags and description of your site is what people will see first. Click-through rate has many useful functions in SEO , so it's important to have a compelling title tag and improve the Click-through rate (how often someone clicks on your website link in the SERP's). The purpose of this title tag is to catch an internet user attention, which then makes them click on the link. The goal here is to get people interested in what you're offering. If someone spots your site on the results page just by searching for what you're selling, then that's half the battle won. And that is exactly what the title tag does.
If you want to get more targeted visitors to your site, it makes sense to include your keywords in both the title tag and meta description so they show up on Google's search result page when someone searches for what your business offers.
Information Architecture & Internal Linking
Information Architecture is your system for organizing your website web-pages. You can have a well researched site architecture strategy that will give you the perfect web structure, but if there is no internal linking then your website will not be effective. If someone lands on a page and has to constantly click through to find what they need, they are going to leave.
Internal links connect pages within your website together so when someone is reading something and finds a link, they don't have to go to another website. They can click this link and be taken directly where they want to go within your site. By including internal links throughout your site it makes it easier for your visitors and decreases your bounce rate. To get most out of your SEO efforts on your own site, make sure you have high quality content in different articles and interlink these articles. This way your relevant content get crawled by Google faster and it improves your search rankings – when you hit that search intent of that user!
The URL structure on your website can be helpful to your SEO. Google likes to see keywords in the URL of your page because it tells them what the topic is on that particular page. It's important to optimize your URLs so they are easy for people to remember and for search engines to read too.
As a website owner you can also include your targeted keywords within your URL structure as this will help with optimization.
Optimize for On-Page SEO
This list the three SEO tricks you should focus on your own WordPress Website. Once you have these tactics in place, you can optimize the rest of your website's pages to increase its effectiveness.
As previously mentioned headings are important for on-page SEO because it helps with readability and Google will index each heading tag accordingly. You should try to use different levels of headings (main heading as H1, subheading H2-H5 etc.) throughout your site to give it more structure. By including headings on the pages of your site you are helping search engines index each page and understand what the topic is. It is simply more attractive to search engines.
2. Meta description
This should be an accurate description about your business and the service (or products) that you offer. The meta description should be clear, concise and relevant to the page that people are currently on. It's important to include your target keywords in this description because if you don't then people won't know what your site is about.
Title tags are also important because it tells Google what the topic of each page is. You should include your target keywords in the title of each page because Google will index this accordingly.
Off-Page SEO is when you try to get external links from other websites that are related to your business, so that people can see your website on these other sites. These link building increase your credibility and authority on the topic you are writing about by showing Google what type of content you write and how well it ranks.
How Anchor text helps to rank higher in Google
Anchor text is the hyperlink that takes you to another place on a website or other website (internal links or external links). Anchor text is crucial because it acts as a word for search engines like Google to target and rank content. With the correct anchor text, you help search engines understand what your content is about. Google (other search engines as well) looks at the anchor text to determine what the topic of the page is and ranks it accordingly. When you include your targeted keywords in the anchor text, it will help with SEO and ranking higher on Google. Not only external links are helping, internal links are helping your own site as well! Look up the Google search console to find site links with anchor text. Do not keyword stuff these anchor texts, search engines like to see variants in anchor texts.
Help Google find your content
The sitemap is a file in your website which tells search engines about new pages / changes / changes. It shows the structure of your website and any changes that need to be indexed (show up in the search results). It's important to update your sitemap regularly, because Google will not index anything if they don't know about it. You can submit your sitemap in the Google search console.
The search engine crawler (also known as a spider) is what search engine like Google use to find pages within your website. The crawler will visit your website and read the meta data of each page that you have created. The crawler looks at your URLs, headings, Meta descriptions, alt tags to determine what a page is about.
Meta robots tag tells Google not to index a particular page on your website because it's either for internal use or to stop search engines crawling it. It's important to use this tag sparingly so people can't find links back to your website through the search engines.
Analyze Google's First Page
The SERPs (search engine results page) is the first page that Google shows when you do a search. You can look at these pages to see what type of content they have on their sites and what ranking position they are in for different keywords. A keyword research tool does this a lot quicker and more accurate.
By analyzing the search results, you can find out what type of content works well with Google and how it's ranking for different keywords. But there are a lot of factors to look about:
- What is their title tag?
- how many words does the article have?
- What is their link building strategy?
- How many internal links this page have?
- What is their focus keyword?
- How often to they repeat the focus keyword?
- and so on
a fantastic tool is from SurferSEO. This can detect all these metrics for you!
Use Google Analytics to track your search engine traffic
For search engine marketing it is important to use a website analytics program like Google Analytics, you can see how much traffic comes from the search engines and what your top converting pages are and how you appear in the organic search.
You can use this information to find out which keyword phrases people are using when they find your site, as well as what type of content is working best for you on your site. This way you can improve a lot of metrics to get more traffic from the search engines.
When people search on Google, they will find different types of results. They can find web pages, images, videos and more. Knowing what kind of content to include in your website will be helpful because some results convert better than others depending on what people are searching for at the time. Most websites don't take the time to investigate what their search traffic wants. In other words, they leave money on the table for minor improvements that could be fixed by changing a few things on their website/blog post.
You can find out what content people are looking for on your site by installing Google Analytics. You can see how many times different pages on your site have been viewed and what type of device (desktop, tablet or laptop) people use to view them. This one of these very useful SEO tools that are out there and free! So why don't use the own search engine data for your benefit?
Google's mission is to provide the best user experience possible. When they started in 1998, they were just a list of 10 blue links and now they have expanded into different types of content and tools that help make finding information easier for people. GA can improve your SEO efforts dramatically.
Use Google search console to keep track of issues with your website and how customers find you
Google search console is another free software provided by Google that allows users to see live data about how many searches are being made on Google and what the rankings are. This program helps webmasters see what information is being searched for on Google, which keywords that people are using, where they are clicking to after searching, errors that may be found on your site, and whether or not certain pages have been indexed by Google.
One of the most important things included in the Google search console is the ability to see how many searches are made for your site and keywords. This data helps webmasters know what keywords they need to target in order to get their website higher up on Google's SERPs (search engine results page).
Google search console and Google Analytics are free keyword tools and powerful SEO tools to work with and get data directly from Google, for free!
What to avoid as a website owner
- If you want more traffic from Google search, you have to avoid duplicate content. In other words, don't use content on multiple pages. Google will be confused and probably don't show your content in the search results. Duplicate content can be mastered with canonical tag. But this is more of an advanced SEO technique.
- When you creating content, you should always have your link building in mind. Link to other relevant articles and always make sure there is no broken link in your text.
- Don't have the same title tags on different pages. This is confusing to search engines.
- avoid Outdated link building methods, that can hurt you more than doing any good
- avoid buying expensive seo tools that you hardly every use!
Use a good and fast Hosting provider for ultra fast loading times
Using a slow loading website can be very frustrating for users (and to search engines), especially if they are on mobile devices. Slow pages will cause people to leave your blog post immediately when they aren't able to see the content that's important to them fast enough.
Your hosting provider should be one of your top priorities when optimizing your website for search engines. When Google crawls your site, they need to be able to access all of the content that you have on it quickly.
If your website is slow, Google won't be able to crawl it properly and index your pages. If this happens, you will miss out on valuable search traffic from Google search results because people are not going to click on a slow site.
Instead, you want to choose a hosting provider that is fast and reliable. Check out customer reviews of different providers online and compare the load times for their sites with your own. You can also use a website speed testing tool like Google's PageSpeed Insights to see how quickly your site loads from different locations around the world. Your hosting provider should also have a history of providing reliable service.
We use WPX Hosting for most of our projects and recommend it to all our clients.
Design your website for mobile devices that looks good on a desktop too
For your seo success it's not enough to simply resize your desktop design for mobile devices. Sites that do this end up with layouts that are bloated and leave people scrolling all over the place trying to find what they're looking for. You need a design that is specific to the constraints of small screens. Keeping users engaged requires you to optimize navigation and prioritize content.
Search engines like Google implemented this user experience a while ago and it directly affects your search rankings in Google. It is called Google core web vitales.
The number of mobile users is growing rapidly, so you need to adapt your website for these smaller devices. And once people start using them, they'll expect all their content to be available wherever they are. If it isn't, you risk losing potential customers.
More than 50% of all internet users are already getting their search results on mobile devices. You will get more traffic to your website when it is build for mobile devices.
The Google search console has an own section to check these mobile settings and possible issues. Once a Google search is made on a mobile device, the search results are optimized for small devices.
There are various seo tools that can check for issues and suggest solutions how to fix it, like GTmetrix.