SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION INTRODUCTION
In this comprehensive guide on (search engine optimization) SEO introduction, you will not only learn about the basics but covers the advanced topics too.
Let us learn from the basics to advanced tactics of search engine optimization.
Search Engine - Introduction
What is Search Engine?
According to Wikipedia, A web search engine is a software system that is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web.
Google has around 70% search engine market share from Desktop/laptop devices, Baidu and Bing being the second and third respectively. [May 2018].
Google being the top in search engine market share from Mobile devices capturing around 85%, Baidu and Yahoo, and Bing are at 2nd, 3rd , and 4th position respectively. [May 2018]
An interesting video on how Google evolved from 1996 to till date
How Search Engine Works?
Search Engine will follow the below 3 steps
- Crawling – Robots will crawl your website.
- Indexing – Start indexing your website into particular category based on the content.
- Ranking – Ranks your website in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) based on number of ranking factors.
Here is a masterpiece content from Backlinko which has 200 ranking factors which decide your position of the website on SERP.
Black Hat SEO v/s White Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO Techniques
- Keyword Stuffing – Adding the same keyword many number of times to rank better.
- Content Spinning – Scraping or Copying the content from other websites.
- Doorway Pages – Creating fake pages to include the keywords to make search engines to find.
- Cloaking – Serving different content for search engines and users with the same link.
- Invisible Text – Hiding the text within you website content to rank higher.
White Hat SEO Techniques
- Quality Content – Creating original and unique content.
- Proper Keyword research and use of the keywords in the content.
- High quality industry specific backlinks.
- Proper internal linking.
- Meta description.
IMPORTANT POINT TO REMEMBER
Below are the main metrics to measure for SEO Success.
- Traffic – Free website visitors you are getting for your website.
- Visibility – Number of times your website is appearing when someone searches with the keywords you are targeting.
- CTR – Click Through Rate, determines how many number of times the user is clicking on your website in SERP to the number of times it appears in SERP.
- Keyword Ranked – Keywords for which your website has been ranked in Search Engines.
- Conversion Rate – If you are using any lead magnets in your website, you can check how effective it is using this metric.
- Bounce Rate – How many number of people are going back from your website just after they visit.
- Indexed Pages – How many number of pages have been indexed on Search Engine.
- Pages crawled per day – How many number of pages have been crawled each day by the crawler.
Please go through the below mentioned google webmaster guidelines and bing webmaster guidelines to know the platform rules and regulations well.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Bing Webmaster Guidelines
Before we get started with actual SEO process, we need to prepare the platforms first to capture the data and later we can analyze it to optimize better.
- Google Search Console – You should setup this up first to track the performance of your website in Google Search Engine.
- Bing Webmaster Tool – You should setup this up to track the performance of your website in Bing Search
- Google Analytics – One of the most powerful analytics tool to measure the user behavior on your website.
- Integrating both Google Analytics and Google Search Console for better optimize your website for users and search engines.
- Installing Yoast SEO plugin to your WordPress plugin for On-site SEO.
Keyword Types and their role in ranking your website
Before getting into the actual process of researching the potential keywords, we need to understand the type of keywords and the commercial intent of the keyword.
Keyword will be categorized into 3 types, head, body, and tail.
Keyword with a single phrase or word.
Keyword which is having 2 to 3 words in it.
Example “insurance policies”
Long Tail Keyword
Keyword which is having more than 4 words.
Example “affordable life insurance for senior citizens”
How to find the Commercial Intent of the Keyword?
Whichever the kind of keywords we use, ultimately we want them to be the winner keyword as in we need conversions from those keywords. Below are the 3 form of keywords you can use it to focus on the audience who fall under Decision Making Stage or likely to fall into that stage in the sales funnel.
- Keywords with an intention to buy the product/services.
buy, coupon, discount, deal, shipping etc.
- Product Specific Keywords.
review, best, top 10, product brand name, product number, product category, affordable, comparison etc.
- Keywords which can convert the user from Interest stage to Decision stage.
how to, best way to, ways to, I need to etc.
SEO Keyword Research
A Step by Step Guide
The most important step which decides the overall success of your SEO plan is keyword research.
You should consider this carefully to come up with a very less competitive keyword with high search volume.
In other words, you should be selecting the keywords which has potential to drive more traffic to your website and has less competition.
Follow the below steps to come up with a solid keyword for your website.
You can find a long tail keyword through these methods
- Google Instant Search Results.
- Google Related Searches.
- Niche Specific Discussion Platforms.
Forums, Blogs, Reddit, Facebook Groups, Quora etc.
- Finding low competition keywords in KW Finder Tool.
- Finding QA keywords through ATP.
- How to find long tail keywords using Soovle.
SEO Keyword Research Tools
- Google Keyword Planner
- KW Finder
- Answer the public
- SEM Rush
- Google Search Console
- Google Trends
How to Optimize the Webpages of your Website (On Page SEO)
1. Keywords in the URL – Try including your Main Keyword in the URL structure.
2. URL Length – Shorter URLs will be ranked higher as they are easy for users to remember. Try to keep them simple and short.
URL Structuring Guide from Google
URL with characters around 50 will rank higher. Know more details on URL structuring here.
3. Title Tag Optimization – Always try to include your keyword in the first part of the Post or Page Title.
4. Keyword Modifier – You can include the modifier words to your keyword to make it long tail.
Current Year, Best, Review, Guide, Checklist, Template etc.
5. Keyword in the first paragraph – You should mention the main keyword you are targeting to your blog post in the first paragraph itself.
6. Use other header tags along with H1 tags
Make use of the available header tags along with H1 tag, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 will help you include the keywords.
The modified keywords to make your page more relevant to the users and search engines.
8. Use synonyms and related search keywords
Include the main keyword along with the synonyms and related search keywords in your blog content.
If your main keyword is “Google My Business” try including “Google My Business Listing”, “How to Optimize Google My Business Page” etc. to your blog content.
This could help google find your blog more relevant to the target keyword.
9. Outbound Links are important
Don’t forget to include the outbound links at least 3-5 based on the content length, if the content is more than 1000 words try including more outbound links.
The outbound links you mention should be relevant to the content you are writing.
Intention of including the outbound link is to help people get more useful information on the topic/niche.
10. Internal Links
You can use keyword rich anchor text links in your content.
You should link 2-3 internal pages of your website in each blog post or pages.
Make sure the new permalinks only apply to future posts. If you change the permalinks for older posts it can cause serious SEO-related issues.
SEO Content Optimization
As I have mentioned earlier, even though this is an seo introduction guide, but covers indepth topics of search engine optimization.
Let us look into the content optimization part in seo introduction guide.
1. Unique and Engaging Content
Try to create a content which is unique by choosing the popular content in your industry.
Come up with a niche specific topic for the content and build a original content.
If you create a content which is engaging which will help you increase the dwell time.
This in turn help you reduce the bounce rate.
Original and Authoritative content examples
- Content written by experts.
- Original research (like surveys and industry studies).
- Content that isn’t just regurgitated information.
- Case studies and real life examples.
- “Evergreen” content that provides value for YEARS.
2. Improvise the Readability
Try using bullet points to give a user a better readability.
People usually lose interest if the content is too long and less engaging.
3. Topic Coverage
Covering the complete information on the selected Topic will help you rank better in Google Search Engine.
Research thoroughly on your selected topic and write a solid content which covers everything that a user want to know about that particular topic.
5. Content Type
Use multiple content formats like videos and images to make the content more engaging and helps to rank better.
I have covered in depth on this topic in the content marketing section of this course.
Let us learn about the advanced topics like banklink building and off-page optimization in seo introduction guide.
Off page optimization is the way to get the backlinks (recommendations) from others.
On-page optimization is one part of SEO while the off-page optimization being the second.
If you have written down a solid, unique, and original content if it is not promoted well, it is not going to help you much.
You need to promote the content in your industry to become an authoritative entity in your industry.
Backlink building is one the most effective way to promote your business online through SEO.
Google will rank your website in a better position based on the high quality backlinks you have got from others.
Below are some of the time-tested off page optimization technique to get the backlinks.
- Guest Blog Post
Writing a guest post on your industry related blogs would help you drive more traffic to the website and helps your website rank better.
Make sure to write a guest blog post on the website which has a DA (Domain Authority) of more than 30.
- Competitor Backlinks
Watch out your competitors and from where they are getting the backlinks.
I personally use Ahrefs to know the competitor’s backlinks. You can even use a free tool such as Open Site Explorer from moz.
- Make your content shareable
This is when someone else from your industry shares your blog post on their website or social shares.
This even Google loves! Ranking your website is very easy through this method, but there should be no compromise in building a high quality content that people love to share.
- Getting backlinks through Podcasting
If you create a podcast and share it on other website (just like guest posts), you will get a decent number of targeted visitors from their website.
- Mention Influencer Names
If you are directly or indirectly promoting someone else’s product/services, it is better to let them know about that.
Chances are that they are going to share your blog post or tweet them on twitter. This can build the trust of the people in your industry.
- Publish high quality content
Instead of publishing lot of low quality content many times a week or month, try publish a high quality content regularly.
- Update the old content and publish
Re-launch the old posts which were less engaging with the quality content and publish them to increase the ranking.
- Optimize for higher CTR
You can use the relevant keywords from the Ads while doing keyword research and try including them in your content.
This could potentially increase your rankings.
As Advertisers will be paying money to bid on those keywords, usually these keywords will be having a better commercial intent otherwise advertisers wouldn’t pay for these keywords to show up on Google.
GREY HAT TECHNIQUE
Create a blog post with high quality content which should be having more than 1000 words in it.
You can then create a 4-5 posts which should be relevant to the main blog post you had created & having more than 600 words content.
Post that 4-5 blog posts in different Web 2.0 sites (1 blog post per one web 2.0 site) and internal link the content with your main blog post on your website.
You should be very careful about the technical errors that you see in your Google Search Console.
Below are some of the error types and how to resolve them.
1. Crawl Errors
If you google find it difficult to crawl your website, it throws an error.
Your page will not be ranked if you have crawl errors for that page.
In the below image reference, you could see there are 4 pages which are missing.
So for this kind of error it throws 404 error, that means page is missing from the website.
You need to fix it.
2. Check how google views your page
You can use fetch as google option from the search console to check how google views your web pages.
7. HTML Improvements
If your website has duplicate title, description or non-indexable content this section will help you know that.
If you have any errors, you should fix at the earliest. Know more about HTML improvements.
8. Website Speed
Speed of your website is one the major factor, you should improve your website speed to rank better.
Users will leave from your website if it is not loading before 3 seconds of time.
You can use the tools like GTmetrix or Google Page Speed Insight to get to know the page speed of your website and implement the suggestions they show.
Below are some of the common page speed suggestions
- Server Response Time – You can increase this by upgrading to high speed servers.
- Leverage Browser caching – Try implementing this as it would help the website load faster for the second time when user visit your website.
- CSS and Javasript Minification – Minify the CSS and Javascrip to reduce the page size and increase the speed.
- Optimize Images – Optimizing images would help you load your website faster.
Recent update from Google Webmaster on Page Speed
20+ Tools to help you get started
Link Building Tools
Technical SEO Tools
Keyword Research Tools
Content Optimization Tools
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~ Vikram C L