Beginner's SEO guide

 SEO, SEM, Digital marketing, 

I’m sure you might have heard a lot about these buzzwords if, you have been relatively new to the world of digital marketing.

With that being said, 

In this article, I’ll demystify the basics of SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Which is a way to rank your website organically on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and some more.

To make it more simple,

If you have a local home service website, you wanna be ranked top of the page when someone searches for home service.

86% of searches on the internet are happening on Google. Google has become a phenomenon, you want something just google it.

It is a data monster, with a lot of data and content available in the internet. Google’s only goal is to provide the best quality content to those who make a search. 

Now, how does SEO fit in this? 

SEO helps Google to understand your site much better, this helps to index your site better and thus making your website rank higher for search queries. Inshort, SEO gives your website visibility to a ton of people searching for queries related to your niche.

Whenever something is uploaded to the internet, Google considers more than 200 factors for ranking it. Even though the exact factors are never revealed by google.

With these overwhelmed content that gets uploaded every day, google follows a 3 step process to rank a  webpage for a search query.

1)Crawl
2)Index
3)ranking

Crawl 

Crawling is an activity performed to find new content that is uploaded to the internet. Google has a bot(piece of code) named crawler (A.K.A spider) which crawls around the world wide  web to find out unique contents around the Web through links.

These crawling doesn’t happen every day, it schedules a timing for crawls to perform on sites. 

To give you a more human perspective 

Crawling is like finding that one book in a disorganized place.

Index

Indexing is categorizing this information for future retrieval, Google indexes these websites automatically but to give Google a clear idea of all the pages.

To simplify it

Index is creating a directory in a library to maintain a clear record so that it becomes easy when you want to access it again. Except in here it’s webpages.

Ranking

Ranking is finding the exact position to rank an indexed website in the search results when a search is performed.

As mentioned before Google considers more than 200+ ranking factors to rank a website.

Now, you might have got a glimpse of SEO and how it works. Let’s dive in deep

When it comes to SEO, there can be 

  • Black Hat SEO
  • White Hat SEO
  • Grey Hat SEO

Black hat SEO: Black hat SEO is trying to trick the algorithm into boosting your site, even though it can get successfully get traffic to your website, your website will be impounded with a heavy penalty.

Black hat SEO techniques can range from keyword stuffing to cloaking, Google tries everything in its power to not to rank such sites by giving a heavy penalty. 

White Hat SEO: This is the exact opposite of Black Hat SEO, white hat is heavily based on content, the more quality and authoritative the contents are your site gets ranking for high-quality keywords.

Even though White Hat SEO takes continuous effort and a longer time, it is definitely worth it in the longer run.

Grey Hat SEO: It is both black and white combined, even though they don’t necessarily harm your website, googles next new algorithm might. 

As long as your website provides value to its visitor, without scamming them into. Google values your website to be of higher quality.

What are the best SEO practices?

SEO techniques can address changes and optimizations on the site and also the stuff that happens outside of your website. 

  1. On-page SEO
  2. OFF page SEO
  3. Technical SEO

On-page SEO 

As the name implies the optimization techniques that are performed on the website, to improve the performance and ranking of your site.

Keyword research

This is absolutely the most important in all of the on-page SEO, Targeting the right keywords will easily rank your website to the top of the SERP results. 

But, how to choose the right keywords?

Use keyword research tools like keyword planner and Niel Patel’s ubersuggest to get relevant keyword ideas for your website 

You can also research your competitor’s website and figure out the best keywords that are working for them and target those as they have higher search traffic.

As a bonus tip, find the keywords with higher traffic and relatively low competition. These keywords are easier to rank your website to the top of the search engine.

Meta Tags :

These meta tags have a good impact in influencing your website ranking, below are some of the common meta tags. 

Meta description:

Description of your website should give your visitors a preview of what they are going look inside,  Google takes meta descriptions as a serious measure in the ranking, as people try to take advantage of meta tags when it comes to keyword stuffing, 

Meta Robots :

This meta tag is an indication for search bots on how to crawl each of your websites. This lets you block bots from crawling certain pages of your site. 

For example: search results in a website page, payment gateways portals

Meta Keywords :

This is where you add your keywords related to your page, Even though Google has announced that meta keywords don’t contribute to ranking a site as it gets flooded with keyword stuffing. 

Content 

So you have finished your keyword research, now comes the important part in SEO, it’s your content. Content marketing is the only marketing that works in 2020, With so much content lying on the internet, google is trying to filter out the best-related content that suits the user’s query.

Use LSI keywords, which are relevant to your target keyword and your niche as a whole. These keywords step up your content marketing game, as your targeting a group of codepandant keywords surrounding your niche 

UI/UX SEO 

Web layout of your site is also a major factor in on-page SEO, the design elements in your site improves the user experience and thus reducing the bounce rate.

Think of it like this, your ui/ux Targets visitors and SEO targets search engine, which expects a better user experience.

Keywords can only make bot get you ranking to the top, UI/UX is what makes the user stay in a site for a longer period.

Nobody wants to look at bad user interface

Off-page SEO 

When it comes to off page SEO, the one and only goal is build high quality and authoritative links pointing back to your site.

Social bookmarking

These are majorly social media sites, which can build a ton of authority and traffic to your site

Some of the major social bookmarking site are

  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit

Guest blogging

Even though Google has announced in a recent tine, that they are not big fan of guest blogging, they are good to way improve your authority to your site, after all who doesn’t want to read if the content is good quality.

The Steps are simple

  • Find a blog that has higher domain authority and gets higher traffic.
  • Write a mail asking about guest blogging in their site. (attach some headlines of blogs that you want to write back to them
  • Get on it and start writing

Blog commenting

Blog comments have little to none effect in building SEO for your site, but when it comes to seo even the smallest of things matter.

Find out related blogs to your niche, comment on what you feel about the blog and submit a link back.

Broken link building

This is great strategy to build your back links, find a site that had great authority and ranks for the keywords you wanted. 

Use tools like broken link finder(chrome extension) to find out broken links of a site. Then hit up author of that blog, saying you have great piece of content similar that one

Viola !! You got a back link

Technical SEO

You don’t need to understand coding to know how your website performs, technical seo is optimising your website and server for bots to better understand and crawl your site.

Search console

It’s free tool by Google, that lets you see how much google’s bot understands your website, it shows you a ton of great information like what keywords you rank for, how many clicks and impressions you get for that keyword.

It also shows  you potential keywords that you can rank for, which gets a higher traffic. As I mentioned earlier Google doesn’t rank only for the keywords you have used on your website. Since, these information is directly from Google, the data’s are more accurate than any other 3rd party tools.

Google analytics

Google analytics is one another free tools by Google, this tool helps to get all the analytic details regarding to your site right from clicks to conversions in your site. 

Tag manager

Tag manager is a tag management system that is responsible for firing tags(a piece of tracking code) whenever an event occurs.

In simpler terms, it helps you to track click and scroll and other activities that happens on your site. This tool by Google comes in handy when you want to do remarketing for your audience.

Tag manager has three major things

  • Tag
  • Trigger
  • Variable

Tag : a tag is piece of tracking code which measures the activity on your website.

Trigger: A trigger is timing for that piece of code (tag) to get fired in order to capture an event

Variable : A variable is an value, to which dynamic values are assigned.

Robots.txt

This is similar to that off the meta tags robots but the only difference is that robots.txt can control a entire part of site unlike meta robots which only has access to individual web pages.

Robots.txt tell search engine bots to crawl which page and avoid what pages to crawl into.

Here is an sample code of the robots.txt

User-agent: *
Allow: /
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

This let’s all search engine bots to crawl into your site 

Schema makeup

Schema markup is a data representation of your site. This is collaboration between google, Bing and Yahoo to let search engine understand data in your site.

It lets bots to understand important data in your site and optimize them in way that search engines understand.

For example : Google can’t understand the difference between your phone no and other numerical numbers in your site.

As a result it fails to show them in search result, to overcome this, schema mark-up has been created.

Sitemap

Site map is the list of webpages that lies in your domain, it helps Google to index your website better.

Use XML sitemap generator to generate a site map for your site, if your website is made of WordPress, Yoast SEO makes it easier.

Conclusion

SEO optimization is a longer gamble, people who want to get some quick buck with it won’t stand longer in this game.

The world of search is always evolving and shifting, but one thing remains same, people rely on internet to find answers to what they seek. 

Google might release a new update that might threaten a lot of existing website’s performance but one thing remains clear is high-quality content, that delivers fresh and different perspectives to readers is always appreciated by Google.

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