If you are a beginner looking into SEO, you are taking the right step. However, most SEO beginners need help knowing where to start because the concept can be a broad topic. This article will show you which steps to take first and how to conduct a successful SEO campaign.
Here are some things we will cover in this article.
- What is SEO, and how it works
- How search engines work
- SEO basics
- SEO strategy
Let us start.
What Is SEO, and How Does It Work
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SEO is short for search engine optimization and is the strategy to improve a website’s organic traffic. In addition, it improves page ranking on search engines like Google.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO helps you reach users who are looking for what you are offering. If someone searches on Google, the search results better have your website than your competitors. The only way you will compete favorably is through using successful SEO strategies.
When you have a good track record, your returns will be better, and you will enjoy lucrative real estate in the initial search engine results pages.
How Do Search Engines Work?
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To know how to use SEO successfully, you need to know what it aims to achieve. Knowing how a search engine works will help you target your efforts better.
A search engine uses bots and crawlers to go through millions of pages to find links with information that a user is searching for. The goal is to ensure your page is one of the top results when a user searches for something specific to what your business does. So you need to make your page friendly to the search engine so that it is found first. We can call this SEO.
Think of the search engine as one huge library. This library of many different pages can be called an index. You want to be the first to be found when someone is searching for information in this library. After all, SEO has numerous benefits for any business size.
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As we have mentioned above, the goal is to have your website rank well. This means you first need a website from which you can run your operations. So, how can you go about creating one?
1) Setting Up Web Pages
To set up a good web page, you can get a domain, a web host, or a web platform.
A domain will be the name of your website. When someone is directly searching for your domain, they will need to use a URL unique to your website. You should not confuse it with a website since it is just a name. Once you buy a domain or attain one, you still need to build a website to which the domain will link.
While domains have nothing much to do with SEO, they impact how people view your page. Having one helps someone know some specifics of what your website is about. For example, “.edu” might allude to an educational page or a website leading to an institution. Additionally, you will find other domains that end with “.gov,” “.com,” “.org,” and more.
A domain ending with “.co.uk” can automatically tell someone that you are in the UK, improving your local SEO interactions.
A user will trust your page more if you find a relevant domain name.
b) Web Host
A web host is a company that creates sites to rent out to people who need them. Additionally, they ensure your website data is stored and available upon a user’s search. Plus, web hosts will maintain the site and ensure it runs smoothly. However, you must ensure you know the location of your website’s physical server.
A web host will guarantee your website’s security and get all the technical work done.
The advantages of hiring a hosting web service are that it is more secure, and you can count on your sites to be up and running most of the time. In addition, you can have a shared or dedicated hosting service if you are interested in exclusivity.
Nothing is more important than control when it comes to matters websites. When you have a dedicated server, you have total control over it. Consequently, you can make changes and add applications and programs without restrictions.
The downsides of web hosting can include how costly it is to obtain and run. Maintaining the servers requires a lot of technical know-how, and you may need to get a professional. In addition, website managers can be quite costly to hire.
c) Self-Hosted Website
Unlike the hosted kinds we discussed above, a self-hosted website allows you to edit and publish content without you getting into the technical side of coding in creating websites. You will mostly be in charge of what the user will see on the surface without having to run the security of the site’s pages and the coding.
Most self-hosted platforms have an open-source code you can edit to make changes. In addition, you can add plugins to these sites to make your SEO more effective. Another advantage of self-hosted sites is you will know everything about it.
The disadvantage of a self-hosted website is that you may need technical knowledge in case the site is down.
Find out more about setting up websites to know the best one to go for.
2) User Experience
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Once you have set up a website, you need to retain users’ attention when they visit your site. The attention span of users today is seconds, and you must ensure you capture it before it shifts to other sites. Here are ways you can ensure you keep users glued to your site.
i) Good Landing Page Design
Nothing is more reassuring than good landing pages. A landing page is the first impression you make to the people visiting your page. If yours is disorganized, there is a chance the user may not click forward to your page. Hene, your internal links will not get any action because the user will need to be engaged adequately.
The page design is where your branding will take centerstage. After all, this is where people will know the colors associated with you and see the visual representations associated with your brand. So take time to work on the design of your page to make it as useful and engaging as possible.
ii) Avoid Ads
While ads are ways for some companies to make money, they can annoy users. If you can find a way to avoid ads, then do so as much as possible. After all, nothing is more satisfying than a silent cruise through a website.
iii) Good Website Page Speed
If a website takes too long to load, a user may opt-out. This is a natural response since they are looking for answers they know they can find elsewhere and can save time by avoiding your website.
One trick for improving the loading speed is using quality images that are not too large.
If a user can not read what you have posted, they will not need to spend much time on your website. The font you use in your website has a lot to say about the quality of content you post and how much attention you pay to your site. Simple things such as these will eventually affect your search rankings.
v) Mobile Friendly Design
When designing a website, you can see how it will look on a pc, tablet, and mobile device. Studies show that mobile users make most online purchases. Therefore, most of your users are probably using a hand-held device. If the mobile version of your website is not up to par, you will miss out on a major market.
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Once you have set up a website with good speed and an inviting appearance, it is time to create content. Remember, your goal is to have the content rank well in organic search results.
Organic traffic is the users you get without sponsoring your page by paying for it to appear as an ad in Google. Google ads are one approach to achieving visibility. However, they are costly, which is different from what we are going for.
Here are some SEO strategies to achieve visibility on a search engine.
1) Good Page Architecture
Once a user gets to your page, they need to be able to navigate easily. If they can not do this, they will be tempted to leave and look elsewhere. Therefore, your page should be simple to navigate with drop-down menus that lead them to where they can get the information they are looking for.
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Users should be able to use, at most, three clicks to get to their desired destination. This is vital because more than three clicks will mean they are getting further than necessary.
The landing page needs to tell the user the most they need to know about you in the simplest way possible. This is the time to introduce some of your best offers if you have products.
Use internal links to give users more information on what they are searching for on your page.
Images are the fastest way to communicate with a person surfing the internet. An image is what will likely make a user click on your content. For this reason, you need a compelling feature image for your blog post and other supporting images.
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When choosing images, it is good practice to aim for quality ones. The user may associate your website’s quality with the photos you use. In addition, people search for things expecting to find answers, and if the answers lie in the images, you better take advantage of that.
Avoid using very large-sized images, as this might affect your page speed. On the other hand, if the image size is too heavy and the page takes longer to load, a user may lose patience.
Finally, use appropriate images. If you are talking about shoes, ensure the shoes are visible, and the images suggest the topic you are currently addressing. Alternatively, if you are selling a product, try to use images that depict it.
3) Use Links
Links increase user interactions within your website. Users who need to access a separate page on your site will use internal links. Hence, you need to know about link building to use links adequately, as they will be your secret to an increased search volume.
On the other hand, external links lead to pages outside your site that may have more supporting information for your blog. When using an external link, ensure you are linking to an authoritative site, as this will provide the most quality content to your visitor.
4) Use Interesting Content
If a user visits your page, you want to keep their attention. The best way to maintain attention is by using interesting and relevant content. So, look for what users are searching for.
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The first way you ensure users get your content is by using a target keyword. We will talk about keywords later in this article. Nevertheless, pages on your site need to be engaging and flowing to keep the user searching for more.
5) Keep the Website Content Updated
Your website needs to stay active with quality content to attract traffic. If you post once every two months, there is a chance your website will need help. The search engine algorithms will favor your page when you are making an effort to keep your page as active as possible.
Do not fall into the trap of using irrelevant content to keep the page busy since this will not help your course.
The other reason your content needs to be updated is to adhere to the latest Google updates to remain relevant. There are updates that Google releases often, and this affects how blogs and content perform on SERPs. If you leave the content the way it is for a long time, it will perform well.
6) Track Page Performance
There are ways to know how your page is performing against other pages. However, the internet is a very competitive space; you need to know your strong points and the parts that need improvement.
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You can monitor the organic traffic of the users visiting your page using Google analytics. You can also track the conversions, ROI, how your indexed pages are performing, and how you are ranking on SERPs.
You can use the Google search console to check your indexing status, increase visibility and discover the crawling errors in your pages.
Knowing how your SEO page performs will help you further target your efforts to improve your results.
7) Know the Different Types of SEO
Knowing different types of SEO will help you target your market better. So here are the different types, in a nutshell, to help you widen your approach to this subject.
a) Local SEO
Local SEO is the strategy you should use to run a local business. For instance, if you sell something only relevant to a local user, you will use keywords to ensure the content reaches users in the area. Local SEO is not limited to business, as blogs can use it to reach their audience.
For example, if you are writing about the cost of living in Berlin, the keywords you will use should be localized to the area.
b) International SEO
If your target market is international, you must ensure your content is relevant to an international audience. You should understand global trends and ensure you use authoritative sites on external links. Some subjects are wide, and everyone from all countries can consume the information.
For instance, take “the best diet during pregnancy” as a topic. Your information on this topic should apply to users from all countries. Thus, do not give local remedies that may not be useful to a reader in another country.
c) On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is the process of ensuring your page is optimized by using the right strategies. These techniques can include building links correctly, using relevant images, doing sufficient keyword research, having relevant content, and more. Plus, these strategies are targeted toward the page.
d) Off-Page SEO
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Off-page SEO is the efforts that are outside your website. This can include social media marketing, client reviews, questionnaires, and more.
e) White Hat SEO
White hat SEO includes ensuring the website meets the requirements of search engines like Google. After all, search engines have prescriptive measures to ensure fair game in the ranking race.
f) Grey Hat SEO
Grey hat SEO uses content that does not strictly adhere to Google restrictions without necessarily breaking the rules. This practice can be a bit risky.
Grey hat SEO can be a mixture of black and white hat SEO.
g) Black Hat SEO
Here, the notion that all rules can be bent or broken if you can escape the punishment is king. Also, search engine algorithms requirements are no exception. Nevertheless, you should not engage in such. Additionally, these practices can include keyword stuffing, paid linking, and more.
h) Technical SEO
Technical SEO is geared towards successfully engaging the algorithm and the Google bots in crawling and correctly ranking and indexing your page.
i) Ecommerce SEO
Ecommerce SEO is directed toward making an online store successful.
j) Mobile SEO
Mobile SEO ensures your content is mobile-friendly. From page layout to social media engagements, exploiting the phone is one of the ways to have a successful website.
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Google and other search engines work by giving results to users who do searches using keywords. A keyword is a primary word in a search. Additionally, it is the word of interest that a user types when doing their search.
Here are some ways to use the keyword to improve your page performance.
A meta description is the first thing the user will see after a search. This is the summary of the article or blog you are writing. Plus, the meta description has the primary keyword within it.
b) Primary Keyword
This is the main keyword in a blog and one more likely to alter the search result. In addition, this is the keyword most likely to be used in search queries. Plus, the primary keyword anticipates the search intent of the user.
c) Image Alt
Image Alt is the text you use in the image description. Using the right one helps the blog to perform better.
d) Title Tags
Using titles is a great way of structuring a blog post. In addition, you can implement your SEO strategy by employing keywords in these sections.
e) Long Tail Keywords
Short keywords are very competitive. Therefore, there is a chance that the bigger companies and paid ads will take over the shorter keywords. For this reason, it is better to use long-tail keywords because they are more targeted, and you will likely get the exact audience you want.
f) Keyword Research
Using keywords is one thing. However, using relevant keywords is best if you want successful search engine marketing. Plus, doing keyword research is a way to understand your audience better and give them the information they are looking for.
You can use a keyword research tool to check the keyword difficulty and help you know which keywords are getting the most searches and have a higher ranking factor.
g) Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Once you find the relevant keywords, use them to write content. You may use the keywords as much as possible, thinking it will get noticed by the search engine crawlers and improve your SEO performance. However, when search engines crawl pages, they pick anomalies like stuffing.
Search engines understand black hat and white hat SEOs to an extent, and you have to be smart about how you go about your strategy. Search engine bots are getting updated to strike pages automatically with malpractice. However, a few keywords used correctly will do wonders to put you in Google’s search results.
Digital marketing is heavily dependent on SEO. From your page URL to using competitive keywords, how you go about your Google SEO campaign greatly affects your website. SEO for beginners may seem overwhelming at first. However, once you start, you will realize that you are killing many birds with one stone with every strategy you employ.
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