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SEO Guide: A Step-By-Step Guide

by techrev
SEO Beginners Guide

Introduction

SEO (search engine optimization) is the process made of changes to your website’s content and design to help it appear at the top in the search engines for some keywords. By optimizing your website for the search engines, you can increase your visibility in the organic, or unpaid, search engine results.

Why is SEO important for marketing?

SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing because people conduct trillions of searches every year, often with commercial intent to find information about products and services. Search is often the primary source of digital traffic for brands and complements other marketing channels. Greater visibility and ranking higher in search results than your competition can have a material impact on your bottom line.

However, the search results have been evolving over the past few years to give users more direct answers and information that is more likely to keep users on the results page instead of driving them to other websites.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results..

Getting started

Glossary

Here’s a short glossary of important terms used in this guide:

  • Index – Google stores all web pages that it knows about in its index. The index entry for each page describes the content and location (URL) of that page. To index is when Google fetches a page, reads it, and adds it to the index: Google indexed several pages on my site today.
  • Crawl – The process of looking for new or updated web pages. Google discovers URLs by following links, by reading sitemaps, and by many other means. Google crawls the web, looking for new pages, then indexes them (when appropriate).
  • Crawler – Automated software that crawls (fetches) pages from the web and indexes them.
  • Keyword research – Keyword research is a practice search engine optimization professional use to find and research search terms that users enter into search engines when looking for products, services or general information

How does SEO work?

There are two main kinds of SEO factors: on-site factors and off-site factors.

  1. On-site factors are elements or the content that is on your website itself; you have the most control over these factors.
  2. Off-site factors are optimizations that happen outside of your website (i.e. on other websites).   While you may not have direct control over all off-site factors, there are still plenty of ways in which you can positively influence them.

On-Site Factors

  1. Content

When all else fails, remember that content is king. Your #1 priority in SEO should be creating high-quality content that is accurate, relevant to your business, and helpful to your target customer base. Solid keyword research is vital when creating content that drives organic traffic from search results.

Content can come in many forms such as blog articles, tutorials, videos, infographics, podcasts, and more.

  1. Metadata

Metadata is just a fancy term for the “title” and “description” found in your HTML code. Your metadata is different from your H1 or page title/headline. It is the one that appears on the search engine results page.

The meta description is the small chunk of text right below it. Catchy metadata is one of the best ways to catch both users’ and search engines’ attention.

  1. Page Links

The internet is an interconnected web of sites and links. There are two kinds of links: external and internal.

External links are links on your website to other sites.

Internal links are links to other web pages on your own site.

You can help search engines find and index your content by including relevant links throughout your website.

In simpler terms, links help tell Google what each site/page content is about while acting as a vote of confidence (more on this later).

Also, ensure that all of your links actually work. Broken links that lead to nowhere severely damage both the users’ experience and search engines’ ability to crawl your website properly.

  1. Security

A lot of sensitive information passes through the internet on a daily basis. Search engines prioritize websites that offer a secure browsing experience for their users and protect their data. Get your SSL certification (HTTPS instead of HTTP), and you’ll have an advantage over your non-secure competitors.

  1. Responsiveness

“Always remember that Google is and will always be user-centric, and that’s why when society shifted to a more mobile-focused web browsing journey, Google immediately adapted,” said Sean Si, the editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker.

What this means is that your website needs to be responsive or mobile-user-friendly. When designing your website, make sure that it works well on any device, and Google will reward you with higher rankings and more organic traffic.

  1. Accessibility/User-Friendliness

If your website takes too long to load, your users will not stick around. Clean up your code and only include the necessary elements to reduce page load time.

Navigating through your website should also be easy for people, so stick to intuitive designs that are easy to understand.

Off-Site Factors

  1. Backlinks

When someone links to your site, it acts as a vote of confidence. It tells Google, “Hey, this content is interesting and helpful to me!” And as we’ve emphasized before, Google likes websites that provide positive experiences for their users.

With link building, quality always wins over quantity.  So, make sure to always get links from relevant and authoritative websites.

As a general rule of thumb in link building, remember: high-quality backlinks = higher rankings in Google.

  1. Social Media & Other Online Mentions

Do you want people to talk about you or your business online? Of course, you do, given its positive. Whenever someone mentions you on social media or on their website, search engines can pick up on it.

If you create conversations around your business brand, Google and other search engines will assume you’re relevant to their users and bump up your spot on their search results page.

  1. Reviews

This point might not be relevant to all websites, but reviews are a huge factor for a business that has them.

Having a high number of 4 or 5-star reviews signals to Google that you’re a trusted, credible business.

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