SEO Basics How To Do SEO
When you are just starting your career as an SEO, it can often be challenging to know where to begin.
You've probably heard that links, content and RankBrain are Google's three most important ranking factors, but that means very little if your main goal is to get your website ranked in search engines like Google.
When dealing with larger websites or others with their own set of problems, SEO can become complicated.
However, there are a whole set of SEO basics you can work through to take your website's organic performance to the next level.
We're not talking about skills that will take weeks to master.
However, small steps will make a big difference.
We've put together a checklist of SEO basics you should know and implement right away on your website to help you learn how to do SEO.
What is SEO?
Let's take a quick look at SEO and how it works if you're new to it.
SEO (search engine optimization) is an organic (non-paid) marketing strategy that helps you improve your website's ranking in search engines for keywords relevant to your company, resulting in more traffic and conversions.
Finally, SEO can increase the amount of traffic to your website and the number of customers and sales.
The art of persuading search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo to recommend your content as the perfect solution to their users' problems.
Why Does SEO Matter?
When a potential consumer looks for your products or services on the internet, in 2020, there's a fair chance they'll go straight to Google.
If you are not visible in your customers' searches, your competitors will land the sale.
If you can launch a successful SEO strategy, ensure you are visible when your potential customers search on Google.
Drive targeted traffic to your website by searching directly for what you offer as a business.
You have increased organic sales as a result (for which you do not have to pay per click).
So as a result, you will have a huge competitive advantage.
You can build a robust organic plan to help you achieve your goals if you understand some of these SEO basics…
Understanding SEO Basics
Before we dive into SEO basics, let's delve a little deeper into SEO and discuss Google's algorithm.
The underlying aim can be seen on Google's “How Google Search Works” page: Every time you search, and you will find thousands, if not millions, of web pages containing helpful information.
How Google figures out which results to display begins long before you type something and is motivated to provide the best knowledge to our users.
This is followed by clear transparency about our desire to deliver the most relevant results: In a split second, Google's search algorithms sift through our search index's hundreds of billions of pages to find the most important and valuable results for your search.
And these are the basic principles of SEO that you need to understand. To be competitive, you must ensure that Google can properly crawl and index your website (technical SEO).
You are creating the best, most relevant results on the web related to your business (on-page SEO and content).
We're establishing a website's authority for search engines to trust this amazing content (off-page SEO and link building).
So let's look at the SEO basics to help you drive organic growth. Mastering the basics of search engine optimisation Not everything you do as an SEO has to be complex. It's often the basics that bring the quickest results when done right.
Find out what the target market is looking for. Educating yourself with SEO basics means starting with the essential element: keyword research. 1. find your website's primary keywords. Often referred to as “short-tail”, “money”, or “head-term” keywords, these are the high-volume, high-competition search terms for which your ultimate goal is to rank at the top of the SERPs.
Yes, they are usually competitive, and it will take a new website time to rank for these words, but you must first determine your long-term objectives to devise an effective strategy.
Here's how to find the most important keywords for your website: Make a note of the different terms you expect a customer or client to use when searching on Google for a business like yours. Keeping these in one place with Google Sheets or Excel makes it easier to use in the next step.
There aren't any right or wrong words to write down; it's simply a matter of noting as many variations and ways as you can think of that people could look for your business.
Go to the SEMrush keyword overview tool, enter the keywords you noted down and click on “Analyse”.
You will discover a whole range of statistics around these keywords, including monthly search volume and KD (keyword difficulty). These are two vital statistics to keep an eye on.
You will quickly see which keywords are getting searches and which are not. And those that do and could potentially bring traffic to your website can add to a keyword list by clicking on the +. 2. Look for synonyms and long-tail phrases for such keywords.
In 2020, keyword analysis entailed far more than just discovering a few keywords.
It would help if you wrote effective pages that deserve to rank, which means understanding the broader concept of topics and integrating keywords into relevant pages. This is accomplished by heading to the keyword list you just made.
First, you will see the keywords you have added: If you click on one of the keywords, you'll be taken to a page with more information about that phrase.
Here you can see a keyword variations box, which is perfect for building your keyword list.
Here you will find keyword variations to your main keyword to optimise your website for other relevant terms.
You'll also see questions and related keywords that can give you further insight and ideas for building a long-tail keyword strategy.
If you're not familiar with them, long-tail keywords are longer search terms with lower search volume but higher purpose.
The Keyword Magic Tool will help you find more long-tail keyword opportunities.
Understand where your website can compete now.
It would be beneficial if you determined where you would perform realistically and developed a solid foundation strategy. This foundation will help you build your authority, setting you up for future SEO success as your organic footprint grows.
You can start by analysing the Authority Score of your website and your competitors to see where you stand and how you can strategise.
But what is Authority Score (AS)? Simply put, “Authority Score is our composite domain score that evaluates the overall quality of a website and how beneficial a backlink from that website can be to your SEO.” The following SEMrush data is used to calculate the score: Data on backlinks, such as referring domains, follow and no-follow links, and more Data from organic searches, including organic search traffic and keyword positions Website traffic data (monthly visits) You need to find your own AS and compare it to the websites you compete within the SERPs.
To do so, return to the Keyword Manager and select your list. In the “Top competitors” column, you will see a “show” link. Grab those URLs and go to the Bulk Backlink Analysis Tool and run those URLs.
Then you will see the AS score for each URL. Make sure you also include your URL for comparison.
You compared your page to competitors that rank will indicate whether you are authoritative enough to rank for them right now.
Map Keywords to Your Site’s Pages and Identify Missing Pages
The next step is to assign your primary and secondary keywords to the actual pages of your website, being careful to group similar keyword variations if the intent is the same.
In this exercise, most keywords should be assigned to pages and posts, but any that cannot are forming what is known as a ‘keyword gap'.
Essentially, this means you don't have a page targeting a keyword and need to create it.
Mapping this in Excel or Google Sheets is a handy way to keep track. Technical SEO Basics – Making sure your website can be crawled and indexed Getting technical SEO right means making sure your website can be crawled and indexed.
If your website is not crawled and indexed correctly, it will have a hard time ranking.
Here's how you can get started:
Make an account with Google Search Console. If you haven't done so before, set up your website in Google Search Console. This free tool, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, helps you identify any problems Google may have with indexing or crawling your website.
Go to the main Search Console page and enter your domain. You will then be presented with several options for verification: Choose the most appropriate option and verify your website.
Check if your website can be indexed and find problems. The first thing you want to do with Search Console is to check that no problems prevent your entire website or essential pages from being crawled and indexed.
You can do this with the “Coverage” report. It is in the menu in the left sidebar. Click on it, and you will see this: Pay special attention to the “excluded” pages here. Here you can see specific issues related to the status of the pages on your site.
Here's where you can read more about deciphering the coverage survey. Additionally, you can examine any URL on the site (via the URL bar at the top of the page) and get insights related to the index status of that page.
Make sure your robots.txt file is up to date. Your website should have a robots.txt file.: It should look like this: If you don't have one, you'll have to make one. But what is this file for? Robots.txt tells Googlebot (and other bots) how to crawl your website.
From a technical SEO standpoint, if you discover that you are preventing essential pages from being found, this can lead to indexing problems. Similarly, if pages that should not be crawled are not blocked, this can lead to over-indexing and too many pages (duplicates or low-value pages) being indexed.
Submitting a sitemap In Google's own words, a sitemap tells the crawler which files on your site are essential and provides valuable information about those files: When was the page last updated, and how often is it updated? And whether there are any alternate language versions of the page.
You will find that this is included for most websites: However, this may vary from platform to platform, and this URL doesn't have to be used. Now is the time to build a sitemap and upload it to Google Search Console if you need one.
You can do so on the Sitemaps page.
Optimize Your Site's Speed No one wants to browse a slow website, and that includes both users and search engines. However, a slow site speed can negatively impact your SEO performance with a higher bounce rate, insufficient dwell time, and lower conversion rate.
But first, you need to benchmark your site's speed before you can work out the improvements you need to make.
Head to your Site Audit dashboard and the errors tab.
Here you'll see any pages that have been highlighted as having a slow page speed – a great starting point for making improvements.
It is essential to understand the specific issues that are causing slow page speed and the opportunities to make improvements.
You can start by running your site through Google's PageSpeed Insights tool, where you'll be served with recommendations to reduce your load time.
Set Up HTTPS has been a ranking factor since 2014. Yet, there are still sites that aren't secure and still sit on an HTTP domain.
Run a check as to whether you're able to access your site using HTTPS:// rather than HTTP://. If you are, then great! There's no further action needed. If you find that your site still sits on HTTP, speak with your developer and carefully plan a migration to HTTPS or follow this guide.
On-Page SEO Basics
Making Web Pages That Are Worth Ranking After you've resolved some technical problems with your site, you'll want to start searching for ways to boost the on-page SEO of your site.
But what is on-page SEO? On-page SEO is the process of optimising content and HTML source code to clearly define what your webpage is and what information it provides, according to our guide on the topic.
Page names, meta descriptions, alt-text, internal links and anchor text, URLs, and other elements all need to be streamlined.
Recognize what a query's users are looking for. Consider the following considerations before beginning to produce or optimise content. You must know what a query's searchers want to see, particularly if there is a possibility of mixed intent.
You must determine whether a searcher is looking for educational or commercial content (products, categories, or services). Going to the SERPs and spending some time looking at the top ten results is the easiest way to do this.
Doing this also helps you understand things like the length of the content that's ranking, the topics covered, and more.
Create content that is relevant to your objectives. You can use the SEMrush SEO Content Template to create a strategy and structure for each page to help you outrank your competitors by creating content that suits searcher intent.
Enter the primary keyword for which you want to create a website, and it will evaluate the top 10 results and return a templated structure that you can use to create content for your page.
You'll be able to learn about the recommended text length, semantically related words to use, backlink sources to use, and more.When you combine this with the knowledge you learned from manually reviewing the top 10 results, you'll be ready to create content that is even better than the current top results. 13. Make Your Title Tags More Effective One of the fundamentals of on-page optimization is title tags.
They both appear as the title of your listing on SERPs and are a significant ranking factor. To put it simply, you'll want to make sure that the title tags of your site's pages are special and contain the page's main target keyword (and variants where possible). But, as our guide on how to write title tags shows, there's more to optimising these than simply adding keywords.
Keep titles to a maximum of 55-60 characters. In names, use keywords that are relevant to your company.
Describe the web site's content as precisely as possible. Help people understand what they'll find on the page by using words like HOW, When, When, and WHERE.
Use words like BEST, REVIEW, and ULTIMATE – entice users to click. Write unique titles, no duplicates! Use your company name or brand wisely.
Keep it simple.
Optimize Your Meta Description Meta descriptions are displayed under the page title on SERPs for your site and are the perfect way to encourage a user to click on your listing over your competitors.
Though they aren't a direct ranking factor any longer, they can have a positive effect on CTR (click-through rate), which is one. To better refine meta explanations, we recommend the following tips from our SEO basics guide: They should be no more than 1-2 sentences (140-160 characters) long.
Remember to use your keyword. If it's necessary, have a call-to-action. Meta definitions should not be duplicated.
Make them meaningful and descriptive, and make sure they correspond to your material. Choose an emotion to focus on.
Make Your Heading Tags More Effective The heading tags, also known as H1 – H6 tags, are another important on-page feature for SEO basics. These are used to introduce content blocks and to be descriptive, with target keywords and variations included.
But, in order to enhance your on-page SEO, what are the best practices for writing heading tags? In our small business SEO guide, we suggested: Every page should have an H1 tag for the key heading.
Use keywords in a normal way – Using H2 – H6 tags to break up the page content and write for people, not search engines. Summarize what's in the content they're heading up.
Optimize Your Page URL
When it comes to SEO basics, it's critical to create high-quality URLs that accurately define the page's content.
Consider it this way: Which of the following page URLs, /page-1/ and /red-shoes/, do you think is more optimised?
The second, of course, is descriptive for the simple purpose that it is.
By looking at the URL, you can Identify that red shoes are supposed to appear on the list. As a general rule, URLs should: Should be descriptive and fit the primary keyword on the website.
Between sentences, use hyphens instead of underscores. Rather than combining capital and lower-case letters, use lower-case only. Keep the description of the page's contents as brief as possible.
Optimize Your Photographs It's easy to forget the importance of ensuring that your photos boost user experience, but doing so correctly (from size to alt text) can pay off. If you optimise your photos, your site will almost always load faster, giving you better SEO benefits and a better user experience.
Instead of using the camera's auto-generated file names, name the images properly to be descriptive.
Resize images to suit the dimensions of the monitor. Compress images and reduce file sizes.
Use descriptive text in your alt tags to make them more efficient.
Add Links to Your Site From Other Pages When it comes to SEO fundamentals, don't overlook internal binding. Linking between pages on your site can aid search engines in comprehending the layout of your site, pass authority between pages, and assist users in navigating between them.
The good news is that SEMrush's Site Audit tool will assist you in creating a more effective internal linking structure.
Getting Links from Other Websites to Yours – Increasing the Authority of Your Site by Getting Other Websites to Link to your Building your authority is another important aspect of SEO performance.
How do you do that? Backlinks. In short, a backlink is one website giving a link back to your website — essentially giving you a vote of confidence and supporting you. As long as the site that's linking back to yours is a good, trusted authority, your site can see improved performance.
We covered the many different link building strategies that you can use, so take a look and begin reaching out!
Build Links from Associations, Suppliers and Connected Business One of the quickest wins for building links is to reach out to real-life connections that your business has. That could be Your supplier's Associations that you're a member of Your office block's website Your local chamber of commerce.
Think about business connections who have a website that links out to others who they work for.
Then, simply ask if they'll link out back to your site. You're looking for pages that list members or other businesses like this one: Often, all you need to do is ask your contact, and you'll be able to get a link placed.
Submit Your Site to Quality Directories
If you're a small business or work in a particular industry, you'll likely come across business directories where you can upload your site and receive a connection in exchange. This is also a fast way to create your site's foundation links.
Check for terms like [location] business directory [industry] directory [location] business listings on Google.
It's possible that you'll have to pay a small listing fee but bear in mind that this is about more than just SEO. it's about getting your business in front of a live audience searching for businesses like yours, particularly when these directory pages rank on the SERPs. .
To get links from the press, use HARO. If you haven't heard of HARO, you should. It could become your new best friend when it comes to connection building.
This is an excellent introduction to obtaining authority links from the press, and most companies can see opportunities weekly if they track these emails on a daily basis. Only make sure to include high-quality, value-added answers on topics on which you are truly an expert.
To get started, these are the essential SEO fundamentals.