Online marketers are expected to have an excellent grasp of SEO. However, as someone who is just starting out, SEO may seem like a foreign concept. Don’t worry. This SEO Basics Guide will teach you the specific concepts and techniques that you’ll need to become an expert marketer.
SEO Basics: What Is SEO and How it Works
What is search engine optimization? Here’s a rundown of the basics of SEO.
SEO is a specific digital marketing technique that improves the search ranking of your website. The goal is to optimize your website so that it receives more organic traffic. Why is SEO important? Because Google sees over 3.5 billion searches each day. For your website to become visible to your target audience, it must rank high on the search engine results page (SERP) — and SEO is just the thing that can make that happen.
How Does SEO Work?
The goal of search engines is to provide users with the exact information that they are looking for. Google scans the entire web, which is made up of about 2 million websites, to find the best results for a user’s search query. To speed up the process, Google uses a search algorithm that crawls, indexes, and ranks webpages. The more relevant and trustworthy a website is, the higher it will rank on Google.
This is where SEO comes in. SEO involves techniques that will make it easier for Google to understand what your website is all about. For instance, on-page SEO optimizes your website content with relevant keywords. Using keywords that match users’ search intent can lead to higher search rankings.
Meanwhile, off-page SEO focuses on building links. The more links pointing to your website, the more trustworthy and credible you are to Google. Thus, higher search rankings. There’s also technical SEO, which optimizes website elements to improve the crawling and indexing process.
What Is SEO Marketing?
Search engine marketing includes both SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. While SEO focuses on increasing organic traffic, PPC deals with paid traffic. PPC will place your website on the top of the search results regardless of whether you have SEO or not.
Another main difference is that SEO is free. With PPC, you will be charged every time a user clicks on your website. The more competitive the keyword is, the higher the cost per click.
Both SEO and PPC have a rightful place in your digital marketing strategy. However, when it comes to SEO for beginners, it’s better to start with organic search optimization. There are many SEO tools and techniques that you can use to increase your website’s search rankings.
Learn How to Do SEO Keyword Research
When learning SEO, keyword research is one of the most important skills that you must develop as an online marketer. SEO keyword research serves as the foundation of all your digital marketing efforts. You need to optimize for relevant keywords that your target audience is using. If you don’t, you will have a hard time driving traffic, finding leads, and generating sales.
Short-Tail Keywords vs Long-Tail Keywords
In this SEO tutorial, we will differentiate between short tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords are general search queries made up of one to two words. Those who use short-tail keywords usually want to learn more information about a certain topic. Short-tail keywords receive more traffic but since there is a lot of competition, it can be hard to achieve a high search ranking.
Long-tail keywords are more specific; they are made up of three, five, or more words. These keywords have lower number of searches, making it easier to rank high. In addition, users who use long-tail keywords are more likely to purchase from a business.
As such, it’s important for online marketers to create an SEO strategy that combines both short-tail and long-tail keywords. The former is ideal for increasing brand awareness while the latter can boost your conversion rates.
SEO Keyword Research for Beginners
How do you find keywords to optimize? Here are quick and simple strategies that are perfect for beginners who want to conduct keyword research.
- Brainstorm: Based on what you know about your target audience and their needs, try to think of keywords that they may use to find your business online. Start with seed keywords, or general topics, that are related to your niche. Seed keywords are a great starting point, which can serve as the basis for the other keyword research techniques.
- Google Autocomplete: When you type seed keywords on Google Search, the autocomplete feature will suggest the most relevant keywords related to that topic. Google will suggest the most popular search queries, as well as the top-ranking pages for each of these keywords. This will help you find keywords that you want to optimize for. This keyword research technique will also work on websites like YouTube and Amazon.
- Google Keyword Planner: Google also has a free SEO tool that will help you find relevant keywords. The keyword planner will help you find the best keywords for your niche. It will also show how much competition there is for a certain keyword and how much it would cost to place ads for these keywords.
- Google Search Console: If you really do not know where to start, you can use Google Search Console to discover keywords that your website is already ranking for. You can further optimize these keywords to increase your search rankings.
Basic SEO Strategies That Any Beginner Can Master
There’s no better way to learn SEO than experiencing it firsthand. If you’re ready to dip your toes into the world of SEO, here are basic but crucial strategies that even a beginner can master.
1. Create Content That Ranks
Content is one of the best ways to increase your search rankings. By creating content around relevant keywords, your target customers will have an easier time finding you online. It’s important to create content that is fresh, relevant, and valuable. The more users click on your website and consume your content, the more Google will perceive you as trustworthy and an authority in your niche. This, in turn, results in higher search rankings.
Here are different types of content that you can create for your website.
- Pillar Posts: A pillar post is a type of long-form content. It is very comprehensive and well-researched. Choose topics that are unique to your niche or focus on topics that your business does well. Is there something that makes you stand out from your competitors? Write about it. Make sure to optimize for relevant keywords to boost search rankings.
- A Variety of Content: Content doesn’t just mean blog articles. You can also create case studies, whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, videos, how-to guides, checklists. Having different types of content can help you reach a wider audience. Which type of content do they consume the most? Focus on that to boost your engagement rates.
- Repurpose Content: If you already have good content on your website, make it even better by optimizing for SEO. Blog articles can be transformed into different types of content such as checklists, infographics, and videos. This is a cost-effective strategy for businesses that have a limited budget for content and SEO.
2. Optimize for Keywords
Make sure to optimize your content pages with your primary or focus keywords. With this on-page SEO strategy, it’s important to incorporate your keyword in the following elements:
- Headline/Title Tag
- Main Heading
- Body Text
- Meta Description
- Image Alt Text
Optimizing content for your focus keywords will help your website rank higher on search engines. The higher the rank, the more organic traffic. The more organic traffic, the higher the search ranking. You can keep doing this cyclical process until your content lands on the top spot of SERPs.
3. Build Links
Another effective way to boost search rankings is to build links. The more websites link back to your website, the more authoritative you will appear to Google. This, in turn, will increase your search rankings. As a new business, it might be difficult to build links. However, there are some basic strategies that can help you garner links.
- Publish a Study: If your business has a new study, you can publish the results online. You can also create a press release for the study. It’s very likely that other websites will be reporting or talking about your study. And when they do, they will link back to your website.
- Answer Questions on Quora, Reddit, and Forums: You can establish brand awareness and authority by sharing your knowledge on websites like Quora and Reddit. Whenever you post, make sure to add a link to your website. If users find your content valuable and helpful, they will not hesitate to click on that link. Thus, you can also increase web traffic.
- Guest Posts: Reach out to other websites and volunteer to create a guest post. In your guest post, make sure to include information about you or your business — including a link back to your website. You can offer the same to these websites so that they, too, can build links. Guest posts also allow you to reach a new market and hopefully, find impress them enough that they’ll click on your website.
4. Focus on the User Experience
User experience is another factor that Google uses to determine search rankings.
You want to optimize the user experience so that visitors will stay on your website and consume your content. SEO strategies that improve user experience include:
- Increase Page Load Speed
- Optimize and Compress Images
- Delete Unused or Obsolete Plug-Ins
- Apply Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
- Add 301 Redirects for 404 Error Pages
- Remove Zombie or Dead Pages
- Create an XML Sitemap
- Limit Ads
5. Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
Google now uses mobile-first indexing. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you will have a hard time ranking high on search results. To create a mobile-friendly website, you need a responsive web design. This ensures that your visitors have a uniform experience no matter what device they are using to browse your website.
You can check the current status of your website using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool. The tool will help you identify issues and errors with your website, as well as make the necessary changes that will make your website more mobile-friendly.
Your SEO Basics Guide for Online Success
There’s so much to learn about SEO. Since Google’s search algorithm is constantly evolving, there will always be more SEO techniques and strategies to learn. Hopefully, this SEO guide provided you with the basics that will help you get started with your SEO strategy. Knowing the SEO basics will serve as a foundation and as you gain more experience, you’ll be able to use SEO to achieve online success.
Did you enjoy this SEO guide? If you want to learn more about SEO, do not hesitate to contact Tanner Grey today! Call us at 844.500.1339, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us online to learn more about our SEO services.
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