Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important factors in driving traffic to your website. It is also one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted terms in the industry. In its simplest form, SEO is the process of making sure your website appears as high up as possible in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The higher your website appears in SERPs, the more likely people are to click on it, and the more traffic you will generate. However, SEO is not just about getting clicks from search engines – it’s also about generating quality traffic that will convert into leads and sales.
This guide is designed to give you a solid understanding of what SEO is, how it works, and what you need to do to make it work for your business.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher a website ranks in SERPs, the more likely people are to find it and click on it.
SEO is important because it can help you get more traffic from search engines. Traffic from search engines is valuable because it is targeted – people are already interested in what you have to offer.
If you can get more traffic from search engines, you can get more leads and sales. That’s why SEO is so important for businesses.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engines use algorithms to rank websites. These algorithms are constantly changing, but they generally look at factors like the quality of the content, the website’s design and user experience, the authority of the website, and the popularity of the website.
If you want to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to make sure that your website meets all of the criteria that search engines are looking for.
This can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it because SEO can help you get more traffic and convert more of that traffic into customers.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial that will help you commence your SEO efforts:
Keyword research and selection:
In an SEO plan, the first thing you need is a strategy and keywords are instrumental to that strategy. Depending on your niche, you need a set of keywords that will allow your website to rank when users input them into a search engine.
You need to do some research and figure out which keywords are most relevant to your business. Once you have a good understanding of that, you can start working on incorporating those keywords into your website’s content.
How do you find these keywords?
Well, you can start by generating a list of questions or trending topics. Tools like Answer The Public can help in that regard. By typing the name of your niche or a related word, you can generate a list of questions and trends, which will give you an idea of the type of keywords you might need to search for along with their associated metrics. Additional tools you can use can be Ubersuggest or Google trends.
Well, there are many ways to find keywords based on your idea or a seed keyword that you chose from the earlier step. There are numerous free and paid keyword research tools available like Google Keyword Planner, Term Explorer, Moz’s KeywOrd difficulty tool, and SEMrush, that will help you spit out multiple keywords along with their monthly search volume, CPC, difficulty score, and several other metrics that will help you analyze the several factors and narrow down your choices.
- Take Google keyword Planner, for instance. You can use the method mentioned above or you can even type in the site URL in the “Start With a Website” portion pop in your competitor’s URL. This will generate an entire keyword for you along with their metrics.
- You can also use Google’s autocomplete feature to find some good keywords. Simply start typing in a seed keyword related to your business and see what Google suggests. These are usually pretty good keywords that you can target.
There are a ton of other keyword research methods out there. The important thing is that you find a method that works for you and stick with it.
Tips to help with keyword selection
- If you are new at SEO, it might be prudent to focus in trending topics and keywords. You can use tools like Exploding topics to find dozens of trending topics and keywords in your niche.
- Now that you have your list, you need to choose your set of keywords. There are numerous ways that you can do that. Every major keyword research tool on the market has a keyword difficulty score that takes the first-page competition into account. You can either analyze each keyword individually or rank them all at once. Either way, you get to judge their Keyword difficulty.
- It might be smart to focus on high cost per click (CPC) terms rather than focusing on searches. The key here is to focus on commercial intent. This helps you understand if the searcher is looking to make a purchase. To do this, you need to understand what each keyword in your list means. You can do that by using Google’s Keyword Planner or other tools like Ubersuggest. Once you have your list of keywords, it’s time to start optimizing your website.
- Choosing keywords with a solid search volume is essential to any SEO strategy. However, you also need to make sure that the keywords you target have low competition. This way, you stand a chance of ranking higher on SERPs. The best way to find low-competition keywords is by using a keyword research tool like SEMrush, KWFinder, or Moz Keyword Explorer. When you’ve found a keyword with decent search volume and low competition, it’s time to start optimizing your website for that keyword.
All of these steps will help you lay your foundation for creating your content.
Create content around your selection of keywords:
Before you begin creating your content, you need to figure out your keyword’s search intent. Once you know what someone is looking for when they search for your keyword, it will be much easier to create content that satisfies that need.
- There are four main types of keyword intent that you need to target. Our advanced research guide will guide you through the different types of search intent and how they are applicable.
- Then, it is vital that you create content that is a 1:1 match for your search intent.
- Once you have aligned your content with your search intent, it is time you create the actual content. Here, make sure that you research your topic well and create content that is at least 5-10x better than what exists on the market. This helps you stand out and establish credibility.
Use different content creation techniques to create content that will tick all the right boxes.
Optimize content for UX
Ultimately, it is people who are going to be viewing your content. As such, you need to make sure that your content is optimized for UX. This includes making sure that your content is easily scannable, using appropriate font sizes and colors, using images and infographics, etc.
If your content is not optimized for UX, people will simply not bother reading it.
And if they don’t read it, it doesn’t matter how good your content is – it will not help you rank higher in search engines.
Tips to optimize UX design
- Make sure to use relevant keywords: In order for your content to rank high in search engines, you need to make sure to use relevant keywords throughout your content. But beware – if you stuff your content with too many keywords, it will not only turn off your readers, but it will also get you penalized by Google. The best way to use keywords in your content is to use them naturally, as they fit in the context. Do not try to force them in, especially where they don’t belong.
- Keep your content updated: Another important factor in ranking high in search engines is to make sure your content is always up-to-date. If you have a blog, for example, and you write a post that is relevant today but will not be relevant in a year from now, it’s time to update that post. Google and other search engines love fresh, relevant content, so the more often you can update your site, the better.
- Chunk your content: If you want people to actually read your content, make sure it’s easy to read. That means breaking it up into smaller paragraphs with headlines. This is called “chunking” your content and it makes it much easier for people to digest.
- Optimize your images: Images are an important part of any piece of content, but they’re often overlooked when it comes to SEO. Make sure you’re optimizing your images by giving them descriptive file names and alt text.
- Use Big font: If you want people to actually read your content, make sure it’s easy on the eyes. Use a big font size and make use of whitespace to break up your content.
- Have an eye-catching tag title that catches your viewer’s attention: Your title is the first thing people will see when they find your content, so make sure it’s eye-catching and descriptive.
These steps will help your content to be easy on the eyes and engaging for your target audience.
Implement on-page SEO best practices
On-page SEO is the explicit process of optimizing your website content ad well as structure to expressly improve your search engine ranking.
Some on-page SEO best practices include:
- Optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions: Your title tag is the main text that describes your web page. Meta descriptions are short summaries of your page content that appear below your title in the search results.
- Using keyword-rich headlines and subheadings: Headlines and subheadings are a great way to break up your content and include relevant keywords. Additionally, using the keywords in the first 100 words of the content helps it to rank better
- Use related keywords: Using LSI keywords helps your searches to be more refined and relevant.
- Internal and external links: Include links to other related websites and blogs as well as internal links to other pages on your own website. This helps to improve the user experience on your site and also provides another avenue for people to find your content.
- Use an on-page SEO analyzer: This can help you to optimize your page for specific keywords and ensure that you are using the correct tags, titles, and metatags.
- Using alt tags for images: This helps Google to index your images and improve your site’s SEO.
These are a few ways you can optimize your on-page content to help you rank better in search engines. For more tips, be sure to check out our ultimate SEO checklist.
If you want people to find your content, you need to promote it! There are a number of ways to do this:
- Social media: This is one of the most effective ways to promote your content. Share your own content on numerous social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
- Email marketing: Use email to promote your content to your subscribers.
- Guest blogging: Write articles for other blogs in your niche. Be sure to link back to your own website in your bio.
- Forum marketing: Find relevant forums in your niche and participate in the discussions. Include a specific link to your website in your specific signature.
- Paid advertising: Use Google AdWords or other paid advertising platforms to promote your content.
By using a combination of these methods, you can get people to see your content and then click through to your website.
A backlink is when another website links to yours. This is a valuable way to increase traffic to your site because it helps your site show up in search results.
To get backlinks, you can:
- Build links from broken links: Use a tool like Ahrefs to find websites that have broken links. You can then contact the website and offer to replace the link with a link to your website.
- Create great content: By creating helpful, informative, and engaging content, you increase the chances that other websites will link to yours.
- Participate in forums and Q&A sites: You can answer questions related to your industry on forums and Q&A sites. If you provide helpful answers, people will be more likely to link to your website.
- Publish stats: If you have data or statistics that would be of interest to your audience, you can publish them on your website. This will give other websites something to link to.
Technical SEO is the process of making sure that your website is accessible and easy to find for both search engines and users. It includes optimizing your website’s structure, code, and content.
- Optimize your website’s structure: Your website’s structure includes its hierarchy, URL structure, navigation, and internal linking.
- Find indexing issues in the GSC: The Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool that shows you how your website is performing in Google search. If there are any indexing issues, you can find them in the GSC and fix them.
- Submit a sitemap: A sitemap is a file that tells search engines about the pages on your website. Submitting a sitemap helps search engines crawl and index your website more effectively.
- Audit your own site for SEO problems: Use an SEO audit tool to find and fix common SEO problems on your website. This can help improve your website’s performance in search.
- Monitor your website’s performance in search: Use Google Search Console or another tool to track your website’s performance in search. This can help you identify and fix any potential SEO issues.
This guide covers the basics of SEO and how to get started, but there’s a lot more to learn. Stay up-to-date on the latest SEO news and best practices by following some of the top SEO blogs and forums. And be sure to keep an eye on your website’s performance in search using Google Search Console or another tool.
By following this guide, you can get started with your SEO efforts. And, that can mean more traffic and more customers for your business. These are guidelines that our team at Pixel Street systematically follows in our SEO efforts. So, don’t hesitate and contact us now if you need help!