Hey there! What brought you here? You must have been looking for information on how search engine optimization (SEO) works or something similar. Are you just getting started with SEO? Maybe you’ve heard that SEO can help your website receive more traffic and higher ranks, but you’re not sure how it works or where to start?
We’re here to help you. We’re delighted you’re here to learn about SEO. So stay with us till the end to learn what every digital marketer needs to know about SEO.
Let’s begin with a simple question:
What is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization,’ and it is the process of obtaining traffic from search engines’ free, organic, editorial, or natural search results. Its goal is to boost your website’s ranking on search engine results pages. Remember that the higher up on the list your website is, the more people will see it.
The main difference between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO involves “organic” ranking, which means you don’t have to pay to be in that position. To put it another way, search engine optimization is the process of improving a piece of online content so that it appears near the top of a search engine’s page when someone searches for something.
Consider it this way: When someone searches Google for “banana-almond shake,” they’re probably looking for a recipe, ingredients, and directions on how to create it. You’d want people to find your banana-almond smoothie recipe if you wrote an article about it. You must rank above all other websites with banana-almond shake recipes for people to notice it. It’s not easy, but that’s the point of SEO marketing.
Many different activities are involved in good SEO, such as:
- Creating and optimizing high-quality, valuable content for search engines and users
- Including relevant links from legitimate sources
- Finding relevant keywords with high search traffic potential
- Results assessment
Now before we start to learn and understand how exactly SEO marketing works, let us also try to focus on key differences and similarities between organic search and paid search, core elements of SEO, and SEO strategies.
Differences between organic and paid search
It’s critical to understand the differences between organic, natural search (also known as SEO) and paid search right away. There are five major distinctions:
The main difference is that paid search results appear at the top of search engine results pages, whilst organic results appear below.
Time is another major difference between paid and organic search. Paid search gives results almost instantly, sometimes in minutes, whereas organic search results take weeks, months, or even years to appear. As a result, the organic search must be approached on a medium- to long-term basis.
When it comes to payment, paid search traffic is paid, as the term implies. On a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, you pay per click (PPC). That is, you are charged a price each time a user clicks on your ad. So, rather than depending on organic traffic to your website, you pay Google to show your ad when a visitor searches for your keyword. Traffic from organic search is free, but it does involve an investment of resources and time.
In terms of return on investment or ROI, paid search is much easier to assess. This is partly due to Google providing additional keyword data for Google Analytics to grab. Paid search, on the other hand, can see its ROI stagnate or fall over time. Organic search ROI is a little more difficult to measure, although it usually improves over time. Organic search can provide a very strong return on investment in the long run.
Share of traffic
When it comes to sharing of traffic, about 20% to 30% of searchers click on paid results, while 70% to 80% of searchers click on SEO results. As a result, organic results receive the majority of clicks.
Similarities between paid and organic search
There are some similarities as well between paid and organic search. Below are some of them:
Both paid and organic search engines require users to submit a keyword. As a result, both organic and paid searches require keyword research.
Both forms of searches require the creation of landing pages. The landing page must be linked to your website for SEO purposes. It might be the same landing page as organic search, or it can be a whole different standalone page of your website for paid search.
Both paid and organic search has the objective of generating traffic. Most importantly, user intent is present in both paid and organic search traffic. That is, when someone asks Google a question or searches for information, they are in an active mindset and are more likely to act once they have found the information.
Core elements of SEO
Knowing how to get your brand, website, or firm found by searchers is a core skill for a digital marketer, and understanding how SEO is changing can keep you on top of your game. While SEO changes in subtle ways regularly, its core principles remain constant. We may divide SEO into three main components or pillars that you should be aware of and use regularly:
Technical SEO is the process of completing actions on your site that are not linked to content but are intended to improve SEO. It commonly happens behind the scenes.
Building content to increase your rankings is what on-page SEO is all about. This includes inserting keywords into your pages and content, generating high-quality content regularly, and ensuring that your metatags and titles are keyword-rich and well-written, among other things.
Off-page SEO refers to optimization that takes place outside of your website, such as building backlinks. Building relationships and providing content that others want to share are both parts of this equation. Though it necessitates a significant amount of effort, it is critical to SEO performance.
One needs to always play the long-term entrepreneurial game, and it’s the way to go. This is not the case, however, with people in general. Some people would rather grab the easy money and move on.
Going for quick gains is referred to as “black hat SEO” in the SEO world. To rank quickly, black hat SEO practitioners employ deceptive strategies such as keyword stuffing and link scraping. It may work in the short term to drive traffic to your site, but after a period, Google penalizes and even blacklists your site, making it impossible to rank.
White hat SEO, on the other hand, is the only method to create a long-term internet business. You’ll focus on your human audience if you perform SEO this way. You’ll aim to provide them with the greatest available content and make it easily accessible by following the search engine’s standards.
SEO marketing: The detailed breakdown
It’s now time to learn about SEO marketing. Understanding it is one thing, but putting it into practice takes a lot of effort and time. This isn’t something you can change today and expect to see benefits the next day. SEO works daily to achieve long-term success.
“Content is king,” you’ve probably heard before. Bill Gates predicted this in 1996, and it still holds today.
Why? Because a Google user gets ecstatic when they discover the best result for their needs.
When you Google “fast and easy homemade pasta,” Google devotes all of its resources to bringing to you what it believes is the greatest recipe for homemade pasta on the internet (one that takes minimal time and requires little content).
It doesn’t only look for the quickest dish or the easiest meal, or ignore a bunch of frozen meal websites. It strives to provide you with exactly what you requested. Google strives to give the best possible experience by leading you to the finest information available.
This means that the most important thing you can do to improve your SEO is to create amazing content.
Isn’t that a real downer? You still have a lot of work to do. SEO, like any other skill, requires a lot of effort to achieve exceptional results. Super advanced SEO is meaningless if you don’t have great content, just as the best marketing in the world won’t help you sell a worthless product.
Elements of content
There are thousands of factors that go into producing high-quality content; here are the most important:
Posting a piece of content stuffed with keywords used to be the norm. You were a standout if you created high-quality content that genuinely answered someone’s problem, which made it simple to rank.
Today’s content is considerably better, and many online businesses maintain blogs to add value to their sites and improve their Google rankings.
It’s not simple to come up with outstanding content, but the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch. You can build on what others have done, but simply add additional value and make your information more comprehensive.
The bottom line is that your content must solve an issue or provide a solution to whatever drew the reader to your post in the first place. If it doesn’t, they’ll leave your page soon, notifying Google that your content isn’t fixing anyone’s problem.
The intent is very important to Google. When a user types something into the search field, it wants to know what they’re looking for.
- Do they have any questions?
- Are they attempting to purchase something?
- Are they doing any window shopping?
You, as the content developer, must also be aware of this. You can’t write an article about the “best-selling novels” and use the phrase “Top author” as your core keyword. It doesn’t make sense because most people don’t look for top authors and are only worried about best-selling novels. As a result, you’re not answering the query correctly, and Google will notice.
HubSpot created a benchmark demonstrating that regular blogging improves Google results. However, providing new content isn’t the only way to alert Google to new stuff. There are several things you can do with previously released content to make it more current.
Updating your content for accuracy, repairing any broken links, and upgrading old data with new, more relevant information are all ways to demonstrate to Google that your piece of content still deserves to be on page one.
Keyword Selection and Research
We just touched on keyword research, which determines what your site is called and how your brand is described online.
Keywords even influence how you generate links, including the strategies you use and how you intend to implement them. Stopping is another typical error people do.
Perhaps they will remodel their website or launch a new marketing campaign. They do it for a week or two, then stop updating their pages. They believe keyword research is a one-time task. In actuality, the situation is the total opposite. The greatest SEOs are always researching keywords
Keyword research is carried out for a variety of objectives, the two most important of which are to rank on Google and develop relevant content. Keywords can often lead to inspiration by revealing exactly what people want to know based on their search terms.
Elements of Keyword Selection
There’s more to keyword selection than simply going through your keyword research tool and selecting every keyword on the list. You must understand the keyword’s intent as well as its competition. The following are the most crucial aspects of keyword selection:
Selecting the Right Keywords
Let’s pretend you’re a consultant. Customers might pay $7,500 for your service over a year. That’s just under 600 dollars every month, so it’s not out of the question but still quite costly.
Guess what kind of audience you’ll attract if you’re number one for “free online business growth tips”?
You’ll attract individuals looking for freebies! That implies they’re unlikely to hand over their credit card as soon as they arrive on your site. That one term could bring thousands of visitors to your site each month. However, because it is most likely the wrong target, ranking for it makes little sense. Even if it means losing 990 monthly visits, you should use an alternative term.
Consider this: You’re already ahead if just one or two individuals who read it convert. But this isn’t the only common mistake people tend to make. The next one is considerably more common. A
From the start, you’ve chosen the right keyword. It’s more contextually relevant to your work and better fits with the product you’re attempting to sell. What is your next move?
To get some similar keyword ideas, you use a keyword tool like Ubersuggest. You naturally gravitate toward the ones with the most searches, but there’s one thing you’re overlooking: Your ability to rank for a keyword is frequently determined by the level of competition you face.
Take, for example, the keyword “content marketing.”
“Wow!” you may exclaim as you put it in. Now look, it gets 23,000 monthly searches; that’s fantastic! What you don’t realize is that as a new site, it will take hundreds of backlinks and possibly years to even consider ranking on the top page.
There is a lot of competition. Sites are now ranking on page one for that keyword. These sites have been there for a while, have a good reputation, and Google recognizes that they give useful information. That’s how they got their chance. You haven’t earned Google’s trust yet, and outranking your competition would be difficult.
Google repeatedly emphasizes the importance of search intent.
The majority of people concentrate on keywords. Contrary to popular belief, this is not what you want to do. Rather than looking at what people are typing in, try to figure out what they’re looking for.
This is what the term “search intent” means. It’s the difference between attracting a small amount of traffic and generating significant revenue.
Let’s start with a simple scenario to demonstrate the difference. You manage a job portal and make money by having companies post job openings on it. That means you need to improve the ranking of your job pages so that people come to your site instead of Indeed or anywhere else.
The more individuals you help get jobs, the more money you’ll make. Check out what happens when you type up “engineering jobs.”
The outcomes are all over the map! Others focus on software or entry-level roles, while others refer to mechanical engineers. The motive behind each search is different, and this is what you must determine. What exactly does this user want? What kind of technical jobs do they want to do?
Google assists us in this quest by matching search intent with the phrase entered into the search bar. What matters to you is that you’re developing content and selecting keywords that fit the user’s search intent.
The HTML code on your website is an important component of SEO marketing. Google will have a hard time understanding what your content is about and why it should rank higher than the competition if you don’t use suitable tags, headers, and descriptions.
When individuals learn that HTML is a part of SEO, they become concerned, but there is nothing to ponder about. You don’t need to know how to code, and the procedure of updating tags and descriptions is really simple. Changing the HTML from an SEO standpoint is mostly as simple as copying and pasting.
Elements of HTML
Let’s take a look at some of the things to consider when it comes to HTML.
Many individuals get the title tag and the H1 tag mixed up. These are two distinct headings that should be handled separately. The title tag is the text that appears in the tab at the top of your browser when your page is searched on Google.
The dark box contains your title tag. This is the most visible heading in the search, and it is blue or purple. You should make the most of this part by including your core keyword and making the headline interesting enough to entice readers to click.
The box below that is the meta description. This is the place where you can tell the searcher what the content is all about. This section should be keyword-optimized and have no more than 160 characters. You want it to look good on both mobile and desktop devices.
Schema is the result of numerous search engines working together. It’s essentially a collection of specialized HTML tags that improve the way your content appears in the SERPs.
After you’ve finished adding your schema, test your page to ensure everything is working properly.
Your H1 is a good example of a subheading. This is your article’s title, which appears at the top. While it may appear to be merely a string of words, it is crucial since it is your H1. It’s your main heading.
This heading informs Google about the topic of the article or piece of content. It’s also your chance to hook readers right away when they land on the page. You want to use your main keyword in your H1, but you don’t want to overuse it.
H1 is also a way to invite someone onto the page. It shouldn’t be forceful or transactional. With your H1, you want to entice people to keep reading.
The alt text in your article describes an image. It’s present in every piece of content, yet few people use it. The purpose of alt text is to allow search engines to vocally describe an image to visually impaired persons. When writing alt text, you want to make sure it accurately describes the image, but you may also use it to inject keywords.
URL slug is the portion of the URL that informs Google about the content. These are also crucial places to include your most vital keyword.
A decent website architecture contributes to a positive user experience, which is crucial for SEO marketing. Fast loading speeds, a secure connection, and a mobile-friendly design are some of the key considerations.
Before you buy the domain, you should plan out the architecture of your site. This helps you to enter inside your user’s thoughts and reverse-engineer your way to a fantastic user experience (UX).
For a fantastic “search engine experience,” you’ll also need to tweak a few things. The more Google can reach your website, the higher it will rank.
Elements of Site Architecture
The following sections should help you grasp site architecture if you’re experiencing trouble in doing so.
Easy to Crawl
The term “Crawl” will appear frequently. This means Google is analyzing your site for clues as to what it is. Google uses these elements to decide where you rank by identifying essential keywords and diagnosing on-site issues.
They’ll be more likely to declare a good result if they can index all of the pages on your site well. The thicker the web of links between your site’s pages, the easier it is for spiders to visit them all, providing the search engine a greater picture of your site.
If you’re using WordPress, you can create a sitemap with a simple plugin or use an online XML sitemap generator to make Google’s job easier.
It should be your goal to make the site as crawlable as possible. If Google has trouble understanding your site, you’ll have a harder time ranking because the AI won’t recognize all of your keywords.
There are several misconceptions about duplicate content and how it affects results. Many individuals mistakenly believe that everything on your page should be original, yet duplicate content is not penalized by search engines.
Unless you do it in the wrong (spammy) way, republishing your content on other websites or republishing your guest articles on your site will not harm your SEO.
If you repost the same content to a large site like Medium, for example, it may affect your results because Google indexes your Medium item first. After all, it’s on a more authoritative domain. This is known as a “Canonicalization” issue, and it may already be occurring on your site without your knowledge.
When one or more URLs on your site display similar or duplicate content, you have a canonical issue.
In actuality, the internet is littered with duplicate content. Duplicate content in the sidebar is a problem that many website owners face. Google may consider duplicate content if you publish a blog piece on your site with an intro in the sidebar.
Duplicate content has also been found in two distinct domains. This is demonstrated by content syndication. When original content is reposted elsewhere, it is referred to as syndication. Google will not punish you if you do this with their approval.
We all know that Google prioritizes smartphone searches. This means we’ll need to build a site that works effectively on mobile, as this will be the most crucial aspect in determining how easy it is for Google to crawl your site.
You can find a lot of information about what Google thinks of your site in your Google Search Console.
Page loading time
Google prioritizes page performance and usability through the development of Core Web Vitals. Google may penalize you or make it more difficult for you to outrank your competitors if your site or specific features load slowly.
Once again, the Google Search Console will offer you this information, saving you the trouble of looking for a tool to determine your page speed.
SSL and HTTPS
The most significant ranking variables are security and safety. Google will not offer you a first-page position if it believes your site is spammy or suspicious.
SSL certificates and HTTPS are one way it has helped filter the good from the bad. These are simple to set up and can provide you with a small lock next to your URL as well as HTTPS before the URL string. While it doesn’t generate much SEO juice, this is a crucial trust signal that will aid your long-term aims.
Experts will differ on the relevance of a strong link profile. But the fact is that links are one of Google’s most crucial ranking criteria for you.
One issue that many SEOs face is that they don’t know how to accomplish things properly. You’re setting yourself up for failure from the start if you employ the incorrect strategies. It may take a little longer if you adopt the long-term strategy and create links the right way, but you’ll thank yourself later.
Elements of Link Building
The following are the most significant considerations while building links for your website:
Quality of Link
While links aren’t everything, their quality is crucial when evaluating them. The amount of links you have is far less important. Reaching out to the correct sources and providing value in exchange for a solid connection is the key to building excellent backlinks. Because there are many different strategies to develop links correctly, Google rewards those who do it perfectly.
The majority of people just consider the total number of links, which is a significant mistake for several reasons:
- If the majority of links are low-quality or spammy, search engines may overlook them.
- Links from brand new sites are more valuable than links from old ones.
- Links from other sites are more valuable than links from your website (from one page to another).
How can you tell a good link from a bad one?
Google expects that the links going to your site will be relevant. Buying a gig on Fiverr that promises 10,000 links for $100 isn’t going to get you the results you want. There’ll be awful profile links on sites like Myspace and Soundcloud that aren’t likely relevant to your niche.
Google is also on the lookout for sites that charge for links. You can conduct a quick Google search for “site: write for us” and get results that look like this.
In exchange for a link, some of these sites may charge you to guest post on their site. Google dislikes this since it allows individuals with a large bank account to easily trick the system.
Google rewards individuals that provide value in exchange for a link, which is the purpose of link building. You wish to contribute a guest article to a website where your knowledge is valued.
The site for which you write a guest post should have its visitors. When the site gets more traffic, more link juice will flow in your direction since others will see what you’re contributing.
The text placed beneath the link is known as anchor text. The idea is for the text to appear in the piece as naturally as possible. Because each sort of anchor text has its position in the SEO world, you should have a range of them.
The last thing you want is a bunch of text that says “click here” and directs people to your website. Instead, if you’re trying to gain a link to an article about raised garden beds, the anchor text accompanying the link should state “raised garden beds.” This helps Google understand what will happen when someone clicks through.
The number of hyperlinks
Finally, the total amount of links you have is important, and you must build high-quality backlinks over time.
We’ve already mentioned that, but it needs to be mentioned again: you’re not looking for the most number of links. Ultimately, the site with the most high-quality links will usually have the upper hand. It also relies on the pages to which you’re receiving links. Although connections to your homepage are beneficial, most natural links will not be to your homepage unless they specifically cite your brand name.
That is the first blunder.
The second is failing to consider how and where those links originate. The heatmap is one of the most popular tools since it allows users to see which site elements are assisting conversions and which are preventing conversions. You want links from landing pages or conversion-related sources if you’re seeking to get links to this page.
Other feature pages, such as Recordings, may change this. A design-related link wouldn’t be as useful here. It’s not as relevant in the context. If the page or post was about usability or interface design, though, it would be a good match.
The quality of the links you receive is important, but so is the location to which they link.
Finally, consider the social elements that influence off-page SEO. Aside from direct social signals from the searcher, there are other ways that good social media results can help you rank higher.
Social media counts, whether it’s directly through increased links or indirectly through a PR boost.
Elements of Social for SEO
There are two major influencing factors:
Quality of Shares
Because the idea is to tell Google how awesome you are, SEO and social media marketing go hand in hand. What does it say to Google if people are sharing your content and making it more widely available?
It shows them that people like what you have to offer and that you’re giving them a lot of value. This is beneficial to Google.
The Number of Shares
The number of shares is a secondary social measure. Every marketer’s dream is to have a viral hit, however, it is overrated. There are numerous strategies and hacks available, but the fact is a little more straightforward: create excellent content.
To various people, this signifies different things. In the marketing world, for example, I’ve discovered that long-form content almost always surpasses short-form. Take a look at celebrity gossip websites for a moment. Nobody wants to plod through a long passage of text. In this case, the contrary is almost true. Their target demographic is looking for something quick and dramatic. They want more movies and visuals over text.
This is where sites like Buzzfeed and TMZ make their money. They entice you with large headlines that make something sound far more fascinating than it is. Do you believe that many people share that without even reading the article?
Probably quite a lot.
In the SEO game, all you have to do is develop excellent content that people want to read on a site where people want to read it. That’s why, as previously stated, guest blogging on sites with a real audience is critical. Do you believe you’ll receive any shares if you’re guest posting somewhere with no readers?
After learning about SEO and how it works, you can begin making adjustments to your website to increase SEO and also improve your SERP rankings.
Remember that several things influence the meaning and success of your SEO efforts.
The first critical consideration is if your content is valuable and relevant to your target audience.
Keep in mind that SEO takes time to work its magic. You won’t see the benefits of SEO right away. It could take months to see the fruits of your labor.
Following search engines’ best practices, on the other hand, might add your SEO a lot of meaning.
The greatest approach to growing a long-term internet business is to provide high-quality content that is focused on assisting your human visitors. And for years to come, this will continue to bring in additional organic site traffic.
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