The Ultimate Guide to SEO: Everything You Need to Know

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy used to ensure that a site is accessible to search engines, which in turn increases the possibility that the site will be found and ranked highly by the earch engine. In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, not applying SEO is one of the worst mistakes a company can make in terms of online marketing. There are a few reasons why this is. First and foremost, most people will use search engines to find information both on and off the web. An overwhelming majority of internet users use search engines, particularly Google, when they are trying to find information. This is often done multiple times a day. A large portion of people will also go straight to sites found using search engines and sometimes, if they realize they have not found what they are looking for, they would go on a “search engine quest” to find it. The second reason is that search engines are the primary method of navigation for most internet users. While social media, paid advertising, and other online platforms can generate traffic to websites, the bulk of online traffic is driven by search engines. A large search load also has the power to bring direct and indirect marketing results. Primarily and directly, it is a tool to market your site to those who are looking for the types of services it provides. Indirectly, it can lower the cost on other online marketing efforts and through increased usability of the website.

What is SEO?

SEO is an abbreviation that stands for search engine optimization. It is the process of getting traffic from the natural, organic search results on search engines. All major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Optimizing your website involves making changes to your website with the goal of making it more attractive to search engines. This is done in order to increase your website’s position in the search engine results page. By increasing your website’s position in the search engine results page, you increase your chances of your site being seen by users and, in turn, increasing the amount of visitors to your website. The higher the ranking of your website, the more likely you are to have increased traffic and hopefully the ultimate goal, more revenue. Search engine optimization can be a very successful, profitable marketing effort if done correctly.

Importance of SEO

Secondly, it becomes an advantage to the business, and this is due to the increase of pages seen in search engines that have a higher likelihood to sell their items. Because of the more powerful pages that are present in search engines, there is an increased likelihood that a user will click onto your page, which then will lead to increased chances of sales. This can therefore be seen as a disadvantage for businesses that use web-page advertisement as there are fewer chances of users going onto their page, and because of this, these businesses will usually pay more to get their ads onto other websites. This concept can be explained by the use of an SEO service from a business called Digital Meal. Due to a significant increase in their page-views, they can change from cost-effective ads to PPC, as they have been paying an average of $1.50 per sale from the effective ads.

Firstly, it will improve the website’s usability. In an attempt to make your website easier to navigate, SEO simultaneously helps to make it easier for search engines to crawl your site. One way of doing this is by rearranging the architecture of your site; links help search engines and users navigate through your site.

For starters, SEO will help you create a better, faster and friendlier website for users. Despite the name, search engine optimization is not only about search engines but the focus is on the user. When your users are happy, search engines are happy as well. Following good on-page SEO techniques will improve the user experience and this creates a number of short-term and long-term benefits.

Benefits of SEO

High rank: Here it is important to mention that a website which is optimized efficiently ensures a top rank in search engine result pages. This higher rank in itself proves to be one of the most powerful benefits of SEO. In case you’re selling a product or providing any kind of service over the internet, then a higher ranking is most essential to increase your sales. According to a study, it has been found that a person looking for any information won’t go beyond the first two pages in search engine result pages. So if yours is not in the top pages, then you are losing a huge amount of prospects. So higher rankings can lead to more traffic. And traffic over the internet can be compared with foot traffic in the offline store. The more traffic, the better the chances of selling your product/service. According to another study, it has been proved that if a website has a rank of third, it gets about 20% of searchers to click on it. The percentage drops by 5-6% for rank 4, and it keeps on dropping as a person goes to lower ranks. So it is easy to assume the amount of people going to your website if you have a top rank. And moreover, if you offer a good quality product or service, it is more probable that they will purchase your product or service.

On-Page SEO

When optimizing your website, the first step should be keyword research. Keyword research is the process of researching and selecting the words and phrases that people are searching for, that are relevant to your site, product or service. There are a few good keyword research tools to assist you with this: Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, KeywordDiscovery. These tools will give you a list of keywords and phrases based on the keyword you enter. They also give you an indication of how popular the keywords are, how much competition there is, and what the search trends are. It is often best to start with long tail keywords (3-5 word phrases) as they are more specific and have a higher chance of converting traffic to your site into sales. Execute a keyword research phase without a selected keyword and your website could find itself lost in a sea of competitors.

Keyword Research

Steps to better keyword research: – You should first brainstorm a few words that you think people will search to find your product. – Another method is to do a survey. Ask your friends, family, and even strangers what they would search for or what they would expect to find. – Use a thesaurus to get better variations. You can take a word and find words with similar meanings, which may result in a better understanding of your chosen word or, in this case, keyword.

Keyword research is the first step of on-page SEO, and without it, you can’t perform the next step. One of the mistakes a beginner SEO does is the failure to do keyword research. If one doesn’t do the research, how can they optimize the website for a specific keyword and improve rankings? Chances are they can’t. Successful implementation of a keyword into the content of your website can result in better ranking in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It is also important to not overuse or spam a keyword; doing this can result in a downgrade of search engine rankings. Essentially, the internet is run by search, and search is in itself keywords. The engines need a starting point, which is where keywords come in and where you come in, knowing which are the right keywords for your product is extremely crucial.

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

The title tag and the meta description are the first view a potential visitor will have of your site. Make the title tag unique and ensure it accurately describes the page content. The meta description should also be unique and contain a call to action for the user to click through to the site. Keep them under 165 characters each to ensure they display correctly on the SERPs. The title tag is what search engines use as the headline for your page in the search results page. It tells the search engines and searchers what your page is about. It is critical that the title tag is keyword descriptive about that page. A good way to construct the title tag is to use a primary keyword and secondary keyword separated by a pipe or a hyphen. Keep the title tag short and sweet, around 60 characters. It is also important to use correct grammar in the title tag; all words should be capitalized, and the title tag should be a complete sentence. The meta description tag won’t help you to rank, but it will often appear as the text snippet below your listing, so it should include relevant keywords. This is the “sales copy” for your page, so treat it as such. Entice searchers to click through to your page and keep in mind that this copy should match the content of the page it’s written for. Both of these tags should accurately describe the content on your page and be both keyword and user friendly.

URL Structure

When optimizing your web page URLs, consider several factors. The first is including your keywords in your URL. You might find that separating keywords with hyphens makes your URL more readable. Try to keep your URL short and sweet. URLs, like title tags, are weighed and given more importance than regular page copy. Don’t overdo it. File extensions are not a significant factor, but you may find that using HTML pages makes URL rewriting a bit easier. Use static URLs. Dynamic URLs are not only harder to index, but they also can become a bit of an eyesore. Run your URLs through a few of the major search engines. If you ran a site command for your URL and it was not indexed, that’s a bad sign. Overall, the keys to good URL structure are: relevance, good readability, and providing the user and the search engine a good idea of what the destination page will be.

Header Tags

Though the vast majority of WordPress Themes no longer use h1 tags for the post title, it is still important to specifically define the header tags within your theme for a post that uses the h1 tag as the post title, and it is also beneficial for your theme to utilize the h1 tag for the blog title. By utilizing the h1 tag as the “Post Title Tag,” you are telling the search engines that the most important heading on your page is the h1 tag. And this is where the problem starts with many blogs using the title tag for an h1 header. Many people do not realize that it is detrimental to your SEO efforts to utilize the same tag for more than one single post on your page. This usually happens with people using the title tag to define their theme for the sake of uniformity, but the “title” is intended to be the h2 tag on your post page and the h1 tag for the home page.

Header tags are a main ingredient of on-page optimization in SEO. An often overlooked element to many, header tags can be a useful tool for optimization that doesn’t require great skill to utilize. So what are header tags? Header tags are part of the HTML coding for a web page and are defined with h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6 tags. As the name suggests, header tags are used to differentiate headings (i.e. the title of a blog post or article) from the rest of the page. The most important header tag is the h1 tag, and the least important is the h6 tag. An example of a header tag used on a blog post can be seen below:

Off-Page SEO

By link building, it will increase the visitors of your website, cause higher page rank, higher traffic, and higher page rank equals higher rankings. But keep in mind that although link building is a powerful way to increase your rankings, it is time and energy-consuming. A small mistake in link building can have a bad impact on your website, so make sure any links to your website do not use black hat SEO.

Link building is one of the most effective ways to increase your work’s rankings in the search engine results page. To understand this, you must know about links. For example, we can say that a link is a text or icon which, when clicked on, will bring us to another page. Link building is a strategy to increase the number of links that bring users to your website, and there are many ways to build links. The easiest way is letting users know about your site so they will know your site and start making links to it. Another way is submitting your work to websites that have high traffic, and the last way is by writing articles and submitting them to article directories.

Off-page SEO is a main segment of your SEO strategy to rank your website higher in the search engine results page. If you want to create it your work on the post, you must do on-page and off-page optimization. Off-page optimization is a plan which you can use to your work after publishing your work to increase the quality of your work. Some examples of off-page SEO are building links, social media, and online reputation management.

Link Building

How to implement: There are few ways to do this. Hopefully, by knowing the importance and understanding of link building, you will find it easy to figure out some ways to do this. The easiest way to do this is by using an inbound link or a URL. You can go to a message board or a forum that is related to your website’s content. Make a few posts and add a link to your website’s URL. When doing this, you should see an increase in traffic to your website. You could also write articles and submit them to free article submission sites or write an e-zine or newsletters. This is another way to increase traffic because if someone is interested in the article, there is a higher chance they will visit your site. Another way to create links is to use reciprocal links by finding other webmasters and going to a link exchange discussion in a forum.

Importance: This is very important with regards to search engine rankings. It is the top criteria for search engine ranking; Google has confirmed this through its webmaster. Matt Cuts also discussed its importance in his latest interview on factors for Google ranking.

Definition: Link building is the process of creating inbound links to one’s own website. This can be done by reciprocal links, being listed in e-zines, newsletters, directories, search engines, etc. Link building is one of the best ways to make your site popular. There are few types of linking, one of which is reciprocal links. This is where two webmasters agree to show the other’s link on their website. After link building, when the website is being crawled by a search engine spider, the spider sees the links and the website is then ranked. The higher the rank of a website, the more traffic you will get. Another type of linking is a one-way link. An example of a one-way link would be a link from [Link] to yoursite.com. This is now considered a one-way link because if a visitor was to click on this link, he would be directed to yoursite.com; however, the URL does not change to [Link] So this is still considered a one-way link.

Social Media Marketing

Let’s say you wrote an article on something people could locate extraordinarily beneficial; something that solves a problem (find out the ‘problem-solving’ concept?) that a number of people are tormented by. A way to growing traffic can be something risky to paint, as it’s tough to stand out with so many others who are seeking to sell the same thing and it’s all across the internet. Whether it is through social media sites, online forums, or communities, one goal would be to make others aware of the fact that you have a content site providing information and data on the issue or problem.

Social media marketing is one of the most significant fashions of internet advertising and marketing to hit the net in recent times. However, it is not anything new. The concept has been around for quite a while, but it is only now that it is starting to come into its very own and be given seriously in advertising circles. Despite the fact that relatively new to search engine optimization, social media marketing has grown to be an increasing number of great for you to not forget within your off-page approach. Basically, this is the use of social media sites inclusive of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote your company, products, services, and most importantly content. The first step that is often forgotten being, simply making an attempt to sell your online content and gain attention to it.

Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management refers to the practice of monitoring, addressing, or mitigating search engine result pages or mentions in online media and web sphere content. It entails the suppressing of negative comments or content which can impact badly on the reputation of an individual or business, both in the search engines and in an online context. A proactive reputation management campaign aims to decrease the visibility of negative mentions through a reduction in their rankings, while at the same time increasing the visibility of positive mentions. This is often a long-term and high-effort process, but in a world where the reputation of an entity is increasingly falling under the scrutiny of online users and customers, it is well worth the effort. Online reputation management is one of the most important areas of off-page SEO and is often taken into account after a negative event has hit an individual or business’s reputation. Due to the nature of search engines, it is likely that the event will be remembered indefinitely unless something is done about it. This “something” is often employing online reputation management services.

SEO Tools and Services

Yahoo! Site Explorer – Another free tool that can be used for website analysis. Yahoo! Site Explorer is a user-friendly tool for webmasters. It offers a view of most sites indexed by Yahoo! Search, enabling you to view a list of links pointing to any page and review the most popular and important pages of a site. This can be used to identify problem areas on a site and do link analysis. Yahoo! Site Explorer also offers the ability to download the entire links from a site to a .csv file.

XML Sitemaps – This is an easy way to make a search engine-friendly site map. XML Sitemaps are an industry-standard way of informing search engines about pages on your site that are available for crawling. Many consider this to be the best search engine optimization tool for new websites. And best of all, it’s free!

Google Analytics – It offers invaluable information that can be used to monitor the results of any website promotion and to develop ways to improve a website’s effectiveness, sales, and increase return on investment. This free tool from Google is often underutilized by SEOs and website owners. This tool offers ways to segment statistical data and compare it to the average for your industry. This can be used to monitor website visitor data and identify ways to improve website usability, sales, and ROI. This tool can also help develop ways to improve a website’s return on investment and identify new markets for a website.

Many search engine optimization companies offer different search engine optimization services, so it’s crucial for you to research the options and determine the best one for the job. Following is a recommended list of search engine optimization tools or services which are worthwhile and offer a worthwhile/cheap alternative to outsourcing search engine optimization tasks.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful free tool from Google. Google Analytics gives you the data you need to make informed decisions. Analytics can fill you in on what keywords might be driving traffic to what specific pages on your site. This is invaluable information for an SEO. A recent feature of Google Analytics allows you to track what keywords a visitor used to get to the site before coming to any page on your site. This can be very useful for determining what keywords are most effective at bringing users to your site. Google Analytics can also give you information on what percentage of your traffic comes from organic search, paid search, referrals from other websites, email campaigns, and direct traffic. Knowing where your traffic is coming from is important and can be crucial information when making decisions on whether or not to shift more resources to a specific area. As stated earlier, attracting organic search traffic is the best long-term strategy for most websites. Tracking this traffic into new or returning visitors can also be an important factor which can be tracked.

Keyword Tracking Tools

Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google that is used to track and measure statistical data for a particular website. Webmasters need to simply insert a snippet of provided code into their webpages in order to start recording data. While the program won’t yield actionable data overnight, it’s still a very powerful tool for being able to understand important metrics such as where your traffic is coming from, what people are searching for to find your site, how long they’re staying on your site and what content they are viewing, just to name a few. Over time, Google Analytics will tell you more about your site’s audience and which of your marketing strategies are working, which can be used to fine-tune your website and your overall marketing approach.

A large part of search engine optimization, and indeed web marketing in general, involves analyzing data and making informed decisions on how to proceed. This is why marketing professionals who are still learning the basics of Internet marketing wouldn’t want to miss important statistics that could tell them what they’re doing right or wrong. Furthermore, using search engine optimization tools can be a major time saver, as even basic SEO tasks can become very complicated and tedious. Having the right tools in place to gather data and make informed decisions can make a very laborious task much more streamlined and efficient. Step forth some of the search engines very own tools such as Google Analytics and various Webmaster Tools.

 

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