Are you new to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Do you find yourself intimidated by the concept of search engine optimization?
You are not alone.
According to recent statistics, there are nearly 7 million people blogging and 5 exabytes of content are created every day. More than that, there are 3.1 billion Internet users (at the time of writing) hungry for information.
As a result, Google receives over 4 million search queries per minute.
With all this noise, making your website stand out can seem like a daunting task. So, it’s no wonder that you are starting to question the use of SEO. Why should you bother optimizing your content when chances are it will never get noticed?
As it turns out, SEO still matters and you should bother. As long as search engines exist and are trying to help users find relevant information on the web, search engine optimization will continue to be essential.
This article will provide everything you need to know in order to learn the basics of search optimization. It will explain the concept of SEO and it will teach you the basics of getting started with site optimization.
What Is Search Engine Optimization and How it Works?
Search engine optimization or SEO is the practice which allows a website to get more traffic and rank higher in search results. It involves a collection of strategies and techniques such as the use of keywords, link building and content strategy.
Search engines, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, collect information about every page on the web. They use this information in order to help Internet users find exactly what they are looking for. So, when someone types a query into Google, they will be presented with links, pictures and videos.
Search engines use an algorithm to deliver relevant answers to users.
This algorithm uses a number of elements, such as keywords, titles, backlinks and reputation, to decide which websites are relevant and which are not. As webmasters, you want to use these elements efficiently in order to rank high in search results.
The higher you rank, the more people can find you.
Let’s imagine the following SEO example:
Linda sells hair treatments online. Aware of the importance of online content, she is also blogging. On her blog, she offers tips and tutorials on how to take care of your mane.
Linda realizes there are hundreds of thousands of other people blogging about the same things, but, unlike many others, she knows what search engines love.
She writes for people and optimizes for Google. She spends a lot of time doing keyword research, trying to better understand her audience and its hair-related problems. Simply put, she writes relevant content, uses the right keywords and posts fresh articles regularly.
Why Search Engine Rankings Matter?
Although Social Media has grown dramatically in the last few years, search engines (Google in particularly) still drive a greater quantity of traffic than all social networks combined. With data like these, it should be abundantly clear that SEO should be an essential part of your marketing efforts.
However, despite the evidence, a large number of marketers have put search engine optimization aside in favor of Facebook shares and retweets. While a social media strategy is important, and it can improve your rankings, it shouldn’t be used in favor of web page optimization.
The vast majority of people who go to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social platforms aren’t there with a specific task in mind. They are looking for something fun, interesting and temporal. They are not necessarily interested in your products or in the information you provide.
With search engines, on the other hand, things are different. When users write a search query in Google, they know exactly what they want. They are searching for something specific (hair treatment, for example) and they are most likely to take action, such as buying the treatment or subscribing to the newsletter.
The idea that SEO is useless isn’t new, but it can be dangerous. Google changes the rules constantly and it can be hard to keep up with the updates. But the changes are normal and they reflect the way people are using the Internet.
Getting Started With Search Engine Optimization: The Basics
Getting started with search engine optimization can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are so many things you can do in order to optimize your website and get targeted traffic.
You know what you want to do and why. You’ve seen others do it before you and you are confident that you are ready to undertake the task of site optimization.
It helps to have a plan.
So, here are the basics of search engine optimization:
Know your audience
One of the most important parts of any search engine optimization strategy is knowing your audience.
It is imperative that you truly understand your audience, so that you can write copy that resonates to them.
Don’t limit yourself to demographics data, such as where they live, how old they are or whether they are men or women.Make an effort to understand their interests, what motivates them and what problems they have that you can solve.
There are a lot of tools you can use in order to find out what your audience is searching for, how often they’re searching for it and what specific keywords they are using to look the information up.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner, for example, can help you find new and related keywords to your search topic.Google Trends is another useful tool that allows you to see what topics are trending on the web.
You can go to forums or Facebook groups or you can analyze hashtags to see what your potential customers need.
Write optimized content
Loading an article with the right keywords can feel a little restrictive. How are you supposed to find your voice and be creative when you have to use a particular word a number of times?
But, the good news is that, with the latest changes in Google’s algorithm, keyword density isn’t as important as it used to be.
However, there are still some guidelines you need to take into account.
It is important that you know where to put the keywords throughout your post in order to get the most impact from search engines.
Try to include them in the following places:
– Headings and subheadings;
– Image ALT attributes;
– Anchor text;
– Title tags and meta descriptions;
Optimize your images too
Optimizing your text is essential, but don’t forget that Google likes to rank images as well.By doing SEO for your images you increase your chances of getting organic traffic to your website.
So, instead of giving your photos a generic name, such as “photo_1”, include the keyword in the title and description.
When search engines crawl your website, they need to shift through thousands and thousands of pages. A site map is a great way to tell search engines what each page is about.Nowadays, sitemaps can be created automatically and they can help search engine spiders crawl every page of your site.
They are especially useful if your website has hundreds of pages of content.
Search engines can detect when a site is getting a lot of external links. It is usually a sign the site is trustworthy, so it deserves a higher place in search results. But, building links is hard, especially if you are just getting started blogging for your business.
The good news is that, although Google still takes links into account, most marketers recommend you focus on creating compelling content that other users will love to share on their own blogs and social media channels.
What Search Engines Are Looking For?
Search engines have one main purpose: to help users find relevant information. But, navigating through vast amounts of data and noise can be difficult, even for a search engine.
So, in order to find relevant information in the seemingly endless stream of data, they look for distinctive elements.
Are the titles, descriptions and body text relevant to the search query? If the answer is yes, then the search engines will show your website in search results.
Internet users are busy creatures. There are tons of articles to be read, videos to be watched or photos to be shared. Why should they wait for your page to load when there are so many other options available?
Search engines know this, so they are using website performance in order to decide who ranks high and who remains at the bottom of the search pit.
Linking is also important to search engines. If authority sites link back to a website, it’s a sign that the content is relevant and the website is trustworthy.
According to recent data by Charbeat, more than half of the people who visit a website will spend less than 15 seconds before clicking away.
There are a lot of good reasons why people are bailing out so quickly and it’s not because they get bored. Most of the times, they bounced because they couldn’t find what they were looking for.
Other times they hit the “Back” button because the site was too hard to navigate or the information was hard to read.
What Search Engines Are NOT Looking For?
Search engines use a recipe and a check-list in order to find relevant information. So, you may think that it’s entirely possible to trick them into ranking your website higher.
There was a time when shady tactics worked, but, with the latest changes in Google’s algorithm, it’s almost impossible to trick the search engines and not get penalized.
You want good SEO? Here’s what you should avoid doing:
Keywords are an important element in the process of SEO. However, you don’t have to repeat a word 50 times to get search engines to understand what your page is about. It is now recommended to keep your keyword density below 1%.
Poor user experience:
Make it easy for users to get around your website and find what they need. If the navigation is complicated and counterintuitive, they will bounce. An increased bounce rate is a good enough sign for search engines that your site is not worth showing in the first results.
Can I do Search Engine Optimzation Myself? Yes You Can!
Search engine optimization is complex and time consuming. But, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist in order to understand its core concepts. It will take you some time to familiarize yourself with the terminology.
It will take you even more time to put into practice what you’ve learned. But, with passion and hard work, you will learn how to optimize your website yourself, and you will one step closer to financial freedom and stability.
Despite all those pointing out about the death of search engine optimization, SEO can still make a difference in your traffic rates. But, don’t expect miracles to happen overnight.
Optimizing a website is a slow process that takes time to show results, and you need to be patient.
PS: If You Are Struggling To Build Your Online Business, If You Aren’t Making Money Yet (or less than 1,000/month), This is the System you Should Get – The Most Profitable Online Training Program and Business System.
If you enjoyed this post on “Search Engine Optimization”, retweet and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below please 🙂