Sheldon  Grant

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SEO Guide for Beginners: What is SEO?

What is SEO - intro

When you start an online business, blog about your hobby, or job as an online marketer, you are probably interested in getting more knowledge about getting more good quality traffic for a longer time, without spending tons of money for pay-per-click campaigns.

Online marketing is huge, and it gives a massive amount of possibilities to display your product, service, or content to the world. There are many different branches and digital marketing methods that can be used to grab traffic and get clients. It’s possible to use influencer marketing, email marketing, content marketing, or even paid campaigns. But the most desired traffic is organic traffic from search engines.

Why?

In this article, I’ll explain to you what SEO is, why it’s so important for your online business, blog, or in your job as an online marketing specialist.

For those who prefer watching content, feel free to join our Youtube channel, where we always create a video version of (almost) every article.

Let’s get into SEO!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the process of optimizing your blog or website to rank higher in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any other. When your page ranks higher, they are visibly higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), leading to a big amount of organic traffic on the website. 

If you try to sell a product or a service or simply have a blog where you share some knowledge, you want people to see it, read it, and engage with your content. Getting traffic helps you to generate leads and earn money or monetize your content.

SEO is a perfect way to find good quality leads, and it’s relatively cheap. It also lasts longer than PPC campaigns. It’s the first and most important strategy for many companies to rank high on the search engine’s results page because it allows them to get leads that are already interested in something related to their product or service.  Organic traffic that you get from the search engine results page is not paid, like the ads placed above the search results. You can see the difference in the image below.

Paid vs organic traffic

Search engine optimization consists of three different elements: 
- on-page SEO
- off-page SEO
- technical SEO

And you need to take care of all three of them to get high ranks on the search engine results page. 

In the next parts of the article, I’ll explain to you what those three ingredients of SEO are, so you know what you need to do to achieve the best results in all of them.

Right now, let me tell you how does SEO works because this will help you learn what you need to do to get more from your SEO strategy. 

How does SEO works?

Everyone uses search engines like Google or Bing, but do we ever wonder how it works to see the links in a particular order, and almost every time, the first page can answer our questions or give us enough information?

Let me explain what happens when you enter the query into the search bar.

Search engines have crawlers, which are kind of bots that go through the internet and gather information on different pages and index them. Then that information is processed by different algorithms, which check if content responds to your query.

There are several different factors that algorithms take into consideration when looking for the best answer, such as domain authority, amount of links that lead to the website, amount of outgoing links, content quality, loading speed, social metrics, proper keywords usage, adaptation to mobile devices and some more.

Those factors change depending on the algorithm updates because developers are still working to provide users the best experience and the best results. That’s why even if your website already has a great position on the search engine results page, it can change while algorithms change happens.

Thus, it’s important to constantly be fresh with the algorithms updates and optimize your websites to search engines to not lose your traffic.

I hope this explanation gave you a better overview of what happens in the background of search engines. Now you can understand that SEO is optimization, which will make your website fulfill all important factors that algorithms consider.

Right now, I’d like to tell you why SEO is so important and why it’s a good idea to dive deeper into these ways of marketing.

Why SEO is important?

As I already mention, no matter if you are a blogger, you have an online business, or you are working as an online marketer, you need traffic.

SEO makes your website more visible, and being more visible on the search engine results page means more leads that you can change into paying clients. This is why people appreciate SEO so much, and everyone would like to rank in the first 10 results.

Comparing to pay-per-click campaigns, SEO is much cheaper in the long term because you are losing all the money after the clicks. If your campaign isn’t good, it can cost you a lot, and the results would be poor.

With SEO, you are performing your website optimization for a longer time, and if the competition doesn’t try to get over you, or the algorithms won’t change significantly, your position will be saved, changing just a little bit, or not changing at all.

SEO is the marketing technique which if done correctly, will pay you off for a long time.

Right now, let’s focus on three important aspects of SEO.

On page SEO

On-page SEO covers the activities that are taken on your website to optimize it for search engines. 

When you think about on-page SEO is about:
- optimizing the content with good keywords research, including graphics or videos,
- optimizing meta tags, 
- internal linking,
- website performance optimization,
- user experience (UX) optimization.

Right now, search engine algorithms are getting smarter and smarter, so it’s not enough to provide the content with the keyword everywhere. The content needs to be of good quality and respond to the query in the most user-friendly way. 

For example, if the content is easier to explain with images, like, for example, how to make a specific node, then search engines will more often select content with images or videos as better results. 

The other very important part of the SEO optimization on your page is optimizing meta tags, which can be done using tools like the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.

Besides the UX and content, it’s also very important to optimize your website’s technical aspects, and about this, let’s talk in the next paragraph.

Technical SEO

As I already mentioned above, your website’s technical aspect is crucial in your search engine optimization. 

Algorithms take care of mobile-friendliness, page speed, or internal linking, so crawlers can easily navigate your website.

Since 2019, the most popular research engine, Google pays attention to mobile-friendly websites. The crawlers go through the mobile version of the website or blog first and start indexing there. That’s why it’s so important that the mobile version of your page works good, and loads fast enough. There is even Google’s solution to help with this optimization, and it’s a framework call AMP.

Another thing important during technical optimization is page speed. Your website needs to load in proper time. You can check if that’s all right by Google PageSpeed Insights, then you’ll find out what you need to fix. 

Here, you can check a few tips from us about page speed.

It’s also important to use proper headers for the headlines, like H1, H2, or H3, and add meta tags for every page. If we are talking about meta tags, it’s also necessary to remember about alt tags for the images. 

The next thing you can do from the technical perspective to display high in the search result is to provide content that can be feature snippets. Those can be lists, tabes, or paragraphs answering the question immediately. 

It’s also good to add the sitemap to your website, which will help crawlers crawl your page, especially if the website is big and has lots of internal links.

Off page SEO

Off-page SEO is the third aspect of SEO that you need to rank higher on the search engine results pages. The main idea behind the off-page SEO is all you can’t do on your website, and it doesn’t depend straight on you, like getting good quality backlinks. Backlinks are the links that link to your website, and they show the search engine that your page is valuable and has the authority. Getting backlinks to happen during the process called link building, and about this, we will talk in the next section.

There are also some other aspects of off-page SEO that are not related to links, like social media marketing. Search engine robots can check how engaging your content is for your social media audience and is shareable. The more shares and engagement it has, the better is its quality according to the search engines.

Besides social media, influencer marketing can help with off-page SEO as well.

What also counts is brand mentions. Even if it’s not linked, it means that your brand is valuable for people, and they talk about it, so it may be worth being shown.

Let’s now focus a little bit more on link building!

Link building in SEO

As I’ve already mentioned in the previous paragraph, link building is the process of gathering good quality backlinks.

Link building can involve different techniques, and for example, you can get links to your website with guest posts, but you need to agree with the platform owner if you can put the link to your website in the guest post.

The other method can be interacting with website owners who have broken links on the page which can be changed for your link.

Gathering good-quality links to your website allows you to grow your domain’s authority, which will help you to rank higher.

What are SEO keywords?

When talking about SEO, you probably often hear about keywords or keyword research, but what’s that actually about?

Keywords are those phrases that people are typing or dictate for the search box to find some information about or get the answers.

For example, if one looks for a pancakes recipe and types into the search box „how to do pancakes,” and this phrase is a keyword.

A keyword can be short and long, and it doesn’t have to be a question, it can be just one word like „pancakes”, but it can also be „the best pancakes with chocolate and cream in London”.

It’s important to select your keywords wisely and do good research to find out what your audience can search for. But it’s not the only thing you need to check, as if there are already one billion pancake recipes, it can be difficult to become visible.

To do the proper keyword research, you can use free Google tools, like Google Trends or Google Keywords Planner.

SEO audit

To start optimizing your website for search engines, you need to know what is wrong and what can be improved. To find out that, you need to conduct an SEO audit for your website.

This kind of audit should go through your website and check it on different levels for big bugs, which are necessary to fix to rank better, like loading speed. It should then show you fewer major bugs which are easy to fix. The next thing that audit should check is an analysis of your organic traffic to find opportunities in your content, which means that sometimes a piece of content can be improved, and the position would be much better.

The next point that an SEO audit should go through is the backlinks analysis, and the last thing is a content audit.

You can do an audit like this by yourself according to the list you prepare or using any of the available tools to help you with this.

What is SEO - summary

In this article, you found out what SEO is and how important it is for your digital marketing strategy those days. SEO helps you to get good quality organic traffic, and it costs almost nothing, considering its long-term validity.

To make a good search engine optimization for your website on your own, you need to have web development and copywriting basic skills. It will help you to avoid the additional cost of hiring a freelancer for some tech and content jobs.

If you decide to go with an SEO strategy for your website or your client’s website, you need to start from an SEO audit to find out what’s actually needs to be improved.

It’s worth remembering that your search engine optimization results will be visible after some time because bots need to index your page after changes. It could be about one month or maybe more. You can track your ranks progress using Google Search Console.

I hope this article helped you understand what SEO is, why it’s worth considering it as your marketing strategy, and how useful it is to know SEO.

Original article source at: https://www.blog.duomly.com/

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