Table of Contents
The SEO Basics
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization also known as SEO is a process of improving your on-page and off-page optimization in order to appear higher in search rankings on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. SEO is used by website owners to gain customers through search engines. It can be a complicated process to try and meet search engine algorithms criteria to match customer search intent to your website content. This is the greatest way to get organic (free) website traffic to your website.
4 Benefits of SEO.
The benefits of SEO are simple.
- Increased organic traffic. Organic traffic is search engine traffic you did not have to pay for. This is the best kind of traffic you can get to your website, as the return on investment for every converted customer is 100% ROI. Keep in mind you want targeted traffic to your website, so make sure you research keywords. We will discuss some tools later to help you with this process.
- Raise brand awareness. One great way to raise brand awareness is through social media. Using catchy headlines to get your followers’ attention.
- Build audience trust. Google ranks websites better that show expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT). The Google algorithms identify whether the website content is useful to the users and relevant. The further you are in the search engine rankings, the more trust users will have in your website.
- Lower costs. Obviously organic (free) website traffic versus paid traffic is a significant benefit in performing SEO. Startups just can’t afford to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and needs a more sustainable source of traffic. Taking your time to create content that meets the user’s search intent is the key to organic traffic.
Example effects of SEO for an onine business
Example 1 –
David owns a law firm in Richmond, Virginia, and isn’t getting enough business for his law firm. He has a website, but it has very basic information about his law firm.
Some key searches David would like to rank for are:
- Injury lawyer Richmond, Virginia
- Auto accident lawyer Richmond, Virginia
David would benefit from updating the content of his website with keyword variations of the above bullet points. Using the Google Ads Keyword Planner, we can see some phrases that can be in his content are “personal injury lawyers in Richmond”, best car accident attorney Richmond”, “injury lawyers in Richmond, VA” and more.
Since David is targeting the local area, another thing David can do is create a Google Business Profile. This will allow him to get reviews, establish trust and improve search rankings.
Example 2 –
Sara runs an online dropshipping store selling clothes. The competition is very large out there and she needs to find a way to get more targeted traffic to her website. She decides she needs to make a niche for her business instead of it being so generalized in a competitive field.
Like the example for David, she needs to do some keyword planning using the Googles Ads Keyword Planner.
Sara has decided she will only sell baby burp cloths.
Some ideas for some content to target customers looking for burp cloths based on the Google keyword planner are:
- organic burb cloths
- little unicorn burp cloths
- flannel burp cloths
There are many SEO techniques out there to help your website improve your search engine results pages (SERP). We cover the basics in this blog post, so expect many more articles digging deeper into the subject in the future.
Here are some SEO techniques to improve your search engine rankings:
- Content is King – Bill Gates actually coined the phrase back in 1996 and it still holds true today. Keyword Research is the best way to get targeted traffic to your website. There are tools available to assist you such as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, SEMRush, AHREFS, SEO PowerSuite, and many more. Using these tools lets you know what keywords are being used the most and allows you to properly write your content for your target audience. Remember, keywords should be used in more than just your content, they should be in your titles, header tags, images meta description, and other places. There’s a way to do this so as to not spam the search engines and be penalized.
- Backlinks – Search engines put some weight on website popularity and determining this can be attributed to other websites linking to your website. These should be authoritative websites that are related to your website to carry the best weight. A great way to get backlinks is through your content, providing valuable information such as a simple piece of information on a graphic that can be used and linked back to your website.
- On-Page Website Optimization – Many people forget the one thing that should be done for your SEO rankings is to improve your website optimization. This includes reducing image sizes so they don’t take a long time to load on mobile. Google pays attention to the length of time people spend on your website and if they leave because of load time, you’re risking not being ranked well. Another thing that falls into this category is updating all of your metadata.
- Outrank the competition. Let us be real, your competition is ranked on the first page of the search engines and is getting plenty of traffic and conversions. They do this because they are performing SEO on their websites, which is what you must do.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO
There are two main categories of SEO which are on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Anything you talk about in SEO falls into one of those two categories.
On-page SEO – Just as the title states, on-page is performed on your website pages. These are things like internal linking, content writing, load speeds, and metadata optimization.
Off-page SEO – Involves optimization of your website off-page. This includes link-building, social bookmarking, and more.
On-page SEO is the easiest to perform because you are working on your own website and not relying on someone providing you with backlinks or social media posts.
Focus Keywords – One of the biggest things you can do is write well keyword-focused blogs on your website that meet users’ intent when they are searching. You want your keyword density to be around 1% to 2% of the total length of your article. Do a search for “keyword density checker” and make adjustments as needed. If you use keywords too much within your article, you could be penalized by search engines for keyword stuffing (spamming).
It is normal to place your main keyword in the title tags such as H1, H2, etc. It’s also normal to place keywords within the meta title and description of the page and images.
Variations of keywords is a smart way to target your users as well. If you were writing an article about cars, you could have variations such as auto, trucks, car repair, auto mechanic, and lots of variations you can use that are related to your keyword.
The length of your article should be around 2,000 words for the best results. This isn’t an absolute rule, but we’ve found longer articles tend to do a little better. Think authoritative when you write an article, you want the article to have good content that helps the user.
Off-page SEO is much more difficult than on-page SEO. You have to find websites that are willing to link to your website. Keep in mind, the websites must be relevant to your website and should have a good authority score. Websites like AHREFs, SEMRUSH, and UBERSUGGEST have some free options available to check website authority. While these authority scores are NOT official for search engine scores, they do a pretty good job with their algorithms and give you the best chance to identify high-authority websites.
You only want the best links possible linking to you, not just any website. Also, think about the anchor text that links to your website. This can for example “great web design” or some other anchor text to describe what the link is to.
Ways to get backlinks to include writing guest posts for other website owners. I like a website called “HARO” that allows you to receive notifications of websites looking for authors for articles on their high authority websites. Create citations for your local listings, this is the Google Business Profile, YELP, BING, and other directory websites.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools
As we mentioned above when looking for high domain authority websites, using tools like AHREFS, SEMRUSH, or UBERSUGGEST are great ways to view your website’s domain authority. Many of these tools have free options to check those authority scores as well as paid versions with many more tools to help you. Domain Ratings and/or Domain Authority Scores are algorithms created by 3rd party websites not associated with major search engines. They have created tools to help customers with improving their website rankings. These tools can help inform customers of the organic traffic they receive and what keywords they are ranking for.
SEO Tool Features
Here is a list of some of the features available within the tools mentioned earlier:
- Page Rank – You can see where all of your pages are ranking within the search engines and know what pages you need to place priority on to try and rank higher.
- Anchor Texts – Find out what websites are linking to your website and the anchors that have been used.
- Domain referrals – You can see how many websites link to you as well as many external websites you link to.
- View Competitors – See the backlinks your competitors have so you can try and get some of the same backlinks. You can also learn about their top search results and come up with ideas to write about that help get the targeted traffic you need.