Want to learn all about SEO? I wanted to create this guide to help you understand the basics of SEO and how it can help you grow your business. You will want your website to use keywords to convert visitors into customers. Your paid ads don’t have to do all the hard work (or you’re just losing money). Before we teach you how it works and how to do it, let’s first explain the definition of SEO and then learn how SEO works.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of taking steps to rank a website or piece of content high in Google.
The main difference between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO includes “organic” rankings, where you don’t pay for that space. To simplify the SEO process, search engine optimization means taking a piece of online content and optimizing it so that search engines like Google show it at the top of the page when someone searches for something related.
Look at it that way. If someone types “Vegan Lasagna” into Google, they’re likely looking for recipes, ingredients, and instructions on how to make it. If you write an article about making vegetarian lasagna, you’d like people to find the recipe. One has to look beyond other websites with vegetarian lasagna recipes to find one. It’s not easy, but that’s SEO marketing.
Let’s break it down further: Most online searches start with search engines like Google. In fact, 75 percent of searches start on Google.
To better understand how to get your content to rank high in search engines, you must first understand how search engines work.
The main purpose of this article is to help you understand content and search results so you can optimize your content to rank higher in Google and get more views on your posts.
Also Read: Digital Marketing for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide
Core Elements of SEO: On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO
When it comes to broader SEO, there are two equally important paths: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is about building content to improve your rankings. This comes down to incorporating keywords into your pages and content, curating high-quality SEO copywriting content regularly, making sure your metatags and titles are keyword-rich and well-written, among other factors.
Off-page SEO is the optimization happening outside your website itself, such as earning backlinks. This part of the equation involves building relationships and creating content people want to share. Though it takes a lot of legwork, it’s integral to technical SEO success.
SEO Strategies: Black Hat Vs. White Hat
I always play the long term business game and I believe this is the way to go. However, this is not the case for everyone. Some people want to make a quick buck and move on to something else.
When it comes to SEO, it is often referred to as “black hat SEO” to get a quick win. People who practice black hat SEO use sneaky tactics like keyword stuffing and link scraping for fast ranking. It may work in the short term and bring some traffic to your site, but after some time, Google will punish your site and even blacklist it, so it won’t be ranked anymore.
On the other hand, white hat SEO is the way to build a sustainable online business. If you do your SEO this way, you will focus on your human audience.
You try to give them the best content and make it easy by playing by the search engine rules.
|Black Hat Strategies||White Hat Strategies|
|Duplicate content.||Relevant Content.|
|Invisible text and stuffed keywords.||Well labelled images.|
|Cloaking or redirecting the user to another site or page.||Relevant links and references.|
|Links from sites with non relevant sites.||Complete sentences with good grammar and spellings.|
|Irrelevant content.||Standard complaints HTML.|
|Poor page titles or just copied titles from other sites.||Unique and relevant page titles.|
Above table does an exceptional job of differentiating the both types of SEO, but let me share some more details on these topics:
- Content Duplication: When someone is trying to rank for a specific keyword, they may duplicate effective content from other sites to try and become relevant on that topic. Google penalizes sites that do this. Also, if you have several pages from the same site, there is a risk of keyword cannibalization competing with each other in the list.
- Invisible text and keyword stuffing: A few years ago, the black hat strategy was to add tons of keywords to the bottom of your post, but make it the same color as the background. This strategy will get you listed very quickly. The same applies to filling in keywords that do not belong to them. Another example of keyword stuffing is an article that tries to include as much of a given keyword as possible, making the sentence seem reasonable.
- Cloaking and redirecting: When it comes to redirecting, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The wrong way is to buy a bunch of keyword rich domains and direct all the traffic to one site. The right way is to avoid cannibalizing keywords or use them strategically to improve the user experience.
- Poor linking practices: Buying a Fiverr package that promises 5000 links in 24 hours is not the right way to build links. You need to get links from relevant content and pages where you have your own traffic.
However, there is such a thing as gray hat SEO. Granted, it’s not as pure or innocent as the whitest of white hats, but it’s not as manipulative as black hat techniques. You don’t want to deceive anyone or deliberately play gray hat. However, you are trying to gain an exclusive advantage.
See, Google’s standards aren’t as clear as you might think. Often they can even say contradictory things. For example, Google said they don’t like guest blogging for link building.
Now, how about guest blogging to promote your brand? What can you do to increase awareness, generate quality traffic to your site, and become a household name in the industry?
In the world of SEO, it’s not about what you do, but how you do it. If you’re buying guest posts on sites unrelated to your content and you’re getting a lot of spam links, you’re going to get penalized. If you create unique guest posts on your own site that provide value to readers, you’ll be doing well and the link juice will start flowing to your site.
SEO Marketing Basics: The Complete Breakdown
Now is the time to learn SEO marketing. This is one thing to understand, but SEO takes a lot of effort and time. It’s not something you can change today and expect results tomorrow. SEO takes daily action with the goal of long-term success.
You’ve probably heard it before: “Content is king.” Bill Gates made this prediction in 1996, and it is likely to be true.
Because Google is happy when it finds the result that best suits the user’s needs.
So, to do well with SEO, your first step is to produce good content.
SEO is no different from any other skill: great results come from hard work. Just as the best marketing in the world can help sell a bad product, quality SEO is useless without quality SEO.
4 Tips to Create Quality Content:
- Understand user intent: You need to know what the reader wants to do when they land on your site.
- Develop a customer persona: You need to know who your readers are, what they like, what they don’t like, and why they are there.
- Breaking the text: People have a short attention span, so writing a blind wall of text is no longer used; should be separated by many headlines and pictures.
- Take action: There is nothing wrong with reading content and getting everything you need to do something. Your content should be complete, but “Now what?” You have to answer that question. Did the reader get everything they needed by the end of your article?
Keyword Research and Selection
We briefly touched on keyword research, which shows what you say your site or how you describe your brand online.
The keywords even determines how you build links, from the tactics you choose the way you plan to implement them. Another mistake people make is that they stop.
Maybe they’ll redesign their website or come up with a new marketing campaign. They do it for a week or two, update their site, then stop. They think that keyword research is a one-time thing. It’s actually the opposite. The best SEOs do regular keyword research.
Keyword research is done for a number of different reasons, but the two main reasons are to rank in Google and create relevant content. Keywords can often open the door to inspiration by telling people what they want to know based on what they are looking for.
4 Tips for Selecting the Best Keywords:
Here are my SEO tips for conducting the best keyword research and selection:
- Use tools to help: You can’t do the best keyword research without tools to help you. Tools like Ubersuggest and Ahrefs provide insight into your competition and make your life easier.
- Understand semantics: This is a great way to learn the future of keyword research. Google doesn’t care that much if you insert the exact keyword 15 times; what it wants to match is the intent. If you include one keyword, chances are Google will find 12 others relating to the one.
- Learn the intent: You must know the intent of the keyword. Understand there is a big difference between what a buyer will type into Google and what a researcher will put into Google. If your content answers a question, you don’t want a buyer. If your content sells something, you don’t want a researcher.
- Spy on the competitors: One of the best ways to perform keyword research is to see what your competitors are doing and follow their lead. If someone is ranking number one for the keyword you want, go into your keyword research tool, input their URL, and see what keywords they’re using with the keyword gap.
Your website’s HTML is an important part of SEO marketing. Without proper tags, titles, and descriptions, Google will have a hard time figuring out what your content is and why it should stand out from the competition.
When people read that HTML is part of SEO, they start to panic, but no one is worried. You don’t need to understand the code, and there are easy and miner settings are involved in the process. Most of the time, changing HTML from an SEO perspective is as simple as copying and pasting.
4 Tips for Making the Right HTML Improvements
Here are my top SEO tips to keep in mind when optimizing your website’s HTML:
- Use tools to help you: I say this, because it’s really important. The various SEO marketing tools out there are worth investing in because they will help you identify HTML issues with your site. For example, Ahrefs tells you if the site has duplicate title tags or how many articles have no meta description.
- Piggyback on the Competition: Stealing is bad, but using your top competitors for inspiration is not. If you’re struggling to figure out what to use for your title tag or meta description, take a look at what the competition is doing.
- Have keyword stuff: There is nothing worse than a keyword-stuffed meta description. Google will see this and may penalize you if you do it enough.
- Don’t Forget H2, H3 and H4 Titles: We’re talking about H1 titles, don’t forget the rest. All you have to do is tell Google what the topic of your article is.
Good website architecture leads to user experience which is important for SEO marketing. It focuses on things like fast loading times, secure connectivity, and mobile-friendly design.
Ideally, you will map out the architecture of your site before purchasing a domain. This allows you to really get inside the user’s head and reverse engineer your way to a great user experience (UX).
You want to make sure your UX is effective. You also need to optimize some things for a great “search engine experience”. The more accessible your website is to Google online, the better it will rank online.
3 tips to improve your website architecture
There are three important factors to keep in mind when optimizing your website architecture.
- Make sure you understand Core Web Vital: The most important part of the concept is Core Web Vital. You need to understand what they are, how they affect your rating, and what you can do about them. Read more about it and make sure you do it right on your site.
- Get a sitemap: If you have a comprehensive site, use something like a WordPress sitemap plugin. A real estate website is a great example of this. Sites like this are huge because there are thousands of pages for all real estate listings. What’s more, when the house is bought, the site changes regularly. Getting a sitemap will help your real estate page rank for each address, significantly increasing the number of keywords listed, traffic and domain authority.
- Fix the canonicalization problem: Often features are built into the site that cause duplicate content, but there is a way to fix the canonicalization problem for example. The exact solution depends on what is causing the original problem. It can be as simple as removing one line of code, or as complex as restructuring your entire site to prevent duplicate content.
Even though Google Search Console or some other tool says there are thousands of duplicate content errors, there is really only one root cause.
If there are multiple versions of the same page, the canonical tag can help determine which content is the original. All you need to do is paste a line of code that points to the URL of the original page.
PageRank, the famous formula invented by the founders of Google, is certainly not the only measure used when ranking pages in the top ten of the search engine.
Trust has become more important, and many of the latest Google updates have come on spammy and dubious websites. TrustRank is Google’s way of seeing if your site is legitimate.
For example, if you look like a big brand, Google will trust you. Quality links from reputable sites (such as .edu or .gov domains) also help.
3 Tips to Build More Trust
- Patience: Faith is not something that happens overnight. Sometimes, you just need to be patient and understand that Google is in no rush to crawl your site. One way to do it quickly is to make small changes to your site and request an index in Google Search Console. This will prompt Google to take action, but still doesn’t guarantee anything.
- Understanding Intent: A key part of SEO marketing is understanding what users want, not what they want. When someone searches for something on Google, they want to do something. If you provide the solution, make sure you provide the entire solution; if not, they will visit your site, realize it is not good enough, and move on.
- Give them what they want: A good tip to prevent users from bouncing is to give them what they want as soon as they land on your site. Most people don’t want to read the whole post, they want a response, and the sooner the better.
Experts know the importance of a solid link profile. I still believe that links are one of the most important ranking factors that Google gives you.
One problem that many SEOs have is that they do not understand how to do it right. If you use the wrong tactics, you will fail from the start. If you choose a long-term strategy and get the right connections, it may take a little longer, but you will thank yourself.
3 Tips to Improve Your Link Profile
Now, let me provide you with some steps to improve your link profile and ensure you get the most juice from your efforts.
- Don’t take shortcuts: There are no shortcuts in building relationships; take your time and build them the right way. This includes interviewing people, pitching yourself, and telling them how you can rate their site. Look for broken link opportunities, find sites relevant to your niche, and post via email or social media.
- Remove bad / hazardous links: Google has something called a “disavow” tool that allows you to remove links that may harm your ability to rank. You will want to use this tool carefully, because giving up tons of links can hurt your site. Removing links that are no longer relevant or have entered your profile by accident can help clean up your link profile.
- Don’t Forget Internal Linking: Internal linking is also an important part of being discovered; We don’t just have to worry about external links. Of course, external links are important, but creating web pages on the same topic helps Google find your site. Google pays a lot of attention to search intent and overall content. Google will reward you if you can solve everyone’s problem in one place with a collection of articles that have covered the same topic.
The next category of off-site SEO is the personal factor. I’m talking about demographics and location. These factors automatically affect how others will respond to your content, but your SEO efforts also vary from one region of the world to another.
While most of this is out of your control, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of reaching a specific audience. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to personal SEO factors.
3 Tips to Improve the Personal Factors
I have three simple SEO tips to help you improve your personal factors that affect SEO:
- Understand your Customer Persona / Avatar: You can only understand who your customer is, if you don’t have an ideal customer persona, this is the first step to personalized SEO. What does your customer want? Are they looking for you? What do they expect when they land on your site? If you answer these questions correctly, you should be able to deliver what the customer expects. When you do, Google rewards you because people spend more time on your site and interact with the elements on the site.
- Producing multilingual content: Having content in different languages is not as difficult as you think. You overcome many obstacles when doing this by absorbing the value you offer to people who don’t speak English.
- Search for keywords in other countries: Almost all keyword research tools allow you to search for other countries. If you are targeting people outside of your hometown, you need to do proper keyword research to reach those people.
Finally, let’s look at the social factor off-page SEO. In addition to direct social signals, the searcher has other ways to help you rank better in social media.
Whether it’s through more links or indirectly through PR, social issues.
3 Tips to Improve Your Social Sharing
- Create good content: Creating good quality content is an obvious and simple way to share. Google spends more hours and more money to prevent people from networking games. This is a simple concept. value exchange. Everything in business is an exchange of value, and the same is true in SEO marketing. Provide valuable content to Google and Google will reward you.
- Be consistent: Consistency is very important in SEO and social media. If you post once every three months, not only will social media algorithms despise you, but no one will share your content because it’s been so long since your last post. A regular post on social media requires fresh content to be shared regularly. It all comes full circle.
- Make it easy: There are many plugins to encourage social sharing, so you should use something on your site. Unless readers know a simple way to share your article via social media, they will.
Google’s E-A-T Guidelines
When evaluating your SEO practices, you can analyze what Google uses to train human content raters. See, in addition to the high volume algorithm, Google uses the Quality Score to improve the search engine experience for everyone.
Google’s evaluator guidelines explain that quality sites should rank high:
Or, as this set of guidelines / instructions is more commonly known, E-A-T.
A subjective view of what constitutes a piece of content as E-A-T depends on the topic, the background of the author, the reputation of the website, and more.
Even if you can’t control all factors of delivery (such as passing the YMYL and Google litmus tests), keeping E-A-T in mind when creating content can ensure that your content is focused in that direction.
4 Tips for Improving Your E-A-T Score
- Do your research: This may seem obvious, but the best way to demonstrate experience, accessibility, and reliability is to share accurate information. Bring in expert interviews or guest speakers whenever possible. Make sure the information you share is relevant to the topic and the audience that will read it. Doing otherwise is the fastest way to score low on this metric.
- Be specific: Once you make sure your information is accurate, you’ll make sure it’s accurate. Answering questions with a short or simple post can get out of hand. To be seen as professional, your content must leave the reader satisfied and fulfilled.
- Talk about what you know: When creating content for your website, stick to what you do as a brand. Avoid shiny object syndrome and get lost in the rest of the content on your website. Sticking to your topic of expertise will help build your reputation as the go-to place for information on it.
- Speak to your audience’s needs: On the same note, if you talk about a topic that your audience really wants to read about, you can only build credibility and authority in the reader’s mind. What about topics they should know about? What problems can you solve? There is a difference between being able to speak deeply about a topic because you know it well and being able to teach it in an accessible and relevant way. Second, it will help readers see you as a trustworthy and reliable person.
SEO and Google Algorithm Updates
SEO can often feel close or impossible because of the term “algorithm”. Algorithms are a series of processes that search engines use to calculate and rank web pages based on when someone uses a specific search query.
You may have heard that algorithms are always changing, and in some cases this is true. Google makes what it calls “major updates” a year to better serve online browsers. You can learn the history of Google algorithm updates on the Moz website.
However, while Google can often make adjustments, your primary concern should continue to create quality content, use relevant keywords, and build reputable backlinks. When it comes to Google’s algorithm, you should not try to “game the system” because the main reason for regular updates is to catch people who do. In fact, you can hurt your rankings by focusing too much on the algorithm and not enough on your content.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long does it take for SEO to work?
SEO is not a fast track to success. It never was and never will be. You need to have a long-term plan when it comes to SEO because it can take between six months and a year to rank for most keywords.
What is the most important factor in SEO marketing?
There is no one factor that is most important because they’re all important. If I had to pick something you should focus on, it would be providing quality information to people. You can have all the SEO pieces in place, but if your content isn’t good, it doesn’t matter because people won’t be interested in you.
How do I rank faster on Google?
The best way to rank is with consistent effort regularly. If you’re in it to win it, you’ll want to steadily build links to your site, create new content, and update previous content. Doing this day after day will yield the results you want. Even consider using an SEO Analyzer Report to make sure you’re on track to hitting your ranking goals.
Can I rank a website without SEO?
Of course, there are situations where people get lucky, but it’s likely because they’re providing something a lot of people aren’t. Many people are competing in the same space, which is where the best SEO can win. Affiliate marketing is a great example of this. There are a million sites that focus on sporting goods for affiliate marketing. Competing in this space requires a solid understanding of SEO marketing.
How much does SEO cost?
The cost of SEO depends. You can hire a professional to handle it for you, or you can do everything yourself. Doing it yourself will take a lot longer, and you’ll have to account for the learning curve. However, for the most part, you could do it for almost free if you do everything on your own.
I hope you got a lot out of this guide because there is a lot of information here. Be sure to refer back as you make your way through your SEO marketing journey. The most important thing to remember about SEO is there are no shortcuts in this game. You need to do things the right way and go the extra mile because that’s how you’ll stand out.
Here are some tips to review that will help you stand out with SEO:
- Black Hat Vs. White Hat SEO: Black hat SEO is using slimy tactics like buying links, stuffing keywords, and duplicating content. You might see a boost in traffic and revenue for a month or two until Google figures you out and blacklists your site. It takes longer, but white hat SEO implements the right tactics that will pay you for years to come.
- Keyword Research and Selection: Having the right keywords on your website is the main way Google figures out what the site is about. Using SEO tools like Ubersuggest can help you find the right keywords that are relevant to your topic.
- HTML: Title tags, meta descriptions, alt text, and headers are important pieces of the SEO marketing puzzle. You’ll use these to tell Google more about your content and what readers can expect when they land on your site.
- Site Architecture: The architecture of your site focuses on the design and functionality of it. If users can’t navigate the site easily, it loads too slowly, and certain elements are hard to get to, it will be more difficult for Google to navigate the site as well.
- Trust: People need to trust your site, and having features like SSL certificates and HTTPS is the industry standard now. You can’t have a website without these and expect to rank because Google expects this.
- Links: Link building is crucial but difficult and requires a lot of time and effort. This opens the door for SEOs who are willing to go the extra mile to build links the right way.
- Personal: Make sure you understand your audience and what they want from you. Every customer has an expectation when they land on your site, and it’s up to you to fulfill that need or desire.
- Social: Social media and SEO marketing work well together, so don’t neglect the social aspect because it can provide a nice boost to your SEO efforts. It takes a lot to rank on Google, and getting ample social shares can really help show Google you’re in it for the long haul and willing to do whatever it takes.
- E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness): This is a gut check you can use to ensure that your content is connecting well with people, based on a criteria Google uses for real-world evaluators. Create content that shows a high level of understanding on a topic and has a reputation as a top source of information.
Expect to devote at least six months to it if you want to see results. Those who say SEO is a “set it and forget it” strategy are wrong. You’ll want to stay on top of your content, update it regularly, and continue creating great new content to refresh your site and show Google you’re still active.
Also Read: Digital Marketing for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide