The process of driving targeted traffic to a website from a search engine’s organic ranks is known as search engine optimization (SEO). High-quality content creation, content optimization for certain keywords, and link development are frequent SEO duties.
With those words:
The goal of SEO is to raise a site’s position in the organic (unpaid) search results.
The biggest advantage of being found for a certain keyword is that you can continuously receive “free” traffic to your website.
How to Use Search Engines
Time to start understanding how search engines like Google actually operate.
When you use Google (or any other search engine) to find something, an algorithm works in real-time to show you the results that the search engine deems to be “best.”
Google specifically searches through “hundreds of billions” of pages in its index to determine the results that will best satisfy your search.
How does Google decide which result is the “best”?
Even though Google doesn’t reveal the details of its algorithm, according to Google’s own declarations and filed patents, websites and web pages are ranked according to:
You don’t want to get web pages concerning truck tires when searching for “chocolate chip cookie recipes.”
Google prioritizes pages that are closely connected to your term because of this.
Google doesn’t just place “the most relevant pages at the top,” though. This is due to the fact that each search query has thousands (or even millions) of related sites.
They therefore rely on three other components of their algorithm to arrange the results in a way that bubbles the best to the top:
The definition of authority is that it is how Google decides whether the material is reliable and truthful.
How does Google determine whether a page is authoritative?
They take into account how many other websites connect to that one.
“Backlinks” are links to a page from another website.)
In general, a page will rank higher the more links it has:
(In reality, what distinguishes Google from search engines that came before it, like Yahoo, is its ability to gauge authority via links.)
Content can be authoritative and pertinent. Google, however, won’t want to place that content at the top of the search results if it isn’t useful.
In fact, Google has acknowledged that “useful” content and “better quality content” are two different things.
Let’s take the example of a “Paleo Diet” search.
The world’s leading authority on Paleo wrote the first result you click (“Result A”). Additionally, a lot of individuals have linked to the page because it contains so much high-quality content.
However, the information is utterly disorganized. And the majority of people don’t grasp the jargon that is used.
Compare it to the other outcome (“Result B”).
Someone who is fairly new to the Paleo diet wrote it. And there aren’t nearly as many links pointing at their website.
Their information is divided up into several sections, nevertheless. Additionally, it is written such that anyone may understand it:
That page will score highly on the “usefulness scale,” I suppose. Google will favor Result B even though it doesn’t have as much authority or trust as Result A.
(It might even come in higher than Result A.)
Google bases its evaluation of usefulness largely on “User Experience Signals.”
Alternatively put: how users engage with the search results. Google will give a particular search result a considerable ranking boost if it notices that users particularly appreciate it:
My Top SEO Tip to Rank Higher
Make a website that people want to visit! Search engines are made to measure various Web signals in order to identify the most popular websites. Play directly into their hands by using genuine signals rather than fake ones.
And now, using a step-by-step SEO guide, it’s time to put all of this knowledge into action.
How SEO Operates
Whether it’s Google, Bing, Amazon, YouTube, or another search engine, SEO works by optimizing your website for that particular search engine.
Your task is to ensure that a search engine recognizes your website as providing the best overall response to a user’s search.
They use an algorithm to choose the “best” result, which considers factors including authority, relevance to the query, loading time, and more.
(Google, for instance, uses over 200 ranking variables in its algorithm.)
When people think of “search engine optimization,” they typically think of “Google SEO.” Because of this, the emphasis of this guide will be on Google site optimization.
Paid vs. Organic Results
Organic and sponsored results are presented separately on search engine result pages.
Results of organic searches
Organic search results, often known as “natural” results, are real results that are ranked only on the basis of quality.
Search engines use hundreds of different ranking variables to determine how to rank the organic search results. However, Google generally considers organic results to be the most relevant, reliable, and authoritative websites or web pages on the topic.
Later on, I will go into more detail on how search engine algorithms function. But for the time being, it’s crucial to remember:
When we discuss “SEO,” we’re referring to positioning your website higher in natural search results.
Ads that show above or below the organic results are referred to as paid search results.
Paid listings are entirely separate from organic listings. According on the amount each advertiser is ready to shell out for one visitor, they are “ranked” in the paid results area.
Why is SEO so crucial?
In other words, search is a major driver of traffic.
Here is a breakdown of where the majority of website visitors comes from in actuality:
As you can see, search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and YouTube account for more than 60% of all web traffic. Overall, search receives 10 times as much traffic as social networking.
Let’s use an example to highlight the significance of SEO.
Imagine you own a business that sells party supplies. Every single month, 110,000 individuals search for “party supplies,” according to Google Keyword Planner.
If you appear first in Google, you may receive 22,000 visitors per month given that the first result receives about 20% of all clicks.
And that only applies to that search term. You may rank for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of distinct keywords if your website is SEO-friendly.
The value of search engine traffic is substantially larger in other sectors, such as real estate or insurance.
For instance, for the search term “car insurance price quotes,” advertisers are paying over $45 per hit.
It’s crucial not to omit this step before getting down to the finer points of HTML and title tags:
keyword and customer research.
Here is where you discover the exact terms and phrases that your customers use when searching. You can then rank your website for daily searches made by your consumers.
How about an illustration?
Consider that you manage a tennis shoe eCommerce website.
Your list of potential product keywords might include terms like:
Tennis shoes with free delivery
Tennis sneakers by Nike
Shoes for tennis for flat feet
Informational keywords, on the other hand, are topics that your audience finds interesting even when they aren’t specifically looking for shoes:
Second serve instruction
How to avoid unforced mistakes
good backhand technique
executing a topspin serve
And for your website’s pages to be optimized for SEO success, you need use both kinds of keywords.
In this manner, you will appear in the search engine results when a buyer searches for your goods.
Every time you begin typing something into Google, a number of search recommendations appear:
I advise entering keyword suggestions into Google and making note of any results that appear.
Next, enter phrases and words into Answer The Public.
Excellent for locating informational keywords is this free tool.
If you write a blog about the Paleo Diet, for instance, you might enter “paleo diet” into ATP:
Additionally, it will continually produce queries on that subject.
Will the paleo diet raise cholesterol, for instance, was one of the queries I came across.
That query would make a fantastic subject for a blog article or video.
Use a keyword research tool after that.
You can use keyword tools to determine the volume of searches for each phrase and the difficulty of being on Google’s first page for that term.
I suggest looking at the following few:
Keywords Everywhere Extension for SEMRush KeywordTool
Moz Seed Keywords Explorer
Google’s Keyword Planner, however, is the greatest free keyword tool overall.
Even though the Keyword Planner was created to assist users with Google Ads campaigns, it can still be used to uncover SEO keywords.
Simply put a keyword for the product or information into the box.
Following that, data on that specific phrase (such as the monthly search volume) will be provided. a list of associated keywords, and
The average monthly searches you receive in the GKP can be used to determine which keywords receive a ton of searches. and which keywords aren’t frequently searched for.
You can start aiming for more difficult-to-rank keywords after you get the hang of SEO. But when you first begin, stick on long-tail keywords.
For instance, when I first started my site, practically all of the articles I published were created with the goal of ranking for long-tail, educational keywords like “How to earn high-quality backlinks”:
As the authority of my website grew, I focused on shorter, more competitive terms, such “backlinks”:
I suggest blocking off a few minutes to view this quick video if you want to discover the precise procedure that I do to identify keywords:
There is no denying the connection between SEO and content.
In general, your ranking will increase the better material you publish online. Obviously, it’s not that easy.
the process of producing content for product and service pages
Still, product and service pages need to include high-quality content. You do not, however, want your product pages to read like blog articles.
Actually, turning surfers into leads and customers should be the primary objective of your product site. You should emphasize the characteristics and advantages that your product offers on its product pages because of this.
Take a peek at the Baremetics homepage, for instance.
Even if this isn’t a blog post or an article, it nevertheless has many qualities of high-quality material. As you can see, the page is well-designed and lists the salient aspects of the product.
So, this page would be quite helpful to someone looking for a Product Keyword like “revenue forecasting software.”
Making Excellent Blog Content
Most people refer to the kind of highly beneficial content that appears on blogs when they use phrases like “content is king.”
(In other words, not the type of content you’d typically see on a product or service website.)
And there’s no denying that creating amazing content can help you rise in Google search results.
In fact, HubSpot discovered that companies who regularly post content receive 350% more traffic than those that don’t invest as much time and energy in content marketing.
I’m living proof that this strategy is effective.
My website receives 553,682 monthly search engine visitors as a result of my dedication to generating high-quality content:
And if I just threw up a lot of product pages and prayed that Google ranked them, I wouldn’t receive NEARLY as much traffic. SEO won’t function that way in 2021.
Your website needs to consistently release AMAZING content if you want to succeed with search engine optimization in today’s market. Anything less just won’t do.
In fact, according to the most recent WordPress statistics, 70 million blog articles are published each month:
That’s just WordPress, though. On platforms like Medium, Shopify, and others, people publish millions of posts.
In conclusion? Your content must be exceptional if you want it to stand out (and rank) in 2021. Otherwise, it will be buried by the millions of posts that are published each day.
Examples of High-Quality Content
I’d like to now give a few illustrations of the kind of top-notch content that is succeeding in 2021.
Complete Lists allow you to construct an extensive list of advice, supplies, methods, recipes, or pretty much anything else you can think of.
These are useful because you are collecting goods from numerous sources. Your material therefore saves readers from having to read two posts, one with 20 tips and the other with 15, by providing all the information they require on a single page.
For instance, a while back I posted this list of 170+ link development techniques on my blog:
You now have a one-stop shop for all things link building thanks to my Complete List.
And 935 different websites have linked to my work since it is so valuable.
Additionally, this article sends more than 4,500 targeted visitors to my website each month.
Step-by-step instructions in great detail are as ancient as the internet itself. They can still function GREATLY.
For instance, my blog’s SEO strategy guide has performed exceptionally well.
I took care to describe each step in great detail.
Satisfied With Data
100 million posts were examined by BuzzSumo for their “Content Trends Report.”
They discovered that generating shares and links to the content is more difficult than ever. Why?
They found that “authoritative research and reference information continues to earn links,” which is a more encouraging development.
To put it another way, content with data is still quite effective.
This is something I’ve noticed about my blog’s content.
For instance, I wrote these two blog articles in 2016:
The good news is that. The bad news is that it can be quite difficult to create this kind of data-driven content.
On the other hand, if you’re ready for the task, this article will teach you how to begin writing original research-based material.
Complete manuals resemble the Complete Lists we discussed earlier.
The key distinction is that with a Complete Guide, you’re not necessarily laying out a long list of suggestions or illustrations.
I already presented my comprehensive list of link-building techniques.
This is an excellent piece of content if you’re seeking for a comprehensive list of effective strategies. What about a person who wishes to comprehend what link building is, though? Regarding the significance of backlink development for SEO?
They wouldn’t benefit from my list article.
I also wrote a comprehensive tutorial to link building for this reason.
Yes, this manual does include a few tactics. However, the goal is to clearly explain the concept of “link building” to readers.
Pro tip: Include fresh, popular subjects to increase the likelihood that your guide will be seen.
For instance, this Ketogenic Diet guide was published in 2013… just as the keto trend was beginning to take off.
Numerous Paleo bloggers linked to and shared this guide on social media because it was one of the first of its kind.
An industry study discovered that infographics were the best type of visual information for attracting links.
Of course, infographics aren’t the only type of visual content that can be produced. There are also screenshots, flowcharts, and movies. You can even combine several visual content kinds, such as “Instructographics.”
I suggest reviewing this list of suggestions and illustrations for visual material if you’re prepared to get started.
Basics of On-Page SEO
Making ensuring Google can locate your web pages so they can display them in the search results is what on-page SEO is all about.
If your website is powered by another platform (such as Shopify or Wix), those platforms include SEO features that Yoast does not.
In your title tag, use your keyword.
This is the first on-page SEO rule:
In your title tag, include your keyword.
Why is this crucial?
Your title tag is the most crucial element of your website when it comes to on-page optimization.
Consider it like this:
Your page’s main content is summed up in the title tag. Additionally, if you include your keyword in the title tag, Google will know that the page is about that keyword.
For instance, a while ago I released this list of 17 SEO advice.
And “SEO Tips” is the keyword I want to rank for on that page.
I made careful to use that specific keyword in my title tag because of this:
Increase Clicks With Your Meta Description
The importance of your title tag far outweighs that of your meta description.
Google has even admitted that they don’t really care about your description (or meta keywords).
Therefore, why bother writing a description?
Because consumers decide whether or not to click on your result based on your description.
For instance, have a look at this summary from a significant page on my website:
Look at how I actually market my material. This captivating description “steals” visitors from websites ranked higher than mine. It increases traffic to my website (obviously).
Embrace keywords in your writing.
The next step is to repeat your keyword several times on the page.
Google will be assured that your page is actually about that subject if you do this.
You can see that I use that term in the first 150 words of the SEO advice post I described before, for instance:
I cited my primary keyword six times in all of my articles. Furthermore, that doesn’t have a very high keyword density given that my material is nearly 3,000 words long. But it’s sufficient for Google to understand the general subject matter of my work.
It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo it and utilize your keyword 100 times on each page.
In conclusion? On your page, mention your primary keyword several times. If you go a little over or under that amount, it won’t be a huge deal. However, you’re actually doing more harm than good if you deliberately fill your text with keywords.
Use synonyms and other word forms
Make sure to sprinkle your content with synonyms and other versions of your target term.
This can improve your single page’s performance for a wide variety of keywords.
For instance, take a look at this article on my website.
But I also use a lot of different keyword variations and what are referred to as “LSI Keywords.”
The terms that are closely connected to my main keyword are known as LSI keywords.
For instance, I use LSI keywords in the content like “outreach tools” and “backlink analysis.”
What about another illustration?
Say you recently published an article with the keyword “digital marketing advice” as its focus.
You should therefore include versions of that phrase in your writing, such as:
Internet marketing advice Blogging advice Novice marketing advice
Pro tip: Use Google and Bing Suggest to find keyword variations. Simply enter your keyword in the search bar to get the suggested terms.
Any that fit with your content can you see? Use ’em!
In contrast to a text-based article, search engines struggle to comprehend what is included within a picture.
Therefore, they rely on the filename, alt text, and title of your image to determine what the image is.
Additionally, picture SEO is crucial if you run a website with a ton of photographs. Google won’t be able to grasp what’s on your website if this doesn’t happen.
Therefore, this is how to optimize your images:
Give your image a filename that describes it first. See this screenshot of the number of comments one of our guides received as an illustration.
The name of the image file was mobile-seo-guide-comments.png.
Use an alt text for your image that describes it next.
Give your image a title to finish. I wouldn’t worry as much about this step. My alt text was just copied and pasted here.
You can have a webpage that is ABSOLUTELY SEO-OPTIMIZED.
But what if it resembles this?
It won’t be in the top ten for very long.
User Experience has an indirect impact on your SEO even though it is subjective (which makes it difficult for big search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to quantify).
After all, people won’t share a website that is difficult to use. Additionally, your chances of ranking in Google are essentially nonexistent without links and shares.
It’s likely that you’ve heard how crucial “high-quality content” is.
It is, too.
High-quality content alone is insufficient, as I mentioned previously.
Your content must be nothing less than AMAZING if you want it to rank in 2021.
Additionally, it must satisfy the requirements of those that use your target keyword in their searches.
For instance, have a look at this detailed SEO audit checklist on my blog.
Additionally, it has all the information that someone looking for “SEO audit” would like to read.
In this section, I mostly discussed the fundamentals of on-page SEO. However, if you believe you have a firm grasp of the fundamentals and wish to move beyond them, take a look at this video on-page SEO tutorial:
Overview of technical SEO
A HUGE issue in SEO is technical SEO.
Making sure that search engines can quickly identify, crawl, and index all of the pages on your website is the fundamental objective of technical SEO.
But in recent years, technical SEO has grown to cover a wider range of issues, such as mobile optimization and site loading speed.
Sincere to say, most website owners shouldn’t stress too much about technical SEO.
(Especially if WordPress powers your website.)
But it doesn’t imply you should completely disregard technical SEO. Your entire site could be deindexed with just one mistake.
Here is a summary of how to organize your technical SEO after that (no coding skills required).
Check Your Website’s Validity With Google Search Console
Google Search Console provides a dashboard of your site’s health and performance in Google, from indexing through rankings.
(Fun fact: This tool is also available from Bing under the name Bing Webmaster Tools.)
You must confirm that you are the site’s owner before using Search Console because Google refers to websites as “Domain Properties.”
When you do, you’ll have access to a fantastic tool that displays the number of times your website has been viewed and clicked on in Google’s search results:
But that only touches the surface.
You can submit your sitemap straight to Google using the GSC’s numerous useful features, which also include the ability to view the number of pages that are indexed.
Employ SEO-friendly URL structures.
The majority of individuals don’t give much care to their URLs.
It also leads to odd-looking URLs like this one:
As it turns out, URLs play a crucial role in your site’s SEO (just like your domain name).
Be sure of the following when it comes to URLs:
Your URL scheme is reliable. Google will then understand which category your pages come under. If your category URL is website.com/coffee, for instance, be sure that any coffee-related pages are located at website.com/coffee/french-press. unless you utilize category pages.
Your URLs should contain keywords. Don’t overuse keywords. Just make sure that your URL contains your desired term one time. Using website.com/your-keyword as an example.
Avoid trash. Google frequently gives preference to shorter URLs.
The inquiry is:
Should you revisit and modify your current URLs?
Obviously, it’s up to you. But even if their URLs aren’t optimal, I normally advise folks to keep them. Instead, concentrate solely on developing SEO-friendly URLs for pages you will publish in the future.
However, if you choose to optimize outdated URLs, be sure to 301 redirect the outdated pages to the updated URLs. Implement canonical URLs if the new structure leads to several pages with the same content.
Measure page speed and make adjustments
A website that loads slowly is frustrating for everyone. It may also harm your SEO.
Google unveiled a new “Speed Update” in 2018.
As the name implies, this update began to penalize websites for having slow mobile page loads.
Google, thankfully, doesn’t leave it up to you to decide whether or not your site is slow.
With Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, you can assess the speed of your page.
As you can see, I need to get to work.
(Note: You may be able to speed up your site’s loading time with a variety of WordPress plugins, depending on the suggestions you receive. If not, you might require a developer to make HTML changes to your website.)
Google provides websites that use HTTPS security a tiny advantage in the search results.
In fact, 98.5 percent of the results on the first page are encrypted using HTTPS, according to Mozcast.
Therefore, if your website isn’t safe, I advise setting it up as soon as possible.
The only drawback to switching to HTTPS is that your pages now have new URLs. Therefore, it’s VERY crucial that all of your sites point to the same URL.
I suggest looking over this checklist if you need help with this process.
I frequently get the question, “Will upgrading to HTTPS enhance my Google rankings?” from individuals.
I said, “Maybe.”
HTTPS is not, in my opinion, a very significant ranking criteria. In actuality, Google has said HTTPS
As a result, switching to HTTPS may raise your ranking from #8 to #7.
For instance, in late September 2017, we switched the entire Backlinko website over to HTTPS.
And compared to before the transition, our organic traffic the next month was essentially the same:
Internal Linking and Site Architecture
Website architecture isn’t very important when your site is new and only has 5 pages.
But how your site design is put up might make a significant difference when it expands to hundreds or even thousands of pages.
Your pages should be categorized using an ordered framework, commonly referred to as a “hierarchy,” that you should first build.