Search Engine Optimization

A Beginners Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Ah, SEO.

Is SEO a mystery word to you?

Is SEO something you know is important, but can’t wrap your mind around it?

That’s okay! SEO can be complicated and it is complex. Hopefully after this article you will become a little bit of an SEO expert.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of ranking a website on search engines.

This process is optimization. The improvements you can make to your website pages, posts and pictures to rank higher on the search result.

Some examples you might of heard of are, “include keywords in title and image alt text”, “build backlinks to your site”.

These simple improvements are known as “optimization”. This is because you are making these improvements to optimize your website to rank better on search engines.

How does SEO work?

In order to understand how SEO works, we must first understand how search engines work. Search Engines have one primary goal: to provide the best answer, for the persons search query.

Websites are “Results”. This could consist of blog posts, product pages, videos, or any other content on the internet.

‘Search query’ is the search phrase people type into the Search Engine. These are your keywords.

Our job is to provide the best answer to the persons questions.

When it comes to ‘best results’, there are two attributes that carry the most weight on Google: Relevance and Authority.

Relevance is about how closely related your content is to a person’s search query.

When a person types, “Affiliate” into Google, content that is relevant to “Affiliate” will be displayed.

But because there are millions of website with the phrase ‘Affiliate’ on the internet, Google needs to display the top 10 most relevant results first — to answer the person’s search query.

Content that contains the keyword footprint for “Affiliate” will rank higher on Google’s search results.

Think of a keyword footprint as words, sub-topics and keyword phrases that belong in the same theme.

So if you want to rank for the keyword, “Affiliate”, then that paragraph will help you rank.

Affiliate Marketing”, “Wealthy Affiliate”, “Affiliate Course” — these words are keyword footprints. They strengthen the thematic relevance of your keyword topic (Affiliate).

Google scans your content looking for that thematic relevance to determine whether your content is relevant enough to answer the search query. Voila!

Authority is about how trustworthy your website is.Affiliate Links

This is determined by the no. of high quality backlinks pointing to your site.

As we know, there are millions of websites on the internet. So a search engine like Google needs to be very efficient and accurate to determine which page deserves to rank.

Google does this with its Page Rank Algorithm.

PageRank evaluates the trustworthiness of a page based on how many other websites are pointing to it. The more websites that link to you, the more credible your site appears to be. Remember, not all links are equal. Links from an authority site (like Forbes) carry more weight than a less established site.

SEO is all about making improvements to your website to boost relevance (content) and authority (backlinks).

When you are coming up with an SEO strategy to boost your rankings, think about if those activities will improve your relevance or authority.

The 4 Pillars of Search Engine Optimization

The four key areas of SEO that we need to consider:

  1. Technical: How well your content can be crawled and indexed.
  2. Content: Having the most relevant and best answers to the searcher’s question.
  3. On-Site: The optimization of your content and HTML.
  4. Off-Site: Building authority to ensure Google stacks the deck in your favour.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is all about ensuring that a search engine can read your content and explore your website.

The main areas to consider here are:

  • Crawl. Can a search engine explore your site?
  • Index. Is it clear which pages the search engine should index?
  • Mobile. Is your site mobile friendly?
  • Speed. How fast does your website page load?

If you are using a program like WordPress for your website, technical SEO can be checked off from your list to-do. If you are a large website, with millions of pages, then this is very important.

On-site SEO optimization

Your website should be optimized as a whole and at an individual page/post level. There is  some crossover between Technical SEO and On-Site SEO, you want to have well structured content.

The main areas to focus on are:

  • Keyword Research. Use the language of your target audience.
  • URLs.  URL is simple and descriptive.
  • Page Titles. What is your target audience asking?.
  • Meta Descriptions. Craft meta descriptions like an ad, to drive people to your site from the search engine.
  • Good Use Experience  Have a clean, easy to navigate site

When optimizing your site, take time to consider your customers.

Content

This is simple, yet probably the most important. Content is everything. Your content tells your audience what to do, what they need, where to go, and why someone should use trust you.

Remember back to Keyword Footprint:

Content that contains the keyword footprint for “Affiliate” will rank higher on Google’s search results.

Think of a keyword footprint as words, sub-topics and keyword phrases that belong in the same theme.

So if you want to rank for the keyword, “Affiliate”, then that paragraph will help you rank.

“Affiliate Marketing”, “Wealthy Affiliate”, “Affiliate Course” — these words are keyword footprints. They strengthen the thematic relevance of your keyword topic (Affiliate).

Google scans your content looking for that thematic relevance to determine whether your content is relevant enough to answer the search query. Voila!

Off-site authority building

Off-Site SEO refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages.

Off-page SEO involves any activities that drive awareness and referral traffic to your website from other websites. This could include, link building, guest blogging, social media, etc.

Summary

SEO does not need to be overly complex. There are four key areas of SEO that you need to consider, and there is a structured, methodical process that can be followed to optimize your site. Follow these simple steps to drive more traffic to your website.

Now you might be thinking to take this to the next level and start implementing these strategies we’ve learnt. Or you may want to learn more.

Want to learn more? Check out Wealthy Affiliates. Or if you want to create your free website!

 

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