Understanding the concept of SEO, or search engine optimization is important not only for search engines like Google but also for users. Somewhere out there, your target audience has questions or needs, and they are looking to you for answers - they just may not know it yet! By knowing your audience’s intent and then providing them solutions the moment they search, you are setting your business up for success. Organic search results are earned, not bought, which is the beauty of SEO!
While the world of SEO is constantly changing, the basic best practices remain intact and as crucial as ever. Even the smallest amount of SEO knowledge can make a huge impact on your website! Learning the basics of SEO will help you make qualified decisions about your website and, when implemented correctly, can drive meaningful results.
The Basics of SEO
1. Understand Search Engines - Search engines work by crawling (aka scanning) your website, indexing the pages, and then choosing the most relevant results. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, which makes SEO a consistent work in progress. The better you optimize your website, the more likely it will rank in the search engines’ organic results! Factors include but are not limited to searcher query and context, page relevance, content quality, and overall page usability.
2. Do Your Keyword Research - This should be one of the first steps in your SEO strategy. By researching the viability of target keywords, including search volume and competition, you will get to know your niche and find profitable keyword opportunities to help build your strategy. There are many tools you can use to analyze keywords, and Google even inadvertently offers suggestions in the People Also Ask, Google Autocomplete, and Related Searches areas of the search engine.
3. Content Optimization - We’ve said it before; we’ll say it again: content is king! Once you’ve identified your target keywords, use them to help build out your content.
Each page should focus on one topic, optimizing for one focus keyword.
When optimizing any page content, you want to use all elements possible to work in your target keyword, including within the URL, title tag, meta description, heading and subheadings, image metadata, and body text. This all goes for blog content, too!
4. Get Technical - When we say “technical SEO,” this refers to the more complex aspects of on-page SEO that serve as a deeper level of optimization. Technical SEO focuses on how your site pages function for both users and search engines and includes factors such as internal linking, user experience, and navigation, mobile-friendliness, page speed, featured snippets, sitemaps, and HTTPS. Having a clean, easy-to-use website will go a long way in boosting your SEO efforts!
5. Backlinks & Link Building - A backlink, which is simply a link from one page to another, is one of the most important ranking factors for search engines. Backlinks serve as citations and help to determine the amount of authority a page or website has. Building the number of backlinks you have gives you more credibility in Google's eyes!
For example, if your site is linked from a notable news website such as CNN, Google will see your site as more valuable.
6. Get Comfortable With Analytics - Understanding how to read and analyze organic data is essential to know what is working with your SEO and what needs improvement. When tracking your website’s performance, you will learn which keywords you rank for in Google, how visitors engage with your website and the channels that bring you the most traffic. Many helpful platforms will give you this kind of information, with Google Analytics and Google Search Console being a priority (straight from the horse’s mouth, after all!)
If this seems overwhelming, don’t panic! Implementing SEO takes time, lots of trial and error, and the willingness to learn. Feeling like you may want to hire a professional agency to help you develop and run a successful SEO campaign? That’s what we’re here for at Page One Web Solutions! If you have questions about getting started with SEO, please reach out to us any time!