SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of equipping a website with elements that would help improve its performance on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
Every search engine has an algorithm that takes into account a set of factors to rank websites in the search results. According to Backlinko, the Google algorithm considers, tentatively, over 200 such factors. SEO practices help optimize websites according to these factors, which helps improve their rankings and visibility and, consequently, the quality and quantity of traffic driven toward them.
So, without further ado let’s get started with learning the basics of SEO.
1. Keyword Optimization
It’s one of the most common practices of SEO. Keywords are specific terms or phrases that help Google understand the content on your page, and thus, guide relevant traffic toward it.
Content optimized around specific keywords (primary and secondary ones) have more probability of being discovered when those keywords are mentioned in the search queries.
While deciding keywords, the focus should be on creating a balance between long tail and short tail phrases, with high search volume. Furthermore, there shouldn’t be too many keywords, and they should be evenly and appropriately spread about, such that they don’t seem forced or out of place.
Adding keywords in the first 100 and last 100 words, title tags, image ALT text, headings, meta descriptions, etc greatly improves content optimization.
2. Detailed and outstanding content
Quality content is one of the key ranking factors for search engine optimization and visibility. Detail and thoroughness increase the odds of the content being read, liked, and shared further.
Some features you can add to your content that will help enhance its depth and substance are :
- Statistics and researches.
- Strategies and step-by-step guides.
- Case Studies.
- Images, that aren’t very common or the ones that you put together yourself, etc.
Besides that, make sure that the content is easy to read, compelling, covers diverse aspects of the niche, and provides answers so that people find it useful and actionable. In-depth and long articles have 77% more chances of being shared than short ones. Repurposing old content is also a great way to upgrade and solidify their substance.
3. User experience
User Experience (UX) is also an important part of SEO. Google Analytics pays close attention to user activity on websites. Websites with high bounce rates (users quickly leaving the website without any meaningful activity) are considered untrustworthy, useless, and impractical and therefore, earn low rankings.
According to a survey conducted by Hubspot, users value the level of ease more than any other aspect of the website.
This is why, to provide a smooth user experience, apart from having high-quality content, the website needs to be easily navigable, simple, understandable, fast-loading, and need not have too many ads.
Backlink building is an important off-page optimization practice (optimization that takes place away from the website). Backlinks mainly mean other websites adding links to your website in their content.
Quality backlinks give the search engines the signal that your content is valuable and trustworthy enough as it was mentioned and linked by other sites. The more backlinks your website have, the more will be the rise in its visibility and ranking.
There are many ways to build backlinks, the most common ones include guest blogging, adding infographics that can be easily shared, and influencer marketing.
5. Mobile-friendly website
The Mobile-friendliness of a website is another important factor prioritized by the Google algorithm because we have entered the era where a huge chunk of searches is done on mobile phones. According to StatCounter, 55% of the online traffic in 2020 globally came from mobile. According to CNBC, 75% of internet users will access the web through mobile phones by 2025.
Therefore, run tests to find out what your website lacks in this aspect and focus on improving the overall mobile experience.
To conclude, SEO is a complex domain, which is very important for online business and digital marketing. It involves a variety of practices and techniques, which keep on evolving owing to the constant changes in search engine algorithm, however, you’ll be off to a very good start even if you familiarized yourself with just the basics of SEO.