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‍SEO And Everything You Need To Know About It

Sudeep Kotal
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Search Engine Optimization: Beginner's guide

If you are anywhere near the world of digital marketing, SEO hasn't escaped your attention. If it has, you are missing out on something practical that will shape the idea of digital transformation in upcoming years. 

For any web project to succeed, implementing SEO is of utmost importance. It will help you position your website better, get more visits from various users, and gain popularity. 

In short, it will bring you traffic. And if we look from the perspective of the sales department, more traffic means more revenue. 

However, SEO is always in constant evolution, making it essential for you to stay updated with all its news to meet your objectives. You must know the trends and thus begin to apply them.

With this guide, we are trying to reinforce your knowledge about SEO, chapter by chapter, and give you actionable advice that can be applied in 2022 to get your website to position in search engines.

We would like to guide the solution to all your doubts about SEO, either how search engines work or how to choose the ideal KPIs for your content strategy. Here we go!‍

Basic concepts this guide will cover - ‍

  • What is SEO, and why do we need it?
  • Factors that influence SEO positioning
  • On-page Vs. Off-Page SEO 
  • Black Hat Vs. White Hat  
  • How to do a Keyword Research  
  • Competitor analysis
  • How to generate links for SEO?
  • SEO tools you need to thrive in 2021
  • How to measure SEO results
  • How to make an SEO report
  • Must follow SEO strategies in 2021
  • SEO Dictionary

What is SEO, and why do we need it?

 

In today's fast-paced digital age, where businesses are moving from the physical realm to the virtual world, SEO is an essential tool that carries the power to flip the table in your favor. 

SEO's full form is Search Engine optimization. It is a crucial aspect of digital marketing that improves positions in a specific search engine's organic listings.

SEO helps in boosting the credibility of your website. It improves your online visibility and directs more traffic to your website

Small business owners can particularly benefit from a well-optimized and user-friendly website that ranks higher on the Google search list.

It was simpler a few years back; you insert a keyword, which will get you a spot on the front page. Right now, there are a plethora of search engines out there like Bing, Google, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo! and many more, which may have complicated things a tad bit.

Factors that influence SEO positioning

With each passing day, google algorithms keep getting better, and it is almost impossible to keep up with all the changes.

After all, it's not like you can change your content every other day. 

So is it possible to stay at the top of Google rankings? Definitely. But the factors for each category might vary. Some of the common aspects include - 

A Secure And Accessible Website- 

The most important thing is to ensure the right kind of URL. More specifically, we mean something that Google bots can easily reach. 

The bots need to quickly understand the content of your page to show it on search listings.

A well-coded website builder, a Robots.txt file, and a sitemap to list all your pages are the first steps towards a well-optimized website. 

Do not forget to enable SSL Security on your website. Keep your website secure at all times.

Page Speed

One of the most critical SEO factors for improved ranking is the response time that your website requires to load, including both desktop and mobile versions. You can use Google's mobile testing tool to find out how quickly your site loads on mobiles.

Start using Google Search Console, where you can assess the performance of your website, including the speed.

Mobile-Friendly Website:

More people are accessing the web via mobile devices as compared to desktops. Hence there have been changes in how Google ranks websites nowadays. With mobile shopping and voice search taking over, you'll need a mobile-friendly interface.

Website Authority

Website authority is another essential SEO tool.  It usually means an amalgamation of good content and off-page SEO signals like backlinks from other websites. 

You can check domain authority or page authority with Open Site Explorer or by using MozBar Extension.

Website Content

Nothing beats good quality optimized content. Google Search algorithm depends on keywords.

I am sure you must know by now, but keywords are important words or phrases often used to search for information. These keywords help describe topics on the internet.

However, stay away from duplicate contents. For SEO, fresh, original content is always preferred. It’s also essential that you update your older content over time.

google search

On-page Vs. Off-Page SEO

SEO is divided into two major branches known as On-Page SEO and Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO are sets of practices which involves improvement on website which leads better ranking on search engine. However, Off-page SEO is the are practices tool place outside on other websites. Both SEO types consists of Few factors, let see:

Factors That Influence On-Page SEO 

Title Tags -  Title tag is the main heading you see which establishes relevance and tells the user about the site content. The title should be clear, concise, and shouldn't be too big. Try to keep it catchy and under 65 characters.

Keyword Optimisation - Keywords help the user reach you. In simple words, search engines will use keywords to figure out what the user is searching for and then display the results. 

Even though 20% of Google queries have never been searched before, keywords help the search engine distinguish between various pages and show the most relevant result.

Content - Perhaps the most important part, you need good content for SEO to work. SEO is likely to fail if you are thinking of using all the necessary keywords but not providing your audience with reliable information.

As Bill Gates said, "Content is KING." Nowadays, it couldn't be more appropriate.

Appropriate URL - Search engines prefer user-friendly URLs, and there's no reason you shouldn't prioritize this factor. It makes it easy for both the search engine and the user to navigate and simplify the entire process.

Internal Linking - Keeping the visitors engaged for a longer time is one of the primary purposes of SEO implementation. It can be achieved by internally linking other web pages of your site. 

Factors That Influence Off-Page SEO

Backlinks - Backlinks are the most important factors when it comes to SEO. When some mention a link of your website on their website,it is called a backlink. There are many factors considered in backlinks which consist of number of backlink, quality of backlink, relevancy, anchor text, link type (Do follow/No follow), etc.

Local SEO - About 46% of Google searches are based in the local geographical area, and about 79% of consumers look for online reviews as much as personal recommendations. It can be achieved by focusing on local SEO. You can start by ensuring that review sites like Google my Business or Yelp show you in a positive light.

Brand Mentions - You can use third-party solutions to find out unlinked brand mentions and then mail the host to link it back to your site. It will also help your backlinks grow and bring more traffic.

Black Hat Vs. White Hat SEO

No matter how smart the algorithms get, they're still a part of the machine. The human brain carries more power to outsmart machines by looking for loopholes and exploiting them in whatever possible. 

There are several ways to optimize your content without prioritizing the quality, and that's what Black Hat SEO does. 

Sure, it will help you make a quick buck, but this also means that you will be continuously editing your content to keep up with all the search engine updates. And believe us, there are a lot of updates! Note - Google alone makes around 3200 algorithm changes per year.

Commonly Practiced Black Hat SEO Tricks - 

  • Stuffing unnecessary keywords in your content 
  • Paid backlinks, i.e., getting popular pages with high reach to link your site.
  • Spamming comment sections of various blogs
  • Putting out low-quality content or just random words in a white font that the user won't read but will be interpreted by search engines
  • Creating fake web pages that the user won't ever see

On the other hand, effective SEO is a slow process. It requires both time and effort. In return, White Hat SEO increases the legitimacy and sustainability of your business. 

White Hat SEO provides the reader with better knowledge and plays fair in the game, abiding by the rules and regulations set by search engines. 

Commonly Practiced White Hat SEO Tricks - 

  • Proper usage of keywords and no content spamming
  • Writing meta title and description to include accurate and relevant information
  • Including well-labeled images that fit the context 
  • Properly researching all the facts and figures before publishing your data
  • Adding external and internal links that are relevant to the information

But we have all heard that nothing's ever black or white. What about Grey Hat SEO? Manipulating a search engine's guidelines by employing Black Hat SEO techniques could result in a permanent ban or heavy fine. 

However, we need a tangible solution that is effective and doesn't result in severe negative consequences. Grey Hat SEO's implementation involves using any technique that doesn't fall under the definition of White Hat SEO but isn't as ill-defined as Black Hat SEO. 

It is a constantly evolving section. Any particular method that is presently acceptable under the Grey Hat SEO banner could be considered illegal by the end of the year. 

Commonly Practiced Grey Hat SEO Tricks - 

  • Using old/ abandoned domains to add free backlinks to the content
  • Using text spinner platforms to publish plagiarised content
  • Buying bulk followers and social media automation

But the original question still stands. Should you involve yourself in the network of Grey Hat SEO? 

If this is a legit question in your mind, it is safe to say that you're looking to succeed without falling in trouble for your actions. Technically speaking, Grey Hat SEO isn't a reliable method to gain traffic.

Sure, you might see a sudden spike in the audience, but it isn't likely to last. 

How to do a Keyword Research

People enter specific words or phrases in the search bar while looking for any definitive result. Finding out those terms is keyword research. 

Keywords can help the audience reach your content and establish your website's relevance. 

For example - If you want to look for a Diesel Car under 5 Lakhs in Delhi, this phrase becomes your keyword. If you include it in your content, the search engine will successfully navigate the user to your page. This keyword can also be broken into other parts like Diesel Car in Delhi, Car Under % Lakhs. If you use the maximum possible keywords without spamming your content, the chances of your website gaining a better rank in the search engine's listing are higher. 

Ways To Look For Keywords 

  • Search all the topics related to your content and look them up on Wikipedia. Look for the contents section on the Wikipedia search result. You can also check the internal links. It will help you gain a detailed set of keywords with several subheadings.
  • Check Reddit for a relevant topic and go to the most popular subreddit under that heading. Check out the posts with maximum engagement. You can also use this SEO tool to search keywords from Reddit.
  • Use Ubersuggest to generate a list of keyword ideas along with their search volume or Cost per Click.
  • Check the relevant forums and boards. For example - if your keyword is a diesel car, you can google diesel car forums or diesel car boards. Scour the results for relevant keywords.
  • Use various SEO tools like SEMush, Ahrefs, etc. 

Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis has emerged as a powerful research strategy. If used wisely, it can help expose you to many SEO strategies that have worked wonders for your competitors.

In simple terms, understanding the market is an essential process that can help you plan a roadmap and figure out the steps that need to be taken. 

In the fast-paced digital world, there's always someone who's watching you with the eyes of a hawk and trying to take over your ranking. It is all about understanding your competitor's strengths and weaknesses.

competitor analysis

 

Competitor analysis is one of the most successful ways to do keyword research. You will figure out what particular set of keywords brings in the highest traffic and ROI. According to the resources available, you can decide your next SEO strategy.

Competitor analysis will help you find -

  • Organic competitors
  • Keyword gaps
  • Popular pages
  • Content
  • Competitor's strengths and weaknesses
  • Backlinks
  • New and old keyword rankings

How to generate links for SEO?

Link building is a significant pillar in the construction of SEO content. 

It would help if you had backlinks or references from other sites to your site to establish authority. 

Links help you navigate to better content and build trust. 

Ways To Build High-Quality SEO Links 

Asking for backlinks - As a beginner, you can reach out to other websites that are relevant to your content and politely ask them for backlinks. It is a great way to establish a bond between competitors.

Publishing blogs - Maintain a blog actively and backlink it to your website. Provide your audience with reliable information regularly. This way, you'll be able to start conversations with other people and generate listings.

Reviving dead links - Over time, you may find many broken links on your website that display a 404 error. It might happen due to a domain change or a website re-launch. It would help if you redirected these links to dynamic web pages.

Newsletter subscriptions - Including a compelling Call-To-Action in your newsletters is an excellent way to gain more traffic. Keeping the newsletter personal and exciting will keep the readers engaged and increase the chances of sharing it with their peers.

Keep a check on your competitor's new links - By monitoring your competitor's backlinks, you can introduce yourselves to new sources and techniques in the market. 

SEO tools you need to thrive in 2021 

Keyword research and optimum data analysis can be a daunting task if you are a beginner. For the best possible results, it is essential to understand which strategy brings you money and which ones are not beneficial in the final run.

You also need to diverge the data and analyze it concerning different geographical regions, age groups, and languages. To achieve this, you can use various SEO tools available online.

Ahrefs - This SEO tool has emerged as one of the most beneficial keyword research platforms in marketing. Apart from that, you get to do site audits, competitor analysis, link building, and rank tracking. You can watch a demo and understand the working process here.

SEMRush - If you're wondering what strategy is being used by your competitors and its efficiency, SEMRush is the ideal tool. You can research keywords, their density and even compare the competition level. You can also keep a check on your past and present ratings. Additionally, you'll be able to figure out if your site is mobile-friendly or not.

Just check your report and go to the issues tab.

 

semrush

 

From here, you can check out all the issues and ways to fix them.

 

semrush

 

MOZ Pro - Ultimate mix of several SEO tools: Moz Pro is an efficient link explorer, keyword researcher, and rank tracker. You'll be able to check factors like domain authority, linking domains, top pages, and spam scores. 

How to measure SEO results

After you have successfully implemented SEO, you need to know if it is working or not.

The strategy you chose may have been working well, but there are equal chances of failure.

Just like how you'd check the ledgers and tally the accounts for a business at the end of a financial term, you need to measure SEO results as well.

Remember, SEO isn't cheap or easy, for that matter. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone else to take care of it for you, there's a lot of effort and time involved. 

Firstly, you need to set SEO goals and have something to compare the data to. 

Organic Search Traffic 

If you ask anyone the primary purpose of SEO, they'll probably say something about increasing traffic.

But that's not what it's all about. As Adam Audette, CEO of RKG, once said - "Today it's not about 'get the traffic - it's about to get the targeted and relevant traffic."

 

Organic Search Traffic

 

Organic traffic refers to those search results that follow the search engine's guidelines and aren't just displayed because of paid ads. 

You can compare your traffic graph with the organic traffic graph and note if there's an increase. If the organic traffic isn't increasing, you need to change some SEO tactics and check what works best.

Organic Traffic

 

Keyword Rankings

It will help you understand your website's ranking in SERPs for any given keyword. 

If you noticed an increase in organic traffic, keyword rankings would tell which webpage worked best for you. 

Organic Revenue

If your goal is to grow as an E-commerce platform, one of the essential factors is the rise in organic revenue. 

By implementing Ecommerce tracking, you can access the organic revenue data and analyze its rise or fall.

Even though an occasional fall in the graph can be attributed to seasonal aspects, there is still an opportunity to figure out what went wrong in the SEO implementation. 

Organic revenue

 

Clicks And Impressions

Google console will give you detailed information on your SEO implementation. 

You will be able to access your clicks and impressions. Clicks can be equated to organic traffic extracted from Google Analytics. 

Impressions are the number of people who saw your site rank at any particular number for a specified keyword.

clicks and impressions

 

 

How to make an SEO report

Before starting to work on SEO, it is crucial to note the current website status and set specific goals that will define your success. 

SEO success can vary for different clients. A 5% increase in organic traffic can be negligible for one platform but successful for another.

Creating a formal, well-defined SEO report can help your client track the increase or decrease in ROI. 

Just like we'd receive a report card in school to help us understand our weak and strong areas, every marketing project must have a detailed SEO report to keep up with the digital transformation and algorithm changes. 

A good SEO report includes current and past data, detailed analysis, and a summary for the client. It also discusses the future steps that can help the project. 

seo report

 

Your report should also add actual figures like conversion rates, rise in organic traffic with clicks and impressions.

Things To Take Care Of While Making An SEO Report - 

  • Keep the report client-centric and add specific aims and objectives. Avoid fluff like 'to increase traffic' or 'make the site rank better.' Use facts and figures to support your claims.
  • List all the tasks and keep a record of the completion date.
  • Use keyword tools to keep a check on the keyword rankings. 
  • Backlinks are an essential element in improving SEO performance. You can use various SEO tools to compare the number of backlinks and compare them to your competitors'.
  • If you have made any technical or user improvements, mention them.
  • Describe any marketing campaigns and their results.

Also, make sure that your report is graphically appealing and maintains a similar layout. You can use various templates available online.

seo report

 

Must follow SEO strategies in 2021

It might seem like all marketers do is talk about SEO. But now that we know the reason behind it let's go over a few SEO strategies to help you out.

Strategy 1 - Follow E-A-T

The acronym stands for Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness and defines the essential elements needed for SEO implementation.

Google is no longer handling the ranking chart based on keywords and backlinks. 

Let's understand it with a scenario - You market your blog under the healthcare category and end up giving bad advice to someone.

Considering the seriousness of this situation, Google is liable to come down on you hard. Similarly, trouble is likely to brew for finance or legal space if they end up passing on inaccurate information.

Therefore, you need Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness as significant components to prevent any drastic consequences.

Strategy 2 - Host HTML Files Via CDN

Response time is everything! Yes, you heard that right. No one wants to open up a site and wait for a few extra seconds it takes to load.

And with mobile surfing, users expect no lag in speed.

For example, if you have a website with a server in country A, people from country B might access it reasonably speedily, but people from country F are not. To overcome this situation, you need a CDN - Content Delivery Network.

Certain services like Cloudflare will help you store cached images and static content on a server located in country F. It will enable people from both countries, B and F, to access your site quickly.

Strategy 3 - Stop Posting Dates

Your blogs don't require dates in the URL. 

Strategy 4 - Work On International Expansion

Do not limit yourself to one geographical region. Work on getting exposure from all the major countries in the world. 

Lack of content is prominent in countries where English isn't a primary language, so utilize that chance and offer to translate your site in multiple languages outside your usual domain.

For example - Look at Ubersuggest, an SEO tool that has increased due to availability in 9 different languages.

international expenses

 

In simple terms, go global! 

Strategy 5 - Update Your Content Regularly

As discussed before, Google algorithms are getting better with each day. It is almost impossible to keep up with all the algorithm changes that come our way. Watch out and make sure that your content is following the current SEO policy.

What worked wonders last year might be a flop SEO strategy today. There's no way to keep up other than to update your old content regularly. 

With a considerable number of blogs adding on each day, Google looks to comparatively fresher rank sites. So keep making changes to ensure better traffic flow.

SEO Dictionary

Understanding all the technical SEO terms and jargon used by experts can be hard when you have no idea what it is about. 

The guessing game hardly works, and if you miss one important term, it isn't easy to catch up with the rest of the article or seminar.

But on the other hand, you need these fancy terms. To look more sophisticated and to convince your client that you know what you are talking about. 

Here are a few terms that can help you get acquainted with the SEO market better.

Algorithm - Everything is based on an algorithm, but what exactly is it? An algorithm is a set of code that is helping the search engine rank websites in different orders. 

Backlinks - One of the most common terms being thrown around, a backlink is a link that can connect another website to yours. Including backlinks in your content means more transfer of authority between the two sites in question.

Clickbait - Part of Black Hat SEO, clickbait is a wrongly advertised hyperlink that has been added with the sole purpose to increase traffic.

HTML - HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is a programming language used to create web pages.

Keyword Density - An integral part of keyword optimization, keyword density is the frequency of keyword reappearance in content.

Meta descriptions - Portion of text that is visible on the search engine under the main headline. Meta descriptions hold the power to convince the user to click or scroll past your listing.

Organic Traffic - Users visiting your site due to search engine ranking and not due to paid listings.

In the world of digital transformation, SEO is turning out to be a guardian angel for people looking to mark their presence online and note an increase in ROI. 

SEO isn't a one-time process that can be achieved once and left behind. Considering the number of algorithm changes Google goes through, SEO is an ever-evolving process that needs regular maintenance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I find my SEO keywords?

There are many ways to find your perfect set of keywords. The simplest way would be to use a free keyword generation tool like UberSuggest.

  • Why is SEO important?

SEO allows you to win at the unpaid section of search results which will help you act more cost-effectively while simultaneously improving your brand image.

  • Is SEO easy to learn?

SEO is not difficult to learn, but that does not necessarily make it easy either. It is a broad subject that requires a lot of research, techniques, and practice.

  • What are the three pillars of SEO?

Discovery, Relevance, and Authority support SEO. 

  • Can I do SEO on my own?

Of course, you can. It requires a lot of research, practice, and trial and error.



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