The Basics of SEO for Beginners

You’ll have a good understanding of what search engine optimization is, why it’s useful and relevant, and how to achieve better results in an ever-changing SEO world by the time you hit the end of this SEO basics guide.

1. What is SEO & why is it essential?
You’ve already heard of SEO, and if you haven’t already, you can get a short description of the word from Wikipedia, but learning that SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in the unpaid results of a search engine” doesn’t really help you address crucial questions about your organization and website, such as:

How do you optimize for search engines for your site or the site of your company?
How do you understand how much time you have to spend on SEO?
How do you discern between “good” SEO advice and “bad” or detrimental SEO advice?
As a business owner or employee, what is obviously important to you is how you can potentially use SEO to help generate more specific traffic, leads, sales, and eventually revenue and benefit for your company. In this tutorial, that’s what we’ll concentrate on.

Why does SEO care for you?
Lots and lots of people are searching for things. Not only because there is a lot of traffic, but because there is a lot of very particular, high-intent traffic, the traffic can be incredibly strong for an organization.

If you sell blue widgets, will you rather buy a billboard so that someone in your region with a car sees your ad (whether or not they would actually have any interest in blue widgets), or turn up in a search engine any time anyone in the world types ‘buy blue widgets’? Possibly the latter, because these individuals have business motive, which means they stand up and say they want to buy something that you sell.

People are looking for some sort of stuff that is specifically connected to your business. Furthermore, your prospects are still looking at all sorts of items that are just closely connected to your business. These provide many more ways to engage with certain people and help answer their questions, solve their challenges, and become a reliable resource for them.

Are you more likely to get your widgets from a trustworthy resource because one of the last four times you turned to Google for help with a question, or someone you’ve never heard of, got fantastic information?

What really works for driving search engine traffic?
Second, it must be remembered that Google is responsible for much of the world’s search engine traffic (though there is always some flux in the actual numbers). This can differ from niche to niche, but Google is likely to be the main player in the search results that your organization or website will like to show up in, and the best practices illustrated in this guide will also help place the website and its content to rank in other search engines.

Regardless about the search engine you use, there is a continuous shift in search results. In fact, Google has changed many things on how they rate websites by means of many different animal names lately, and in recent years, many of the fastest and easiest ways to get the pages to rank in search results have become incredibly dangerous.

Then what works? In answer to what users look for, how can Google decide the sites to return? How can you get your site for all this important traffic?

The Google algorithm is incredibly complicated, and for those looking to dig further into how Google ranks sites at the end of this post, I’m going to share some ties, but at an extremely high level:

Google is searching for sites that contain important, high-quality information about the question of the searcher.
By “crawling” (or reading) the content on your website and determining (algorithmically) whether that content is applicable to what the searcher is searching for, often based on the keywords it includes, they assess relevance.
They assess “quality” by a variety of ways, but the number and quality of other websites that connect to your page and your site as a whole is still popular among those. To put it incredibly simply: If the only pages that connect to your blue widget site are blogs that no one else on the Web has connected to, and my blue widget site gets regularly linked links from reputable sources, such as CNN.com, my site would be more trusted (and believed to be of better quality) than yours.
Increasingly, Google’s algorithm is weighing additional elements to decide where the site will rank, such as:

How do users connect with your web (do they locate the information they need and continue on your site, or bounce back to the search page and click on another link? Or do they just totally neglect and never click-through your listing of search results?)
“The loading pace and “mobile friendliness” of your web
The amount of original content you have (compared to very “thin” low-value or repeat content)
In answer to searches, there are hundreds of ranking variables that Google’s algorithm considers, and they continuously update and refine their method.

The good news is, you don’t have to be a scholar in search engines to rank in search results for useful keywords. To customize websites for search, we will walk through tested, repeatable best practices that will help you generate targeted traffic through search without having to reverse-engineer the core competency of one of the most profitable businesses in the world.

There are a lot of excellent tools available if you are interested in learning more about how search engines function, including:

On the subject, Moz’s guide
Google’s own interactive image of Google
Now, back to basics for SEO! Let’s dig into the real techniques and SEO methods that can help you get more search engine traffic.

2. Keyword Analysis & Keyword Best Practices Targeting
In search engine optimization, the first step is to truly decide what you are really optimizing for. This involves finding the things that people are looking for (also known as “keywords”) in search engines like Google for which you want your website to rank.

That sounds easy enough, huh? I want my widget business to pop up as people search for “widgets,” and maybe when they type stuff like “buy widgets.” Onto stage three!

Sadly, it isn’t just that easy. When deciding the keywords you want to target on your blog, there are a few key considerations to take into account:

Scan Volume-The first factor to remember is how many individuals are currently looking for a given keyword (if any). The more people looking for a keyword there, the greater the group you’re about to hit. Conversely, there is no audience available to find the content by search if no one is looking for a keyword.
Relevance-awesome That’s if a word is commonly searched for: but what if it’s not exactly applicable to your prospects? At first, relevance seems straightforward: you don’t want to show up for searches that have little to do with your business, such as “pet supplies,” if you’re selling corporate email marketing automation tools. But what about words like “email marketing software”? This may sound like a perfect explanation of what you are doing intuitively, but if you sell to Fortune 100 firms, much of the traffic for this very competitive word will be searchers who have little interest in purchasing your apps (and the folks you do want to reach might never buy your expensive, complex solution based on a simple Google search). In comparison, because you don’t sell PPC marketing tools, you may think that a tangential keyword such as “best enterprise PPC marketing solutions” is totally irrelevant to your company. But if the prospect is a CMO or marketing agent, it might be a perfect “first touch” and an ideal way to launch a relationship with a prospective customer and get in front of them with a valuable resource for testing pay-per-click instruments.
Competition-In SEO, as with any market opportunity, you ought to take into account the possible costs and chances of success. For SEO, this implies recognizing the relative rivalry for particular words (and the probability of ranking).
You first need to know who the potential clients are and what they are going to be asking for. Thinking about that is a good place to start, for your organization in general, but also for SEO, if you don’t really know who your prospects are.

You’ll want to understand from there:

What sorts of stuff are they involved in?
What questions have they got?
What kind of terminology do they use to identify the things they do, the instruments they use, etc.?
Who else are they buying stuff from (this means the opponents, but may also mean tangential, similar tools, imagine other business marketing tools for the email marketing company)?
You’ll have an initial “seed list” of alternative keywords and domains after you’ve answered these questions to help you get additional keyword ideas and bring some search volume and competitiveness metrics around.

Take the list of main forms the prospects and clients explain what you are doing, and start entering them through keyword resources such as Google’s own keyword tool or tools such as Uber Recommend:

 

A more detailed list of keyword tools can be found below, but the main point is that you would want to run a lot of searches using a variety of different keyword tools in this initial stage. You may also use strategic keyword tools such as SEM Rush to see if the rivals score for terms. These software look at thousands of different search results and show you every search word they’ve used recently in Google for your competitor ranking. For marketing automation provider Marketo, here’s what SEM Rush demonstrates:

Again: there doesn’t ever have to be anything about opponents when you look at. You should look at similar tools that offer content ideas to the same market, and also look at the big niche publishers that write about your subject (and read your prospects) and see what sorts of keywords these pages are generating traffic for.

Furthermore, if you have an existing blog, you’re probably still receiving some interest from search engines. If that is the case, some of your own keyword knowledge will be used to help you understand which words push traffic (and which you might be able to rank a bit better for).

Unfortunately, Google has stopped supplying analytics companies with a lot of knowledge on what users are hunting for, but you can use SEM Rush (or related apps, such as SpyFu) on your own platform to get a feel of the keywords you rank for and their approximate amount of quest. In their free Webmaster Tools interface, Google also has a little more of this data accessible (if you have not set up an account, this is a very useful SEO platform both for unearthing search query data and for diagnosing different technological SEO problems, more on the Webmaster Tools set up here).

When Webmaster Tools is set up, after you have signed in, you can navigate to this page and see the search queries that drive traffic to your site:

This could be useful terms for concentrating on external marketing of material and internal connections (more on both of those issues later), and could also be great “seed keywords” to help you get more ideas on what to target.

Once you have taken the time to learn how the customers speak and what they are searching for, have looked at the keywords that drive traffic to your rivals and similar pages, and have looked at the phrases that drive traffic to your own platform, you need to work and understand what terms you can think of and where the best possibilities really lay.

It may be a surprisingly complicated process to evaluate a keyword’s relative rivalry. You ought to consider at a very elevated level:

How trustworthy and authoritative are the other entire sites that will bid to rank for the same term (in other words: how many links does the entire site receive, and how high quality, trusted, and important are such link sites?)
How well matched they are with the keyword itself (do they give a wonderful answer to the query of that searcher)
How common and authoritative is the product of each particular website in the quest (in other words, how many links does the page itself have, and how high-quality, trustworthy, and important are those link sites?)
You will dig further into deciding how competitive keywords are in the in-depth guide of Backlinko.

There are also a number of different tools that give keyword difficulty scores (most of them paid):

Moz Complexity and SERP Analysis Platform for Keywords
Keyword Difficulty Method SEMRush
Serpiq in Serpiq
Canirank a Canirank
Colibri.io, io.io
Seoprofiler Profiler
Ultimateichefinder
The Keyword Challenging Tool of Professional Webranking
And although it’s more advanced in nature, the post on understanding rank potential by Nick Eubanks gives a great in-depth look not just at understanding but also at developing an actionable formula to assess keyword rivalry and the actual possibility of ranking for a phrase on your own web.

There are some excellent tools on the topic if you are trying to dig any further into the subject of keyword analysis and keyword targeting:

A brilliant webinar on tested keyword strategy was presented by Larry Kim and Will Critchlow
Moz also has a great guide on this subject.
The definitive guide to keyword analysis by Backlinko is both comprehensive and highly helpful.
Nick Eubanks ‘(paid) Master Keyword Research 7 day email course is fantastic if you are looking for a high-quality, end-to-end course on conducting keyword research.

3. Optimization of On-Page
The next step, after you have your keyword list, is to actually incorporate your targeted keywords into the content of your site. A key word and a “basket” of similar words can target each page on your web. Rand Fishkin gives a good image of what a well (or well) optimized page looks like in his outline of the perfectly optimized web:

If you think about how to push search engine traffic to your website, let’s look at a few important, simple on-page elements you’ll want to understand:

Title Tags Title tags
Although Google works to help grasp the true nature of a page, it is also important to de-emphasize (and even punish) offensive and misleading usage of keywords, like the phrase (and related terms) you choose to rank with on your sites. And the most impactful single position you can put your keyword is the title tag of your website.

The title tag is not the primary headline for your page. Usually, the headline you see on the page is an H1 (or probably an H2) HTML feature. The title tag is what you see at the top of your browser, and the source code of your website is filled by a meta tag:

The length of the title tag shown by Google can vary (it’s dependent on pixels, not counting characters), so 55-60 characters in general is a reasonable rule of thumb here. In your main keyword, you want to function where possible, and if you can do so in a normal and convincing manner, apply any similar modifiers around the phrase as well. Bear in mind, though: what a searcher finds in the search results for your website will always be the title tag. In organic search results, it is the “headline,” but you also want to take into consideration how clickable the title tag is.

Descriptions of Meta
Although the title tag is the headline of your search listing effectively, the meta summary (another meta HTML feature that can be changed in the code of your site, but is not seen on the actual page) is the additional ad copy of your site effectively. With what they present in search results, Google takes certain chances, so your meta description does not always appear, but if you have a convincing description of your page that will make people searching want to click, you will boost traffic dramatically. (Remember: it’s just the first move to show up in search results! You do have to get searchers to come to your site, and then actually take the action you want.)

Here’s an example of a meta representation of the natural world that occurs in search results:

Material of Body
Of course, the actual content of your website itself is quite important. “Your cornerstone content asset that you want many people to link to needs to be very different from your support content that you want to make sure your users find and get a response from quickly. Different types of pages will have different “jobs That said, Google has been gradually favouring those types of content, and there are a few items to bear in mind when you create some of the pages on your site:

Thick & Unique Content-In terms of word count, there is no magic number, even if you have a few pages of content on your website with a handful to a few hundred words, you would not fall out of Google’s good graces, but recent Panda updates usually prefer longer, unique content in particular. If you have a vast amount of incredibly brief (50-200 words of content) pages (think thousands) or tons of duplicated content where nothing varies but the title tag of the website and say a line of text, you may be in trouble. Look at the web as a whole: is a significant proportion of your pages thin, duplicated, and of poor value? If so, try to find a way to “thicken” certain pages or review your statistics to see how much traffic they attract and actually remove them from search results (using a noindex meta tag) to prevent it from showing to Google that in an effort to list them, you are attempting to spam their index with loads of low value pages.
Engagement-Google continually weights the metrics of engagement and user experience more firmly. By ensuring that your content addresses the questions searchers have, you will effect this by ensuring that they are likely to linger on your website and engage with your content. Make sure the pages load easily and do not have design features that are likely to throw searchers off and drive them away (such as excessively offensive advertising above the content).
“Sharability”-Not every single piece of content can be connected to and posted hundreds of times on your web. But much as you want to be careful not to roll out vast volumes of thin content pages, before you roll them out, you want to know who is going to post and connect to new pages that you build on your web. Having vast numbers of pages that are not likely to be shared or linked to does not place such pages to perform well in search results, nor does it help to build a positive image for search engines of the web as a whole.
Attributes to Alt
How you mark your images will influence not just how your website is viewed by search engines, but also how much search traffic your site receives from image search. The alt attribute is an HTML feature that helps you to include an icon with alternate details if it can’t be seen by a user. Your images can split over time (files are removed, users have trouble linking to your website, etc.), so it may be helpful to have a useful explanation of the image from an overall usability perspective.

 

It also gives you another chance to help search engines grasp what your website is about, outside of your content.

You do not want to jam “keyword stuff” into your alt attribute and cram your main keyword and any conceivable variant of it. In truth, don’t use the goal keyword here at all if it doesn’t work naturally into the definition. Only make sure that the alt attribute is not missed, and strive to give the picture a detailed, meaningful definition (imagine that you explain it to somebody who can’t see it, that’s what it’s for!).

You stop “over-optimization” filters by writing about your subject automatically (in other words: it doesn’t make it seem like you’re trying to cheat Google into ranking your page for your goal keyword) and you give yourself a greater chance of ranking your main subject for useful adjusted “long tail” variants.

Structure of URLs
The URL structure of your web can be useful both from a monitoring perspective (you can segment data more quickly in reports using a segmented, logical URL structure) and from a shareability point of view (shorter, descriptive URLs are easier to copy and paste and tend to get mistakenly cut off less frequently). Again: don’t use as many keywords as possible to jam in; build a simple, descriptive URL.

Furthermore, don’t change your URLs if you don’t have to. Even if your URLs aren’t “pretty,” don’t adjust them to be more keyword-focused for “better SEO,” if you don’t feel as if they have a bad effect on users and your company in general. If you have to change your URL layout, be sure to choose the right (301 permanent) redirect form. When they update their websites, this is a typical error corporations make.

Additional Support for URLs:

Does URL Form Matter Even? A Response Powered by Data
SEO Best URL Practices
How to switch domains without losing meaning from SEO
Markup & Schema
Finally, after you have taken care of all the usual on-page items, you should consider moving a little forward and helping Google (and other schema-recognizing search engines) to recognize your page.

In search results, schema markup does not make the page appear higher (currently, it is not a ranking factor). In the search results, it offers your listing some extra “real estate”, the way ad extensions do with your Google Advertising (formerly known as AdWords) ads.

If no one else uses the schema of any search results, you will get a good click-through rate advantage because your platform displays items like scores when others do not. “In other search results, where anyone uses schema, it may be “table stakes” to get ratings and you may damage your Google CTR by omitting them:

There are a range of different forms of markup that you can use on your web, most likely not for your business, but at least one style of markup is likely to appeal to at least some of the pages of your site.

With each of these tools, you can read more about Schema & Markup:

The documentation for schema.org

See if Google actually accepts mark-ups for its structured data testing tool on your pages.

The Rich Snippets Guide from BuiltVisible

Check out our off-page SEO walkthrough (the variables on other pages that can impact the rankings on your own site).

 

4. Architecture of Information & Internal Linking

Information infrastructure refers to how the sites on the website are arranged. In response to searches, the way you arrange your website and interlink between your pages will affect how different content ranks on your blog.

 

The explanation for this is that links are largely viewed by search engines as “votes of trust” and a way to understand both what a website is about and how important it is (and how trusted it should be).

 

Search engines often look at the actual text you use to connect to links, called anchor text, which allows Google to understand what the article is about by using informative text to link to a page on your web (but in a post-Penguin world especially, be sure not to be overly aggressive in cramming your keywords into linking text).

 

In the same way that a link from CNN is an indicator that your site may be relevant, if you are actively linking to a particular page from different locations of your site, that’s an indication to search engines that your site is really important to that particular page. In comparison, the pages on your web that have the most external votes (links from other, reputable sites) have the greatest influence to help search results rate the other pages on your site.

 

This links back to a term called “PageRank.” PageRank is no longer used in the same way it was when it was first introduced, so here are some useful tools if you are trying to explore the subject more deeply:

 

A strong math-free PageRank description

A thorough breakdown of how PageRank operates with a variety of useful graphics (from many years ago)

The initial research paper released by the creators of Google

Let’s go through a brief example to help you understand how connection equity (or the sum and consistency of links leading to a page) influences the layout of the web and how you communicate internally. Let’s imagine that we have a platform for snow removal:

 

We are publishing an amazing report on the influence of snow on winter building in cold climates. It’s wired to the internet from all over.

The research is released on our primary platform for snow removal. All of the other sites are basic sales-oriented pages illustrating different facets of the snow removal offerings of our business. There was no external website connecting to any of these sites.

The analysis itself could be well-positioned for different phrases to rank well in search results. Far less so for the sales-oriented sites. However, by connecting our research to our most relevant sales-oriented sites, we can pass on some of our guide’s trust and authority to those pages. They may not be as well placed as our analysis to rank in search results, but they will be much better positioned than when they did not have any definitive records referring to them (on our platform or on other sites). An significant additional note here: our most-linked page in this instance is our fictitious research. In certain ways, your home page will be the most linked to page (the page that people connect to when they chat about you, when you get publicity, etc.), so it is very important to be able to link strategically from your home page to the most important sites on the web.

Information infrastructure can be an incredibly complex issue, particularly for larger sites, and below are a range of great additional tools with more detailed responses mentioned at the end of this section, but the most important points to bear in mind at a high level are:

 

You want to understand the most connected pages (use resources such as Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, or Moz to evaluate these, and look at “top pages” reports).

Keep the most relevant search pages (the pages you use to find the most useful keywords) “high up” in your content architecture: this ensures that you always connect to them in navigation elements and link to them from the most connected pages wherever possible (for example, make sure that your home page and the version of our hit snow study on your web link to the most valuable pages on your site).

In general, you want to have a “flat information architecture” for your web, which ensures that you keep as few clicks as possible from your home page and most connected pages for any pages that you want to rate in search engines. See this older video for a more detailed example of how to flatten the structure of your web.

A number of additional information architecture services are given below (many of these are older tools, but the SEO concepts presented in them still generally hold true):

 

SEO Information Architecture from Moz’s Whiteboard Friday and Moz’s introduction by Richard Baxter

Guide to Site Design by RKG

Post on site composition by KISS Metrics

Google would enjoy WordTracker’s guide to building a web structure

Distilled has a helpful article on mapping the knowledge infrastructure of the site.

 

5. Content Promotion & Development of ties

Since the Google algorithm is still primarily focused on links, it is clearly extremely important to have a number of high-quality links to your website in driving search traffic: you can do all the work you want on on-page and technological SEO, if you don’t have links to your blog, you won’t show up in listings of search results.

 

There are a variety of ways of bringing links to the website, but all of them have become highly dangerous as Google and other search engines become more and more advanced (even if they may still work in the short-term). These riskier and more violent ways of attempting to get ties are definitely not a good match for your company if you are new to SEO and want to exploit the channel, since you won’t know how to better handle the dangers and assess the risks. In addition, in the event that the search engine algorithms adjust and your rankings vanish, attempting to create ties explicitly to exploit Google rankings does not create any other benefit for your company.

 

A more sustainable approach to connection building is to concentrate on more generic, sustainable marketing techniques, such as developing and encouraging valuable content that often contains unique words on which you would like to rank and participate in conventional PR for your business.

 

It is a labor-intensive method of developing and supporting content that can get you links and social networking. Once again, below, you can find more detailed step-by-step guides on various facets of content promotion, as there are several different approaches to build content quickly, allow it to be found, and perform high in search results.

 

FollowerWonk, Little Bird and Ahrefs include related methods. The following are more comprehensive guides on using these resources to help appreciate your niche.

The purpose of using these resources is to define the opinion leaders and possible connectors in your room first, and then to consider what they share and contribute to. Find out what their challenges are, what sorts of material they normally post, and start thinking about how you can build something that they think is important and want to share with their audience (who would also find it valuable).

Start to think about what you should do with these influencers while you move in this process. How do you help them with projects of their own? What would you do (unsolicited) to help them accomplish their own aims, or what would you create or sell that would be of benefit to the public with which they create content and try and assist? Will you have access to special insights or experience that will make them do well in their jobs? You will start to develop powerful partnerships that will pay dividends when you produce content if you can regularly be of interest to smart content creators in your niche.

 

You should also have thought about how the material would be shared before you produce a big piece of content: who would share it, and why will they?

2. Determining what content you can create & how it can be marketed

First, you need to learn to consider what your own talents are, and what type of content you can produce that people would possibly share and encourage.

 

It would be possible to share a variety of various types of content assets:

 

Build something which solves the challenges of your prospects and your customers. Matthew Woodward describes a helpful framework for listening in on social media and forums to help identify great blog subjects in his post on how he created a top 100 blog.

Reverse engineer what works now. You will help reduce risk and making the material as fail-proof as possible by looking at what is currently working and producing something that’s a standard or two better in some way.

Help people look perfect. Highlight the wonderful instruments you use each day. Get answers to tough questions from smart folks in your niche and share the content (while positioning them as experts). They will probably help you spread and support your content because you have highlighted someone or their product as a valued resource.

Focus on generating multiple real value content properties, create a roadmap to promote those assets, and don’t be coy about letting people know that it happens who you’ve featured or whose audience will benefit from your services.

 

3. Map your properties to keyword details

Lastly, don’t forget your keywords! This doesn’t mean that you need to jam in a keyword that doesn’t match every time you build a fantastic resource: it means that you should use keyword analysis as a means of identifying pain points (if users turn to search engines to look for stuff, they want content that gives a great answer to their question!) and that you want to look for the different ways you want to create new assets (as you will increasingly need to get some sort of distribution for pages where you want them to rank for valuable keywords).

6. Popular problems of professional SEO & best practices

Although SEO fundamentals such as the most successful methods of creating ties to drive search engine rankings have evolved in recent years (and content promotion has become increasingly important), what many individuals may think of as more “traditional SEO” is still highly useful in producing search engine traffic. Keyword analysis is still useful, as we’ve already addressed, and technological SEO challenges that prevent Google and other search engines from recognizing and rating the content of pages are still prevalent.

 

Technical SEO is actually its own discipline for larger, more complex sites, but there are some typical mistakes and problems that most sites face that even smaller to mid-sized organizations would profit from being aware of:

 

Speed page

The positive news is that this is not only helpful for search engines, but also for the conversion rates of your customers and your blog. Search engines placed a growing focus on getting fast-loading pages. In reality, Google has built a helpful tool here to give you some detailed advice about what to do to fix page speed problems on your web.

Mobile Conviviality

If your website drives (or can drive) substantial mobile search engine traffic, how “mobile-friendly” your website is can influence your mobile device rankings, which is a fast-growing market. Mobile traffic also outweighs desktop traffic in certain niches.

 

Google has recently released an algorithm upgrade explicitly based on this. You will read more about how to see what kind of mobile search engine traffic is coming to your website along with some detailed tips on items to update in my latest post, and here again, Google provides a very useful free service to get feedback about how to make your website more mobile-friendly.

Answer from Header

An significant technical SEO problem is header response codes. This can be a complicated subject if you’re not especially technical (and more detailed tools are listed below again), so you want to ensure that working pages return the correct code to search engines (200), and that pages that are not located often return a code to show that they are no longer present (a 404). It will show Google and other search engines that a “Page Not Found” page is really a running page that makes it appear like a thin or duplicated page, or even worse: you can inform Google that all the content on your site is really 404s (so that none of your pages are indexed and eligible to rank). To see the status codes that your pages return as search engines crawl them, you can use a server header checker.

Redirecting

Improperly applying redirects will have a severe effect on search results on your website. You want to keep shifting the content on the web from one URL to another if you can discourage it; in other words: if your content is on example.com/page, and that page gets search engine traffic, you try to avoid moving all the content to example.com/different-url/newpage.html, unless there is an incredibly compelling commercial justification that would outweigh a potential short-term or even long-term reason. If you need to transfer content, you want to be sure that you are implementing permanent (or 301) redirects for permanently transferring content, since transient (or 302) redirects (which developers often use) suggest to Google that the move will not be permanent and that all link equity and ranking control can not be shifted to the new URL. (In addition, it might build broken connections by modifying your URL layout, hurting your referral traffic sources and making it impossible for tourists to access your site.)

 

Content Replicate

With Google’s latest Panda updates, thin and duplicated content is another field of focus. You dilute link equity between two websites by duplicating content (putting the same or near-identical content on different pages), instead of focusing it on one page, giving you less chance of ranking for competitive phrases with sites that aggregate their link equity into a single text. Having large quantities of duplicated content makes your website look like it is cluttered in the eyes of search engines with lower-quality (and possibly manipulative) content.

 

A variety of items can cause duplicate or thin material. It can be hard to diagnose these issues, but under Search Appearance > HTML Updates, you can look at Webmaster Resources to get a fast diagnosis.

And find out Google’s own Redundant Content breakdown. Many paying SEO applications, such as Moz analytics and Screaming Frog SEO Spider, also provide a way to find duplicate content.

 

Sitemap XML

Google and Bing can help XML sitemaps understand the site and find all its content. Just make sure not to add pages that are not helpful, and remember that uploading a page in a sitemap to a search engine does not guarantee that the page is necessarily ranked for something. To create XML sitemaps, there are a range of free resources.

 

Robots.txt, NoIndex Meta, & NoFollow Meta

Finally, in a robots.txt file, you will instruct search engines how you want them to treat such content on your site (for example, if you would prefer them not to crawl a particular portion on your site). This file probably already exists at yoursite.com/robots.txt for your domain. You want to make sure that this file does not currently block something that a search engine might want to discover from being added to the database, and you should even use the robots file to hold items like staging servers or thin or duplicate content swaths that are useful for internal use or search engine indexing for consumers. For related reasons, you can use the meta noindex and meta nofollow tags, but each operates differently from each other.

 

Supplementary Resources:

This is a fantastic checklist of different technological SEO problems that your site may suffer from.

Gregory Ciotti gives advice to speed up websites for WordPress

A variety of tools are offered by Richard Baxter to help you speed up your web

Several locations deliver comprehensive articles with duplicate material, like Moz, Yoast, and Hobo Web

As with Lunametrics, Google offers several tips for building your XML sitemap.

Technical SEO can be hard to do on your own, so check out this article on How to Find the Best SEO Providers for Your Small Company if you think expert support is a worthy investment.

 

7. How to SEO Results Track & Test

So if you start writing your incredible SEO content and setting all these measures in action, how do you really track if it’s working and how well?

 

This query has a reasonably simple approach on its face, with some key metrics to concentrate on, but there are some key considerations to remember with each metric when you calculate the SEO efficiency of your site.

 

Rankings on Keywords

Looking at where the site ranks with a list of keywords is definitely not a final destination-you do not pay your workers in rankings, items like search results customization have made them volatile across multiple places, and thus impossible to track, and what they mean is, of course, where you appear in search results. Some would also go so far as to have them pronounced dead. But it can be a good leading indicator of the health of your site to get a rough picture of where the site stands for key words. This doesn’t mean that with any one word you can get too concerned with rankings. If you sell blue widgets, is it more important that you rank for “blue widgets” or that you outline and implement an SEO strategy that lets you sell more blue widgets in the most cost-effective way possible? Do you remember: your ultimate objective is to move more specific traffic that drives more business? Using rankings, not a course-charting KPI, as a general health test.

 

You can help review the rankings with a variety of resources. Most provide very similar capabilities, although in some of the tools, features such as local or smartphone rankings are often unique. I would recommend choosing a free and easy-to-use tool whether you are a small company or just getting started with SEO, and just keeping an eye on a few of the key words you want to track to help you monitor success.

 

Organic Road Operations

A much better leading measure of the health of the SEO efforts is organic traffic. You will get a gauge of the real number of people coming to your site, and where they’re headed by looking at the organic traffic to your site.

 

Like other analytics software, you can quickly calculate the organic traffic-since it is free and the most used, we’ll look at how to get this information in Google Analytics.

 

You should easily look at the main monitoring page of your site for a quick check and click on ‘All Sessions’ to scan for organic traffic (search engine traffic that removes paid search traffic):

By developing a custom report and designating users and target completions as your indicators, and landing pages as your dimension, you can even dig down to look at the individual pages driving traffic and objectives:

Note: Make sure you pick the organic traffic segment again after you open this article, or you’ll look at all the traffic per page rather than just unpaid search engine-driven traffic.

“For sites just getting started with SEO, this may be powerful, since much of the traffic on your site is often powered by what is known as “branded queries,” or searches containing the brand name of your business. You definitely want to see users looking for your brand, and you want them to find you as they do, of course, but unless Google has penalized your website, you would almost certainly rank for your brand and see the advertised traffic hit the home page of your website. What more of the ongoing SEO activities should concentrate on is generating incremental website traffic (people who might not have found and engaged with you otherwise).

 

Unfortunately, as I discussed in the keyword section of the guide, Google has made it difficult to get data on the exact keywords users are searching for, but you will begin to gain insight into your overall SEO success by looking at page-level traffic (outside the home page of your site). Looking at rank data and using the strategies mentioned in this guide’s keyword segment can also help you gain further insight into the actual conditions that cause traffic (and whether your SEO growth is being driven by optimization efforts rather than off-line marketing).

 

Bio Leads & Sales

Obviously, real leads, purchases, income and benefit can be the main way to calculate your search engine optimization performance. You need to respond, as for any market practice: how does the activity help to drive the bottom line?

 

In a platform like Google Analytics, the easiest way here is to set targets or e-commerce monitoring. The following report will be used by the landing page to look at organic traffic and goals (or other e-commerce metrics), which means that you are specifically looking at who converts from an organic search among the users who land on your site (versus people who may have come to your site from PPC or another channel within the window that your analytics tracking can track, then searched for you, then converted).

 

This seems reasonably simple, and is usually a decent initial way for most organisations to calculate the progress of the SEO activities, but with this results, there are again a few caveats and stuff to bear in mind:

 

There is still incomplete web-based analytics. If you turn from billboards or newspaper advertising to internet marketing, you will hopefully be amazed with the volume and accuracy of the available data, but there will also be a number of various monitoring issues that will cause the statistics you see from marginally to wildly off somewhere, still maintain a degree of cynicism about information that does not appear to add up and do what you can to have.

Your device could establish monitoring holes. If, for whatever reason, you have a back-end framework that you can’t exactly tie to analytics, you may have some differences in what you can track as targets and real revenue.

Attribution and measures of life-time worth can be tricky. This is more of a dilemma of market and web analytics than anything unique to SEO, but it can be tricky to work out how you assign revenue to multiple platforms and add in life-time importance to the traffic of the platform. Be sure that you apply the same kinds of challenging questions and aim to calculate SEO the same way you will in any other marketing endeavor.

In Avinash Kaushik’s comprehensive guide, you will read more about multi-channel allocation.

A nice description of cohort research and multi-touch attribution is given by KISS Metrics.

Omniture is a common paid web analytics tool that can have a steep learning curve, offering some useful tips for generating helpful SEO reports.

Supplementary SEO considerations

For certain enterprises, that is basically everything you need to know about SEO to get the technical elements of SEO right, understand the keywords you want to hit, and provide a plan to have the pages of your site connected and exchanged. However, there are certain special situations and forms of company that need to be associated with various types of search. A few forms of search environments involving complex approaches include:

 

Foreign SEO- Diverse approaches to rating sites in various countries and in different languages have a variety of advantages and trade-offs. If you’re trying to reach consumers in a number of foreign markets, Aleyda Solis has an excellent guide to international SEO best practices, and Google even provides some tips and best practices in its own guide.

Local SEO: Having local rankings for various combinations of {your location} + {your service} (e.g. “Boston pizza shops”) is really the most important organic web traffic possible for small businesses and franchisees. Although it helps with localized rankings to get ties and shares, do keyword analysis, and ensure the website does not have technological difficulties, there is a different collection of ranking factors that local businesses should be mindful of. Matthew Barby has an outstanding guide on the subject.

App Store Search Engines-If you have an app, either as the main product offering for your business, or as a way to enable smartphone customers to connect with your business, it may be incredibly useful to have your app featured in searches on multiple app stores. Many outstanding articles on the subject have been published by Justin Briggs and Stephanie Beadell.

And now what?

So if you have come this far, you should know a lot of details on how websites are ranked by search engines and how you can put your own website and organization to attract more search results from search engines such as Google. Next, what do you do?

 

Only prioritize. No site does a flawless job of performing search engine optimization against any single feature. Think of the stuff you do well, have budget and money for, and that will provide the highest return for your investment to your business-this will be slightly different for any organization and site at least.

 

If you’re great at content development and marketing, decide which keywords to pursue and concentrate your energies there.

 

Focus on making the technological SEO correct if you have a broad and complicated platform (or hire someone who can).

 

If you’re a small business who will benefit from a very clear geo-focused score, but not much else, improve your local SEO efforts (and then maybe focus on other marketing efforts once you start to see diminishing returns from your efforts there).

 

Do note that the end aim is to get more visibility and traffic for your company or the quality on your site for every search engine optimization attempts. Look for opportunities to help your organization and website with search engine traffic: don’t just run after the new SEO buzzwords or hop any time Google makes a suggestion that might boost your search rankings while harming your overall company

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