You’ve heard the term “SEO” or “search engine optimization” but you’re not sure about what is search engine optimization, what are the SEO Basics, how it works and why does it matter.
So, you don’t need to worry about that because, in this article, you’ll learn the complete SEO basics from what is it, why it is important and how to get results from the latest SEO techniques.
This guide will give WordPress beginners a basic overview of what is search engine optimization or WordPress SEO basics to help your website get found online.
What is search engine optimization?
According to Wikipedia, SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results”
Here’s my go at it:
SEO (search engine optimization) is a process of optimizing the content of your blog or website so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.
How SEO Really Works?
Lots of marketers make the mistake because they see SEO only as a source of free traffic. It’s true, free traffic is the end result, but it’s not the complete truth.
The real purpose of SEO (search engine optimization) is to help people who are looking for a specific solution and they find you. To do that, you have to match the content on your website to what people are trying to find.
You have to work hard on your article and make sure your goals match the goals of your visitors, in order to make Google very likely to include your article as one of the top results whenever someone searches for that keyword.
Here’s is an example of a keyword “directory submission sites list”, I put on Google search bar and my website appears on the first page of search results.
Now get back to SEO basics! Let go to the actual terms and strategies for SEO that will help you to get more traffic from search engine.
What are the main terms of the Search Engine Optimization?
For simplicity though search engine optimization can be broken down into 2 main terms:
1. On Page SEO
On-page SEO is everything on your website that you can directly control and change. Because of this, on-page is always a great place to begin. When thinking about On-page SEO, it’s helpful to think through activities that have the highest “SEO Return on Investment (ROI).”
There are various factors of On-page SEO that help you to increase your search engine ranking.
- Keyword Research
- Title Tag
- Meta Description
- URL structure
- Keyword Density
- Internal Links
Keywords are like a compass for your SEO ranking: they tell you where to go and whether or not you’re making progress.
Selecting the right keywords can lead to massive organic traffic to your site when visitors are searching for the related content. Your keyword selection should be done in such a way that it can generate a targeted amount of traffic to your website and that web traffic converts into paying customers.
For example, if your website is about the latest bikes, cars and the latest automobiles etc. and your targeted keyword is bike spare parts, then you will not get success. The reason is when people come to your website while searching for bike spare parts, they will find this website is not related to what they are searching for.
So, you need to choose your keywords before starting to write.
Focus Keyword Phrases
While selecting your keywords you should focus on the specific keywords instead of focusing on broad keywords because they can drive a huge amount of traffic to your site. For example, if you are using a broad keyword like “luxury hotels” it’s not going to work due to high competition for that keyword. Broad keywords are useful for those who want to target customer worldwide. But if your business is located in a specific area then you should use specific keywords like “Newyork luxury hotels” that can attract your targeted customers.
There are a variety of ways you can do your keyword research effectively:
- Using keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, SEMrush and Searchmetrics Keyword Analysis tool to find popular keywords and phrases that are less competitive.
- Analyzing your website analytics to find out which keywords are already generating traffic and sales. You can use this report to find new, related keywords, or to build additional content based on them.
- Check your competitors’ top-ranking pages to determine which keywords they’re already ranking.
- Use long-tail keywords with your main keywords because they are less competitive and have better the chance to ranking on them.
Title tags: Write a unique title for every page and post that help the users and search engine to understand what the content is about. Use your main keyword in the title of the page. Keep your title descriptive and short i.e., limit the length of title to maximum 60 characters.
Here are the best practices for implementing your title tags:
- Length 40-60 characters – anything longer will get cut off in the search engine results page.
- Include the primary keyword for the page at the beginning of the Title Tag.
- Use a unique title tag for each page – don’t duplicate.
Meta descriptions: Meta description is what the user will see in the search engine result page. You should write it in such a manner that include relevant keywords for your content as well as your focus keyword. A well-written meta description can create a high click-through rate as well as chances of conversion can also increase.
URL structure: It’s best to include your keyword in the URL of your page whenever possible. Your URL should be short, easily readable for better user experience.
Headings: Headings of your articles play an important role to let search engines know what is important within your content or what your content is about. Make sure to include your focus keyword in the H1 tag which is followed by other heading styles (H2, H3, etc.) in a subsequent manner.
Images: Images help improve your site SEO so you should include at least one image in your content, and include Alt Text and Descriptions for your images. It can also be beneficial to name the file of your image as your keyword when people find your site while searching on Google Images.
Content & length: You probably hear that content is the king for website success. Your content should be original, well-written and provide the information on the exact topic of your blog. Always try to write content that can solve a user’s problem. The user will never get bored and will not leave your site if they found enticing.
Keywords within content: Keywords should be included in your content; especially in the title, header and sub-headers, introduction paragraph, and conclusion paragraph. It helps search engines to know what your content is about. But you should avoid the use of excessively repeating and in an irregular manner. Google will consider it as keyword stuffing and your site being banned from search engines.
Try to keep your keyword density around 1-1.5%. You can use LSI keywords instead of repeating your focused keyword that will increase the chances of better search results.
Internal links: Links are maybe the most important part of SEO basics. The more internal links included in your article, the higher your web pages will rank. Internal linking to other pages of your site will strengthen the keywords and tell the search engines to determine where to rank a particular keyword.
Here are some things you need to know about internal linking:
- Links within content are more effective than links in a sidebar or footer.
- Internal links can help to reduce the bounce rate of your website and the user spends more time on your site.
- Using internal linking can benefit the user experience and enhances your SEO.
2. Off Page SEO
Off-page SEO refers to all the things that can be used to improve the position of a website in the search engine results page (SERPs). Many people relate off-page SEO to link building but it is not only that. In general, off Page SEO has to do with promotion methods – beyond website design –to rank higher in the search results.
Unlike On- page SEO, Off-page SEO refers to activities outside the boundaries of the web page. The most important are:
- Link Building
- Social Media
- Social bookmarking
We will look at these in detail below but first, let me explain the importance and benefits of off-page SEO.
Why is Off-Page SEO important?
Search engines always try to find a way to return the best results to the searcher. To do that, they take into account the On-site SEO basics and its factors (described above), some other quality factors and off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO is a technique that you perform OFF to your website to rank high in search results. With Off-page optimization, you can increase online presence and visibility among your targeted audience as well as targeted keyword ranking.
While learning SEO basics, you’ve probably heard about link building. Link building is the most popular Off-Page SEO method. Basically, by building external links to your website, you can bypass your competitors and rank higher. For example, if someone likes this article and link it to his/her website or blog as a reference, then this is like telling search engines that this page has good information.
Over the years’ website owners were trying to build links to their websites so that they rank higher and they ‘invented’ a number of ways to increase links.
Here are a few ways you can increase your links:
Social media – Social media is a popular and powerful network (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ etc.)to promote your website in front of a large audience. It is a kind of receiving free traffic to your website just by sharing things on this platform.
Directories – There is the number of directory submission sites on the web. Take the time to submit your website by choosing the right category for submission.
Profile Creation– This is the easiest and effective method to build quality backlinks to your website. You just need to sign up on these Profile creation sites and add your site’s URL in the website section.
Guest Post: Guest posting is a great way to receive quality backlinks to your website. There are blogs that give do follow backlinks and do follow backlinks help improving page rank.
Forums – Many forums allow you to create signatures, in which you can link back to your website. As long as those links are do-followed, they will help with your rankings.
Competition – The easiest way to get links is to see who links to your competition and write them an email telling them the benefits of your website compared to your competition. Roughly, 5% of the websites your email will also add your link.
Dead links – There are billions of links on the web, so expect a good portion of those links to die over time. Websites go down and many of the links pointing to that website are still active. If you email those websites informing them of the dead link, and that your content is similar, there is a good chance they will replace the dead link to one going to your website.
I hope, now you are now aware of most of the SEO basics. As WordPress is a great option to use when setting up a website. By understanding the basics of SEO you have a higher chance of creating a website that is optimized for users that can also rank well in search engines. If you want to share your views about SEO basics, we’d love to hear from you.
More SEO reading
To learn even more about SEO, here are some in-depth articles.
Still, have questions about SEO basics, or did I leave something out? Let’s discuss it in the comments!