The buzzing term of ‘SEO’ is something that even a child would be familiar with these days. So, what is it actually? Let’s dwell into the details without wasting time:
What is Search Engine Optimization?
In a layman language, Search engine optimization (or commonly known as SEO), is used to optimize web pages both for users and search engines bots. The properly optimized web pages have better indexing in search engines and gain more chances to get better search engine rankings which lead their websites to the qualified traffic.
Just wait a minute!
When it comes to SEO there is a misconception that SEO is all about building backlinks, I or nobody never says that building links are not important, it’s still included in 200 primary Google ranking factors.
But what if I say that, drive a car without engine or go on top of the building without using stairs……. Not making sense obviously! These two scenarios are not possible.
Fundamental Phases of Search Engine Optimization:
As I mentioned earlier, link building is still an important part of SEO but what is the other one? Let me tell you, when it comes to search engine optimization there are two important phases:
- On-Page or Onsite-SEO
- Off-Page or Off-site SEO
Before diving further into these two phases, I just want to tell you about the hype which was created in the last few years. There has been a gossip on many digital marketing forums and blogs that SEO is dead. Means there is no future of SEO.
Let’s check this out:
On May 9 2016, Jayson Demers shared about SEO industry’s worth on one of the most authority and well-liked blog ‘Searchengineland. According to this post, search engine optimization industry is worth $65 billion.
The prediction is made that SEO industry will continue to grow to around $72 billion by 2018 and $79 billion by 2020.
Fascinating stats, yes these are!
Note: I will talk more about SEO industry’s worth and future scope in detail in another specific post.
With this post, I want to cover as much as I can on the basics of SEO for my friends who are just about to enter the lucrative world of Internet marketing or Digital marketing.
So, I am not going to complicate this post by sharing so many tools that might get you perplexed at this initial stage. I have made hard efforts to make things enough simple, so you can easily understand how to do search engine optimization if you are a beginner.
Coming back to the fundamentals of SEO with elaborated steps.
Step by Step Onsite-SEO Process:
Let’s first we accept that most of the search engine optimization is going to happen on your website. Right now, forget if you have read anywhere that link building will do miracles for you. And you will get ranking only with the help of link building.
Putting double effort in your offsite-SEO is not a good deal and expected results are not much effective.
Let me share one real world example with you guys:
Last year, I worked on an ecommerce website that sells jackets. The site was running with an ordinary design and also compromising on very basics things. Anyway to be succinct, my job was to perform On-site for that website.
I did complete On-site SEO and fixed all major issues (whatever we agreed in that job scope within a limited budget.)
Below I am sharing a few screenshots with you guys to explain why I am saying that on-site SEO plays more important role in many cases.
Here is another screenshot from ahrefs database:
So, above is the only one example to prove that on-site SEO alone works like a charm in many cases. By this, it doesn’t mean that you always expect the same results with only on-site SEO. But the first rule of good SEO is to do meticulous on-page optimization.
There are some basic elements of on-page optimization which we need to keep in mind.
- Thorough Keyword Research:
Here is the free tool for you:
Keyword research is the very first step for any online business. If you are not 100% confident what keywords you are going to place on your on-site copy:
Simply go to Google’s keyword planner and enter some head terms of your business and it will show you the possible relevant keywords for your business.
Another good place to find relevant and very useful keywords are “Google suggestions”. I rate these keywords very high because they are generated by an algorithm which means Google gives them more preference if we utilize them in a right manner.
There are many other free options available for keyword research like Google trends, Keywordtool.io etc.
But we are focusing the best one which is easy to use without any complications.
- Keep URLs SEO Friendly:
Google’s most well-known public speaker stated in an interview that URLs around three, four or five words are perfectly fine.
So always try to make:
Short, Clean and Clear URLs
Quick Tip: Avoid URLs which are long and have hyphens, dashes and symbols.
So, be habitual of making short and SEO friendly URLs and utilize your main keywords therein.
- Optimizing Title Tags:
First, let me share with you a small change that was made by Google in the month of May 2016.
Google experimented long title and description in search results which are widely discussed on some high authority blogs like Moz, Searchenginejournal and Searchengineland.
But wait! don’t take it as a serious experiment as there is no official announcement by Google about it.
So, anything between 60-65 characters is good enough to use as your title tag.
Quick Tip: Try to utilize your main keyword at the start of your title tag.
Note: Google gives more importance to the websites which are using their targeted keywords in their title tags.
- Optimizing Meta Description:
Each page of your website has a unique description which should be consisting of 135 to 160 characters’ limit.
Here’s the perfect way to write an optimized description:
The page description should have the targeted keyword.
It should incorporate a very attractive call to action to increase your CTR (click through rate).
It should explain about the content concisely.
Last but not the least, it should not be keyword stuffed.
- Optimizing Images:
Using images on the website is a common practice and if you are running a blog that has a high-quality content, then chances are that you are using images in your blog posts consistently.
Research shows that humans love to read visual content. Moreover, images help in search engine optimization a lot.
So, try to add meaningful Alt tags in your images to optimize them properly and get maximum benefit from search engines.
The above are the most important and basic elements of on-site SEO to get better results in a search engine that everyone must follow.
Now, I’m going to share sharing one Google chrome extension with you guys from which you may check your metas in 1 click without spending much time.
You are done with On-site search engine optimization of your site. But that is not the end!
SEO is a dynamic and on-going process that demands consistent workout.
You have to create brand awareness and attract more visitors to your site. And the Off-site search engine optimization serves the same purpose.
Off-site SEO is all about promoting your website. It is about improving search engine rankings by having an extended outreach and more visitors from third party websites.
Note: Those days are gone when off-site SEO was all about the higher number of backlinks. After the Penguin updates, this phase has changed its form a lot.
Now, your stringent focus must be on earning ‘High-quality and relevant backlinks from authority websites’. By writing informative, quality and relevant content, you can acquire such links.
Let’s dive into off-site SEO strategies that you need to take a start with:
- Guest Posting:
Guest Posting (or commonly known as ‘Guest Blogging’) is one of the most genuine ways to acquire natural and high-quality backlinks to your site. Writing a tremendous piece of content (related to your niche) and posting it to a high-authority blog as a guest blogger is the greatest tactic to generate authentic backlinks.
People love to have information!
That is where guest posts come into action and give Search Engine Optimizers a chance to leg up on their competitors. Pay heed to how tos, tutorials, whys and list based posts for an incredible outreach.
Quick Tip: In order to grab high-quality websites with guest posting opportunities, use SEO footprint “Write for Us” and you will instantly have such authority websites in the result.
- Blog Commenting:
Have you seen the pretty clear ‘Comments’ section beneath every blog post?
Why does every blog post ask for comments from readers? Because it is this blog commenting that is one of the fastest ways to gain credible links to your website.
What you have to do in this regard is just to find a number of blogs (obviously with credible background) that are ‘Do-follow’.
A do-follow blog is the one that enables a user to leave a comment alongside a link to his/her website. This link is crawled by search engines and helps them in pointing to your own website.
The end result is an authentic and credible link pointing to your site means an authority vote in your favor.
Quick Tip: Prepare a list of relevant and authority blogs where you can post comments. Use SEO footprint “Post your comment here” to have these blogs.
A bit similar to Blog Commenting is getting proficiently involved with relevant Forums. The forum posting is a way to build your reputation as an authority figure in the specific niche.
Remember, you have to figure out the ‘Forums Relevant To Your Niche’.
Obviously, working on a watch related website, if you go to the forums on Gardening, imagine what you will be getting in return. Totally irrelevant backlinks to your site!
A forum is an online community (for a particular niche) that has various discussion boards where people from different regions take part. Being a member of such forums and replying to different threads, questions and offering advice will help you build your online reputation.
Try to be active on Do-follow forums that allow you to include a link to your site with signature. This enables search engines to crawl your site.
Quick Tip: Use SEO footprint “Powered by PhpBB” or “Powered by Vbulletin” in order to find out relevant and authority forums.
Check out this link http://www.boardreader.com/and this will be a handy website for you to find out good forums.
And for further ease, visit the website http://www.dropmylink.com/ to have more forums and blog commenting sites to kickstart your off-site SEO.
So, you are well-versed with the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization. But what you really need to realize is the fact that SEO is for every old or new website. It is not a one-off game. Rather, it is an on-going process that must be steadily performed and monitored.