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A Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization SEO

Uniworld-Studios-A-Beginners-Guide-to-Search-Engine-Optimization-SEO-2.jpg

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

 

WHAT IS SEO

Search EngineOptimization (SEO) is the utilization of certain practices that improve traffic on a website from organic search results on any search engine, and is the most powerful tool for brands investing in digital marketing.

There are several reasons as to why one should use SEO to enhance their website, first and foremost being that: if used right, it will exponentially increase their visibility on search engines, which will further increase traffic to the said website. Which means that an SEO optimized website will help the target audience in easily finding the website and increase brand awareness. This kind of visibility can even help convert a local business into a global one.

 

HOW IT WORKS

     1. Keywords
The most important tool you need to know about when you’re just starting with SEO is keywords. Keywords, also broadly known as search queries, are the words and phrases that people enter into search engines while looking for information, products or services. Using relevant keywords in your content will increase the chances of your website being found by your target audience, since search engines rank websites on the basis of relevant keywords and good content.

     2. Search Volume, Relevance and Competition
Now that you know what keywords are and their importance, it is essential to practice
keyword research to find out which keywords would be most suited to boost your content. The three aspects around which you need to build your research are: Search Volume, Relevance and Competition. While search volume refers to the number of times a specific keyword was looked up on a search engine within a given time frame, relevance refers to the importance of the keyword in relation to each page on your website. You also need to be aware of how much competition the said keyword has in terms of its popularity among rival/competitor websites, since using a keyword that has very high competition may not increase your visibility in any significant measure.

     3. Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords
There are two types of keywords that one can use to direct traffic to their website or page: short tail keywords (that are words or phrases with no more than 3 words) or long tail keywords (longer phrases that are more specific in their query). To know which kind of keyword is more suitable for you, you need to first pinpoint your priorities or goals in terms of your content. If you only want to increase traffic, using short tail keywords would be most appropriate, whereas using long tail keywords would mean less traffic but a higher conversion rate, as the act of looking up a particularly specific query means that the visitor’s intent to buy your services are stronger. 

 

SEO TOOLS

SEO tools are instruments that present the overall stats of your website in terms of its potential and active success in search engine optimization. Not only do they help you in identifying the visibility and ranking of the page on SERP,  but also guide you on how to improve it by identifying the issues you can work on.

Here are some useful SEO tools (in order of descending ranking) to amp up your SEO game -

1.    Google Search Console

Keyword Research, as mentioned earlier, is one of the most important aspects of integrating SEO into your marketing strategy. Using a free online tool like Google Search Console to assist you in your research for the most suitable keywords would ensure maximum efficiency in terms of time and cost spent on developing your marketing strategy.

2.    UberSuggest

Ubersuggest is well-known among SEO professionals for optimal keyword research, as it provides relevant keywords from various different databases (including its own) to help you craft original and engaging content around it. It is a  feature packed tool with many unique features such as local SEO keywords suggestions and insights on how many links are contained within a website of average ranking.

3.    SEMrush

If you’re looking for an advanced keyword research SEO tool, use Semrush. It provides the user extensive information about relevant keywords, such as their traffic trends, the competitors’ rankings who are using them, and the URLs towards which they’re directing the traffic. Moreover, their features are not just limited to keyword research and cover optimization tools, so you can try out their 14-day trial pack to get started.

4.    Lighthouse

As mentioned, PageSpeed is a determining factor of a user's interest in your website. To make sure that a visitor stays on your page instead of immediately leaving, you can use tools to analyze and enhance your website’s loading speed. Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool launched by Google to evaluate and improve a website’s quality by primarily focusing on the page load time.

5.    Moz

As an application developed to predict your website’s ranking on a search engine’s results page, Moz will provide you with insights on the strength and potency of your domain or webpage, and the steps you can take to improve them. You can also use it to better your understanding of the needs of your audience and fix any technical, harmful issues on your website. 

6.    Pure Oxygen’s Mobile SEO Page Analyzer

These days, smartphones are substantially more popular than laptops or PCs as they are more accessible and affordable. Consequently, there are higher chances of your website being visited on a mobile, so it is vital for your website to be optimized for the same. One can use Mobile SEO Page Analyzer developed by Pure Oxygen Labs to check how adaptable a webpage is to smartphone devices.

 

On-Page SEO Parameters


On Page SEO parameters refer to the various methods through which you can integrate relevant keywords within your content as well other measures you can take to promote visibility of your page within search engine rankings.


Some of the methods through which you can incorporate keywords are:

  1. Alt Tags: Alt Tags are the descriptions of the images that are present on the webpage. Search engines can’t read images while analyzing the content of your site, it would be wise to add relevant keywords to these descriptions. Using alt tags are beneficial in more than one way though, as they also make your website more accessible to visually impaired readers (who may be using text-to-speech tools) as well as explain what the image is supposed to be about when it doesn’t load. 
  1. Meta Description: The small description that appears underneath a result on the search engine page that gives information about the webpage is known as Meta Description. Adding suitable keywords to your meta description would clarify to the visitor whether the page would be able to answer their query or not.
  1. Header Tags: Used to separate the headings from the subheadings, header tags are marked H1 to H6, ranking in order of importance with H1 being the main heading. They are an excellent instrument with which you can include keywords into your content, with the most applicable going into H1 and the least relevant going into H6.

 

  1. Title Tag: The HTML code tag with which you input the title of your webpage is known as the title tag. It is important to use keywords wisely here as the title tag plays an essential role in the webpage’s organic ranking as it is the main title that shows up on a search engine’s result page when someone inputs a related query.


  1. URL Structure: A URL consists of a protocol, domain and subdirectories and a well-structured one would provide both users and the search engines with a clear idea of the content stored in the webpage. Using ‘https’ protocol, keeping the subdirectories to a maximum of one to two, and using relevant keywords within the URL makes the information readable, reliable and more easily accessible for both the users and the search engines.

 

Other ways with which you can boost your webpage are:

  1. Sitemap: Sitemap is a file that contains information about your website such as the number of pages, types of images, videos and other content. Submitting a sitemap to search engines like Google crucially increases the likelihood of higher page rankings as the time taken for the search engine to comb through your website for relevant information is saved substantially. Having a sitemap present on your website also makes it easier for the user to navigate through multiple pages to find the content that they need. 
  1. Page Speed: Page speed refers to the amount of time it takes for a page to load. A good page speed ensures better user experience compared to slower pages, as the latter would lead to visitors turning away and choosing a different, more efficient result. Since there are different factors that determine a page’s loading speed, there are multiple ways in which you can improve the same. For example, compressing the images on your webpage or streamlining the HTML code could hasten the page load time. 
  1. Internal Links: Links leading to different pages on the same website are known as internal links. The greater number of (useful) internal links there are, the more value it adds to the page in terms of search engine rankings.



Off-Page SEO Tools-

Off Page SEO tools refer to the technique of promoting your website using link building, which is a practice of navigating links from other websites and directing them to your own. Having more websites linking back to yours not only leads to an increase in referral traffic, but also improves the credibility of your website and increases the domain authority which would further lead to an improvement in your page ranking.


SEO DON’Ts

There are certain SEO practices that professionals strongly recommend against using, which come under Black Hat SEO practices (as opposed to White Hat SEO practices, the safe and legal methods as listed above). These include:

  1. Keyword Stuffing: While there are many ways to incorporate keywords into your web page, one should be careful not to overuse them in order to unethically manipulate its ranking on the search engine. Keyword stuffing is different from optimized keyword utilization, as with the former, keywords may tend to appear in lists, groups, or simply out of context. Google Penguin is an update released by Google to identify instances of keyword stuffing and restrict the visibility of pages using it. 
  2. Duplicate Content: As the name suggests, duplicate content refers to similar or identical copies of content that are present in more than one page. Search engines prioritize unique, high-quality content, therefore duplicating content across different domains to manipulate rankings is highly advised against. To protect your content from being duplicated, you can add a canonical tag in the website’s code to represent the originality of your content.
  3. Link Manipulation: Adding deceptive links into an application that will direct users to a different target is known as link manipulation.
  4. Sneaky Redirects: Redirecting involves sending a visitor to another URL, and while there are non-malicious redirects programmed for a good reason, sneaky redirects may lead the visitor to spam or even infected malware.

 

Another inadvisable strategy is the usage of no-follow links (outbound links with a rel=“nofollow” HTML tag which indicate the search engine to not follow it). While not exactly illegal, it doesn’t really add any value to the page’s ranking or visibility, as opposed to do-follow links (which significantly improve the page’s credibility and ranking). 

 

CONCLUSION

Remember, the fundamental purpose of optimizing your website for search engines is to increase your visibility and grow your website organically. As discussed, it can be done by employing relevant keywords within various constituents of your website, enhancing the existing structures or working on link-building. All the same, it is just as important to not resort to Black Hat SEO practices that will negatively affect the credibility of your page.

While this beginner’s guide will help you get started on the SEO journey of building your brand, you can always reach out to us for more resources to get a stronger foothold in digital and social media marketing.

We also provide free SEO audit reports that analyze and showcase your current rankings and the ways in which you can improve the same. Feel free to connect with us to improve your brand visibility via SEO.

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