SEO

There is no quickest strategy or magic pill! The way to learn SEO that you can do is to jump in and get started right away. Step by step. DAY BY DAY

SEO is a marketing program in the form of a long-term investment. So, if you want fast and measurable results, the solution you can choose is promotion through paid advertisement.

Meanwhile, SEO results will be visible within months, even years, when you start today.

However, organic traffic generated by SEO; often better quality with high conversion rates. Because, you are likely to be linked to more relevant search results.

SEO lets you meet the right people. According to the keywords you are optimizing for.

That is also the reason why most online marketers still want to invest in SEO strategies. And through this article, you will be helped to understand the important stages in implementing SEO. Both in terms of technical and non-technical.

I will try to organize it into steps that are effective, structured and easy to understand. So you can learn SEO faster; of course in accordance with the latest SEO industry standards. In accordance with the latest algorithm updates.

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Checklist

1. Basic SEO Concepts: Efforts to know SEO deeper..
2. Keyword Research: How to determine the right keywords for SEO…
3. On-Page SEO: The process of optimizing web pages for SEO
  • Technical SEO: Troubleshooting common technical SEO problems and how to solve them
  • Content SEO: Understanding the general standards of SEO Friendly content
  • Site Structure: Developing information architecture & Internal Link Building
  • Site Design: Layouts and concepts that support SEO
4. Off-Page SEO: Get to know backlink building strategies to build authority
5. Local SEO: Optimization strategies to dominate local searches
6. SEO Analytics: How to measure SEO progress
7. SEO Plus: Factors to enhance SEO strategy

Basic SEO Concepts

In the process of learning SEO, you must really understand the basic concepts of SEO itself. Deeply understand the history of SEO and why it's important to you. The bottom line is, you have to build a love for anything related to SEO.

You are going through a long journey. Waste of your time, energy and money. And it will feel a little lighter, when you know the benefits and what you want to achieve in the future through SEO.

Not just understanding that; SEO is the best way to optimize a website to get the best ranking in search engines. But, how does SEO bring good impact to your goals.

The top ranking in the Google search engine will have an impact on the high amount of traffic. You get this for free. In fact, the top 1 position in the Google search engine, dominates the click rate more. Up to 10 times when compared to top 2, let alone 3 and so on.

The problem is, Google never publishes the factors they use to rank. So, SEO techniques are actually more on assumptions from the various experiences of the SEO actors themselves.

As a cornerstone, Google focuses on improving a good user experience. So whatever you do in SEO, you have to think the same way Google think.

For more in-depth introduction to SEO, read SEO: Definition, Types, Techniques, How it Works, and Its Benefits

Keyword Research

The basic idea of ​​SEO, starting from the need for businesses/people to appear in search engines when users type phrases in search engines.

So, determining keyword (keywords) is the main thing you should do. What keywords do you want people to find your site on?

Keyword research is actually an attempt to read people's minds when using search engines. A way to identify terms people use. Then, these keywords are then optimized to rank in search engines. Especially Google.

Sounds simple? Let's take a deeper look! If I had an app company, I would want it to appear when people search for “app” in a search engine. And maybe people will use the Google search box and type in the word “buy app”.

If that is the case, I wouldn't have to do any research at all. Yes, right?

Keyword Research

Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are many factors to consider. You need to understand in depth anything related to the keywords you want to optimize. Here is an overview of these important factors;

  • Search Volume – The first point is the estimated number of searches. It's about how many people search for a particular keyword. What are you ranking for if you're on keywords that no one ever uses at all. Your website will be deserted! So you need keywords that a lot of people use in search engines. The bigger the target audience you want to reach, the better. However, also take into account the level of difficulty. This will be discussed in point 3 below.
  • Relevance – Point 2 is about the relevance of these keywords to your business. This is related to search intent. Part of the way you read users' minds. If you are selling clothes online, then you want to meet people who are looking to buy clothes. If you publish a tutorial article on making clothes, then you should meet with seekers who have the intention of learning to make clothes, if you create review content for branded clothes, then you should meet interested people with related information. So, the concept is simple.
  • Competition – Anything that has business value, it definitely requires a budget to invest. Even so in the SEO strategy. You need to weigh the potential costs and the likelihood of success. If your keyword is related to "selling clothes online" that means, you are competing with similar sites. You need to know the strength of your competitors in order to know how much it costs.
Keyword research, should include; who is your target market and how do they find it. Don't go far before you understand who your prospects are. Thinking about this is the main stage of learning SEO.

On-page SEO

At this point, you should already know your target keyword list. Keywords that you want to rank in search engines. Next, is about how you structure your web pages according to those keywords.

On-page Optimization (AKA on-page SEO) refers to all the actions that can be performed directly on the website. Of course with the aim of getting a better rating.

Examples include steps to optimize content or set meta descriptions and title tags. On the other hand,  off-page SEO refers to links and signals from external factors or outside the site. 

Prerequisites for On-page Optimization

Optimizing On-page SEO to be more effective requires a combination of several key factors. At least, there are two things that must exist, if you want to improve performance in a structured way. It is routine analysis and monitoring. 

If this process isn't goal-directed and isn't built on a detailed assessment, particularly the underlying problem, you'll walk away from success.

In extreme conditions, optimization actions that are not based on a solid, evidence-based plan can have disastrous effects. That means, it will be the opposite of what you expect.

Obviously, it has the potential to damage the stability of the keyword rankings and lead to a decrease in the conversion rate.

On-page Optimization Elements

There is no universally recognized standard workflow for page optimization. However, the analysis and implementation steps should be as comprehensive as possible, to ensure that every opportunity is exploited to improve search engine rankings (or other KPIs).

Even if there isn't a simple step-by-step guide to improve the page aspects of a website, the following list attempts to cover most of the most common elements, sorted into four main areas:

1. Technical SEO Optimization

There are three main components in Technical SEO, these need attention in your efforts to optimize your website.

The essence of Technical SEO is to make sure your website is accessible to both search engines and users;

  1. Server speed: Because website loading speed is important, which is used as a ranking factor by search engines, server response time speed is a part of technical SEO that needs attention.
  2. Source code: Consider minimizing the use of Source Code. Because this contributes to the improvement of website performance. Redundant functions or pieces of code can often be removed or other elements can be combined to make it easier for Googlebot to index the site.
  3. IP Address: If you are using shared hosting , it means that you are sharing an IP address with other sites. If you are then in a bad environment, you will be influenced by it. Ideally, having a unique IP address for each web project will ensure your site is secure.

If you are a beginner in learning SEO and don't really understand the IP Address part, you should make sure it is fulfilled from your hosting service.

2. SEO Content

Learning SEO cannot be separated from the content production process that is optimized for SEO itself. Content, in context, does not simply refer to elements that are seen by humans, or that appear on the screen. Such as text, videos and images. It also includes all elements related to what users and search engines see. The visible and the invisible. Like alt-tags or meta information.

  1. Text: In the outdated SEO strategy, SEO article optimization is based on keyword density. This model approach had to be abandoned. It is replaced by term weighting. Some use tools such as WDF*IDF and – at an advanced level – apply cluster topic analysis to evidentiary terms and relevant terms.

    In the text optimization process it should be, not only to create articles containing keywords, but also to cover the combination of terms in the best possible way.

    You must understand how to create content that is able to describe the topic in the most accurate and holistic way. So, content optimization is not only aimed at meeting SEO needs. But also your users.
  2. Structural Text elements: This includes the use of paragraphs or bullet-point lists, heading tags H1, H2, H3 etc., bold or italics in text elements or words.
  3. Graphics: Images from SEO perspective are important elements. Not just a supporter. That means, it also needs to be optimized for SEO.

    Images can help increase content relevance. A well-optimized image can help increase ranking potential.

    At the same time, images can also improve the aesthetics of the website appearance to be more attractive. An attractive image gallery can also increase the time users spend on web pages. Image filenames are part of image optimization.
  4. Video: What applies to images and text, it also applies to videos. If you use video media on your web page, make sure it is compliant with the latest SEO standards.
  5. Meta-tags: Meta-tags or meta titles, are relevant elements for ranking, and  meta descriptions, as indirect factors that affect CTR (Click-Through Rate) in search engine results pages.

3. Internal links and structure

Internal links have many functions. Primarily, it is a tool to guide users and search engine bots through the pages of your website.

There are 5 things that need to be considered in building an internal link structure. Among others are;

  1. Logical structure and crawl depth: The point here is about how you organize your navigation menus. Ensure that the website hierarchy contains no more than four levels. The fewer levels created, the faster the bot can reach and crawl all sub-pages.
  2. Internal links: Internal link building techniques, determine how link juice is managed and distributed around the website. It can also help increase the relevance of sub-pages regarding certain keywords. A good sitemap is one of the most important foundations of onpage SEO, and it is highly relevant, both to users trying to navigate the website and search engine crawlers.
  3. Canonization: It's a way to avoid duplicate content. This step includes proper use of the existing canonical tag and/or assigning the page with the noindex attribute.
  4. URL Structure: This aspect is setting the URL to make it more SEO friendly.
  5. Focus: Pages that do not contain highly useful content and could be considered meaningless for Google's index, should be tagged with the "noindex" robots metatag.

4. Design

The main factor in web design for SEO is usability focused. This means that you only display the essentials that are useful. You have to minimize distractions, including things that can increase the load on the website thereby increasing page loading time. Some of the important things in SEO Friendly web design today, they are;

  • Mobile optimization: This means adapting the web version of desktop content, so that it can be easily accessed and viewed on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablet computers.
  • File size: Images or graphics that are too large can drastically increase page load time. As part of Onpage SEO optimization, make sure to use the smallest possible file size.
  • Call to Action: Certain page elements should be used to stimulate user action by encouraging interaction with the website. 

On-Page SEO is the foundation of your overall SEO building whuch you need to perfect and or at least, fulfill the vital points.

Learn in depth about OnPage SEO here: What is On-Page SEO? Definition, Benefits, and Ways of Optimization

Off-Page SEO

The opposite of On-page SEO, how to optimize Off Page SEO seems to be out of your control. These are signals that occur outside your site and are considered by search engines like Google, to determine rankings.

Off Page SEO is a term that refers to activities or efforts to meet elements outside your site to affect rankings.

The most important signal taken into account is referral links from other sites pointing to yours. In SEO, these are called backlinks! Read; What are Backlinks.

Not only backlinks, Brand Mention or people mentioning your business brand outside your site will also be a signal that is valued by search engines.

In essence, Off Page SEO is a strategy to make your site look popular, authoritative and trustworthy. Through promotions that allow you to get backlinks and brand mentions from sites or platforms out there.

Google Senior Search Quality Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev, explains that, links are one of the most important Google ranking factors. 

Brand Mentions are also confirmed as the type of link that counts. However, when you find out, it would be better to contact the website owner to ask them to convert it to a backlink.

Learning Off Page SEO, is a long and endless journey. You have to keep triggering those signals to happen. Both in quality and quantity.

I have summarized what is Off Page SEO, here: What is Off-Page SEO? Definition, Goals, and 7 Ways of Optimization

Local SEO

Local SEO is part of a marketing strategy that needs to be touched. It's possible for any kind of business today. It is even possible, if you're targeting a global market.

Local SEO has been getting serious about since Google launched the Pigeon Algorithm. It serves to localize the ranking of a particular keyword, based on the nearest location.

As a simple illustration, you have a restaurant business in Ikeja Lagos Nigeria, for example, when people type in the keyword the closest restaurant, Google will rank the restaurant around the user.

If a user searches around Ikeja Lagos, then your restaurant has the potential to rank better. However, if the user's location is in Oshodi, automatically your restaurant will not appear. But it is the restaurant in Oshodi area that have the potential to emerge.

Local SEO also includes ranking local businesses on Google Maps.

SEO Analytics

Well, assuming, you've done a long series of required items of SEO work. In your opinion, it has been very well done. The question is, what are the success indicators of your efforts?

At first glance this question seems to have an easy answer. You simply look at the search results page, type in your target keyword, if it ranks it means it worked!

You need to know, for a well-optimized page, you don't just rank for the keywords you focus on. Some of you will be promoted by Google on keywords it deems relevant to its users. These are called organic keywords.

If you don't know that. Then it is impossible for you to look at the factors as a whole; success and failure of your work.

You need to know for sure;

  • The condition of your site in the eyes of search engine bots. Covers crawling issues, and valid and invalid settings. How healthy is your site
  • How users tend to behave when accessing your site. Are they satisfied or just a few seconds on the page and then gone.
  • Number of visits and where they come from. It includes the tools used and through what keywords your site was found.
  • Estimated number of links and where they are coming from. Some may be SPAM which can hurt rankings. Where you should use the disavow function (deny link)
  • And, ah.. so much more!

There are several important tools you need to use to measure SEO success metrics. It also functions as a tool to identify website problems for regular repairs.

Some premium SEO tools, may require investment costs. However, the good news is that Google provides a free version of the tool. Google Search Console is a must for all SEOs.

Monitor your website using Google Analytics.

Conclusion

Well, that's the SEO guide for beginners that you need to know. 

In the journey of learning SEO, you may experience difficulties. Desire to learn and flying hours, allowing you to apply each process to be more effective and better.

There is no exact science in SEO. Whatever instructions you read on this page, whatever is out there; are assumptions based on the experience and perspective of each actor.

The actual ranking factor, no one knows. Google keeps it a secret! From then uptill now.

John | Author

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