Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be a daunting aspect of marketing to get into for those who haven’t heard much about it. In fact, especially for small businesses and startups, SEO success can seem nearly impossible to accomplish. After all, what are all the elements it involves? How does it affect your site? What even is SEO?
These are just a few questions that beginners may be asking themselves. But, there’s no need to fret. Below you’ll find key areas of interest you should be focusing on. This is SEO for beginners!
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What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. But, let’s break it down, what does that even mean? Basically, without getting too technical, it means you are trying to best structure and present your site to please both your audience and search engines.
When you have a site on the web, search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) crawl and index your site. They filter it on a results page by taking into a account numerous factors and how your site relates to the query at hand. For instance, this is why when you search for “cookie recipes” you get results from food blogs. More precise or generalized queries (or, keywords) will change the results that pop up.
The whole idea for optimizing your site is to show up on those key result pages that you want to be associated with. This can involve your products, services, and industry buzzwords, but more on that later.
Did you know that there are different sectors for SEO? It’s true! And, the easiest one to implement is on-page SEO. Put simply, it deals with the front-end experience of your website. This is where those queries, or keywords, we mentioned come into play. Although keyword association is evolving and changing and search intent and Google also adjust, having associated key head terms (large search volume, shorter) and long-tail terms (smaller search volume, longer and broader) with your various pages is still important as a way to help Google understand what your page is about and where they should rank you. However, the research of finding they keywords is just the first step.
Next, it’s important to correlate these keywords with your actual page content. This means properly optimizing your pages Meta Title, Meta Description, and page copy to not only include these keywords but also use them to grab the reader’s attention and create an actionable statement.
Ever since the big algorithm change of RankBrain in 2015, the content on your page means more than ever. This along with links and your brand reputation (trustworthiness) are major criteria that Google and other search engines take into consideration when it comes to ranking your site and pages.
Now, it’s time for the second sector of SEO – the technical side. This has to do with the backend of the workings of your site and how it actually talks to the search engine crawler bot. Broken pages, bad links, wrong href tags, rendering and compression issues are all things that you need to take into account.
Usually, getting a crawl simulator tool (a crawler bot that mimics search engines) can help you find any issues and understand what is needed to fix them. This is usually a pretty in-depth aspect of SEO, so don’t be surprised if you don’t understand something or need help from a developer.
Lastly, in order to continue to grow for SEO you have to understand the metrics and data involved. These help you categorize what is working and what isn’t that way you can adjust as necessary and change strategy if needed. Using tools such as Google Analytics helps to see what is driving organic (search engine) traffic while others like Google Search Console help see keywords bringing in traffic and page positions so you know where you land.
Here are more metrics you should measure:
- Conversion Rate
- Keyword Position
- Page Rank
- Tracked Keywords
- Bounce Rate
These topics are just the beginning. In fact, SEO as a whole goes well beyond anything we have discussed here. However, it is a great start to your journey of understanding how to better market yourself to one of the best outlets out there. Learn more about how Wave Interactive uses SEO best practices to take your site to the next level!