If you own a website and want not only to be found in the Yandex and Google search engines, but also to get to the top of search results, then this article is for you. This material will be a kind of introduction to search engine optimization (SEO) and an overview of mandatory marketing tactics.
What you will learn from this guide to SEO for beginners:
- What is SEO and why is it so important?
- Keyword work
- Optimizing pages: basic principles
- Site architecture and internal linking
- How to combine content marketing and link building?
By the time you’ve finished reading this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of what SEO is, how to apply it, why it makes a difference for your website and business in general, and finally, how to get visible results in the ever-changing SEO environment.
What is SEO and why is it important?
You’ve probably heard of SEO. And if you haven’t heard, you might have just read the definition of the term on Wikipedia. But understanding that SEO is “a set of measures for internal and external optimization to raise the position of the site in the results of search engines for certain user queries” does not really help to solve the problems of your business and website. For example:
- How to optimize your site or your client’s site for search engines?
- How to increase the visibility of your site in organic search results so that users can easily find content?
- How do you know how much time to spend on SEO?
- How can you tell the difference between “good” SEO advice and “bad” or even “harmful” advice?
And what will definitely interest you, as a business owner or employee, is how you can effectively use SEO to drive more relevant traffic to your site, leads, sales, and ultimately, revenue and profits for your business. This is what we want to focus on in our guide.
Why should you pay attention to SEO?
Billions of people search the Internet every day for something. Organic traffic is extremely powerful, not only because it is large in quantitative terms, but also because it consists of specific queries that often contain specific content.
Let’s imagine a situation. For example, you sell DVRs. Would you rather offer your product with a billboard in a certain area of the city so that every car owner in that area would see the advertisement (regardless of whether he needs a DVR or not)? Or to offer the product every time someone types “buy a DVR” into the search bar? More likely the second option, because these users have commercial intent in their query. That is, they literally stand up and say they want to buy what you are offering.
Search and keyword allocation :
The first step in search engine optimization is to properly determine what you are actually optimizing it for. This means identifying the queries people are searching for or the keywords you want your site to rank for in search engines.
Sounds simple enough, right? I want my company to show up in searches when people search for “video recorders,” and maybe when they type “buy video recorder.”
But really, it’s not as simple as it sounds. When determining the keywords you want to promote your site for, there are several key factors to consider:
- Search volume : The first factor to consider is the number of people (if any) searching for that keyword. The more people who type a keyword into a search, the wider the audience you want to reach. Conversely, if no one is searching for the keyword, there is no audience to find your content through search.
- Relevancy : If a certain product or service is frequently searched for, that’s great. But what if that query isn’t completely relevant to your potential customers?
At first, relevance seems obvious: If you sell corporate email marketing automation software, you don’t want to appear for search queries that have nothing to do with your business, such as “pet products.” But beyond that, you need to consider what kind of companies you are selling your product for, what territory, and other equally important factors.
- Competition : In SEO, you must also consider the potential costs and likelihood of success. For SEO, this means understanding the relative competition (and probability of ranking) for specific terms.
First, you need to understand who your potential customers are and what they are likely to be looking for. If you don’t yet understand who your audience is, think about it. This is a good place to start, not only for SEO, but for business in general.
After you answer these questions, you will have an initial “initial list” of possible keywords and domains. This list will help you get additional keyword choices, determine search volume and competition metrics.
Take the list of basic queries that your potential clients and customers use to describe what you do, and start typing them into your keyword prompting tools. For example, Google has the keyword research tool.
Page optimization :
Once you have your keyword list, the next step is to implement targeted keywords into your site content. Each page should focus on the main query or group of queries.
Let’s take a look at a few important basic page elements that are a must if you want to attract targeted traffic to your site:
This tag helps search engines understand the actual meaning of the page, what it’s about, and it also recognizes the queries you want to rank for. And it’s the most effective place to put your keywords. But don’t forget that Yandex and Google still penalize aggressive and manipulative use of keywords.
The Title tag is not the main title of your page. The title you see on the page is usually an H1 (or perhaps an H2) HTML element. The Title tag is what you see at the very top of your browser, and it is populated by the source code of the page in the meta tag:
The length of Title that shows up in Google will vary (it’s calculated based on pixels, not the number of characters), but on average 55-60 characters is the ideal size, as practice shows.
When compiling the Title, remember that this is what the user sees in the search results, what goes into the snippet.
While the Title tag is actually the title of your site in search engine results, the Description (another HTML meta-element that can be updated in the site code but not displayed on the page) is actually an additional advertisement for the site.
Google takes some liberties with what to display in the snippet, so your meta description may not always appear. Instead, Google’s search robot may pull out the piece of content that best fits the page description in its opinion.
But if you can put together an attractive page description that convinces people to click on the link, you can greatly increase traffic to the site. (Remember: appearing in search results is only the first step! You still need searchers to come to the site).
Example Description on Google search engine: “How to make pizza sauce”
Alt Attributes :
The way you mark up your images can affect not only how search engines perceive your page, but also the amount of search traffic generated by searching for images on the site.
The alt attribute is an HTML element that allows you to provide alternative information for an image if the user cannot view it. Your images can break over time (files are deleted, users can’t connect to the site, etc.), so a useful description of the image can be important in terms of usability in general. It also gives you another opportunity – besides content – to help search engines understand what the page is about.
You don’t have to “stuff” Alt with keywords at all. It’s enough not to miss it and try to give a full and accurate description of the image (imagine describing it to someone who can’t see it – that’s what the Alt attribute is really for!). You can read more about ATL and title attributes for images in Yandex Help.
URL structure :
Your site’s URL structure can be important both from a tracking perspective (you can more easily segment data in reports using a segmented logical URL structure) and from the perspective of being able to share a URL page (shorter descriptive URLs are easier to copy and paste and tend to get mistakenly trimmed less often). Again: don’t try to squeeze in as many keywords as possible; create a short, descriptive URL.
Furthermore: if you don’t have to, don’t change your URLs. Even if your URLs aren’t “pretty”, unless you observe that they negatively impact users and business in general, don’t change them so that they are more keyword-oriented for “better SEO”. If you do need to change your URL structure, make sure you use the correct 301 page redirect.
This is a common mistake that companies make when redesigning their sites, and we have a great article on this topic: “Website redesign, or how to keep your ranking in search engines without losing positions and traffic”.
Information architecture describes how you organize your pages. The construction of the site and the linking between pages, can affect the ranking of different content on your site.
The reason for this is that search engines mostly see links as a “vote of confidence” and a means to help you understand what a page is about and how important it is (and also how much it’s worth trusting).
Search engines also take into account the text you use for a link. This text is called anchor text – using descriptive text for a link helps Google and Yandex understand what the page is about. But do not forget that too aggressive use of keywords in anchors threatens the site with sanctions.
Linking from a major media outlet is an indicator that your site may be important to search engines and users, and if you are repeatedly actively linking to a particular page from your site, it is an indicator to search engines that this particular page is very important to the site. In addition, you can say: the pages that get the most links from external resources have the most power to help other pages on your site rank in search results.
This principle refers to a concept called “PageRank“. Let’s look at a brief example. It will help you understand the concept of how link ratio (or the number and quality of links linking to a page) affects the architecture of the site and how you design the linking.
Since search engines still consider the impact of a site’s link mass in their rankings (especially Google’s algorithm is heavily based on links), having a number of quality links to your site is important for attracting search traffic.
You can do the best possible internal SEO work, but if your site is not linked to by other resources, your chances of appearing on the first page of search results are extremely slim.
There are several ways to get links to your site. But as Google become more and more sophisticated every year, many of these ways become risky (even if they are still effective in the short term). If you are new to SEO, then risky and aggressive ways of getting links are not your option.
You won’t know how to properly assess risks and circumvent “traps.” Also, trying to create links specifically to increase search engine rankings will not give any value to the business. And in case search engine algorithms change/update, the site can drastically sag in positions.
A more appropriate way to build link mass is to focus on general marketing approaches, such as creating and promoting useful content that also includes the specific queries you want to rank for.
- Identify and study the audience that will be referring to you.
- Determine what content you can create and how you will promote it.
- Use Keywords.
More ressources :
- Recent Leak Suggests Imminent Arrival of Fed CBDC ‘Digital Dollar’ Amidst Surging Bitcoin and Ethereum Prices
- Amazon Increases Affiliate Commission Rates: How They Compare to Pre-Covid Rates
- TikTok’s Experimentation with Google Links in Search Results
- How to Develop a ChatGPT Alternative : A Step-by-Step Guide
- Why You Should Download PowerPoint from Envato Elements ?