Beginner’s Guide: Getting Started With SEO
The process can seem overwhelming when you're beginning an SEO (search engine optimization) campaign for the first time. There's a plethora of content available, and sometimes, you're unsure where to start. We understand, so we've compiled a guide strictly for beginners.
In this article, we make a point to explain the digital marketing jargon and vocabulary. In addition, we present the steps of implementing an SEO campaign in chronological order. Feel free to use this article as a reference for the coming months, as each step will be critical to the next.
Before we get into how to perform an SEO campaign, let's look at a few things you need to understand about SEO, like Google's algorithm and indexing.
After reading this, if you still don't feel ready or capable of handling an SEO on your own, consider hiring an SEO agency.
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What Is SEO?
SEO is the process of improving a website's visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERP). The higher your website appears on SERPs; the more likely people are to click on your result, which will eventually lead to increased traffic to your website.
How Does Google's Algorithm Work?
Google's algorithm is a set of rules that Google uses to determine the placement of websites on SERPs. Then Google indexes these websites based on how helpful the website is to someone's search query. These rules are constantly changing and updated, making SEO a moving target. However, key factors remain constant over the years, which will be this article's focus.
Determine Your Target Audience
The first step in your SEO campaign will be keyword research, so you must know who your target audience is. You must know their age, gender, interests, location, and the products and services they need and want. Once you have a good handle on that, it'll be easier to determine the keywords they use when searching online.
Tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Moz's Keyword Explorer are great. They'll help you research which keywords your target market uses most often. You can also use them to get an idea of how difficult it will be to rank for specific keywords.
Remember that keyword research is an ongoing process. You won't create a keyword universe (list of niches with sublists of keywords that potential customers are searching for) overnight.
Optimize Your Website for UX
As a general rule of thumb, many of your goals will be achieved and problems solved if you work to improve your user experience (UX). That's the case with SEO as well. Google's algorithm ranks user-friendly websites over those that are slow and difficult to use. That means if your website isn't user-friendly, you're not going to rank as high as possible.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your website is optimized for UX:
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. In other words, ensure it looks good and functions properly on all devices.
- Use easy-to-read fonts and colors that work well together.
- Use short, descriptive titles and meta descriptions.
- Have a clear hierarchy on your website so users know where they are and what they should do next.
- Use images, infographics, and videos to break up your text and make your website more visually appealing.
Creating Great Content
If you want people to visit your website, you need to give them a reason. That's where great content comes in. Content is anything on your website that helps users answer their questions or solve their problems. It can be blog posts, articles, product descriptions, etc.
The main goal of your content should be to educate and inform your users while also helping you rank for specific keywords. To do that, you need content that is:
- Relevant: Your content should be relevant to the keywords you're trying to rank for as well as the needs of your target market.
- Engaging: Your content should be well-written and interesting so people will want to read it.
- Unique: Google values fresh, unique content, so you must ensure your content is different from what's already out there.
- Optimized: Besides being relevant and engaging, your content needs to be properly optimized for SEO. That means using the right keywords, having a good title and meta description, and using images and videos.
Link building is getting others to link to your website. The more high-quality links to your website, the higher you rank in Google's algorithm. Link building is a bit of an art and a science, but there are a few things you can do to get started:
- Create great content that other people want to link to their articles or websites.
- Reach out to other website owners and let them know when you've published something new.
- Guest blog on other websites and include a link back to your website in your author bio.
- Add social sharing buttons to your website so people can easily share your content on their social media profiles.
Monitoring Your Progress
The final step in getting started with SEO is monitoring your progress. It would be best if you track your ranking for specific keywords and the amount of traffic you're getting from organic searches. Google Analytics is a great free tool that you can use to track your progress.
SEO is all about consistency, pulling the right levers, and volume. In ultra-competitive industries, you'll have to fight for the top spots of Google with other well-versed websites. We've seen many websites fall because other websites produce better content.
SEO can be a challenge, but it's worth the effort. To rank high in Google's algorithm, you need to create great content that's relevant, engaging, and unique. It would be best if you also build links back to your website. Monitoring your progress is essential to track your ranking for specific keywords and the amount of traffic you're getting from organic searches.
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