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SEO Basics: A Beginner’s Guide To SEO Success

Over time, we have seen significant changes in marketing methods. In years gone by, brands and businesses were using TV, radio, newspapers and magazines for marketing and promoting their businesses. But, right now, brands and businesses have decreased their spendings on these traditional marketing methods in favour of digital marketing.

Digital marketing is a broad concept. It is not a particular marketing tool or a digital channel. It includes SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), SMM (social media marketing), and much more. In this article, we will talk about SEO.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, popularly known as SEO, is an integral part of digital marketing. Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the website’s visibility and rankings on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. An SEO expert doesn’t just focus on increasing rankings – they’ll also make sure the website ranks for relevant and targeted keywords.

By increasing the website visibility and getting better rankings on the SERP (search engine results page) a website can get more and more targeted traffic (in other words the type of people that are relevant to the business). An SEO expert or agency focuses on increasing the quality and quantity of the website traffic.

They need to optimize the website for both search engines as well as users. Optimizing the website only for search engine means user will get poor experience. On the flip side, optimizing the website just for users means search engine bots and crawlers will have difficulty understanding your website.

Why is SEO important?

Whether your online goal is to get more sales, more leads, or even to build a personal brand, SEO can help you. Here are some reasons why you should consider SEO for your business:

1. Drive targeted traffic

One of the best things about search engine optimization is that can help you drive high-quality and well-targeted website traffic. If your business is spending money on marketing channels that drive generic traffic, it’s not worth it. High-intent traffic means better conversions and sales. So instead of targeting a huge audience with less intent, it is advisable to focus on a small but targeted audience.

2. Cost-effective

Through SEO, you can drive high-intent traffic at a low cost. The main cost involved in SEO is hiring an SEO expert or agency. When your website starts ranking on the top of the search engine results page, the search engine will not charge any money, no matter how massive traffic your website is getting. This is how PPC (pay per click) differs from SEO. Under PPC, you will be paying for PPC expert as well as the traffic you get to your website.

3. Organic search is often the primary source of website traffic

No matter what type of business you are into, organic search traffic can boost your business. Do you know, organic search is often the primary source of website traffic? Focusing on SEO can help you increase more traffic from the primary source. If we talk about various search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yandex, etc., Google takes the number one position.

4. Good SEO is also about good user experience

A knowledgeable and skilled SEO expert focuses on providing the best experience to people visiting the website. In the end, that’s what is going to matter the most. Website owners want to get more visibility online and better rankings, but there are very few who understand the importance of delivering quality user experience. When a particular user does not get a good experience on your website, he/she bounces back and goes to another website. This sends a signal to search engines that your website is not good in terms of user experience.

Types of SEO

Search engine optimization can be divided into three different types:

1. On-page SEO

One of the essential processes in SEO is on-page optimization. On-page SEO means the website optimization activities taken within the website. It includes strategies for optimizing individual webpages. A proper on-page SEO helps search engines understand what actually your website is all about.

Here are some On-page SEO activities:

  • Title tag optimization
  • Meta description
  • Keyword research
  • Header tags
  • Content creation
  • Content optimization

2. Off-page SEO

Opposite to on-page SEO, off-page SEO is all about optimization activities taken outside the website. Doing off-page SEO helps the website to build trust and credibility. This SEO type helps search engines see that the website is an ideal search result because it is from a reputable, reliable, and trusted source.

Here are some main off-page SEO activities:

  • Link building
  • Social signals
  • Directory submission
  • Blog submission
  • Blog commenting
  • Infographics submission

3. Technical SEO

No matter how well your on-page and off-page optimization activities are if there is something wrong with technical SEO, your website is likely to face problems with search engine rankings. Technical SEO may seem quite boring, but it is very important. It includes strategies for improving the site’s backend structure and foundation. Technical SEO enhances the readability and provides a better user experience. This will make it easy for search engines to crawl and index the website.

Here are some technical SEO activities:

  • Site speed
  • Sitemap
  • Robots.txt
  • Structured data
  • Site security
  • Mobile-friendliness

Process of SEO

The process of SEO may differ slightly from one business type to another. But, here are some significant steps involved in the process:

  • Audit: Website audit gives a better idea about what are issues with the website. This step includes a technical audit, SEO audit, and content audit.
  • Technical SEO: After knowing the issues the website has, the next step is doing technical SEO. It includes sitemap, crawlability, index status, internal linking, etc.
  • Keyword research: It is the process of finding out relevant, low competitive, and high search volume keywords.
  • Content: Once relevant keywords are found, the next step is focusing on content. The content needs to in-depth and relevant to your business niche.
  • On-page optimization: It includes SEO activities taken within the site. It includes title tag, meta description, header tags, content optimization, etc.
  • Off-page: Off-page SEO includes link building, social signals, blog submission, directory submission, etc.
  • Reporting: This step is about reporting all the SEO tasks undertaken. The SEO report gives an understanding of how well the website’s search visibility has increased.

With the increase in online users, SEO has become an important marketing strategy for businesses nowadays.

About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of www.goselfemployed.co - the UK small business finance blog for the self-employed community. Here she shares simple, straight-forward guides to make self-employment topics like taxes, bookkeeping and banking easy to understand.