SEO for Beginners: Learn The Basics
Search engine optimisation is your key to online success. If you have a website and you’re not getting traffic, then it would be ineffective. On the other hand, if you’re getting lots of traffic but from the wrong people, it’s not impactful.
This is where SEO comes in; it involves optimising your website’s technical aspects and content to ensure you rank higher on search engines. High rankings mean high visibility for your business, which then translates into more sales.
Main Aspects of SEO
There are 3 main components of SEO;
- Technical SEO — this involves optimising your site’s infrastructure so that it can get indexed easily.
- On-page SEO — this is the optimisation of the content on your website to make it easy for crawlers to understand each web page’s context. On-page SEO involves keyword research to identify the phrases your target audience use when looking up your products or services and then including those phrases in your content.
- Off-page SEO — this is mainly promoting your website on other forums and is most effective when the technical and on-page SEO are in check. A good example of off-page SEO is guest blogging,
How Search Engines Work
For SEO to work, it requires various elements to work together in harmony. Think of it as a body that requires different body parts to function fully. Before you learn the basics, you need to know how search engines work.
The process of search engine optimisation involves;
- Crawling — search engine bots scan all aspects of your website, including the data, links, meta descriptions, headings, images, etc.
- Indexing — this is the part where your website is listed on search engines. It may take anywhere from 1 to 10 days.
- Results — All websites are scanned every time a user types a query on search engines, and the ones with the most relevant information are ranked highest.
What are the SEO basics?
Here are the elements you need to work on as soon as you create an SEO strategy.
1. Create Content
Your website has to have content for the search engine bots to crawl. This content should contain keywords so that you can be highly ranked, which is why content creation should be preceded by audience and keyword research.
Who is your target audience? Which phrases do they use to search for your services? Create a detailed buyer persona, look at how your competitors are executing their SEO strategy, and then create content tailored to your audience.
2. Set up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
These are some of the most powerful SEO tools, but most website owners only use them for metrics such as impressions and number of clicks. Google search console allows you to monitor your site and fix issues like security and site speed that may be impacting your rankings.
Sometimes search console places manual actions on your website. These actions are bad news to SEO experts because they are Googles ways of punishing your website by either demoting some web pages or removing your whole website. Different types of manual actions include; keyword stuffing, spammy content, hacked site, and sneaky redirects, etc.
3. Set up Google Analytics
The only way to know whether your SEO strategy is working is through data. Which type of audience is visiting your site? Where is most of your traffic coming from? Which pages are the most visited? Accurate reporting makes it possible to adjust your campaigns and create more targeted ones.
Google Analytics is a free tool that tracks your website traffic and gives you an in-depth report on their behavior. The valuable data you get from the Google Analytics account helps you improve your organic page views.
4. Install and configure an SEO plugin
Improving your SEO manually is a hard task that can take months. You have to look at different aspects of your website, including the readability of the content, meta descriptions, and titles tags.
SEO plugins make the process a lot easier. They analyse your content and give you the results and recommendations on how you can fully optimize your website quickly.
There are some god SEO plugins for WordPress users including Rankmath, Yoast, and our plugin of choice SEOpress.
5. Generate and submit a sitemap
A sitemap is a document that contains the structure and organisation of your site, making it easy for the bots to crawl your website. It’s important to note that Google also ranks your web pages, and the sitemap makes it easier for Google to find them.
6. Create a robot.txt file
Google bot crawls all web pages and then indexes them on search engines. What happens when you have pages that you wouldn’t want to be indexed or those that affect your rankings? You create a robot.txt file!
A robot.txt file is a document that tells Google which pages to crawl and those not to. To make sure that your website has been indexed and that google has only indexed the right pages, check your search console.
7. Optimise Website for Mobile
Google has rolled mobile-first indexing which means Google primarily uses the mobile version of the web-page for ranking and indexing purposes. This means that if your site has only been designed for desktop users, your SEO is adversely affected.
Web users are also very impatient and will leave a site that is difficult to navigate. Make sure your website has a responsive design that accommodates all web users.
Boost Your SEO: Start with the basics
Every building has to start with a foundation, and so does SEO.
You have to lay the foundation of your marketing strategy by making sure all elements of your website have been fully optimised. Each of the above elements has a role to play in making sure your website is highly ranked, but when combined, they are more effective.