You might feel intimidated when you hear the term SEO. You may think that it only has technicalities and complicated patterns and crazy hard techniques. Before anything else, you must know that even if the industry of search engine optimization is complicated and constantly evolving, you can quickly master the building blocks and see results for yourself!
SEO is the process of pulling your website up to rank higher on search engines by doing techniques such as enhancing your website’s functionality, building authority, and exceptional user experience. The goal is to rank on search engines through organic searches.
This complete guide to SEO is for you regardless of the skill level or knowledge you already have about SEO. Read on to know so much more about SEO!
Keywords: A prerequisite for SEO!
Keywords are extremely important for SEO. It is safe to say that it is impossible to succeed in SEO if you do not have Keywords as your foundation. That being said, make sure to read this prerequisite major article to walk you through everything you need to know about keywords and keyword research. This is extremely important so that you have your keyword list and you know how to use it before your start your SEO!
5 Ws and an H of SEO
You might be having questions in your mind right now. In this section, learn about the 5Ws and an H of SEO. Know the What, Why, Where, When, Who and How of SEO!
What is SEO?
SEO is the technique of driving traffic from natural or organic searches. So everything you do to get optimized, be discovered, drive traffic to your website, show your business and rank high on search engines are SEO techniques.
Optimizing your website, doing keyword research, making great content, making sure you have a speedy website, etc. All these things that you do are SEO techniques. SEO is a way of pulling your website up on search engines and driving traffic to your website through organic searches.
SEO is an extremely popular digital marketing strategy today. It’s effective when done right and it’s free, not to mention you can learn it by yourself and administer it according to your liking.
All it takes is patience, willingness to learn and to never stop learning because you will learn more as you go on this journey, and perseverance. It will not be easy to do the techniques you will find in this post but it is not impossible.
Why is it Important?
Aside from the fact that SEO is taking over the digital marketing field, it has a lot of benefits for your business. From visibility, traffic, conversion, and sales. SEO will be the key to reaching your goals for your business!
SEO helps your website appear on search engines with relevant queries when it is optimized and when the content of your website gives the needs of the searchers may it be about sales, just asking for information, or just plain searching for something.
The higher traffic, the higher chances that the visitors will convert especially if they found exactly what you are looking for on your website.
SEO-> High Ranking->More Traffic ->Higher Conversion Rate ->More Sales -> Website Authority ->∞
SEO is very important, especially for businesses in this digital age. Almost everything is done online, put your business out there and benefit from SEO!
Where Do I Start?
You might be asking right now “Where do I start in this SEO journey?” Well, that’s a good thing to ask. Technically speaking there are a lot of things that you can do to jumpstart your SEO journey.
You can do Keyword Research, start the creation of content, apply On-Page SEO, start building links and study technical SEO ( all will be explained later).
But, aside from all of these, there is one thing that matters the most before starting your SEO journey. You have to do one thing, before doing all these technical steps.
Ask this question and know the answer.
“Do you know what you want to rank for?”
All these steps will be as easy as 123 to do if you have your goals and visions set before you. Before trying to start doing anything, you should set your goal. And this is extremely important so your SEO will have a clear path and will not be all over the place. If you know what you want to rank for, then everything will follow.
You will know your target market, know the right approach, know the proper contents to make, know the keywords used, and so on. So before anything else ask this question to yourself before starting your SEO, then everything else will smoothly follow.
Who Should I ask for Help?
Since not everyone has the energy and time to dig deep into studying SEO and applying it like in any other field there will always be someone who is professional and knows how to do everything exactly. There are a lot of SEO experts out there!
Even when you have the basic bits of knowledge of SEO but you still find yourself still needing more help, say no more. You can always try to reach out to agencies that offer SEO assistance.
Of course, it will not be free, because today nothing is. It will cost you either time, energy, and effort or money.
But regardless if you are willing to pay someone for your SEO or you want to do it yourself, it is still extremely important to study SEO. So that you can communicate to your consultant what you want or you can apply it to your website on your own excellently. Either way, it is a win to study SEO!
When is the Best Time to Start SEO?
The answer is, as early as you can. As early as developing your website, and before publishing it you must start your SEO.
While you are working on your website it is extremely practical to work on your SEO as well. The best time to start your SEO is as early as possible, you can change and adjust as time goes by. But what’s important is before you publish your website, it is already optimized then isn’t it already a huge advantage over any other websites?
But if you already have everything set up and is just starting with SEO now, do not fear! It is never too late, you can still do so much more. In doing SEO there is no late or behind, you can always start whenever, but it will always be best to start as early as you can.
As the famous quote says “Start them young.” Well, start while your website is still young and make it experienced and well-established as time goes by!
Read on to know exactly what you have to do and how to do it right.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Think of search engines as a pool of all the answers to all the questions searchers might ask. Now if a searcher searches for something, the search engines will collect every single answer that is relevant and can provide the needs of the query. The answers can be pictures, articles, snippets, videos, files, or anything that fills the need of the searcher. And then, the search engine will rank them according to several factors.
So search engines look for the answer to the queries of the searchers, and give the most relevant answers as much as possible.
Things that search engines do to work:
This is how crawling works, search engines have this group of web robots or commonly known as “spiders” which crawl into websites. These spiders will look for fresh content that aligns with the query. So the contents are found by the spiders through links.
So here comes the question “Is your website crawlable?” Because the discovering process’ key is to crawl to websites and look for content through URLs. “Crawlable” means that for all the URLs in your website, the web spiders can crawl through and look.
This is the route of the spiders when crawling through websites:
Home Page->Hyperlinks->Search Index for Webpage’s Content
Links matter so much in the crawling stage because damaged links will lead to either not showing in the searches at all or not being in the database of the search engines. Broken links will extremely affect the crawling of the spiders on the website so you should be very careful about it.
There are things that you can do to make sure your site is crawlable and not hidden.
Proper URL – Make your URL as short as possible, but still contains the descriptions of the site and keywords as well. This makes it easy for spiders to identify what type of content your webpage has. It should always show on search results and be easy to copy. This link should be followed by spiders easily. Do all these and your link will be good and crawlable!
How to edit your URL :
- Log into your website account
- From the Dashboard, click the edit icon on the right part of the screen
- Enter your new subdomain and then save the changes
- If the new subdomain name you desire is available you will get a tick where it shows it is updated
- If not you will have to try for a new subdomain
When you click okay, you will see at the bottom of the screen that the link to your website will change. That’s it, you now have your updated URL that is optimized for being crawlable by spiders!
This crawlability tool right here will help you quickly to know if your website is crawlable or not! Just enter your website’s URL on the bar and press enter. It will show you if your site is crawlable or not and which search engines it is crawlable on.
Do this to see and make sure that no issues are blocking spiders to crawl and index your site. Because regardless of how you do everything right if crawling and indexing aren’t smooth for your site, you will still have trouble getting desired results.
If your website is not crawlable, there is no way you will rank high. Your website needs to be indexed and crawled regularly, then and only then will Google be able to rank you high.
Be in the Index! Because unless you are in one, no searcher will be able to find you. Indexing is the next stage of crawling after the spider’s crawl to webpages, contents are checked at the index. This stage is where spiders check for the contents that are the best to give to the searchers. An Index is a huge database of information about websites.
In Indexing, spiders check the contents of pages to see and evaluate what is it all bout. It can be images, videos, blog posts, etc. then stored in the database.
The search index is the digital library, when searchers are searching, they are searching the search index. So whatever is in there are the only things that can be found. Being in the index is the only way to appear on search engines.
Being indexed is highly important. You may have a crawlable website but when it is not indexed, unfortunately, it will not be found by the searchers because the spiders did not find it on the index.
How To Check If My Website Is Indexed :
- Go to Google.
- Type “site:yourwebsite.com” on the search bar.
- There will be 0 results if the page you entered isn’t indexed.
Make sure to get your website indexed by the biggest search engine, Google!
One of the first things you want to do is to know and check if you are indexed. Do it by checking the “Indexability” report here. Find out if your page is indexed, and if not, why. Then you can now fix it to be able to get indexed!
One of the major ways to get indexed that is working is, to submit a site map to Google using Google Search Console. A site map is a file that is basically like a structure of your map. It should contain the information of pages and every content in it that is on your website and should explain how are they all related.
It is extremely important to get indexed because crawlers pull the pages from the index which has the most relevant answers and content for the queries, if you are not in the pool, how are you going to get pulled?
Setting Up Your Website for SEO
When you’re website is set up properly for SEO, it will be so much easier to do the techniques and see results! Here are the things you need to do to set up your website for SEO!
Find A Quality Domain
A domain is a website name. When you are looking for a domain, it means you are looking for your potential website name. Most of the time, most domains are SEO-approved, so if you already have an existing domain you do not have to worry! But if you still do not have one then here are two things you must keep in mind while looking.
Creativity is good but this is not the place to be. Here, the shorter and easier to remember, the better. Do not overstuff your keywords here. The best choice is usually your business name with no additional characters.
Good Domain Names :
Bad Domain Names :
Top-level domains are the ones that are located at the end of the name. The “.com” is the most famous of them all and is the best for business websites. Still varies depending on the type of website you are and the content you produce.
Pick Your Website Platform
There are two types of website platforms, the hosted-platforms, and self-hosted platforms.
Hosted – This type of website platform makes your life so easy! Everything is offered to you, templates, and designs, and lets you edit content without having to deal with codes!
But with WordPress, you can have the best of both worlds! This is mostly the recommended website platform. Because aside from you can edit the open-source code according to your liking, there’s also a huge community of developers who knows the platform’s in and outs. And of the best things is that there are millions of plugins for extending its purposes, including many SEO plugins.
This simply means that if prefer little difficulty, do not exert lots of effort, and have support, a hosted website is the best for you!
Improve the User Experience
We can hide absolutely nothing from Google! Given enough emphasis in this post that search engines nowadays are smart not just about reading content and detecting bad backlinks but also about the experience of the visitors, so make sure the traffic on your website has an excellent experience. Google knows about that too!
It’s been a long time since HTTPS has become a ranking factor. Sadly, there are still some sites that are not safe and are stuck on HTTP sites. Look whether you have. Check your website and look if you are using https:// instead of http://.
If you already are, awesome! You do not need to perform any action. But if you found out otherwise, you can follow this guide by Semrush to know what you need to do to migrate to HTTPS.
Make sure you get a free SSL/TLS certificate. SSL certificates are what allow websites to move from HTTP to HTTPS, which is a lot safer. You do not want the data of your traffic to be all over the internet and it’s the bare minimum to protect them from spreading their personal information.
Pick a Style that is Pleasing to the Eye
In this day in age, where most website builders provide excellent templates and good elements, there is no excuse to publish a website that looks bad. Everything is offered, and there are free features that will help you to make your website appealing. Nobody wants to see a website that looks like it’s made by a grade-schooler. Have a vision, of what you want your website to look like, and then look for themes that are aligned with your desires!
Ensure that it is Optimized for Mobile
A 3-sentenced paragraph might look short on desktops but it can look too long on mobile phones. Nowadays, a lot of actions are done online using smartphones, so it is extremely important to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile. Content that looks too long might intimidate the visitors and it can be their primary reason to exit from the website as soon as they can.
Check that the Website Loads Quickly
Giving the user the best experience in terms of website loading is one of the biggest factors for ranking. This means that your ranking will be affected if your website doesn’t load fast. You do not want to bring your visitors back to the Mozilla era where the browser won’t open, therefore we click many times and they will all open at the same time. No one wants to experience that today. That is why choosing a performance-optimized hosting solution for your website is very important.
No one, regardless if they are a human visitor or a search engine wants to browse on a slow page. It’s exhausting.
Slow-speed websites are highly impacted by this, if your website is slow, it’s only one click away to escape from your slow site. Which will lead to poor dwelling time from the visitors and a no-brainer extremely low conversion rate.
Website speed is a ranking factor that is used by Google algorithms, a slow speed is first seen by crawlers, you better fix it.
The first step is to test your website for yourself and see what needs to be adjusted. For example, you need to browse your website and see for yourself if the speed is good. Not “tolerable” but good a good amount.
Is it good for the visitor experience?
Or will it stress them out?
How do you will browsing on your site?
Is it smooth?
Is it lagging?
Go to Ahfers Site Audit tool, and from the dashboard click the “Issues” page. Their pages that have trouble with speed will be revealed.
You must realize the particular factors that cause your website to slow down so you can make improvements as soon as possible.
You can also run your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, where you will be given tips on how to decrease the slow loading of your site.
Use the Right Font Size
Some fonts can be readable on desktops and Ipads but too small on phones. Depending on the devices, your website’s font should be readable. Choose the right font size and make sure it is readable, do not be afraid to edit and try until you find the right font for all devices.
It depends on the CMS of your website, you may have a robots.txt file that is usually located at:
Robots.txt tells Googlebot along with different spiders how they can crawl your site. If you have a page on your site that you do not want to be crawled, you can fix it by editing your robot.txt file. Because if you will not, it will arise indexation troubles and will have a domino effect on your site
An anchor text can be found as a part of the URL, it is the clickable colored part of the URL. It’s meant to be noticeable among the text for the visitors to know it is clickable. Elements must be different from the rest of the texts. Anchor texts are meant to inform the visitors what type of page they will reach if they click on the link.
When anchor texts are descriptive and relevant it can help with your ranking and aid in making the user experience better. That is because crawlers and visitors can immediately identify what a linked page is about.
Now that you have set your website for SEO, it is time to get started with on-page SEO. This is the process of creating web pages that respond to search queries. In addition to content, on-page SEO also includes elements like schema and meta tags, which we’ll go into more detail about in the following chapter on technical optimization. It’s time to generate your content!
Things You Do in-page SEO:
These are the extremely important things to do for your on0page SEO because all of these are ranking actors with high impact. Pay attention to these things, it couldn’t be stressed enough how crucial it is to do the right!
Write a Captivating Title Tag
When you search anything on Google, what part of the top results do you lay your eyes on immediately? Right, the title tags. Title tags are very important to be made interesting and the searchers should feel and know for sure from the title tags alone that the content in there will be able to help with their queries. Because it is the final factor for the searcher to decide if they will click on the page or not. As long as they can see that the title stage looks like it can help them and provide what they need then they will click it.
But putting keywords in them is not exactly optimal. Here is what you need to do to optimize your title tags:
- Make them short, a maximum of 6o characters is perfect
- Use the words “what”, “why”, and “how” to help people know what they will expect from your content
- Put enticing words such as “best”, “top”, and “famous” to persuade them to click for these words boost interest
- Make your title unique
- Do not be overly creative, make it simple
So for example, a searcher searched for “local clothing brands in Seattle”
Bad Title Tag: Seattle Clothing Brands / Seattle Streetwear: Local Clothing Stores in Seattle
Good Title Tag: Top 10 Most Popular Clothing Brands in Seattle / 10 Worth Trying Local Clothing Brands in Seattle
Which of the two will you click?
Title tags are very important because this is one of the factors that search engines look at very carefully and one of the biggest reasons why visitors click on your page. So if you do not pay attention to this one, then you will have a hard time feeling the success you have been waiting for.
Use H1, H2, H3
Use one H1 per page for the title. This is important because Heading tags together with H1 help Google better understand what your page is all about. Also, use h2 for the sub-heading and h3 for the sub-subheading. This improves the hierarchy of your website and will undeniably appear more appealing to the eyes of the visitors and the crawlers.
In the POV of the searchers, headings are very important. Because once they click your title tag, the headings are the first thing their eyes will lay on your website. On the part of the crawlers, crawl this part of your website and look at the headings because it tells them what this certain page is all about and if they find that it matches the searchers’ intent then it will appear.
Now, when a searcher searched for “junior high school tutor” now, your tutoring business has title tags on every page but you did not optimize it and distribute the keywords. Let’s say for example the name of your tutoring services is “Leonor’s Tutoring Services” and you have pages for tutoring nursery, kinder, preparatory, elementary, junior high school, and senior high school.
So when the crawlers are crawling on your website and see that you have the same heading for the rest of your website, this will immediately affect your ranking because the crawlers will classify it as all homepage. Now, if you have every page with keyword optimized on the headings then it will be so much easier for search engines to be able to get your page and rank it accordingly.
This is what your Heading Distribution Should Look Like:
- Home Page – Leanor’s Tutoring Services
- Kinder Page – Tutoring Services For Kinder
- Preparatory Page – Tutoring Services For Preparatory
- Nursery Page – Tutoring Services For Nursery
- Elementary Page – Tutoring Services For Elementary
- Junior High School Page – Tutoring Services For Junior High School
- Senior High School Page – Tutoring Services For Senior High School
- College Page – Tutoring Services For College Students
Then the subheadings should follow to tell them what this page is about. It can be rates of the services, terms, etc.
The weight of the headings of your website and webpages is very heavy, therefore this is one of the things you need to employ and do properly to be successful in SEO. You do not want confusion for the crawlers because it will immediately affect your ranking and absolutely no confusion for the visitor too. After all, once they have a tini tiny amount of struggle, they will leave. It’s just one click away to exiting from disorganized web pages that give them a hard time. Their mindset is there is always a better website than you, so do your best to be the better one.
Write an Enticing Meta Description
We probably know this more popularly as snippets or Google snippets. They are pulled by Google from web search listings, and most of them come from top-ranking pages. This means that you can work your way up to the top by optimizing featured snippets!
Though snippets or meta descriptions are not a part of ranking factors this one can drive an insane number of clicks and traffic. Simply because when the searchers see that the meta description contains the exact answer they are looking for, then they will click to see more! Very similar to the title tags, keep it short, expand on the tags, insert keywords and match the search intent.
In other words, they are the answers that searchers are exactly looking for! These are the ones that appear at the bottom of the search bar that contains the exact answers to the queries.
For example, if the searcher is looking for a list they should find bullet formats in snippets so it will be easy for them to read and get the answer. If they are looking for images, pictures should appear, should they be searching for short straight to the point answer, then they should appear.
When you use WordPress and you have Yoast as a plug for SEO, there is a tool specific for meta description. It tells you specifically when your meta description is too long or too short when the keywords are present or not and it also shows you how it looks on mobile and a desktop so you know what the searchers see.
It’s a matter of making the meta description as helpful and as compressed with information that the searchers need as you can. Even though you will not rank from it but the traffic it will bring to your website once they saw that you have the substance and ability to provide what they need is going to blow your mind!
Optimized Meta Description->Answer the Queries of the Searchers = High Traffic for You
URL should be able to describe what is the content of your page.
This is an example of an SEO-friendly URL :
This is an example of a not optimized URL :
The first one is optimized because when the crawlers or the visitors by looking at it, they will know immediately what exactly will be the content on this page. And that is what describes a good URL. The second one is bad because no one knows what it is about unless it is clicked and already visited. Not to mention what if the headlines, title tags, and meta descriptions are also not optimized, oh no.
So if you set your website to be SEO-friendly then your URL must have a good structure.
This is a good structured URL:
Protocol->Sub domain->Root domain->Top-lead domain->Slug
Most people do not care much about URLs and their structure because it is a minor factor for ranking in Google, but when it is optimized, their effects are huge! Imagine you have a great URL and when the crawlers pull your page from your website everything will follow.
URL should be a significant ranking factor because it all starts with the URL.
Great URL structure crawled->Headings and Subheadings Are Assessed->Content is Exceptional-> Everything is confirmed optimized->Search intent is matched->Rank High!
Rules For URLs, they should be:
- Descriptive and contain the keyword of the page
- Have (-) between words and not (_)
- All lower-case and no mixing up of upper ones
- Simple, short, and able to describe the content of the page
Optimize the Pictures
Unoptimized images will cover up to 75% of the website’s data, so it is important to optimize them and make sure they will not drag the website down by making the website load slower and employing wrong alt texts and file names.
Here are the 3 things you need to do to optimize images on your website:
1. Use Descriptive File Names
DO NOT overstuff keywords because that is not SEO and be direct. Keep in mind to use (-) in between words. For example, instead of “lipstick.jpg”, you can use “matte-red-lipstick.jpg” but never “red-matte-bloody-lipstick.jpg” or “vampire-red-strong-dark-lipstick.jpg”. Describe them but do not stuff the keywords, it will appear to have little to no sense when that happens.
2. Use Descriptive Alt text
Keep them short and precise. Describe exactly what is in the picture but do not stuff keywords in there. And a lot of people make the mistake of still saying in the alt text that they are describing an image. You do not have to do that because it’s understood. For example, “a picture of a dress”. The crawlers and the visitors know it’s a dress, alt text should be for description. Something like a “long flowy sundress” or “body-con short black dress”. It should describe and not state the obvious.
3. Compress the Images
Since photos are one of the largest files on the site in general, compressing the images makes them smaller as a file and will help with loading faster. ShortPixel and Tinypng are good and easy tools for compressing images! Compressing images will also have a huge impact on making your website load faster and not be like a turtle in loading.
Even pictures are important to be optimized in SEO. Because in SEO, every single thing impacts the other. And when it’s like that, you would want to do it the positive way. Do the right things to get a good impact.
Utilize External Links
According to Google, links to other websites aid in giving value to the searchers. Do not be afraid to use external links may it be to support a claim, to provide evidence, to make sure that what you are saying is reliable, etc. As long as you think it helps the searchers and it makes good sense, link links!
Benefits of External Linking:
- Tell search engines what is the structure of your site
- Pass or accept the authority
- Users can explore from page to page
Things to avoid in On-page SEO :
These are the things you strictly need to avoid in On-page SEO.
This is one of the most common mistakes people do in on-page SEO. It’s a no-brainer that we may think that putting keywords so many times in content on the page will make them rank higher. But it is not, it will hurt your ranking. Everything excessive is bad, yes, even in SEO, even with keywords! You do not want to overstuff keywords because your content will not only be redundant but sound like it is written by a robot and worse, it will not make sense at all.
For example, your product description is stuffed with keywords and it looks like this when the searchers read it “These white shoes for women are great shoes for walking and running. If you are looking for shoes that you will use every day, these shoes are the best shoes for you! Buy these shoes now!”
See how many times the word “shoes” was used? It will hurt the eyes of the visitors, and the crawlers and affect your ranking as well.
Thin content is a type of content that simply has very little to no value for the searchers. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say a searcher searches “best shampoo for dog tick” a thin content is a list of the top 5 shampoos best to fight dog ticks and some small description about the products. What exactly is thin content, simply because the searcher will not be able to get a lot of help from the content?
Exceptional content is when you have these elements:
- Top 10 list with accurate descriptions of each product
- Link for each product on where to get them
- High-quality images accurate for each product
- Age appropriateness, which shampoo is best for what age of dogs
- More information is useful such as the number of chemicals that the shampoo contains to fight the ticks, etc.
See? If a searcher finds content that has these elements then they couldn’t ask for more because everything they need is simply provided to them.
So no thin content should ever be on your website. When you think it has no value, or it will not help with the searcher’s intent, do not publish it. Making quality content takes time, take your time to do so. It is so much better to take time and produce quality content that matches the search intent of the searchers than to produce quick but no use thin content just to say you have one.
“Cloaking” is a term from crawlers. When cloaking happens, it means that what you provide for the crawlers to see your website is different from what you offer to your visitors.
For example, when the crawlers crawl to your website they see article content but when your visitors visit your website they see images.
Avoid cloaking because when it is done, search engine crawlers will make a way to affect your ranking because this is against Google’s guidelines. You have to double-check all the elements on your site and make sure there are no hidden texts or other elements that may result in cloaking.
This type of content is the one that appears on the web for more than one page. It can be copied and pasted and just edited a little bit. No one wants to see this type of content. Especially if there is no original value to it and the identity of the pages is not present.
Every content for every website and page should be different and have its purposes and distinguishments in it. Make sure that when you publish content you do not just duplicate what is available from the other pages, but you make it to match the intent, help, and build the credibility of your website. And you wouldn’t be able to do that by making just duplicate content.
If you always try your best in producing quality and original content then you will not have a problem with this one!
Auto-generated content is a type of content that is composed programmatically that has the aim to communicate with crawlers to crawl and index more than to help the searchers and give the answers to their queries. That being said, these type of contents are very noticeable, because it makes little to no sense.
Producing great content is not that hard, especially if you have the goal in mind to always match the intent of the searchers and help them find answers. It is the bare minimum to make good content to produce for your website. If you have the right mindset about all of these things, SEO, ranking high, being discoverable, etc. you will not dare to produce auto-generated content that is not going to be useful at all.
On-page SEO is everything you can do to your page itself to improve your ranking. It’s not about stuffing keywords because that can compromise your ranking instead of helping you. On-page SEO is all about helping Google and searchers break down your content and better understand it.
Utilize Google Search Console
If you still do not have this one, you better run and make it right now! Plug your site into this platform, because this right here is your best friend. It has numerous free tools that you can use to help you with the troubles search engines might have the moment they are indexing or crawling your site. Everything you need is here.
You might find yourself still struggling to rank high on search engines regardless of doing all the work, and pouring all your efforts, money, and energy. It might be because you forgot about your 0ff-page SEO.
What is off-page SEO? It is everything you can outside of your website able to help in your ranking. Outside the website doesn’t mean hardware, it means what you can bring into our website from outside of it.
There are two types of factors here in off-page SEO, the link and non-link-related ones, read closely to be able to understand how they work and can help your ranking!
These are the things that you can do for your off-page SEO that are all link related.
Referring sites or also known as referring domains are the number of sites that link to yours in total. For example, referring to domain A linked in your website, now you linked to referring domains B and C, so all in all you have a total of 3 referring domains. Sites A, B, and C.
The more you have of these the better, aside from it enhances credibility and making your site trustworthy it also gives it authority.
Work on growing your network, collab with influencers, and guest on podcasts related to your business. Work on enlarging your territory, you will be able to get more referring domains!
This is a ranking factor with high impact, you can not just get links that aren’t relevant to your business or site in general. Did you know that you can have thousand of them and it can still have no value because it has no authority and is not relevant?
Think of the authority of the link as its power, now if a link has high authority then it will spike the ranking factors. Think of it this way, a single link that comes from a high-quality site is worth 5 links that come from a low-authority site.
Rather than working on getting many links with little authority, why not focus on getting links with high-value authority?
Dofollow and Nofollow
In links, there are these things called “juice links”. Think about it as a literal juice, but in SEO it is a juice that determines the authority of a certain page.
A nofollow link is when a page doesn’t want to share authority from them to the destination site. Whereas the dofollow link serves as a bridge for the juice links to be passed.
So if you want no authority from your site passed to other pages, employ a nofollow link, but if you want to share the authority you have, a dofollow link is an excellent choice!
Authority is important and there is no question about that. But what about relevance?
Let’s have an example. You are thinking about buying a new laptop, and two of your cousins suggested brands, you love them equally so no emotional factors can affect you. Now, they suggested different brands, but one of them is a doctor and one of them is an IT student. Now, which suggestion between those two would you take as more relevant?
Right, the IT student. That is also how it works in this business. It’s all a matter of relevance. So if your tech parts business website gets a link from a food business or a fashion site, it will not contribute to your ranking factors. It will be just counted for those that are not relevant to your business.
Non-link Related Factors:
These are the things you can do from outside your website to help you rank that is not related but more of a listing for ranking.
This section is particularly crucial for local businesses that want to be discoverable and ranking high on local searches!
N – name
A – address
P – phone number
Businesses that have their NAP citations updated, accurate and consistent are more likely to rank on search engines. Because this is one of the top ranking factors that highly affects ranking results.
When you have your NAP set up well, you will most likely rank high and even appear in the snack pack section. It is the section at the top, below the search bar. A boxed area that shows the top results for local queries. Setting up your NAP is a good way for you to belong to the top 3 best results for the query.
There are two types of brand mentions, the implied link, and the express link. The implied link is the type of mention where you just point out the source but has no hyperlink for it. While an express link is the usual you do when you want to mention a source, hyperlink it.
But did you know that search engines see the unlinked plain text brand mentions? Google pays attention to that too, so they will both help with ranking factors. the only difference is that one is clickable and one is not. Since they turn out to be ranking factors too, you must work to get more of them.
Go viral online (not easy but possible), and collaborate with relevant people and businesses. Do not be choosy in collaborating as long as it is relevant and will help the audience. Get noticed! Only then will you be mentioned.
GMB (Google My Business)
This is undeniably one of the biggest ways to drive traffic to your site and be discoverable for local searches! Creating a listing for your business is an instant win.
When searches perform local queries such as “bakery near me” or “resorts near me” the businesses that immediately appear on top are the ones that have Google My Business. If you want to be seen and discovered by potential customers online, create a GMB listing!
However, like any other thing in SEO, a profile will not suffice for you to get the results that you need. You will have to optimize it to feel the results! Read this article to learn everything you need to know about GMB before you create your very own listing!
According to Google, the more positive reviews you have about your business the more likely you can rank high and even appear on snack pack boxes. But poor reviews give impact the other way around.
And how do you get good reviews? Simple. By giving quality service and products to your customers, that’s it. When you are intentional and make them feel valued when you strive to give them the best experience when they availed from your business. This will not only cause them to give a good review but also to recommend you to others and they will even be repeat customers.
When showing reviews use direct quotes from the customers and use pictures and names (with their consent) for credibility. Because again, Google is smart. It can figure out whether you are making something up and when it does, your ranking position will be affected.
Why is link-building so important? Links are one of the major factors in ranking high for search engines! Building links is building the authority of your website.
Links are viewed and considered by Google as votes, which makes them a huge ranking factor! This gives the crawlers the confirmation of which of the thousands of pages can attend the query and give the best answer.
As usual, the more backlinks a page has, the more likely it will rank.
But links will not solve everything.
Most of the time, when the word “rank” is mentioned it gives the impression that links are the only thing that sites need to rank first on Google. It can be somehow true since it’s one of the major ranking factors but the truth is, it’s not that easy.
Aside from the fact that not all links are the same, bots still have factors under links. It doesn’t stop when you acquire one.
Acquire Links from Associations you belong to, your business suppliers, and businesses that you are connected to.
Reaching out to your company’s actual relationships is one of the fastest ways to develop links.
Links to Associations
Assume you belong to an association, such as a local chapter, a national industrial association, or another group membership. Get listed as a member by visiting the websites of those organizations. As a result, you will receive references and have the chance to link to your website.
As with Yelp or Google Maps, you can post your business name, address, contact information, and a URL for your website in these online listings. Others even permit reviews. You’ll probably discover the existence of directories in the area if you run a small industry or specialize in a particular field. If you utilize local citation software to automate and expedite the process, this might be a quick approach to acquiring a few high-quality connections for your website.
Write Interesting Content or Articles
Writing engaging content or articles is one of the finest techniques to attract inbound links. You may, for instance, create a report on a well-liked service you offer in your industry and disseminate it to thousands of individuals via article directory Websites, each of which can include a link to a certain page on your website. In general, producing content aids in gathering inbound connections.
Your chances of being at the top of the results increase as your website’s inbound link count arises. You don’t want irrelevant and useless links because quality links are the way to go. Instead of enhancing your site’s ranking, it may lead to a terrible situation.
Pursuing links from Rivals
Among the most essential aspects of link building is rival link assessment. Consider this: the high-ranking website for the search term you want includes all links that Google needs to believe it is superior. You can determine what strategies to employ to obtain comparable connections and probably beat that page by looking at its links.
Acquire links from the websites which link to the rivals and utilize the same strategies to obtain more connections than your rivals by researching how well these links were obtained.
Developing Linkable Resources
This type of content is the one that has a high chance of obtaining backlinks. This is possible by creating content with amazing value. Complete content, high-quality elements, and matching search intent.
Depending on the field or industry you want to rank in, your content can be different but most of the time, when “linkable assets” are mentioned, people often want to find specific content in mind such as:
- Online Tools
- Awards & Rankings
- Studies & Research
DONTs in Link Building :
Paid links are immediately disregarded by Google and Bing. Though crawlers do not know exactly which is which, Google and Bing have a pattern to detect clues that appears to be foul play. Once a website is caught buying links, the ranking will immediately be affected and will also have penalties. This is a violation of Google’s guidelines. Take note that it is still considered buying links when a link is acquired in exchange for products or services.
The “Link to me and I’ll link to you” type of transaction is a very obvious tactic that people can think of to acquire more links. Sadly, it will not work. Especially if you have no affiliation or relation in the business that links with you. This is counted as nothing and is also against Google’s guidelines. Link exchange is good IF the exchange makes sense. For example, a bakery links to a cake store, and a cake store links to a bakery. But if a clothing webshop link to a tech site and vice versa excessively just to get links then it will be detected by Google in no time.
Consequences such as having a very low rank and penalties will be served, so be careful. If you earn your links truthfully then you will not have an issue with this one.
We label quality links as relevant and authoritative, well low-quality links are the other way around. You have to avoid it because first of all, it has no value. It is a hard-to-swallow pill but it is true. It’s been stressed so much in the previous sections. You can have hundreds of low-quality links and still not rank for search engines.
What you can do is reach out to the relevant crowds, businesses, and audiences so that you will get good links. For example, if you own a Jewelry business only for women, you should enlarge your network toward women, young girls, working girls, moms, and elderly women. You should collaborate with female influencers whose audiences are interested in jewelry and are considered credible in the niche.
You don’t want to reach out to the wrong crowd because there is where low-quality links come from. So target your market, and your audiences set your goals on who to reach out to, and then do it. When you reach out to the right people, you get relevant quality links.
Website Artichture refers to the manner that the content is put together. This is how the contents are intertwined and presented to visitors and search engines. It’s the framework of the site.
An excellent website structure makes it easy for visitors to track from pages and for search engines to crawl toward the content and digest what the site is all about.
Imagine it in a sense of the co-relations between the pages on your website, and how they are distributed from the homepage and are grouped within directories.
Your Website Architecture Should Be:
Grouped According To Relevance
In building your web architecture, you need to consider the “relation” between each page and the content they have. For example, the top of the structure is the home page now the sub-pages, we have 3. The “about”, “blogs”, and “services” Now, these 3 have sub-subpages. The about page has the team, history, and contacts us. The blogs page have topic 1, 2, and 3 and the services have service 1,2, and 3. And so on.
Grouping them according to their relevance is extremely important because we do not want to have your pages all over the place. For example, from the homepage, subpages are topics 1,2,3, and 4 from blogs, and then below each of them are services 1,2,3, and 4. That is chaos! Organize them according to their relevance.
Showcasing Your Most Important Pages
What is the most important page for you on your website? Your landing page, homepage, or about page?
Whatever it is that is extremely important for you and your website, highlight it. Make it stand out, optimize it and make sure that when a visitor comes to the most important page for you, they will do the call to action on it.
Since you highlighted it and considered it very important, it better serves its purpose. For example, your most important page is the landing page for it is where conversion takes place, then make it the best landing page you can!
Keeping Content Simple and Organized
People love excellent content! And with that, it means organized and simple. A website all over the place will look bad at first glance. Content does not always need to be extravagant and big, most of the time organization and simplicity are the way to go.
Visitors hate complicated things. So making your content organized, distributing it to respective pages, relevant to the pages located, matched search intent, and quality elements, then you are good to go!
Now that you have been employing SEO, it’s important to know how to keep track of the results. Here are the things you need to keep track of:
This refers to the total count of visitors from Google’s organic results. Using Google Analytics is undeniably the best way to check organic traffic. If you haven’t set up an account, click this guide from Semrush to help you set up your account and to know how to use it for measuring.
If the line graph is going up, that is a good implication that your people find the content valuable. You have the right keywords and the links you are acquiring are helping you!
If the arrow is getting down, your site probably has some technical SEO problems, you may be targeting words where you have a lot of competitors or you just need more time to improve your SEO.
Average Session Duration and Bounce Rate
These two metrics help track whether your content resonates with the searchers. You can see these metrics in Google Analytics.
The time between a user’s initial click, which got them to your website, and their next click, which sends them somewhere else, is known as the average session duration. The length of the session might speak volumes about how well your content is performing. Users are likely to click away to another site if they can’t discover the answers to their questions or if the content is dull.
The number of single-page sessions on your page, or the number of visitors who went to one page on your website and expert right away, is what is meant by the term “bounce rate.”
If your bounce rate is high, it may be because your content doesn’t match users’ search queries well. To best serve your website visitors, you might need to conduct additional keyword research or optimize your materials.
Conversion rate is the number of people who responded accordingly to the CTAs of the website. Such as completing a purchase, filling out forms, etc.
Divide the total amount of conversions by the total number of site visitors to determine your conversion rate. When you know it, multiply it by 100. You’ll get a % as a result.
Your business objectives will determine how to identify your intended action or conversions. It may be anything as basic as developing a strategy for a specific number of clicks on your contact page, or it could be something bigger like buying a product.
3 Pillars of SEO
Ranking factors change from time to time, like Google. When you search ranking factors on Google, there are endless different answers. But let us know about the pillars of SEO and how they affect your website.
Authority is extremely important for SEO and search engines because they want to provide quality answers for the searchers. This is because search engines can find thousands if not hundreds of websites that they can find that can attend to the query of the searchers. However, linking was a system to assess who among those websites are the most reliable and high-rank worthy. And they assess it by the links to it, which means votes.
Easily said, when a website has the high authority it is more likely to appear reliable, credible, and trustworthy in the eyes of search engines. Thus, the high-ranking. Because search engines are a bridge between authoritative websites and searchers to be able to answer their queries.
No matter how authoritative a website is about fashion, it will not rank high on searches about diamond rings. This is where the ability of authority becomes limited. Relevance matters for obvious reasons. Because if Google is to give contents that aren’t relevant to the queries, then what’s the point?
This time, it’s about matching the intent of the query.
The users are the bosses, they are VIPs. So even their experience on the site is a factor that will affect ranking intensely. User experience questions such as:
- Does the page load quickly?
- Did the user reach where they expect to be?
- Do the contents have value?
- Were there too many ads?
- Did they experience clickbait?
- Is the page up to date?
and so much more!
Imagine a website that has authority, relevant to search queries because they match the search intent, and has a great record of user experience, wow! Combining these pillars will not only impact your ranking but will push you to do more as you go on with SEO!
Authrotiy+Relevance+User Experience = SEO Success!