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This blog article is a guide of SEO basics for beginners to get familiar with search engine optimization. 

Whenever you need to go on a vacation, buy new furniture, find food recipes & for many things, what is the 1st thing you do? 

I am pretty sure that you go to Google & find things. Millions of people use Google each & everyday for many purposes. 

So, as a business owner you need to understand how to present your business to your target audience using Search Engines.

What is SEO?
SEO basics for beginners

Since this blog is a guide to SEO basics for beginners., we thought to define SEO in simple terms as possible. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of a website on search engines & grow organic traffic.

In a nutshell, SEO helps your website to rank higher on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Then you will get more organic traffic to your website & more revenue.
I guess you still think about What Search Engine Result Page (SERP) is. Don’t worry!

When you step into the SEO world, you will hear many unfamiliar terms. We will explain those step by step.
Before you understand “What is SEO?”, You should understand how search engines work.

How Search Engines Work?
How search engines work
You all know what search engines are. The most popular & most used search engine is Google. Apart from that, Yahoo and Bing are examples of search engines. I am pretty sure that you use these search engines daily. 

Did you know how search engines like Google serve you the best results among trillions of web pages on the internet? It is an interesting topic to talk about. 

There are three main steps in how search engines work,

1. Crawling 

2. Indexing

3,.Ranking.

Crawling

Google has programs to do the crawling & they are known as Spiders or crawlers. Think of these crawlers as employees of Google. Google sends these crawlers to find the latest & updated content on the internet. 

First, they visit a website & find the links on that page & follow those links to find other new URLs. Like this, they find all the latest content on that website. 

These bots do this crawling & take a copy of every content to report to Google. 

Indexing

When crawlers finish crawling they give a copy of the content they found to Google. Google store those copies in a server called Google’s Index. Think of the index as a store room of Google. They store these data in a way they can find easily. 

Ranking

When someone searches for something on Google, it goes to the index & finds the relevant web pages related to the search term. For example, when someone searches “Cake recipes,” Google finds & lists the web pages with cake recipes. 

Then Google uses its algorithm to list the most relevant web pages for the search query. This process is known as ranking. 

So, as you can see, it is essential to get your website crawled by Google to bring it in front of your target audience. 

 

SEO Ranking Factors
seo basics
Search engines are automated programs that scan pages on the internet and then rank them based on which ones have the most relevant content.

The search engine uses a variety of factors to determine which pages to list first. These factors are known as SEO ranking factors.

There are three types of ranking factors: Relevance, Authority & Usability. 

Relevance- 

Relevance is the most critical factor to consider to rank higher in search engines. Relevance is determined by how closely your content matches what people are searching for.

For example, if someone searches for how to make cakes, you should write an article about making cakes and make sure it appears at the top of the search results page. 

Authority-

The second category of SEO ranking factors is authority.

Authority is determined by how many other sites link back to your site, & by how much traffic those referring sites get themselves. The more authority you have, the higher your content will rank in search engines. 

You can increase your authority by getting other websites to link to yours. To do this, create valuable content that people want to share. You can also try commenting on blogs and forums related to your niche or industry and linking to your website.

Usability-

Usability is whether or not users find it easy to navigate and find what they are looking for on your website without getting lost or confused at any point along their journey through your site. 

If your site is not easy to use, users will leave and go somewhere else. You can increase the usability of your site by making sure that it’s well-organized and has clear navigation links so people can easily find what they’re looking for without having to dig around or click on random buttons to get around.

 

SEO Resources
seo for beginners
To make the most out of SEO, you need to use the right resources that help you optimize your business for search engines and potential customers. 

Following are some great resources for getting started on improving your SEO.

  • SEO tools- These are great for helping you to understand what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to SEO. There are tons of free ones, & some low-cost ones if you want something more powerful. I especially like SEMrush for checking competitor rankings, backlink analysis, keyword research, etc.
  • SEO blogs and articles- There are great blogs and articles that can help you get started with SEO. DigiFix weekly publishes blog content on Search Engine Optimization. You can read those blogs by visiting our website.
  • Search engine optimization forums- There are tons of SEO forums where you can get lots of great advice but also be warned that there are many people who just want to sell their services and don’t care about helping others. You’ll need to sort through the noise to find what’s useful and ignore everything else.
  • Search engine optimization books and courses- There are plenty of books and courses on SEO, but be careful to pick one that is up-to-date with modern SEO practices. There are many old books and courses out there that still teach outdated methods.
  • Search engine optimization conferences (SEO conferences) where experts in the field congregate annually for presentations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.
  • SEO Plugins: An SEO plugin is a software component that you can add to a website’s content management system (CMS) to help optimize the site for search engines. These plugins make it easier for website owners and developers to implement various SEO best practices without the need for extensive technical knowledge.Here are some examples of popular SEO plugins for different CMS platforms:

    Yoast SEO (WordPress): Yoast SEO is a popular SEO plugin for WordPress. It offers features like on-page content analysis, XML sitemap generation, meta-tag optimization (Title Tag & meta description), and social media integration.

    All-in-One SEO Pack (WordPress): Similar to Yoast SEO, this plugin offers XML sitemap support, meta tag optimization, and social media integration. It also includes features for controlling advanced settings.

    Facilitates the SEO efforts with automatic optimization of titles and meta descriptions, and provides advanced settings for users with specific requirements.

    SEO by Rank Math (WordPress): Rank Math offers features such as an intuitive setup wizard, keyword tracking, and advanced schema markup for rich snippets.

    Helps users set up their SEO preferences easily and provides insights into keyword performance with a user-friendly interface.

 

Keyword research tools:

Keyword research tools are essential resources for search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, content creators, and website owners. These tools help identify relevant keywords and phrases that people use when searching for information online. Here are some examples,

Google Keyword Planner:

Provided by Google Ads, this tool helps users find keywords related to their business or niche to rank higher. It offers search volume, competition levels, and suggested bid prices for paid advertising.

Semrush:

Semrush is a comprehensive SEO tool that includes a powerful keyword research module. It provides data on keyword difficulty, search volume, trends, and related keywords. Users can also track their competitors’ keywords.

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer:

Ahrefs is known for its robust backlink analysis, but it also includes a Keywords Explorer tool. It provides data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and click distribution.

These keyword research tools help users make informed decisions about the keywords to target, enabling them to optimize their content for better visibility on search engines and attract the right audience to their websites. For example, you can use these tools to optimize your blog posts and other content on your site.

Why SEO is Important?
When there are many other digital tools and techniques like pay-per-click advertising and social media to bring in traffic to the website, why should someone bother about SEO? One of the main reasons for that is people prefer organic search results over paid ads. In other words, the credibility of organic results are higher and hence records a higher click-through rate. According to Moz, organic search results have 20 times more traffic opportunities than PPC

 

SEO is not focused on getting short-term results. If you set it up correctly, you will be able to yield its results over time for a long period of time. And also, since SEO involves improving the website in a customer-friendly way, it allows businesses to offer a positive experience to the website visitors, increase the brand value and create a loyal customer base. 

How to Optimise Your Website for SEO?
These are the two main components of SEO. On-site SEO means different things that you do within your website to improve your organic rankings and traffic and off-site SEO means things you do outside of your website.

On-site SEO

01. Content

Content is one of the most important elements of SEO. Whenever someone types a search query on Google, Google tries to deliver the most relevant search results. Google always tries to provide the most suitable content to its users. Therefore your number one priority should be to provide the greatest possible content. 

 

There are a number of factors that Google considers when they analyse the content of a website such as;

Keywords: Doing a comprehensive keyword research and selecting the most suitable focus keywords for each of the pages of your website is a crucial part of providing great content.

Once you have selected the keywords, make sure you include them in the headline and throughout the content. Don’t hesitate to spend a significant amount of time on this, because Google identifies the keywords that you optimise your website for and rank for those specific keywords.

However, you should be careful on how to use the keywords when optimising the website. If you try to stuff as many keywords as possible in your content, thinking that it will help you to improve the rankings of your website, you do more harm than good.

If Google identifies that you have stuffed too many keywords, your website might get penalised. But make sure that you have included keywords in all the important places such as headline, meta tag and the URL.

 

Quality: Providing quality content that matches the requirements of the target audience can also appeal to search engine crawlers. Create content with a higher quality consumes time and effort. However, you can always benchmark good content published by other websites, when writing articles.

 

The originality of content: This is also an important factor when it comes to SEO-friendly content. You have to make sure that your content is original and not copied directly from any other websites or online sources. If Google identifies plagiarised or duplicate content, there is a risk of your website being penalised.

02. HTML

Once you have finished writing SEO-friendly content, the next step would be to take care of its HTML. There are 4 main elements of HTML that you should optimise for each web page.

 

Title tags: A title tag is an HTML element that states the title of the web page. In search engine results pages, title tags appear as the blue clickable links that direct visitors to your website.

Title Tag
Meta description: Meta description is an HTML element that gives out a summary of the web page. This appears as the excerpt when Google displays your web page in the search engine results page.
Meta Description
H1 tags: H1 tags act as the heading of the content of a specific page. This does not only help readers to get a clear understanding on what the web page is about, but affects the SEO as well.

03. Architecture of the website

Simply website architecture means the structure of the website that organises and delivers the content. Among all the SEO elements that we have discussed so far, this is the most technical. A good website architecture ensures that users get to experience a smooth journey and can be easily navigated throughout the website.

Some of the best practices for SEO friendly website architecture are;

Make sure the website is user friendly

User-friendliness is one of the main factors that search engines consider when analysing the architecture of a website. Make sure you provide a good experience to the users by providing accurate information that they are looking for in a smooth way. Some of the ways that you can make your website a user-friendly one are,

 

  • Clear and easy navigation
  • Minimum load time
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Make sure your website is a secure website (HTTPS protocol)

SEO friendly URL structure

SEO-friendly URLs tend to be short and keyword-rich. Just like meta tags and H1 tags, search engines use URLs to understand what your content is about.

  • Keep the URLs short
  • Use lowercase words
  • Connect words with hyphens
  • Try to add keywords to the URL
  • Don’t keep spaces in between words
  • Don’t use unsafe characters (“<>#%{}|^~[])

Use a sitemap

Simply a sitemap is a list of website URLs. An XML sitemap allows search engine crawlers to find your web pages easily. Sitemaps also inform search engines when a page of the website is updated, the frequency of the page updates and the relative importance of each page. This enables your website to get indexed faster in Google.

 

Off-site SEO

Off-site SEO mainly involves the perception of others about your website. Google takes into consideration many off-site factors when ranking the web pages. Some of the main types of off-site SEO techniques are,

 

01. Backlinks

Backlinks act as the most important factor of off-site SEO. Search engines use backlinks to measure the value of your website. Therefore, a site with a higher number of high-value backlinks will usually rank higher in search engine results.

There are 3 main types of links,

Natural links: These are the editorially given links to you by other websites. This is the fastest and the best way to earn backlinks. But not everyone can earn natural links unless you are really good at what you are doing.

Manual links: This is one of the most common types of link-building methods. This involves manually contacting other websites and bloggers and asking them to link your website in their content.

Self-created links: These types of links are created by activities such as adding a backlink in a third-party blog, an online directory, forum etc.

There are a lot of link related off-site factors:

 

  • The number of linking domains: The number of domains  linking to your website is one of the most important ranking factors
  • Quality of the links/ link authority: Different links have different values. More value is passed to your website when the “authority” of the linking domain is higher. There are different tools that you can use to identify the authority of websites. Some of them are Moz, Semrush and ahrefs.
  • dofollow vs. nofollow links: we discussed earlier that when we get a link from a high authority website, a value is passed to our site through the link. But if that website has added a “nofollow” tag to their website, the value is not passed through the link.
  • Anchor text: Anchor text refers to the clickable text used in web pages to link one page to another. 

 

02. Local SEO

Two of the main local SEO tools are Google My Business and citations.

Google My Business: This is a free business platform by Google. You have to optimise the Google My Business page in order to get ranked in the Google map pack for queries with local search intent.

Citations: A citation is like a business listing where all your business details are mentioned including the business name, address and phone number. One of the main ways to get successful with citations is to be consistent.

 

03. Content Marketing

When we think about content marketing, we often think of on-site SEO. But we can engage in content marketing outside of our website too. Blog posts, forums and infographics are some of the main off-site content marketing techniques.

 

04. Social media

Social media is not a direct ranking factor that is considered by Google. However, there is no doubt that social signals have a huge indirect impact on rankings because social shares enable businesses to gain more eyeballs on your content that ultimately leads to more links and mentions. 

 

05. Reviews

The online reputation of a business is very important today more than ever. It is found that more than 90% of people are impacted by online reviews when they are making purchase decisions.

 

 

Conclusion
We hope that you were able to understand the importance of SEO after reading this article. You might feel it is a lot of time and effort. But trust us, you will not regret the commitment. If you need any help along the process, we at DigiFix are here to help.

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Do you want more traffic?

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    Do you want more traffic?

    Hi, we are an Australian digital agency doing groundbreaking work to help a business like yours reach its full potential.  My only question is will you qualify for our services?