People who are starting a new business on the Internet generally get this common feeling that search engine optimization is very technical, while online competition is huge. So, in general, SEO is not worth the effort.
While it is true that there are some niches where it is difficult to succeed, this is not the case for many other industries. Often, when you look at a particular vertical, you will find that you are not as saturated as you think, and the competitors have a very limited understanding of SEO . So, you just need to have the basics to have immediate success.
Part of the reason is that many entrepreneurs don’t have enough time to spend creating and implementing a good SEO strategy . So they decide to hire someone to do it for them. The inherent risk with this course of action is that when you don’t understand the basic concepts of the work that needs to be done, you can easily be “cheated”.
So, whether you’re just starting out with SEO or planning to hire someone to do it for you, this guide will give you everything you need to know to be successful in generating organic traffic to your website.
We will go through the following main basic SEO principles :
- How to find out what your customers are looking for
- Keyword Search
- Creating search-optimized pages
- How to set up SEO tools
Read on to learn best practices for each of these aspects of SEO and how to apply them to your website.
Find out what your target customers are looking for
While many people think of SEO as an inherently technical discipline – whether you’re searching for keywords, optimizing your site or analyzing competitors to understand what they’re doing – the reality is that SEO is predominantly about understanding who they are your customers and what they matter about.
This does not necessarily have to be done using SEO tactics , in fact, the best way to start is by talking to your customers and listening to their comments. Here are some of the obvious places where you can start:
- Comments on your site
- Customer emails
- Your phone / chatline
- Events where you meet customers
Keep an eye not only on what they are saying, but also what language they are using. Start creating a list of topics your audience is interested in and the terms they use.
There are some terms that we can find, and although this is always useful, your main concern at this point is not to create a super-long list.
Creating search-optimized pages
Keyword research is just the first step in attracting search traffic to your website.
However, you also need to make sure that your pages are well structured to rank the selected keywords and satisfy the people they are looking for.
Perform basic optimization on the page
On-page optimization is the next essential step in your basic SEO strategy . Even if you find the most profitable keywords and have the best content for them, your effort will be wasted if your pages are not optimized for search engines.
Before going into the details of the optimization on the page, let’s clarify what tools you need to run it. There are many ways to implement the features I discuss in the following sections, but if you are using WordPress for your website, my recommendation is to follow the SEO Yoast plugin . It’s free and simple to use and is perfect for someone who’s just getting started with on-page SEO.
And now let’s get there. Setting up your pages for success with the search engine involves optimizing the following elements:
I am putting this first because it is the most important factor for the success of your pages. SEO is becoming extremely competitive and there is no way to be successful with it (especially if you are popularizing a new website) without producing extremely high quality content.
Many people mistakenly think that good content = long content. There is an equation that works, but it looks like this:
Good content = content that is useful to the person who consumes it.
To put it in more concrete terms, if you want to rate a travel guide in Dublin, which will be most useful to your readers – 2000 words explaining the main areas of the city or a map that quickly shows the most popular and best attractions areas for food, drink and entertainment? Word counting doesn’t even begin to cover what matters when we talk about quality.
The web address of your page sends a strong signal to search engines on the topic. It is important that you realize it the first time because you should avoid changing it.
Try to make the URL as short as possible and include the main keyword that this page ranked for. For example, I would place my Rio de Janeiro travel guide under the domain.com / rio-de-janeiro.
Keep in mind that Google recommends keeping the URL simple .
Web pages have two specific characteristics that search engines use when creating search results:
Contrary to what the name suggests, the meta title tag does not appear anywhere on your page. Defines the name of the browser tab that displays your page and is used by Google and other search engines when the page is displayed in search results.
The title tag is a great opportunity to write a headline that both
a) includes the keyword you want this page to rank for and
b) is convincing enough for researchers to click on it and visit your site.
As the cell phone is becoming more and more important and there are many different devices that we use to browse and search the internet, there is no hard rule about how long titles should be longer. The latest research suggests that you should still try to keep your less than 60 characters to make sure that they are fully displayed in search results.
Although Google doesn’t always show your page description in a fragment of search results, it will be quite common. So be sure to include the keywords you want to rank in the description section.
Make sure that your descriptions are less than 135 characters long and that they require researchers to follow the link to your site.
You can learn more about how to write meta descriptions in this guide .
Headers and Subheads
Use the standard HTML format for headings ( H1 to H6 ) to make it easier for search engines to understand the structure of your page and the importance of each section.
Heading 1 must be reserved for the title on your content page and must include the main keyword that the page is targeted on. Make sure you have only one H1 header per page.
Heading 2 can be used for the headings of the main sections on your page. They should also include the main keyword you are targeting (whenever possible) and are also a good place to include additional keywords (longer-tail) that you want to rank with this content.
Although search engine optimization has become very competitive in recent years, it is still by far the most effective way to drive sustainable traffic to your website.
In addition, the efforts you put into optimizing your site for search increase over time, helping you to get even more traffic, as long as it is consistent with SEO .
To achieve this, remember to follow the 4 steps of good basic SEO :
- Find keywords to rank with search intent, search volume and keyword difficulty in mind.
- Create pages that are optimized to rank the keywords being targeted.
- Make sure your site loads quickly and is structured so that it is readable by both search engines and human readers.
- Create links from other high quality sites to the page you want to rank.
Over time, this process will help you build your website’s authority and you’ll be able to rank for more competitive keywords with high search volumes.