SEO for Beginners in 2021: A Comprehensive Tutorial
Tutorial On SEO For Beginners In 2021
In the pre-internet world when the penetration of the internet was not as widespread as today, the source of information was magazines, newspapers, books, scientific journals, and many more It was only after the advent of technology, the foundation of google that things started to change it was a paradigm shift from information, travel, shopping, studying the things which were before performed manually were now shifted online and what was giving you the option of having this access to all these things on fingertips?
It was the search engines, and what did you needed to get the best results for your searches, it was SEO( SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION).
Before delving into the strategies lets first know how it all started
Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google in 1998, by developing a search engine called backrub which relied on a mathematical algorithm to rate the prominence of web pages. The number calculated by the algorithm page rank was the function of the quantity and strength of inbound links.
It worked on an estimation that a given page will be reached by a web user who randomly surfs the web and followed links from one page to another where some links were stronger than others and a higher page rank page was more likely to be reached by the random web surfer.
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To avoid the kind of manipulation that was seen in search engines that considered only on-page factors for their rankings google considered both the on-page factors such as meta tags, keyword frequency, links, headings, and site structure and off-page factors such as hyperlink analysis and page rank, where webmasters were gaming the page rank in the same way as the Inktomi search engine.
These sites focused on buying selling and exchanging links along with the creation of thousands of sites for the sole purpose of link spamming on a larger scale.
To curb all this in the future leading search engines such as Google, Bing and yahoo stopped disclosing the algorithms they used to rank pages which led SEO practitioners to study different approaches to search engine optimization and shared their personal opinions, whereas patents related to the search engines provided better information to understand search engines.
In 2005, google came out with a new strategy which started personalizing search results for each user where for logged-in users google crafted results according to their history of previous searches.
In December 2009 google came out with a new announcement that to populate the search results it would be using the web search history of all its users where an indexing system called Google Caffeine was designed to allow users to find news results and other content much faster after publishing than before, it changed the way Google updated its index to make things show up quicker on Google than before.
In late 2010 google came out with Google instant real-time search to make results more timely and relevant. Before the site administrators used to spend months and even years optimizing a website to increase search rankings.
In February 2011 google came out with a new algorithm named panda which penalized the duplicated content from other sites and sources then another algorithm named penguin was launched to penalize the websites that used manipulative techniques to improve the rankings on search engines, it was used to gauge the quality of sites the links were coming from.
Finally, in respect to the changes made to the search engine optimization for content publishers and writers, a new algorithm called hummingbird was rolled out that allowed Google to only pick up the content which was authentic which allowed Google to produce high-quality content and relied on them to be trusted authors.
When you hear the word SEO do you go blank in your mind, that I only know what is the abbreviation rather than that I have no idea that what its meaning is and how do we use it? then welcome to the ultimate SEO guide for beginners
BASICS OF SEO
WHAT IS SEO?
Search engine optimization is a process where you have to optimize your website in such a way that the ranking of your site improves in the search results by getting the more organic traffic that is non paid traffic, the non paid traffic here would be the one without the Ad logo as compared to the paid one where there would be an Ad logo. Below is the example
Search engines come to use when the users are searching for something, and you are going to provide that answer to something, it does not matter at all that what are you selling whether it’s a product or a service a blog or something else, search engine optimization is must for everyone.
While practicing SEO you don’t need to delve this much deeper that you should know all the factors and algorithms that Google uses to rank your website, but understanding the basics is a must. For that, you have to understand the basic tenets of SEO and the relationship between them.
Here are the basic components
- QUALITY BACKLINKS
- GREAT CONTENT
- TECHNICAL INFORMATION
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THESE ARE THREE KEY ASPECTS OF SEO
- Technical information – It represents all the technical aspects that you need to cover, which includes on-page SEO
- Content-it is the most important part of your website, you would have to keep this thing in mind that low-quality content is not going to give any rankings
- Backlinks-The backlinks that you are going to provide on your website are going to increase the authority of your website, the last thing that matters is going to be gaining authority by getting the quality backlinks
When you start your bit with the SEO there are some terms that you will have come across
- On-page SEO and Off-page SEO
- Black hat SEO and White hat SEO
Here are their meanings
On-page SEO and Off-page SEO
Here are the things that you need to do for an On-page SEO
- Researching keywords
- Optimizing the content
- Optimizing the title tag
- Optimizing the page performance
- Internal linking
Off-page SEO is all about getting quality backlinks to show the search engines that your website has authority and value and the following are the techniques used.
- Guest blogging
- Email outreach
- Broken link building
Social media marketing and branding are the other areas of online marketing which have an indirect impact on building the trust and authority of your website
WHITE HAT SEO VS BLACK HAT SEO
In SEO these terms are used to describe two groups, one who adheres to the rules set out by Google’s webmaster guidelines and those who don’t
BLACK HAT SEO
WHITE HAT SEO
Black hat SEO practices are unethical to improve the rankings of a website.
These practices can take you to the top ranking in a short time but sooner or later you will be penalized by the search engines.
White hat SEO includes the techniques that stick to the rules and guidelines, in this process the good rankings that we get are a result of quality content, good optimization, and a user-oriented approach
Here you will learn the dynamics of working of search engines, how people use them and what are queries they come with
WHAT ARE SEARCH ENGINES?
A search engine is defined as a tool that you use to find information on the internet, for example, google
Here we take Google as an example due to its ubiquitous presence in the internet world, although SEO stands for search engine optimization, by today’s metrics we should call it Google optimization. Below are the market shares of the search engines. Data by Stat counter
So when we talk about the search engines, it alludes to Google, other search engines work on the same techniques, as long as your website is set up for google it should be set up for the others too.
How do search engines work?
The process consists of the steps given below
- Picking the results
And finally showing the user the search results
Here below is the process
It is the process in which all the internet webpages are scanned by the search engines continuously. Small pieces of programs called crawlers or bots are used to follow all the hyperlinks and discover new pages
The information is indexed once the website is crawled, then the search engines try to understand and analyze the pages, categorize them, and store them in the index. The search engine index is a library of all the crawled websites with a purpose to understand them and make them available to be used as a search result
PICKING THE RESULTS
Once you as a user submit a search query the search engine digs into the index and gives out the results. To provide the best results they consider the below-given factors
- Meaning of the query – it is the need of the search engine to understand what the user is searching for
- The relevance of pages –it is must that the page must be relevant to the search query
- Quality of content- the search engine will try to pick the best results in terms of quality of content
- Usability of pages –in terms of accessibility, readability, and safety the pages should be usable
- Context and settings –the settings, location, and the history of searches by the users are considered
The exact calculations of their algorithms are kept secret by the search engines, even then many ranking factors are well known. Many of the ranking factors have been officially confirmed by Google but many remain in the realms of speculations and theories.
Here are the ones that correlate with higher rankings
- Well-targeted content-you need to have the sense and identification that what people search for and create suitable content according to their needs and requirements
- Crawlable website – you don’t need to apply your mind its simple that if you want to rank your website should be easy to find by the search engines
- Quality and Quantity of links –the more quality content pages you link to your website the more authority you will get in the algorithm of the google
- Content oriented at user intent –it is not about the kind of words that you are using but also the type of content and its comprehensiveness
- Unique content-beware about using duplicate content on your websites
- Expertise, authority, trust –you have to build your expertise and trustworthiness to be evaluated by Google’s quality raters
- Fresh content –keep your content regularly updated so that it seems more authentic and fresh
- Click through rate-optimize your title tags and meta descriptions in such a way that it improves click-through rates of your pages
- Website speed –it’s very highly possible that if users don’t get to your site in an instant of a click they will be leaving it before actually visiting it
- Works on any device –your website must work without any error on any device because the majority of the users will be using mobile devices
You have to keep in mind that 5 out of 10 critical factors are related to the content so the quality of the content is one of the most important SEO factors
Other factors that have a considerable impact on your rankings
- Depth of content
- Optimization of images
- Authority over topics
- Structuring of pages
- Social sharing
- Use of HTTPS
Keyword research is one of the basic tasks of SEO
It is one of the key steps on your SEO journey and is important in two key aspects
- Know your niche– When you are starting a new website keyword research will provide an overview of what subtopics people search for and are interested in your niche or industry
- Keyword research –Keyword research can help you in finding the most profitable keyword opportunities and plan your content strategy accordingly
Where to find keywords?
While finding the keywords your first task is to come up with the seed words that you will use as stepping stones to find more keyword ideas. If you run a sports blog then phrases such as fitness, running will work.
Goggle offers many keyword suggestions directly, features such as google autocomplete, people also ask for and related searches can be great sources of keywords ideas
In the autocomplete feature you just need to write your seed keyword in the google search and you will be getting the suggestions automatically
Besides Google, you can find new keyword ideas on Reddit, Quora, Youtube, forums, and Facebook groups
Though there are many keyword tools available the one that you can use for free is
- Uber suggest
In this tool you can type the keyword you are looking for and this engine will give you its search volume per month, its search difficulty, cost per click, and paid difficulty as well, so it would be easy to decide for you which keywords are going to work for you according to your need and requirements
- Google keyword planner
Its work is almost similar to the Uber suggests but its results are considered more authentic than any other tool because it belongs to the biggest search engine itself that is google.
Above keyword tools can be used for free, the problem with them is that they are limited when it comes to other features, besides the keyword suggestions the paid tools also offer other metrics and insights to evaluate the keywords and pick the right ones.
The ways to start keyword research with a keyword tool
- Seed keyword
- Competitor’s domain/URL
This is how keyword suggestions look in a keyword finder
Other ways to look for the keywords that your competitors rank for is by simply typing their domain or URL
Your goal is to find the relevant keywords with high search volumes and low keyword difficulty, and your ideal keyword must be a combination of the three most important factors of keyword research
The ideal keyword should be
- Popular-keyword having a high enough search volume
- Rankable-ranking in a way that SEO difficulty is not too high
- Relevant-your content matches the search intent
In past, the main emphasis of the content creators was to do research only to find the keywords with high search volumes what they practiced was to stuff the keywords into the content to trick the search engine algorithms and ensure high rankings in organic search, but lately, the keyword research has become a lot more complex
LONGTAIL KEYWORDS VS THE SEARCH VOLUME
Keyword research guides usually focus on so-called long-tail keywords reason being they are more specific and usually consist of more words
Long-tail keywords are having lower difficulty and higher conversion rates, it is because of the specific queries placed by the user and there are further changes that are going to be converted to a potential sale
70% of the traffic comes from the long-tail keywords
Here the downside is a lower search volume so you have to consider all the aspects and find a perfect balance between effort and the potential benefits
The fact is that at the starting of a new website it would be a little difficult to rank for big keywords, but you should keep on evaluating your chances
By evaluating the keyword competition you will get to know how hard it would be to rank for the keywords you will be going for and it is going to be expressed by the metric of keyword difficulty.
Usually, on most tools, the keyword difficulty value will be indicated on a scale from zero to hundred, the higher the score the harder it is to rank on the 1st SERP for the keyword
By monitoring the keyword difficulty
- You will get knowledge that which are the big keywords and the big players in your area of expertise
- Those keywords would be identified that have the actual chance to rank for
- You can save time by focusing on the keywords that can bring you results even if you don’t have enough authority yet
KEYWORD DIFFICULTY VALUES CAN DIFFER IN DIFFERENT TOOLS REASON BEING SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT METRICS AND ALGORITHMS SO YOU SHOULD COMPARE THE RESULTS WITHIN ONE TOOL
The keyword must be relevant and the easy way is to do proper SERP analysis to find out
- Whether or not you can compete with the websites in the first SERP
- The search intent behind the keywords you want to optimize for
Here are different search intent types
- Navigational-search based for a specific website
- Informational-searching for general information
- Transactional-what the user wants to buy online
- Commercial-the research user does before the purchase
Let us say you want to optimize your shoe product page and you find the keywords best shoes It has a solid search volume and difficulty is not too high, however, if you will look at the search results you will notice that all the pages ranking for best shoes are reviews and buying guides, not product pages, the google considers it a commercial, not a transactional keyword
You have to keep it in mind so you don’t end up optimizing for the wrong keywords
CONTENT AND SEO
THE COMMON NOTION IS THAT CONTENT AND SEO ARE SEPARATE PLAYERS, BUT THIS NOTION IS WRONG
There is no doubt about this thing that content is the king and SEO and content are interconnected
Here are some practical points on creating a successful, content strategy
IDENTIFYING THE TOPICS
The strategy of your content should be based upon your proper understanding of your niche and the requirements of your audience, now we are familiar with finding the right keywords, the next step is identifying the topics
Many times you will find out that a keyword is a standalone topic but it is not always like that
Here is an example:
How to create a blog
Let’s take an example that you are having several keywords like:
- How to start a website
- How to create a website
- How do you start a website
- How to start your website
Though the words here may differ they are all about the same thing creating a website
It would make no sense at all in creating a separate post for each of them instead we will compile them into one topic how to create a website and cover it all in a comprehensive guide that could potentially rank for each of these keywords
If you go for the SERP ANALYSIS you will find out that search results are almost identical for all of them and once you have established the topic you can go back to the level of keywords and select one that will represent your topic the best that is the target keyword
the Principle of content strategy for SEO is simple:
1 page equals 1 topic equal to 1 focus keyword
Organize your topics
One of the suitable ways to plan and organize your topics is to use the so-called content hubs. Content hubs are a collection of pages that are related to a certain topic, where the pages are interlinked and provide a general idea of the topic as well as in-depth analysis into subtopics.
Two types of content are used to achieve that
- Pillar content-it is a page that provides a general overview of the broad topic, usually targeting a keyword (example jogging)
- Cluster content- these are the supporting pages that focus on the subtopics within the theme in detail
This strategy has multiple benefits
- When you provide more value for your readers by covering each topic in detail so that they don’t have to visit other websites to learn about a certain topic
- You have to plan and structure your content and cover all important keywords from your expertise systematically
- You have to increase your authority in certain topics by interlinking pages that are closely topically related
TARGET VARIOUS INTENT TYPES
While selecting the topics for your content, you have to remember that there are various types of search intents, navigational, informational, commercial, and transactional.
You don’t require to sell in each post. By focusing on the various search intent types you will be able to target various stages of the buyer’s journey.
As a side benefit
- You will be establishing yourself as an authority in the field
- You will be building trust and brand awareness
- You will be reaching new users
OPTIMIZING FOR A FOCUS KEYWORD
The list of all the possible elements where you can use the focus keyword
- Title tag and meta description
- Headings and subheadings
- Body of text
- Image metadata
- Anchor text of the internal links
Title tag and meta description
What is considered very important is to put your focus keyword in the title tag and to a lesser extent in the meta description, if you are writing about a certain topic it will be natural that the target keyword will appear in the on-page elements that summarize the content of the page.
The URL’s you use should be short and easy to read, its not the most important SEO factor but it can be of help, one of the benefits is that if someone links your page to the so-called naked URL the backlink will include your focus keyword
WHAT IS AN SEO STRATEGY?
It consists of describing the way that you approach search engine optimization in the process of getting more organic traffic to your website. It consists of a goal and a plan on how to achieve it.
Keep this thing in mind that there is no such thing as the ideal number of keyword appearances on a page, by using the keyword a certain number of times in your text you are usually doing more harm than good
You can use insert your focus keyword into various image metadata
- Image filename
- Title of the image
- The caption of the image
- Image alt text
From the SEO point of view alt text is most important, it describes the image for visually impaired visitors as well as crawlers
But it does not mean that you have to put it into all these places
If your focus keyword is indoor sports and you will feature an image of a man playing badminton inside a hall, you don’t have to use the alt text of a man performing an indoor sport
Anchor text of the internal links
You need to use the focus keyword in the anchor text of your internal links, anchor text is the visible part of the link, if it contains the focus keyword, you are letting google know what page you are linking to is about.
Below is an example of the SEO strategy
The same thing applies to the external links, however, what anchor text will be used on external pages linking to your website is not always in your hands.
It’s a big no-no for Google to manipulate the anchor texts of your links
The most important thing about the optimization of your page for the focus keyword is: Don’t force it
FOCUS ON QUALITY
These days ranking for almost any keyword is much harder than it was in the past, nowadays you have to create something that is much better than your competitor’s also known as the 10x content strategy
What is 10 x content?
The content is 10 times better than the best result that can be currently found in the search results for a given keyword phrase or topic.
How to create 10 x content?
- Thorough covering of topics
- More up to date info
- Research/point of view/original data
- The page has an appealing design
- The use of infographics, videos, visual media –images
- Use of stock images rather than custom made visuals
- Easy to read and well-structured text
- Page loading perfectly on any device
- Faster Page loading
Its meaning in practice
- Try and see what your competitors are giving in their content then make a strategy to enhance your content in comparison to your competitors
- Concentrate on providing more up to date authentic information and data
- Try citing trusted sources and examples that can build your trustworthiness
- Experiment with your strategies use unique data
- Try using a unique layout for your most important pieces of content
- Add illustrations, infographics ,charts ,gifs, screenshots ,videos.
- Avoid stock photos and use your illustrations
- Make sure that the font type and size is readable and free of grammatical errors
- Try writing shorter easy to digest paragraphs
- Use a table of contents for longer pages
- Use infoboxes, quotes, bolded sentences, bulleted lists
- Try optimizing the technical aspects
THE RIGHT CONTENT LENGTH
The common narrative is that the content length is one of the ranking factors, studies show that posts over 2000 words rank better in Google, but it’s not always the number of words that bring high ranking, it’s taken to be a thumb rule that long posts usually cover the topic in a more detailed way.
So how to approach the right content length?
- Monitor the average word count of pages ranking for your focus keyword to help in getting you the idea that how many words you will need
- It’s not only the high number of words that is going to improve your ranking, you have to focus on the quality of content, not the quantity
And longer posts does not necessarily mean that it is going to be a direct ranking factor
KEEPING YOUR CONTENT UPDATED REGULARLY
You have to keep your content updated, no matter how much traffic it gets at first, there is a big chance that it will keep on decreasing gradually if you do not update it, to ensure that your post is not forgotten over time you have to manage regular updates because it is in the algorithm of google that it notices the frequency of updates and is more favorable to frequently updated pages for some query
Moreover updating is a relatively easy way to improve the quality of your content
UPDATING VS REPUBLISHING
While the smaller changes that you make to your pages don’t require any special steps but if you are doing a major remake then it is worth republishing the post, so that it is visible at the top of your blog feed and the readers know that the post went through a big update.
The cases when you may consider republishing your post
- It affects more than 50 % of your content
- A significant portion of new content is added
- You merge two or more posts into one
ON-PAGE AND TECHNICAL SEO
Search engine algorithms had a long journey and have become more sophisticated from the times when titles, descriptions, and content with keywords were enough to achieve high rankings in the result
The most important thing today that the search engines take into consideration today is the human engagement period on the pages
They are a part of the HTML code, the most important is the meta titles and meta descriptions
Though meta titles and descriptions packed with the keywords don’t directly influence your rankings, still they remain a strong psychological factor affecting the CTR and overall user engagement that makes them very important for SEO
Bloggers may confuse you by saying that the title tags and meta descriptions are not important at all, on the other hand, you have to keep it in mind that google algorithm changes titles and descriptions to better indicate their relevance to the search query in case your copy does not match enough.
You can use tools and plugins like Yoast to analyze your content in terms of focus keyword usage in meta title, meta description, heading, overall keyword density alt image attributes, and others.
Lots of hints are offered yet can hardly follow the google algorithm focusing when it comes to the human factor, it is your job to make sure that you consider both user experience and technical point of view when creating meta tags.
ON-PAGE SEO CHECKLIST
Finding out what people are searching for before you start writing
Are you planning to write about a topic that people are going to search for? is your point of view different and unique? Are you offering a new added value to a topic? Is your timing right?
These are the major questions that you should consider before starting writing irrespective of whether it is a blog or a product landing page, keyword research is one of the ways to find it out
Title tags and headlines
You have to create an appealing title tag, meta description, and headlines keeping in mind that your main focus keyword should be there so that users know what your website is about, and using meta description is a great opportunity for the call to action emphasis.
You have to persuade both users and search engines that your website is one to be clicked on
Think of the user engagement, look at your competitors content, pay attention and analyze what works for them and build your strategy
TIPS FOR TITLE TAGS AND HEADLINES
- Google will show the titles if they are up to 70 characters and the meta descriptions up to 155 characters
- For good readability and structure use correct h1,h2,h3
- Use SERP simulator, SEO site checkup, or word press plugins to search the result previews
USE SEO-friendly URL’S
- Avoid making use of auto-generated URL’S with figures and characters
- Use URL’S corresponding to your title and its content
- You can set permalinks in the common settings if you are using Word press
Rather than saying that shorter URLs rank better in Google, it is more a matter of user experience, but it does not mean that a 20 word URL is convenient.
If you want to engage your visitors you would have to use images, charts, videos, and infographics, which lead to higher engagement and lower bounce rates, it is alright to write some things in a good old fashioned way but multimedia are a must
Video streaming has been used as one of the hottest marketing trends and it motivates people to like, share or comment on your content
TIPS FOR MULTIMEDIA
- Use interactive media such as charts or videos
- Optimization of images by using the relevant file names, attributes, file size, and alt image
You have to include transcripts so you don’t lose important keywords because search engine crawlers can’t read the video
OUTBOUND AND INTERNAL LINKS
Using the outbound links is an indication of the relevancy signal of your topic to google, you have to make sure to link to relevant and authoritative sources
To promote your other articles or website sections internal links are a must and it leads to higher engagement also helping the google bots in understanding the website structure
TIPS FOR OUTBOUND AND INTERNAL LINKS
- Outbound links do not directly improve your rankings, yet you must use them
- Depending upon the content length use up to 2-3 links
- Follow the model of content hub for internal linking
Let people engage
Great content shares itself is an adage, share buttons should always be on your website considering the laziness of people, apart from Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin consider using social networks such as Reddit, Pinterest, and many others.
TECHNICAL ON-PAGE SEO CHECKLIST
One of the SEO basics is to connect your site to the google search console, it helps you in monitoring and maintaining your site’s performance and presence in the google search, it also helps you analyze your keyword rankings, CTRs, google penalties, and many other useful data for technical SEO
Other features include choosing what you want to be indexed and what not site errors, structured data errors, and links.
- Every website must be verified to use search console features
- Connect search console with google analytics
It is one of the ranking factors so you should always aim to improve it, it is known that half of the web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds, if it does not load in this short period they will leave
- Test the speed in the Page speed insights
- Enable GZIP compression, HTML compression, JS, and CSS minification and try to decrease the server response time
- Webhosting plays a key role in website speed so make sure to select a trustworthy provider
In today’s changing world the desktop is losing its relevance to mobile so you have to optimize your website for a mobile, if it is not it will influence your rankings
Google rolled out the first mobile indexing in March 2018, which meant that google will use the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking
- Use the mobile-friendly test to test the responsivity of your website
- You can monitor your keyword rankings in mobile search results
- Your mobile website version should be charming enough in its working
You can take into consideration the accelerated mobile pages, its an HTML code with custom properties that enables to render static content faster
It helps the search engines to crawl your content, it’s a file where all website sections are listed. It’s good to have a site map when you are running a large website with rich media content and a complicated structure
- All websites do not need a sitemap
- Other than XML sitemap there are more types of sitemaps
- It should not contain more than 50,000 URLs and cannot exceed 50 MB
- Try and place the sitemap in the root directory of the website
It’s a file that tells crawlers which website sections you don’t want them to be accessed, its located at https://example.com/robots.txt, and it’s public.
- Don’t use the robots.txt to hide the content from the search engines
- txt should not be violated by crawlers or malware robots
FURTHER TECHNICAL SEO HACKS
For ON-PAGE SEO you can use SEO Site check-up for analysis, you can download a PDF report without registering as well as analyze one URL per day
For advanced tag management use google tag manager, so you don’t need any assistance from web developers
HTTPS VS HTTP
IN 2014 google came out with an announcement that they will boost the rankings of HTTPS/SSL websites and today it is a small factor in influencing a small percentage of search queries
The site which is not encrypted with SSL is labeled by google chrome as not secure which influences the user engagement
IP canonicalization is important when you index a website under both its domain name and IP address
It is a process in which you get links from other websites, backlinks are hypertext links that serve as navigation among websites, which are then crawled by the search engines which allow them to index the web content
Why link building is so important?
The links are used by search engines to explore new websites and to set the overall ranking of a website in SERP. Links explore new content and determine the authority of a website based on the authorization which was passed from external sources
This means that a website’s link profile is one of the most important ranking factors, when google launched page rank it used several backlinks as an important metric of overall ranking, the more the number of links you had the better was your ranking.
Shady link building techniques were penalized because this algorithm was easily misused and that makes the link building more about quality and relevance rather than the number of backlinks
TYPES OF BACKLINKS
There are two types of backlinks
- DO-FOLLOW BACKLINKS have the task of passing the authority of linking page to the linked page which is often called the link juice
- NON-FOLLOW BACKLINKS do not score any points to the linked website, because of the rel=nofollow they don’t pass the authority an HTML tag that tells crawlers not to count it
It is a visible clickable part of a hyperlink, its motive is to help crawlers to indicate what the linked page is about
If more pages are linking to you with certain terms used in anchor texts it may help you rank for these terms in the search engines
The thing to be kept in the mind is that an over-optimized anchor text profile may lead to an algorithmic penalty by Google, so it is better to leave them natural rather than trying to tweak them artificially
There should be a proper balance among the following type of anchors
- Keywords and phrases
- Branded terms
- Generic anchors
- Naked URLs
QUALITY ASPECTS OF BACKLINKS
The multiple quality aspects that google considers of the referring websites
- Page authority
- Domain authority
- Other link profile quality metrics
Moz and majestic provide us several metrics that help us to approximate the results
- Moz page authority
- Moz domain authority
- Majestic trust flow
- Majestic citation flow
The higher the value, the higher is the quality of a backlink, sites that are closely linked to the trusted site will see higher scores, whereas the sites that may have questionable links would see a much lower score, citation flow will predict how influential a URL might be based on how many sites are linked to it.
The link which is being referred to a website has to be relevant to its content, it’s not like the backlink from a sports e-shop will be useless if you write a blog about spirituality
Single links are more valuable than the sitewide links and the links which are placed in the main articles or sections are better than links in footers and the sidebars. On all pages of a website sitewide links will appear, they would be found usually in header, footer, blogrolls, or sidebar, and are great both for internal and external link building.
But their SEO potential may be a bit lower when compared to single links, only thing that you have to keep in mind is that you use natural links and they can generate a lot of traffic and the other aspects that we need to keep in mind are anchor quality, the freshness of the link social signals and popularity.
LINK BUILDING STRATEGIES
It’s not at all easy to acquire a high-quality backlink, the techniques used earlier like directory submissions or reciprocal links do not work anymore and SEO does a lot of brainstorming trying different approaches
Some are mentioned below
It is one of the most popular link building technique where you have to write a post and post it on another website, the website gets the free content and you get a free backlink In the end it all comes down to quality where if you want a good backlink, you need to bring your best content in the terms of guest post quality. Too many bad guest posts and bad outreach emails and usage by everyone means the popularity of this technique
Things that you should keep in mind when doing the guest post outreach campaign
- Be personal
- Offer relevant well-researched topics
- Don’t use templates
It is considered a time consuming but effective strategy to find what works for others, you have to check the websites that are linking to your competitors then create better content and contact the related people behind these people to link to your websites instead
The shorter way to find your competitor’s backlinks is to use a backlink tool such as Linkmine, you just need to enter the domain of your competitor and the tools will show you the backlinks that they have
You can also use the specific URL of your competitor, this comes into play when you are looking for the link building opportunities for a specific blog post, what you have to do is to find the top-ranking pages for your focus keyword and analyze their backlinks
After finding your competitor’s backlinks, while analyzing your best opportunities following considerations should be taken into account
- Link relevance-is the link provided relevant to your content
- Link strength- the authority of the linking page
- Chance to replicate the backlink-is there any probability that I will be able to get the same backlink
The next step is the email outreach where you ask the website owners to replace the backlink of your competitor or add your backlink as an additional resource
Some other popular link building techniques
- Content-based backlinking: Produce the backlink that will naturally attract backlinks, referral traffic, and social shares
- Social backlinks: Promote your content on Facebook, comment on relevant posts, join discussions and create connections
- Broken link building: Find the websites that are having inactive links and give them your content to link to
- PR article: which are written by professionals and published on news portals will give you high-quality backlinks, but you need to prepare some budget for this and make sure that they are truly relevant
- Buy backlinks via blogpost
- Write a testimonial for a product with a backlink to your website
- Backlinks from forums, Q&A sites top lists, content aggregators’ comments, business listings, keeping in mind that a vast majority of them are no following or low-quality backlinks
- Grey black hat techniques such as private blog network link building
BLACK HAT TECHNIQUES AND PENALITIES
Private blog network links and paid backlinks are another way to build backlinks but these techniques are considered black hat or gray hat which google may detect and penalize your website.
These techniques work but you have to be careful and think about all the possible risks before taking this path.
Google Penguin algorithm update from April 2012 started to detect and penalize for Spammy bad or low-quality links.
However if you low quality or spammy backlinks you did not create, don’t worry, because Google understands that not all bad backlinks were created on purpose and usually it will just ignore these backlinks, to get rid of such practices you can still disavow such backlinks in the search console
- Link building should be regular, not a one-time effort
- Rather than many low-quality links acquire a few high-quality links
- Anchor text distribution is a must
- For referral traffic try acquiring backlink placements
UX AND SEO
If you go back to 2008 working of SEO your main task requirement would have been to stuff your content with keywords, ideally hidden as white text, doing reciprocal backlink exchanges, and creating pages of low-quality content for every keyword variation
If you are going to use such techniques in 2020 they are not going to work and some of them will grant a penalty for your website, in short, these techniques were meant to fool the search engine algorithm and UX (user experience) is on the opposite side of the barrier, while SEO’S should understand that it is not all about rankings, UX specialists have to admit the fact that user experience kicks in before using the website.
WHAT IS USER EXPERIENCE?
It is about everY user’s interaction with the company, its website, and its products, it’s the overall experience influencing the design, product development, customer support, and marketing.
UX is not only about meeting the customer requirements it’s about going beyond these requirements, you have to think out of the box and create a website that naturally covers every possible need of customers without bothering them
The thing that you have to keep in mind is that user experience is no user interface, it’s only a part of it, take an example of an online store, despite its user interface for finding a product is okay the overall UX will be poor if we click on order and pay and suddenly get a message that product is out of stock
UX RULES NOWADAYS
It is a never-ending process of improvements towards customers, it’s the philosophy on which a company’s website should be developed accordingly
Web UX is a mix of technical UX and content, in shorter terms, UX is everything that’s why it is important to understand its complexity and influence on everyone inside and outside the company. What we are talking about is given below
- Navigation and website structure
- Conversion funnel optimization
- Page speed
- Easy onboarding process
- Website responsivity
- Content structure
- Content optimization
- Meta descriptions and title tags
- Smooth workflow
- Real-time customer support
UX and SEO challenges
If you are thinking in terms of UX and SEO instead of UX vs SEO challenges are going to be there, below are the one that is connected to SEO
Website structure and navigation
Assume that you put everything on a single page to ensure smooth UX, this one is a valid idea in the UX world, but SEO’S are well versed with the fact that organic traffic is at least half of the success
Many visitors should access the page directly on their previous actions and others should come from the organic search whereas other visitors are referred from various sources such as blogs, social media, or PPC campaigns.
People would be using google to find what they want, your website should be that finding, and don’t try to fit all possible landing pages there for the sake of SEO when it comes to the website navigation, having a link to your latest blog post in the navigation is an indication to Google that the URL is important but it may not be relevant to your website visitors
The faster your website better is the UX, because page speed is one of the ranking factors, there is a clear relationship between the SEO and UX and this one is probably the easiest case to explain
You have to adjust your content according to the language of the typical researcher by doing the keyword research and optimizing your content accordingly
The point here is to make your content accessible for everyone searching for a product, information, or solution that your website may provide
META DESCRIPTION AD TITLE TAGS
Higher in SERP you are higher is the possibility for you to get clicked, however, if you spoil the meta description and title tag the quick math can go wrong, your only goal is to catch the attention of the searcher by using a copy that encourages them to click on your website in the SERP.
ELEMENTS TO CONSIDER WHILE CREATING META DESCRIPTIONS AND TITLE TAGS
- SEO-Make usage of the right keywords so the crawlers can understand what is the most important content and what is the website about
- UX-Give the searcher’s information that will inspire and motivate them to click because they will be finding what they are looking for
- Marketing-The copy with a clear call to action leads to higher click through rates
HOW TO MEASURE UX AND SEO
There is a variety of options that you can use like google analytics through specialized reports to internal data
BEHAVIOUR METRICS AND ENGAGEMENT IN GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Bounce rate, average session duration, and pages per session provide a basic view on user interaction, you will find these metrics are almost in every report in google analytics so you can see them for various traffic resources
The behavior flow will inform you how visitors interact with various sections of the website and advanced options will let you see reports based on traffic resources, campaigns, landing pages others. The report tells you how many users went through or dropped off when visiting that particular section
CONVERSION FUNNELS IN GOOGLE ANALYTICS
This report is going to tell you how people interact with the checkout page on your website, are you having more than one step in the checkout process? In such cases do not forget to properly set up the goal tracking in the admin menu
This way you are going to measure how many people abandoned throughout the process and how many people went through all the steps, it can be a buying process, registration form, or subscription form on your blog. For UX optimization it’s just another extremely useful information
There is something wrong if the majority of website users who visited the checkout process did not even fill the first form
HEATMAPS AND RECORDINGS
Here the process is about visualizing the behavior of website visitors while providing many useful reports. Hot star and crazy egg are some heatmap tools that come with complex analytic solutions but they can be too expensive for bloggers or small businesses. A free plan by Hot jar or Pt engine may be a good start for beginners.
Heat maps are a lot of help when it comes to both SEO and UX. The heatmaps show you how exactly in a detailed pattern are people interacting with the website like what they are clicking, what they are scrolling, and how they are filling forms.
The best-used heatmap tools include the recordings of the user behavior, but they are not worth it for anyone, businesses with larger budgets and more complicated e-commerce pages should go for it but for bloggers limited free version should do the job.
There are not any additional costs when it comes to internal data, reports packed with information can be created all the time
- Customer questions
- Comments and reactions
- Feedback forms
- Customer wishes and complaints
- Email responses
- Marketing reports
- Reports from web developers
SITE SPEED AND TESTING
The Website speed test is a must before it is launched as beta testers provide a lot of useful information because they are the first real users, apart from that you can do some usability testing with the colleague’s fans, or friends during the development process, keep in mind that you have to pay attention to mobile optimization, page speed, and another on-page SEO aspects.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can I learn SEO?
You can apply the following strategies
- Read from the reliable resources
- Do experiments
- Patience is a must thing
- Get a hands-on experience
What duration does it take to learn SEO?
Well it depends on case to case, understanding the basics is an easy thing to do, but the actual proficiency depends upon your consistency, discipline, and practice which can take months or even years. As we know that SEO is evolving all the time, you have to keep yourself updated with the latest updates, experiments, and findings.
Do we need SEO tools?
Insights and use data provided by the various tools should not be neglected, they will save you a lot of time and also give you a competitive advantage
Here are some essential SEO tools
- SERP Watcher, a rank tracker
- Link miner, a backlink analysis tool
- Google Analytics, a traffic analysis tool
- KW finder, a keyword research tool
- Google search console
Can we do SEO on our own?
There are some things that you will be getting easier and others would take time and effort, so yes you can manage SEO on your own, the only thing you should ask yourself is that whether you are willing to invest the time into learning all aspects of SEO or you will hire a professional and invest your time into something else.
Image credits – google