If you want to learn SEO in 2022, you've come to the right place.
This guide will help you get more organic traffic flowing to your website.
The path to learning SEO is tricky, but luckily for you, we've made it super simple.
Let's get started.
What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of increasing a website's traffic from the search engine results page (SERP).
SEO aims to get your website ranking number one on the search engine results page (SERP).
From a business perspective, ranking number one on Google means that you will be found by the people who are actively searching for your products or services.
SEO processes that drive traffic to a website include keyword research, on-page, and off-page SEO.
Basic SEO Terminology:
Search Engines: Search engines like Google and Bing are computer programs that identify items in a database that correspond and deliver results back to the searcher based on the keywords, characters, and questions.
Keyword Research: Keywords for SEO are the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines. Keywords are also the ideas and topics that define what content you will produce.
On-Page SEO: On-page SEO, sometimes known as on-site SEO, is the process of optimizing your website by adding specific keywords to improve search visibility and traffic. On-page SEO also means performing technical SEO, making sure your site structure makes sense, and includes adding and optimizing things like title tags, content and improving URL structure.
Off-Page SEO: Off-page SEO means all the measures you take outside of your website to improve its search rankings. This means building backlinks and improving your local or international SEO presence.
Search Engines For SEO:
To rank high on the SERP, you first need to understand how search engines work.
This includes understanding:
Search Engines Basics:
When people search for things online, they do so using a question or query.
A search engine's job is to match the question or query to the best possible answer.
The answers search engines give users are stored in their index.
Search engines use complex algorithms that determine what answer they should pull from their index.
Results for the same question can differ depending on location, language, and intent.
Today's most dominant search engine is undoubtedly Google, with Bing being a not-so-close second, as you can see below.
Because Google is so dominant, SEO best practice focuses on optimizing websites for Google search only.
Search engines like Google make money from advertising.
This is known as PPC or pay-per-click advertising in the marketing industry.
PPC delivers much quicker results than SEO but is expensive and offers only a temporary solution.
If you mix PPC with SEO, you are now talking about SEM or search engine marketing.
How Search Engines Work:
This section will cover the core elements that search engines use to deliver the search results you see every day.
Search engines find your site by visiting pages in their index and following links to other sites, including yours if there is one (backlinks).
Another way search engines find sites is by visiting sitemaps and URL submissions people have made to them.
Search engines then crawl newly discovered websites using bots called spiders.
Finally, search engines add the websites they have visited their index and rank them using an algorithm.
When a user submits a query to Google, they will consult their index and deliver back a list of what they think are the best results.
How Search Engines Rank Websites:
Now you know how search engines work, it's time to grip how search engines rank your website.
Nobody knows the exact ranking factors that search engines like Google or Bing use.
However, we know that they use algorithms that rank pages according to various factors.
As you can see below, Google ranks websites that get the most traffic.
But why do only certain websites get the most traffic?
First, websites that rank first or high tend to have the most or highest quality amount of backlinks.
Second, websites that contain high quality, fresh and relevant on-page content are more highly valued than those that don't.
Thrid, fast websites that offer a good user experience and adhere to Google webmaster's best practice guidelines are more valued than slow, poorly engineered ones.
Finally, websites that contain keywords in their headings and content show the search engine what problem they are trying to solve.
When you set out on your journey to rank number one, you start by doing keyword research.
Keyword Research for SEO:
Keyword research is the process of identifying how your target market searches for your product or services.
Keywords also tell search engines what your website is about.
What's more, it also helps you identify why your competitors are outranking you on the SERP.
To conduct keyword research effectively, you need to know:
How To Find Keyword Ideas:
To find keywords you first need to know your industry and what your potential customers are searching online.
Next you need to brainstorm some Seed keywords and phrases that your competitors and niche use to find your product or service.
Your first step is to identify what seed keywords and phrases apply to you.
A seed keyword phrase is a single short phrase that describes your product or service.
Next, review your direct competitors to identify what seed keywords and phrases they use on their site and content.
Finally, take time to study your niche online.
This can include reading blogs, watching YouTube videos and read forums to get a sense of what your consumers want so you can build keywords around this.
How To Analyse Search Volume:
Search volume is how often a keyword is searched per month.
What’s important is the number of searches per month, how much traffic you will get by ranking and the annual average.
Its sub optimal to pick super high or low volume keywords.
You should choose searches that fall into the mid-range.
This is because you are more likely to rank for mid tail keywords on the basis that you will be able to compete for them and they will also be worthwhile to rank for.
How To Target Keywords:
Targeting irrelevant keywords may bring you traffic, but you'll struggle to convert those site visitors into sales.
The keywords you select should always:
Have a high search volume
Have a reasonable level of difficulty
Be relevant to your target audience
Many websites use seed keywords to inform the content for their main website pages, such as those you would list in your website's navigation or menu.
Longtail keywords can then be used to create your ongoing blog strategy.
Longtail keywords are helpful because they provide more context on the user's search intent.
That means you can tailor your blog content to answer those questions more precisely, making your web page more relevant and, therefore, more likely to rank on the SERP for that keyword.
It can be a good idea for a new website to target low volume, low difficulty keywords.
That allows you to establish a position on the SERP and start driving traffic to your website.
Over time, this increases your domain authority and makes it easier to start ranking for higher volume keywords.
On-page SEO refers to the way you structure your website for search engines.
Bots deployed by Google scan your website and use their information to rank your site on the SERP.
By structuring your website correctly and filling it with relevant content, Google can decipher the purpose of your web pages and rank them for keywords related to your website.
The main components of on-page SEO are:
Title tags are how you indicate to Google which lines of text on the page are headings and subheadings.
They help to structure your page in a logical way so that search engines can easily scan your web page to see what it’s about and what information it provides.
For example, the title of a blog post should be a H1 title.
Any subheadings should be H2 titles.
Any subheadings underneath an individual H2 should be H3 titles, and so on.
Most website builders or blog tools allow you to easily select these title tags for each heading in your content.
This selection is then indicated in the HTML source code of your site so Google can interpret the structure of your content.
The content on your page refers to all wording, graphics, videos, etc. that you include on your website’s pages.
The most important thing to remember about your on-page content is to optimize it with keywords.
These keywords tell Google what your content is about and, therefore, which keywords it should rank for.
On-page content should be:
Highly relevant to the keywords your are targeting
More thorough and detailed than the current 1st position page on the SERP
Clear and concise for both search engines and website visitors
Every time you publish a new page on your website, a unique URL slug (everything after the “.com” of your website name) is generated for that page.
Your URLs are another on-page element that Google scans to figure out what your web page is about.
Before you publish a new web page or blog post on your site, make sure the ending of your URL is short, snappy, and contains the keywords you’re trying to rank for.
There are many elements within technical SEO and some of them are fairly complex.
But the end goal of technical SEO is to make it easy for Google to crawl and index your website.
There are lots of technical “quick wins” that beginners can use to improve overall SEO performance.
Make sure your website has a sitemap that is uploaded to the back end of your site.
It’s essentially a blueprint of your entire website, including pages that link to each other and all of the content on each page.
Most website building tools will automatically generate and upload this for you in the background, but it’s worth double checking.
Check how fast your web pages are loading using Google’s free PageSpeed tools.
Some speed issues can be as simple as reducing the size of large image and video files on your site.
You also need to make sure there is a fast and responsive mobile version of your website.
Google also has a free Mobile-Friendly testing tool to help you analyze the performance of your mobile site.
Google doesn’t just look at your website to figure out how to rank it.
The search engine crawls the entire web to find out which other websites are pointing to yours.
Ensuring that you have lots of other websites with links that point back to your own is called “off-page” SEO.
These types of links are called backlinks. The volume and quality of your backlink profile is a major ranking factor used by Google to place your web pages in the SERP.
The more backlinks you can get, the better.
But they also need to be from a variety of sources.
Having 200 backlinks from 200 different websites is preferable to having 2,000 backlinks all from the same website.
There are lots of tactics you can take to create backlinks, including:
Create guest posts on other people’s blogs that include a link back to your site