Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide

You probably have heard about the wonders of SEO in growing online businesses. And that can be backed with data-driven results from successful SEO strategies that worked for most companies. If you are looking to grow your marketing efforts, it’s worth the time to start getting down with how search engine optimization (SEO) works. And to help you, we have prepared a quick SEO guide as your introductory.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the practice of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic and brand exposure through non-paid or organic search engine results.

It is about understanding audience behavior when they search online and providing precisely the content that will fulfill user intent. On the other hand, SEO also requires you to comprehend how search engine crawlers will find and understand your content.

Why is SEO important to your business?

SEO affects your business in most aspects—it can either reward you a high-ranking position on a search engine results page (SERPs) or penalize you for poorly optimized pages. Either way, these could favorably impact your business in terms of brand awareness and growth. To be more specific, here are the benefits of implementing SEO practices on your website:

1. Gives you a higher click-through rate

A highly optimized website has a higher chance of ranking higher at the SERPs. This means you gain more visibility when people look up for related keywords, which boosts your organic traffic over time.

2. Provides better user experience

One of the best SEO practices you need to adhere to is providing a good user experience. When the crawlers can comprehend these user-friendly features you added, you gain better-optimized pages that attract more visitors. 

3. Boosts site credibility

When people see you are among the top of the SERPs, it’s easier to trust your site. Also, SEO earns you backlinks or a link from another website directing to your page, making you further improve credibility. Remember to check backlinks regularly to make sure they are relevant and don’t undermine your website’s authority.

4. Outranks competition

Having well-optimized pages and articles help you outrank your competing websites. This amps up your site visibility, gains more traffic, and expands your reach generally.

5. Measures results

Having SEO allows you to monitor all changes happening in your site. Most of the time, you’ll use SEO tools and data analytics software to check progress from day-to-day. This makes you aware of how effective SEO implementations are on your site, helping you weed out those that don’t work. You can also look for an SEO company whose purpose is to help businesses like yours to boost your visibility in search engines.

6. Offers long-term results

All SEO efforts yield long-term results. All implementations have a direct impact on your site’s health, making every move critical. However, the search engines always alter their SEO guidelines, requiring you to keep up with it for better optimization that lasts you a long time.

What affects SEO?

So how does SEO technically work? Three aspects collectively impact your site’s SEO health. When ticked at the right points, these three will help your pages rank higher in the SERPs. Here are those three important aspects.

1. Technical SEO

This refers to anything that impacts the performance, visibility of, and how search engines will crawl your website. It includes indexing and crawling, schema, page speed, site structure, URL structure, etc.

  • Crawling – when bot or spiders read your pages to find new and updated content.
  • Indexing – once the crawl is done, the visited pages will be saved in the index where it can be easily retrieved with the assigned keyword.
  • Schema – the semantic vocabulary of tags that you may add to HTML for the improvement of how search engines crawl and show your page in SERPs.
  • Page speed – the measurement of how fast the content of your pages load.
  • Site structure – this is how you organize your web content. It deals with how the content is grouped, linked, and shown to viewers.
  • URL structure – the value of your web address in terms of user experience, rankings, and linkings.

2. On-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to your web content—the visible content to viewers and the elements visible to search engines. This is where you ensure all content like text, images, video, audio, and more adhere to SEO’s best practices to appear user-friendly and substantial. The same goes for web elements like HTML tags, alt tags, meta-tags, and more.

3. Off-page SEO

This refers to the SEO efforts you do outside your site. Off-page factors aim to grow and establish website authority, create relevance, and earn audience trust. Some of the standard off-page practices include link building, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, PPC marketing, reviews, user-generated content, and more.

When these three are correctly implemented, your website has a higher chance of ranking higher in SERPs, booting organic traffic, and gaining authority. And these are possible by applying the best SEO strategies that will adhere to the search engine. 

Basic principles of SEO for Google Webmaster

To give you a more in-depth insight on how search engines rank pages, here are Google Webmaster guidelines for SEO:

  • Create pages to fulfill user intent and not for search engines.
  •  Avoid deception of the audience.
  • Steer clear of suspicious tricks or blackhat activities to improve search engine rankings.
  • Capitalize on what will make your website and web pages unique, engaging, and valuable.

Practices to avoid for Google Webmaster

Here are the things to avoid to get an SEO-friendly site:

  • Putting up automatically generated content
  • Participating in link schemes.
  • Publishing pages with little to no content or plagiarized content
  • Doing cloaking or showing search engine crawlers a different content to visitors
  • Including hidden texts and links within your content
  • Creating doorway pages which aim to rank well for specific searches to direct traffic to your website

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White hat and black hat strategies to amp up your SEO

In addition to search engine guidelines, here are some practices you need to do or avoid to boost your site’s SEO. 

White hat strategies refer to the recommended practices to implement in your pages.

  • Writing relevant content
  • Targeting keywords for pages
  • Having unique and relevant page URLs and titles
  • Including well-labeled images (alt tags and title)
  • Inserting relevant links and references
  • Maintaining error-free content in terms of grammar and spelling
  • Ensuring HTML complies with standards

On the other hand, black hat strategies are practices that defeat the purpose of SEO. These could include suspicious activities that expedite the reaping of results. In other cases, these are poor practices that will negatively impact your SEO. And worse, doing black hat strategies will get you penalized. Here are some of those practices you need to avoid:

  • Having duplicate content
  • Leaving invisible text
  • Using stuffed keywords
  • Cloaking
  • Linking non-authoritative sites to your content
  • Using deceptive headlines for click-throughs
  • Doing unrelated guest posts to reap backlinks
  • Participating in link exchange

Need a more comprehensive SEO guide to helping your website flourish? You can also hire an SEO consultant like Luca Tagliaferro. Or visit our three of the best Skill Success courses we highly recommend in learning the ropes of SEO:

Ready to delve into a more in-depth SEO guide? Click here to get started.

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