SEO Basics: A Beginner’s Guide to SEO
In order to dominate on search results, you have to understand and practice the SEO basics. Don’t know what they are? No worries! In this guide, we’re going to go over the basics of SEO and how to use SEO to optimize your website.
Keyword(s): seo basics
When it comes to the term SEO, you may know that it stands for search engine optimization but do you understand it well enough to climb to the top of Google?
Studies estimate that in 2018, American companies will spend $72.02 billion for SEO services. The world of SEO is complex and frequently changing; it’s reasonable that businesses hire SEO experts.
In this article, we’re going to break down the SEO basics, understand how it works, and tackle the SEO tips that every business should be doing. With the understanding of the SEO basics, you’ll be able to optimize your web pages and crush your competition.
This SEO tutorial will not only tell you what SEO is and how it works but also tips you can do today to increase your Google rankings.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Before we dive straight into the SEO tips and tricks, we first need to understand what SEO is.
SEO, search engine optimization, is the term for the process of enhancing your web pages to organically rank higher in search engines. Although social media can send people to your pages, search engines provide the largest sources of traffic.
It doesn’t matter if you are truly better than your competition at what you do. The fact is that if they rank higher than you on Google, they’re going to get more traffic to their site–and more traffic means more leads which means more sales that could have been yours.
The Two Parts of SEO: On-site SEO and Off-site SEO.
Getting to the first page of Google takes a little work and some serious understanding of SEO. Before we can start climbing the ranks, we have to start from the very beginning: understanding how SEO works.
There are two main components that factor into SEO: on-site SEO and off-site SEO.
On-site SEO pertains to the optimization of a webpage in accordance with current search engine algorithms. On-site SEO consists of your content and keywords, code design, page structure, load times, etc. On-Site SEO is anything on your page that can affect your rankings.
Off-site SEO refers to your connections such as hyperlinks from other businesses, business directories, press releases, or anything else that links back to your site. Off-site has to do with anything off of your page that affects your rankings.
Off-site and on-site SEO work together to prove to Google (and other search engines) that you are a first-page-worthy search result. Improving both, together, can make a huge difference to your overall ranking in search engines.
The SEO Basics That Everyone Needs to Know
The world of SEO is complex, but we will break it down into three basic C’s: code, content, connections. To climb the SEO ranks, you’ll need to master each pillar.
We’ll break down each one so we can understand how it affects our ranking and learn how to optimize our web pages.
The code of your website is the underlying structure of your website and how its laid out. Google wants to see that your webpage is straightforward and as easy to use as possible, for the sake of your customer.
Google favors properly laid out and organized sites so that when a consumer is searching for a type of business, Google can easily connect them to a relevant provider. When looking at your source code, be sure to have only one title tag, and h1 heading tag per webpage to avoid ruining your rank.
With so much competition on the web, consumers want their information to be not only accurate but fast and easy on the eye. People use mobile devices for nearly 60% of their searches, so it’s important that you format your web page for the correct aspect ratio of a phone.
When it comes to optimizing your site, it good practice for your site’s load time to be less than three seconds. Studies show that searchers abandon 53% of visits if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.
Google’s search results act as a recommendation for the best sites that match the searcher’s keywords, so they want to provide them with the best experience. A slow loading site is a negative raking site.
Another part of on-site SEO is content. Content is the information or copy on your web page.
Whether you produce articles or blog posts, this content is where you can start to rank for specific keywords. It’s worth noting that the secret to good SEO isn’t quantity—it’s quality.
When using keywords, you should use it in the title, heading, and in the copy as it comes naturally. Repetitive keyword use for the sake of repetition is not going to help your rankings. Google has a pretty good nose for spotting manipulative practices.
For starters, it is a good practice to try and rank for one keyword per article. Often people can get carried away with dumping keywords into every other sentence in an attempt to rank for them all which can end up hurting you.
We know that search engines push sites that are relevant, trustworthy, and authoritative to the top of the list, but how can you prove to Google that you are all those things? Like most things in life, it’s all about your connections. In the SEO world, this translates directly to link building.
Off-site SEO is all about what others think about your site. Google knows a webpage is popular when it sees other sites referencing it. Backlinks are essentially a reference or recommendation to Google.
It’s important to get backlinks from authoritative sites that are relevant to your field. You can do this by offering to write guest posts on their site (linking back to yours) or sending a press release to local journalists.
Now that we have a firm grasp on what SEO is and how it works let’s dig into why it is essential to your business.
Why You Need SEO
If you want the answer to something fast, where do you go? If you said Google, then you are like the 93% of online adults who use search engines to find information on the web. We are going to take a very educated guess and say you rarely look past the first page of results.
Why is that? Because you never need to. Google evaluates all the info on the web and puts the most quality, relevant, and reliable information at the top.
If you are a business owner looking for your perfect customer, then that is exactly where you want to be—the top of Google. Let’s look into the specific reasons why your business needs SEO.
It Brings Traffic to Your Site
According to a study done by Chitika Insights, the first ranking result in Google receives 32.5% of traffic, on average. The traffic percentages only decline with rank.
If you rank highly for a keyword that gets hundreds of thousands of searches per month, you’ll be getting a lot of traffic to your site. More traffic means more leads, which translates into more qualified leads which of course leads to more conversions. The beauty of SEO is that it allows any business, no matter how small, to compete with big brands in the same industry on an even playing field.
Increase your Visibility and Branding
Often when a customer is searching for something, they will head to a search engine, click on the top few results, edit their keywords, rinse, repeat. Now imagine if you ranked for those similar keywords.
That customer would see your name pop up over as they search for the perfect solution for them. Gain mindshare in your potential customers by showing them that you’re an authority in that industry.
It’s a High ROI
The reason you hear about SEO so much is because it works, but don’t take it from us. 45% of enterprise-level companies invest more than $20,000 a month to optimize search, a surprising 11% allocate less than $1,000 a month.
When you are using SEO, you are targeting customers who are currently for the answers, products, or services that you provide. Half the battle is already won. Experts estimate that SEO bring 85% more traffic to your site than pay-per-click marketing.
What Do You Do Now?
Now that you know the SEO basics, what are you going to do with it?
The SEO game is always changing, and it can be hard to keep up with the newest trends and tricks, especially when Google changes it’s algorithms 500-600 times a year.
It’s stressful to run a successful business and to completely optimize your site inside and out but don’t worry; we are here to help.
When it comes to SEO, website design, and social media marketing, we know our stuff. Whether you’re looking for answers to your questions or someone to take over the technical side of things, we are here for you. Contact us today for a free quote and let’s get you ranking in Google.