3 Basic SEO Essentials Will Help Build Better Strategies

SEO is the blanket term used to cover all of the methods you can use to increase your site’s search visibility. Onsite optimization is typically behind the scenes, and focuses on what you can do on the back end of your website to increase your chances of rankings. Off-site SEO represents all of the tactics you use to push your site further up the search results, such as link-building and social media marketing. In this article, we’re going to touch on both offsite and onsite and why they are important for optimizing your website for the search engine.

1.How to Read the SERP

Reading the SERP, or ‘search engine results page’ is the first aspect of search engine optimization for your website. Though it may not seem like it, many beginners don’t know how to read a SERP- meaning they don’t know how to gauge where their site is ranking and for what.

Thanks to Adwords, almost any search you complete will show a variety of paid results before organic results. In this image, you can see just how much is paid before we reach the organic results.

When tracking keywords or judging the success of your rankings, be sure to exclude these paid results from your tracking. Most SEO software like SeRanking or Authority labs can do this for you- but if you’re determined to go the old fashion way, you need to know this.

Why? Because when you’re optimizing your site behind the scenes, it’s a good idea to know what you’re competing against.

2.What Search Engines are Looking for

It’s the search engine’s job to make sure that when internet users are Googling for the answers, they get the best answer first. When optimizing your site for SEO, it’s a good idea to know what they’re looking for. Here’s a quick guide on the fundamentals:

  1. Relevancy. Makes sense right? If you’re googling book stores near me, you want to see BOOK STORES not Office Depot. Which means when you’re optimizing your site, make sure that you consider user intent. Is the page you’re trying to rank for your keyword actually relevant to your users? If the answer isn’t an automatic yes, it’s a no. Try again.
  2. Content quality. Does your content teach the reader something? Does it answer their questions and provide valuable information? Again, if the answer isn’t an immediate yes, it’s a no.
  3. Site Usability. Is your site hard to navigate? Flooded with pop ups? This is all going to affect your usability. To succeed, you want to make sure the pages you’re working on are actually enjoyable for users to read.
  4. Compatibility and site speed. Your website needs to be optimized for all devices, not just the one you’re developing your website on. It needs to be fast, clean, and loading well on iPads, Androids, laptops, and just about anything else you can think of.
  5. Authority. Are you trusted by your users? Are you a big name in your industry? Both of these play into the authority your website has. The more authority, the easier it is to rank.

There are dozens more practices for optimizing your site and it’s content, but these are the big 5 that make the most impact. Focus on these elements first. Once you have these down, you can start optimizing with many of the tactics found across the internet.

3.What Search Engines Aren’t Looking For

Perhaps more important than what search engines are looking for is what they aren’t. Commonly referred to as ‘black hat tactics,’ these methods are ways of ranking sites that search engines DO NOT approve of. In fact, it may even crippling your site in the long run.

  1. Keyword stuffing. Adding your target keyword to a post 500 times in hopes of ranking for the term is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Not only is it absolutely annoying for your readers, it’s a tactic that has been getting punished since Google’s updates in 2012.
  2. Buying links. Backlinks are important. They’re the votes by which your website is considered the authority of a search query. Buying links to get that authority is NOT the way to go. It’s fairly easy to see when a link has been bought, whether you’re a human or a robot.
  3. Annoying ads. Can a user actually visit your site before being bombarded with ads? Your website is not a billboard on the highway. It’s a place to connect with your users. People hate annoying ads, and robots are now trying to protect them from your annoying ads.

Of course there are many more tactics that Google doesn’t appreciate. But if you’re already vetting your tactics with these three points in mind, none of those tactics should be entering your venacular to begin with.

Conclusion

Learning SEO can be more intimidating than it actually is challenging. For most people, SEO is quite simple- it’s finding the time to do it in addition to everything else going on with the business. Where some chose to hire team mates that are responsible for optimization, others prefer to hire a search engine optimization company that can handle their needs for them. Regardless of what you choose, knowing the basics will help you make sure your website is headed in the right direction with a strategy that supports your goals.

Are you learning SEO or are you a seasoned experts? Share your SEO essentials in the comments.

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