A Beginner’s Guide to SEO - Search Engine Optimization
Updated: Dec 18, 2022
Search engine optimization is the process of increasing website traffic and visibility in search engine results pages. SEO helps consumers find your business, which is especially important given that 88% of consumers begin their buying journey online. In this guide, we’ll discuss why SEO is essential for your business and how it works so you can start optimizing your site today.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The term encompasses a number of strategies and techniques to make sure your website appears higher in organic search results. It's important to know that Google does not want you to pay for your rankings, so if you do see something suspicious, report it.
Google defines SEO as "the process of optimizing your web pages based on things like content, keywords, links and structure so that you can rank higher in search engines."
We've all seen the adorably corny images or videos with cats or dogs looking up at the camera as voice-over narration describes what SEO is: 'SEO is basically about making sure your site loads quickly on mobile devices,' 'SEO is basically about having well-written content,' etcetera etcetera... Well then let's get into more specifics!
The first thing to know is search engines like Google don’t rank websites, they rank web pages. And to be sure all of your web pages are ranking for relevant searches; you should focus on 5 key areas. I'll speak about each step in more detail but for now, your should know your strategy should focus on:
Review Your Site Speed: make sure your site loads fast, especially on mobile
Build an SEO Strategy: thinking of ways to create high-quality content that has the potential to rank well
Conduct Keyword Research: research relevant keywords for each of your landing pages based on search intent
Create Rich Valuable Content: create strong relevant content that users want to consume
Focus on Promotion / Link Building: aim to get links from other web pages and link internally to build authority
Are SEO efforts really worth it?
With over 40,000 search queries conducted every second, and 3.5 billion searches a day, you can see that if you don’t set your web pages up in a way that search engines can read them, you could get lost in the shuffle.
There are many benefits to SEO:
It can help you to improve your online presence.
It can help you to generate more leads and increase sales.
It helps you to get higher rankings on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and others.
Last but not least, it helps you to get more traffic to your website
How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engines are designed to match up search queries with the best possible results.
As Google continues to update their algorithms and search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, it’s important for businesses to keep up with the latest SEO tips and tricks.
With the right SEO strategy, businesses can ensure their website content is optimized for maximum visibility and search engine rankings.
Here are the latest SEO tips from Google that businesses should keep in mind.
1. Focus on User Experience: User experience (UX) is a critical component of SEO. Google’s algorithms are designed to reward websites that provide a positive user experience. This means that websites should be easy to navigate, load quickly, and provide relevant content. To improve user experience, businesses should create a user-centered design with clear navigation, optimized page speed, and a mobile-friendly design.
2. Optimize for Voice Search: Voice search is becoming increasingly popular, so businesses should make sure their content is optimized for voice search. To do this, businesses should use natural language and include long-tail keywords in their content. This will help improve their visibility when users search for content using voice commands.
3. Optimize for Featured Snippets: Featured snippets are short summaries of content that appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). Because these snippets are highly visible, businesses should optimize their content for featured snippets. To do this, businesses should use clear headings and use relevant keywords in their content. Additionally, businesses should include an FAQ page on their website
Why User Experience (UX) Is Important for SEO
As you read this guide, it will be important to keep in mind that user experience is a key factor in search engine algorithms. In fact, it’s one of the most important aspects of SEO!
Why? Because Google cares about your customers and wants them to have a pleasant experience using your site or app. This is called user experience (abbreviated as UX) and it affects conversion rates: if people are frustrated by the time they take to navigate through your website or app, they’ll leave and go somewhere else (like if you had an online store with terrible reviews). In order for users to stick around on your site/app long enough for all those awesome ads from Google AdWords Campaigns to work their magic (and hopefully drive some conversions), then your site needs good UX.
But how do we achieve good UX? It all comes down to how well we optimize our websites from a technical standpoint—specifically when it comes down to optimizing pages for search engines and creating user-friendly interfaces which meet both business objectives as well as usability requirements across devices like desktops vs mobile phones vs tablets.
The ability to search for information by voice is one of the fastest-growing trends today. Voice search lets you ask questions and receive answers, find directions, and get recommendations—all just by speaking into your phone or computer.
You can use the power of voice search to answer all kinds of questions, from "Where is the nearest pizza place?" to "How tall is Mount Everest?" You can also use it to get an idea of what's happening in the world right now. In fact, it's estimated that 40% of people use voice search to find restaurants, hotels, and other businesses in their area.
In addition to asking direct questions, voice search can also be used to set reminders and create lists.
To optimize for voice search on your site you should find and use conversational keywords, identify key questions by asking yourself Who, What, When, Where Why? and set up your FAQ page properly.
A featured snippet is a search result that appears on Google's first page of results and answers the searcher's question directly. This can be an answer box or an interactive carousel.
Up to 80% of all clicks go to the first organic result on the SERP. That means that the majority of people who are searching for something specific are going straight to that result.
The easiest way to rank for Featured Snippets is by making sure your page has great content in general—and not just for SEO purposes. If you're struggling with what kind of content will appeal to your users and draw them back again and again, check out my 5 steps below.
Is SEO is easy to learn?
The short answer is, that anyone can start learning SEO and implement some quick wins to get started. SEO does take time, at least 3 months to see real results. It’s not a quick fix and you’ll need to optimize and stay on top of updates to search engine algorithms. This post is meant as a starting framework to give you an idea of where to begin.
5 Steps to Getting Started with SEO:
Now that you have an understanding of what SEO is and its importance of it for your business, let's get started with key SEO strategies.
First, it's time to review your site speed. You'll need to run a quick audit on how well-optimized your website is and make sure that it's not slowing down the load times for visitors. If so, find ways to improve these metrics.
Second, you'll need to start creating an SEO content strategy. This means thinking of ways to create high-quality content that has the potential to rank well on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. You can do this by focusing on topics relevant to your industry and making sure that they're well-researched and written in a way that makes sense for readers. If you're stuck - Focus on your customer first and figure out how you're solving their problem in a unique way.
Next is the step of conducting keyword research. This helps you understand which keywords should be used in order to ensure maximum visibility online and attract organic traffic from search engines like Google or Bing - depending on which one fits best with your target market. The way I define keyword research - is looking for ways in which your ideal customer searches for solutions to their problems: The words they use, the way in which they write/use voice search and the type of content they expect when they search. For example: if you're in eCommerce you'll want to look for keywords for your product pages that have transactional intent, a decent amount of volume, and are easy enough to rank for.
Finally,, you can start to create rich valuable content. The content within each page should then include any relevant related search terms, possibly answer related questions, include valuable video content, etc., and match the similar length of other pages that rank for that keyword. This is a critical step and must be reviewed once live. You can continue to optimize your best-performing pages or update old pages that need a refresh to stay relevant.
Once you're up and running you can then start to look at how you can connect to other sites, blog, etc and how they can connect to you. See Google's best practices on link building to be sure you're doing things right.
Don't forget to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. You can do this by testing it on a mobile device and making sure that the user experience is optimized for people who are browsing with their phones.
Finally, you'll need to start promoting your content. This means finding sites that have a lot of authority in your industry and reaching out to them with a request for a link exchange. You can also do this by creating engaging content on your own site and sharing it on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Or get in touch with influencers and ask them to share your content on social media, as well as reach out to industry publications and blogs that might be interested in featuring it.
We hope that this article has helped you to understand the basics of SEO. If you want to get more in-depth information on specific topics, check out our other articles or reach out to us for a free 30-minute SEO discovery call.