Mastering SEO – Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

Mastering SEO - Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

Introduction

Ranking on Google’s first page is the dream of every website owner, as it can open up floodgates of traffic and leads for a business. Whether media sites, business websites, or niche blogs, all compete to get top positions in Google results. But how is this possible? The answer is “by mastering SEO”.

This Search Engine Optimization starter guide is like a mini SEO tutorial for beginners. We’ll teach you how to rank your content fast on Google by utilizing SEO website optimization tactics. Following all essential SEO steps will ensure search engine rankings, though it may take some time. But the effort is worth it!

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of optimizing websites to increase their ranking on search engine results. Usually, when talking about SEO, they refer to optimization techniques used to bring websites on top of Google S.E.R.P.s (Search Engine Result Pages). Google is the number one search engine with around 90% search market share. Most SEO experts learn Google algorithms to understand what causes any site to rank or de-rank. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of SEO and a brief overview of advanced SEO techniques. If you take the proper time and implement these techniques, it will help you master SEO within short periods. But remember, practice is the key to success in this field. 

Essential Parts of SEO

Four parts of SEO are usually dealt with by separate experts in large organizations. However, startups often hire SEO professionals with knowledge of all these domains. Let’s have a look at these parts one by one:

  1. Keywords Research
  2. On-Page SEO
  3. Off-Page SEO
  4. Technical SEO

1. Keywords Research

This is the first step in any SEO campaign and often underrated one. If you do not take due care while researching keywords, chances are your whole campaign will suffer. But you must be thinking, what are keywords? 

Keywords are the search queries that users type in the Google search bar to find some information online. As Google has an extensive database of websites on virtually every topic on earth, chances are you can find the information within seconds. 

Below is a screenshot of the search query types used by a user to find information about “best footballers in the world.” You must have seen that when you type some words in the search bar, it shows related terms, which are the ones people are also searching related to the topic at hand. 

These search queries are called “keywords” in SEO lingo. SEO experts use these keywords to enrich their content, making it more likely to appear on top of Google whenever someone types that phrase in the search bar. 

But you must be thinking about how experts know what keywords people are using to find information. The answer is SEO tools, which have features for showing keywords used by millions of users online. 

To your surprise, Google receives over 40,000 search queries per second, which equals 3.5 billion daily searches. Would you like to see live stats of search queries? Check them out by clicking here

Some famous SEO tools are Semrush, Moz, Ahref, Spyfu, and SerpStat. These are widely used by SEOs worldwide for finding keywords, doing competitor research, finding on-page issues, conducting website audits, and seeing backlinks profiles. If these terms appear unknown to you, don’t worry. We’ll discuss them one by one in this guide under relevant sections. 

2. On-Page SEO

On-page SEO includes creating quality content, ensuring relevant keywords are present, adding internal links, creating an optimizing title, tag, etc.

After you have done keyword research with the help of SEO tools, now is the time to get your hands dirty with on-page SEO. On-page SEO consists of strategies and techniques that you implement on your website’s content to optimize it for better rankings. It involves using keywords throughout your content, making it readable, with proper internal and external linking and other considerations. 

As more than 50% of websites 

are made on WordPress, most SEO experts rely on WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO, Rank Math, and All in One SEO for doing On-Page SEO of websites. 

3. Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO includes building backlinks and gaining exposure through various channels, such as news outlets and social media platforms. Google uses the E.A.T. formula to determine the credibility of any site to rank it higher in the S.E.R.P.S. E.A.T. stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Backlinks, user-generated reviews, and social mentions are the indicators of authority and trust.

Though gaining natural backlinks is a tedious process, SEO experts work persistently to gain backlinks through their manual outreach efforts. This gradually builds up a website’s backlink profile, raising its ranks in the crowd of millions of other websites. 

Some off-page techniques are creating backlinks, content marketing, doing local SEO, and gaining customer reviews. Among all these tactics, backlinking is the most impactful. Now the point raises what kind of websites should be considered to get backlinks from?

You should not get backlinks from any site on the internet. Some websites are spammy and have low-quality content, which can harm your site’s credibility instead of helping it rank. It is essential to note other sites’ authority and relevance to your site’s content. Getting backlinks from high DA sites related to your niche is the key to off-page success.

4. Technical SEO

Technical SEO is a crucial aspect in website ranking which should not be skipped at any cost. In most cases, developers deal with SEO’s technical part in choosing suitable theme plugins and website optimization. Though technical SEO mainly involves activities carried out to optimize the site with respect to Google, it also includes the user experience aspect.

Developers should keep the site structure clean, navigation user-friendly, and speed optimum. On average, a website that loads within 1 second converts 2.5 more visitors than a site loading in five seconds. Moreover, one aspect often overlooked by most site owners is the mobile responsiveness of their online assets. A whopping 92% of internet users surf the internet via their smartphones, which makes it indispensable for website owners to make their websites effortlessly accessible on mobile phones.

Common SEO Terminology

In the SEO field, understanding key terminology is essential to confidently navigate this territory. Mentioned below are some of the standard terms you will encounter in your journey to becoming an SEO expert:

  • Keywords: The words and phrases users type into search engines to find information.
  • Meta Tags: Title of the page that provides search engines with information about a webpage’s content. 
  • Backlinks: Links on other websites lead readers to your website, a strong indicator of your site’s credibility.
  • S.E.R.P.: The Search Engine Results Page, where websites compete for top rankings.
  • Algorithm: The formula search engines use to rank and display results based on specific criteria.
  • Anchor Text: If you have visited a website before, you usually see text highlighted with blue and underlined or sometimes purple or any color on most websites. If you click on that colored text, you’ll be redirected to another website. That is called anchor text, which helps the search engine understand what this landing page is about.

SEO Toolkit

First, let’s discuss the fundamentals of SEO and learn some tools and plugins you’ll need to help you rank on Google. 

  1. Google search console: it’s a free SEO tool that helps you track your website performance. 
  2. Bing Webmaster: It’s not as popular as Google, but Bing gets 1 billion monthly traffic. Its Webmaster Tools have valuable features, like keyword research tools.
  3. Yoast SEO: This website is only for WordPress users. It’s the best SEO plugin you can ever find in the world. Yoast optimize your WordPress site. Make it easy for search engines.
  4. Google Analytics: The best way to get answers to how people search and use your website.
  5. Semrush: An ultimate toolkit for SEO professionals with a diverse range of features like site audit, backlink database, keyword research, and competitor analysis.
  6. Ahref: A comprehensive suite of software having similar features like Semrush but the largest database among all SEO tools.

SEO Careers and Salaries

There are various career paths for an SEO professional. We have curated the top three SEO career paths which are lucrative and have higher job openings compared to the remaining ones. Let’s discuss them one by one:

SEO Strategist:

SEO strategy is to enhance its visibility by creating, optimizing, and promoting content to attract an organic audience to the website. It requires various strategies, such as keyword research, technical SEO, link building, and on-page optimization.

In simple words, an SEO strategy is a plan you follow when you need more organic traffic.

SEO Analyst: 

SEO analysts help businesses make more digital traffic by analyzing, recording, viewing, and conducting the website’s data. SEO is an evolving field in technology and industry; its main focus is to enhance the visibility of websites and other online formats. Individually, SEO analysts know how to make necessary changes whenever websites need to improve search results and improve user experience and traffic. They also collaborate with other organizations’ members if they need to do their tasks separately while working in the industry.

SEO Manager:

SEO managers help companies improve their website’s visibility. On the search engine’s result page, They help businesses embark on keywords and formats that enhance their search engine results so that the audience can easily find their business. SEO managers collaborate with the marketing team that holds the company’s online social content and help them achieve the results they are willing to see. SEO managers usually come from a technological background and have prior knowledge of how other search engines show their results

SEO Specialists saw the most significant year-over-year salary increase of all the positions we analyzed, with a 28% increase in average SEO Specialist salary in the U.S.

SEO Trends 2024

A better understanding of SEO trends will encourage you to rank higher, attract more traffic, and expand your connection with a broader audience. 

Search Generative Experience:

This search experience, powered by AI, is called the Search Generative Experience. S.G.E. displays the results of many queries on Google, shown at the top of the S.E.R.P.s. It improves user relations by conveying more concise and precise answers to users’ queries.

Let me clear it up: it’s not like chatGPT. Instead, searching on Google will provide you with AI-powered results.

The images appear within potential links to internal sources and many others to explore more relevant topics. Imagine Google becoming a more communicative assistant like a human, able to understand and answer more of your questions.

That’s S.G.E.

Answer Engine Optimization(AEO):

Chatbots and AI are evolving how users are used to find information on search engines. Answer Engine Optimization takes that information in response and utilizes it in the future content of SEO.

In general, answer engines that are powered by A.I. technologies that gather information resolve the user’s conversational questions. 

Chatbots, voice search, and smart assistants are growing expectations in users to get their answers without reading the whole web page without reading the entire web page.

Topical Authority:

Authority is defined as the combination of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E.E.A.T.). Google is increasingly organizing content that shows authority.

Building topical authority includes forming an easy way to get specific information on a topic or niche. Make sure you completely cover all parts of the content. SEO strategies are more focused on showing precise results on a specific topic.

Video SEO:

Now, creating videos is also a great marketing source to rank on Google search results and on YouTube.

People are watching video content more than before. The number of viewers is getting higher and higher; it’s predicted that by the end of 2023, viewers will reach up to 3.5 billion. The video marketing statistics in Wyzowl’s 2023 report acknowledge the value of video content.

Local VS International Strategies:  

Local and International SEO point toward SEO tactics that are used on websites targeting local and international clientele. A business having a customer base in the local market will have different goals than one with a worldwide audience. This translates into adjusting the SEO strategy with respect to the specific requirements of the business.

International SEO: 

International SEO is also known as global SEO. International SEO’s main point is to focus on keywords and traffic worldwide. To attract organic traffic to your website, you should provide them with what your potential customers worldwide require. Your business shouldn’t be bound to any location. A citation campaign strategy can help you target internationals without leaving locals.

This strategy helps you expand your sales globally if your products or services aren’t bound by location. However, you have to face competition across the globe.

Local SEO SEO:

Local SEO enhances your reach on websites by optimizing content. Your website’s purpose is to serve content within your region. If you have a physically present store, you can use other tools and units of search engines.

Complete SEO Checklists

After reading these checklists, you can level up your game for ranking on Google. 

Keyword Research Checklist:

It’s the base of SEO. In this checklist, you’ll learn how to find keywords that audiences are searching for. 

  1. Long-tail keywords: When you enter a keyword and don’t press enter, and many related searches show, those are called long-tail keywords. That’s how you uncover them.
  2. Google keyword planner: it’s an official tool by Google for keyword research. 
  3. Online communities: One of the best ways to find keywords is by joining Quora, Reddit, and forums. 
  4. KWFinder: It’s a free but premium website. In addition, it gives tons of results for each keyword.
  5. Question Keyword: This is best for blogs and articles; you can quickly get them from Answer the Public. This free tool shows you what people are asking.

On-Page SEO Checklist:

It is time to improve your content by applying tested on-page SEO methods.

Add your keyword to your URL. Adding by adding keywords to your URL helps Google recognize what your website or content is about. It has the power to encourage your C.T.R.

Short URL: keep the URL as fast as possible. Why? Because short URLs are best to rank on Google.

  1. Title tag: use your keyword in your title tag whenever possible.
  2. Title tag modifiers: apply title tag modifiers, words and phrases. When you use them, your webpage can rank for many long-tail keywords.
  3. Put the keyword in the first paragraph of 150 words because Google gives importance to the first 100–150 words.
  4. H1, H3, or H3, where you must use your keywords.
  5. Optimize your image so Google can’t see the image as human.
  6. Use synonyms instead of repeating the exact keywords or use LSI keywords.
  7. External linking is essential. Put an external link to 5 out of 8 websites in your blog or article.
  8. Internal linking is also crucial; you can put 2 out of 5 links on your website.

Technical SEO Checklist:

  1. Technical SEO has the power to create or break your ranking. But fixing problems isn’t hard, mainly if you utilize the checklist items.
  2. Crawl Errors: It means Google is having trouble viewing your page, and if Google can’t see it, it won’t rank anywhere.
  3. Sometimes, the audience can see your page, but Google can’t. Again, if Google can’t see it, it won’t rank it.
  4. I suggest you use the “inspect URL” feature of the Google search console. 
  5. Google is now officially the mobile-first index. This means if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it won’t rank well on Google.
  6. DrLinkCheck.com helps you check your broken links; they hurt your SEO.
  7. If you haven’t done securing your site by HTTP.
  8. The loading speed of the website also affects your ranking. This free tool, pageSpeed Insights, tells you how fast the website loads on your desktop or mobile device.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the SEO field in detail, covering its various aspects, such as types, domains, and common industry terminology. We also discussed the career paths one can take after learning the ins and outs of this dynamic field. It is advised to understand the field and its requirements before opting for it as your primary career. SEO is a highly volatile field with constant changes within a short period. 

However, the potential of SEO is vast as you can leverage this skill in various domains by working as a freelancer, joining a marketing agency, starting your own blogging sites, or promoting your e-commerce business utilizing your SEO skills.

Read our other article: ” Mastering Digital Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

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