SEO: What, Why, and How?
Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO, is a writing technique that every online article writer should master. As a small business owner or someone new to online marketing, you might not have enough SEO knowledge, and the term itself may seem intimidating.
In this article, we’ll cover SEO-related basics, helping you master the most important things you need to know, and share three tips to ensure your success. If you want to become fluent in the language of SEO, read on below.
What is SEO?
In simple terms, SEO is a writing technique used to help your published work rank higher in Google search results when someone searches for what you’ve written about. This includes blog posts, promotions, and items you sell.
Why Should I Use SEO?
Because writing following SEO helps your written work rank higher, it will be more visible to your target audience, driving more traffic and possibly leading to an increase in sales. Essentially, SEO helps you convince Google that your site is the best, and more readers can be sent to it.
How to Start with SEO
When it comes to SEO, being lost at first is entirely normal. Luckily, there’s a ton of excellent sites, guides, and books assisting you. While most of these sources provide conflicting Information, they all hold value.
SEO is everchanging, which, understandably, frustrates most people. But don’t let this put you off from learning the basics. Once you do, you’ll easily navigate the continuous changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are SEO techniques running dead?
Yes, and no.
SEO dies repeatedly. The SEO of yesterday might not be the SEO of today. SEO Strategies constantly change to become more effective, and you have to be willing to go where the changes go if you want to succeed with SEO.
What is the Golden Rule for SEO?
Unlike most other writing techniques, there isn’t one factor about SEO that’s superior to the others. While this might be frustrating, it’s better to know the truth. Without implementing all the parts that make SEO work, you won’t reach true success.
How long will it take for my SEO articles to rank high?
It depends. Google has an everchanging algorithm, and while there are a few lists available to show which factors are most crucial for ranking, it’s constantly updated.
SEO takes as long as it takes, whether that’s weeks, months, or a year! Depending on your strategy, you might be better than someone else or they than you. If another article has something even slightly better than you, you’ll get bumped off the top, and vice versa.
How does on-page SEO differ from off-page SEO?
On- and off-page SEO are both critical for success. On-page techniques include changes on your site that affect SEO, like adding a sitemap. Off-page techniques include changes that happen off your website, like link building to pillar content.
Can I buy links?
Today, you can practically buy anything. But buying links is ineffective, to say the least.
SEO Factors That Are Always Relevant
In this section, we’ll cover the most critical SEO factors. While trends constantly change, some Strategies have proven to win every time.
Keep Content Relevant and Optimized
Relevant content that is well-optimized is considered the backbone of SEO. While there are many technical factors like structure and anchor text that are important, putting out well-optimized relevant content will give you an SEO boost.
When developing content, there are a few things to keep in mind. To create high-quality content, remember the following:
Content Matters: While primary keywords are critical, Google also looks at secondary ones. They analyze the entire text to determine if it shares the searcher’s intent. Including the right keywords in irrelevant content won’t get you ranked.
Always Include: To tell Google that your content is relevant and should rank, you always need to include keyword-rich titles that are clear, meta descriptions, H1 tags, alt attributes, and URLs.
Length vs. Relevance: Don’t make the mistake of assuming that longer articles rank better. A short, well-optimized article that is relevant will rank higher than a long article filled with unnecessary content and keywords.
Human Audience: Although you need to write to optimize your content for Google, ensure that it’s written for humans first.
Many bloggers through this word around like it’s common knowledge, but the truth is that many writers have never heard of it. Metadata refers to the title and summarized text that shows up when searching for something on the web.
For Example, if you Google search “how to brush your teeth,” the metadata looks like this:
In short, metadata is a summary of what you can expect to find at the link you click. You should think of it as an ad for your content. Users need a reason to click on your link instead of others, and with metadata, you can encourage them to do this.
To optimize your metadata, keep the following in mind:
- Keep it short, clear, and concise. Aim for about 160 characters to avoid your text being cut off by Google.
- Include relevant keywords without being repetitive. Aim to use the primary keyword in variations in the title and description.
For as long as Google has existed, links have been an essential aspect of SEO. Links serve as votes telling Google that your content is relevant and of quality. The more relevant, high-quality links you acquire, the higher your site will rank when related keywords are searched.
However, though links are still relevant, quality should always matter more than quantity. When investing in links as part of your SEO, target high-traffic quality websites.
The Impact of User Experience on Rankings
UX (short for User Experience) plays a role in determining how well your content ranks on Google. Generally, UX is hard to measure Since it’s dependant on different factors. To improve your site’s UX, you can follow some of these best practices:
- Focus on site speed and aim for an image loading time of just a few seconds. Image compression, code optimization, and a faster server all contribute to this. Use an insights tool like the one from Google to see what your current download speed is.
- Focus on easy site navigation by keeping it simple. Use navigation bars, drop-down menus, a site search option, and internal links.
- Focus on a high CTR and low bounce rate by optimizing your site for engagement. If users get a happy experience from your site, Google will be happy too.
Google keeps evolving, and UX will likely become even more critical thanks to this. Learning how to implement the basic practices to ensure a great UX is important for your site.
Mobiles matter now more than ever before. Google moved to mobile-first indexing in 2018 after more than 50% of its traffic worldwide was generated from mobile devices. With mobile, Google uses a mobile version of your site to rank in search results.
To ace your mobile game, Google suggests that you spend time creating a consistent experience across desktop and mobile services while ensuring that the load time on each is fast.
Voice Search Optimization
While there’s a ton of conflicting information around the importance of voice search, the fact that over a quarter of Americans own smart speakers shouldn’t be ignored.
In 2016, voice searches made up approximately 20% of all inquiries in the Google app, increasing to more over the years. Still, 72% of marketers are estimated to ignore the Value of optimizing voice search.
If voice search continues to grow as it does, it’ll be wise to start optimizing for it and get ahead in the SEO game. Since Strategies relating to voice search make sense for semantic searches, it’s relatively easy to implement optimization.
To optimize your site for voice search, follow the below guidelines:
- Use natural language in content and focus on answering questions.
- Optimize voice search for featured snippets.
- Focus on a FAQ page.
While voice search isn’t the number one SEO priority, it does make sense to start investing in it now.
How to Really Succeed in SEO
Everything covered above is the technical stuff of SEO. The other aspect of SEO you need to focus on is the core principles. Although the technical stuff will change, these will stay the same.
Stay Away from Anything That Seems Shady
There are three types of SEO: black hat, grey hat, and white hat.
Black hat SEO refers to SEO practices that violate Google’s terms of service. In between, you get grey hat SEO which, like its name, walks that thin line between black and white. White SEO refers to SEO that is 100% legit. However, some experts argue that white hat SEO isn’t it anymore.
To succeed in SEO, you must follow the rules. Many pros walk the grey line, and many of them get burned. If something about SEO practices feels off, it most likely is.
Filter Out Fakes
With SEO — related inquiries booming, a lot of “experts” have emerged. While some don’t offer services and only writes about them, others guarantee a top-ranking spot in Google search. Focus on Information that comes directly from Google, like tips from Gary Illyes and John Mueller.
What works for one site won’t for another, making it essential to follow real SEO experts and take advice from others with a grain of salt.
If you want to figure out what SEO Strategies work best for your site, you need to test each until you reach your desired results. Testing will ensure that you stay in the game Since Google changes its algorithm regularly, and when competitors do something new, your hard work may go to waste.
While every SEO professional desires to find a magic formula, the hard truth is that SEO is everchanging. There are steadfast rules and practices, but the core is about figuring out what works for your site and users and eliminating what doesn’t.
To succeed in SEO, ensure that you keep a close eye on competitor websites, follow the latest SEO Strategies, and keep testing what works for your site.