Beginner's Guide to SEO
Paul is the owner of Digital Maestro. They help professionals and business owners with anything that they do online and they have built thousands of secured websites.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is about getting found in the search engine.
When you go to Google, Bing, or Yahoo, it means you want to find some information about something, you hit search and then you will see the results. How those results get presented to you is a result of the SEO that was done on the website. It's important to realize that SEO is not just about the search engines themselves, but about people.
SEO is as much about people as it is about search engines themselves.
We can't think of SEOs as purely technical where you do this, do this, do this, and you'll rank.
Moz has created Mozlow's Hierarchy of SEO Needs which is all about how you get found in search engines.
Is your website able to be found by search engines? Because obviously, it may not be. There are ways where you can turn that off and you can tell search engines don't find my website and don't index my pages as I wanna be hidden and I don't want anybody to know about me. And this might be because such a website is a private website. It could be just for family members that know where to look.
However, without turning it off, if your website can't be found, your SEO will never get off the ground. The first thing is to make sure that you can be found. Ensure that your website is technically able.
The next thing you want to have relates to the content, and this is where the “people” aspect comes in. You want to write what is known as compelling content. You want to have information out there that people are going to want to read and absorb.
It's nice to say that there's a niche for everybody out there, but in reality, if nobody is interested in what you have to say about a certain topic, you're not going to get really good SEO.
Once you have your content, the next step is to optimize it with your keywords as these are essential to get ranked in search engines. Your content must have the keywords that you want to be found for.
Great User Experience
It's important that your website provides a really great user experience. Nobody wants a slow website. Nobody wants a website that they can't navigate. Nobody wants a website of only texts on it.
- Your website must be easy to use
- It has to load fast
- It has to look good on any device, be it an iPad, an iPhone, a mobile device, or even a desktop
Once all the first four are in place, then you want to make sure that your content is share-worthy.
Share-worthy means that people will want to share your content out there.
“Google and search results are part technical and part popularity. So what does that mean? If you have written a blog post or you have a page about what you do, and two people shared it, Google goes, ‘okay, these two people like it’. However, if a thousand people shared it, Google says, ‘there's a lot of people that like this so it must be important’.”
Moreover, you want people to link to your page and cite it as a source.
Title, URL, & Description
Put your keywords in the title, in the URL, and in the description.
There's something relatively new over the past couple of years called Schema Markup, and that is a way where you can literally tell the search engines that a certain piece of content is specifically a recipe or an article, or an information about your business.
“It's really about fine tuning each piece of content. You might have different descriptions of the type of information you have on a page. You might have that three or four different types. And when Google comes to it Google can confirm that it is an address, or it really is somebody's job bio, or it is a resume. And obviously, that's really getting to the technicalities.”
Therefore, when you're thinking about your website and your content and all the other details, start at the bottom of the hierarchy and work your way up. As you can see, a lot of this really is all about content writing. Good quality content because it's more about quality than quantity.
A website that has 10 pages with really good content that is important and well written is going to be a lot better than a website with a thousands of pages.
Search Engine Basics
- Search engines are answer machines.
- They answer the question, “What content is likely to give the information that you're searching for?. This is why having all that quality information is going to be important.
- Organic Results vs Paid Results
- Please watch the video at 7:29 timestamp
What Search Engines Do
There's really just three things that search engines do. They crawl, they index, and they rank.
Search Engines work through three primary functions:
- Crawling: Scour the internet for content, looking over the code/content for each URL they find.
- Indexing: Store and organize the content found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it is in running to be displayed as a result to relevant queries.
- Ranking: Provide the pieces of content that will best answer a searcher’s query, which means that results are ordered by most relevant to least relevant.
The first thing that Search Engines do is crawl the internet. They have programs, bots, or spiders, and they go and look for the content that's on your website. Once they find your website based on your keywords and SEO they are going to index it and figure out what's important on the page. When you have a page that's indexed, that doesn't necessarily get shown because of the third feature called ranking. Ranking is when a search engine like Google says “this is important, this is going to fit what those questions and those keywords people are looking for”.
Therefore, there's a big difference between ranking on the first page when somebody types something in versus being ranked on the 10th page, right? Nobody's gonna click next, next, next, next, next button. It is important to know that just because Google knows you're there and your page is indexed doesn't necessarily mean that your ranking is high. They are two connected things, but they are very different.
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