The internet is a great place to find information, but not all of it is good. With the amount of content on the web increasing every day and significant search engines like Google and Bing changing their algorithms more frequently, marketers have been caught in a whirlwind of SEO changes that can be difficult to keep up with. In this article, we will explore some key concepts that are essential for understanding SEO and offer you some tips on how to survive these ever-changing times.
#1: What Is Search Engine Optimization?
The term “search engine optimization” or “SEO” refers to any method used by website owners to improve their site’s ranking in search results pages from significant search engines such as Yahoo!, Google, Bing, etc. The goal of SEO is to make your website more visible by optimizing certain aspects that are important for search engines, such as keywords, metadata and URL structure.
#2: How Do Search Engines Work?
When users enter a query into an online search engine, they receive a list of results containing sites matching the information provided. Search engines assign a subjective weight to each ranking factor based on their algorithm, these factors include: 1) Domain name 2) Page title 3) URL 4) Keyword usage 5) Content quality 6) Site design 7) Social media presence 8) Backlinks 9) And many more…
#3: Understanding The SEO
“Bear” Market Search engines are constantly testing new algorithms, which are sets of rules used for ranking websites. If search engine results in pages (SERP) change due to these tests or updates, we call this a “bear” market. The changes typically result in poor rankings and decreased traffic for sites that do not follow the guidelines, thus creating many opportunities for those that do.
#4: Understanding The Importance Of Keywords
In the past, keywords made a website visible to search engines and, therefore, more likely to receive traffic from results pages. Nowadays, however, Google has made multiple changes to its algorithm over the years to offer users websites that are more relevant to their search query. This means that keywords are no longer the only factor to consider when trying to rank highly in search results.
#5: Understanding On-Page SEO
On-page SEO refers to all components on a single web page, including the following: 1) Title tag 2) Meta description 3) Headlines 4) Body copy 5) Internal links 6) Anchor text 7) Image alt attributes 8) Header tags 9) And much more… When optimizing each of these components, you need to ensure they are not only relevant to what your readers are searching for but also valuable in helping search engines serve up the most accurate results.
#6: Understanding Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO refers to all components linking to a single web page, including the following: 1) Anchor text 2) External links 3) Internal links 4) Quality of backlinks 5) Number of backlinks 6) Social media shares 7) Authority of linking domain 8) And many more… When trying to optimize these components, you need to ensure that 1) they are relevant and valuable for users and 2) that the linking websites themselves will help boost your rankings (and eventually traffic).
#7: Understanding Google Panda
Panda was one of Google’s latest updates to its search algorithm. The purpose of this update was to lower the rank of low-quality sites and demote heavily optimized pages. For a site to be successful, it must offer users a good user experience, as Panda focuses on providing relevant results to specific searches.
#8: Understanding Google Penguin
Penguin is another major algorithm update from Google that was released in April 2019. Introduced as a real-time search filter, this update was designed to reduce the rankings of sites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. For a site to be successful, Penguin must avoid being penalized and successfully recover from any penalties already received.
#9: Understanding The Importance Of Backlinks
A backlink is a link from a “source” website pointing to another “target” website. By receiving a high number of quality backlinks, the target site will rank higher in search results for queries covered by those links. But what makes a backlink quality? The answer varies depending on who you ask, but several factors can influence the quality of a backlink, including 1) Anchor text, 2) Relevance, 3) Authority, 4) Number, 5) Quality, 6) Reciprocal links, 7) User experience.
Backlinks used to be one of the most critical components for SEO, but Google has since demoted them to provide better results to their users. It is still vital that you have a good backlink profile to increase your site’s authority and receive more traffic from search engines, but it is no longer the only way to get there.
#11: Understanding The Importance Of Mobile-Friendly Content
As of April 21st, Google started devaluing sites that were not mobile-friendly — this means you need to ensure your site is optimized for mobile devices if you want to continue receiving traffic from search results. And 1) no, having a responsive design does not cut it, 2) yes, you should go and test your website on an actual smartphone (not just resize your computer screen).
#12: Understanding How To Use AMP
AMP is an open-source project that aims to speed up the mobile web. If your site is using the AMP plugin, all of its content will be cached by Google to load faster in search results. However, it relies on most external resources being hosted on Google servers to access the user’s browser quickly.
#13: Understanding The Importance Of HTTPS
As of August 2018, Google started using HTTPS as a ranking signal to determine if a website is secure enough for its users. If your site is already encrypted, then you don’t need to worry about anything. If not, then you need to make sure your server supports HTTPS and that your entire site — including all of its pages — are using the secure HTTPS protocol.
#14: Introduction To Schema Markup
Schema markup is a way for search engines to understand the content on your web pages better. It works by adding semantic data to specific parts of a webpage. To be successful, your content must not only contain the correct markup but also be rich in semantic information that will help search engines correctly identify its meaning.
#15: Understanding The Importance Of Site Speed
In Google’s 2018 “Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines,” site speed was included as one of the main criteria for determining if a website’s content was high-quality. Site speed is also an essential factor in how well your site will rank on mobile devices. The faster your site, the better it will perform overall — so make sure to invest in speeding up your site!
#16: Using Schema Markup To Increase Click-Through Rate
Meta descriptions are the short sentences that appear under your page’s URL in search results. They serve as an advertiser’s first introduction to your content — which is why they’re now playing a massive role in CTR. Because people now tend to read only meta descriptions, you need to make every effort possible to ensure your meta descriptions sound good and contain all the relevant information.
#17: The Consequences Of Duplicate Content
Duplicate content can be found in several forms — including exact-match domains, copied or plagiarized content, thin or poor quality content, broken links within the site, etc. Google doesn’t like duplicate content because it can result in web pages receiving poor rankings for relevant keyword searches.
#18: Understanding How To Write For Mobile
Approximately 40% of all internet traffic is now coming from mobile devices — which means you need to focus your efforts on making sure your site looks good everywhere, including mobile devices. This requires more than just a responsive website design — you also need to make sure your content is formatted correctly for easy reading.
#19: The Importance Of International SEO
SEO used to be all about local keywords — but times have changed, and today’s Google SERPs contain a lot more international results. This means that if you want to reach a global audience, you need to optimize each of your web pages for different locations. So, for example, if you’re selling French cheese, then you’ll want to rank high in France’s SERPs — not America’s.
#20: Understanding How To Use Schema Markup
Schema markup is structured data that you add to your web pages to help search engines better understand their content. This is an essential step in the SEO process because it helps search engines present your site’s information and rank it higher than competing sites.
#21: Understanding The Importance Of Social Media
Social media has transformed how we interact with each other — and it’s also transformed how we interact with the web. Today, social media plays a vital role in how well your site ranks on Google’s SERPs. Because people share their favorite websites on Facebook, Twitter, etc., these sites are slowly becoming an integral part of how search engines determine relevance.
#22: Understanding How To Rank In Local SERPs
If you want your business to be successful, it’s crucial to understand how to rank in local search engines. For example, if your business targets a specific area — such as Nashville, TN — you’ll need to make sure your site ranks highly on Google.com, Google Maps, Yahoo! Local and other local search engines.
#23: The Pros & Cons Of Guest Blogging
While guest blogging used to be a surefire way of boosting your site’s rankings on Google — it is now becoming increasingly difficult for new/unknown bloggers to land these types of opportunities. Because so many people are now guest blogging for exposure rather than SEO, you’ll need to work extra hard to stand out from the crowd.
#24: Stop Hiring Cheap SEO Companies
When attempting to win the local search engine rankings game, you must avoid cheap SEO companies like the plague. Unfortunately, there are several SEO companies out there that will promise to rank your site high in Google SERPs — for a lot less than you might think. Unfortunately, these low-cost SEO companies are rarely able to deliver on their promises.
#25: How To Write Magnetic Headlines
Regardless of what niche your business is in, one thing is sure: Headlines matter! More than 70% of readers will read your headline and no other part of your article. This means that if you want to convince people to read your content, then it’s important that you attract their attention with a “magnetic” headline. For more information, check out this article.
So what does it take to be a successful marketer in today’s competitive digital marketplace? It takes dedication, vision and most importantly, action! If you want to be on top of your game, you need to stay informed on all things marketing-related by reading blogs that will provide valuable insight into the industry.