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SPEAK TO A GEEK
SPEAK TO A GEEK

SEO Techniques You Need Now: A Beginner's Guide

SEO is one of the most important aspects of online marketing. It can help you get your website in front of more people and generate more leads and sales. However, SEO can be difficult to understand and overwhelming for beginners. This blog post will discuss some SEO techniques everyone should implement on their website and blog pages and will help you get started with your SEO strategy.

1. What is SEO?

The goal of SEO is to improve your website's visibility in search engines like Google, Bing, and others. It's the practice of boosting both the quality and quantity of web traffic and brand exposure through non-paid (also known as "organic") search engine results. As SEO has grown and changed through the years, it has gone from just keyword stuffing (we will get to that in a moment) to meeting the needs of the customer and the search engines. Once you establish what types of content your potential customers need, you can optimize it so that a search engine can understand.

How Search Engines Work

So how do search engines work? Search engines are looking for answers. They scan billions of pieces of information and examine hundreds of criteria to determine which material is most likely to address the question and intent of the searcher.

All, or most, of the content on the Internet, from web pages to PDFs to images to videos, is gathered and cataloged by search engines by way of "crawling and indexing" and then ranked according to how well they match a searcher’s query.

magnifying glass with arrows pointing to alphabets abbreviation SEO at the center of cement wall chalkboard

Search engines do their homework by performing three processes:

  1. Crawling — A bot travels the Internet highways to search for content, checking out the code and content for every URL it finds.

  2. Indexing — The index becomes a place to store what the bots find during the crawl. After a web page is indexed, it becomes an option for the search engine to show in a SERP.

  3. Ranking — A search engine will give the searcher the web pages with content that it believes best answers their true intent, with the most relevant content near the top.

Which Search Results are "Organic"?

Organic search results are the kind that are earned through quality content and SEO, not through advertising. That means organic search results are technically "free" to the company receiving the visitor. Organic SEO techniques are the holy grail of content and copywriting for websites. Who wants to pay for traffic when you can get it for free through quality content?

Search engines like Google are really advertising companies. So, it's the search engine's "job" to keep searchers returning and keep them on the SERPs longer.

Organic SERP features on Google can be affected by SEO. Featured snippets and related questions from the "People also asked" box are two such examples.

2. Why is SEO Important?

There are several ways to drive traffic to your website (social media, paid ads, and links), but most organic traffic still comes from search engines. So, it pays to look at creating quality content that is SEO optimized as an investment and not an expense. 

SEO is one of the few online marketing strategies that, when implemented correctly, may continually pay off for years to come. Create a strong article that deserves to rank with relevant content and essential keywords. Your traffic will keep growing over time instead of continually spending money on an advertising campaign to send visitors to your site.

3. How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

It seems like everyday search engines get smarter. However, they are still robots that need a little human assistance. So, smart marketers know SEO techniques to make sure their quality content gets found. 

To optimize the SEO on your website, you need to ensure that your content is visible to search engines by optimizing your website. Let's look at some ways to optimize your site right now.

Organic SEO Techniques Start with Good Content

A great SEO strategy begins with good content. If you have high-quality, relevant content on your website, you already do much of what SEO requires. However, there are additional steps you can take to improve your website's SEO and get more traffic from Google.

We've already talked a little bit about why you need to find out the questions your customers are asking so you can provide website visitors with the answers they are seeking.

Once you start answering your customers' questions with quality content, it's time to mix in keywords.

Keyword Research Helps Your SEO Strategy

The ability of keyword research to provide value stems from a deeper understanding of your target market and how potential customers search for items related to your products and services. Once you create quality content, you can optimize it with keywords to help search engines understand the gist of what you do.

Keyword research helps you provide content that will help answer questions like:

  • The types of things people are searching for?

  • How many people are searching each month?

  • What format do they want to consume the content (written, blogs, short snippets, and more)?

Once you find out how your target audience is looking for your content, you've opened up a whole new world of SEO strategic planning!

Here are a few things to remember when you're looking for the perfect keywords for your content:

  • Ask questions before you start your keyword research — Before jumping in to look for the top keywords in your industry, you need to find out a little about your perfect customer. You need to know who they are and what they need to reach their goals. People often skip this step, but they do so at their peril. It does take a little time to find out about your customers, but it's worth it.

  • Look at search volume for your target keyword — When you find relevant keywords for your material, you'll undoubtedly notice that their search traffic varies considerably. While you do want to target terms that your audience is looking for, in some situations, targeting terms with low search volume may be more advantageous because they're far less competitive. While both high- and low-competition keywords may benefit your website, understanding more about search volume can assist you in determining which ones to prioritize and which will provide your website the most significant strategic advantage.

  • Don't forget the long-tail — The more significant the search traffic, the more competitive and difficult it is to achieve organic ranking success. You may increase your visibility quicker by optimizing for low-competition keywords. Sometimes you also need to look at longer phrases your potential clients might be using to search. The longer phrases with lower difficulty are called long-tail keywords.

It makes sense in theory to target keywords with high search volume. However, sometimes that doesn't make sense because keywords with high search volume might show a vague intent from the user. There is a different intent between a person searching for "shoes" and a person searching for "comfortable men's running shoes." The second is an example of a long-tail keyword and is much more valuable to a company that sells comfortable men's running shoes than the more generic "shoes" search.

Applying the Keyword Research in Your SEO Techniques

On-page SEO allows you to convert your keyword research into content that your audience will enjoy and benefit from. Just be aware of the risks of low-value approaches that might do more harm than good! Making content solely to rank highly in search is a mistake. The goal of ranking is to give value to the people searching, not just to get your content to the top of a SERP.

Avoid these common problems:

  • Weak Content — It's standard for a website to have multiple pages on various topics, but in the wild west of the Internet, many bloggers created a page for each variation of their keywords to rank first for those exact searches. The web was filled with low-quality duplicate content because of this. Google specifically targeted weak content with its 2011 upgrade known as Panda. The more stringent algorithm reduced the chances for low-quality sites to rise in ranks, resulting in higher-quality websites taking top spots in search results. Today, Google continues to refine this technique of downgrading poor content and elevating high-quality material.
  • Duplicate content —"Duplicate content" is a term that refers to material that is duplicated across domains or between various pages of a single domain. Duplicate content also happens when people republish content "as-is" or only modify it slightly without adding new material or increasing the value to the searcher.
  • Keyword stuffing — While Google searches for keywords and related ideas on your site's pages, the page itself must offer value outside of merely adding additional keywords. If a page is going to be helpful to visitors, it shouldn't sound like a computer wrote it, so use your keywords and phrases naturally to be readily understandable to your viewers.

Don't Forget About the Links

You want to include two types of links in your content for a good organic SEO strategy. The first is inbound links (also called backlinks or external links). These are HTML hyperlinks that point to another website with additional relevant information to the visitor. They're the Internet's currency, comparable to a real-life reputation, like getting recommended by a friend.

Since the late 1990s, search engines have regarded links as a form of popularity and importance on the web.

The other type of link is internal links. Internal links point from one page on a website to another page on the same website domain. They are an essential part of SEO because they help search engines understand your website's structure and determine the most important pages. When creating internal links, be sure to use anchor text that accurately describes the page you're linking to.

More SEO Techniques You Can Implement Today

Here are some SEO techniques that can help you get started:

  • Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions — Using keywords in titles will help your content get found more easily by Google.

  • Optimize your website for mobile — In today's world, more people use their phones and tablets to access the Internet than ever before. As a result, optimizing your website for mobile devices is essential. This means having a responsive design that looks good on all screen sizes.

  • Use social media to promote your content. Social media is a great way to get more eyes on your content. When you share your blog posts and articles on social media, you can reach a larger audience and generate more traffic to your website.

4. How to Track Your SEO Progress and Measure Results

The old saying goes, "if you can measure something, you can improve it." In SEO, this is also true. To help demonstrate the value of SEO, professionals keep track of everything from rankings and conversions to missing links and more. It's critical to your SEO success, client retention, and perceived value if you can measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.

Woman looking at website traffic analytics data on computer

Measuring your efforts also aids in the pivoting of your priorities when things aren't going as planned. 

Here are a few key performance indicators to figure out how effective your organic SEO approach is.

  • Conversion rate — A conversion rate can be applied to activities and goals, including email signups, purchases, and account creation. Knowing your conversion rate may assist you in evaluating the return on investment (ROI) your website traffic may generate.

  • Time on page — How long are people spending on your page? If a 2,000-word blog article is only being read for 10 seconds on average, there's not much chance that this material is being digested (unless they're a really fast reader). Keep in mind the purpose of the web page, too. A "contact us" page might not require a long time spent on the page.

  • Pages per visit — Is the objective of your page to keep visitors interested and guide them to a subsequent step? If that's the case, pages per visit can be a vital engagement indicator. If your page's primary aim is to stand alone (for example, a visitor arrives, gets what they want, and then leaves), low pages per visit are acceptable.

  • Bounce rate — A "Bounced" session indicates that a user visited the page and departed without looking at any other pages. Many people try to lower this statistic because they believe it reflects website quality, but it actually tells us nothing about a user's experience. The scroll depth of a page/site is a better measure of the site’s quality.

  • Scroll depth — This shows how far people scroll down individual web pages. Are visitors looking at your most important content? If not, test different ways to make the essential information more visible on your site, such as video, contact forms, etc. If the scroll depth numbers are low, it might be a good idea to look at the quality of your content, too.

You can use Google Analytics to measure how well your site achieves its goals. If you want to see how many people fill out a form on a page, you might set up that as a goal in advance. You'll be able to see it in your reports once visitors have completed the form.

Taking a deeper dive into your search traffic can also pay dividends in your SEO strategy. But how can you tell how much organic search traffic your site receives? Google Analytics is one of the most accurate ways to measure this.

To get traffic insights, use Google Analytics (GA) to analyze traffic patterns — GA is packed full of information and may be overwhelming if you don't know where to start. 

  • Isolate organic traffic — Google Analytics shows you traffic to your site and where it comes from.

  • Traffic to your site over time — You can use Google Analytics to check total sessions/ users/page views for a given date range and compare two separate ranges.

  • How many visits a particular page has received —Goggle Analytics' Site Content reports are ideal for assessing the success of one specific page, such as how many unique visitors it attracted in a given time frame.

  • Click-through rate (CTR) — The CTR from search results to a specific page (the percentage of individuals who clicked on your page after searching for it) can provide insights into how effective you've been at optimizing your page title and meta description.

This isn't an exhaustive list but rather a broad introduction to some of the traffic data that you might glean from Google Analytics.

5. Tips for Staying Up-To-Date with the Latest SEO Trends

SEO techniques are constantly changing, so SEO beginners must stay up-to-date with the latest trends. One great way to do this is to subscribe to an SEO blog or newsletter. You could also follow SEO experts on social media, like Twitter. This will help you learn about the latest changes and how to apply them to your SEO strategy. 

However you decide to keep up, make sure to read about changes to SEO techniques and implement them into your strategy.

If you need help optimizing your SEO strategy on your website, consider hiring Geekly Media to help you out. From SEO audits to actually implementing robust organic SEO techniques in your content and web pages, Geekly Media can help you extend your reach and help potential customers find your products and services.

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