You can do it too: Practical SEO Guide for Beginners in 2022

Search Engine Optimization

You can do it too: Practical SEO Guide for Beginners in 2022

It’s estimated that Google processes almost 99,000 searches a second and this number keeps rising. Obviously, the importance of search engine ranking is undeniable – the higher you rank, the better your chances of acquiring new customers.

However, before you start thinking about SEO, you should make sure you have a professionally designed website. You could go local and hire an NYC Web Design Company to do the work, or you can make a deal remotely, but always make sure to turn to someone familiar with creating an SEO-friendly website.

Once you have your website and at least some of your content ready, you can start doing SEO.

But first, what is SEO?

Before we get into details, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what SEO is.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your website’s ranking and visibility on the search engine results page (SERP).

There are billions of websites available online. Some of these websites deliver reliable information and high-quality content, while others don’t. Since Google aims to please, it has created a number of different algorithms that reward good behavior and useful content with a higher position on the ranking page.

However, Google still needs some help and SEO is a way to do it. Putting the right keywords in the right places, creating high-quality content, and choosing the right title, headings, and links can aid Google in its mission and help you perform better online.

Now, there are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO refers to everything you do on your own website that affects your ranking position. It involves everything that a user can see on your websites, such as its content, design, and layout. 

It also includes back-end optimization, which is sometimes visible only to the search engine and crawlers used to better understand and interpret your content. For that reason, back-end optimization is just as important as front-end optimization.

Off-page SEO involves actions taken outside of your website that improve your position on the SERPs, such as link building.

Beware of Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO

If you Google SEO, you’ll probably run into two familiar terms: white hat and black hat SEO.

Black hat SEO refers to the practices that are used to manipulate Google without providing a quality user experience. It includes:

  • paid links
  • spam comments
  • duplicate content
  • keyword stuffing
  • invisible text.

Google constantly works on recognizing these practices so that users don’t have to put up with them. There is also a penalty that can be issued such as downgrading or delisting.

While SEO is all about increasing a website’s organic visibility and traffic, black hat tactics can actually result in the opposite of this happening. You can reach out to some of the Best SEO Consulting Companies to help you better understand why you need to avoid such approaches. Honest SEO agencies will always try to avoid these practices. 

Now that you are familiar with the basics, we will get into the white hat SEO strategies you can use to improve your search ranking.

Search Analytics

Perform keyword research

Keywords are the exact words users type into the search bar. Keywords research, therefore, comes down to predicting the users’ intentions.

Properly chosen keywords will help you attract your target audience and drive more traffic to your website organically.

There are two types of keywords: 

  • head keywords – most often a singular term that is broad and far-reaching
  • long-tail keywords – a more specific combination of several terms.

While it may seem like a good idea to go for singular keywords because of their high search volume, don’t do it because no matter how good you are, big brands will almost always show up first on the SERP. Aside from that, they tend to be really vague. For instance, the word “club” can mean a nightclub or a golf club.

Long-tail words tend to be more narrow and present a better opportunity for you to stand out. Instead of the keyword “club”, try “Seattle nightclubs”.

You can use online tools such as WordStream or Wordtracker to research keywords for free. You can also just talk to your customers or visit the forums they’re on to get to know them a little bit better.

LSI keywords

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords represent terms of phrases related to the page’s target keywords. They further add context to your content and help Google verify that the content on your page is truly related to the keywords you opted for.

Now, LSI keywords are not synonyms to your target keywords. They simply serve to better describe your content which is why they’re linked to your target words. For instance, if your target keyword is “hydrating hair conditioner” then your LSI keywords could be “curly hair”, “hair shampoo”, “dry hair”, “split ends” etc.

Deliver high-quality content

Useful, reliable, and high-quality content is simply a must if you want to improve your search ranking. Aim for long-form content that provides relevant information and proof for the claims you make.

Google uses a couple of guidelines to distinguish high-quality content from low quality.

Beneficial purpose

Google states this very clearly in their guidelines: “Websites and pages should be created to help people.” Note that the type of content is not relevant because even a gossip webpage can be helpful. 

For instance, a website is helpful if it:

  • provides new information
  • provides a point of view or allows users to express their opinion
  • sells a product or a service
  • allows users to share files
  • shares media content such as pictures, videos, or other forms.

E.A.T

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.

Expertise means that the main content should be written by someone qualified. For instance, an expert in the medical field is a doctor, so a doctor should be the one writing, producing, and reviewing content related to this topic.

There is, however, one exception to this rule and it concerns everyday experiences. Ordinary people write reviews and blogs and are considered experts because of their life experiences. Google decides when that is the case when it reviews your content.

Authoritativeness means that the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website the content appears on are generally accepted and respected by the public.

Trustworthiness also refers to the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website the content appears on. Obviously, it means people tend to put their trust in the content, its creator, and publisher and deem it as a reliable source of information.

YMYL

Your-Money-or-Your-Life (YMYL) are the topics that can affect people’s health, happiness, financial stability, or safety.

The web pages that post content related to these topics should double-check their E-A-T and the quality of content they provide because Google is extra careful with them and has very high standards.

Improve your website design and load time

A bad layout and web design will not only confuse the visitors but will also affect your search ranking. 

For instance, page navigation is very important. Every website is crawled and indexed by search engine robots and good navigation will help them perform their job better.

Making your website mobile-friendly is also important since it is one of the ranking factors Google has been taking into account since 2015.

As for the load time, Google has been using website speed as a ranking factor since 2010. Not only does load time affect your ranking on SERP but you also risk losing potential customers. The longer users wait to see the content, the more likely they are to leave your website. 

Improve bounce rate

Bounce rate represents the percentage of users who come to your webpage but don’t interact with it in any meaningful way and don’t further explore your website. However, it does not measure time spent on the webpage (dwell time), which means that you can have an engaging website but also a high bounce rate at the same time.

Since bounce rate is not a very reliable measurement of quality, it is not a ranking factor on its own. It can, however, tell you when there are other problems on your website that could directly affect your search ranking. If you think you have an abnormally high bounce rate, you should check your load time, the quality of web page design, or your mobile optimization. 

As you’ve probably learned by now, these factors most definitely can affect how you rank on SERP.

Search Engine Optimization

Link building is the off-page SEO strategy. It happens when another website creates a hyperlink that leads to your website. This is important because it shows Google your website is trustworthy and improves your search ranking.

This happens naturally over time. Just think about it – when you run into a good website with interesting content, you tend to share it with other people on social media or list it as a reference when creating your own content.

Now, other ways can speed up the process a bit:

  • Guest posting – some websites may allow you to post on their blog and include the link to your website if the content you provide is high-quality
  • Wikipedia – since everyone can make changes on Wikipedia, you can add new and proven information, and then list your website in the references. However, don’t overdo this because search engines will classify it as spam.
  • Blog Commenting – instead of just randomly posting comments on someone else’s blog, make sure your comment continues a discussion or brings value. Only then you’ll be able to attract more visitors to your website.
  • Social Bookmarking – when creating an account on social media, make sure to include the URL address of your website in your profile.

In regards to link building, it should be noted that Google updated its algorithm last year regarding link spam. It aims to improve user experience by recognizing bad linking practices and punishing such behavior.

Check your progress from time to time

Checking your Google Analytics clearly won’t improve your SEO results directly, but then why would you do SEO in the first place if not to see improve your metrics?

You won’t know what needs tweaking if you don’t follow up on your performance.

Hopefully, we’ve shown you that SEO is not that difficult and have motivated you to at least try doing it on your own. Just keep your eye on the prize and you’re good to go! 

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