Introduction: what is SEO and why optimize?
SEO is the practice of optimizing a website for Google with the goal of earning higher web traffic levels and improving the visibility of the site. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to improve SEO, but the most important factor is the content on the site. SEO also requires regular updates to keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithm. Although the content of the page is the most important aspect, it simply won’t rank well, if that content is not considered “worthy” by Google. In that sense, external SEO (or SEO outside of the website) becomes a crucial thing to do.
On-page optimization: title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, etc.
The content can be divided into two parts: the text, images, videos, scripts and any other elements that are intended for a human to consume; on the other hand, the meta tags. Meta tags are a group of tags designed to be read by search engines as directives of what do to with the content.
Because meta tags have been used and abused by many, Google doesn’t rely heavily on those to determine ranking. But it still uses them to determine the topic and how to proceed with its crawling.
Things to do:
Write good, beneficial, unique and relevant content. You want at least 600 words per page. And most importantly, make sure that does words make sense. That a human user would enjoy and find useful, even more, that they would want to share with their friends. Make sure also that you are not copy/pasting it from somewhere else. In this line, also add an image or two with proper alt tags that speak of the what the image is. Finally, if it makes sense, add a video as well to illustrate the topic.
Link building: quality links from reputable websites
Link building is not easy. In essence it is the process of attracting people to link to your content. Why would people link back to your pages? Normally, people would link if it is particularly useful to them or their peers. But to make the process of link building easier, thinking about content in terms of marketing is much more useful.
Content marketing is the process of identifying what it is that your target audience needs and then giving them what they need. If you write content that is great but that nobody wants to read, then the process of link building would be much more difficult. On the other hand, if you create content that really solves a problem in your target audience, it will simplify your link building efforts.
Things to do:
Start by registering on social media sites. That way, you can share your articles with your followers. Also, do a small keyword research before writing your articles. And write about topics that are problems that your audience is having. Finally, think of ways of attracting links from other websites to your site. You don’t want to engage in practices that “manipulate” Google’s algorithms.
Perceived importance of SEO elements
Writing a good piece of content is great. But even better is to have a plan to grow your content to solve many problems for your audience. Imagine if you get only one visit from each article on your site. If you had 10 pages, you would get 10 visits, but if you have 100 articles, then you would get 100 visits. So by growing your content and providing valuable information to your audience you can generate more visitors and eventually a reputation of great content and helpful information.
Technical SEO: ensuring your website is crawlable and indexable.
At its core, the idea is that Google wants to show valuable results to its users. If you content is not presented consistently and/or it is slow to load, then it will tend to under perform in relation to other competitors. However, if you are just starting, don’t worry too much about the technical aspects of SEO. Simply take care of the basics at first and you should be fine.
Things to do:
Use a reputable content management system. We recommend WordPress, but you can find several that provide the proper structure for your content right off the bat. When it comes to your hosting’s performance, try to chose a hosting provider that is fast, reliable and that provides automatic backups for your content.
Also, make sure to test for speed and for mobile responsiveness.
Measuring success: using analytics to track progress
Measuring success is critical to any endeavor, and SEO is no exception. Use Google Analytics to accurately measure how your efforts are bringing in new visitors. Also, use Google Webmaster Tools and Microsoft’s Site Explorer to gain insight into how search engines are seeing your site. Over time, you’ll see what works and what doesn’t.