If you want to learn SEO skills from scratch, here you’ll discover a list of basic points of SEO. SEO is a flexible method to accommodate your internet marketing needs, goals, or shortcomings. Besides that, SEO is also capable of leveling up your business to the next level.
In this digital era, almost all people rely on search engines to find a certain information online. This circumstance has been making internet marketers keen to use SEO to grab the market. Therefore, if you have a business, SEO is a must to be learned so that you won’t be left behind. After reading this topic, you’ll learn the understanding of basic SEO completely.
SEO Meaning and Definitions
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an effort to work up the level of visibility of a web page in the natural search results of search engines. You’ll find that there are also internet marketers that refer this type of visibility as non-paid search results or organic search on search engines.
To define SEO in other words, it’s the process of activities on or off a website or web pages to get online visitors from search engines through a set of targeted keywords that they search. Or, SEO is a set of efforts to win the keywords competitions among a similar niche of websites in order search engines display the website or webpage on the first page of the search results. (Most of the internet marketers often abbreviate search engine result page as SERP.)
The Illustration about SEO
In supporting you to learn SEO from scratch, read the following illustration. Suppose you have a DSLR online store site. On the site, there are lists of category pages that you are marketing online. You decide to market its professional DSLR camera category page through a popular search engine, let’s say Google. Thus, by doing SEO correctly in a keyword; “professional DSLR camera”, Google ranks your professional DSLR camera category page on the first page of its SERPs. The result is when someone is searching for a professional DSLR camera on Google; he or she finds the title and description of the professional DSLR camera category page on the first page of the search engine results. The better your SEO results on your DSLR camera online store site, the better the ranking of the page on Google. But it doesn’t mean all pages of your DSLR camera online store site get better ranking on Google too.
The following is screen display when a Google user types in professional DSLR camera in the Google search bar.
That’s a simple illustration of on-target SEO result. On target of effective SEO will increase your site presence to the top rank of SERP which potential customers or visitors will be easily finding your business, product, service, or the information of your company, organization, or anything else that you would like to offer to the internet users who need it (your target market).
SEO V.S. Non-SEO Search Results
If looking back to the SERP preview of “professional DSLR camera” in the instruction, you will not see any non-SEO result (paid advertisement) on the SERP. Basically, the list of non-SEO results is marked with Ads (in the English version). SEO and non-SEO search results have its own advantages and disadvantages.
The Advantages of SEO Search Results
- Can directly be on the first page, even rank #1 on Google search results in just an hour. So, you can soon to marketing a product or service.
- No need to pay Google to rank your webpage on the first page of Google search results for 24 hours a week (24/7). It’s an ongoing online promotion to improve your ROI.
- It could establish better authority and brand awareness of a company, business, product, or personal in an online way.
The Disadvantages of SEO Search Results
- It enables a web page less than an hour to appear on the first page of Google search results. It could take daily, weeks, months, or years, depending on several factors.
- Need cost, time, and effort when performing SEO (although later the result is more permanent than the non-page SEO).
- Because the result is more permanent than the non-SEO, and there is good chance to build authority and brand, the competition of web pages to enter the first page of Google search results will be higher if comparing to non-SEO.
The Advantages of Non-SEO Search Results
- Google could rank a webpage at the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd rank of the search results.
- If it has been on the first page of Google search results based on the targeted keywords, the web page will have the chance to appear (24/7) continuously until there is another web page from a different website that is more optimal SEOed.
The Disadvantages of Non-SEO Search Results
- This kind of search results are also known as advertisements (ads), paid advertising (paid-ads), PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, CPC (cost-per-click) advertising, non-organic search results wich is not the permanent tenant of Google search results.
- to be on page one of Google search results, required advertising costs and optimization of several issues related to the relevance of the ad, the user’s experience, and the rate of ad clicks.
- If the advertising budget runs out, then the advertising sites/pages on the first page of Google search results are only temporary according to availability budget/budget advertising campaigns. Not as permanent as SEO.
We can conclude SEO search results are the main search results and non-SEO search results are temporary search results. However, it does not mean that non-SEO results have no value at all. If you can nicely optimize both non-SEO and SEO, then the results will be better than just using one of them.
Note: Non-SEO is usually used by a new website to quickly market their product or service for quick profits, while also improving the website’s SEO.
Learn SEO by Understanding the Basic Points in SEO
To learn SEO from scratch, you need to understand some basic points which are the most of the important parts in SEO strategies.
General SEO Tools
No matter what your webmaster skill level is. You need an important preparation and analyzing for success in applying SEO. So, if you want to start doing SEO, you have to prepare SEO tools ready. These tools will help you to analyze your SEO performance. Generally, SEO tools such as Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Google Webmaster Tools are enough for webmasters to analyze and evaluating their SEO improvements. However, there are also premium SEO tools out there which support more detail SEO analyzing.
- Google Analytics Tool will play a major role in tracking and analyzing how visitors interact with your site. Because of it is free and intuitive; it becomes a compulsory menu of SEO campaign. Besides creating an account on it and adding the script to your site, you should read up on its features functions. Using Google Analytics, You can also learn SEO by analyzing the improvement of your organic traffic.
- Google AdWords is very useful SEO tool because it relates to SEO for keyword research capabilities. Using this tool, you can find out what are keywords which are relevant to your site’s niche. Besides that, you’ll also discover what are keywords which are capable of competing for other similar websites to yours in terms of the level of competition and the search volume.
- Google Webmaster Tools is very useful SEO tool because it is capable of tracking how many times your site appears on a given keywords, how many clicks you earn, and what is the position of any indexed page on your site or blog. This tool allows you to learn SEO in terms of how searchers reach your site or blog. In which, you’ll know how good you are doing SEO to boost your web pages ranking on Google. By reading its Google Webmaster Guidelines, you’ll learn more SEO skills, especially on-page SEO practices.
If you have a website, do a site audit when starting your SEO. Every time Google is becoming more stringent in rules and penalty. The best way to avoid a penalty is to audit your site as detail as possible. Learn how to audit your SEO.
To audit your site’s SEO, you can use Moz Site Audit Checklist. As a reliable source, its detailed reports are great for you to learn SEO especially in checking all SEO factors on your site’s content and its accessibility in terms of web design and internal links. Another option is WooRank. This audit tool site will automatically check and analyzes a number of items on the Moz Checklist.
You should not overlook SEO audit on your site or blog. Because, besides it supports you to learn SEO more detail, it is absolutely necessary to prevent penalties which are possible of making your hard work up in vain.
With or Without WWW
A very important part of SEO is about canonical canonicalization. Make sure you prefer use WWW or without WWW, HTTP or HTTPS (if you have a secure communication protocol for your site) before your site’s domain. To learn SEO effect in term of canonicalization, learn more about the right 301 redirections. Many webmasters mistook in doing 301 redirections in which they only 301 redirect the home’ URL only but overlook other pages.
If you are not carefully in applying 301 redirecting you could make a fatal SEO mistake. People often wonder whether having to type www.domain.com or domain.com to go to a website. In essence, this is about how search engines see your website and how the links that point to your site to be treated. It is important to choose only one of the four options, for example, https://www.yourdomainname.com, http://www.yourdomainname.com, https://yourdomainname.com, http://yourdomainname.com.
In certain condition, you might also need to 301 redirect your site’s IP addresses (HTTP and HTTPS) too. Let’s say, you decide people can access your site using either www or non-www without 301 redirections. Search engines will consider your site as two separate locations, in which this can destroy your web pages ranking on SERP and the quality of your links. In other words, the search engine will consider the two versions of your domain are not unique.
Some SEO experts say that keyword research is the most important part of SEO. It’s hard to debate, as there are plenty of statistics to support it. If you are serious to learn SEO, you need to learn keyword research too. There are some terms which you need to remember before you learn keyword research such as, keyword competition, keyword difficulty, search volume, long tail keywords, and some types of keywords in SEO. By researching your site’s keyword research, it would be easy to understand what your audience is looking for. Here’s the list of useful tools which can help you to learn SEO in terms of researching keywords, long tail keywords, trending keywords, etc:
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner
- Google Suggest
- Google Trends
- Google Webmaster Tools
Basically, web navigation has two purposes for SEO which this point is also part of web design project preparation. First, it’s useful to make your site’s visitors navigate your site or blog smoothly and quickly. Second, search engines have to find a clear relationship between the links and a page.
To achieve both, you need to build a universal navigation. Identify why visitors come to your site, what are coming out of your main page and what is the search terms used on the site. You also have to divide the products and key pages in certain categories with appropriate category names. Finally, place those categories in the universal navigation and keep it simple. If you use drop down menu, it should be using HTML in order search engines can read it. If each of your pages consists of more than 20 items, consider adding a filter for visitors to narrow down their search. Learn also about e-commerce strategies.
Provide good quality content to your web visitors. The latest Google algorithm emphasis on the quality writing, its usefulness, and is not a heavy keyword web page.
Avoid keyword stuffing, count the number of keywords. The best way is to target one keyword phrase per page. As for the web structure, each page should have a different setting of keywords and title.
To understand the value of a meta tag, you need to think through the side of search engine users’ eyes. When you search for something, how you determine the one you’d like to click. In most cases, people would analyze the first few results and read a few words from the titles and descriptions. A different CMS platform such as WordPress, you only have limited character strings to entice searchers into clicking on it which is competing with other millions of search results. This descriptive phrase is known as meta tags. Read also how to improve SEO on WordPress blog.
Your web page rank on SERP will increase rapidly with meta tags. Each meta description should be about 160 characters and should include the natural keyword phrases. Also, it is important to include some sort of call-to-action phrases on in the meta tags and the content. It’s hard to achieve with a few words only. Therefore, it requires planning and careful thought. If you do effective keyword research writing high-quality content, everything will fit into the right place.
Robots.txt is a text file consist of code that you put in your site directory to tell search engines which pages you allow Google to index and rank. This code is not mandatory, but it helps in case there is a sensitive information on your site which you are not allowing search engines to index on their database. Thieves still come if they want, but most people do not. Make sure your robots.txt file in the main directory of your site and in the right structure of code appropriately.
Although your site is a good, well-structured, it’s useless if people cannot see. To get the maximum amount of traffic and visibility, your site should be indexed by search engines and web directories, such as DMOZ. Otherwise, Google, Yahoo, and Bing may not find the most relevant page on your site to display.
There are many techniques and tools which promise your site to get indexed by search engines. However, it’s time-consuming. The most reliable way to direct visitors through the search engines and visit your site content is to create a sitemap. With an HTML sitemap, visitors can quickly navigate your site. Also, the sitemap XML is useful for Google to crawl your site and to ensure the most relevant page to offer to searchers.
In addition to SEO works that you apply to your site, you need also to work out of your site or web page. Build links through content marketing, blogging, guest blogging, infographics, site directories and other tools for online leaves a trail leading back to your site. Off-page efforts also include social media marketing. If you do social media marketing off-page SEO correctly, such as on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram could be a way in getting traffic. Whatever you do, avoid black hat SEO techniques for in applying off-page SEO efforts. Learn SEO in how to do link building correctly.
Finally, search engine optimization is an ongoing learning in order to improve your webmaster skills. Keep learning how to improve your website or blog SEO to get high-quality traffic.