SEO 101-What is search engine optimization (1)

Search engine optimization is the process of using certain strategies to make a website and its content visible to search engine users.

Also known as SEO, search optimization is a very important aspect of online marketing.

In fact, to drive traffic to your website or create content that delivers expected outcomes, you need to have a good understanding of search engine optimization.

Notwithstanding its importance in digital marketing, usually, a lot of small businesses do not pay attention to SEO at the beginning stages of their online marketing.

As a result, this mistake affects the efficacy of their online marketing strategies and by extension, their ability to drive website traffic or attract online sales.

This is one of the mistakes you can’t afford to make with your own business.

And in this guide, I’m going to teach you how to use SEO to get visibility, drive better traffic and grow your business, even if you’re a complete newbie.

Why SEO?

One of the biggest goals of every entrepreneur is to create content that is not just visible to the target audience but one that’s able to drive substantial traffic and deliver on expected outcomes.

As noble as this might sound, maintaining a balance between driving traffic to your website, getting visibility and making more sales largely revolves around search engine optimization.

And some times, getting it right with search optimization can be quite tricky for beginners and even experts.

This is why you need to figure your way around SEO so you can create content that’s well optimized for the search engine.

Definition of SEO

SEO is the short term for Search Engine Optimization.

It is a collection of strategies that works together to make your content more visible for search engine users.

There are outstanding definitions of search engine optimization which will give you additional insight into the subject matter but one of them that really stand out is the definition by SearchEngineLand which defines SEO as;

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to improve its visibility”…

SearchEngineLand

Another outstanding definition of Search Engine Optimization is the one by Wordstream. It defines SEO as;

“….the process of optimizing web pages and their content to be easily discoverable by users searching for terms relevant to the subject matter of your content or website”.

Wordstream

Now, these three definitions are not just important, they are very instructive in that, they emphasize that search engine optimization enhances the visibility of a web content or website.

And without SEO, it will definitely be difficult to get as much traffic and visibility for your website.

Why SEO is important

While paid adverts and website referrals can send a decent traffic to your website, majority of website visits is generated through search engine traffic.

And in order to attract a decent number of search engine traffic to your website, you need to work hard to optimize your post effectively for the search engine.

Done well, this will induce improved visibility and traffic to your website.

Important aspects of SEO you need to know

As someone that owns a website, the following are the key aspects of SEO you need to target, in order to boost the visibility of your website;

  • Keyword Optimization
  • Technical SEO
  • Content & Content Length
  • On-Page SEO
  • Duplicate Post
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Metas and Title tag
  • Link Building

Keyword Optimization

Key words are important search terms used by search engine users while making searches on search engine platforms like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. It is a very important element of SEO that can make or mar your online visibility.

Key words play a prominent role during website optimization and content creation.

For this reason, while creating content for your website, you want to understand the possible search terms that can be used by your target audience while making online searches and then use these search terms correctly, within your content.

To get to find these key words, you can conduct a brief keyword research using SEO tools like Wordstream, Ubersuggest or Alexa

As soon as you’ve sorted out the right key words, you can then go ahead to create your content, making sure to use these key words and their synonyms or semantics representation at strategic paragraphs through the content (for written post).

How to use Key Words in your Content

Supposing you’re writing a long piece of content that is about 1000 words; and the keyword you want to optimize is: how to create content for small businesses…

In order to optimize your key words effectively within the content, you’ll need to include the key words in at least every 150-200 body of words in that content.

Now, this means that if your content is divided into 35-50 words per paragraph, you’ll have to repeat the keyword you want to optimize for in at least after every 3 paragraphs of your content.

Here’s a complete guide on how to do a keyword research for SEO here;

Technical SEO

Technical SEO are the aspects of search engine optimization that ensures a website or blog meets the requirements of a search engine for better visibility and organic traffic.

Basically, technical SEO involves all technical aspects of SEO that makes it possible for a website to be crawled by the search engine and easily accessible by a web user.

This includes among others, aspects of web design like a website’s user interface, usability, loading speed, mobile compatibility and other website infrastructure.

Technical SEO has more to do with the website or blog and far less with your content.

However, where a website’s technical SEO is not optimized, it can affect the overall ranking of the website on the search engine and by extension, the visibility of content published on that website.

So, while creating content for a website or blog, you want to be sure that the website’s technical SEO has been properly optimized.

How to analyze your technical SEO

Analyzing a website’s technical SEO will need a lot of expertise however, as a beginner you can always start somewhere.

With tools like pingdom.com/tools, GTmetrics etc., you can briefly analyze a website by checking, the loading speed of that website, in comparison to that of a competing website.

To get started, log on to https://tools.pingdom.com. When it loads, type in the URL of the website you want to analyze into the URL bar. And then click on start test.

Below is a pictorial representation of the tool

Pictorial Illustration of Pingdom tool

The result you get from here will display the performance grade, which ranges from A to D and E.

You’ll also get to see the page size of the website in Kilobytes or Megabytes, as well as the loading speed of the website, alongside other technical details.

Beyond these, there are also a handful of other tools that can be used to check for mobile compatibility, website usability etc.

While it may not be your duty to fix these things, you want to ensure that the technical SEO of your website is helping your website’s visibility…

Hence you may want to verify about this from your web developer, where you can’t do it on your own.

Content Marketing

Content is a major driver of search engine optimization.

And for you to get a better ranking for your website, you don’t just have to create content, you have to create consistently, a well researched and valuable content, targeted at a specific audience.

What this means is that before creating any piece of content, you have to be able to research your audience, understand the kind of content they want and then create that kind of content for them, consistently.

While doing this, you have to also bear in mind that the length of your content is an important element of SEO that can strengthen or weaken your search engine optimizing effort.

There are two ways this can happen viz;

1. Google does not support thin content. Thin content are written content with very few words. Say 50-150 or 200 words written content etc.

Such content is very bad for SEO. And if you continue creating content with such a few words, it’ll definitely get to affect your website in the long run.

2. Search engine prefers content with at least 300 words. While this might not deliver any tangible results for your SEO in the real sense of the word, the least acceptable content limit is about 300 words and above.

But, if you’re planning to get some good SEO results with your content, work on creating content that averages between 1000 to 2500 words and above.

Not only does Google love such content, it gives you the chance to include as much key words throughout the content thus giving the content a chance to have more matching search terms and in turn a better chance to show up in search results when people make relevant searches.

Here’s a complete guide on how to create a search engine optimized content here.

On Page SEO

On Page SEO is a marketing strategy that involves optimizing your web pages with specific keywords in order to improve website visibility and search traffic.

It involves all search engine optimization activities done on the pages of a website, in order to improve organic search visibility for the site.

These activities can include things like; Content Creation, Keyword Analysis, Title Tags and Meta Descriptions etc.,

Putting in place a good on-page SEO strategy is not just important, it is very crucial to the success of your search engine marketing.

Below is a complete guide on on-page SEO optimization for small businesses here.

Duplicate Post

Duplicate post is a post or content that appears on more than one website or blog at the same time.

Often times, this incidence doesn’t just happen by chance. It happens when one content writer copies the content of another writer from a different blog, to paste on their own.

This is a bad idea for Search engine optimization.

Not only can it get you penalized for plagiarism, it can hurt your SEO, making it difficult for your content to be rank well in search engine results.

As much as possible, avoid copied content.

While you can always read up other people’s content to have an idea on how to create yours, do not pass off other people’s content as your own.

Meta Tags and Title Tags

Meta tags are snippets of texts that describe the content of a web page.

It’s the short descriptive words you see after a web link, whenever you make a search on Google.

Meta title on the other hand is the title of a web page or content.

PS: A web page is a page on a blog or website where a particular piece of content can be found.

Below is a pictorial illustration to describe meta and title tags…

Pictorial Illustration of meta and title tags

Illustration: In the picture attached above, the meta title is the part written in big blue letter titled; what is Google?

The meta description on the other hand is the part written in ash color which answers the question thus; Google is an American Company

While creating content for your website or blog, it is important you provide the meta description, meta tags and title tags properly.

While creating your meta description, be sure that it is short, captivating and capable of drawing the attention of a searcher to click through and read your content.

Same goes for meta title.

For a meta title to stand out, it has to be captivating, memorable and inspiring to read as soon as a potential reader gets to it. This is very important.

At the same time, do not forget to create a meta title that reflects your popular keyword. In fact, while optimizing your meta title for human readers, optimize for search engines too.

Here’s a complete tutorial on how to create a post title for your content here.

Off-Page SEO

Off page SEO are search engine strategies used outside your website, in order to attract traffic, search visibility and links to the website.

It includes activities like link building, guest posting, social media marketing, and other optimization strategies done outside your website, to attract visitors to the website or raise the ranking of a web page on the search engine.

While both off-page and on-page SEO are important strategies that can be very useful to your website…

In addition to boosting your search visibility, off-page SEO can be very useful in driving brand awareness and providing a faster search optimization ROI in some cases.

In this post, you’ll find a guide on how to understand and use off-page SEO here.

Link Building

Link building is the process of acquiring links from external websites to your own.

A link AKA hyperlink helps users to navigate web pages on the internet. It is also used by the search engine crawlers to crawl the web.

How linking works…

You get a link to your website whenever another an external website links to your content or website either because they want to buttress a point in their own content, expatiate on the subject matter or they just want to cite your write up in their post.

This aspect of referencing is called linking. And when it’s done on purpose to get SEO benefits, it is called; link building.

The reason behind link building is not farfetched. The more other websites link to a piece of content, the more such content gets higher search engine ranking and search visibility.

The idea behind this is that before a website can link to a piece of content on another website; such content would have been extremely good.

And for this reason, when more reputable websites link to a piece of content on another website, the search engine algorithms gets to attract more visibility for such content, just so that even more people can get to read it.

But here’s the catch, before other websites can link to your content that content has to be really very good.

That said, there are two major ways to do link building viz;

By creating high quality content on your website.

This method is very effective in attracting natural links to your websites.

And as a matter of fact, majority of the links you’ll ever have are going to be generated naturally from websites that come across your content on their own, not through your own link building effort.

And before such websites can link to your content it means your content is going to be extremely useful for them before it can get to be linked to.

By Engaging in Guest Posting.

This involves creating high quality content and posting them on other websites. This is called Guest Posting. As a matter of fact, a handful of top websites accept written content from content creators on other websites.

What happens is that in return for this content, this websites will create a link to the website of the content creator or to any post of their choice.

Although guest posting is tasking as a link building strategy but, with this method, you get to choose the kind of websites that links back to your website.

Check out a guide on Guest Posting here.

Conclusion:

In a nutshell, as you can see, SEO is a very important marketing strategy you can’t afford to ignore as a business.

Just like every other entrepreneur, search engine optimization can be the deal beaker when it comes to your ability to achieve your ROI either with your website or online marketing effort.

And to get the best visibility, you need to put in your very best SEO strategies.

On that note, I believe this guide has opened your eyes to what search optimization is all about.

So, do you need SEO experts to optimize your website for search visibility? Let’s help you.

Now, here’s my parting shot to you; do you want your website to attract the right traffic and deliver expected outcomes? Besides other marketing strategies, focus on evolving a well optimized website alongside a high quality, valuable and SEO optimized content.

This will definitely improve your outcome in many folds.

Now, it’s over to you. Which part of Search Engine Optimization is the most difficult for you?

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Victor Winners

Victor Winners

Award winning Blogger, Author, Web Developer, Senior Digital Strategist and Founder of Africa's most widely read blog on Content Marketing and Digital Strategy, VictorWinners.Com.Named as one of the top 50 design influencers globally, since 2014; Victor Winners has helped over 2 million readers to understand and use digital technology to transform their lives and businesses.

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