You’ve probably heard the term thrown around in one of your marketing meetings, or when you were trying to learn digital marketing on the internet.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of optimizing and ensuring that the content on your site allows it to be a top result for searches of a certain keyword.
When a website is “optimized”, you’re basically “tricking” the search engine to organically put your website on a higher ranking, allowing you to get to your customers quickly.
Let’s say you’re a customer looking for the “BEST LUXURY CAR”.
Once you scroll past the advertisements and other Google snippets, you’ll start seeing the following results, giving you a list of some of the best information that Google thinks could be the best answer to your query.
Needless to say, these first page results are considered as well-optimized web pages and websites that allow them to rise to the top. How do they do that?
Well, it’s easier said than done.
Some people would say that SEO is a specific science. Some would say that it’s an art form. You’d even hear other people say that it’s magic… and that’s totally understandable.
How it works can change every day, but that shouldn’t discourage you from doing SEO yourself.
Because SEO can spell the huge difference between the success and failure of your business.
So, are you ready to make magic?
Before we get in the nitty-gritty of it all, we have to learn how search engines work.
Feel free to also jump into any of the sections below:
HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK
The most popular search engine is Google, where people conduct more than 2 million searches daily.
With this kind of popularity, a lot of businesses will zero in on this platform to get their customers’ attention.
This means that you’re facing both competition and Google’s ever-changing algorithm.
Basically, what the system does is utilize these “web crawlers” that pair your search query with an index of information to pull web pages relevant to your search.
Once it finds all the relevant information and keywords related to your search, it then presents you with these results.
Paying for Google Ads can put your brand straight on the top of the results page. However, with a smart SEO strategy use the system to our advantage and figure out how we put ourselves on the first page – and if we’re good, or lucky (or a combination of both), we can make it to the top 5 results!
THE IMPORTANT COMPONENTS OF GREAT SEO
The daily grind of SEO analysts and professionals consists of these four components:
While considering all of the above, you’ll also need to consider which SEO method you’ll use: black hat or white hat.
First, let’s define what each of these means.
Black Hat – This method is a get-rich-quick scheme for those looking for a quick financial return on their site.
Money may come quickly, but your website may be banned quicker. However, because the focus of black-hat is to just get some money fast, most people who use this method consider being banned as a natural consequence using black hat SEO.
Also, black hat is considered as unethical. This is because it employs a practice called spamdexing, which consists of techniques such as cookie stuffing (which is not a sweet dessert, mind you), link spamming, illegal use of copyright content, comment spamming, page hijacking and more.
White Hat – On the other side of the ethical spectrum stands white hat SEO, offering a better and more sustainable way to grow your online business.
This is basically combining all the abovementioned key components from SEO, focusing on your website’s relevancy and organic ranking.
To achieve this, experts suggest using techniques such as keyword research and analysis, backlinking, link building to improve link popularity, and actually creating genuine content for readers to appreciate.
Considered as the ethical way to practice SEO, going for the white hat route is used by experts to create websites with the intent of having a long term investment.
There’s another hat that SEO experts wear, and it’s called Gray Hat.
Judging by its name, you should already know that this category of SEO isn’t exactly black nor white, but it can teeter with Google’s bad side if you’re not careful.
Think of grey hat SEO as ill-defined practices according to the guidelines published by search engines. These practices are in the middle of white and black hat. It’s the middle ground.
You cannot consider it as a white hat practice, but closer to black hat practices that are not recommended by Google or other search engines. Just like black hat practices, experts do not recommend this kind of practice for a reason.
With clever innovation and thinking outside the box, you can improve your site’s ranking without having the negative consequences. The only challenge with gray hat tactics is that they could eventually be classified as black hat by Google – which means that you should be informed with the latest SEO tactics and always be ahead of the curve.
A great example of gray hat practices would be guest posting.
Smart and scalable link building can be had through comprehensive and competitive research, creating a database of applicable terms, events, and keywords for your website and applying them, and increasing discoverability through passive, linkable external websites or social media platforms.
However, Google has already issued a warning to site owners about publishing content on other sites to build links.
Smart and scalable link building can be had through comprehensive and competitive research, creating a database of applicable terms, events, and keywords for your website and applying them, and increasing discoverability through passive, linkable external websites or social media platforms.
While Google allows guests posts and syndicated posts that informs users, it has an issue with building backlinks to your own site.
But that’s just it – it’s still just a warning. However, it might only be a matter of time before Google’s algorithm may ban this completely, so you must tread carefully.
Knowledge of this is what can separate the men from the boys of SEO.
STARTING OUT: ON-PAGE AND OFF-PAGE SEO
Fundamentally, you can start out your SEO journey by taking into account both your on-page and off-page SEO.
Let’s define these terms first.
On-Page SEO: This covers your page as well as the elements that are found in it, including but not limited to:
Off-Page SEO: This covers other external factors that Google looks at, and you may or may not have direct control over these. Some examples are:
In order to optimize your page, you’re gonna have to maximise both pretty well. Picture your car. You want it both clean and tidy in and out, right? No one will want to ride your car if it’s filthy.
You can apply the same mentality with your webpage.
Regardless of how great your off-page SEO elements lead to your page, if searchers immediately exit after seeing your mess of a page, Google will consider that as a bounce.
If you have a high bounce rate, where several searchers leave your site instantly, then your page will rank even worse on Google, so all your off-page SEO efforts will be in vain.
Let’s work on your on-page elements first… starting with CONTENT.
Content is king. It was in the past decade, and it still will be in the next.
Google prioritises great content – and great content is determined by the search engine when the searcher sticks to a page because he or she finds great results within it.
Say for instance you’re looking for a great recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches. If you Google “easy and great grilled cheese sandwich recipe”, Google will try and find THE BEST recipe with the EASIEST way to make it. The engine wants you to have the best experience so that you’ll come back in the future.
What this means for you, as the webpage owner or creator, is to create great content that Google will engage searchers – and it can be a lot of hard work.
That’s basically what SEO wants you to do – it’s really not far from any other skill. If you put great effort into practicing parkour, you’ll get the attention you want if you put in the hours.
Even the best off-page SEO can’t save bad on-page content. Here are a few key components to consider when creating great content.
A great starting point for any kind of content to make you stand out from the crowd is good quality.
Needless to say, great content doesn’t come easy. Often, it is required for you to become an expert on a particular topic.
Good thing then that you actually don’t have to do that.
A lot of webpages can piggyback off of content that others have already created, perhaps provide deeper insight and analysis to it.
You can make an existing blog longer, better, or more in-depth than an existing one. You can even give your own ideas, write a killer headline, or a meatier body that makes a more compelling argument.
Of course, like in most things, practice does make perfect – and in the case of article or blog writing, you’ll get better quality results as you go along.
It is crucial for any digital marketer dabbling in SEO to know his keywords. This is what forms the foundation of great content.
You will want to include your targeted keyword or keywords in your post’s headline, and mention it a few times throughout the blog page or post as well.
The main goal of the search engine is to give people relevant content to the keyword or phrase they are searching for. By knowing the terms and search phrases users are searching for, you can finetune your content to benefit both users and search engines. Providing useful but relevant information will build more trust and increase your page visibility.
Experienced SEO strategists will use keyword research to start work for their article while understanding their readers as well.
If you know your keywords, you’ll know that you can create solutions for those search queries. For instance, if 10,000 people are currently searching for a keyword, it means that it may be a frequent or common problem in your niche. This means that you can create content AROUND the keyword.
However, note that these keywords won’t remain under the same context or niche as time goes by. They can gain or lose popularity. If you do your research right, you’ll be able to somehow predict which keywords you can use that is more future proof.
Some keyword research tools that SEO specialists use are the following:
These may all function differently from each other. Our advice? Use multiple ones. It’s like having a doctor’s second opinion. Try them out and choose a few that suit your needs and preferences.
Research also involves knowing your demographics and their interests around your topic. To help you, you can visit sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, or Wiki Answers and check out the most common questions about your industry.
You can even check out Twitter for hashtags related to your topic, and check out how the conversation goes down around those. Tools like Tweetchat, Twitterfall, or Twubs can help out immensely.
You might’ve already heard that you’ll need to saturate your blog posts with keywords so that you’ll rank better.
This is called keyword stuffing. While it probably worked around a decade ago. It no longer works today.
Today, the strategy around keywords is more about semantics. Google’s platform is great about creating and understanding what you’re trying to search about. It’s SO GOOD that sometimes, you just wonder: “HOW DID IT DO THAT??! HOW DID IT KNOW I’M SEARCHING ABOUT THAT??!”
This simply means that you, as the SEO specialist, should be able to focus on the reader and make your keyword present in important places such as your headline, the first few sentences, meta descriptions, and your URL.
Quality over quantity, right?
Any successful blog post should be able to be relevant, novel, and fresh.
Not only that, but you also want to make sure that you post new content on a frequent basis.
This will tell Google that you’re dedicated to your craft, and will signal to the algorithm that you’re a legitimate entity – notwithstanding the fact that it will tell your audience that you’re dedicated to creating content for them, too!
If, however, you’re in an industry where news can be a bit slow, you can also update your existing content, rewrite it, add new information, and make overall improvements in your entries.
But won’t you run out of ideas?
Well, the simple answer to this is that: Does the news ever run out of things to report about?
Fresh content is ever-present – and you can write about this in your blog entries. You can rewrite or reframe your blogs to reflect the following:
Some things you may want to consider is search volume for a particular term that can spike, how much a topic is “trending” in social media and the news, and so on.
Think of ideas to stay fresh, relevant, and useful to your audience, and they will reward your efforts tremendously.
For some time now, Google has been providing direct answers to searchers. That’s why if you can frame your blog to be an answer to any particular or potential question.
What this can do is to allow Google to make your blog show up beneath the search bar.
Clear and understandable content will always rise to the top of the ranks. That’s the reason why places like the subreddit r/explainlikeimfive on Reddit are very popular.
If you want to get those direct answer results for your blog, here are some tips:
Using a simpler language and avoiding technical jargon also allows your content to be approachable by the masses, opening your webpage to a much wider audience,
as opposed to the smaller demographic you’re trying to reach.
75% of users never reach the second page of Search Engine Results Pages(SERPs). A reason why a lot of people put incredibly huge amounts of effort on SEO or a lot of money on ads. Setting up meta tags is one of the steps in SEO that impacts how your site is shown on SERPS.
It’s important to know how search engines discover content on the internet. Although it is highly possible in the near future, search engines don’t have actual people checking your website content and filing it to decide later on which appears on the top results.
Instead, a search engine “spider” reads the content on your page by “crawling” your website. Most search engines use the first few words in your page’s description as a basis in listing your website on the SERPs.
Search engine spiders go through your website just like how you and I click on a site’s page to the next.
Since they cannot technically “see” the front-end of your website, they’ll have to crawl through URLs, page addresses, sitemaps, and any other text that’s visible on your page.
Meta tags are one of the major elements of SEO. They determine the user’s online experience from the beginning.
Adding meta tags will help search engines get a better understanding of what your website is all about. It will also provide the information which they will use to index or rank your page.
Meta tags are not a factor when it comes to Google’s ranking algorithms. But if optimized correctly, they can help boost your chance at ranking higher on search engines.
Other types such as the meta description also determine your page’s click-through-rate(CTR) which directly affects your website’s ability to rank.
Meta tags are information that cannot be seen on the web page but can be read by search engines and crawlers.
You can control how search engines crawl your website by setting rules in a robots.txt file which can be managed by you or your webmaster. A robots.txt file can help you block but not stop a page from being indexed or ranked. Think of it as a way to tell search engines the pages you want to rank the most.
To say, creating meta tags is the beginning of your SEO journey. Although it appears to be a simple concept, a lot of people underestimate it and don’t take it seriously.
There are four general types of meta tags:
The title tag is the first HTML element that search engines and users will see on your site.
True to its name, it’s a short title that will best reflect and describe that page’s content to your users. It has to contain important keywords and ideally under 60 characters.
Keeping it at an optimal length will ensure that your meta title will be displayed properly on SERPs.
Some important things to remember when writing your meta titles:
Always make sure that your title is highly relevant to the actual content on the page. You don’t want users bouncing from your page after not finding what they’re looking for. Again, keyword research and optimizing your page’s content relevance is key.
The meta description is a visible metadata that appears on SERPs which can impact your page ranking. This determines your page’s CTR which positively influences the ranking of your page.
Writing a compelling meta description improves the CTR of your webpage. It is basically the exact description of the content of your page.
Creating a meta description is important. If you don’t write one, your content management system might probably generate one automatically for you. But you don’t want that.
You might end up with a meta description that will not best convey the message or content of your page.
Like mentioned before, this will not directly affect your search engine ranking.
Google, however, takes the user’s experience into account when determining what pages it will rank on SERPs.
Take a look at the example below:
Since the webmaster did not assign a specific meta description, the system probably generated one based on the first few words from that page.
It doesn’t only make sense but fails to appeal to the user. When writing meta descriptions, think from the user’s point of view. What would make you click on a search result?
Here are a few tips on writing a great meta description:
Despite not being a ranking factor, meta descriptions are undeniably useful in your overall SEO. They determine the overall user experience from the beginning and a great way to catch the user’s attention while they’re still at the search results pages.
By standing out to users, you are able to attract Google’s attention and get the ranking results that you want.
Meta keywords don’t play that big of a role when it comes to the SEO of your website.
Since Google recognized black-hat practices such as keyword stuffing, meta keywords are no longer an important ranking factor.
Nonetheless, they still contribute to how your content is communicated.
As a general rule, don’t use too many keywords. Try looking for long-tail keywords that are more specific and extensive.
You can use Google Analytics or Search Console to check what keywords users are searching to arrive at your site. Is it relevant? Good. Too far-off from your content? Change it.
Think of the exact words people use when looking for your website, products, or services. How will they describe your business? There are also free tools such as WordStream to check other relevant keywords you can use.
Since search engines cannot see and describe images on websites, they depend on the alt attributes of an image to determine its content.
Alt tags which include alternative text is one of the first principles of web accessibility.
Have you ever experienced visiting a web page to see that images are not loading or being displayed properly? It can be two things: a problem on the website’s back-end or your internet connection. A slow connection will make loading images a pain especially these days when a lot of people are using a wireless connection.
In such cases, alt tags will be displayed if an image file fails to load. These tags will better provide the image context and description to users and crawlers alike.
Aside from telling search engines what your image is all about. It also helps users who are visually impaired who are using screen readers to know and understand what the images on your page are.
It’s important to note that despite the importance of meta tags, it is not the only factor that determines your page ranking. They matter but they’re not the only thing that will determine your website ranking.
A piece of advice? Don’t overdo it. Set a consistent tone that matches your brand identity and will appeal to your target users. Strike a balance between implementing these SEO elements and resonating with online users.
SITE SPEED & PERFORMANCE
When it comes to SEO, site speed is everything.
Once you dive deep within implementing SEO measures for your website, you’ll discover that best practices, research, and experts will always emphasize the importance of site speed.
To put it simply, you wouldn’t wait more than a minute for a website to load. Unless it’s Facebook or any other social media site, we have the lowest attention span when we’re online.
Even a 3-second delay can cause you a lot of conversions.
Unlike metadata, your page speed directly affects your SERP ranking. If your website is slow, you’re doomed no matter how good your content is.
Here are the factors that are directly affected by your website speed:
Conversion – People just don’t like a bad experience online. They go online for convenience, so you shouldn’t waste their precious time making them wait for a site that takes forever to load.
If your website doesn’t load right away, you can kiss those coveted conversions goodbye.
Visibility – For Google, the user always comes first. If you’re able to provide good user experience, Google will reward you.
So how fast should your website be?
Google recommends your site load speed to be under 2-3 seconds. Although a few more seconds won’t seriously hurt your ranking, it just means that you have to make sure that users won’t leave a few seconds after arriving on your website.
Higher bounce rates will also affect your ranking.
You can use tools like Web Page Test or GTmetrix to check your site’s loading speed. Some of these tools provide recommendations and insights on how you can improve your website’s page performance.
Usability – Users leave a web page at an average time of 10-20 seconds. If you’re able to give them what they want at first glance or provide good user experience, you can gain a few more seconds or minutes of the user’s attention.
What makes a good user experience?
Did your site finish loading after a few seconds? If not, chances are they’ll leave your website even if they don’t see the rest of your content no matter how good it is.
If your website is slow, they won’t have the chance to see it at all.
Depending on the results, there are ways and best practices that will help increase your page speed.
Users and Google love web pages that show the content fast.
The above-the-fold content of your page is the first thing the user sees without scrolling down. You have to make sure that your above-the-fold content is visible and loads more quickly than the rest of the page.
Prioritize the visible content and make sure that the main content of your page loads first. Doing this will require the assistance of a more skilled technician or developer.
Google recommends the following ways to render the above-the-page content of your page to load faster:
Until you’re not sure of how to do this properly, ask a developer for help in doing this. It’s better to have skilled individuals handle some aspects of your SEO to keep yourself from encountering further errors that could render your webpage out of order.
Users love seeing visuals on websites as opposed to a webpage that’s filled with nothing but words. Images can better communicate stories and meanings.
You as a user yourself would want to see and put all sorts of images and illustrations to bring your content to life. It will both emphasize and support your message better to your audience.
But before dumping all sorts of high-resolution images to your website, never forget about your website’s page loading speed. Adding beautiful visuals to your website is useless if your site is slow.
Like mentioned before, site speed is everything when it comes to SEO and ranking your page higher on search results pages. A slow website is simply not an option if you want to rank and optimize your page for conversions.
E-commerce websites such as Amazon.com are filled with images.
If you’re selling products, adding images is a must and will nicely fill up a big space on your webpage. After all, people need visual input when buying products online.
Images and other multimedia files like videos will probably take a huge chunk of your entire page.
In fact, a Google report revealed that the average size of a web page is larger than what’s recommended in best practices. The smaller the size, the better your page will be.
Google offers the free to use tool Pagespeed Insights for you to check what issues are affecting the page speed of your website.
Below, you’ll see that it also makes recommendations for your image files to consume fewer data and allow faster downloads.
The first easy thing you can do is compress large image files that take a lot longer to load.
Compressing files will not affect the quality of your images so you don’t have to worry about compromising its quality.
Think of it as stuffing your stuff into your luggage. You’d want them all to fit without getting squished against each other.
Fortunately, you can do the same with web images. For WordPress, you can start by using plugins like Smush.
For non-Wordpress users, you can use the following image compressing tools:
These tools allow you to compress multiple images at a time. As you can see below, the tool was able to cut more than 20% of the image file sizes. Other tools may be able to reduce the size even further.
Users love images as they make your website look beautiful. A boring and plain website, no matter how good your content is, simply won’t cut it.
So, don’t be afraid to use images. Next time you upload images on your website, be sure to compress them first and you’ll have most of your technical site speed issues fixed in no time.
You don’t have to worry about the quality of the images and your website running slow at the same time.
You can start by removing unnecessary characters, commas, white spaces, and even code comments. Removing formatting and unused code is also one way to minify your code.
If your website developer works on a per-project basis, you can do this with the help of some tools available online to minify your resources.
WordPress offers several plugins that will replace regular files with a minified version without altering the original files. Some of these plugins include:
As your site grows, you’ll be dealing with more users coming into your website. For you to cater to them all and ensure that they equally get a better experience, you’ll have to consider getting better hosting. This service is usually paid.
If you’re doing SEO for your website, you’re probably already bombarded with the cost of tools which can add up quickly to a big overall expense.
Nonetheless, upgrading your hosting to the next cheapest plan will make all the difference.
Here’s a list of some of the best-known hosting services:
People would want to stay on your site long enough to finish what they came to do. From getting enough information, finishing a transaction, or submitting an inquiry, a bit of hiccup on their side would result in them leaving your site without finishing anything.
You wouldn’t want that. The first few couple of seconds it takes for your site to finish loading is an opportunity for your competitors to dive in and drive away potential or even existing customers.
There are a lot of things you can skimp on but you wouldn’t want to pass on a good web host that will impress both users and Google.
If your website receives a large volume of visitors every day, your site will slow down and possibly crash.
For every minute that your site is down, you’re losing potential customers.
A CDN or Content Delivery Network is one of the best ways to improve your website’s performance.
Along with compressing your images, a CDN plays a huge role when it comes to offloading the weight of large image files from your server. Instead, a CDN will distribute files to its global network.
It would be like shipping off your stuff instead of paying expensive excess baggage fees at the airport. You’ll still need to pay but it would significantly take some load off your back.
Hence, less work is done off your server. Think of it as a way to get images off your servers. A CDN will decrease your web page’s loading time.
If you’re worried about another paid tool to add to your list, there are a lot of free CDNs out there you can use. Some hosting companies even offer their own CDN service.
But if you have the resources, go for a good CDN provider that can make a huge difference when it comes to your website’s performance and offer users a much better experience when navigating your site.
Since Google takes the user experience as a primary factor in deciding which websites should rank, the user’s security is also a priority for the search engine.
In fact, Google makes security a priority for its users and claims that it has always been their “top priority”.
Users are notified when certain websites are not secure.
If you’ve been to the internet a lot(we’re pretty sure you are), you’ve probably encountered this at least once:
This warning tells users that certain sites are not secure and might be trying to steal your personal information.
If your users visit your website and get this warning, you’ll be flagged automatically by Google.
Google will also display a “Not secure” warning beside your URL when users try to visit your site.
You’ll need to learn how to secure your site to HTTPS and get an SSL certificate. It can be a bit of work but it’s an important step you must not miss.
But first, let us define some of these terms.
SSL or Secure Socket Layer is a technology that will encrypt data and establish the connection between the browser and the server.
That means that it secures your data as it passes through the internet from one device to another. It protects important and sensitive personal information such as your credit card number, email addresses, and any other information that may be collected by a website.
It is issued by a Certificate Authority which will authenticate the user’s identity, protect your data, and assure users that their data is protected and confidential.
“My website doesn’t collect sensitive data, do I need it?”
The short answer is yes. While you may not collect data that may be targeted by hackers and malicious sites, it assures users that your site is not a fraud.
As more data and privacy breaches occur on the internet, it is becoming harder to trust websites nowadays. Getting an SSL site is one way to tell users that you value the protection of their privacy and data.
A secure website will also aid you in your SEO. Naturally, seeing the “Not secure” warning will make people exit the site before even seeing its content, resulting in a bounce rate.
A bounce rate can affect your site’s ranking as Google sees it as a signal for a site that fails to meet the user’s expectation.
Naturally, users are more likely to visit and stay on a page longer if they get a better sense of security.
Google also stated that two websites that are seen as equal in search results with the exception of the other having an SSL enabled may receive a better ranking than the one without an SSL.
As for HTTPS, you might have noticed this at the preface of every website address in your browser. It is the way we communicate on the internet
Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol or HTTPS is the protocol on how data is sent from your browser and the website you visited.
A website without an HTTPS or secure connection is highly vulnerable to cybercriminals or hackers who can intercept and steal your personal data as you enter or visit a website.
By getting a secure connection, the process of how your browser connects to the site is secured. The secure version or HTTPS version uses an SSL certificate to establish the connection between the browser and the server.
If you’re getting a little confused, here are some of the benefits of switching your website to HTTPS:
But before you create the HTTPS versions of your pages, you need to know that there is a thing called bad implementation.
Creating HTTPS versions of your web pages might lead to mixed content issues. Although Google prioritizes HTTPS pages when ranking sites, the HTTP version of your page might still be displayed on SERPs.
Here are some simple ways to better transfer your site to HTTPS:
As it is becoming a norm to install SSL certificates, it’s important to note that it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll rank automatically on search results pages.
But with more browsers displaying bigger and more obvious warnings to users when they visit unsecured websites without an SSL certificate, it’s safe to say that having a secure site can still positively impact your SEO ranking.
Internal links are hyperlinks on a website that directs the user to another page on the same website.
On the other hand, external links will direct users to another page on a different website.
Understanding internal linking on your website can be overwhelming. Know that with enough time and research, it should be simple enough for you to understand and implement.
Internal linking is an important SEO technique. It’s a simple and straightforward way to boost your SEO especially if you’re doing content marketing.
Here are some of the major reasons why you need internal links:
But before you begin linking all your pages with each other, it’s important to remember: it’s not as easy as that.
While it may sound like you’re just supposed to link your pages with one another, you need to create a proper internal linking structure.
Keep new content coming. To create more internal links, you’ll need new pages and new content.
Always think of the user. Focus on the user when distributing links through your site. Think of the relevant pages that will provide them value based on the page they arrived in. Do not be overwhelmed. Instead, consistently plan before implementation and you’ll have a strong internal link structure in no time.
Now that we’re over the basics of on-page SEO, let’s begin to define and go through the elements of off-page SEO.
QUALITY LINK BUILDING
One of the first elements of off-page SEO is link building. After talking about the importance of internal links on your website, it’s safe to say that you already know the impact of links on your overall SEO.
While internal links are those found within your website, external links are simply the opposite. They are links found on your site that will lead the customer to another page with a different domain. Simply, a different website.
While internal linking helps crawlers easily find their way through your site, external links help search engines find your site in the first place. They point search engines to your site.
They’re basically telling and giving Google a reason to check out your website.
Just like internal linking, you cannot easily start linking other pages to your website.
You need to strongly implement both types of links to rank on SERPs.
First, let’s talk about the power of external links. External links help build the authority and trust of your website.
If you think that external linking will drive users away from your site, linking to trusted sites can actually help you boost your own site’s authority.
After you’ve implemented SEO, you might have a hard time ranking for keywords. The lack of good links pointing to your site might be the problem.
You need external links to “tell” search engines that your site is trustworthy and valuable. If you don’t have links, the rest of your SEO goes to waste. There might be a point where your on-page SEO will work but links will remain a factor for Google when it comes to indexing and ranking.
So what makes links powerful and important?
Think of two web pages. Page 1 and Page 2. There are 100 pages linking to Page 1 while there are 200 pages linking to Page 2.
If the number of links is the indicator for page authority, the obvious answer is that Page 2 would be more popular with 200 pages linking to it.
However, link building is not a popular vote. There are other ranking factors that will determine whether Page 1 or Page 2 will have a higher chance of ranking on SERPs.
With link building, both the quantity and quality matters. Each of those 200 pages has their level of authority.
Each page from a website carries a domain score which is what’s used to measure the overall strength of a website. It is measured from 1 being the weakest and 100 being the strongest.
The initial idea behind external links is that more, the merrier. Of course, Google developed this over time and included a whole lot of other metrics as a basis to measure the value of external links.
Aside from the number of linking domains(which is still a major factor) some of these major metrics include the:
With millions of pages out there, it’s only customary for Google to take more factors into consideration.
You, as a site owner, should be aware of how Google and other search engines decide which sites from the web should they trust and reward with rankings.
One of the ways to increase the number of quality links to your site is by guest blogging or posting.
Despite a former Google head stating that guest blogging is no longer a white-hat strategy, a lot of people are still using it as a way to build links for their website.
But why was it flagged down from being a white-hat practice in the first place?
Similar to link building and page rank, a large quantity of low-quality guest posting is what killed the tactic. People recklessly submitted hastily spun articles just to create links for their sites.
Regardless, high-quality guest posting still exists and remains to be an effective way to get trustworthy pages to your site.
Since links are a primary ranking factor for Google, guest blogging is a great opportunity to get strong links from another website.
Ready to start? Here are some of the basic steps:
Before you can guest post, you need to have a list of sites that accepts contributors and guest articles. Publish only useful and high-quality content on high-ranking and relevant sites. It will help drive more traffic to your site and build your authority in a specific industry.
This is another way you can find guest blogging opportunities.
If well-known individuals such as thought leaders or what most people dub nowadays as “influencers” contribute regularly to trustworthy sites, it might also offer you an opportunity to guest blog.
Always remember to write only for trustworthy sites that are relevant to your industry or business.
So you’ve finally found a website that will accept a contribution or a guest blogger. What’s next? Since low-quality guest posting won’t cut it, you need to come up with a strong and relevant topic for your blog.
Since you’re writing about a topic relevant to your industry, you should begin setting yourself up as an industry leader, eventually building up your authority on the specific subject. Soon, people will start coming to you for relevant and expert advice.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
This is an entirely different topic and area of digital marketing. Still, social media is also a part of off-site SEO. In a way, a social share is a form of link building.
Currently, links from social media sites have significantly less value than web pages but still offer a bit of value when it comes to link building.
But don’t underestimate this just yet. Slowly but surely, social media shares and mentions are making their way through ranking factors and signals. More and more people are learning how they can use social media to drive traffic and boost their SEO.
By now, you’ve probably realized how incredibly important it is to your website or business.
Although it appears to be a lot of work, you just need to get down to it and start.
Learn some of the basics, get a little help, and you’ll be able to keep your online presence alive.
With a few more strategies and tactics in place, with the right implementation, you’ll be able to execute everything properly.
It’s important to remember that there is no clear timeframe for SEO. Don’t dump all of your resources into one place and expect top rankings after a month. It doesn’t work like that.
SEO is a continuous process. Commit to continuous learning and improving. Learn to measure results and do more than just the basics. Discover how SEO and driving traffic on your website can help your business. Put all of your efforts into making the best website to represent you or your business.
In due time, you’ll be able to build the authority of your website and make your way higher on search results.
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