Whether you’re a business owner, manager or just an internet fanatic, you’ve likely heard the term SEO thrown around quite a bit in recent years.
And while you’re likely aware that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, you probably don’t know how to set up your site so that it ranks better in the search engine results pages, also known as SERPs.
Note that SEO has nothing to do with traditional marketing, such as your brand graphics, logos, or social media, and everything to do with how search engines see your website.
Below, we’ll go over the basics of SEO to help you optimize your site and drive tons of free, organic traffic your way!
When you search online using a search engine, the words you type in are known as your search query.
To be successful at SEO, you’ll need to know what search terms and queries your potential customers are already using.
Ideally, you’ll want to target popular keywords (used often by search engine users), but that doesn’t have all that much competition.
For the best results, target local search terms, which will still be popular in your local area, but that won’t be popular at an industry level.
For instance, if you owned a website about SEO, rather than targeting terms like “how to SEO” or “Hire SEO manager,” it might be more effective to make these terms local by adding your city, country, or region to the terms.
Therefore, you’d use terms like “SEO New York” or “Hire SEO manager near you,” which are still relevant to your industry but won’t be as competitive since they’re local search terms.
Then, once you’ve narrowed down a list of valuable keywords, you’ll want to move towards optimizing your website pages for these terms.
On-page SEO refers to the actions performed on the pages of your website to optimize them for specific terms.
This involves using the terms you want to target in your website copy, as well as in critical locations, such as your page’s meta-descriptions, tags, image alt attributes, and URLs.
Although your website visitors won’t always see the keywords in some of these locations, search engines like Google use these locations to gains context about your pages, making them essential spots for the keywords you want to rank for.
Building A Link Profile
In SEO, there are many types of links you’ll need to use your site rank higher.
For instance, there are internal, external and backlinks.
Internal links are links placed on your site that point to other pages on your site. They can be helpful both for users, who may want to find more information on a given topic and for search engines, who can follow these links to learn more about your website’s purpose.
External links are links on your site that point to other sites.
Again, these are helpful for both visitors and search engines who may want to learn more about your website or the information you’re presenting on its pages.
Lastly, backlinks are the most important of the three.
Backlinks are links placed on other websites that point back to yours. They can be thought of as votes of confidence, which tells a search engine that your site is valuable in the internet community.
Essentially, the more backlinks there are pointing to your site, the more likely a search engine will see your site as valuable, in turn increasing the likelihood it will be shown to an internet user when they search for a relevant keyword.
The SEO Basics
Of course, this is only a snapshot of what it takes to perform a successful SEO campaign.
However, when you know the right keywords your potential customers are using, optimize your pages for those keywords, and building a solid link portfolio, you’re considerably more likely to rank higher and drive more free, organic traffic to your site!