SEO: Back To Basics for Beginners

For many businesses that have an online presence, creating and posting fresh, valuable content is something top of the priority list. When it comes to SEO, you must take full accountability for your website promotion strategies and be vigilant to the strategies that your team is using to promote your site.

The cost of SEO has risen thanks to Google making it difficult to implement cheap and effective link-building strategies. The white-hat approach is now the way to go for all things SEO.

When it comes to SEO, you must take full accountability for your website promotion strategies. This means being highly vigilant around the strategies and processes used by your team to acquire links for your website. The last thing you want is to get hit by a Google penalty!

One of the primary goals for producing great content is to have it rank on the first page of google results. The tricky thing is that everyone is gunning for the same top positions in Google. Hitting that top spot of the first page not only takes an outstanding piece of content, it also requires a solid outreach strategy for effective content promotion.

To make things even more tricky, Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm which constantly keeps you on your toes.

Check out these eye-opening SEO stats: 

  • 93% of people start browsing through a search engine – SEJ
  • The number one position in the Google SERPs get’s, on-average, 33% of clicks – SEW
  • Between 70-80% of people ignore paid search marketing results and focus on the organic ones instead – UC

One of the biggest underutilized strategies of SEO is on-page optimization. A well-optimised page can make a huge difference in the search results for your business. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your content well after you first publish it. You’d be surprised how much of a difference a few little tweaks can make.

So what forms the backbone of a successful SEO campaign?

This SEO, back to basics for beginners list will show you exactly that:

External Backlinks

external backlinks

Backlinks have always been a major ranking factor in the search engines. There’s a lot of talk out there about Google’s 200 rankings factors. It’s true, Google does have a hell of a lot of ranking factors that influence a website’s overall search ranking. But the factor that holds the most weight by far is still backlinks.

Google still uses backlinks to determine how important a website is. When another website links to you, Google sees that link as a vote for your site. Not all votes are created equally as some websites have a lot more trust and authority in the eyes of Google compared to other websites.

Say for example, you run a training company that helps college students start online businesses. You manage to secure a guest post on the University of Massachuessets website. The post that you write for the university includes a link back to your website.

This single link could make a huge difference to your search engine rankings as university domains are super trustworthy and authoritative in the eyes of Google. A single link from a domain like The University of Massachuessets would be more valuable than ten or even twenty links from brand new websites that don’t have a lot of authority.

Each link that gets sent to your site passes a certain amount of “link juice” to your page. This link juice gets diluted if the website links to other domains from the same page. Google’s algorithm divides link authority based on the number of links pointing from a particular page.

So a link from a blog post that only has one other link to a different site is significantly more powerful than a link from a post that is also linking to twenty other domains.

Make sense? I know it’s a little confusing but it’s the nature of the beast unfortunately.

Internal Backlinks

Another strategy that is hyper-underutilized by businesses all over the web. Internal backlinking is the practice of linking to from your website to other relevant pieces of content on your website.

By implementing an internal linking strategy to your website or blog. You’re effectively funneling the trust and authority of your pages evenly throughout your website. This can work wonders for your search engine rankings. Wikipedia for example, has an insane internal linking strategy.

One of the most effective ways to implement this is to link out to other relevant pieces of content naturally. You don’t need to make this any more complex than it needs to be. If you make it a habit to link out to a couple of other relevant pieces of information on your site from each post, you’ll see the difference in your rankings quite quickly.

Content Format

on-page seo

Gone are the days where Google couldn’t understand the keywords you were trying to rank for if you didn’t place it strategically many times in your content.

Google’s search engine algorithm is highly intelligent. To run a successful website in 2017, you need to be writing content for your audience, not for the search engines. Search engine features like latent semantic indexing allow you to create compelling content that is also highly optimized for the search engines.

So if you’re trying to rank for a certain keyword in Google, you don’t need to place it in your article dozens of times. Doing so can actually land you a penalty if you aren’t careful. This will hurt the ability for that particular page to rank in Google.

Other things that are super important when it comes to content format are headlines. Headlines tell the search engines what your content is all about. Your H1 (main headline) should contain your target keyword. You also want to sprinkle related keywords into your subheadings and images.

To add a keyword to your image, you’ll need to edit the image and add your text in the “alternative text” section. This gives the search engines the ability to read your image as they can’t tell what your picture is about without specifying the alternative text.

For images, it’s best practice to place your target keyword in your featured image and as mentioned earlier, sprinkle related terms as your alt text for your other images.

Tracking & Analytics

Tracking your rankings is another cornerstone of a successful SEO strategy. Without tracking, you have no idea what you’re ranking for. You don’t know what’s working and what’s not. There are plenty of ranking trackers available for a very low monthly fee.

Tracking enables you to see how many visitors your website is receiving, where they’re coming from and how long they spend on on your site (among many other things). There’s an endless amount of things you can track on your website and overall it allows you to run a data-driven campaign that has a much higher chance of success.

Local SEO

Not to be confused with organic rankings results, local SEO is geared towards brick and mortar or service area businesses who want to appear on the maps pack. The maps pack has become the new go-to for finding local services, replacing the yellow pages and is a must for any local business in order to maximize their online visibility. The ranking algorithm, although not completely detached from organic SEO has many different ranking factors, most notably the use of GMB profile (Google My Business) and building of citations. You can read more about local Seo in this in-depth guide to local SEO.