What is SEO?
SEO is search engine optimization that involves various techniques to build and improve the rank of a webpage and website. This is to produce better results in SERP.
What is a Keyword?
A keyword is a word/phrase (usually of 3 words) which is used to highlight and depict what the entire content/page/site is about. Only through these, Google understands what your website/page/blog is about and when a relevant search query comes, your content is displayed on its SERP.
You can also use Cluster Keywords to rank higher on the SERP.
In short, a web page/website’s search rank majorly depends on its keyword usage.
The need for keywords
- For better search rankings.
- Developing your content strategy before publishing the content on your website.
- Optimizing new and existing web content.
Do research to find the best and apt keywords using different keyword tools like
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- Google Search Console – to find out ‘opportunity keywords’.
- Soovle – keywords from multiple sources.
- Google Keyword Planner.
- Jaaxy – suggested keyword ideas.
- Google Analytics
- After listing out the best 5 keywords (related to your title/topic), frame a content framework/strategy that revolves around the keywords.
TIP: Always use different keyword phrases on each segment of your content to avoid dumping keywords.
Where to use Keywords
Use apt titles for your content because Google has to understand what your content is about after going through the title.
- These appear as the bolded heading (blue color) on SERP. The character count should not exceed 60.
- Different SEO software can be used for optimizing your title.
- Always place the target keywords at the beginning of the title for more relevance.
These are the characters that are displayed below the main title in SERP. The description is usually a brief summary of what your website is about.
- The maximum character list is 160.
- Helps Google analyze how relevant your content is to what people are searching for.
- These should be engaging and attractive to make the user not just look at your search result reference but also click the link to come to your website.
- Therefore, use the right and relevant keywords.
These act as the index for your entire blog/article/content on a particular webpage.
- Use relevant keywords at least in a few subheadings for better search results.
Content is the main body of what you want to talk about/what you want your viewers to read/see from your blog/article.
- Use the right keywords to improve your content’s scope of resulting on SERP.
- Never stuff keywords as it will make the readers irritated and mostly Google will penalize you for it.
- In your first paragraph/few lines add the main keyword (probably just once).
- Add a few variations of the main keyword used before and use it again, throughout the blog.
- You should also use a keyword that you got from any of the Keyword research tools. These are called latent semantic indexing keywords (LSI).
- Always keep the content readable, original, unique, and engaging.
Even images help people to click your website’s link from the SERP. These can also optimize your content and can act as its engaging element (as many clicks through websites that have a relevant and informative image).
- Add images only when they are relevant to the main content.
- The filename of the image(s) can have either the main keyword or the LSI keywords, with respect to its relevance to the content.
- Image titles can also have SEO keywords as they appear when one places the cursor on your image.
- Add alt text to the images with the help of SEO keywords. Keep the text descriptive and not just a hub of keywords.
- Use images that load faster and are of better resolution.
A URL is the web address for your website/webpage as enlisted by you. You choose your domain name and also the other names for other web pages inside the same domain/website.
- Always set an easy and understandable domain name, to make it easy for viewers/customers to remember the name.
- Add targeted/main keywords (max. 2) in the URL, for SEO.
- Keep the URLs short.
- The URL should be appropriate and meaningful.
- URLs also tell your visitors what your website/webpage is about.
Link Anchor Text
These are related to inbound linking. The anchor text refers to the phrase/text that carries the URL of another relevant webpage either from its own website or another one.
- The anchor text should have relevant keywords to both the content and the link attached to it.
- Various anchor texts should be used, instead of the same one (throughout the content).
Social media plays a key role in promoting your website/webpage/blog etc. The number of shares on social media is related to SERP visibility. For example, anything trending on social media appears on top of the SERP.
- Any updates made on social media should have keywords for more reach.
- Keywords are similar to hashtags.
- Keywords can also be used as hashtags on social media.
External Listing Tools
These refer to ‘Google My Business listings and other common business directories.
- When you register your business/website to these directories, use SEO keywords for describing your business.
- This will also increase the click-through rate for your websites.
How to Choose the Right Keyword?
- First, analyze what your topic is and the terms your potential customers will be using while searching in Google/others.
- The second step is to manually type the few selected keywords in search engines and find the other relevant topics people have searched for. (You can find these at the end of the SERP page).
- Finally, use Google Analytics, and other tools to find the keywords that people are using already.
How to Research Relevant Keywords
- First list out the bucket types of topics that your business deals with.
- Out of these bucket topics, choose the relevant few.
- For these few bucket topics, analyze the apt keywords.
- These bucket topics refer to the topics that your buyers would want to know about, in relation to the services or products you provide.
- Bucket types should also be relevant to what your target audience would be searching for.
Keywords in Bucket Topics
- Use keyword phrases/sentences related to your bucket topic.
- Keywords should also be relevant to what your target audience will type for searching your bucket topic.
- Eg: If the bucket type says, “Online Education”, the keyword must be something like ‘online education for school students, ‘what is online education?’, ‘online education universities’, etc.
- Just write down whatever comes to your mind or what you think your buyer will think for searching for a particular bucket topic, as this is not the final set of keywords.
Use Tools to Analyze Best Keywords
- After listing out various keywords for the same bucket topic, you need to finalize a few before using them.
- Use tools like Google Analytics/Hubspot etc, to find out the right keywords that’ll give your website more chances to have a better SERP rank and therefore a better viewership/reach.
Search for Related Terms
- When you are confused about which keyword to use or on what basis you should start your keyword research, go to Google and type the usual keyword/your bucket topic and go to the page’s bottom. You will find what people have searched for related to the bucket topic. You can use them as your keywords and for further keyword research too.
A Mix of Head Terms and Long Tail Keywords
- Head Terms are the generic keyword phrases that come up to 3 words.
- Long-tail keywords, as the name suggests, are keyword phrases that have more than 3 words.
- However, head terms are usually competitive as they are generic and short. Therefore, you should use the right header terms while you should also include the right long-tail keywords to distinguish your content from your competitors who have used the same head terms.
- Long-tail keywords will give you better results as they give a very little description of what your content is, unlike head terms.
Analyze Competitor Performance
- There can be certain keywords in your list that your competitors use and ignore.
- However, you need to draw a balance between such keywords as the ones your competitor uses depicts that it’s a widely used keyword. When the keyword is not used by your competitors, it gives you a high chance to score on your SERP results.
- Use SEMrush and other similar tools to find out the keyword rankings of your competitors, apart from manual searches on Google, etc.
Use Google Keyword Planner
- Google’s Keyword Planner will help you analyze the search volumes and traffic estimates for each keyword in your list.
- Google Trends will help you analyze the existing trends in the market and thereby refer to the apt keywords for you.
- Sometimes even a low-volume keyword might be trending.
- Therefore have a balance of both while finalizing your keywords.
Never get stuck with one list of keywords. Keep updating them every quarter for better results. After gaining a decent spot in SERP, you can add more keywords to your list to maintain your level and to grow as well.
SEO has the following categories of things to be done. Content creation, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization. We see in the below section what are those things?
Content refers to a medium that is used for communication. In today’s digital world, digital marketing of such content is in great demand. SEO is seen as the best way to drive more readers to any blog/website/webpage or anything on the internet.
The first SEO technique is to create content that is unique, original, and engaging with good readability.
Good content refers to content that has engaging information written with proper titles, sub-headings, and right keywords. The first and foremost step is to first know your target audience and what they want to read about and then how they want to read it, and where. After you have answered all these questions, start writing your content.
Good content should
- Have a call-to-action in it, to make the viewers engage in some activity and find the content meaningful and reasonable.
- It can direct a viewer to another page for relevant information or it can also instruct the viewers to do certain tasks.
- Another tip to make your content good is to make it answer questions that people mostly ask in Google.
- Find the right source of information to avoid any false communication of data.
- Make sure your content satisfies ‘Search Intent’ / what the users want to receive on their SERP.
How do you produce original content?
- Always use your own personal experiences in explaining concepts.
- You can share your own thoughts and experiences in case you own a blog.
- Use examples from your experiences.
- Understand a concept and explain whatever you have understood, in your own words, rather than copy-pasting an already existing content.
How do you write unique content?
- Never imitate the style and structure of other content.
- Use a different perspective of thought.
- Do a lot of research and develop your own conclusions.
- Give content on fresh topics.
- Applications like ‘Testbroker’ help you generate unique content.
- Avoid plagiarism.
What happens when you have duplicate content?
Google will penalize websites that have duplicate content. To make your content unique and original, the content should at least have 50% originality and uniqueness in it. Even images are included, which is why new and fresh images are always recommended for blogs and others.
Use of Keywords
It is mandatory for you to include keywords in your content to optimize it and give it a better SEO score. Always have 2 fixed keywords before starting to write your content. However, while you write, use these keywords, which should have at least 3 words in them, for a minimum of 3 times. For instance, if you write a 1000 words content, use the keywords from 2-3 times in each paragraph. However, do not impose them, but place them for a natural flow of language and ideas.
- Use different modes to communicate with your readers. Use words, images, videos, and others, if necessary, in your content.
- Always keep your content short and crisp, and apt to the title. The best tip is to keep a video for 3 minutes (max) and the written content for about 1000 words.
- Usage of short sentences, short paragraphs, with relevant sub-headings is more engaging.
- Never overuse your keywords
- Use your own/ unique tone while generating the content.
- Keep the content up-to-date with proper reference links, news, and examples.
- Ensure that your content can be easily shared with others.
- Always have a call to action in the end.
Whenever you want your content to be engaging, it has to be original and unique. Therefore, keep your content unique, original, and engaging, to make it good, and popular.
On-page optimization refers to both the content and the webpage’s HTML presence. While the content of a page refers to the information it has to deliver, HTML deals with the way the page and its content are displayed. In other words, On-page optimization refers to the changes we make on the webpage/website, usually after publishing it.
Need For On-Page Optimization
- In order to increase organic/free traffic to your website.
- To engage more viewers with engaging content and display.
- To first on SERP [Search Engine Results Page].
6 important factors
Keep your title interesting, short, crisp, and apt to the content. Many viewers will view/read your content only when the title is engaging and relevant to them. A title can usually be 60 characters (max). These titles are the ones that appear on search engines, which is why it is very important to keep your title apt, and right.
- Avoid duplicate content.
- Add keywords in your title to make Google and the users understand what your content is about.
- Use modifiers to make your title more informative and SEO-friendly.
- You can use question-type titles to increase your CTR.
- The emotional touch to the title can have more clicks.
- Entering the current year might make it seem up-to-date, especially when you deal with digital gadgets/movie reviews, etc.
Whenever a person searches for something in a search engine, the results will have different web pages with different titles and descriptions. Descriptions are the ones present under the title. They explain in short the gist of the entire content. These are also called Meta tags which allow up to 160 characters.
- Meta descriptions will improve the Click-through-rates for your website/webpage.
- Always use unique meta descriptions and add a keyword in it, but only once.
- Include meta tags for each of your web pages.
- The format includes: Add the content overview in the first sentence. Add special benefits the user will get from your content as the second sentence and finish the description by describing (use adjectives) your content in a word or 2.
- You can also add FAQ Schemas/review schemas to promote more viewers.
Headers are nothing but the sub-headings in your content that acts as an index for your entire piece of work. Sometimes, people just look into the various headers before jumping in to read the entire content. For example: when a blog has no headers and has content on small paragraphs, the user might find it boring or long or too much information imposed on them. But when it has headers, the reader can choose the heading they want to read about and skip the rest or can know what the content is all about much better.
- Makes your content rich in keywords and improves the SERP rank.
- These headers also make the blog engaging, and concise, and more easy to read.
This refers to the act of hyperlinking a word or a phrase on one page in order to link another relevant page from the same website. This technique makes the webpage more usable and convenient to reach various other relevant pages, mainly for reference. By interlinking each page of the website inside it you can increase your website’s engagement and navigation.
- Mainly used to link low-visit pages to most visited pages, in order to improve the overall website view.
- Use keyword-rich anchor text for hyperlinks.
- Navigation around the website is made easy.
Outbound linking is nothing but linking a word from one webpage of one website to another webpage of another website. It is important to choose a website that has more than 80 as its domain authority. This domain authority is the average number for all the pages on a single website. In order to gain more domain authority, the entire website should be optimized.
- Adding external links to your page will make Google treat it as a page of quality content.
- While Google scans for its SERP results, the page with more link shares comes on top, as it is treated as an effective link.
Learn more about the different kinds of links on your webpage.
Setting Alt Tags for Images
Optimize your images with an alt text (with your target keyword) that makes the visitors and Google identify what the image is about. You can also add a descriptive filename with your target keyword, to improve its understandability and reach.
- These images are nothing but custom images.
- When the search engines understand what your images are about, it will increase your rank too.
Basic On-Page Optimization Techniques
- Always insert your target keywords in the first 100 words of your content, to make Google identify the gist of your webpage. This improves better SERP ranks.
- The use of keywords multiple times on your content will provide more confidence for Google to understand what your particular webpage is about.
- You can also make your URLs short, add your target keyword to them, to make them SEO-friendly.
- You can keep your webpage active by encouraging comments and replies.
NOTE: Always have 2 inbound links and 1 outbound link in your content to keep it optimized.
Off-Page SEO deals with the promotion activities we do online after publishing a blog/video/ any webpage on your site, to improve the rank of your website. The usual techniques involved are link sharing and building (backlinks), keeping the content of your website optimized, and adhere to the rules and procedures of Google search engines.
The need for Off-Page SEO
- To improve your domain rank and name.
- Backlinks for your website make the search engines trust your website more and give a better rank for it.
- Even when your competitor’s website has the same amount of on-page optimization as yours, through effective off-page SEO you can make your website appear on the first page of SERP.
The usual techniques are
- Draft and publish interesting, unique, original, and engaging content on your website. It should also be relevant for sharing it on other websites. This will help you generate more backlinks.
Before we go further, what is a backlink? A backlink refers to the link that refers to any other webpage, either inside or outside the website. Usually, these backlinks are used for inbound linking but in Off-Page SEO, it refers to the act of how your website’s/webpage’s link is shared/published on another website, by a different owner.
- Promote your blog/webpage/website to prospective viewers, consumers, and audience through references.
- You can publish your blog/article on other renowned websites as a guest author. In this way, you can add your website’s link to another website, thereby generating backlinks and a small promotion. Though this method may seem old, it is still quite relevant.
- One of the major techniques is to be active and engaging on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. Promote your works/web pages there for better reach.
- There are certain sites called the ‘Social Bookmarking sites. For example, sites like Reddit, Tumblr, etc, have high domain rank and viewership. When you bookmark your website’s link in these websites, you tend to increase the value of the backlink generated, and therefore, your page’s value also increases.
- There are various blog directory submission sites that will help you create valuable and better backlinks. You need to choose the right directory and the correct category for adding your website.
- Sites like Hubpages, Thefreelibrary, etc, all have a better PR rate. You can submit your articles here along with your website’s link to promote your website and your work.
- DIfferent websites like Quora and other Q&A websites are great platforms for creating backlinks. All you have to do is to answer questions related to your field/your website’s field and add your website’s link while you submit your answers.
- Use YouTube, Dailymotion, etc, for promoting your videos. You need to post these videos with the proper title, description, tags, and reference (website) links.
- In the case of images, use Pinterest, Instagram, etc, for posting and promoting. Make sure your images have a proper title, description, tags, and right URL.
- Even infographics can be shared along with your website’s link for promotion and more backlinks.
- You can create PPTs or other forms of document representations on various topics related to your expertise and share it on websites like Slideshare, etc. (Never forget to mention your website’s link when you publish.)
- You can create subdomains under the main domain using WordPress/Blogger, etc. Through this, the value of the main domain is shared to its subdomain automatically, leading to a better rank and reach.
However, there are certain low-rank Off-Page SEO techniques, like directories and article submissions, paid link sharing and backlinks, and spam comments on other webpages/blogs. These all should be avoided.
As the owner of a website you can
- Avoid spam comments by commenting ‘No trust in the link’.
- You can mark a link as “NoFollow link”, especially when it is paid, to avoid Google’s penalizing measures.
- When you want to avoid Google crawls on certain web pages of your site, you can add the ‘nofollow link tag’ to it.
Always avoid the ‘Private Blog Networks’ technique as it’s a technique where a person, for instance, let’s say, Andrew, owns around 5 websites. When providing backlinks for his main website in the other 4 websites, it leads to ‘private blog networks. These are penalized by Google.
If in case you want to publish another website’s link, first focus on its value
The Value of Backlinks Depends On
- The age of the link (for how many years has it been active online).
- The geographical location of the link.
- The page from which you get the link should have a decent page rank.
- Outsider’s link should match the context and content of your webpage/website.
SEO Tools For Off-Page Optimization
- Moz, Majestic, and Ahrefs – searching/exploring backlinks.
- Neilpatel.com – helps you improve your on and off-page SEO
- Check my links – for finding our broken links on your site.
- SEOQuake – a complete set for Off-Page optimization.
Factors Affecting Off-Page SEO
- No.of domains linking to your website.
- No.of linking pages where a single domain consists of more than 1 reference link to your website.
- Always go for pages with more page rank while linking your website.
- Choose pages that have similar or relevant content or service to your website while linking for backlinks.
- When reference links are placed on the Home page of a website, rather than on any other page, it has more relevance.
- When you tag a page as ‘Nofollow’, Google will not consider it, therefore the other do-follow links should be efficient and optimized.
- Diversify the links you connect to and with, to avoid spam and a monotonous tone of promotion.
- When the link is added inside the content of the page, rather than on the sidebar/any other area (separately), its value increases.
- Use the right text that will direct users to the link that it carries. These are called the ‘Anchor texts’, which need to be relevant to the content present inside the link it carries.
I hope this brings you clarity on Search Engine Optimization. Pratice always makes perfect.
Keep experimeting until you find out what works best for you.