You offer an amazing product or service, and you know there are people out there who are willing to pay money for your solution.
But how do you connect with them and let them know you exist?
The good news is that it’s actually relatively easy to find these people. They search for relevant keywords on Google, Bing, and other search engines every day looking for your products or services.
For example, if you sell basketball shoes, more than 53,000 people search for them monthly:
Therefore, the key to getting to the top of Google or any search engine is search engine optimization (SEO).
Ready to learn about the key elements of SEO? Keep reading to discover how you can implement them to start capturing your audience organically.
What is SEO in marketing?
In marketing, SEO is a process that helps websites improve their rankings and visibility in search engines. Put simply, SEO will help you rank higher for relevant keywords, which will bring you more targeted visitors.
This works for physical products, services, blogs, and virtually any type of business where prospects search online.
For example, if you provide landscaping services, SEO can help you rank for a term like “landscaping services near me.” Similarly, a vegan blogger might want to rank for the term “vegan oatmeal cookie recipe.” Finally, an ecommerce shoe store might want to rank for “high-heel shoes online.”
Is SEO easy to learn?
The basics of SEO are easy to learn. As long as your website has a strong technical foundation (and most websites on standard platforms like WordPress and Shopify do), you can achieve great results by implementing simple SEO strategies yourself.
In fact, just following the steps in this guide will make you a more formidable competitor than most of the other companies and blogs in your industry.
Does SEO still work in 2021?
If you’ve done some SEO research, you may have heard the phrase “SEO is dead.” While most of the older tactics people used to use (such as keyword stuffing and spammy link building) no longer work, that doesn’t mean that SEO is dead.
Effective SEO strategies are certainly different for 2021 and beyond, and larger brands have the benefit of the doubt in search engine result pages. However, SEO will continue to be relevant as long as people use search engines like Google.
What are SEO basics?
The basics of SEO are:
- Technical foundation
- Keyword research
- Content creation
- Link building
- Measure and tracking SEO performance
We’ll cover each one in detail below with step-by-step instructions so that you can implement them yourself.
Therefore, when you finish this post, your website should be well optimized, and you’ll eventually see compounding results.
Similar to building a house, it’s important to have a solid foundation to build on. In SEO, your website needs to have a solid technical foundation.
While minor flaws in your technical foundation may merely annoy your reader, larger flaws could eliminate your website’s chances of ranking in search engine results altogether.
Therefore, here are a few of the key technical aspects you need to check.
If Google can’t crawl your website, it won’t be able to index critical pages. Unfortunately, if Google can’t index your pages, your website won’t show up in their search results.
Therefore, be sure to check that all of your pages are indexable. You can check for index errors in Google Search Console by looking at the “Coverage” report, or you can see which particular pages are indexed by using the URL inspection.
If you don’t have Google Search Console set up, you can also type “Site:www.example.com” into Google to see all of your indexed pages.
Google operates on mobile-first indexing, so regardless of how well you optimize your desktop version, it won’t matter if your mobile version is poorly optimized.
While most websites now offer responsive design, it’s still important to double-check that your website is indeed mobile-friendly.
To check if your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google Search Console and check under “Mobile Usability.”
Here’s an example of a website that isn’t mobile-friendly:
Here’s an example of a website that is mobile-friendly:
While this will point out any technical errors, it won’t show you optimization techniques.
Therefore, it’s still important to manually go through your website’s mobile version and check that it’s easy to scroll and the text is legible.
Another critical component of a solid technical foundation is speed. Users hate waiting on slow websites to load, so Google made site speed a ranking factor in 2018.
However, improving your site speed will do much more than just help you rank higher. Studies show that your conversion rate will drop by about 4.42% for every additional second your webpage requires to load between 0–5 seconds and 2.11% for every additional second from 0–9 seconds.
To check your site speed, you can look at the Core Web Vitals tab in Google Search Console or enter your domain in PageSpeed Insights.
From there, you can hire a developer on Upwork to fix the issues for you.
Logical site architecture
Finally, it’s important that people can navigate your website efficiently. For example, they should be able to navigate from the homepage to any other desired page in (ideally) less than three clicks.
Most importantly, your site should be structured logically so that users can easily find what they need. This improves the user experience and enables search engines to better understand the topic of each page.
For example, as Summer Navel is listed under the category “oranges,” Google will better understand that Summer Navel is a kind of orange.
You can also tell that despite having many different products, it’s easy to access any type of fruit from the homepage in just three clicks.
While it may seem simple, a recent study found that improving their internal link structure increased organic sessions by approximately 25% for a total of 9,200 additional sessions.
When you perform a search on Google, the first thing that pops up is a list of title tags and meta descriptions that give brief snapshots of each website.
These are important for SEO, as they have a significant impact on click-through rate.
If your titles are enticing and receive many clicks and engaged users, Google is happy to move you up in the rankings.
If you’re stuck when writing your title tags, consider looking through some of the headlines at BuzzFeed. Most of these can be templatized and dramatically improve your CTRs.
However, it’s important to avoid clickbait headlines with empty promises as that will cause readers to bounce (which is a negative signal to Google). Therefore, be sure that your content delivers what you say it will.
Finally, always include a keyword at the beginning of your title and somewhere in your meta description. We’ll discuss keywords in detail below, but remember this as you’re writing your headlines.