Everybody is talking about SEO (search engine optimization) and for a very good reason. It’s essential for your website to be among the first result pages when someone is looking for your content.

SEO in a Nutshell

SEO is a practice where you try to increase the number and quality of visitors to your website. You can do that by improving rankings to get FREE organic traffic from search engine pages.

Can I Do SEO Myself?

I made this guide for you because I get asked this for so many times. It is such a broad question. Next to impossible to explain briefly. I think that SEO is something every business owner should know how to do themselves. It is a long term investment. You want to retain all the knowledge you build over time for yourself.

I will give you some tips on how you can rank higher in search results

Even if you don’t have any prior experience on how to do SEO and you hate marketing, I got you covered!

The core principles are easy for you to understand

Be prepared that there is a lot of work involved if you want to rank high in search results in today’s’ world of Google. Grab a mug of hot coffee and relax. Let’s demystify SEO!

In This Article, You Will Learn:

What is Google’s Core Algorithm?

Google Search Engine is a Robot (Crawler)

Googles algorithm is a secret formula that only Google engineers know and Google wants to keep its formula as a secret. Marketers would otherwise game the engine to artificially increase search engine rankings. The marketers are using trial and error methods to figure what is working and what is not.

Although Google will change the algorithm often. We can still optimize our web pages by using certain core principles that I will share with you. Before we begin, let us look at some stats.

  • The top 5 results receive 75% of the clicks
  • Organic results receive 70% of the total clicks within a SERPs!

That means people can separate the organic results from paid results. Keep that in mind, we will address this later in my article.

Search Engines Solve Problems

Many people still think that SEO is all about ranking on top of search results when searching a brand name, but it’s not that. SEO is about appearing on top of search results when you enter a generic keyword or a phrase to the search engine to find a solution for a problem.

Think about yourself a moment. When you have a specific problem, you go to ask a search engine to find a solution right?

The Words You Enter to The Search Engine, Are Keywords

As a business owner, you want to have these keywords, so that the client can find your solution to solve that problem. That means:

1. We need to make it easy for search engines to understand what our pages are about
2. We need to show search engines that our content is worthy of ranking

There Are Two Types of SEO

1. ON-PAGES SEO

On-page SEO is focused more on creating better content on your web pages, creating a better user experience, better usage of keywords, improving page speed and the like.

2. OFF-PAGES SEO

Off-page SEO focuses on creating back-links, social media presence, social share etc.

On-page SEO is completely on the control of the website owner as the Off-site SEO is not entirely on the website owners control.

Off page SEO is often overlooked and the common reason page doesn’t rank as well as it could. Getting backlinks from high authority sites are the #2 rating factor in search engines.

Keywords are The #1 Ranking Factor in Search Engines.

Keyword research is a process that SEO specialists use to find actual search terms people use in search engines.

By doing keyword research, we can see the average number of times someone searches for a specific keyword or phrase in Google each month.

Find and Use Relevant Keywords

Often times, the query you think will be the most searched will turn out not to be. And with proper keyword research, we can make better-copywriting decisions.

Use these FREE tools to find keywords that are relevant to your niche to rank better in SERPs.

For more competitive analysis:

Four Stages When Purchasing a Product or Service

There are four main stages that a customer goes through when purchasing a product or service. At each stage, your clients use different search techniques that help you to identify how close they are to purchase.

Research stage

Consideration stage

Purchase stage

Loyalty stage

Keywords Fall Into Two Categories

INFORMATIONAL

Use Informational keywords for attracting visitors who are in the initial stage of the conversion cycle.

The vast majority of keywords on the internet are informational. As you might have guessed, people are looking for information online. It’s easier to find low competition keywords to get more traffic to your site by using terms like ‘how to’, ‘I need to’, ‘best way to’ and so on…

COMMERCIAL

Commercial keywords like brand names in the product pages work in the final stage of conversion.

There is a lot of competition for keywords with commercial intent. So it’s more difficult for you to get a huge amount of search volume. On the other hand, when you include words like ‘cheap’, ‘free shipping’, ‘top 10’, ‘affordable’ and so on… Lower search volume converts well because the buyer has literally the credit card in their hand when they land to your page!

NOTE: There are some high volume searches that won’t convert very well like: ‘FREE’, ‘download’ etc.. Good luck getting these “Tyre Kickers” to buy anything from you.

How To Write Content That Ranks High in Search Engines?

Content Marketing is the Key to Search Rankings

SEO revolves around content marketing. If you don’t have great content on your website – you don’t rank well within search engines. Without great content you never get backlinks and without backlinks, you never rank on top of search engine results.

Google Rewards for Fresh and Recent Content

If you write about trending topics and industry news frequently, you’ll rank higher in SERPs. Everybody wants to know the latest and greatest new information!

Write Case Studies

Consider writing case studies and expert roundups as they drive a lot of traffic to your site. Research-based content usually ranks high in SERPs. Infographics, charts, and statistics get shared a lot, use them to get backlinks to your page. Stats and charts also build trust in your content!

Today People Don’t Search Just by Using Generic Words

They use complete sentences like “what dry food gets my cat’s fur to shine”. Create detailed enough content about the specific individual topic.

Example: Write 5000-word extremely detailed blog post about “The best dry food to Keep Your Cat’s Coat Shiny.” and just about everybody looking for that type of cat food will land on your page.

Google is Getting Really Good at Figuring out the Intent of Your Search

Googles Hummingbird algorithm is trying to give you an answer to your question. Before Hummingbird when you typed your question to Google, it returned similar questions from other people. That didn’t help you much right?

Headlines as Answers

Nowadays if you type a ‘chocolate cookie’ it will give you a recipe… You can use this knowledge to your advance when writing content to your page. Write headlines as answers for example! “The Best Cookie Recipe in The World.”

Have you ever wondered why Wikipedia is always among the first search results? It’s not because they have a lot of links – it’s because they have the most detailed articles on the web!

TIP: Use Buzzumo to find hot news and trending topics under specific keywords and categories (monthly fee). Reverse engineer Quora to find low competition keywords.

On Page SEO:

  • Use SEO friendly URLs
  • Start the title with a keyword!
  • Use H1 to wrap your article title
  • Also use subheadings (H2, H3.. tag)
  • Use LSI keywords (latent semantic indexing) throughout the article
  • Design a responsive website
  • Do a competitor analysis

Off Page SEO:

  • Get external links to your website (backlinks)
  • Get social shares to your site
  • Get social mentions

If you want to appear on top of SERPs. Getting inbound links back to your service from high priority sites of your industry is important.

Few Tactics on How You Get Backlinks to Your Content

  • Create content worth sharing should be obvious by now:)
  • Appear on podcasts. Always – always ask a link to your site!
  • Link exchange
  • Article directories
  • Find broken links and offer your content as a replacement

About Buying Backlinks (Oh Yes it’s Possible)

I would be careful with buying backlinks for the obvious reasons. If Google finds something fishy – your organic search traffic will get murdered on the spot by Google. Buying backlinks are against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

 

  • The keywords you want to use inside your content has to be generic, unbranded keywords, not your brand keywords.
  • Most noteworthy you should avoid ‘keyword stuffing’. Google wants to offer good quality content and if the algorithm finds too many or similar keywords with no context, as a consequence you will get demoted.

Google RankBrain Is #3rd Most Important Ranking Factor in Search Engines.

RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system. Google utilises artificial intelligence to find right meaning and context behind ambiguous keywords.

To Win the RankBrain, You Need:
1. Better CTR.
2. Better dwell time.

  • Optimize titles and descriptions for better CTR Sumo Headline Formulas
  • Choose only for highly relevant keywords
  • Write high-quality engaging content!

TIP: Use Coschedule Headline Analyser for better headlines. Anything above 70 is a good score. Also use Sumo Kickass Headline Generator to write engaging titles like a boss!

‘Mobile first’ forces you to focus.

“Mobile First in Everything”

In 2010, Eric Schmidt announced that from now on Google will be adopting this approach. Mobile page is the true version for google.

Even if you are browsing from a desktop, Google offers the mobile version as the search result. Because 60% of all searches are coming from mobile devices,  it’s natural Google has gone all mobile first.

Your website needs to load quickly on all devices

One super important factor is your website speed as Google is trying to determine if your pages are well optimized for mobile. In statics point of view, one interesting fact is that 80% of all content on the web are videos, so give a high priority on making video your content of choice.

When a visitor spends time watching your video on the webpage, it also increases your dwell time.

Tips and Tricks How to Rank Better in SERPs for 2019

Optimize Your Content for Voice Search

Voice search is growing popularity really fast with devices like Amazon echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod etc. and mobile assistants, Ok Google, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Samsun Bixby, and others.

Voice keywords are question and command types so they are longer than regular keywords. In 2019 you can still gain advance to competitors by optimizing for voice search!

Your Social Media Influence is a Ranking Factor

Google officially denies that your social media influence is a ranking factor, but certainly, your social media activities are reflected in search results. Therefore try to be an active member of your community of professionals.

Congratulation!

If your page ranks on top of search engine, you are considered to be an authority for that subject. Optimize your website for industry-specific relevant keywords people are searching for.

Design your pages so, that people also come back to your site to look for content after they have purchased from you.

Offer product demonstration videos
Offer service manuals
Build a customer forum
Write blog posts

Conclusion

As you now know, SEO is not search engine marketing. SEO is closer to content marketing and its crucial to see it as that. If you don’t have good quality engaging content, you are not going to appear on top of the search engines.

Google is trying to offer search results that solve a specific problem that users are looking answers to. There are ways to improve SEO, but there aren’t any “tricks” how you can manipulate search results.

It is Possible to Pay for Keywords

As I mentioned earlier, people do know the difference between paid and organic content and it seems that they tend to prefer the later.

  • Write captivating and strong SEO optimized headline (H1 tag)
  • Write attention-grabbing meta descriptions (snippet)
  • Write subheads to keep your visitors engaged (H2, H3 etc.)
  • Visual rich content get shared 94% more often than content without images

Write Long-form Content

Long form content consistently receives more shares and links. Articles with more than 3000 words received 2008% more shares in contrast to articles less than a thousand words. (According to Buzzumo study where they analyzed one million articles.)

What is a Good Dwell Time and Bounce Rate?

Well, there is no straight answer to that, it depends on so many factors like what time of day visitor comes to your page, what type of device is used, so on and so on… But the general rule of thumb is, that if the user spends more than two minutes in your site, Google will consider that as good quality content, so aim for at least two minutes.

A video will help you to achieve longer durations, so there is a quality tip right off the bat.

0% – 40% is considered a good bounce rate
40% – 60% is fair bounce rate
60% – 100% and your content is not doing so great

TIP from the designer: Use big headlines and plenty of white space. These are in general good practices for readability but it also makes your content to look professional. It easy to approach and in statistic point of view, it also increases your dwell time. Optimize your page so that it loads fast!

Create awesome – engaging content that offers value and unique insights to your audience, share it and Have fun!

On the last note: I know that not everyone can be a writer. If you feel that you don’t have it in you, consider hiring a professional copywriter or hire an agency to do blog posts and articles for you.

Things you need for SEO. You will need to have a Google account, or you are not able to use the tools necessary for SEO. Google Search Console and Google Analytics are your core applications. For WordPress, Yoast SEO is the most used tool.

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Terminology

SEO
Search engine optimization

On Page SEO
Happens inside your website, speed, responsiveness, content, keywords, snippets etc.

Off Page SEO
Happens outside your website, backlinks, social media, shares etc.

SERPs
Search engine page results.

Keywords
Words in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines.

Long-Tail Keywords
Words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines.

LSI Keyword Variation (latent semantic indexing)
Keywords that are semantically related to your main keyword.

Backlinks
An incoming hyperlink from another web page to your website.

Content Marketing
Content that does not explicitly promote your brand but is intended to stimulate interest in your product or services.

H1, H2, H3 etc. tag
Headings in your page that should contain your targeted keywords relevant to your content.

Bounce Rate
The percentage of users who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page.

CTR
Click through rate is the number of clicks any impression – ad receives, divided by the number of time your ad is shown.

Dwell Time
The time between when a user clicks your entry and then returns to the SERPs.

Google’s Core Algorithm

Panda
Assigns a “quality score” to web pages.

Penguin
Down-ranks sites whose links it deems manipulative.

Hummingbird
Helps Google to better interpret search queries and provide results that match searcher intent.

Pidgeon
Google’s local search algorithm.

Possum
Local results vary more depending on the searcher’s location.

RankBrain
A component of Google’s core algorithm which uses machine learning to determine the most relevant results to search engine queries.

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