What is Search Engine Optimization – 4 Components of SEO

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what is search engine optimization (seo)

When you are trying to grow your business, the first thing that comes to mind is how you can get more people to come and visit your website. One of the best ways is by making sure that your pages rank higher in search engines for relevant keywords. This post will break down what SEO is and how it works in plain English so that anyone can understand it!

Ps. Proof that this works is the fact that you are reading this right now 😊

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s ranking in search engines for relevant keywords, which will result in a higher number of users coming to visit.

Put another way, SEO is the process of increasing visibility in search engines for a website.

It’s important to know what you’re doing when it comes to SEO because many people will not find your site without it!

Why is Ranking Important?

If your website doesn’t rank for a keyword, it will not show up in Google search. This means an entire audience of people who are looking for what you offer will never find your business. Ranking is important to have more exposure and grow your business with the help of SEO.

4 Components of SEO

When simplified, SEO has 4 basic components:

  • Key Phrases
  • Quality Content
  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO

1. Keyword Research

keyword research

Keyword research is the process of discovering which terms and phrases people are typing into search engines to find information on a specific topic. The more popular a keyword, the higher it ranks in Google’s list of results. You can use this information to optimize your website content so that your site appears higher when someone searches for those keywords.

Keywords should be specific enough to provide useful content but general enough to cover multiple topics related to that area. For example, if you’re writing about “dog training,” you could include words such as “basic commands,” “obedience,” and “potty training.” These words would also likely show up if someone searched for “training dogs.”

How do you make Google pick the Keywords You Want it to?

Make sure your focus keyword is in the First Sentence of the Article

It’s always a good idea to put your focus keyword in the first sentence of an article. It will help you rank higher for that term and improves the chance that people will read past the headline to learn more about what you have to say.

Use a Synonym for your keyword if it’s Not Naturally Found in the content

Synonyms are often used as a way to make it easier for search engines to find your content. By using synonyms, you can optimize your post so that the keywords in the title and body copy will appear more than once.

This is also helpful if you have trouble coming up with original titles or want to avoid repetition of words in your article.

Add keywords that are Related to your Content throughout, but Don’t Overdo It

Adding related keywords to your content is a great way to create more visibility for your blog posts. If you are writing about “5 ways to use baking soda in the garden”, then adding words like “garden,” “ingredients,” and “benefits” will help people find it who might be searching for those phrases on Google or other search engines. 

Another thing that can help with SEO (search engine optimization) is blogging about topics related to what you do, but not always specifically about what you do.

For example, if I am a dog walker, I could write something on how important it is to keep dogs off of grassy areas because they can get ticks which would make my blog post relevant without being too specific.

Don’t include Too Many Keywords because Google will pick up on this and Penalize You

In recent years, Google has been penalizing websites for having too many keywords (or more accurately, a high keyword density).

This is because Google prefers to have sites that are more focused on a specific topic or theme.

Related Article: Everything you Need to Know about Keyword Research.

Include links to Other Articles on your site or external sources so Google can find more information about what you’re talking about

As a blogger, you want to get your content as far and wide as possible. Many people believe that the best way to do this is by writing articles for other blogs and sites in order to build links back up to your site.

But what if there was an even easier way? What if Google liked links on your blog post pages just as much or better than it likes links on outside sources? Wouldn’t that be incredible?

Please let me know your thoughts / experience on this in the comments section below.

What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears on your page compared to the total number of words. It’s important to ensure that you have an appropriate balance so as not to be spammy or too general, but also not too vague. 

DO NOT do Keyword Stuffing

What is Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO technique that involves filling the content of your site with keywords to rank better in search engine results pages. This is not an ethical practice and will actually hurt your rankings instead of help them. 

Sometimes called keyword density overuse, this technique can lead to penalties on your website’s ranking for spamming by Google’s algorithm.

The best way to optimize the content on your site is by ensuring it has good grammar and flows well while using relevant keywords naturally throughout the text – without repeating them excessively.  When you do that, you’re engaging readers by providing them with valuable information they need instead of just trying to impress Google with empty words.

2. Quality Website Content

The internet is full of information on how to write quality content that will rank high in the search engine results. It’s true that the first step is to have something worth talking about, but there are plenty of other factors that affect your rankings – and they’re not all within your control.  

Website owners often find themselves spending hours trying to figure out what exactly determines their page ranking, which can be frustrating and time consuming.

The most important thing is to have quality content. Even if you manage to get traffic and you don’t have quality content, the user experience will be noticed by the search engines and your site will be punished according.

6 Questions you can Ask Yourself when Creating Content

Answer the questions below before writing any pages / posts or articles. The other important thing to do first is keyword research. What phrases / questions / recipes are people searching for?

Keyword research is crucial because it helps you understand what people are searching for online so that your content can include those terms.

  1. What is your goal for the content you are creating?
  2. Who is your target audience?
  3. What do they want to know about ____?
  4. How can you provide them with what they want in a way that will engage them and keep their attention long enough to read the whole article/watch the video?
  5. Why should they care about this topic and how does it affect them personally or professionally?
  6. What kind of tone should be used for this piece of content, formal or informal, serious or humorous, etc.?

There are many tips and tricks that you can do to try and improve your ranking. The only one I can think of that will stand the test of time, is quality content.

Tips for Improving your own Website Content

Other than writing about something that people want to know about, the following will help improve your content:

  • Use short sentences to make your content easy to read
  • Keep paragraphs short and concise
  • Avoid using complex words or jargon that might confuse readers
  • Focus on one idea per paragraph for a better flow of information
  • Write in the active voice – use “I” instead of “you” when appropriate
  • Break up long blocks of text with bulleted points, images, graphs, or charts for better readability

Why it’s important to create good web copy before anything else

Web copy is the first thing people see when they visit your site. It can be a deciding factor in whether someone decides to stay on your site.

You have just seconds to grab their attention and convince them that you are worth reading more about

The best web copy is concise, clear, and easy to read.

Don’t underestimate the power of good web copy – it’s what makes people want to stay on your website longer!

3. On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO

Many people these days are aware of the importance of having a good SEO strategy. However, some may not be sure what on-page SEO entails.

On-Page SEO is all about making your content as search engine friendly as possible to increase its ranking and visibility in SERPS.  To do this, you need to make sure that you have keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions and body text.

You should also put links back to other posts within your site for increased linking popularity and use keywords throughout the post so it ranks better with Google’s algorithm.

In a nutshell, On-Page SEO is how you tell Google what your page is all about

Tips to help Improve your On-Site SEO

Structure your Site with User Experience in Mind

Good site architecture is important because it allows visitors to find what they’re looking for without having to read through too much content or spend too much time scrolling down a page.

This is the backbone of a website, which can be either simple or quite complex depending on how many levels deep you want it to go.

A good site architecture will have sections for different types of content (like blog posts) so that it’s easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Make sure that you have clear categories with links to relevant pages, as well as a good title and meta description that will be displayed on SERP.

Don’t forget to Optimize your Site for Mobile Users

This one is really important, as most your visitors will be visiting your site using a mobile device.

Search engines work differently when you use a mobile device as opposed to your desktop or laptop computer, so it’s important for websites that have been built with responsive design in mind to be optimized accordingly. This means making sure that there is no text content above the fold that cannot be read easily on a mobile device.

Optimize your Blog Post Title

When you’re a new blogger, the thought of your posts being ranked in Google search results can be pretty intimidating. It’s hard to know where to start. But there is one thing that you should always keep in mind – what do people want?

If you write about things that people are searching for on Google, then your blog post has a better chance of ranking higher than blogs without those keywords.

Make sure you have an H1 tag that is Descriptive and contains your Key Phrase

The H1 Tag is what is used for the Title of your post or page.

It is the most important HTML element in your blog. It’s what Google and other search engines will use to “read” what your post is about. When you type a keyword, it’s the H1 that they’ll be looking for first, so make sure it matches up well with your content!

Don’t go stuffing it with keywords, but it should in the very least contain the phrase you are aiming to rank for and describe what the person clicking on your link can expect to find.

Use relevant keywords in the first paragraph of your blog post to help with SEO

It’s a common misconception that keywords are only used in the body of your blog post.

In reality, you should use relevant keywords as early as possible to help Google rank your content. The first paragraph is one place where you can put a keyword or two without it being too obvious.  

Here are some examples: “What’s up everyone? I’m excited for this blog post because…” (travel), “I’ve been thinking about how we all need more time” (time management), and so on!

Add a meta description to give people who are reading your article a preview of what they will find inside

A meta description is a snippet of text that provides an overview of the article content. It’s important because it allows web users to quickly decide whether or not they want to click on your article link.

A good example of this would be when you’re scrolling through Facebook and see two articles with similar headlines from competing websites- one has a catchy, descriptive meta description while the other doesn’t have anything at all.

Who do you think will get more clicks?

When writing a meta description for your own blog post, here are some tips:

  1. Keep it short and sweet- no more than 160 characters
  2. Be descriptive
  3. Use keywords related to your topic
  4. Include some form of call-to-action (CTA)

Include social media buttons on every page so readers can share with their friends 

It’s not enough to have a social media button on your blog homepage. You should also include these buttons on every page of your website in order to maximize site traffic and make it easier for people share content with their friends, followers, and subscribers.

Update old posts by adding new information, links, or videos about the topic to make them more current and interesting for readers

I have a question for you, why is updating old blog posts important?

If you’re the type of blogger who has been writing on your blog for years and never updated an older post with new content (or even just a couple missing words), then I’m willing to bet it’s because you either can’t be bothered or don’t know how.

Truthfully, there are so many reasons that updating old blog posts is important – but let me tell you about one: SEO. Search engine optimization is what makes or breaks websites these days and if your site doesn’t have any fresh content coming in, then those search engines will stop crawling your site altogether.

It’s really as simple as that!

Create Internal Links

By creating internal links, you are showing Google what other posts are relevant. This will show that you have a lot of related information to share with your site visitors.

Another reason this is important, is because if you have engaged a visitor with your content, they may read the related post.

This will inform Google that the visitor had a good experience, up the visit time, down the bounce rate and ultimately count towards a better page ranking.

How Important is Site Load Speed for SEO?

Ever wonder why your favorite site has a big, red message at the top of their homepage that says “loading”? I know it can be frustrating when you click on a link and it takes forever to load.

How important is this to SEO? The answer may not surprise you! Site speed does matter for SEO – in some cases, it matters more than content.

Google has said that they rank sites higher if they have good page load speeds as opposed to those with slow loading times.

A study by Akamai found that 47% of users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less- which means if you’re not meeting their expectations, you’ll lose them fast!

4. Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO is all the activities that you do to rank in Google that is not done on your site.

It involves techniques to increase a website’s visibility in search engine rankings that can be done through building links back to the site. There are many components and factors involved with off page optimization but all of them involve one thing:

Building Links back to Your Site

This can be done through guest posts on other websites, press releases, social media marketing and more.

How Important is Off Page SEO?

Off page optimization can be important for higher rankings in search engines! It’s been shown over and over again that off page factors like guest posts, press releases and social media marketing can be the difference between a website ranking at #3 for their target keyword and ranking at #36.

What is the Difference between Off-Page and On-Page SEO?

On page optimization techniques are designed to improve rankings for your site in search engines by improving specific web pages with things like title tags, main content, navigation and more. However off page SEO involves building links back to a website or creating social buzz that will increase its visibility in search engine rankings.

Off page optimization is very important, but you also need to focus on your website’s content and user experience.

How Can I Get Links?

There are many strategies for building links back to a site including guest posts, press releases, social media marketing and more. However the best strategy that can be implemented quickly is by creating high quality blog posts that are interesting and engaging to readers. Each post should include a link back or mention of the company website in it somewhere, preferably at the end.

Get Links from Guest Posts

Guest posts are a great way to get links back. Especially if the site you have an internal link from has a high Domain Authority (DA). Not only will that count towards your ranking, but chances are higher that your post may be shared on Social Media like Facebook or Twitter.

Guest blogging can also help brands reach new audiences and improve their visibility in search engine rankings at the same time.

Get Links from Press Releases

Press releases are another way that businesses have found success with building links back to their site. This strategy is best to implement if you have the time and resources available for things like writing a press release or getting it published on an online publication.

Get Links from Social Media Marketing

Many brands are finding success with social media marketing as well because they can connect with their target audience and build links at the same time. It’s important to remember that social media marketing is not just about posting on your own profile but also engaging with people and brands in meaningful ways like liking, sharing or commenting on their posts.

Create Content

Another way to get new links back to a site is by creating content for it! This could be anything from answering a question on Quora about a common customer question (and adding a link back to your content) to a video tutorial on how to use your product (link back from YouTube in the Description area).

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text refers to the hyperlinks that contain a phrase like “click here” or “read more”. This content will be highlighted when someone searches for that specific phrase, so it can help brands improve their visibility on search engine results pages.

For that reason you should include your keyword / key phrase (that is relevant to your post / product) in the anchor text when creating links.

How do you Find Good Site to Link From?

Tools and Tips to Help you with Link Building

Tips and Tools for Evaluating the Quality of a Site’s Backlinks

  • Check the quality of a site’s backlinks by using tools such as Open Site Explorer
  • Evaluate the type of backlinks that a site has, and then decide how much weight to give them
  • Use Alexa or Google Analytics to see what sites are linking to the one you’re evaluating
  • Consider whether or not all links on a page point to other pages with high authority scores
  • Search for “backlink” in Google Images and look at images showing webpages – if they have plenty of links pointing outwards, it means that they’re well-linked
  • Look for domains with high PageRank (PR) values because these are more likely to be trusted sources

Tools for Analyzing Back Link Profiles

Majestic SEO

Majestic is not your average SEO tool. Unlike other SEO tools,  which do a variety of things such as keyword research or on-page audits, Majestic focuses exclusively on backlinks with (what they claim to be) the world’s best backlink checker to boot.

SEMrush

If you’re in the digital marketing industry, chances are that at some point or another you’ve heard of SEMrush. Whether it’s for keyword research, finding a competitor’s backlinks or just to see what keywords your competitors rank well on, SEMrush has become an indispensable tool for anyone looking to get ahead in this competitive field.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a great website that provides in-depth analysis of your competitor’s link profiles. It will tell you if they have any broken backlinks, what anchor text they are using, and how many social shares their content has received.

Ahrefs can help you find out who your competitors’ influencers are as well as which keywords, they rank for on Google so you can broaden your own keyword research and SEO strategy.

Moz

Moz is a powerful suite of backlink analysis tools that can help you monitor your SEO and website’s performance. I’ll be providing an overview of Moz for those who are new to the software, as well as how you might use it to improve your site.

What is Moz? Moz stands for “moz search engine,” but the company actually sells a suite of marketing products. The flagship product, Moz Pro, offers keyword research, link building toolkit (including in-depth competitor analysis), rank tracking and more.  Moz also has browser extensions like Rank Tracker (for Firefox) or SERP Overlay (for Chrome). They’ve even developed their own web crawler called DeepCrawl that helps identify potential security issues.

Buzzsumo

BuzzSumo is a great tool for bloggers and content creators. BuzzSumo is an online platform that analyzes the social media buzz around different topics, giving you insights about what readers are most interested in with links to their post or article.

Buzz sumo allows users to search through thousands of articles and find out which ones have been the most popular on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etcetera. It also lets you see who has shared them the most (the influencers) as well as get a breakdown of all the comments made by people discussing your topic.

Questions to ask yourself when looking at the data

  • How many unique domains are linking to this website and what type of domains are they (e.g., .gov, .edu)?
  • Does the number of links to a site correlate with its rank in search engine results pages (SERPs)?
  • Are there any spammy or low-quality links on this page that may be hurting your ranking in SERPs?
  • Is it more advantageous to have a higher quantity or higher quality backlinks from other sites when trying to increase my rankings?
  • Have I tried all possible options before considering hiring someone else’s services for link building purposes?

Examples of what you might find in your analysis

  • How many backlinks they have
  • The type of backlink (e.g., dofollow, nofollow)
  • Whether the backlinks are from domain authority sites or not
  • If the link is a contextual link or not
  • A list of all links to their site and what they look like on a page
  • What anchor text each link has associated with it

Tips for Finding and Contacting Web Masters

  • Use a web crawler to find their potential contact information.
  • Search the internet for their email address, phone number, and social media accounts
  • Contact them through one of these methods to see if they are willing to work with you
  • If it doesn’t work out, keep trying until you find someone who will be interested in your project
  • Try sending them a message on LinkedIn or Facebook first before reaching out by email or phone call because those channels are more personal than an unsolicited email or voicemail
  • Be clear about what you want from them when contacting them – do not expect that they know what your needs are without being told directly

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Domain Authority?

Domain authority measures a domain’s power in the search engine results pages, which means that it plays an important role when determining rankings for domains with similar SEO factors like content and links.
It can be determined by using tools such as MozRank or Ahrefs Site Explorer to measure how many links point to the domain and how many links are coming in from other domains.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is a practice that helps websites rank better in search engines. It’s not as glamorous as its name sounds, but it can have a huge impact on your business and website traffic.
To understand technical SEO, you need to know the basics of how Google works – what they’re looking for when indexing sites and ranking them accordingly. If you don’t optimize your site for these factors, then your site might be getting penalized or even excluded from search engine results pages (SERPs).

In a nutshell, Technical SEO is defined as “the process of designing websites to achieve maximal success in search engines”.

What is Local SEO?

What is Local SEO? It’s the process of getting your business ranked locally and regionally on search engines. This is an important part of internet marketing because it means you can get new customers in your area.

The goal for local SEO is to rank as high as possible, which will bring more traffic to your website, and hopefully convert that traffic into leads or sales.

Is Local SEO more Difficult to Rank for?

Google has been changing algorithms of search engine results pages (SERPS) to rank local SEO higher in the SERPs. With this change, marketers have found it more difficult to rank for their desired keywords.

Does this mean that Local SEO is becoming increasingly difficult?
As a result of these changes, some are finding it more challenging to get on page one of Google’s SERP’s for competitive keywords when they compete with national and global brands in their industry. To combat this new difficulty, marketers must focus on things like content quality and link building strategies.

Others have also suggested adding geo-targeted landing pages to capture consumers near your location who are searching for services or products you offer online.

What is a Title Tag?

A title tag is the text you see in your browser’s tab bar or bookmarks when you click to open up a web page in your browser window. This should include relevant keywords and phrases, especially if they are what people would search for to find this specific page.

What are Search Terms?

It’s important to know what people are searching for, which is why keyword research and social media marketing are so important in SEO. You can find out search terms by looking at the analytics on your website or through tools like Google Trends (which tells you how often a term has been searched over time).

Once you know what people are searching for, you can create content that is relevant to the topic and includes those keywords.

Should you Get Links with Press Release or Guest Post?

There is no right answer here, it depends what you have the time and resources for! A well-written press release can provide results very quickly while guest blogging takes more time and effort.

What are Blog Posts?

A blog post is a type of content that can be published periodically to your website, which will help you with SEO because it gives readers new information on an ongoing basis and helps them come back again for more.
Blog posts are also important as they show up in search engine results pages when people search for specific topics.

What is a Search Engine Results Page?

A search engine results page (SERP) is the page on which search engine results are displayed to users. It’s the results you see after typing in a question or phrase in Google.

What are Organic Search Results?

The organic search results on a SERP represent links from all websites in their natural order of relevance based on an algorithm created by Google (and other major search engines). This means they’re not paid placements.

Does Paid Traffic help with SEO?

The age-old question that has plagued the minds of marketers for years: does paid traffic really help with SEO? The answer is yes. Paid traffic is a great way to rank your website on Google and other search engines, but only if you are using it correctly.
If not, then all your money will be wasted! Some key elements include targeting keywords, creating ads with high click rates and strong landing pages or websites.

However, this won’t work unless you have a good foundation to start from- so make sure that your content is engaging enough for people to want to read more about what they find on the page!

Final Thoughts

There are many factors that go into ranking your website in the organic search results, all of which can vary depending on what type of site you have or who is visiting it. Important major ranking factors include keywords and phrases used throughout content, SEO best practices such as keyword research and blogging, social media presence, and link building.

SEO best practices include making sure that:

  • Your web pages are easy to read and use
  • You have an updated blog with fresh content routinely
  • Creating the right title tags,
  • Blog posts with good content, and
  • Structuring site architecture so that it is easy to navigate through pages on your site.

If you have any questions or comments or tips of your own, please leave them in the comments section below.

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