The Ultimate Guide To SEO For 2022 & Beyond
Getting your website or page found in google search results is no walk in the park. It takes various content work, keyword optimization, and technical tweaks to your site for google crawl and bring it to the first page.
It's quite a complex process and it can take a lot of time, but do know that it's possible to execute your website through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
What is SEO?
The technique of increasing the quantity and quality of search engine traffic to a website or web page is known as SEO or search engine optimization.
SEO enables your company to have a greater influence on Google and become more noticeable to your target market.
Additionally, Google implements a number of algorithms to enhance the searcher experience. SEO has changed significantly over the past few years and will continue to alter as a result of these algorithms.
Three components of SEO
Usually, there are three components of SEO:
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
While each type of SEO can stand on its own, they each cover a specific facet of a website and the overall SEO ranking of your website will the sum of those three.
Yes, it's possible to only do one of these three SEO components, but the result will only be a fraction of what's ideal and may not be good enough to bring you to the first page of Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). If you want to get a higher ranking as possible you must cover all three bases.
On-page SEO :
On-Page SEO is a process of optimizing your web page for the search engines and users by using the relevant keywords throughout your content, headings, description, images, and anywhere required.
This is one of the most important components of SEO and is indeed the first thing that you should focus on.
On-Page SEO activity is everything that the search engines and most importantly, your users will notice on the web page.
Important aspects of On-Page SEO are:
- Keywords and Content containing the target keywords and the keywords around them.
- Including main keywords in H1, Title, Headings and in the images.
- Linking the pages together in a website. (Internal links)
Off-Page SEO is a process to help improve your site’s reputation and build authority. This part of SEO is not focused on searchers but mainly on search engines.
Google prioritizes the pages that have high engagement such as comments or shares.
Also, Google also determines the page authority by analyzing the quality of links and the type of links that are given to the particular page.
Besides these two components, Technical SEO has gained importance in the last 2 years as Google’s latest algorithm focused on user experience.
Technical SEO focuses on the technical aspects of your website. It includes the page speed, loading time, elements of the web page, and mobile-friendliness.
It includes tasks such as:
- Sitemaps: This defines the website architecture. It helps search crawlers to fetch and crawl the page faster by understanding the site structure.
- Page Speed: Faster your page loads, the better the user experience and the better your Google rankings will be.
While this part of SEO is mostly done by web developers, the other two parts can be done even if you just have basic technical knowledge.
Step-by-Step SEO strategy
There are ‘n’ number of SEO strategies on the Internet but not all of them would be right for you. It depends on the industry and the steps that you think are easy for you.
1: Keyword research: create a list of keywords
Keyword research is one of the cornerstones of your successful SEO campaign. It would be wise to say that keyword research is neither part of the On-page nor the Off-Page SEO campaign.
The goal here is to find the keywords that align with your target audience and clearly serve the searcher’s intent.
So, how do you find a popular keyword in your niche or industry?
The answer is by using a keyword research tool. Or simply using Google search engine.
If you have already decided on the topic, head to Google and type your keyword in the search box.
Notice the keyword suggestions that you get. Well, these keywords are a goldmine for you.
Google suggests the related keywords or long-tail keywords that are popular around your main keyword.
For example, the main keyword ‘Paleo Diet’ has a variety of keywords as given below:
Similarly, you can find more keywords by scrolling to the bottom of your homepage called ‘Related searches.’
These are called the long-tail keywords that tend to have low search volume but are more searched.
The best practice is to type different keywords in the search box until you get 15-20 different keywords.
The problem with Google suggest is that it doesn’t give much information about the keywords and the competition. Moreover, it requires more effort.
Thus, keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush can come in handy. These keyword research tools take various metrics into consideration to help find the popular and lucrative keywords in your industry.
- Search volume: The number of searches done in a month. Note that this search can also be done by a single user as well.
- Keyword competition: The metric that measures how hard or easy it is to rank a keyword on the first page.
- Traffic: It tells how much traffic a page would get in different positions.
Using these metrics, you can find a list of keywords that are easier to rank and have high traffic potential.
Once you have a list of these keywords, it’s time to move on to the next step.
2: Analyze the first page of Google
The next step after you have well-researched your keywords is to find how to enter to the first page of Google.
Google algorithm follows certain patterns for a particular search term or industry.
Do some competition analysis for your main keyword. Notice the type of content that is mostly appearing on the first page of the search engine. Is it a listicle article?
Is it a how-to guide or a buyer’s guide? Or are the top search pages are occupied with video content?
For example, the main keyword- ‘Chicken Broth’ is packed with the recipe for preparing the chicken broth.
Now, you get the idea of what content should you post for your main keyword.
Next, open the top 5 pages in your browser and analyze the content. Notice the headings and subheadings they have used in the content.
You can use these headers or subheaders and create better content. Furthermore, you never know, you can generate more keyword ideas.
3: Create high-quality unique content
As Bill Gates says, ‘Content is king’, your content is what will drive visitors and more sales.
Create high-quality content that drives traffic and provides value to the readers. Generally, there are two ways to create SEO content; create something better and create something different.
With the recent Google algorithm update, the search engine has started focusing on its Google Quality Rater Guidelines or what we call E-A-T.
So, why not create both?
Let’s say, you have to create a topic around ‘SEO tools’. Most of the top pages started right away with SEO tools with features.
You need to create content that is different from others ad even better than the top-ranking pages. Let’s say, the top 3 pages in the SERPs have shared around 20 Best SEO Tools.
One simple strategy is to expand the list to 50 Best Tools or maybe 100 Best SEO Tools covering features, pros & cons and their pricing.
Meanwhile, to add a different content, adding more subheadings like the ones below would make your content more in-depth, comprehensive, and easier to follow.
- Why use SEO Tools?
- How to choose the best SEO tools?
- Free vs Paid SEO Tools
4: Align your content with search intent
Search Intent has become one of the major aspects of SEO. It is what directs the search engine about the purpose of your content.
Different searchers’ may have different queries. Some may have transactional queries whereas some may have navigational or informational queries.
A keyword might have high search volume, yet it is not what the users are looking for.
If the intent of the person searching is different than your content, then they will just go away without buying anything.
Some users are interested in purchasing a product or service, others are looking for information on a specific topic, and some might need details or want to connect with a company or individual.
Hence, the search intent is divided into four types:
- Navigational search: The searcher searches for the keyword or brand directly.
- Information: The searcher’s intent is to gain knowledge or information about a topic.
- Commercial search: The searcher’s intent is to purchase a product and they want more information on it.
- Transactional search: The searcher is directly willing to purchase a product or service.
The best practice is to search for the main keyword and analyze the top-ranking pages. If the top pages consist of how-to guides or buyer guides, the search intent for the main keyword is informational.
SEMRush is even better at doing keyword research as its keyword magic tool refines the keywords on the basis of search intent saving your time and effort.
4: Optimize your content for on-page SEO
After you have written killer content, the next step is to optimize your content with all the relevant On-page SEO elements. To get a better understanding of On-Page SEO, read Brian Dean’s ultimate On-page SEO checklist.
Here are some quick On-Page SEO optimization tips:
- Include the focus keyword in the first 100 words of your content.
- Include the main keyword in H1, H2 and H3 of your content.
- Wrap your subheadings in H2 and H3 tags.
- Include the focus keyword in the URL.
- Use a variation of long-tail keywords in the content and your subheading.
- Create an enticing meta description and use the keyword in your meta tags.
- Make sure to add the main keyword and the variation of long-tail keywords in your image alt tag.
- Create internal links within your content and use variations of anchor texts.
- External links give crawlers a better idea of the page’s topic. Also, linking out to reliable sources and high authority sites shows that your page is of high quality.
5: Include visual content and media
Design is an underdog to your content marketing efforts. That’s what most people ignore often but the content and website design count.
38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. You might scratch your heand ad, get the best content in the world but can’t break into the top 3 or the first page without visual content.
Thus, visual content like images, videos, graphs and charts or infographics makes your content more engaging and reduces the bounce rate.
In fact, Jeff Bullas suggests that the articles with images get 95% more attention than those without.
Besides this, you can gain a lot of traffic using visual images and video content. How?
Because Google uses image SEO to help searchers look for the images on the Internet that aligns with the searcher’s queries.
For this reason, Google uses alt-text in images. An alt text defines the purpose of your image and helps search engine crawlers understand what your image is about.
Surely, search engine robots cannot visualize images and identify your image. That’s why they make use of image alt text.
No one explains it better than Wikipedia- In situations where the image is not available to the reader, perhaps because they have turned off images in their web browser or are using a screen reader due to a visual impairment, the alternative text ensures that no information or functionality is lost.
Also, when you start pushing more videos to your content, it will gain the reader’s attention as the visualisation is always better than the textual content. Furthermore, if you create your videos, it’s a brownie point for you.
6: Build links
After all this, it’s time to build valuable links for your content. Link plays a huge part in your SEO campaign as it gains the search engine’s trust.
When your content gets a link from a high-quality or an authority page, the search engine considers your content to be valuable for the readers.
However, building low-quality backlinks wouldn’t do any good. Instead, you would end up hurting your SEO.
One good link from a relevant website can be more impactful than millions of low quality links, says Google’s John Mueller.
If your content is better and more relevant than others, chances of it getting cited by high authority websites is high. In turn, you will earn some good backlinks.
Another way of earning the links is by using infographics.
If you have a knack for designing and industry knowledge, you can create infographics that most people would want to share on their blog.
Besides this, you can make use of the Broken link building techniques or the Skyscraper technique to earn high-quality links.
7: Update your content regularly
No one loves old and outdated information. The same goes for Google and its searchers.
You might have hundreds of articles on your website that may be posted regularly. But, do not underestimate the power of old content.
You might have often noticed that some of your old content might be getting some constant traffic or impressions that you haven’t updated for months or even years. That’s when you need to update and add fresh content to this existing blog post.
You might want to replace an old image or visual content with a new one or update the stats that you had shared back then.
Besides this, you would also need to add content that your top-ranking pages have created their content around.
While the new posts are published regularly, updating and refreshing the old ones should be part of your content marketing. A newly published post may take some time to index and achieve the rankings.
However, an old post has already been indexed and the search engine considers it quality content. That’s why you need to add more value to your content.
How UX and SEO work together?
UX or User experience has a large part to play in your SEO. Without providing a good experience to the users, you can’t close a deal on your website.
A bad user experience contributes to an increased bounce rate.
If a reader lands up on your page and returns within seconds because they couldn’t find the right information, Google may list down your page in the SERPs.
Hence, the key here is to deliver the unique, relevant and most valuable content for the searchers.
Make sure to perform A/B tests on your site with CTA buttons and website designs, keep checking on the Page loading speed and make sure that your content satisfies the user intent.
Read our article on SEO vs CRO to understand the importance of each.
Conclusion: The Ultimate Guide to SEO
It is easy to get started but the execution of these strategies is what matters the most. It takes a lot of work, effort, and time to gain organic traffic but with consistency, it will pay off in the long run.
With the increase in search visibility, you can get more leads, close more deals and generate more revenue for your business without having to spend a dime on paid ads or other paid marketing initiatives. Better SEO performance, organic traffic will be easier to come by!
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