What does SEO mean?

So you’ve heard about SEO or SEO, but you’re not exactly sure what it means. Or maybe you are not sure how it can help you achieve your goals.

Try the free demo SEO is a major marketing task for any website.

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And if you are new to this, it may seem daunting. To get the most out of SEO, it’s important to understand what it is, how it works, and why it can help you.

So…

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What does “SEO” mean?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

This is a warmly debated topic and there is a lot of content written about it online:

SEO in SERPs

Let’s look at it a little more in detail:

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of improving your website so it ranks higher in search engine results for certain keywords. Generally, people focus on appearing in Google, but there is also Bing.

It’s about getting users to visit your site without paying directly for advertising. Oh, and this is a marketing discipline that loves acronyms:

  • SERP — search engine results page
  • CTR — click-through rate
  • CTA — Call to Action
  • CRO — conversion rate optimization
  • UX — user experience

What “SEO” means in summary:

SEO is abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization. This is a set of strategies and tactics that aim to increase search engine traffic to your pages and improve the ranking of your website in the results pages of research.

Support Why Should You Worry About SEO (Hint: It’s Free Traffic to Your Site)

Searches show that websites on the first page of Google receive the majority of clicks. The number of people who click on a website (CTR) in Google decreases steadily as you go down the page they rank.

CTR Study

If you get your SEO right (we’ll see this in a minute), your organic traffic can grow over time , while paid advertising needs continuous funding.

And considering that search engines generate 93% of your website’s total traffic, this represents a lot of potential visits to your site.

Every day, Google becomes more and more Intelligent and advanced. But he still needs help.

Understanding SEO and optimization of your site will help you give search engines the information they need, so you can get the results you want.

SEO is responsible for 93% of the total website traffic! But what does #SEO mean? Where do I start to optimize and classify your site faster? Get our detailed guide with practical tips! 📈 Click to Tweet What’s a plug?

SEO is constantly evolving.

As search engines become more advanced and algorithms change, some tactics stop working and new tactics appear.

But one thing remains: SEO is one of the best sources of long-term traffic. It can be a difficult job and you may not get out of it much overnight, but it is an investment.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Some initial work may be paid for organic traffic later on the line.

SEO Improvement Chart

While paid advertising, social media, and other paid channels can get traffic to your site instantly, if you stop paying traffic stops too. SEO, on the other hand, can be a continuous source of traffic.

Search engine basics (and how to think about SEO)

Search engines are designed to find information and provide answers.

When it comes to how it approaches the search, Google looks at millions of web pages to find the most relevant information for users.

Google SEO Tips

How to think about SEO

Knowing that Google wants to provide the best responses to a user’s query, there are three rules that we can keep in mind when we approach SEO:

  • Rule 1: Google is used to answer people’s questions.
  • Rule 2: Google knows more than we and SEO experts.
  • Rule 3: Google wants answers and not ranking rounds.

So what do you need to do to classify your site?

Answer questions better than anyone on the Internet. Try not to complicate things too much. And do not try to trap Google with often short-term tactics.

You see, SEO is quite simple.)

7 Basic SEO Principles for Beginners

Hopefully you start seeing now that SEO is not so complicated.

Actually, it’s pretty simple. Well, at least the basics are.

Getting some SEO fundamentals in place can make a BIG difference in the ranking of your site. After all, most people who manage sites are not SEO experts.

By just doing a few little things fine, you’ll be on the right way for Google to send you traffic in a short time.

Is that right for you? It’s gone. Let’s go.

1. Use a user-friendly CMS for search engines (like WordPress)

First and foremost, if your site is not searchable by Google, it will not be indexed and it will not be classified.

What exactly does this mean?

Google uses automated robots (or robots) to find websites, index their content and classify them. So if your site is not accessible to these robots, your site does will not find its path in the index.

If your site is not indexed, it means that Google is not going to classify your site. And if you want Google to explore and index your site (and why not you), there are a few things you need to set up right from the start.

Enter: Technical SEO .

Don’t be discouraged by that. Technical SEO is to ensure that your site loads properly and is visible to Google. Technical requirements are changing, but the need to keep your website accessible to Google crawlers will always remain relevant.

Using WordPress as a CMS is like giving you a step ahead when it comes to creating a user-friendly website for search engines. There are some SEO plugins that do the heavy work for you, so you don’t have to worry about breaking anything.

Here are some things essential that you can do in WordPress to help your site be browsed and indexed:

Create an XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the pages of your website and looks like this:

XML Sitemap

Your sitemap is usually located on yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.

If you use a plugin like Yoast (as in the example above), creating a sitemap is simple.

Install the Yoast SEO plugin. Go to General and then, on the tab at the top of the page, select Features . From there, you can enable XML sitemaps and save the changes.

XML Sitemaps in the Yoast plugin

All you have to do is submit this sitemap to the Google Search Console. If you haven’t already configured and verified it, this guide explains how the do.

Generate a Robots.txt file

Robots.txt is a text file that tells search engines where they can and cannot go into your site. It will look like this:

Sample Robots.txt File

Just like the sitemap, the Yoast plugin can generate a robots.txt file.

In the Yoast plugin, go to Tools > File Editor and you will see a button to “Create robots.txt File”.

Although it is a simple text file, not installing it properly can seriously affect the indexing of your site. So it is worth reading this guide of the WordPress robots.txt.

Uncheck the “Ask search engines not to index this site” checkbox.

It’s a simple, but can really work against your SEO efforts. It’s just a simple checkbox that prevents search engines from indexing your site.

This is usually used when a site is being developed to prevent it from appearing in Google before it is finished. To find it, go to Settings > Play and scroll down and you will see it:

WordPress Indexing Settings

2. Make sure your site is running on mobile (Aka Responsive Design)

In November 2016, Google announced its first mobile-first index. This essentially means that Google will first look at the appearance of your website on mobile, before indexing and ranking it.

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Subscribe It’s harder to think of someone who doesn’t have a smartphone than someone who has one. So it’s not surprising to learn that more than 51% of mobile users have found a new business or product by searching on their mobile.

According to this study, 52.2% of global website traffic was generated by mobile phones in 2018:

Mobile Traffic in 2018 (Image source: Statista.com)

Since 2009, this has steadily increased every year. In addition, according to Google, there are 27.8 billion additional requests made on mobile compared to the desktop.

Do you still need to be convinced? Here are other reasons why you need a website that works on mobile:

  • Ease of use of the site — You want people to be able to move around your site. And Google too. Responsive web design allows people to move easily, which improves the user experience and allows it to spend a good time on the site. It is also one of the best practices when it comes to website design.
  • Page Speed — You want your site to load quickly (more information about it later).
  • Bounce Rate — How fast do people leave your site because it doesn’t work properly on mobile? This is not something you want for your users (or for Google).

Traffic Comparison for WordPress Sites: Desktop vs Mobile vs Everything Else

Mobile must be one of your highest priorities, for sure. But what about you really need to focus and refine is how your customers engage with your website (read: how they buy and subscribe). In our study of 13 billion log entries for WordPress sites, we found out:

  • 3.395 billion requests from desktops
  • 3.1 billion requests for mobile services
  • 1.5 billion queries came from everything else, such as API calls, search engines, robots, etc.

Desktop vs Mobile vs Everything Else (click to enlarge)

What is the lesson you should learn here?

Look at Google Analytics data and check where exactly your important goals are achieved. Don’t neglect your users simply by doing SEO relying on news that you read on a few blogs saying SEO traffic is now all about being mobile.

3. Obtain an SSL certificate

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are small files installed on a Web server that serve as a security measure for websites.

Once installed, they will switch your site from HTTP to HTTPS and activate a padlock symbol in the browser:

SSL over Chrome

This is a very simplistic overview of how SSL works. What is important to know for SEO is that having a secure site is actually a ranking factor.

In fact, studies have shown a positive link between HTTPS and top rankings:

Using HTTPS (Image Source: Backlinko.com)

Google, and several other major browsers, had already revealed that they would decrease support for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1. Specifically, they will display an ERR_SSL_OBSOLETE_VERSION warning indicating an “insecure” connection.

4. Make sure you have fast and reliable hosting

Choosing the right (see fast and reliable) web hosting can have a big impact on your SEO.

Have you ever visited a website that takes time to load? Be honest, have you waited or you left?

The loading time of your website is an important ranking factor because no one wants to wait forever to load a web page. Chances are that if you find yourself in such a situation, you press the back button and go elsewhere.

Google knows people do that.

Hosting plays a huge role in the speed of loading pages. You need to choose a hosting provider that can offer good speeds if you care about SEO.

There are a few factors to consider when the choice of accommodation. Things like: uptime (and minimization of downtime), responsive support, security and backups. All these considerations are important to consider for the SEO health of your site.

In summary: choose a host that is always good.

5. Get links from other (relevant) sites

A link (or backlink) is an HTML hyperlink pointing from one site to another. These are important factors for SEO.

Studies have shown that pages with more backlinks (or better backlinks) tend to be ranked better than pages with fewer backlinks:

Backlinks and SEO (Image source: Backlinko.com)

Search engines use links:

  • To find new web pages.
  • To help decide how pages should be classified.

Search engines use these links to browse the Web. They will browse the links on the pages of your site pointing to the other pages of your site (internal links) and they will browse the links (backlinks) pointing to other sites.

Consider them as trusted votes from other sites. But not all ties are equal. It is better to have some links from good sites that are relevant to yours, than irrelevant links just for fun.

Linking is a great topic in SEO. To avoid getting out of the topic, here are some linkage tactics that you can use:

  • Guest Blogs — find sites in your industry, write an article for them and send it back to your site.
  • Build broken links — find 404 pages, inform the webmaster and ask them to point them to your site (if your replacement link/replacement page matches the broken site content).
  • Unlinked mention — find where people have talked about you online, but who are not related to you and just ask for a link.
  • Steal your competitors — find the links of your competitors… and steal them.
  • Reuse content — turn this blog post into video and vice versa.

6. Write content that people want to read

You can’t talk about anything related to SEO without talking about the importance of high-quality content.

The phrase “content is king” has been forgotten, but the point is important: the right content counts.

There is no secret sauce here either, the right content is just the content that people want to read. Of course, there are some essential elements of content marketing to keep in mind like the budget, tools and promotion, but you can’t do without having content that people want to read.

Anything else?

Well yes, once you know what to write (thanks to some good old keyword searches), there are a few things you can do to improve your content for SEO:

  • Improve readability — most people read content on the web, so make sure to separate your content with subtitles and bulleted lists to make sure people aren’t frightened by a massive wall of text.
  • Use images — likewise, include visuals like screenshots, GIFs, and images to improve your content.
  • Go further — longer content may not always be the right choice, but when it comes to content length, longer articles are usually more in-depth and will therefore be better classified.
  • Use facts — if you state a fact or use a statistic to illustrate a point, link to a study that supports it.
  • Remember featured snippets — with just a few changes to your content, you can get a boost in traffic if you get content in featured snippets.

It’s good to create always fresh content. But if you can’t optimize it, you could leave valuable rankings on the table.

7. Optimize your pages (for organic traffic)

Just having content on your site is not enough. You need to optimize it to appear in Google for the desired keywords.

Each page must have a “main keyword” for which it is optimized. This does not mean that it can only rank for this, in fact, a page can rank for several terms. But for keep things simple, you want to structure your optimizations on the page around a single keyword.

Let’s look at some key elements of optimization:

Title Tags

Title tags are one of the main ways for Google to understand the topic of your page. You need to make sure that the main keyword you want to rank for is in the title tag.

It should also be noted that the title tag is not the title you see on the page. These are often H1 or H2 tags. Although they may be similar or contain the same keywords, these are two different elements.

If you use Chrome as your browser, there is a very simple way to see the title of the page you are on.

Just hover your mouse over the tab and a small greyed box will appear for this page:

Page Title vs H1 in

Chrome Keep in mind the length when writing your title tags. What Google will display varies, but a good rule is to aim for 55-60 characters or 600 pixels.

(Pssst! You can use this handy preview tool in SERPs to make sure your title tags are not too long.)

You want to get your main keyword in the title, but in a natural way. Your title tag is often the first thing people will see in the results page to search for a keyword. So make a good impression and make them want to click and learn more about your site.

Meta description

If the title tag is the title of your page, the meta description is the summary of a line that prompts people to read.

Meta-descriptions are another HTML element that cannot be seen on your current pages. Here is a concrete example:

Meta-description in Serps

Sometimes Google chooses not to display your meta-description and will generate its own for you. But this does not mean that you should not bother writing them.

Writing a good meta-description can help you make sure that people actually click and visit your website. Remember: the appearance in SERPs is only the first step. You should always get them to visit your site.

URL

When it comes to SEO, there are two main things to keep in mind with URLs:

  • Rankings — URLs are a small ranking factor. So ideally, you need to put the main keyword for which you want to classify in the URL.
  • User Experience — A good URL should be easy to understand for search engines and real people. Consider this: can you tell what this is about about on the page by the URL alone?

URL structure for SEO

Just looking at this URL, we can say that the page is probably about men’s skate shoes.

And now, what? (Summary)

Well, now you know what SEO means, how it works, and how you can leverage it to grow your website.

Let’s quickly see what you need to do to classify your site:

  • Use a user-friendly CMS for search engines (like WordPress).
  • Make sure your site is running on mobile (also called responsive design).
  • Obtain an SSL certificate.
  • Make sure you have fast and reliable hosting.
  • Get links from other (relevant) sites.
  • Write content that people want to read.
  • Optimize your pages (for organic traffic).

All you have to do is optimize your site. Getting Google to send you traffic is a continuous process, not a one-time process.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

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