What is SEO Optimization?
This guide will be an introduction to an overview of SEO optimization, a hugely important tactic for driving traffic to your site.
In this guide you’ll learn:
- SEO Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices
- On-Page SEO Optimization Best Practices
- Off-Page SEO Optimization Best Practices
- Technical SEO Optimization Best Practices
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing web pages and their content to be easily discoverable by users searching for terms relevant to your website. The term SEO also describes the process of making web pages easier for search engine indexing software, known as “crawlers,” to find, scan, and index your site. Check out the in-depth analysis of what SEO is.
Let’s get started!
SEO Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices
The first step in search engine optimization is to determine what you’re actually optimizing for. This means identifying terms people are searching for, also known as “keywords,” that you want your website to rank for in search engines like Google.
For instance, you may want your widget company to show up when people look for “widgets,” and maybe when they type in things like “buy widgets.” The figure below shows search volume, or the estimated number of searches for a specific term, over a period of time:
There are several key factors to take into account when determining the keywords you want to target on your site:
- Search Volume – The first factor to consider is how many people are actually searching for a given keyword. The more people there are searching for a keyword, the bigger the potential audience you stand to reach. Conversely, if no one is searching for a keyword, there is no audience available to find your content through search.
- Relevance – A term may be frequently searched for, but that does not necessarily mean that it is relevant to your prospects. Keyword relevance, or the connection between content on a site and the user’s search query, is a crucial ranking signal.
- Competition – Keywords with higher search volume can drive significant amounts of traffic, but competition for premium positioning in the search engine results pages can be intense.
First you need to understand who your prospective customers are and what they’re likely to search for. From there you need to understand:
- What types of things are they interested in?
- What problems do they have?
- What type of language do they use to describe the things that they do, the tools that they use, etc.?
- Who else are they buying things from?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have an initial “seed list” of possible keywords and domains to help you find additional keyword ideas and to put some search volume and competition metrics around.
Take the list of core ways that your prospects and customers describe what you do, and start to input those into keyword tools like Google’s own keyword planner for better SEO Optimization.
On-Page SEO Optimization
On Page SEO Optimization is actually what you do on your website to make it score higher on SERPs. And the perfect score is the accumulative aggregate of various factors and benchmarks.
Check out our detailed guide for more.
Off-Page SEO Optimization
Off Page SEO Optimization refers to optimization activities you can do outside the boundaries of your website. Anything taking place outside of your website and contributing to your ranking is considered off-site SEO: social media marketing, influencer marketing, mentions (direct or indirect), guest blogging (sometimes black-hat), so on, so forth.
Technical SEO Optimization
Technical SEO refers to website and server optimizations that help search engine spiders crawl and index your site more effectively. This helps improve organic rankings.
Search engines give preferential treatment in search results to websites that display certain technical characteristics — for example a secure connection, a responsive design or a fast loading time — and technical SEO is the work you need to do to ensure your website does so.
Technical SEO is what allows search engines like Google and Bing to know that you have a website of high value. This is important because it can prompt the search engines to rank you higher.
Search Engine Optimization is ever-evolving. Likewise, the tips and tricks of the trade. It is, and will forever be, a learning curve.
Big players in the search engines game are constantly aiming at being the best in the business. They will constantly and frequently update developers of changes to the existing algorithms.
There are rules and best practices, but the core of SEO is about figuring out what works for your site or client and then changing it when it stops working.