Welcome to Part 1 of our SEO Marketing guide for beginners, we are going to look at some key basics for long term success.
As you might have seen in our article “What is SEO Marketing?”, we defined white hat and black hat SEO. We will be looking at white hat SEO which abides by rules provided from search engine giants like Google.
As SEO is all about search engines, let’s first look at how we can make their job easier.
Working alongside Search Engines
Previously, we explained that search engines crawl and index webpages in order to rank them in search results.
As these search engine robots go hunting on your page, it is important to make their journey easy and remove roadblocks they might experience.
One way to do that is to give them a map – a sitemap, to be exact. A sitemap provides the URLs within your website which you want to be crawled. This can be done through Google Search Console – we’ll visit this later in tools!
Links are the highways by which search engines travel across websites, so having correct and accurate URLs are essential. We’ll look at 2 common issues and how to fix them now:
- Duplicate webpages: You may generate duplicate pages when republishing content, this can confuse search engines and they do not know which one to index. They can’t automatically tell which one you prefer. This is where a canonical tag comes into play.
- 404 Error: You have probably experienced the annoying “Page Not Found” error while browsing the web. This is also annoying for search engines. Be sure to employ 301 redirects to avoid such errors.
As we know links allow search engines to move across your website, they need to be organized in a proper fashion, not a senseless maze. Thus, in addition to a sitemap, you’ll need to ensure proper navigation where your webpages are interlinked to a primary page.
The Right Keywords
In addition to links, search engines use words on your page’s content to understand what the topic matter is about. Based on keywords, they can sort and index sites into the right categories.
In order to be considered worthy of being shown on search engine results pages, a webpage needs to have the right amount and combination of keywords related to the topic at hand.
More is not always better here! Avoid black hat tactics like keyword stuffing and hiding keywords in areas which page visitors can’t see.
Effective keyword usage boosts a factor known as relevance. Building relevance involves proper keyword research and utilization as well as having the right links with related websites (more on that in a moment).
There are a number of tools to help you understand the most important keywords related to your website or article topics, check out our SEO tools article.
We just mentioned that building links with relevant pages helps to build up relevance for your domain; it signals to search engines what kind of website you have.
In addition to navigation and relevance, links have another essential function.
Links leading to your website, otherwise known as backlinks, provide evidence that your site is of high quality and worth referring to. This gives your site domain authority and is a big part of how engines like Google rank pages.
Not all backlinks are created equal of course, and backlinks from sites with high domain authority hold a lot more weight. The inverse is true too – if you’re getting a lot of links from spam websites, it can affect your domain authority negatively. Thus, banklinks must be formed with thought.
Always keep an eye open for backlinking opportunities! Whether through networking on social media or guest blogging for related businesses, building backlinks is key to building up an online presence for your content.
To Be Continued…
We’re not done yet, in Part 2, we discuss how to present content on webpages as well as how SEO plays into the user experience on your site.