Back in mid-November, Moz started a campaign to rewrite most of its content: the Beginner’s Guide to SEO. He offered a wealth of helpful tips and ideas regarding his outline, and we’re here today to share his first chapter with you.
In many ways, the Beginner’s Guide to SEO belongs to each and every member of the community; It is important that we do it well, for our own good. So without further ado, here is the first chapter — let’s dive in!
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Chapter 1: SEO 101
What is it and why is it important?
Welcome! We are excited that you are here!
If you already have a solid understanding of SEO and why it is important, you can skip to Chapter 2 (although we would still recommend looking at Google and Bing best practices at the end of this chapter; they are helpful for remembering important things).
For everyone else, this chapter will help you build your foundational SEO knowledge and confidence as you go along.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” . It is the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as your brand exposure, through unpaid (also known as “organic”) search engine results.
Despite the acronym, SEO is as much about people as it is about search engines. It’s about understanding what people are looking for online, the answers they are looking for, the words they use, and the type of content they want to consume. Taking advantage of this data will allow you to provide high-quality content that your visitors will really value.
Here is an example. Frankie & Jo’s (a Seattle-based vegan gluten-free ice cream parlor) has heard of SEO and wants help improving how and how often they appear in organic search results. To help them, they must first understand their potential customers:
What types of ice cream, desserts, sandwiches, etc. are people looking for?
Who is looking for these terms?
- When do you look for ice cream, sandwiches, desserts, etc.?
- Are there seasonal trends throughout the year?
- How are people looking for ice cream?
- What words do they use?
- What questions do they ask?
- Are more searches being done on mobile devices?
- Why do people search for ice cream?
- Are people looking specifically for health-conscious ice cream or are they just looking to satisfy a craving?
- Where are potential customers located: locally, nationally or internationally?
And finally, here’s the kicker: how can you help provide the best ice cream content to cultivate a community and fulfill what all of those people are looking for?
Search engine basics
Search engines are response machines. They search for billions of pieces of content and evaluate thousands of factors to determine which content is most likely to answer your query.
Search engines do all this by discovering and cataloging all the content available on the Internet (web pages, PDF files, images, videos, etc.) through a process known as “crawl and indexing.”
What are “organic” search engine results?
Organic search results are search results that are not paid (i.e. no advertising). These are the results that you can influence through effective SEO. Traditionally, these were the familiar “10 blue links”.
Today’s search engine results pages, often referred to as “SERPs,” are packed with advertising and more dynamic organic result formats (called “SERP functions”) that we’ve never seen before. Some examples of SERP features are Featured Snippets (or Reply Boxes), People Also Ask boxes, Image Carousels, etc. New SERP features continue to emerge, driven largely by what people search for.
For example, if you search for “Denver weather,” you will see a weather forecast for the city of Denver directly in the SERP instead of a link to a site that might have that forecast. And if you search for “Denver pizza,” you’ll see a “local package” result consisting of Denver pizzerias. Convenient, right?
It is important to remember that search engines make money from advertising. Their goal is to better resolve search engine queries (within SERPs), to keep search engines coming back, and to keep them in SERPs for longer.
Some SERP features on Google are organic and can be influenced by SEO. These include featured snippets (a promoted organic result that displays an answer within a box) and related questions (aka “People are asking too”).
It’s worth noting that there are many other search features that, while not paid advertising, typically cannot be influenced by SEO. These features often have data acquired from proprietary data sources, such as Wikipedia, WebMD, and IMDb.
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Why SEO is important
While paid advertising, social media, and other online platforms can drive traffic to websites, the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines.
Organic search results cover more digital real estate, appear more credible to savvy search engines, and receive far more clicks than paid ads. For example, of all searches in the US, only ~ 2.8% of people click on paid ads.
Bottom line: SEO has ~ 20 times more traffic opportunities than PPC on both mobile and desktop.
SEO is also one of the only online marketing channels that, when set up correctly, can continue to pay dividends over time. If you provide a solid piece of content that deserves to be ranked for the right keywords, your traffic can increase over time, while advertising needs ongoing funding to drive traffic to your site.
Search engines are getting smarter, but they still need our help.
Optimizing your site will help you deliver better information to search engines so that your content can be correctly indexed and displayed within search results.
Should you hire an SEO professional, consultant or agency?
Depending on your bandwidth, willingness to learn, and the complexity of your website (s), you can do some basic SEO yourself. Or, you may find that you would prefer the help of an expert. Either way is fine!
If you end up seeking help from experts, it is important to know that many agencies and consultants “provide SEO services,” but that they can vary widely in quality. Knowing how to choose a good SEO company can save you a lot of time and money, as wrong SEO techniques can actually harm your site more than they will help you.
White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO
“White Hat SEO” refers to SEO techniques, best practices, and strategies that are governed by the search engine rule, your primary focus on delivering more value to people.
“Black hat SEO” refers to techniques and strategies that try to spam / fool search engines. While black hat SEO can work, it puts websites at tremendous risk of being penalized and / or de-indexed (removed from search results) and has ethical implications.
Penalized websites have ruined businesses. It’s just another reason to be very careful when choosing an SEO expert or agency.
Search engines share similar goals with the SEO industry
Search engines want to help you be successful. They are actually very supportive of the SEO community’s efforts. Digital marketing conferences such as Unbounce, MNsearch, SearchLove, and Moz’s own MozCon regularly attract engineers and representatives from major search engines.
Google helps webmasters and SEO through its Webmaster Central Help Forum and by hosting live office hour hangouts. (Bing, sadly, closed its webmaster forums in 2014).
While webmaster guidelines vary from search engine to search engine, the underlying principles are the same: don’t try to fool the search engines. Instead, give your visitors a great online experience.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Don’t fool your users.
- Avoid tricks designed to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is if you would be comfortable explaining what you did to a website to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask: “Does this help my users? Would I do it if search engines didn’t exist? “
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or attractive.
Things to avoid:
- Automatically generated content
- Participate in link schemes
- Create pages with little or no original content (i.e. copied from elsewhere)
- Cloaking: the practice of showing search engine crawlers different content than visitors.
- Hidden text and hidden links
- Doorway Pages — Pages built to rank well for specific searches to funnel traffic to your website.
Bing Webmaster Guidelines
- Provides clear, deep, engaging, and easy-to-find content on your site.
- Keep page titles clear and relevant.
- Links are considered a sign of popularity and Bing bounty links that have grown organically.
- Social influence and social actions are positive signals and can have an impact on the organic ranking in the long term.
- Page speed is important, along with a positive and helpful user experience.
- Use alt attributes to describe images so that Bing can better understand the content.
Things to avoid:
- Poor content, pages that primarily show ads or affiliate links, or redirect visitors to other sites will not rank well.
- Abusive linking tactics that are intended to inflate the number and nature of inbound links, such as buying links and participating in link schemes, can lead to de-indexing.
- Make sure there are clean, concise, and inclusive URL structures for keywords. Dynamic parameters can mess up your URLs and cause duplicate content problems.
- Keep your URLs descriptive, short, keyword-rich when possible, and avoid characters other than letters.
- Duplicate content
- Keyword stuffing
- Cloaking: the practice of showing search engine crawlers different content than visitors.
Guidelines for representing your local business on Google
These guidelines govern the dos and don’ts of creating and managing your Google My Business listing (s).
- Make sure you are eligible for inclusion in the Google My Business index; You must have a physical address, even if it is your home address, and you must serve customers face-to-face, either at your location (like a retail store) or theirs (like a plumber)
- Honestly and accurately, it represents all aspects of your local business data, including your name, address, phone number, website address, business categories, hours of operation, and other characteristics.
Things to avoid
- Creation of Google My Business listings for entities that are not eligible
- Misrepresentation of any of your primary business information, including “stuffing” your business name with geographic or service keywords, or creating false address listings
- Use of PO boxes or virtual offices instead of authentic addresses
- Abuse of the review portion of the Google My Business listing, through false positive comments from your company or false negatives from your competitors
- Costly beginner mistakes stemming from not reading the details of Google’s guidelines
Fulfilling the user’s intention
Understanding and fulfilling the user’s intention is essential. When a person searches for something, he has a desired result. Whether it’s a reply, concert tickets or a photo of a cat, that desired content is your “user intent.”
If a person does a search for “bands,” are they intending to find musical bands, wedding bands, band saws, or something else?
Your job as SEO is to quickly provide users with the content they want in the format they want it in.
Common types of user intent:
- Informational: looking for information. Example: “How old is Issa Rae?”
- Navigation: searching for a specific website. Example: “HBOGO insecure”
- Transactional: looking to buy something. Example: “where to buy”
You can get an idea of the user’s intent by Googling the desired keywords and evaluating the current SERP. For example, if there is a photo carousel, people searching for that keyword are most likely looking for photos.
Also evaluate what content your high ranking competitors provide that you have not yet provided. How can you increase the value of your website 10 times?
Providing high-quality and relevant content on your website will help you rank higher in search results and, more importantly, give your online audience credibility and trust.
Before you do any of that, you must first understand your website goals to execute a strategic SEO plan.
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Know the objectives of your website / client
Every website is different, so take the time to really understand the business goals of a specific site. Not only will this help you determine which areas of SEO to focus on, where to track conversions, and how to set benchmarks, but it will also help you create talking points for negotiating SEO projects with clients, bosses, etc. .
What will be your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the return on investment in SEO? More simply, what is your barometer for measuring the success of your organic search efforts? You’ll want it to be documented, even if it’s that simple:
For the ________________________ website, my top SEO KPI is _______________.
Here are some common KPIs to get you started:
- Email subscriptions
- Contact forms
- Phone calls
And if your business has a local component, you will also want to define KPIs for your Google My Business lists. These may include:
- Clicks to call
- Clicks to the website
Notice how “Traffic” and “Rating” are not on the above lists? This is because, for most websites, correctly ranking keywords and increasing traffic won’t matter if the new traffic doesn’t convert (to help you meet your site KPI goals).
You don’t want to send 1,000 people to your website per month and only have 3 people converted (to customers). You want to send 300 people to your site per month and convert for 40 people.
This guide will help you become more data-driven in your SEO efforts. Instead of haphazardly throwing arrows all over the place (and getting lucky every now and then), you’ll put more wood behind fewer arrows.
Take a bow (and some coffee); let’s dive into Chapter 2 (crawlers and indexing).
Welcome to your SEO learning journey!
You will get the most out of this guide if your desire to learn search engine optimization (SEO) is overwhelmed only by your willingness to execute and test concepts.
This guide is designed to describe all the major aspects of SEO, from finding the terms and phrases (keywords) that can drive qualified traffic to your website, making your site search engine friendly, building links, and marketing the unique value of your site. .
The world of search engine optimization is complex and constantly changing, but you can easily understand the basics, and even a small amount of SEO knowledge can make a big difference. At Amarte Agency we SPECIALIZE in offering quality and free education including everything related to SEO. We offer you widely everything you need, even in guides like this one! (Woohoo!)
Combine this information with some practice and you are well on your way to becoming an SEO expert.
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
Have you heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? It is a theory of psychology that prioritizes the most fundamental human needs (such as air, water, and physical security) over the more advanced needs (such as esteem and social belonging). The theory is that you cannot meet the needs of the top without ensuring that the most fundamental needs are met first. Love doesn’t matter if you don’t have food.
At Amarte Agency we chose to use a similar pyramid to explain how people should do SEO, and we have affectionately called it “ Moz low’s hierarchy of SEO needs .”
This is what it looks like:
As you can see, the foundation of good SEO starts with ensuring crawl accessibility and works from there.
With this beginner’s guide, we can follow these seven steps to achieve successful SEO:
- Tracking accessibility so that engines can read your website
- Attractive content that responds to the search engine’s query
- Keyword optimized to attract search engines and engines
- Great user experience including fast loading speed and compelling user experience
- Sharable content that gets links, quotes, and amplification
- Title, URL and description to get a high CTR in the rankings
- Snippet / outline markup to stand out in SERPs
Are you okay with PPC and not sure where or how search engine optimization fits into the digital marketing mix? Better yet, do you need to add both pay-per-click and SEO to your overall marketing plan? Looking at the two, it’s understandable why it can seem confusing. In fact, with as many acronyms floating around the realm of digital marketing — PPC, SEO, SMM, SERP, Guest blogging and etc., it almost sounds like we’re coming up with a bowl of alphabet soup — hot, steamy, and broth-filled. . However, from a marketing perspective, those noodles are actually two sides of the same plan.
Pay-per-click advertising or other forms of paid advertising are essential for any brand looking to capture the necessary attention and traffic, whether on its website or in its physical location. And with a reported 9.97 billion Google searches in the United States in July 2019 alone, it’s easy to see why having a proper digital marketing plan is important. While paid advertising certainly fills up some admirable shoes, SEO is also essential in boosting your brand and increasing your authority in the industry, and even generating more leads, but sometimes the ‘why’ behind it gets a bit fuzzy. So, let’s dive in and clear the way.
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What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO as it is more commonly known, is the practice of increasing your brand’s online presence through organic search engine results. SEO also helps you increase the quality and quantity of your website visitors, which brings more visitors, more leads, and more customers to your business.
SEO is based, in part, on the keywords your audience searches for. So keywords are part of SEO, but so are meta tags, title tags, headings, link building, and alternate image attributes. It makes content creation sound like a lot of technical work, but it’s easier than you think. A key component is having quality content that speaks to your audience and anticipates their needs and questions.
SEO content has come a long way from where it started and today’s optimized content is designed to be educational read, but conversational tone, depending on your audience. If your audience likes visual content or video content, you need to optimize your YouTube channel or website to better engage your audience. In fact, SEO efforts today should flow smoothly into your content. The days of keyword and link stuffing are over and search engines and audiences are responding better than ever to the quality of your content. This brings us to our next concern — white hat versus black hat SEO.
Does the Hat Matter?
Be careful with the phone! What do hats have to do with SEO? Quite a bit, actually. SEO is grouped into two different types of hats — black hat and white hat. Knowing the difference is important to the success of your digital marketing.
There was a time when marketers increased the density of keywords in their content or the number of links attached. Other less palatable marketing methods have also been employed, giving content marketing and other types of digital marketing a bad name. At the time, these tactics initially helped increase page rankings, but didn’t do much to increase leads and conversion. Today, these methods are discredited, but they are not non-existent. Two forms of black hat SEO, keyword or link stuffing, can lead to search engines penalizing you today and blessing your website with negative rankings. Or worse yet, your website could even risk being banned by search engines. Therefore, it is important to do your SEO well.
As mentioned above, black hat SEO methods are still available and involve the use of means that attempt to “fool” search engine spiders by violating search engine terms of service. All this and for what? To improve your ranking on search engine results pages. You see, Black Hat SEO optimizes your website and content specifically for search engines, not your audience. The problem is, search engine algorithms are always changing and once web crawlers flipping through your published content discover black hat SEO, your content rankings will be penalized or your website and its content are at risk of being prohibited. It is much better to go for white hat SEO.
White hat SEO, on the other hand, uses different techniques to optimize your website and its content. Rather than focusing on optimizing your content for search engines, White Hat SEO focuses on your audience, which is what you should be optimizing for anyway. White hat SEO is also considered the most ethical approach to SEO and includes methods like link building and sharing, keyword usage, parsing, title and meta tags, and more. When you focus on your audience and what they are looking for, and provide high-quality, valued content to meet their needs, you are on your way to SEO success.
SEO or PPC?
What should you invest in — SEO or PPC — to get the most bang for your buck in digital marketing? The answer is both. This is the question. SEO and PPC are two different sides of the same team. In other words, they serve two different but important marketing functions.
Paid marketing and SEO serve two very different audiences. PPC is aimed at your ‘unbranded’ audience. You can think of this group as those people who would likely buy your product or service if they only knew you exist. SEO, on the other hand, targets your “branded” audience. These are the people who have an existing relationship of some kind with your brand. They are familiar with the brand. Maybe they have tried your products and services already. Or, maybe they are existing, repeat customers. So to get the most attention, you need a mix of both SEO and PPC or you risk missing out on the combination of traffic and leads that each group brings to the table.
There is no doubt that SEO plays a vital role in digital marketing. The only question is finding the right SEO for your business needs. An experienced SEO professional can assess your business needs to recommend the best SEO methods to help you achieve your goals. This is not something you should attempt on your own or hand over to someone with little or no SEO knowledge. The best results are obtained through the use of experts in the industry. So are you ready to put on that white hat and reach new heights of digital marketing?
From Posicionamiento Web Systems we want to present you this easy guide to understand organic SEO . With the help of the infographic that we show you at the end of the text, we will explain what it is and why it is convenient for you to invest in natural positioning strategies instead of using artificial practices on your website. We know that you are interested in knowing more about the subject, especially if you are just taking your first steps into this world, so we invite you to continue reading this post.
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What is SEO?
Web positioning is the place that a site occupies within the results of a search engine when a user performs a search through it. The higher you are in the ranking, the more likely that the site will receive a new visit. But what is SEO? To get to the first places, a set of optimization techniques are applied that help improve visibility. These methodologies are what we know as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The goals of applying SEO techniques on the website include increasing the number of quality visitors through search engines. These users will arrive through the search for specific keywords that we have defined for our site in general and for each of the pages that comprise it.
By improving the visibility of the web you have a better chance of getting those visits. In fact, studies confirm that 9 out of 10 clicks to a site occur on the first page of search engine results. So the goal of SEO strategies is to get there.
To do this, you have to understand that search engines update their algorithms from time to time, which are the criteria that they evaluate when crawling, indexing and positioning a website. There are more than 100 factors that are taken into account and these vary; however, there are a set of key SEO factors that you can guide yourself with.
Basic concepts to understand SEO
Search engine optimization is a complex process. Therefore, it is necessary to understand a series of concepts that are part of this work. Some we have already mentioned throughout the post.
- Search engines . They are also known as search engines and they are the ones that locate and order content on the Internet. They show the information according to the search terms used by the users.
- Ranking . It is the place that a page occupies in the SERP.
- SERP . Refers to the search engine results page. In English: Search Engine Results Pages.
- Keywords . It is the English term for keywords. They are the terms that you use to optimize each of the pages of your website, through which you want to generate traffic.
- Algorithm . It is the formula or set of rules that search engines apply to qualify a page.
- Authority . It is about the importance that the search engine gives to a page.
- Backlink . Inbound links from an external site to a page.
- Link building . It is a practice through which links are obtained to increase authority and improve web positioning.
- Sitemap . The sitemap is a file that includes all the pages of a site. This makes it easier for search engine robots to crawl and index them.
- Robot.txt . It is a file in which the robots are told which pages you want to be indexed and which ones not.
What is not organic SEO?
Businesses do their best to get to the top of the results pages. For this they sometimes resort to practices that are not well seen by the search engine or to certain payment strategies.
Positioning in Google is achieved organically. But you could also appear on the first page of results if you use payment notifications with Google AdWords . At this point we must differentiate SEO from SEM (Search Engine Marketing) which is advertising positioning.
There is artificial SEO that promises fast but unrealistic and unsustainable results over time. Its goal is to manipulate search engine results and trick the algorithm into ranking it among the top sites. These are risky methodologies because, although they may work in the short term, they go against Google’s guidelines . So they can result in penalties that will later cost even more work to get rid of.
What Black Hat SEO Tactics Should You Avoid?
To stay on the good side of SEO you need to meet certain quality criteria and avoid those practices that will only damage the reputation of your site. Among them we mention the following:
- Do not use duplicate content within your site, even if it is your own. The moment Google detects multiple pages with the same content, you will earn a penalty.
- Showing search engines a different version of the site than what users see is also considered black hat SEO.
- All the content that you publish on the site must be of quality. Your post must give an accurate answer to the user’s search, if it has little value it will not be good for your positioning.
- Promote the site through paid links. And spamming forums or blogs leaving little valuable comments or just a link to the web is also considered a wrong practice and prone to penalties.
- Avoid exchanging links and paying to post on other blogs with links to your site.
- Dispense with the excessive use of keywords or keyword stuffing . The density of keywords should not be greater than 3% of the total text, you can also use variations so as not to always repeat them.
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Organic SEO ensures long-lasting results
Applying the methods we mentioned before can give you short-term results, but once the search engine’s algorithm detects them, it will no longer be of any use to you. Instead, you will have to start working a lot harder to make up for lost time and reputation.
Instead, organic SEO requires careful work, done by people who are knowledgeable on the subject and which will pay off in the end by search engines. Unlike artificial SEO it is safe and you do not run the risk of receiving penalties if it is done well. Also, the results will be maintained over time.
Another characteristic of organic SEO is that it offers valuable content not only designed for search engines, but also for the user. And this makes the publications of higher quality, supporting web positioning.
Easy guide to understanding organic SEO
At this point we already understand that SEO is the optimization techniques that we apply to make a web page indexed. And not only this but it appears in the first places of the search engine results. For this to happen, robots from Google or other engines comply with three steps: crawling, indexing and publishing .
By appearing in the first places of the SERP we give more visibility to the web. And with this we support the marketing strategy. The ultimate goal, then, is to get higher conversions.
Ranking on the results page depends on many factors. Among these we can mention keywords, domain authority, inbound links, among other practices.
In order for search engine optimization to work, you have to be aware of various algorithm changes. Every year Google, which is the most used search engine in the world, makes adjustments in the way it evaluates pages. This causes websites to go up or down in ranking according to how they adapt to those standards.
We will describe the indexing process to better understand how web positioning works .
How is a web page indexed?
The process for a page to be indexed begins from the moment it is published. The robots track the information in it, classify it, archive it and give it a score. That score will be what will determine your position on the results page.
The robots themselves do not know fast of the publication of a new page. They need help locating and reaching it. They do this through the links and you can tell them.
As for the links, they can be links from other sites or from other pages within the same website. In other words, they mark the path through which search engine bots move. In this way, they not only find new pages, but also detect changes in those that are already indexed.
In addition to having a good link structure, there are other ways to get robots to index a website. To do this, it is necessary to register in Google Search Console and thus tell Google that this page exists. The sitemap and the robot.txt file also facilitate crawling and indexing in the search engine.
Strategies to support organic SEO
To understand organic SEO you should know that it is divided into two fundamental parts: SEO on-page and SEO off-page. Each one includes techniques that we must apply to improve the positioning of our website.
In this beginner’s guide to SEO we will help you understand each one and point out the basic actions that you should apply.
On -page SEO is all those actions that you carry out within your own website. The objective is to optimize the site to improve its positioning.
At this point you have to mention the web content and its importance. Everything you post on the site must be quality and optimized. No matter what formats you use, you must pay attention to all the details that may affect the crawling of each page. For example, the loading speed, size of the images, structure, among others.
Among the aspects that you should take into account are:
- Optimize the metadata (title and description) of the site and of each page. To do this, you have to use the keywords by which you want to be found.
- Use friendly URLs that contain keywords, without symbols or punctuation marks, articles or prepositions.
- Structure your posts in a way that is easy to read with the use of h1, h2, h3, h4… tags in the headings.
- Take care of the loading speed of the site.
- Eliminate broken links.
- Have a sitemap or sitemap so that Google can index it more easily. Keep it updated.
- Take care of the architecture of the site, making sure it has a logical hierarchy.
- Use the HTTPS protocol that indicates that it is a secure website.
- Optimize the images you post on the site, as the engines crawl them too. And if they are too heavy they will affect the loading speed.
- Apply an internal linking strategy to convey domain authority between site pages.
Off-page SEO are those strategies that are applied outside the website. They are intended to increase your popularity on the Internet and, with it, your authority and positioning. Within the strategies of this category is link building.
Having a clear link building strategy is essential for positioning. Inbound links are one of Google’s main factors in ranking pages, so you need to work on it. But you always have to stay within the search engine’s guidelines. Otherwise you can earn yourself a penalty.
- Comment on blogs and forums related to the theme of your own site. It is not about leaving a comment with just the link, but about making a valuable contribution to what is being talked about. In addition to that, you leave them the link to a publication of yours in which they can expand the information.
- Linking to more authoritative sites than yours will help you gain credibility.
- Relate with other members of your sector and agree on guest posting strategies, for example.
- Create profiles on social networks to generate more traffic and stay active in them.
- Submit links in news aggregators. These sites help share content, and users can also vote for your posts.
If as a website owner you have ever wondered what strategies are best for you, from here we advise you to invest in organic SEO, it will take more time to see the results, but in return you will have a quality website with better results.
What do you think of this easy guide to understand organic SEO? If the information has been useful to you, share it on your social networks. If you need help positioning your website, contact us and we will help you.
In this concise guide, you will learn how to optimize your WordPress site and take advantage of the visitors you’ve been leaving on the table. In this part, you will be introduced to SEO and show you some steps to take in preparation for the work to come. If you have trouble understanding any terms or jargon, see the section “Deciphering the jargon.”
What is SEO and why should you spend time on it?
If you don’t know, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s basically the discipline of getting search engines, often with a heavy focus on Google, to send you visitors.
SEO is tricky, and it can be difficult to explain everything that goes into it without dragging, so we’ll keep it short and nice. The simplest way to explain SEO is to say that it is about communication. On the one hand, knowing your potential audience and communicating with them in their language, on the other hand, communicating to search engines that your amazing content deserves the attention and reverence of their bots.
SEO is often made to sound like some kind of mystical, magical endeavor. A journey through dark seas that only ‘gurus’ and experts can navigate (or play the results ‘cheating the system’). And when it comes to getting into the top 10 results on Google for the most competitive terms and maintaining your rank, maybe this is true.
But that’s not what this WordPress SEO guide is about. This guide will show you some of the best practices that can start to get you small but significant search traffic that will accumulate over time.
When it comes to whether or not you should spend time on SEO as a beginner, the blogging community seems to split down the middle. People who blog about SEO “cannot underestimate the importance of doing SEO”, while people who do Social Networks, Networks, whatever, ignore it.
While I’ve seen some compelling statistics showing guest blogging traffic converts better than search traffic, the potential volume is quite different as well. While guest posts can attract a few hundred visitors, even thousands, the potential lifetime traffic from getting a single post ranking is of a different scope. Even for a ‘miserable’ search term that only gets 30 searches daily, that’s thousands of potential visitors per year (and of course, no cold networking / email required, of course). So let’s dive into WordPress SEO!
Well, yes… and no. The correct structure is an important part of SEO, and WordPress has many key structures that make your content more attractive to search engines. With additional plugins, for example WordPress SEO by Yoast, you can check many boxes with almost no effort. But there are some things that need to be done, at least for now, more or less manually. How to optimize your images and make sure your website loads as fast as possible. Or use heading tags correctly when you are writing content. And make sure your content is really useful and gets a share or three and a backlink or two.
But none of this matters if neither is searching about what they are writing about in the same way that they are writing about it.
While Google has made some progress when it comes to recognizing content that is helpful to the user, even when search terms don’t exactly match your keyword usage, there is still no real substitute for keyword research. . Since no matter how optimized your page is, if no one is looking for what you are writing, there is no one to find it, even if it ranks at the top. (So don’t be proud to rank # 1 for the exact match keyword for your website name. While it can be useful in helping past visitors return to your site, it is very unlikely to get new eyes.)
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If you think about how a search engine works, crawling and indexing its pages and its content, and then comparing it with the requests made by search engines, you can get an idea of what it is all about. Search engine optimization, in a sense, is about effectively communicating with a potential audience. You have to know how to communicate with the public.
And that’s where keyword research comes in. Keyword research is all about speaking the language of the potential visitor. Slightly different wording can mean a 1000% difference to your potential audience. Sometimes more (but that doesn’t mean you should always target the most popular, more on that later).
While there is a lot of software out there for doing keyword research, for the purposes of this guide, we’re going to use Google’s free Keyword Planner alternative (you’ll need an active AdWords account to use it, which is pretty easy. if you already have a Google account, it’s free).
One of my favorite features about the keyword planner is that you can use it to get suggestions and information about the language your audience uses when searching for content, simply by typing in a broader topic or problem.
The second part of keyword research is evaluating the competition. This is the key, as it will help you decide whether or not it is worth trying to find a specific keyword, or you should simply save it for later and move on to greener pastures.
SEO best practices according to Google
Google discourages “artificial link building,” including guest blogging to create backlinks. Instead, Google recommends that you:
- Optimize the structure of your website
- Write accurate page titles
- Improve your website URLs
- Use meta descriptions correctly
- Write kick ass content or deliver kick ass services
- Use header tags correctly
- Optimize your images
And now in the real doing. The following will help you prepare your website to implement SEO best practices that we will cover in the next part of the guide.
Step # 1 Make sure you allow search engines to index you.
LEAVE THIS BOX UNCHECKED! It doesn’t matter how well you do all the other things, if you mess up this step, it won’t matter at all. Your site will tell googlebots, and bingbots, and yahoobots, that “you are not welcome around here.” And they will move on, effectively making you invisible in most (if not all) search engines.
Step # 2 Install an SEO plugin that starts where WordPress goes.
One of the most used and recommended plugins, and the one we use here is WP Explorer, it is WordPress SEO by Yoast (you will learn how to use it later, in detail, so there is nothing to worry about).
Step 3: index your site if it isn’t already
In order for Google to index you, you will need an already indexed website to link to your website, or you will need to index it manually. You can do this by submitting your sitemap (easily created using a plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast, or XML Sitemaps) using Google Webmaster Tools (to get indexed on Bing use Bing Webmaster Tools to submit your sitemap ). Learn more about creating an XML sitemap and submitting it here.
Step # 4 Leave ugly permalinks behind
The default structure (p = 999) is not only bad for looks, but it also indirectly hurts your ranking, because having keywords in your page URL helps a bit. It is such an easy solution too. Just go to settings> permalinks and choose the “post name” link structure, and you’re all set.
Deciphering the jargon
This is where we try to decipher some of the jargon that is often used when talking about SEO. If you have a term wondering what it means, feel free to leave a comment!
- Search Volume = The number of searches a specific keyword receives per month.
- Keyword = Most often refers to a word or phrase searched in, in the context of putting it in your content.
- Search phrase = Something that someone looks for in search engines.
- Exact match keyword = Keyword that exactly matches a search phrase (‘Organic Cat Food’ is an exact match but ‘Natural Cat Food’ is not).
- Backlink = A link from an external website to a website or page.
- Permanent link = The full url of a post (or page). Basically where you find a post when it’s no longer on the main page.
In this concise guide, you will learn how to optimize your WordPress site and get additional visitors that you might be leaving on the table.
You are off to a good start and are on your way to better understanding and implementing good WordPress SEO practices. Hopefully now you have an idea of where to start with SEO for your site. In my next post we will pick up the keywords, their importance, and how to choose the best ones for your WordPress site, so stay tuned! And if you have anything to add, just leave a comment below. We’d love to hear what you have to say about SEO readiness.
As an online dropshipping store owner, one thing you need to know before building your own website is how to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO ) for your business. Dropshipping sites have different SEO challenges compared to stores that store their own inventory, so it is important that you know what SEO is.and how to use it. This beginner’s guide to SEO is designed for people who are new to SEO, and is also suited to those who work in the dropshipping business or have data feed-based stores. With that being said, anyone looking to master SEO will get some valuable advice from this beginner’s guide to increase the amount of web traffic they receive to their store or website. Are you completely new to this concept? Do not worry! Here you will learn about SEO without the need for additional prior knowledge.
The first important thing to consider before learning SEO for your business is knowing that there are many pieces to the puzzle. Google itself is becoming much more sophisticated in its analysis of quality content, so it is important to understand the different characteristics that algorithms use to rank your content. In other words, SEO is not simply about writing content with as many optimized keywords as possible, but it is also about producing quality texts that add insight and present information in a way that is useful to your readers. For this we structure this SEO guide in two main parts. In the first section we will cover the key concepts about SEO,
SEO for beginners
First of all, let’s break down the basics of what SEO really is. After all, this is an article on SEO for beginners and we said that you don’t need any prior knowledge to benefit from reading this post. SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization’, and in simpler terms, the result of good SEO is getting a high ranking when a person enters keywords into a search engine. The goal here is to increase organic traffic to your site, that is, the traffic you acquire without the use of paid advertising. It is a great strategy to gain visibility for your brand and, fundamentally, increase sales without having to depend so much on investing in a large marketing budget.
In reality, SEO is used for several different types of content searches, including photos, videos, news, and even academic articles. With the rise of dropshipping in e-commerce as an increasingly popular business model, knowing how to use SEO correctly can be a crucial element in distinguishing yourself from the competition.
SEO is made up of many different interrelated practices and works best when all of them are accounted for. A fundamental aspect of SEO is incorporating carefully researched keywords into your content. It can be tempting to include as many keywords as possible in a post, but SEO best practices consist of striking a balance between other factors such as originality, quality of writing, internal links, site structure, social proof and more. Another important part of using SEO effectively is carefully checking your website for errors or problems that could be preventing you from ranking higher on Google. Sites like Screaming Frog (available in English) can help you identify problems, such as slow loading times and ease of use of the site on mobile devices, both in the structure of the URL and in the format of your content.
As you become familiar with the different concepts and key factors of SEO, you will realize the importance of optimizing your product page with keywords, links, and more. It can be tempting to add as many keywords as possible to your content or stuff it with tons of internal links, however, be careful when doing so. Above all, you want to make sure that the content is natural, readable and easy to use. This is one of the crucial elements to understand how to use SEO correctly for the benefit of your business.
Also, keep in mind that learning how to use SEO for your business is not something you can do overnight. SEO is made up of a set of strategies that work best when taking a long-term approach, and there is a commitment to researching and staying up-to-date on the various elements of SEO practice as these continually change as the The Internet becomes more sophisticated in its analytical capabilities.
With this basic understanding of SEO and what goes into Google rankings, let’s explore in more detail some of the key concepts associated with SEO that help successfully drive organic traffic and rankings. This information will serve as a foundation for your knowledge of how to use SEO more effectively.
SEO guide: key concepts
Before we go over the different ways you can improve your SEO ranking we will need to cover a few key concepts, as no SEO guide would be complete without them, especially none intended to explain SEO for beginners!
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SEO Guidelines for Keyword Counts
The length of the content on each page of your website plays an important role in SEO ranking for dropshipping. The more words you include in your content, the easier it will be for search engines to understand what your page is about. In fact, this is one of the most widely known and fundamental aspects of SEO.
The first aspect of proper use of keywords in your text is to include them in an optimal proportion to the total amount of the text. This is why, as part of this SEO guide, we recommend that you include at least 350–500 words per page. Keep in mind that the content must be useful for the user, so that they have a beneficial experience when visiting your store. Therefore, the content itself should also look natural. This is one of the most important steps in learning how to use SEO correctly. From the text itself, you can start optimizing with keywords, links and other strategies to improve your ranking.
Since you want your text to look natural and useful to visitors to your site, including content at the bottom of a page or hiding it in a menu or other expandable field can result in a penalty for your site. So, be very careful about the content that you incorporate into your online store. For example, if you want to include more content on a category page, try adding content in the form of an introduction to welcome visitors. On the other hand, if it’s a product page, you can add content that describes each product in detail.
If you’re not sure what to say, the following questions will help your inspiration flow. What is it? For whom? Where can it be used? When is the best time to use it? Why should your clients use it? How should it be used? And don’t forget to describe the competitive advantages of your product.
H1 tags for dropshipping SEO
Now, let’s talk about titles and tags. Your H1 tag is like the title of a book. As search engines read it, it is one of the first things that describes what a visitor will find on your web page. If it is a product page, the H1 tag will be the title of the product, and if it is a category, it will be the name of that category. Try using modifiers like ‘Best’, ‘Top’ and ‘Buy’. Here’s a list of modifiers that you can use as inspiration to get started.
As with image names and alt tags, which we’ll discuss later, don’t go overboard with keywords in H1 tags, as Google may consider this to be spam. You can even receive an over-optimization penalty if you do. Notice the repetition of the keywords ‘blue hats’ in the example below, which is a neat representation of what ‘stuffing with keywords’ is.
A good H1 tag:
<h1> Blue Hats </h1>
A bad H1 tag:
<h1> Our Funny Little Blue Hats Are For Sale. Buy Blue Hats At Your Blue Hat Store Today </h1>
Title Tags for Dropshipping SEO
In dropshipping SEO, title tags are important. When someone uses a search engine, the title tag is what appears in the search results. According to Moz, the title tag must be less than 55 characters. Also, it should be relevant to the search terms you want to rank for, while also being eye-catching enough to encourage someone to click on it.
The title tag is also what is displayed in the ‘Bookmarks’ tab when a person saves a certain page, and also when they use the browser buttons in the upper left corner of the screen as they go forward and backward. Also, the title tag is what appears in a person’s browser history. With so many uses, this is why it is so important that the title tag be descriptive, short, and easy to use.
How to use SEO in your meta descriptions?
Another important SEO concept is the meta description. When you use a search engine, meta descriptions appear directly below the title tag. Keep them between 120 and 155 characters and remember that they should be relevant and describe what the person will find on the page if they click. If you can write good meta descriptions, you will really stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to SEO for dropshipping, make sure your description tags drive clicks. Give the person a reason to click on your site by letting them know what they will find through the meta description. You can accomplish this by including information about offers, a practical guide, or an eye-catching list. Read the title tags and meta descriptions of the top-ranked pages for inspiration and examples. How can you write something that exceeds them?
How to use internal links for SEO?
Another crucial aspect to understand how to use SEO is the links or links. Internal links are links that go from one page of your site to another, and they are clearly different from external backlinks and links. Internal links should always have the html tag, ‘do follow’. In this way, you are signaling search engine web page crawlers to navigate to the page you are linking to, giving you ranking power from that page to the next. In other words, you are using internal linking to tell search engines which pages to rank for. And of course, you also help your customers discover other pages within your website.
In dropshipping SEO, internal links tell search engines which pages you want them to rank for specific keywords. Plus, they help categorize your site for search engines and boost domain authority. If you have a great blog post or infographic page that has a lot of authority and quality backlinks, adding an internal link related to a keyword can help the page you’re linking to rank better.
With this in mind, the more internal links there are on a page, the less authority each one can pass. For example, if you have two internal links, each of them grants 50% authority. Three links transfer 33.3% each. Keep in mind that for this calculation you must include navigation links, category links, etc. in the equation. Where you link can also play a role. If you have three internal links and one is ranked higher, the one with the highest ranking can get 60% authority, while the bottom two can get 20% each. Here you can find a guide on how to build a good internal link structure .
As you can see, internal links are immensely important for SEO. Add them when they are relevant and related, and be sure not to overdo it. In this way, you will strike the right balance to increase the ranking of your website without making your content appear unnatural.
SEO guide for backlinks
When learning SEO, backlinks play an important role in driving traffic to your website. This is because backlinks are links that go from another web page to yours. In combination with content, backlinks are the most important resources through which you can make your website score highly in search engines. Search engines take extreme measures to ensure that a website’s backlinks are organic, so don’t buy backlinks to increase your domain’s authority, as your site could be penalized.
Here’s the main jargon you need to know regarding backlinks:
- Do follow: these backlinks pass authority and help your site rank better.
- No follow: these backlinks send a link to your site but do not pass authority, so they will not help your website ranking. They contain rel = “nofollow” somewhere in the <a href= <«> tag. You need a natural combination of ‘do follow’ and ‘no follow’ links.
- Keyword rich (anchor text): These are links to specific phrases or keywords (anchor text).
- Natural: Natural links will include your business name, your name, or a variation of your URL or brand.
- Unnatural — Unnatural links occur when there are attached tracking parameters, links to sponsored posts, or any other link that would not have occurred naturally, such as affiliate links to a product page on an e-commerce site.
How to improve SEO using external links?
Another important part of this beginner’s guide to SEO is understanding what role external links play in the equation. When clicked, external links take a visitor to other sites outside of the initial domain. If you have an ecommerce store, only embed external links to blog posts. For example, a good reason to add an external link to a blog post is when you quote a source or mention something relevant to your audience.
- Will linking to this website benefit my reader?
- Is the page I’m going to link to be available for a long time or could it disappear?
- Is there any other content on the site that may be irrelevant or not good for my readers?
If you said yes to the first two questions and no to the third, this is probably a good place to link.
On the other hand, the reason you don’t want to put external links on a product sale page is because it will get the person who clicks it out, which can prevent the purchase from going through.
Canonical Links: Beginner’s Guide to SEO
The next step in this beginner’s guide to SEO is to talk about canonical links . Canonical links are links that tell search engines which page to rank in their search results. Let’s suppose that on your website you have three pages with the same product, content and image. In this case, you should include a canonical link to indicate which page is the correct one to index. Keep in mind that you don’t want all three pages to compete with each other for space, nor do you want duplicate content issues, as we’ve discussed earlier in this SEO guide. You should also use canonical links if you are experimenting with different pages to determine their success within your online store.
Create a sitemap for your dropshipping SEO strategy
An essential guideline for SEO beginners is learning how to create a sitemap of your website. A sitemap is basically a list of all the pages on the website that Google should know about. Pages are broken down from the highest level and include categories, subcategories, and product pages. You can create sitemaps in different ways, with links and XML feeds, among other simple methods. Make sure you don’t have a 404 or 301 redirect on your sitemap.
How can paginated content boost your ranking?
Another important aspect to understand how to use SEO is pagination. Pagination refers to dividing the content of your website into pages. Think of a product category page that contains pages 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. Previously, you would have needed to use a canonical link to a page that contained all your products, but now Google has come up with the linking elements ‘ rel prev’ and ‘ rel next’ . By incorporating these commands into a paginated string, you no longer have to worry about Google penalizing you for duplicate content, as mentioned earlier in this SEO beginner’s guide.
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SEO Guides for Schema
The following information on Schema is invaluable for understanding SEO for beginners. Schema.org is a resource created by the main search engines that provides the code and snippets to tell search engines the details of your web page. For example, code is used to show that there is a video on the page. By adding Schema HTML bookmarks to your pages (it’s a lot easier than you might think, so don’t get overwhelmed), you can help the major search engines know what each page is about, plus show what the end user will find it on your website. In this way, you give search engines more features to be able to show in search results (video images next to a result), and further define the user experience. Schema is an important and often overlooked aspect of SEO that can help you gain an advantage as a web site.data feed and dropshipping.
Data feeds and SEO for dropshipping
Before we go on to tips and tricks you can use to improve your SEO ranking and organic traffic, let’s talk about the data feed. You’ve probably seen the term ‘data feed’ mentioned multiple times throughout this post. If you’re dropshipping, you’re likely to get a lot of information about your products, from descriptions to photos, and basic product data from an existing product data feed. The data feed is a vendor-provided information file that merchants can access when importing items into their stores. Without a doubt, data feeds are incredibly useful for ecommerce store owners, especially when dropshipping products. However,
How to do SEO correctly: tips and tricks
Since we’ve covered the key concepts associated with learning to use SEO effectively, the second part of this beginner’s SEO guide is packed with practical tips and tricks that you can use to successfully apply all of the above information.
Avoid using duplicate content
No beginner’s guide to SEO would be complete without emphasizing the importance of avoiding duplicate content whenever possible. Duplicate content refers to when two websites have the same content (and in severe cases, even the exact same code).
Because dropshipping resellers typically have no inventory, they rely heavily on data provided by other stores, warehouses, and manufacturers. These data feeds are the XML feeds and spreadsheets that supply products and inventory to your stores.
Because the content , images, descriptions, and everything else within the feed goes to every site that uses it, the content is not ‘unique’. And since it is not unique, websites created with such content end up with a problem called ‘duplicate content’ .
Therefore, search engines have a hard time knowing which website to rank above the others. Sites that use data feeds rarely achieve good SEO rankings if they only use the content provided (duplicate). This is why it is extremely important to follow the following guidelines for SEO beginners, as these tips will help you compensate for the use of these data feeds without damaging your website’s ranking.
Here’s how to make your site unique among other stores that use the same feeds.
Improve your SEO ranking with unique images
On the topic of creating unique content, the next tip in this SEO guide to improve ranking is to take your own photos of the product. While it might take a little extra work up front, this will really help you improve your dropshipping SEO rankings. You will be able to distinguish your products from other merchants who sell the same dropshipping items as you (possibly even from the same suppliers), while avoiding duplicate content.
If for any reason you can’t take your own photos, download the product images from the data feed. Afterwards, rename them describing the product in the image and reload them in your database and server.
Keep in mind that the name you give to your images is important. If you sell medium and large size blue hats, you don’t want to confuse search engines if both products are called blue hats in your online store. Putting the names medium-blue-hat.jpg and large-blue-hat.jpg will be more search engine friendly. Although it may not seem relevant, this is an essential step in our beginner’s guide to SEO, so make sure you don’t forget!
Add alt tags to your images
On the subject of images, the next step in this SEO beginner’s guide is to make your alt tag reflect the name of the image. This is one of the things many search engines use to decide what an image is about and when to display it in a search. It is entered in the HTML code as follows:
<img src = ”image_url” alt = ”insert_alt_tag_here”>
Optimize your image titles
Another key to learning how to use SEO successfully is adding image titles and captions. If you decide to use them, they should be similar or exactly the same as the image name and the alt tag. The title attribute must be included in the title = “ insert title here “ section of the HTML.
Don’t exaggerate here either. Don’t include too many keywords, descriptive terms (modifiers), or other words in the image name or tags. Again, this could look like you are filling in the text with keywords and may result in a penalty.
Alternatively, you can optimize image filenames, alt tags, and captions using a third-party app like Minifier .
Become an expert in product descriptions
If you import the product descriptions and leave them unchanged, they are also considered duplicate content. This is one of the most important things you will want to fix. As we have already said, having unique and useful content on your pages is what will set you apart from the competition. To improve your dropshipping SEO, consider rewriting your product descriptions, both long and short.
One of the many important SEO guidelines is that both long and short product descriptions must be unique. If your product descriptions are the same as those of others, you run the risk of not showing up in search engines. Writing original, useful and accurate descriptions will be the key to ensuring that these pages contain both key phrases ( long tail keywords ) and highly competitive keywords. If you can write your product descriptions correctly, you are well on your way to optimizing your e-commerce store in search engines.
Show your product specifications
In dropshipping SEO, if your products have specs that come with a data feed, find a unique way to show or talk about the specs rather than just copy and paste the information. Although search engines assume that the specifications are the same by nature, this does not mean that you cannot give details about what they mean or display them in a unique and more useful way.
SEO Beginner’s Guide: What You Shouldn’t Do
There are tons of SEO beginner guidelines with shortcuts to get backlinks quickly and easily, or otherwise, increase traffic without having to commit to learning SEO in depth.
However, many of the unauthorized tactics you’ll encounter — black hat calls — can eventually lead to your website being penalized. Unfortunately, you run the risk of not being able to qualify again and would have to work much harder just to remove the penalty. Also, if you do get a penalty, it can take years for it to be lifted. Therefore, the last point in this guide on how to use SEO for your dropshipping business is that it is crucial not to cut corners using tactics not approved by search engines. Here are some final points on what to avoid doing when trying to optimize your online store and drive more organic traffic to it.
Here’s what to avoid when building links:
- Directories: unless they are 100% niche, with relevant content and manually updated. It is much smarter to include a ‘ no follow ‘ if you choose to use these types of links.
- Blog comments: do not use them, much less without using keywords.
- Comments and links in forums: since they are very easy to make and anyone can get them, they are frowned upon by search engines.
- Automatic link builders: These are software programs that use robots and ‘spiders’ to comment on blogs, forums, and communities. Using this method can create a bad image for your brand within relevant online communities and among bloggers. Also, backlinks are easily associated with your site, making you more prone to a penalty.
- Link exchanges: try to avoid reciprocal links. Having too many reciprocal links doesn’t look natural, and actually this is one of the first fraudulent SEO practices that Google started penalizing.
- Link farms — Sites and services that create link farms are another way to get a penalty.
- Sponsored Posts: Giving influencers money or products in exchange for a post with a ‘do follow’ link can get your website (and theirs) penalized. You will probably want to work with real influencers , but make sure everything is ‘no follow’ so your website doesn’t increase the risk of being penalized.
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SEO for Beginners: Conclusion
- There is a lot of information on SEO for dropshipping. Whether you have a data feed, a dropshipping e-commerce store, or you store the product, this SEO guide provides you with the foundation for better optimization of your store through good SEO practices.
- Keep in mind that part of making these tips and key concepts work for you is regularly updating your content. SEO for dropshipping is not a quick or easy way to increase traffic. It requires a complex level of knowledge to really master, as well as a long-term approach. With practice and following the guidelines in this SEO beginner’s guide, you’re on the right track to get started!
- Once you start to see the results of your efforts, you will find that SEO is a fundamental part of growing organic traffic for your online store, so be patient and never give up.
Did you know that 167 billion searches are made on Google per month? If you don’t appear in the first Google result for your products and services, you are losing great untapped potential. Search engines, like Google, are the new directories. It’s where people go to look for answers, including people searching for your products and services. 88% of people do research before buying a product or service. And what is the first place where they investigate? Google! So do you really need SEO for your business website? The answer is yes! Because of this, we decided to create our guide for search engines (SEO)!
What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the work that is done on your website and elsewhere online to prove that search engines, like Google, are the best answer, the most relevant, and the most trustworthy. So, let’s start with some basic terms:
Keywords: Your SEO keywords are words or phrases that you want to rank for on search engine results pages. For example, if you own a spa in El Paso, TX, then one of your keywords might be “Spas in El Paso, Tx” or “El Paso hot stone massage.” A keyword is a phrase that someone searching for your product or service can type into Google when searching for a business like yours.
Keyword Competitiveness — is a term to define how easy or difficult it is to rank better for a specific keyword. Think of it as the level of “difficulty” in ranking a keyword higher. Products or services that are in high demand, such as restaurants, are likely to face more keyword competitiveness than other businesses that are not as crowded, such as a car wash business.
Looking at the number of results for a specific keyword is a great way to get an idea of the competitiveness of your keywords. As a general rule, the fewer the results, the lower the competitiveness. We will dive more into this later.
Backlinks: A backlink is a link on someone else’s website that points to your site. It is also essential that these other pages mention your keywords in their content, where they link to you.
SERP or “Search Engine Results Page” are the pages on which Google or other search engines display the search results of each user.
The job of the Search Engine Optimizer is to convince Google that our website has the most relevant and reliable result for a specific keyword.
First, you need to focus on creating valuable content on your website for your customers and prospects, but you also need to make sure that search engines can understand your site. Search engines are robots, so you have to make sure that your website is well structured using the correct HTML code, that it contains the correct metadata, etc.
Modern website builders can do some of this work, but it’s easy to get wrong. If you know how to do it, great. Otherwise, you may need help from an SEO company, such as Phidev or your marketing agency.
Another thing you should pay attention to is: how fast does your website load? Not only from a customer perspective, but also from Google’s perspective. There is a great tool created by Google called PageSpeed Insights . It’s simple, visit that page and enter your web address. This page will rate your website based on its performance. PageSpeed Insights looks at a lot of things that might not make sense to a person out of context. Still, a knowledgeable web developer or SEO company will help you discover the results and advice on how to improve your website. It’s hard to get a 90+ score, but if you’re over 50, this means your site is doing a decent job.
What about trust?
How does Google know if the content on your website is trustworthy? Here is a perfect analogy for that. If you got a call from a 5-year-old boy saying that his neighbor is the next best basketball player in the world, would you believe him? Now if you got a call from Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Larry Bird and they said the same thing to you, would you believe them? Most likely, you do it because they have something we call “authority.” They are known to be people of authority in their field. Search engines work the same way; it is not enough for you to say that you are good at what you do; other reliable sources need to say so as well. That’s where backlinks come in.
What can you do now?
The most important thing you can do is put relevant content on your website. Answer the most common questions to your products / services on your website on a page designated just for that. Create pages that provide tips on how to get the most out of your products or services, or how to do it themselves. It may seem counterintuitive to provide information for free, but your experience is another positive for people to decide to work with you.
Thinking of opening a new business? You will not be the only business and that is one of the main reasons why you should worry about local SEO.
If you are a dog groomer, mechanic or have a clothing store, local businesses are a competitive space. And now more than ever, people find local businesses online. According to Google, 76% of people who search for a local business on their phones end up visiting that business or a similar one the next day.
That means that the organic traffic you receive as a result of a local search is now ready for conversion. Don’t you want a piece of that cake?
Basic SEO categories
Typically, when a customer asks us about search engine optimization, they typically want to rank for keywords in one of three ways:
- GENERAL SEO — They want top positions for keywords in general, they are not interested in knowing where traffic is coming from as long as it converts.
- INTERNATIONAL SEO : they want to position by keywords in several countries and languages.
- LOCAL SEO : they want to position for keywords locally, for example, veterinarians in Burgos.
So, let’s talk about what local SEO is, why it is important, and how it differs from general SEO practices.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is website optimization strategy and marketing strategies to increase organic search traffic to local businesses.
SEO, in general, helps people all over the Internet to find your business in their search. Your prospects see your business on their search engine results pages.
Local SEO puts your business in front of the people who are most willing to buy your product or service.
While general SEO targets some types of keywords (informational, navigational, and transactional), local SEO tends to drive more conversion-ready traffic. Why is it so? It all comes down to the intent of the keyword.
Keyword intent in local search
Search intent refers to… well, that’s exactly what it sounds like. It is the intention behind a search, the intention behind a keyword. So that you understand me, if you are looking for ¨the best pizza in Burgos¨, it is clear that you are in Burgos and you want to eat the best pizza.
The same can be said about other keywords, such as “the best law firm in Burgos” or even questions such as “where is the closest cinema to me”.
What you’re trying to do with local SEO is not just rank for keywords, it’s put your business in front of people and get into the Google results box. And if you want to be on the map, you have to be on Google Maps.
Classification in the local package vs. Ranking in the results box
Does an old SEO mantra sound like, the best place to hide a corpse is on page 2 of Google? When users search for something, they prioritize what they see first. In local SEO, that means you have to be at the top of the package, that is, in the local package.
Local package refers to the results that appear just below the map in Google search.
The results in the local package are more important to the local SEO than what ranks first in the SERPS (search results). In fact, sites that rank in the local package often don’t rank on the first page of SERPS for the same keyword.
Ranking # 1 for a keyword as broad as “hair salon” is almost impossible, but showing up in the local package with that word is much easier, as long as you follow local SEO best practices.
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7 ways to improve your local SEO
1 INCLUDE MY BUSINESS ON GOOGLE
The Google My Business page is an instant listing of your business that appears every time someone searches for your business.
Show your business on a local map, along with your hours, customer reviews, and the images you’ve uploaded to represent your business. To get the most out of this page, you should include as much data as possible and include keywords in your business description.
Google My Business allows you to control how your business appears in local search, you can control the opinions of your customers and integrate your presence in Google Maps.
Creating and optimizing your account on Google My Business is one of the most important ways to improve your local SEO.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS ACCOUNT IRRESISTIBLE?
- Write a short, well-written description of your business that is optimized for your keyword.
- Add your hours of operation (it is important that you include your special hours on bridges or vacations)
- Add photos and videos that show your physical location, your brand, and your employees.
- Ask your customers for their opinions and respond to the ones you already have.
- Enable messages through Google My Business.
- If you use any Google booking or appointment method, allow potential clients to book appointments directly from local search.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS POST
Like on other social networks, you can and should share Google My Business posts, which disappear after a week (so keep them updated). You can create four types of posts:
- Publications news are like Facebook status updates and an excellent place to link to your content.
- Event posts share details about upcoming events, with time, location, and a call to action.
- Offer messages share promotion details along with offer deadlines and coupon codes (if any).
- Product posts show your products along with their price.
Each of these posts, you can add one of the call-to-action buttons:
- To buy
- Know more
- Sign up
- Get offer
- Call now
- See web page
By using Google My Business posts, you can convert leads on the fly, directly from the SERPS.
2.INCLUDE YOUR BUSINESS IN BING AND YAHOO
Bing and Yahoo account for 5.59% and 7.1% of search engine usage, respectively.
With information about your business hours, a map of your location, and contact information, Bing Places and Yext are like Google My Business but for Bing and Yahoo! Don’t miss 12.6% of your potential customers!
3. IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL RANKING WITH CUSTOMER COMMENTS
If your review volume is low, you run the risk of falling into the rankings. I’m not saying that you need a hundred reviews per week to climb positions, but if your users are not active, this could indicate to Google that your business is not active either.
HOW TO EARN MORE CUSTOMER COMMENTS ON GOOGLE
- Request opinions from your favorite clients through emails
- If you sell things from a physical location, add a request for Google reviews to your business card and place them in customers’ shopping bags.
- If a customer places an e-commerce order, create an automated follow-up email sequence requesting a review from Google.
IMPORTANT!! Never pay for customer reviews. Google is smarter than you think, and if you get caught, your search rankings will suffer.
4. USE THE STRUCTURED DATA MARKET SCHEME
WHAT IS STRUCTURED DATA?
Structured data is a way to tag certain types of content on your site to give Google more details to add to their search results, increasing visibility and conversion.
Structured data, including the schema framework, improves the search experience and is critical for SEO in general, and local SEO in particular.
Using structured data you can specify:
- Your business name, logo, location, and contact information.
- Your working hours.
- Your products and services, as well as what they cost and the ratings of your customers.
- What type of payment do you accept?
- Author’s blog, dates and images.
Schema and structured data are as complicated as SEO. To get an idea, you have to use PHP and a lot of testing to get our structured data to be where we want it.
If you want to cry reading this last, don’t worry. You can get pretty far with the Google search console and a WordPress plugin.
5. MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS COMPATIBLE WITH MOBILE DEVICES
Google sees local SEO as if it were mobile. If your website is not mobile-friendly and doesn’t load in less than three seconds, it will be left behind.
Is your website optimized for mobile? Use Google’s mobile testing tool.
6.LOCAL CONTENT STRATEGY
Include local events and programs in your editorial calendar and work on local keywords.
Local keywords are hardly different from “normal” keywords, but they often include a location and may include regional jargon relevant to your business.
This content will not only attract readers, but will also be a great bait for local links and shares. It will be easier to get people to talk (and argue).
7.GET LOCAL LINKS AND APPOINTMENTS
Including links or getting other websites to link to your site is all about getting the most lucrative backlinks. For normal SEO, this means targeting pages with high authority, with a good link profile, and a good amount of traffic.
For local SEO, all this is the same, but there is also a variable: getting local relevance.
Local relevance is exactly what the phrase says: how relevant the site is locally. Your local newspaper is probably not a common backlink (unless you live in a big city), but for local SEO, it totally is.
This does not mean that you should ignore the largest backlinks! Pursue any high authority backlink opportunities — just make sure your own profile contains a bit of local information.
LOOK FOR INFLUENCERS OR BLOGGERS IN YOUR CITY
Bloggers or national influencers are often bombarded with opportunities but locals are not. Make sure to get close to them. Local restaurant critics, movie critics, maternity bloggers, or photographers can all have the local influence you need to increase your authority.
If you write a post on your blog called ¨the 10 best things to do in Burgos¨, the companies that you name in that post have a strong incentive to link your website and share your blog on the social profiles of their companies.
If after reading the entire post you still have doubts or it is very difficult for you to put it into practice, get in touch with us and we will help you get your company in the top positions in the search engine in your city.
Beginner’s Guide to SEO, Chapter 2: Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking
It’s been a while since the first part of the SEO Beginner’s Guide — Chapter 1: SEO 101 , but after a short parenthesis, we are sharing a chapter again, Chapter 2.
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Chapter 2: How Search Engines Work: Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking
First, show yourself.
As we mentioned in Chapter 1, search engines are response machines. They exist to discover, understand, and organize content on the Internet in order to deliver the most relevant results to the questions that users ask.
To appear in search results, your content must first be visible to search engines. It’s arguably the single most important piece of the SEO puzzle — if your site can’t be found, there’s no way it’ll show up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
How do search engines work?
Search engines have three main functions:
Crawl: Search the Internet for content, review the code / content of every URL you find.
Index: stores and organizes the content found during the crawl process. Once a page is in the index, it is running to be displayed as a result of relevant queries.
Ranking: Provides the content items that will best respond to a user’s query. Sort the search results by the most useful for a particular query.
What is search engine crawling?
Crawling is the discovery process in which search engines send out a team of robots (known as crawlers or spiders) to find new and updated content. The content can vary, it can be a web page, an image, a video, a PDF, etc., but regardless of the format, the content is discovered through links.
The bot starts by looking for some web pages and then follows the links on those web pages to find new URLs. By jumping along this link path, crawlers can find new content and add it to their index, a massive database of discovered URLs, to retrieve later when a search engine is looking for information with which the content of that URL is compatible. .
What is a search engine index?
Search engines process and store the information they find in an index, a huge database of all the content they have discovered and consider good enough to serve search engines.
Search engine ranking
When someone conducts a search, search engines search their index for highly relevant content and then sort that content in hopes of solving the user’s query. This order of search results by relevance is known as ranking . In general, you can assume that the higher a website is ranked, the more relevant the search engine is to the query.
You can block search engine crawlers for part or all of your site, or instruct search engines to avoid storing certain pages in their index. While there may be reasons to do so, if you want users to find your content, you must first ensure that it is accessible to crawlers and can be indexed. Otherwise it is as good as it is invisible.
By the end of this chapter, you will have the context you need to work with the search engine, and not against it!
Note: In SEO, not all search engines are the same
Many beginners wonder about the relative importance of search engines in particular. Most people know that Google has the largest market share, but how important is it to optimize for Bing, Yahoo, and others? The truth is that despite the existence of more than 30 major web search engines, the SEO community really only pays attention to Google. Why? The short answer is that Google is where the vast majority of people search the web. If we include Google Images, Google Maps and YouTube (a property of Google), more than 90% of web searches happen on Google, that is, almost 20 times combined with Bing and Yahoo.
Crawling: Can Search Engines Find Your Site?
As you just learned, making sure your site is crawled and indexed is a prerequisite for showing up in the SERPs. First things first: you can check how many pages on your website have been indexed by Google using “site: yourdomain.com”, an advanced search operator.
Go to Google and type “site: yourdomain.com” in the search bar . This will return the results that Google has in its index for the specified site:
The number of results Google displays (see “About __ results” above) is not exact, but it does give you a solid idea of which pages are indexed on your site and how they are currently displayed in search results.
For more accurate results, monitor and use the Index Coverage report in Google Search Console. You can sign up for a free Google Search Console account if you don’t currently have one . With this tool, you can submit sitemaps for your site and control how many submitted pages have been added to the Google index, among other things.
If you’re not showing up anywhere in the search results, there are a few possible reasons:
- Your site is brand new and has not been crawled yet.
- Your site is not linked from any external website.
- Your site navigation makes it difficult for a robot to track you effectively.
- Your site contains some basic codes called crawler directives that block search engines.
- Your site has been penalized by Google for fraudulent tactics.
If your site doesn’t have other sites linked to it, you can still index it by submitting your XML sitemap in Google Search Console or by submitting individual URLs to Google. There is no guarantee that they will include a submitted URL in their index, but it is worth a try!
Can search engines see your entire site?
Sometimes a search engine can find parts of your site by crawling, but other pages or sections can be obscured for one reason or another. It’s important to make sure that search engines can discover all the content you want to index, and not just your home page.
Ask yourself this: can the bot crawl within the website, and not just itself?
Is your content hidden behind the login forms?
If you require users to log in, fill out forms, or take surveys before accessing certain content, search engines won’t see those protected pages. A tracker is definitely not going to log in.
Do you trust the search forms?
Robots cannot use search forms. Some people believe that if they put a search box on their site, search engines will be able to find everything their visitors are looking for.
Is the text hidden within the non-textual content?
Non-text multimedia forms (images, video, GIF, etc.) should not be used to display the text you want to index. While search engines are improving image recognition, there is no guarantee that they can read and understand it at the moment. It is always better to add text inside the <HTML> markup of your web page.
Can search engines follow your site’s navigation?
Just as a crawler needs to discover your site through links from other sites, it needs a link path on your own site to guide it from page to page. If you have a page that you want search engines to find, but it is not linked from any other page, it is as invisible as the word invisible says it. Many sites make the serious mistake of structuring their navigation in ways that are inaccessible to search engines, making it difficult for them to be included in search results.
Common navigation mistakes that can prevent crawlers from seeing your entire site:
- Have a mobile navigation that shows different results than your desktop navigation
- Personalization, or showing unique navigation for a specific type of visitor compared to others, could appear to be masking a search engine crawler
- Forgetting to link to a main page on your website through your navigation. Remember, links are the paths that crawlers take to new pages.
That is why it is essential that your website has a clear and structured navigation of useful URL folders.
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Information architecture is the practice of organizing and tagging content on a website to improve efficiency and user capacity. The best information architecture is intuitive, which means that users shouldn’t have to think too hard to navigate your website or find something.
Your site should also have a useful 404 page (page for content not found) for when a visitor clicks an inactive link or misspells a URL. The best 404 pages allow users to click back to your site so they don’t bounce just because they tried to access a non-existent link.
Tell search engines how to crawl your site
In addition to ensuring that crawlers can reach your most important pages, it is also pertinent to note that you will have pages on your site that you do not want them to find . These can include things like old URLs that have thin content, duplicate URLs (such as sorting and filter parameters for e-commerce), special promo code pages, trial or test pages, and more.
Search engine page blocking can also help crawlers prioritize your most important pages and maximize your crawl budget (the average number of pages a search engine crawler will crawl on your site).
Crawling directives allow you to control what you want Googlebot to crawl and index using a robots.txt file, a meta tag, a sitemap.xml file.
Robots.txt files are located in the root directory of websites (for example, yourdomain.com/robots.txt) and suggest which parts of your site’s search engines should and should not be crawled via specific directives from robots.txt. This is a great solution when trying to block search engines from non-private pages on your site.
You don’t want to block the crawling of private / confidential pages because users and bots can easily access the file.
- If Googlebot cannot find a robots.txt file for a site (HTTP status code 40X), it proceeds to crawl the site.
- If Googlebot finds a robots.txt file for a site (HTTP status code 20X), it will generally comply with the suggestions and proceed to crawl the site.
- If Googlebot doesn’t find a 20X or 40X HTTP status code (for example, a 501 server error), it can’t determine whether or not it has a robots.txt file and it won’t crawl your site.
The two types of meta-directives are the meta robots tag (most commonly used) and the x-robots-tag. Each provides crawlers with more robust instructions on how to crawl and index the content of a URL.
The x-robots tag provides more flexibility and functionality if you want to block search engines at scale because you can use regular expressions, block non-HTML files, and apply noindex tags throughout your site.
These are the best options for blocking the most sensitive * / private URLs from search engines.
* For highly confidential URLs, it is recommended to remove them or require a secure login to view the pages.
WordPress Tip : In Control Panel> Settings> Reading, make sure the “Search Engine Visibility” box is not checked. This blocks search engines from reaching your site through your robots.txt file!
Avoid these common pitfalls, and you’ll have clean, trackable content that will allow bots to easily access your pages.
Once you have ensured that your site has been crawled, the next order of business is to ensure that it can be indexed.
A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like: a list of URLs on your site that crawlers can use to discover and index your content. One of the easiest ways to ensure that Google finds your highest priority pages is to create a file that meets Google standards and submit it through Google Search Console. While presenting a sitemap does not replace the need for good site navigation, it can certainly help crawlers track down all of your important pages.
Google Search Console
Some sites (more common with e-commerce) make the same content available at multiple different URLs by adding certain parameters to the URLs. If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ve likely narrowed your search through filters. For example, you can search for “shoes” on Amazon and then refine your search by size, color, and style. Every time you refine, the URL changes slightly. How does Google know which version of the URL will serve search engines? Google does a good job of calculating the representative URL itself, but you can use the URL Parameters feature in Google Search Console to tell Google exactly how you want your pages to be treated.