What is SEO and Why is it Important?
When I started learning about digital marketing – SEO was one of the things that felt intimidating. Even when learning that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, I had no idea what it is.
And no matter how hard I tried to stay away from it because of the overwhelming feeling I experienced – it was always around no matter what I was trying to learn.
SEO isn’t hard to learn, it’s very simple to understand, requires very little technical knowledge and yet it’s important for every website on the internet.
So what is SEO and why it is so important?
What is SEO?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines such as Google help us find the most relevant results for our searches.
So what does search engine optimization does? SEO is a process of optimizing a site so it’s is easily found by people who are looking for information available online.
There it is.
It’s nothing more – nothing less. It’s a simple process of site optimization so it can gain better exposure. If you’ve read my post on how to do keyword research – you’d now be able to put these two together.
So how are keywords related to SEO?
Once the site is optimized well for search engines (meaning, it can be found by search engines easily), by writing valuable content and including relevant keywords people search for – the site has the potential to reach top 10 results in any search engine for the keyword they included in their post.
How SEO Works?
Search engines like Google are constantly working on improving their algorithm which means that they do their best to provide the best results on the first page for any term you search for.
Therefore, their algorithm constantly changes and nowadays SEO involves a lot more information than it used to involve before.
Search engine optimization process of a site involves (On-Page SEO):
- Keyword research
- Wise keyword placement in the post
- Using H1 tags for titles inside the post
- Using H2 tags for subheadings inside the post
- Linking out to other sources from an article
- Optimizing URL’s length
- Adding a title and description tags
- Writing meta description
- And even improving the speed of your site
Also, there is an off-page optimization which doesn’t happen directly at the site, yet it happens off the site, as the name suggests.
Off-page SEO involves:
- Receiving links from other sources
- Users’ interaction with your posts (shares, comments)
Once changes are made to a site – search engine bots will crawl the website and find the updates. According to the updates – they will rank the site at the page they think is appropriate.
Therefore, along with the whole SEO process, you shouldn’t forget to add the site to Google Search Console and create a sitemap which you will then add to the Google Search Console.
What are the Benefits of SEO?
A very well SEO optimized site has a lot to gain and the biggest benefit is the free organic traffic.
That’s right – if your site is well accepted by search engines such as Google, you can gain free exposure for certain keywords.
But at the same time, you are able to optimize your site for a very narrow niche and acquire access to very specific traffic who is most likely interested in what you have to offer.
And the best thing is – once you optimize your site, it stays optimized and will only require minor changes and updates along the way.
Also, you can learn and optimize your own website by yourself for free which is just one more reason why everyone optimizes their site and takes full advantage of the benefits.
However, as you learn about SEO, try not to forget some of the basic things that are a part of the optimization because you will have to optimize every post you write and publish.
SEO is a really important factor for affiliate marketing – and believe it or not, most affiliate marketers own niche sites that acquire about 80% of traffic in an organic way (through search engines).
How to Optimize Your Site for SEO?
Just like you would regularly maintain a car and polish it before a sale – you’d want to ensure your site is in a great condition and that it’s worthy of Google’s trust in order to acquire free exposure to a specific audience for free.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, you can optimize your site for search engines by yourself. Hopefully, by now, you understand that SEO isn’t something complicated.
Yet instead, it’s a way to gain exposure and acquire traffic that everyone’s after!
Therefore, no matter if you have a blog, niche site, or even an online shop – I highly recommend learning and doing SEO, so here’s what you have to do!
1. Create a Sitemap
A sitemap is exactly what the name tells you. It is a map of your site which lists all pages of your site, meta descriptions for those pages, dates of last updates, and much more.
It’s important that your site has a sitemap because it is one of the most efficient ways your site has to communicate with search engines.
A sitemap can easily be created by the installation of a plugin All in One SEO which creates a sitemap automatically.
All you have to do is double-check the sitemap’s URL and then add it to the search console.
2. Add your Site to Google Search Console
Google Search console is a place where you can add your website for free and you get to track the performance of your traffic, keywords your site is ranking for, and the way visitors use your website.
Inside, you will be able to authorize your site and let Google know you’re the owner, but also input the link of your site’s sitemap.
This allows search engines such as Google to have easier access to your site but also a better way to track updates on your site.
Therefore, this will result in quicker post indexing by Google and it is just a better way to build trust with search engines.
3. Research Keywords
Even before doing any optimization on your site – you should research keywords. Don’t get me wrong. Optimization is important – but if you don’t know any keywords within your niche, you won’t be able to get the correct exposure for your site.
I think the best time to do keyword research is the moment when you are choosing your niche. This won’t only tell you more information about the niche such as competitors – but it will also give you plenty of ideas for content you will write.
I wrote a complete guide on how to research keywords for free with the Jaaxy keyword research tool, so make sure to read it!
4. Do Basic On-Page Optimization
Now when you are ready to optimize your site and gain extra exposure – it’s all about improving the settings on your site.
All in One SEO Plugin
I highly recommend installing an SEO plugin called All in One SEO which is free and is available for all WordPress sites. It will adjust a lot of SEO settings for your site and will basically optimize it for you.
Within the All in One SEO plugin settings, you still get to choose your preferred general settings, performance, and you can even create a sitemap directly from the plugin – if you already haven’t.
Another thing you should do is keep tidy URLs. URLs should be clean and tidy and if you are using WordPress, you should head to Settings -> Permalinks -> and choose “Post Name” to only have a post name in the URL of your posts.
If you are targeting a keyword within the post – you would also want to include it in your URL, if possible.
Images are often the largest files you will have on your website – and you should ensure that all images are shrunk in size so they don’t slow down your site or loading speed of a certain post. This can be done manually, but you can also install a plugin called EWWW Image Optimizer which will automatically reduce image size as you upload it to your site.
Depending on your niche, there is a chance that you will be receiving a large number of users who will be browsing your site from a smartphone.
Therefore, you should keep your site responsive so it fits all smartphone screen sizes, tablets, and various browser types.
Since WordPress is so simple, I recommend investing in a quality premium WordPress theme that will be responsive from the moment you install it on your site.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly – you will be at risk of losing a lot of precious traffic.
If you plan on ranking your site in search engines and acquiring free organic traffic, you shouldn’t forget to purchase and install an SSL certificate for your site.
It’s a certificate that will secure your site with HTTPS instead of HTTP protocol and this won’t only make search engines trust your site, but the users as well.
5. Optimize your Blog Posts
When basic on-page optimization is done – it’s all about learning how to ensure that your posts are well optimized for search engines so that the readers who are looking for information you offer can find you.
Once you have a keyword for the topic you will write a post about – you should do your best and try to include the keyword in the title, URL, and even meta description of the post.
Then, you would want to include your keyword once in the first 150 words of your article – preferably somewhere in the intro. This will help search engines understand what your post is about and judge its value.
After the first 150 words – you would want to try to include the keyword in H2 and H3 tags.
Of course, the post should also be readable for users, so I highly recommend to stay away from long paragraphs and instead divide the sub-topics within the article using H2, H3, and even H4 tags.
I have a great post on how to start writing your first post and I highly recommend checking it out!
It’s important to connect your new article with your other articles on your site to show Google that your content is not random. To do this, you would want to add internal links to anchor text inside your new post.
However, you shouldn’t forget to link to other helpful sources (possibly authorities) within your industry to show Google that your topic is very similar to another valuable topic written by an authority in the same industry.
To increase readability but also attract users’ attention – you should use plenty of multimedia. You shouldn’t only rely on images – but you can also add videos or even create graphs & charts.
However, be careful where you get your multimedia. Ideally, you’d want to create your own. However, since we all know that this isn’t possible for all of our posts – you should look out for stock free images that are free to be used on sites in return for appropriate credit.
6. Think Ahead and Prepare for Off-Page Optimization
When you’ve done everything you could do on your site to optimize it for search engines – there is another part to consider which is the off-page optimization.
It’s an optimization which isn’t directly involving your site – but is involving other sources that could affect your site’s rankings in a good way.
This means that if another site is linking to your site – search engines could see this as a trusting factor. If there are a lot of people sharing your post on social media or commenting on your posts – this also shows search engines that people are interested in your post.
And guess what?
All of this has the potential to increase your rankings. Some digital marketers swear that backlinks are as important as on-page SEO optimization.
However, I highly recommend you to work on your site first before reaching out to others asking for links. You don’t want to put all your focus on building links from the beginning as this could have you end up getting links that aren’t of any value to your site. In the worst-case scenario, your site might even get penalized for building links in a “black-hat” way.
Therefore, I highly recommend you focus on on-page SEO optimization before building out your site and only then start with off-page optimization since it’s a long game.
SEO might seem complicated at the surface, but it’s basically a process of taking action that will improve the quality of your site and will result in better experience for your readers in the future.
For some people, SEO is simple to understand and it’s easy to take care of. However, for others – it might still be overwhelming.
That’s why there are specialized SEO agencies that help website owners optimize their site and gain better exposure on search engines.
Of course, my guide here doesn’t include every smallest detail regarding SEO. That’s why I recommend checking out Brian Dean’s SEO checklist for 2020 on Backlinko.
This is a great source that lists everything there is about SEO. I must admit that it is a long read, but you can use my post as a short version and then when you’ve done with the short version – you can take SEO to another level by learning more at Backlinko.
So what is SEO and why is it important? The simple answer is – SEO can help you acquire free traffic by ranking you in search engines. And who would say no to free traffic, right?
What is your experience with SEO? Did you ever optimize your site for SEO?
Feel free to leave a comment down below, let me know your opinion, and if you have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask! I’d love to hear from you and possibly help you further!
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