Definitive Guide to SEO, Search engine optimization is an organic way of enhancing the online content that helps you badge the top spot on the search engine results page (SERPs).
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo should be able to provide you with the most accurate answers to your queries at all times. Implementing SEO will help the users spot your content at the top of the search results whenever someone searches for a query that is directly relevant and related to your business.
Optimizing your content for SEO is the need of the hour. Without SEO, you are a tiny fish, lost in a vast ocean, wanting to be found.
In a nutshell, SEO is the art of putting together content on the web that makes humans and search engines fall in love with your site.
But the intriguing question here is, why should one optimize their pages for SEO? What importance does it hold in the online search world and how is it useful anyway?
But in case you’re wondering, social media engagement takes care of the traffic part for us! You might want to reconsider that theory. While social media marketing has its advantages, SEO takes it up a notch in terms of passive traffic generation.
So, long answer short- without SEO, it’s quite hard for people to find your presence. A place that has got a hundred million pages of results for a single query on the internet, why do you think people should find yours as the best solution to their problem?
And that’s where an SEO-friendly approach kicks in. It makes you visible in the eyes of millions. It increases your website traffic, and brings in more opportunities, leading to greater revenues for your business.
To be precise, SEO helps fulfill three main primary objectives they are as follows:-
More leads: When people find the right thing at the right place and most importantly at the right time, any potential customer becomes a loyal customer. SEO helps you acquire maximum leads for your business. It escalates the volume of organic customers and increases sales simultaneously for your business.
More conversions: When your business starts attracting leads through organic Google searches, there is a percentage of those leads that get converted into actual paying customers.
More revenue: When the revenue flows, only then your business can expect to make profits and keep going for a longer run. Optimizing your site using organic ways helps your business operate smoothly.
SEO vs SEM
There are two reasons why a person’s site might be ranking higher on Google. First, maybe their SEO game is on point and they have nailed it beautifully.
Second, they have decided to go the inorganic way to let their presence known through the paid medium of optimizing their site, known as Search engine marketing (SEM).
While SEO deals with everything organically, SEM uses paid strategies to increase visibility. Both of the approaches are legit to draw the attention of more and more viewers, however do have their pros and cons.
Here’s a quick glimpse of the 5 main differences between SEO and SEM:-
i) SEO does not consist of an ad section displayed to its left while SEM does have an ad section mentioned for any of the paid searches on Google.
ii) As SEO is organic, you need not pay anything when a user clicks on your site. But when we talk about SEM, when a user clicks on an advertised page site, it charges you per click also called Pay Per Click (PPC).
iii) SEO results are presented to anyone looking for answers on the web while SEM is targeted and gets exposed to only the relevant bunch of your target audience.
iv) A site that is fully optimized from scratch like SEO lasts long, and provides value over time. Contrary to this, SEM leverages paid support and is comparatively short-lived.
v) The click-through rate for SEO is higher as compared to SEM if you succeed in making it to the top results of Google.
Now let’s deep-dive into both of the terms separately to understand them better.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Overview
As we learned previously about what exactly SEO is and how it affects our day-to-day searches, it’s time we understand its various types.
As most of us are aware, Google is one of the most popular search engines in the world with over 75 percent of the search market share. Its greatest highlight is being able to bring massive potential traffic. As it uses more than 200+ ranking factors in its search algorithm, it becomes somewhat tricky for tons of businesses to show up on the first page of the search engine.
SEO is divided into four main sub-categories which are the most essential factors out of the 200+ ranking factors we mentioned-
i) On-page SEO: It is the practice of optimizing every page of your site with the most relevant keywords to rank higher. It ensures you get the most relevant traffic when customers search for any specific or similar keywords on Google.
The components of an effective on-page SEO include: placing the seed keyword in your title tag, meta description well as on the webpage URL.
ii) Off-page SEO: Simply put, anything that happens “off your page” and is not directly what happens on your site, is what off-page SEO is. It is referred to as any action taken outside of your site to increase its visibility and improve the overall rankings.
The most popular way to go about it is- building high-quality backlinks to your site. It’s like an endorsement or a reference from other sites that work in your favor. You can think of it as a recommendation letter from a reputed company which increases your chances of getting hired in the future.
iii) Technical SEO: As the name suggests, technical SEO has to do everything related to technical stuff. But before you feel like it’s out of your league, hear me out.
Implementing technical SEO means getting the technical requirements right for the search engines to help you improve your organic rankings.
The important technical components that you need to get right are- crawling, indexing, rendering, and website architecture. Any website helps the search engine spiders crawl and index your site more effectively to get you placed in the top rankings.
So what does it mean to optimize your website from the technical SEO point of view? It simply means that with the implementation of it, your site pages will be more secure, will load faster, will be responsive with any device, won’t have duplicate content to woo away your readers and so much more.
Simply put- it only makes Google and other search engines seamlessly access your content and get the job done faster.
iv) User Interaction Signals: How the user interacts with a website is something that Google values a lot. It gives an idea as to how every user is interacting with your site- positively or negatively. The scrutiny of the interactions via search engines with a site is called signals.
Its value is extensive as it determines the quality and relevancy of a website associated with a particular search query.
A few of the user interaction signal elements are- Click-Through-Rate (CTR), Bounce Rates, Page Views, Session Duration, Pogo Sticking, Direct Traffic, etc.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Overview
When you optimize your site on search engines through paid advertising, that is what we call SEM. The essentials of the checklist are similar to that of SEO as SEM’s motive is also to increase the visibility of your site. However because search engine marketing is paid, the process gets done faster.
Search engine marketing includes one primary factor that sets it apart from SEO greatly, and that is Pay-Per-Click (PPC).
PPC being a broad term, it has its chunk of elements within, so let’s go through each one of them one at a time.
To start with, first, let’s understand what PPC is.
According to some sources, Google alone earns more than $162BN per year through their paid advertising channels. Pay-per-click (PPC) is an online advertising form where advertisers pay money for their ads to run on platforms like Google Ads or Bing Ads. So every time, someone clicks on your ad, there is a fee that Google charges from you.
PPC helps any new or existing businesses to drive traffic and increase conversions from search engines. It helps you get new leads for your business, drive sales, increase visibility, generate traffic, and build a brand presence.
PPC is targeted and systematic in a way that it specifically taps into your target audience keeping in mind all the customer demographics you expect. It only shows your ads to the ones who feel it fits like a glove through your products or services.
How Does PPC Ads Work?
As businesses vary, so do the ad types and formats. There are numerous types of ads like- search ads, shopping ads, video ads, small ads, display ads, and the list goes on.
However, the most widely used ad platform is Google Ads. The reason is, that they help you reach a much wider segment in a shorter duration of time. And so it increases the potential for your business to start coming to notice.
Now the much-awaited section, What are the unforgettable elements does a PPC consist of?
i) Quality Score: On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, Google rates the overall user experience of your ads and landing pages collectively. Whenever a user searches for your keywords, a certain score is calculated by Google when anyone visits your site.
This way, Google is in a better position to judge if your ad is an appropriate match to the search query used by the users or not. It’s an extremely important metric used by other search engines as well to check the quality of a site. A higher-quality score depends on your site’s CTR, the quality of landing pages, and the Google Ad account’s overall quality score. A higher Quality Score lands you a discount on each click as well.
ii) Bidding: It refers to the maximum amount of money a bidder is willing to pay for each click on an advertisement. The bidding in SEM however takes place for the keywords which ultimately boosts the visibility of ads to show it to anyone looking for answers related to those specific keywords.
Any paid medium like Google Ads or Bing Ads works on this similar bidding system. So when anyone searches for that keyword, your ad pops up.
iii) Ad Copy: Curating a catchy and compelling copy is what makes your PPC a hit. A well-written copy for advertisement is directly linked to a higher CTR.
CTR improves the overall performance of your site and combines an impactful Quality Score.
Maintaining a prominent CTR score is crucial because the more impactful it is, the more negotiated rates you can take benefit of. This also has a flip side wherein if your Ad copy isn’t working well for the viewers, the bids might keep getting pricey for you.
What are SERPs?
SERPs are Search Engine Result’s Page which are Google’s foremost responses for your search query. It works on a rigorous algorithm laid out by Google. It gives you a combination of results or even one format of results depending on your search query.
Google tends to show you responses in the form of organic search results, paid results, knowledge graphs, carousels, snippets, or even video results. Anything and everything you see when you hit ‘enter’ for your query, is a part of SERPs, keeping in consideration the relevancy of course.
So yes you assumed it right, the edge of badging a higher SERPs- the higher your website ranks, the more people see you, and the more clicks you get.
But as overwhelming as it might sound now, there are a lot of things that you can do right to become eligible to get noticed on Google’s SERPs. So buckle up as we skim through all the factors one by one:-
As per studies conducted, 52.2% of internet traffic is driven by mobile devices. Because of its feasibility, the number is only expected to rise in the future, making mobile-friendliness a huge factor for search engines to give due attention.
Your website needs to run and perform smoothly on a mobile device, otherwise, it’s going to be a big turn-off for Google to rank your site on its SERP. A fine user experience comes when your site is responsive and gets adjusted with every device people may choose to view it on.
Despite this, if you feel it’s not relevant enough to consider while starting, then you may want to know that it will negatively affect the rankings of your site on the desktop as well.
Optimizing content for SEO is the first step towards getting found in the listings of SERPs. This is what we implement for On-Page SEO as well.
Below is a checklist to make your On-Page SEO effective to rank higher on search engines.
Title Tag: Your title should hook the viewers like a magnet. It’s always a good idea to brainstorm a little before you finalize the title of your post. A catchy title consists of a good combination of the word limit, emotion, numbers, or something that creates a sense of urgency or excitement in your viewer’s minds. It is indeed one of the most important elements of on-page SEO which you shouldn’t miss at all.
URL: Make sure the URL of your website contains the target keyword you want to be approached for. The anatomy of the URL can be such which consists of a slug line, subtopic, domain name, etc.
Concise Meta Description: It should be crisp and clear. You necessarily do not want to give out any details but it should be descriptive enough for the people to understand what they are about to deep dive in. It can be anywhere between 50-160 characters. Though it does not directly concern the on-page SEO greatly affects the rankings of your SERPs.
Incorporate keywords intelligently: The sooner your targeted keywords start to appear in the content, the better it is from SEO’s perspective. It hugely matters if your keywords appear in the first 100-150 words and the rest of the related ones spread throughout the content.
Include Images: Add a dash of liveliness to your content by adding pictures, GIFs’ or videos to make it an interesting read for the people who visit your site. No one loves to read plain boring text.
Leverage Internal Linking: It is a win-win situation for both parties involved. It encourages people to stay on your website for a longer duration, boosts your page views, and also helps to improve your overall page rank.
Avoid Repetitiveness: Unique content is the primary reason why people continue to read what you have to say. And the biggest flaw you can make is to be repetitive while sharing information. Proofread your content before hitting publish to make sure there is no duplicate content on your site.
Incorporate Jump Links: It’s amazing to give your readers the option to read the section they are more interested to know about and, a jump link makes it possible for the readers to do so. A jump link is also known as an anchor link. It has two main pros i.e.- it makes your web page user-friendly as well as Google recognizes the links much more easily which leads to effective crawling and indexing.
Backlinks can be understood as backing up your content with a valuable link. For instance, if your content is linked by some other website, it becomes a backlink. They are simply links from one website to a page of another website. Backlinks are also called “inbound links” “incoming links” or “one-way links”.
Without backlinks, Google or any search engine for that matter would be a manuscript. It’s the links that make it a website and assist us in finding information that is most related to our queries. It also differentiates good content from bad one by ranking in order of how they do.
How do backlinks make a difference? If someone is linking to your site to share it on their page, it means they trust the information you are enriching them with. It tells the search engines that your content is credible and at the same time adds value. Backlinks pass page authority that helps websites in their rankings.
As we all keep hearing, “Quality over Quantity”, the same applies to backlinks too. Getting backlinks from any website on the web does not do the magic alone, but what matters is who is linking to your site. For instance, any reputable site like Backlinko, if links to your blog post, will mean a lot to the readers as well as the search engines. So always remember, quality backlinks are what it takes to take the game up a notch.
How often have you gotten annoyed with a website that takes forever to load? Well, we all have been there and do exactly what others do, we simply switch to another site to look for responses right?
That being said, your page speed needs to be swift in response as per what is standard. The faster your page loads, the better it is for on-page SEO as well as your visitors. It usually should not take more than 2 seconds for a website to load completely, but if that’s not the case, people will, unfortunately, click away and tend to leave your site.
Google has a few predefined behavioral patterns that ensure the rankings of your website in the search results. For instance, does it ever happen you click on a certain query and immediately get toggled back to Google? This is how a user signal reacts when a website does not fit the search query of the user.
There are 3 main types of user signals that Google takes notice of, and they are as follows:-
1. Bounce Rates: It refers to the percentage of people who come to visit your website, however, leave instantly instead of continuing to explore it or remaining within the same site.
2. Click-Through-Rates: It is the ratio between clicks to a particular link against the total number of viewers on your page. It’s calculated as it gives a fair understanding of how effective your website or any campaign is working out.
3. Time- On-Site: As the name suggests, it specifies how much time a viewer dedicates to your site on a single page. Whatever time you spend on each of the pages of a particular site is calculated individually.
Moz developed a tool to check where exactly your website ranks in the SERPs while giving you the search engine ranking score it comes with. After evaluating multiple factors like linking root domains, the total number of links used, etc., a DA score comes out in a range of 1 to 100. The higher the scores, the higher your website can rank.
Google has no such factor that specifically talks about the importance and impact of lower or higher DA ranks, but this is indeed a valuable tool to check the positioning of your website on the SERPs.
In case you don’t know yet, Google announced In 2018, that Google told webmasters that if you have a non-HTTPS website, you risk losing traffic and a horrible pop-up notification will be displayed before Chrome users get to your website.
In layman’s terms- HTTPS works in a much more secure manner to transport data from one place to another. It is called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) in technical terminology.
There are various advantages linked if you opt for HTTPS instead of HTTP format. Below are a few to give you a fair understanding:-
1. It improves your search rankings. Though it’s not a sure-shot factor confirmed via Google it has been preferred more as compared to HTTP.
2. HTTPS provides a better user experience as it’s a more secure form of browsing.
3. HTTPS indeed keeps your data while browsing and performing any activity safe on the internet making it a reliable platform to use.
4. It leads to better and more efficient PPC campaigns by eliminating bad advertisement experiences.
I assume you must realize by now how relevant backlinks are for your website. Backlinks not only back you up with reliability but also contribute to the overall SERP score. Domain Authority or DA refers to the number of relevant backlinks you receive for your website. It also determines how long your domain has existed on the web, known as domain age.
But the question now is even when Google does not consider it as one of the factors of SERPs, why should you care about it all?
Because you can use it as an opportunity to analyze why or why not your website is competent enough to rank on the SERPs. It gives you a clear understanding of the appropriate metrics developed by Moz to evaluate the same. So, it’s safe to assume that there might be a positive correlation between DA and SERP ranking.
Now the most common question that arises is- how do you increase your domain authority? What long and short-term ways exist to improve your ranking on SERPs with the help of the available tools?
Well, creating a higher DA is a long-term process and is achieved with consistency and patience. So take it slow and one factor at a time.
So, let’s know how exactly, shall we?
Well, creating a higher DA is a long-term process and is achieved with consistency and patience. So take it slow and one factor at a time.
A link audit becomes a necessity when trying to grow DA scores. You can head to Ubersuggest and evaluate your site and check if the links to your site are valid and black hat SEO-free or not.
There are also other tools like Moz DA Checker, Ahrefs DA Checker, and Backlink Checker By Neil Patel which will share with you insights for your domain score, referring domains, and the total number of sites linking to you.
Raising your DA is a long-term process, but there are several ways to go about it.
First, conduct a link audit. This process involves making sure that links to your website are valid and don’t include black-hat SEO tactics. Try Ubersuggest to get insights into your domain score, the current number of backlinks on your site, and referring domains as well.
The better you are aware of the metrics and take necessary action, the better your website becomes to rank.
Keyword research for SEO
Do you know how SEO came into existence? Because people are always finding something every second on the internet. And how do you think they look for answers? Through, typing some words or phrases they want answers for.
Yes! People search for keywords.
Keywords form the foundation of search engine optimization and that’s how targeting and ranking for the right keywords are primary. But how do you know which keywords to go behind?
Keyword research is the answer to that question.
To know the exact words and language your target audience searches for online when they need your products or services or to get access to any content is the whole purpose of keyword research.
After broadly classifying what people search for, you narrow down the list. It involves analyzing and prioritizing the best keywords suited for the industry your website fits in.
Let’s go through the 4 step process of finding the right keywords for which you wish to rank.
Let’s go through the 3 step process of finding the right keywords for which you wish to rank.
Step 1: Decide Your “Seed Keywords”
Seed keywords are the words that directly define your business and are related to your niche. They are predictable and that’s why they are highly competitive on the web. However, it’s also a word you cannot afford to miss out on when writing any content or copy.
Suppose your business is about selling footwear for men, women, and kids. Any guesses on what your seed keywords can be in that case?
- Men Footwear
- Women Footwear
- Kids Footwear
And that’s how it’s super easy to find a bunch of seed keywords and not much brainstorming is required as it’s obvious and directly speaks of what business you deal in.
Now let’s move to the next and a bit more complex step.
Step 2: Look For The Keywords Your Competitors Are Ranking For
The second step in keyword research is competitor analysis. People may be running a business that is similar to that of yours. So it’s essential to peek-a-boo at what your competitors are doing.
In competitor analysis for keyword research, you first need to type in your seed keywords and look at all the organic searches that pop up. Next, go through the suggestions while you are typing the seed keywords and make a note of them too. Third, look for the pages that rank on the top. For example- If Amazon or Flipkart shows up on the first three links of the SERPs, don’t get anxious thinking there is no way to make it up to their levels.
Instead, look for the businesses that are more self-owned like the one you have, and scan through their pages as to which keywords they have been using the most.
Later, when you have a bunch of keywords ready with you, it’s time to do actual testing. Make use of a free competitive intelligence tool that is going to make your research much more effective.
This makes us come to our next and final step.
Step 3: Make Use Of Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research tools come in handy only to make your lives much easier. They not only help us know what keywords our competitors are targeting but also the keywords they are not targeting.
There are various online keyword research tools that you can use to make your research crisper. To name a few- SEM Rush, Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, Moz Keyword Planner, Semrush and so much more.
All the tools work on the one principle which is you simply insert your seed keyword into the search bar and it churns out tons of keywords to consider for your SEO purpose.
Once you follow all these 3 steps ritually, you are more than halfway there.
There are also a few terms that you need to be familiar with before conducting successful keyword research. Knowing about them will only help you receive apt research outputs.
Also known as keyword competition. It is a factor that clearly states- the higher the value of a particular keyword, the tougher it gets to compete with the ones who are already using it.
Being aware of the keyword difficulty rating becomes necessary as it helps us target the less competitive ones. The KD ranges from 1-100% which depicts the percentage of competition that lies for a particular keyword. The higher the percentage, the higher you need efforts to rank for the keyword.
Also, the secret to a successful SEO-optimized page is to target keywords with a low fight.
The fame or popularity any search query gets is what we call search volume. It is another metric that shows you statistics of how many people are searching for a particular query that relates to your business.
It stands for cost-per-click which refers to the exact price you pay as an advertiser for your advertisements or marketing campaigns. If anyone comes to your website and clicks on any of your CPC ads, that means they have somewhat interacted with the products or services that you have to offer.
A couple of free tools for keyword research:
- Google keyword planner
Choosing long-tail keywords (why it’s good to target them)
When compared to a seed keyword or a specific keyword, long-tail keywords on its comparison are lengthier than usual. They are more specific and define what exactly the viewers want to look at. They might look a little overwhelming to use at first, but in the longer run, it’s highly valuable.
Long-tail keywords are the search queries with low search volumes which means you can expect less traffic as compared to what you can expect by searching primary keywords. However, as long-tail keywords are to the point and only communicate the specificities, ranking for the same isn’t as competitive as broad keywords.
Now if you have a question popping in your head like, why is it important to rank for long-tail keywords when most importance should be given to the primary keyword?
Because, let’s say you own a coffee shop, in that case, ranking for “coffee shop” organically can take Google years to place your website on top. It’s because the competition is huge and the market is dominated by big-shot companies like Starbucks, Cafe Coffee Day, Barista and so many more.
However, if your coffee shop specializes in making amazing “Turkish coffee” and rents a co-working space on a yearly, monthly, and hourly basis, people may particularly want to search for you, isn’t it?
So their Google searches will look something like this – “best Turkish coffee shop in G.K with co-working spaces” or something along similar lines.
The entire crux of giving enough importance to long-tail keywords is that it makes people catch the exact kind of fish in the sea. Their searches narrow down, get more focussed and are desirous of only availing your services or products.
The two greatest advantages of using long-tail keywords are that there is low competition that exists in the market which automatically reduces its costs.
Technical SEO deals with everything that can cause your website to glitch if components of technical SEO are not taken into consideration. It is everything that should be top-notch in terms of technical aspects starting from crawling, indexing, rendering as well and structuring of the site.
It is a process that ensures all the technical aspects are followed to make your site get on the top rankings of search engines.
Implementing technical SEO is a part where a lot of work needs to be taken care of on the backend part. These processes include taking care of:-
i) XML Sitemaps: It is like a shortcut provided for search engines to get to know all the content present on your website’s URL and a way to reach them individually. For example – if your website has 8 pages in total, a search engine will find all eight pages in a sitemap with a single visit to the XML sitemap file.
iii) URL Structure: The shorter URLs you use, the higher the chances of it being user-friendly which is easier to pass on. A carefully written URL improves the click-through rates of the various links you share.
iv) Site Structure: Your site’s structure decides if the users would want to stay on your site or not. If the website is properly indexed, it saves users the time to get their answers at a glance, which works in favor of sound technical SEO.
v) Repetitive Content: The three problematic issues with duplicate or repetitive content are that- a) search engines have no idea which version to keep and eliminate from their indices, b) not sure if to direct the link metrics to one page or not and c) whether or not to keep it separated between multiple versions.
vi) Website Speed: The explanation is simple, Your website speed directly affects SEO. The faster your website loads (within 2 seconds or less), the better it gets for the user experience. No user, even Google prefers to rank a sluggish website on its first page.
vii) Https: The foremost quality of a trusted website is if it’s supported by HTTPS. It even protects your site from hackers and crackers making the website more secure.
vii) Meta Description: A creatively written meta description can be perceived as a great copywriting skill. It is crucial because it communicates the message of what to expect when you click on a particular link on Google. Proper usage of keywords, apt readability, and out-of-the-box description are the elements that make the meta description stand out from the rest.
viii) Robots.txt: It is a text file that informs the web robots in the world of search engines which pages on your site need and need not be crawled.
ix) Google Guidelines for the website structure (Core vitals)
a) LCP – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), is a metric that calculates the rendered time of the largest image or text that is visible within the viewport.
The report is generated to enhance the user experience and leads to gathering the majority of the first glance of content to occur within the first 2.5 seconds when the page loads.
As per the standards, it works best in your favor when you attain at least 75 percent of page loads which works smoothly across all platforms and devices.
b) CLS – Ever come across a page that just won’t stop swapping its buttons, banners, menus, and whatnot? Well yes, that’s annoying, and that’s what we call a Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
CLS is the total number of all the individual layout shift scores which frequently change their positioning during the entire lifespan of the page. A CLS ideally should have a score of less or equivalent to 0.1. Consider it a good CLS score if the percentile for the same is 75 or less on desktop as well as on mobile devices.
c) FCP – The entire sequence of a page getting loaded to it being rendered on the screen is what we call a First Contentful Paint (FCP). It consists of every detail of your page ranging from images, text, as well as other elements.
SEO & Local SEO
Why don’t you go ahead and search for “coffee shops near me” from where you are right now and later search the same query from a different location, You will see different results showing up on the SERPs every time you are at a new location. That is because search engines have become smarter than ever.
They fetch the location you are at and show you nothing but related searches. So in simple terms, when SEO works and responds as per your location, that is what we call local SEO.
It is the process of optimizing your website for all the existing location-specific search queries. Google fetches your current location through IP address and geolocation for desktop and mobile phones respectively to determine what results would make the most sense as per your search query.
However, having said that, users can specifically mention the location while sitting somewhere else which acts as a local area qualifier. For example, if you search for “best coffee shops in Mumbai” or “hotels in Delhi”, it will give you results as per your search query.
The results can be shown in the form of Local finders, maps, images, ads
There are two broad categories of how local SEO works – Organic Search Results and Local Pack.
Let’s understand these two terms first.
Organic Search Results
You type a few keywords, and you get results on the SERPs, which by the way are not paid ads, and this is what organic search results in local SEO mean.
On the other hand, when we speak of the local pack, it consists of three components –
Google My Business (GMB)
Specially made for local businesses, GMB helps your brand visibility grow directly listed on the first page of the search engine results page.
It helps your business get options like requesting quotations, booking appointments, and direct messages. It is a great way to leverage GMB functionality to not let go of the added options that come as add-ons.
Organic Search Results – The section that you see after maps and local pack listings, all those are organic search results that get listed as per the standards that Google or any search engine follows.
Paid Ads – As a part of SEM, paid ads are always on the top as businesses avail of the paid ways to get their businesses to come into the spotlight.
There are a few ranking factors that affect the overall positive outcome of a successful local SEO procedure.
Let’s see what those are and how much of an importance they hold.
Ranking Factors For Local SEO
The location that the person is searching from
The foremost thing with location-based searches is that if you perform your searches from a particular area, region, or country, Google will show you results only for the nearby places as per your current location.
Google needs to know a few of your details before showing the users the appropriate results for geo-targeted and local intent searches.
With the help of, NAP, i.e.- Name, Address, and Place, search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing can do so.
NAP acts similarly to how a backlink works for SEO. It is thus extremely critical to optimize it appropriately to make your website rank on the top page of any search engine.
Presence of Google My Business listing
The Google Business Listings is a great way to manage your company’s overall impression on Google search results. The listings show the customers’ at-glance information which is necessary for them to decide to visit your website or not.
It would also help the potential customers to consider all the necessary terms and conditions related to your products and services.
Keywords used in Google My Business profile
The three variables that are necessary to rank for when optimizing through GMB are – relevance, prominence, and distance. Before you hit the publish button make sure to re-check these variables as these would determine your success site’s success rate.
Carefully curate the words that best suit the intent, products, or services of your business, and make sure to incorporate all the necessary keywords. Stick to a specific and short number of keywords to maintain the essence of your site.
The sentiment of online reviews
We are swift to ask for reviews related to our products and services, however, what’s also important is responding to the reviews when someone does that for us. Google takes this into account and considers you in their good books by prioritizing your site for higher visibility and clicks.
Premium quality review benefits your business greatly and the likelihood for the viewers to visit your place increases drastically.
Keywords used in online reviews
It works like a cherry on top when your review consists of keywords that directly relate to your business. It’s always best to use ethical methods and not say it upfront to your customers to use keywords when they review it as it’s manipulative and most people don’t feel like doing it.
Remember, Google also notes the intent with which the reviews are written, so you might want to leave it to the customers how they rate your products and services.
Number of “check-ins” at that location
Shares on social media
Sharing any content on social media behaves like a forest caught in a fire. Any individual sharing your location in the posts intrigues the other person to go visit the same place and see what’s the buzz all about, isn’t it? This way, your audience popularizes your content with further sharing capabilities.
This works in your favor and gives a clear indication to Google that you are sharing nothing but only relevant information through GMB and that your site is worth visiting. When this process starts taking turns in every possible direction, it indirectly improves your search engine rankings as well. Social media helps your business escalate the awareness stage organically.
Google Maps star rating for that business
Credibility and trustworthiness are the most valuable assets that you can own when running a business. For search engines, especially Google, the star ratings are a way to depict that. Google ratings work wonders for local SEO which enhances your site’s online reputation and brings in more quality leads and conversions for the business.
Search engine optimization is relevant to every platform of their own and it’s true for Youtube as well. When you optimize your YouTube videos, you must take into consideration metadata, the name of the channel, playlists, video description, and the video itself.
It’s always advisable to make the most of your video’s text in the form of closed captions, transcripts, and subtitles to unlock its true potential.
Similar to how SEO works for Google, Yahoo, or Bing, there are certain key pointers to look out for when working out YouTube SEO.
Let’s explore those one at a time:-
Thumbnails for YouTube are those quick snapshots of the video when a user scrolls through the side. As soon, as you are finished uploading the YouTube video, it asks for you to upload a thumbnail. You can either select the pre-defined options which YouTube provides or you can select one of your own.
Thumbnails act as a deal maker or breaker in the video world. How? Based on your YouTube thumbnail a viewer decides whether they want to see the complete video or not. It simultaneously increases your click-through rates as well. So, a great first impression is a must which can be achieved via an effective thumbnail creation.
Title & Description
The video content is what gives an overview of what is going to be the subject of the particular video. While the title specifies the exact topic of the video, the description gives an overview of what the viewer can expect to see in that video.
Framing an apt title that goes the best with your video and a well-sentenced description boosts your rankings on YouTube. When everything is well optimized it gives an option to the viewers to redirect to your video on the ‘suggested section’ of the site.
Here are some pointers that you should keep in mind before writing the title and descriptions to make them look impactful:-
1. Always capitalize the first letter of each word
2. Include numeric values to make the title specific
3. Don’t forget to use primary keywords
4. Avoid using click baits
5. Keep the length short, crisp and catchy
1. Throw keywords naturally to the text
2. Add links and meta descriptions for clarity
3. Humanise the content instead of getting all robotic
4. Make sure you include the major gist of the information that the video contains
Gone are the days when you had to rewind and fast forward to reach your favorite or important part of the video. With YouTube timeline chronology, you can directly jump over to the section you are curious to see. It works similarly to that of how jump links work for SEO.
How useful subtitles are especially when English does not happen to be our first language, isn’t it? On YouTube, subtitles are merely called captions. As it serves a larger portion of the audience including people with hearing disabilities, the engagement for such videos on YouTube is generally higher as compared to the other videos.
On-page SEO & Off-page SEO
Mistily speaking, the alt tag is the text you choose to put as descriptions or attributes for the images you intend to use in any blog post or article of yours.
But it is more than just adding pictures and creating a caption sort of text to it. Because it is a special HTML character that helps anyone using screen readers to reach any web page. It is a necessary factor for the visually impaired to check if they are accessing the right information through text as well as images.
Similarly, search engines also scan the same alt text to access a web page and it surely gives an upper hand over your competitors who don’t use the alt tag.
Titles are what you see on the search engine’s results page when you type a query. It is an HTML component that depicts the title of a web page. Title tags are clickable links in the form of headlines.
For example – if you search “pizza delivery”, you will see the first few links to be that of either dominos or Pizza Hut. Same way, the search engine also will see the same title tag and will rank your page accordingly.
There is a certain hierarchy that is followed when you write any piece of content for the web. The order goes like this as HTML tags – H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 with H1 being the most significant level and H6 the least.
Having fit heading tags informs the web browser to display your content accordingly so that it’s easier for people to read and search engines to crawl. It also ensures seamless readability and makes the content look structured properly.
Image name needs to be specified to help search engines as well as visually impaired audiences understand what the image describes. It is shown when someone hovers their mouse over the image on your website.
Also, you must always include an alt text with keywords to make it easier for visually challenged people to understand the text just like other people.
Simply understand this as when another website recommends you, it’s an external link. Similarly, when you recommend someone else’s link, that is also referred to as an external link.
Here, neither anyone is linking to you, nor are you linking to any other website. When you link from a particular page of your website to any different page of your website, that’s an internal link. It helps the users stay and navigate through only your website for a longer duration of time.
KD is the percentage of the words you choose to include as a keyword or keyword phrase in your content throughout. It’s the keyword density that determines how relevant your page or site is for a query people type in.
KD depends on the overall word count of your page which means you cannot go about stuffing keywords all over the content. As previously mentioned, it’s based on a percentage and a balanced frequency is what matters the most to the search engines when ranking is concerned.
Number of words
It’s an ideal practice to create long-form content which generates more opportunity for all your keywords to lie in your content evenly and rank.
The higher the word count, the better the chances of receiving backlinks and being able to answer the user’s search intent.
It determines how easily the reader can read and understand your written text. It depends on various factors which range from the use of language, writing style, presentation, and content structurization.
Then there is a readability score which tells you how easy or complex it is to read your text. You should always focus on using easy-to-read and understandable language to reach the maximum audience.
Another HTML tag presents a summary of your entire page which benefits humans as well as the search engines to categorize information.
The better your meta description reads, the higher the chances of click-through rates. An appealing meta description is a perfect blend of keywords and humanized content.
An underrated yet powerful tool in SEO to stand apart from your competitors. The complete term is Schema.org which is vaguely called schema. It is microdata in the form of a semantic tag that you can add to your HTML to improve your SEO rankings.
It refines the way a search engine reads and enlists your page in SERPs. When you add a schema to your snippet, it automatically enhances your potential to rank higher.
As the word itself suggests, anything that will remain intact or has value or life after several years is called “Evergreen”. Evergreen content remains relevant over time. It’s not something that has a time limit or end date, It’s timeless.
It’s significant in marketing for many businesses because it answers potential customers’ questions and helps to bring organic growth. To be more precise content like news posts and articles, seasonal content does not come under evergreen content. Content like how-to-guide, Product reviews, etc., do come under evergreen content.
Evergreen content is important for your website because it helps us to earn sustained traffic and it can be promoted over the long term.
Optimize for a featured snippet
On top of Google’s search result page, featured snippets or answer boxes appear. These are designed to respond to the user’s question within the confines of a single sentence. Featured snippets are brief direct responses that display above the #1 position on the result page.
Being listed in Google’s featured snippet means more visibility for your brand and more traffic to your website. Getting a featured snippet is the quickest approach to getting people to visit your platforms.
How to optimize for featured snippets in Google search top results.
Create content in a question-and-answer format:
The bulk of queries that rank at position zero are worded as questions, as we’ve observed. This style aids Google in determining the relevancy of your material to the user’s query, which can help you rank in the Featured Snippet.
Use of simple and precise points:
When responding to a user’s query, always use basic language. Remember to keep your response to the point and keep it to 50-60 words. Be objective and avoid adding your viewpoint to the answer.
Content enhancement: Start with finding the most productive and relevant keyword to attract a highly targeted audience with content optimization. Use keywords and topics that are connected to the core keywords in your article.
In-depth content discussion and use of tags: Content should be written in-depth. Use H2 and H3 tags in your content, this will help search engines to understand the order or list of your content. The content should be designed keeping in mind the user experience.
Be particular about the schema markup: Schema markup or rich snippets are linked to Featured snippets in search. Your web pages will display more prominently in SERPs if you use rich snippets. Click-through rates have been demonstrated to increase as a result of the increased visibility. If your goal is to appear as a featured snippet, schema strategy is a must-add-on.
Conduct Market Research – Know your audience. Once you know who you are targeting, you can develop content that is specific to their needs. Google favors content that can provide the greatest results for its users.
Citations act as the online reference for NAP which consists – of name, address, and phone number. In SEO, they are the mere listings of various sites of a business that reflect on the SERPs.
Who decides how valuable your content is? Well, it’s the backlinks that do so. If you have curated content that is far more, informative, creative, and original at the same time, other sites do link back to you! It depends on how high a quality you are producing and search engines notice your reliability and reward you by ranking your site higher than others.
What is no follow and what is to follow?
Search engines while crawling follow-do-follow links, which improve traffic to your website. They assist you in improving the search results bypassing the page authority Follow links, on the other hand, are followed but no page rank is passed, hence they do bring traffic, but they do not help improve search engine ranking. Only humans can click them to go to the desired location. A small number of no-follow backlinks are also required to inform Google that you have a legitimate website.
However, to a website user, both do-follow and no-follow links will appear similar. But, the difference is actually in the HTML code where a code or attribute is added i.e. nofollow. This gives the search engine bot a hint not to follow such backlinks.
Google programmers designed the HTML code Nofollow to prevent spammers from piggybacking on search results by putting comments on random blog posts with a link to their site, they could obtain all kinds of backlinks. This way Google makes sure to give searchers a better experience.
A collection of all your social media popularity through likes, shares, visibility, and reach is tapped by search engines to determine your online presence on the web. All these observations contribute to your overall organic page rankings and are concluded as like that of backlinks.
Link building for SEO
Guestographics: A Geographic is an infographic you create in your niche, for your website, and then look for websites that are in a similar niche and ask them if they want to publish the infographic on their website in exchange for the backlink.
Guest posts: As the name suggests, a post or a blog that you write for someone else’s website is a guest post. An excellent guest post is relevant, on-topic, and of varying lengths. To create traffic and link juice over time, it only needs to be informative, on-topic, and well-written.
It’s not simply about enhancing your SERPs through guest posts. It’s a great way to communicate with your target audience, promote your essential products and services, and spread the word about your business.
You should try to target quality sites such as broad authority and leading Industry blogs. Guest posting involves several steps beginning from a search for a potential website to getting your posts published on their website.
Skyscraping content is a technique for locating a controversial topic or one that is already performing well on search engines so that you can generate a piece of content that is better than the existing one.
You create content similar to the one that is already performing well, just with your unique twist. You then reach out to websites, that have linked to your competitors, asking them to replace that link with your link since you now have a better piece of content.
Broken Link Building
SEO experts frequently employ the outreach technique of broken link building. This method entails contacting webmasters and requesting that they provide a link to your linkable material on their resource pages in place of the broken links which will show a 404 error page when clicked by a user.
To put it another way, it’s the process of locating broken external links on websites. The main objective is to replace the broken link with a connection to your working page.
To get the maximum benefit from this technique make sure your content is highly targeted, and customized if possible, Actually adds value to the website you’re contacting and its visitors.
Unlinked brand mentions are when your brand is mentioned on a public website but there is no link back to your website.
You can track these websites with tools like Google Alert, AhrefsAlert, SEMRUSH, etc.
Unlinked Mentions are good for traffic and brand awareness, but they aren’t good for SEO because they aren’t linked, and the Google Crawler won’t recognize them as a backlink.
User behavior signals that affect Google’s ranking
Dwell Time: The amount of time a visitor spends on a web page after clicking on a link in search results before returning to the SERPs is known as dwell time. Dwell time is a crucial metric for determining how much time visitors spend on your website or page. Your search rankings are influenced by dwell time. This is because it informs Google whether your website provides value to users.
Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors to your website that see only one page and then exit without visiting any further pages is known as the bounce rate. This bounce rate is tracked by the Google Analytics (GA) tracking program.
The SEO industry refers to this as a “return-to-SERP” when a person clicks a result in the SERP, discovers the page does not satisfy their query, and rapidly presses the back button in their browser to return to the SERP. Metrics between 0%-50% is a good bounce rate.
That’s not a new concept; it can be found in both online and offline businesses. It differs from one industry to the next. You may simply identify when to minimize the bounce rate if you stay watchful and monitor your data frequently.
Organic CTR: The percentage of people that click on a search engine result is known as the organic click-through rate or organic CTR. How high your organic CTR may reach is mostly determined by your position in the SERPs. Your headline, meta tag description, URL, and whether or not your result is a Rich Snippet are all aspects that can affect CTR.
Organic CTR is the number of impressions that result in a click in simple terms. By concentrating on increasing your CTR, you can increase traffic without needing to enhance your ranking. A higher CTR suggests that your website is receiving more traffic.
Core Web Vitals: Web vitals is a Google initiative that aims to provide unified guidelines for quality signals that are critical for delivering a great web experience. It mainly aims at experience with loading webpages, the web page’s interactivity, The page’s aesthetic, and contextual consistency.
The Core Web Vitals are as follows:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The time it takes for a page’s primary content to load in the largest contentful paint. A 2.5-second or quicker LCP measurement is optimal.
First Input Delay (FID): The time it takes for a page to become interactive after the first input. A measurement of less than 100 milliseconds is desirable.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): The amount of unexpected visual page content layout shift. A measurement of less than 0.1 is excellent.
The technique of creating keyword-optimized text that appeals to both human users and search engine algorithms is known as SEO copywriting. In simple words, Copywriting is a method of producing content to entice and persuade people to buy a specific product, while SEO aids in the distribution of these written materials.
Use keywords in a natural way
Your content must be reader-friendly. While it’s crucial to incorporate your keyword throughout the text of a blog or a search-engine-optimized webpage, don’t overdo it to the point where the reading experience suffers.
Choose Keywords That Are Relevant to Your Audience
Don’t just think about what your organization wants to be recognized for when choosing keywords to optimize around. Consider what your buyer personas are looking for and tailor your keyword approach to meet their needs.
Look for the featured snippet
Becoming the featured snippet for a query is one approach to ensure your content appears at the top of the search results. The highlighted snippet (also known as position zero) is a content box that displays at the top of search engine results pages and provides instant information about the search phrase.
Use optimized headers and images to break up the content
Visitors to your website do not want to read a wall of text, and you do not want your material to be too heavy. Images and headers increase the user experience while also providing technical advantages. Those headers can help to emphasize the message you’re trying to convey inside the section while also making your text easier to peruse.
Make your meta tags more effective
Metadata from meta tags are used by search engines like Google to interpret more information about a webpage. They can utilize this data to improve their ranking and display snippets in search results.
Add Relevant Images
Images are essential in making your content more accessible, appealing, and engaging to consumers, but they’re also important for SEO. They provide crucial contextual information to search engines. Optimized pictures boost user engagement by speeding up page loading and thus increasing search engine rankings.
Focus on the Readability score
Readers will stay on the page longer if the article has strong content readability because they will have no trouble reading the entire material. As a result, your bounce rate and exit rate will improve, which is beneficial for your SEO and increases your readability score. Keep your article’s content brief and engaging, with short paragraphs. Use the appropriate font and include headings and subheadings.
EAT after 2018
In SEO, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. If you’re running a medical, legal, or financial website, proper E-A-T is essential.
Google considers these three factors when determining how much trust to place in a brand or website. Google wants to provide the best possible experience for its clients (web index clients), so it only promotes sites that it completely trusts.
The significance of E-A-T for SEO purposes is that it verifies the content creator’s credentials in some way. If Google considers someone’s content to be authoritative and the author to be an expert on the subject, Google will give it a better ranking than someone who lacks both expertise and authority.
SEO tools and software
The Ahrefs tool provides users with easy-to-understand data visualization. For any URL or website, it provides detailed backlink profiles. Ahrefs provides consumers with a wide and clear representation of the backdrop of any website or URL.
Aherfs is a popular tool for SEO research. Ahrefs is excellent for keyword analysis and website ranking in addition to SEO backlink analysis. It reveals the most effective keyword for driving traffic to your competitors’ websites. Also, present you with a list of all the SEO errors on your website. It analyses and delivers a large number of results for each website study done by using various SEO criteria.
Key features of Ahrefs include :
1. Keep track of your location
2. Analyze backlinks
3. Examine the competition
4. Optimization of the landing page
5. Content strategy (ideation)
6. Ranking progress ( with a rank tracker)
7. Conduct keyword research.
8. Technical Search engine optimization
9. Organic traffic analysis
10. Audit the website
11. Explore the competitors
12. Check website domain authority and page authority
It is a well-known SEO tool that helps people improve their Google ranking also has some SEO tools in the market. We use Ahrefs to get the thorough information we need to make strategic decisions.
SEMrush is an SEO tool that performs keyword research, monitors your competitors’ keyword strategies, performs an SEO audit of your blog, searches for backlinking opportunities, and much more.
It is one of the most often used tools in the online market, and it is designed specifically to locate successful keywords. This tool is ideal for both novice and experienced bloggers. They use this technology to optimize their websites and to develop the material that their target audiences want, as well as to provide a better experience for their visitors.
There are five major ways to make use of SEMRush, which are as follows:
- Recognizing Your Present Success
- Improve Your Knowledge of Your Competitors
- Look for new keyword possibilities.
- Improve Your Advertising Prospects
- Keep an eye on your current and previous rankings.
Semrush is a comprehensive toolkit for increasing web exposure and uncovering marketing insights.
Marketers who work in the following services can benefit from this tool and reports. SEO, PPC, SMM, Keyword Research, Competitive Research, Public Relations, Content Marketing, Marketing Insights, and Campaign Management are some of the services available.
Kwfinder collects reliable data from a variety of sources, including Moz, Google Trends, Alexa, Google’s related searches, Google’s planner, and social media sites like Facebook, Quora, and others.
KWFinder is a keyword research tool for SEO that helps you uncover popular and long-tail keywords to drive high-converting targeted traffic to your blog, website, or YouTube channel. After you’ve generated a list of long-tail keywords, you can quickly create an article about them and rank them high on Google. Mangools’ KWFinder is not only a keyword research tool, but also an all-in-one SEO tool that includes SERP analysis, LinkMiner, and SiteProfiler.SERP Watcher and a slew of other SEO tools are available.
Kwfinder has a good data aggregation system and provides a precise keyword difficulty score. The premium keyword tool KW Finder is essential for individuals who wish to know the condition of their website on a daily basis.
SEO is a one-time thing
SEO isn’t something you do once and has results for the rest of your life. To achieve long-term results, you must continue consistent SEO optimization. SEO is a never-ending process of improving your internet business to get more customers. So, if you want to keep getting profitable outcomes online, don’t quit doing SEO.
Duplicate content brings penalties
This is the most common SEO misconception, according to the majority of people. Duplicate content does not carry a penalty, but it might still impact your organic rankings. If you have duplicate material on your website, search engines will split the authority between the duplicates, lowering your rankings.
Your backlinks will also suffer as a result of duplicating material. Crawling the same content twice wastes the crawl budget that could have been utilized to index other essential URLs.
Keyword research isn’t important
The importance of keyword research for traffic and conversions cannot be overstated. You won’t rank if you target the wrong keywords, and even if you do, you won’t receive the conversions. As a result, keyword filtering is required.
Social media signals are helpful
While social media networks are a terrific method to raise brand recognition and generate a lot of engagement, they don’t help you rank. The organic ranks are unaffected by social media outlets. Social media outlets, on the other hand, can double your website traffic. If you have a lot of reputation with your following, you can also earn free referrals through your social media networks.
So, think about using social media to increase traffic and brand exposure, but don’t anticipate rankings.
PPC can’t help you rank
PPC helps you acquire non-organic results, and while there is no direct SEO benefit, if you use the appropriate PPC strategy, you can gain some SEO results. You can market your material to generate backlinks, which will help you boost your rankings.
Furthermore, Google AdWords is an excellent research tool through which you may obtain useful information for your SEO optimization and achieve profitable results. You may use it to improve your SEO strategy by conducting keyword research, buyer journey analysis, and user intent analysis, among other things.
Advanced SEO strategies
Publish topic + year content
While writing content adding the years can be really helpful as it attracts the audience based on natural user behavior to go with the results that show the latest products or results.
It can help you to get a better page rank but the content should be timely updated as it gets obsolete after some time. As Google gives priority to user experience the content should go with the latest trends to get a better ranking.
Optimize for Google Discover
Discover (formerly known as Feed) became a popular feature of the Google Chrome mobile app, as well as a standalone app for Android devices. The Discover feed can also be found as a unique content results block labeled “Interesting finds” within organic search results.
Build backlinks with the podcast
The podcast hosting website will normally provide a link to their guest’s website in the episode’s post. The guest, as well as their followers in some situations, will provide a link to that episode on the podcast website.
To put it another way, having a podcast and appearing as a guest on other podcasts can help you generate quality links. These connections will frequently provide significant referral traffic as well.
Uncover people also ask for keywords
On SERP, you might have noticed that Google lists several questions under the title ‘People also ask’. This is a great way to get more organic clicks if you optimize your content with good keyword research for these questions.
Get backlinks from unlinked brand mentions
Backlinks are essential for growing a website’s authority, especially among relevant communities. While Google values brand mentions, even if they are unlinked, links serve as the major off-page ranking signal and provide significantly greater value than SEO.
What are the 3 main areas of SEO?
The three main components of SEO are: Technical SEO. On-page SEO (or Content SEO) Off-page SEO (or Links)
What are SEO keywords?
SEO keywords (also known as “keywords” or “keyphrases”) are terms added to online content in order to improve search engine rankings for those terms. Most keywords are discovered during the keyword research process and are chosen based on a combination of search volume, competition, and commercial intent.
What is SEO beginners?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, the process by which marketers attempt to get more visibility for their website in search engine results pages on Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines.
Can I learn SEO in one day?
Learning all the intricacies of SEO in a single day is not a realistic goal. SEO is a multifaceted and constantly evolving field that requires significant time and effort to grasp fully.
Is SEO paid or free?
SEO is for organic traffic – so that's unpaid or free listings, and SEM is for targeted ads that you pay for. They can be complementary but only if the website itself is SEO-friendly first, then SEM has a greater chance of being successful.