What is SEO? The Easiest 2020 SEO Beginner’s Guide
Table of Content
- What is SEO?
- Google algorithm: How search engines work
- Definition of basic terms
- Types of SEO
- SEO techniques
- Other forms of SEO
- How to do On-page SEO in 2019
- How to do Off-page SEO in 2019
- How to do Technical SEO in 2019
- How long does it take to achieve results in SEO?
- Peculiarities of Bing SEO
- Action point: SEO Practice Exercise
- How to assess your SEO results
What is SEO?
Google algorithm: How search engines work
Definition of basic terms
Types of SEO
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO.
- Whitehat SEO
- Greyhat SEO.
- Buying expired domains with good backlink profile, then repurposing them.
- Using Private Blog Networks (PBNs) with average content quality to build backlinks
- Link building using Web 2.0 submissions
- Boosting social signals by purchasing social shares and traffic
- Artificially increasing CTR by getting several friends across the world to Google your desired keyword and clink on your website multiple times a day.
“These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here. It’s not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn’t included on this page, Google approves of it.”
Other forms of SEO
- Click through rate
- Watch time
- Video title
- Video description
- Video quality
- Use of subtitles
- Overall view counts
- Number of comments, shares, like and subscriptions
App Store SEO
- Keyword-optimized App Title and description
- Total number of downloads
- User ratings/reviews.
- Directing numerous low-quality spammy backlinks to competitor’s website
- Redirecting Google-penalised domains to competitor’s website
- Backlinks with adult anchor texts (e.g. Viagra, Gambling, Porn Movie)
- Content scraping and duplication all over the internet
- Hacking a competitor’s website, changing it’s content and editing it’s robot.txt file (which can delete the website from Google).
Origin of Negative SEO
How to do On-page SEO in 2020
- To convince Google that your content is relevant to the target keyword
- To entice users to click on your website (instead of others) on the SERP
- To make users stay longer on your website after clicking-through from Google, and engage with it by commenting or sharing it on social media.
1. Write high quality content
A high-quality content is keyword-optimized
Keyword density is the number of times your keyword appears in your content, compared to the total text of that page. So if you have a text that is 100 words and 3 of those are your focus keyword, your keyword density is 3%.
A high-quality content has LSI keywords strategically sprinkled all over
A high-quality content is long enough
Pro tip: Before writing any SEO content, always search for your keyword on Google, click through the top 3 results, and take note of their average content length (Use this free tool for that). Then set out to write longer, more thorough and more informative content than all of them.
A high-quality keyword is written to win featured snippets
Without a featured snippet, the first result gets a 26% click-through rate. With a featured snippet, the first result only gets a 19.6% click-through rate, and the featured snippet gets an 8.6% click-through rate.
- Rank in page 1 of Google’s search result page. (99.6% of the featured snippets are from websites already in the top 10 positions in Google.)
- Use numbered or bullet lists and tables more often (and when appropriate) in your content.
A high-quality content is rich in images and videos
A high-quality content is unique
2. Use short, descriptive and SEO-friendly URLs
- Always include your target keyword
- Avoid complex URL architecture, like this: https://powerdesign.com.ng/
- Keep the URL short but descriptive enough, like this: https://powerdesign.com.
- Don’t include definite things like numbers and years in the URLs. This is so as to allow for updating the article later on.
3. Optimize your title tag and meta description to entice user clicks
- Always include your target keyword in the title, preferably at the beginning.
- Add adjectives like “best”, “top”, “easiest” or “2020” to the title.
- The title should be short, preferably 7-8 words.
- The meta description is an opportunity to pitch your content to the searcher in 155 characters; write your best pitch.
- Your meta description should also include your target keyword and a call to action.
4. Use h1 tags and h2-h6 subheadings appropriately
5. Optimize your images to rank
- It’s the text that shows when an image is hovered on your website.
- It’s the text that shows on the screen should an image fail to load.
- It’s the text that is read out to visually impaired people who may be accessing your website with a screen reader.
6. Add external and internal links in your content
7. Improve user engagement
- Write high-quality content that is long enough.
- Write in simple, easy-to-read language, with short sentences and many paragraphs.
- Be amazing! Write content that is interesting to read.
- Flow. Always try to introduce your next paragraph in the last. That way, readers are glued in.
- Take advantage of multimedia. Add a bunch of helpful videos, infographics and charts to your content.
How to do Off-page SEO in 2020
Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site……The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results: buying or selling links that pass PageRank; excessive link exchange; large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links……The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community……Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.
Dofollow vs Nofollow Backlinks
- Real brands usually display clearly visible contact info, and their “About Us” pages are generally rich in information.
- They often have a physically accessible office address.
- They usually have people working for them, some of which are listed on LinkedIn.
- Real brands often have strong social media presence, with large following.
- Users often search for the names or products of real brands on Google. For example, “Mercedes Benz body parts”.
- Real brands are often mentioned on other websites without being linked to.
- Create accounts on as many social media websites as possible and build your following on them.
- Become a guest contributor in popular websites in your niche.
- Sign up on as many review websites and business directories as possible, and get backlinks with branded anchor texts from them. Your priorities should be Yellow Pages, Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp and Angie’s List.
- Get press coverage by being a source for a journalist on HARO.
- Run online visual ads without including a link to your website/product. If your copy or offer is enticing enough, users will search for your brand on Google.
- Invest in offline advertising. This too will increase the search volume for your brand name and improve your SEO.
How to do Technical SEO in 2020
- improving site speed
- crawlability and indexiblity
- implementing structured data
- implementing AMP
- implementing canonical URLs and
- internationalization with hreflang tags.
Improving website speed
- The size (in KB or MB) of the page
- The number of HTTP requests
- How fast your web hosting server loads
- Whether web page is cached or not
- Whether CDN is used or not
- Whether the web page is static or dynamically generated.
Mobile-friendly web design
- Responsive web design
- Dynamic serving
- Separate URLs for mobile version
Recommended further reading on Technical SEO
- The Beginner’s Guide to Technical SEO by Quick Sprout
- Structured data with Schema.org: the ultimate guide by Yoast SEO
- How To Use WordPress Category & Tag Pages for SEO by Nate Shivar
- Google AMP: How to Implement it in WordPress by Kinsta
- rel=canonical: the ultimate guide to canonical URLs by Yoast SEO
- The Guide to International Website Expansion: Hreflang, ccTLDs, & More! by Moz.
How long does it take to achieve results in SEO?
- The difficulty of your target keyword
- Your website’s overall backlink profile
- Whether you are targeting a global or local audience
- The age of your domain name
Peculiarities of Bing SEO
Bing relies more on exact match keywords to understand your page’s context
Keyword-rich anchor texts for links is good for Bing SEO
Bing: Use targeted keywords as the linked text (anchor text) to support other internal pages.
Bing recommends active link building
Bing: Consider social media to help build external links, or simply ask websites for them; paying for links is risky.
Social signals matter
Bing: Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results. The most obvious part it plays is via influence. If you are influential socially, this leads to your followers sharing your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals. These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.
Free advertising credits and SEO tools
Action point: SEO Practice Exercise
1. Do keyword research, and write down a list of 10 niches you can blog about
2. Sort these niches by average keyword difficulty and monthly search volume; pick the best three
3. Register three new domain names; or preferably buy good expired domains
4. Get simple logos designed for each domain name, and build superfast WordPress blogs on each of them
5. Write 45 high-quality keyword-optimised articles; 15 per blog, each above 1,000 words
6. Create an account for each of the three blogs on Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
7. Register each blog as a business on as many social media and business listing websites as you can
8. Actively promote and build backlinks from relevant sites to each of your blogs
9. Wait for 4-6 months; then assess your result
How to assess your SEO results
- Organic pageviews per month
- Percentage increase in organic pageviews per month in the last 6 months
- Number of impressions per month, organic CTR and bounce rate
- Number of keywords for which you rank in the top 10 results
- What percent of your 15 articles rank in the first page for their target keywords
- Number of featured snippets you’ve won
- Number of dofollow and nofollow backlinks you’ve acquired in the last 6 months
- Volume of searches for your brand name per month
PowerDesign is a leading web design and startup branding agency in Nigeria. We help young Nigerian brands establish powerful online presence with beautifully-crafted, fast-loading, ultramodern and responsive websites that gets noticed.