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Everything you need to know about SEO: FROM NOVICE TO PROFESSIONAL (Part 1)

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What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, it is the process of optimizing a website to improve its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or phrases. The goal of SEO is to make a website more visible and easily discoverable by users searching for related products, services, or information.

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Types of SEO

There are two main types of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to the optimization of elements within a website, such as the content and HTML code, to make it more search engine friendly. This includes optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and keyword usage throughout the website. On-page SEO focuses on optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.

Off-page SEO, on the other hand, refers to the optimization of elements outside of a website, such as backlinks, social media engagement, and brand awareness. Off-page SEO focuses on improving the authority of a website by building backlinks from other websites. The main goal of off-page SEO is to increase the website’s visibility and ranking in SERPs by building backlinks from other websites and increasing social media engagement.

SEO is an ongoing process, as search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, and the competition for high rankings is always increasing. SEO professionals use different techniques and strategies to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that their client’s websites are well-optimized and visible in SERPs.

  • On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the optimization of individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. This includes optimizing the content of a website, including the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and keyword density. On-page optimization also includes technical optimization, such as optimizing the website’s architecture, making sure the website is mobile-friendly, and improving the website’s loading speed.

On-page SEO includes optimizing the content of a website, including the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and keyword density. The title tag is the text that appears in the browser’s title bar and is also the first line of a search engine results page (SERP) listing. The meta description is a brief summary of the content of a web page that appears in the SERP. Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are used to structure the content of a web page and indicate the hierarchy of information. Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page divided by the total number of words on that page.

Title tags and meta descriptions are important elements in on-page SEO. Title tags are the text that appears in the browser’s title bar and is also the first line of a search engine results page (SERP) listing. Meta descriptions are brief summaries of the content of a web page that appear in the SERP. Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are used to structure the content of a web page and indicate the hierarchy of information. Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page divided by the total number of words on that page.

  • Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the techniques and strategies used to improve a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) by optimizing factors outside of the website itself. These techniques include building backlinks, increasing social media engagement, and improving brand awareness.

One important aspect of off-page SEO is building backlinks or links from other websites to your own. Search engines use backlinks as a way to gauge the authority and relevance of a website, and the more high-quality, relevant backlinks a website has, the more likely it is to rank well in SERPs. There are a number of strategies for building backlinks, such as guest blogging, broken link building, and directory submissions.

Off-page SEO focuses on improving the authority of a website by building backlinks from other websites. Backlinks are links from other websites to a page on a website. The number and quality of backlinks are important factors in determining the ranking of a web page in search engine results. Building backlinks can be done by creating valuable content that other websites will want to link to, participating in online forums and social media, and reaching out to other websites to ask for a link.

Another important aspect of off-page SEO is increasing social media engagement. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be powerful tools for promoting a website and building a brand. By regularly posting interesting and engaging content, and actively engaging with followers, a website can increase its visibility and attract more visitors.

Off-page SEO includes building backlinks to a website. Backlinks are links from other websites to a page on a website. The number and quality of backlinks are important factors in determining the ranking of a web page in search engine results. Building backlinks can be done by creating valuable content that other websites will want to link to, participating in online forums and social media, and reaching out to other websites to ask for a link.

In summary, on-page SEO focuses on optimizing the content and technical aspects of a website to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages. Off-page SEO focuses on building backlinks from other websites to improve the authority of a website and its ranking on search engine results pages. Both on-page and off-page SEO are important for improving the visibility and ranking of a website and should be used in conjunction with each other to achieve the best results

Technical Optimizations in SEO

SEO can also include technical optimization, which includes optimizing the website’s architecture, making sure the website is mobile-friendly, and improving the website’s loading speed. It also includes optimizing for local search by making sure the website is listed in online directories and that it includes the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of the business.

To be effective, SEO should be an ongoing process. It requires regular monitoring, analysis, and optimization to stay ahead of the competition and stay on top of the latest search engine algorithms. It is important to track the progress of your SEO efforts by monitoring your website’s traffic, ranking, and conversions.

SEO can be challenging and time-consuming, but it is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. By following best practices, optimizing your website, and regularly monitoring and analyzing your progress, you can improve your website’s visibility, ranking, and traffic, ultimately leading to increased conversions and revenue.

What are SEO Keywords?

SEO keywords are words and phrases that are used in web content in order to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for those specific terms. They are the words and phrases that people type into search engines in order to find relevant information or products. Optimizing web content for these keywords can help increase a website’s visibility and drive more traffic to the site.

How SEO Keywords work

SEO keywords work by helping search engines understand the topic and relevance of a web page. When a search engine crawls a website, it looks for certain keywords and phrases that are present in the content and meta tags. These keywords are used to determine the relevance of a web page to a particular search query.

When a user types a query into a search engine, the engine uses its algorithm to match the query with the most relevant web pages that contain those keywords. The algorithm takes into account many factors, including the relevance and quality of the content, the user’s location and search history, and the popularity and authority of the website.

By including relevant keywords in web content, website owners can improve their chances of ranking higher in SERPs for those keywords. However, it’s important to note that overstuffing keywords (also known as “keyword stuffing”) can actually harm the website’s ranking, as it signals to the search engine that the page is low quality or spammy.

Additionally, SEO is not only about including keywords but also providing valuable, informative, and user-friendly content. It’s about understanding the user’s search intent and providing relevant and helpful content to them.

Types of SEO Keywords

There are several types of SEO keywords that website owners can use to optimize their content for search engines:

  1. Short-tail keywords: These are broad, general keywords that are often just one or two words in length. They receive a high volume of searches, but they are also very competitive. Examples include “shoes”, “travel” and “food”
  2. Long-tail keywords: These are more specific and longer phrases that are less common, but they tend to have a higher conversion rate. They are often used by people who are further along in the buying process and know exactly what they want. Examples include “red high heel shoes size 8” “best places to travel in Nigeria” “gluten-free food options near me”
  3. LSI keywords: LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are words and phrases that are semantically related to the main keyword. They help search engines understand the context and meaning of the content. Examples include “heel” “trip” “diet” for a webpage about “red high heel shoes size 8”
  4. Brand keywords: These are keywords that include the name of a specific brand or company. They can be used to target customers who are searching for a specific product or service offered by that brand. Examples include “Nike running shoes” “Samsung smartphones”
  5. Location-based keywords: These are keywords that include a location, such as a city or a region. They can be used to target customers who are searching for products or services in a specific area. Examples include “pizza delivery in Abuja” “hair salon in Maitama”

It’s important to note that keyword research is a continuous process, and it’s important to regularly analyze your website’s performance and adjust your strategy accordingly.

How to find Keywords for SEO

There are several ways to find keywords for SEO:

  1. Keyword research tools: There are a variety of keyword research tools available, such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz Keyword Explorer, that can help you find relevant keywords for your website. These tools allow you to enter a seed keyword and will generate a list of related keywords, along with data on their search volume, competition, and CPC (cost per click).
  2. Competitor research: Analyze your competitors’ websites and see which keywords they are targeting. Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to see the top keywords that are driving traffic to their website.
  3. Google Autocomplete: Use Google’s Autocomplete feature to see which suggestions pop up when you start typing in a query. These suggestions are based on real-time search data and can give you an idea of the most popular keywords related to your topic.
  4. Google Trends: This tool allows you to see how a particular keyword has been performing over time in terms of search volume. It can also give you an idea of the seasonal trends for a keyword.
  5. User feedback: Ask your target audience what they would search for when looking for products or services like yours. Ask them for specific phrases they use and for any pain points or questions they have about your industry.
  6. Brainstorming: Create a list of keywords based on your products or services, and think about the different ways people might search for them. Try to think of synonyms, variations, and long-tail keywords that might be relevant to your business.

Once you have a list of keywords, it’s important to prioritize them based on their relevance, search volume, and competition. Then, use those keywords to optimize your website’s content, meta tags, and URLs. And don’t forget to track your website’s performance with those keywords using analytics tools to see if they are driving traffic and conversions.

What is SEO strategy?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy is a set of techniques used to improve a website’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). This is done by optimizing the website’s content, structure, and technical elements to align with the search engine’s ranking algorithms and the keywords and phrases that users are searching for. A good SEO strategy will help to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to a website, which can lead to more leads, sales, and revenue. Some common elements of an SEO strategy include keyword research, on-page optimization, backlinking, and content creation.

Core Components of a Strong SEO Strategy

A strong SEO strategy typically includes the following core components:

  1. Keyword research: Identifying the keywords and phrases that potential customers are searching for and incorporating them into the website’s content, meta tags, and other elements.
  2. On-page optimization: Optimizing the website’s content and structure for both search engines and users by using techniques such as header tags, meta descriptions, and internal linking.
  3. Technical SEO: Ensuring that the website is technically sound and easy for search engines to crawl and index. This includes elements such as site architecture, mobile responsiveness, and page speed.
  4. Content creation: Producing high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that provides value to users and helps to establish the website as an authority in its niche.
  5. Link building: Acquiring links from other websites to the website to improve its visibility and authority in the eyes of search engines.
  6. Measuring and Analyzing: Continuously monitoring and analyzing the performance of the website’s SEO efforts and making adjustments as needed.
  7. Local SEO: Optimizing the website to rank well in local search results by adding relevant location-based information and getting listed in local directories.
  8. Social Media SEO: Optimizing the website’s presence on social media platforms and integrating with them to improve visibility and drive traffic to the website.

These are some of the core components of a strong SEO strategy, and a good SEO strategy will be tailored to the specific needs of your website and target audience.

How To SEO a Website

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs). Here are some key steps to SEO a website:

  1. Perform keyword research: Use tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz Keyword Explorer to find relevant keywords for your website. Target a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords that are relevant to your products or services.
  2. Optimize website content: Use the keywords you’ve researched in your website’s content, meta tags, and URLs. Make sure the content is high-quality and informative, and that it matches the user’s intent. Avoid keyword stuffing, as this can harm your website’s ranking.
  3. Build backlinks: Backlinks, or links from other websites to your website, are an important factor in SEO. Try to get other reputable websites to link to your website. You can do this by creating valuable and shareable content, reaching out to other websites and asking for links, and participating in online communities and forums.
  4. Optimize website structure: Make sure your website is easy to navigate and that it has a clear hierarchy. Use header tags (H1, H2, H3) to structure your content and make it easy for search engines to understand.
  5. Optimize for mobile: With the majority of users browsing the web on their mobile devices, it’s important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Use responsive design and make sure your website loads quickly on mobile devices.
  6. Use Google Analytics and Search Console: Use these tools to track your website’s performance, get insights on how users are finding and interacting with your website, and monitor and fix any technical issues that might be hurting your website’s ranking.

It’s important to note that SEO is not a one-time task but a continuous process, it’s important to regularly analyze your website’s performance, track your progress and make necessary adjustments to your strategy. Additionally, SEO is not only about optimizing for search engines but also for users, providing them with valuable, informative and user-friendly content is crucial for SEO success.

How does Google know how to rank a page?

Google uses a complex algorithm to rank web pages in its search results. The algorithm takes into account hundreds of factors, or “signals,” to determine the relevance and usefulness of a web page. Some of the key factors that Google uses to rank web pages include:

  1. Content relevance: Google uses the keywords on a web page, along with the content’s overall relevance and usefulness, to determine the page’s relevance to a particular search query. The more relevant the content is to the search query, the higher the page will rank.
  2. Backlinks: Backlinks, or links from other websites to a web page, are considered a sign of the page’s popularity and authority. Pages with more high-quality backlinks are more likely to rank higher in search results.
  3. Site structure: Google takes into account the structure of a website, including its hierarchy, internal linking, and URL structure, to understand the relationship between pages on the site and to determine the relevance of a specific page to a search query.
  4. User engagement: Google uses signals such as click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, and time on page to gauge how users interact with a web page. Pages that are more engaging will likely rank higher in search results.
  5. Mobile-friendliness: Google gives priority to websites that are mobile-friendly and can be easily accessed on mobile devices.
  6. Technical SEO: Google also looks at technical aspects of a website such as site speed, security (https), and website errors to make sure that the website is accessible to both users and search engine bots.

Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving and changing, and new ranking factors are added or removed regularly. Additionally, Google’s algorithm is proprietary and not fully disclosed, so it’s hard to know the exact weight of each factor in the ranking algorithm. However, by focusing on providing high-quality, relevant, and user-friendly content, and by addressing technical SEO issues, website owners can improve their chances of ranking well in search results.

How to Monitor & Track SEO Results

Monitoring and tracking SEO results is an important part of any SEO strategy, as it allows you to see which techniques are working and which ones need to be adjusted. Here are some ways to monitor and track SEO results:

  1. Google Analytics: This free tool can be used to track website traffic, bounce rates, and other metrics that are important for SEO.
  2. Google Search Console: This tool provides insights into how Google crawls and indexes your website, as well as alerts for any issues that need to be addressed.
  3. Keyword tracking: Use tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Google Keyword Planner to track the rankings of specific keywords and phrases and monitor changes over time.
  4. Backlink monitoring: Use tools such as Ahrefs or Majestic to track the number and quality of backlinks to your website, and monitor for any negative SEO attacks.
  5. SERP tracking: Use tools such as Pro Rank Tracker, SERPWatcher, or SERPstat to track the website’s position in search results for specific keywords over time.
  6. Social Media tracking: Use tools such as HootSuite, Sprout Social, or BuzzSumo to track the performance of your website and social media accounts, including the number of shares and mentions.
  7. A/B testing: Use A/B testing to experiment with different elements of your website, such as headlines or calls to action, to see which ones have the greatest impact on SEO.

By monitoring and tracking these metrics, you’ll be able to see which techniques are working and which ones need to be adjusted and make data-driven decisions to improve your website’s SEO performance over time.

What is black hat SEO?

Black hat SEO refers to a set of unethical or manipulative practices that are used to improve a website’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). These practices are in direct violation of search engine guidelines and can result in penalties or even being banned from the search engine. Some examples of black hat SEO practices include:

  1. Keyword stuffing: Loading a web page with keywords or phrases in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in search results.
  2. Cloaking: Presenting different content or URLs to search engines than to users.
  3. Link farming: Creating large numbers of low-quality, irrelevant links to a website in an attempt to manipulate its ranking in search results.
  4. Hidden text or links: Using hidden text or links on a web page in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in search results.
  5. Doorway pages: Creating multiple pages with similar or identical content, designed to rank for specific keywords and redirecting users to a single page.
  6. Scraping content: Copying content from other websites and using it on your own site without permission.

These practices are considered unethical and are in direct violation of search engine guidelines. Using black hat SEO techniques can result in penalties, such as being removed from search engine indexes, and in some cases, the entire website can be banned from the search engine.

In contrast, White hat SEO refers to techniques that are in line with the search engine guidelines and are considered ethical.

It’s not possible to “safe” black hat SEO, as these techniques are in violation of search engine guidelines and are considered unethical. Using black hat SEO techniques can result in penalties, such as being removed from search engine indexes, and in some cases, the entire website can be banned from the search engine. Instead of trying to “safe” black hat SEO, it’s recommended to focus on using white hat SEO techniques that are in line with search engine guidelines and are considered ethical.

White Hat SEO Techniques

White hat SEO techniques include:

  1. Creating high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that provides value to users
  2. Optimizing the website’s content and structure for both search engines and users
  3. Acquiring links from other websites to the website to improve its visibility and authority
  4. Continuously monitoring and analyzing the performance of the website’s SEO efforts and making adjustments as needed.
  5. Following search engine guidelines and best practices

By focusing on white hat SEO techniques, you can improve your website’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) in a way that is sustainable and in compliance with search engine guidelines.

Conclusion

In conclusion, off-page SEO is an essential part of any search engine optimization strategy. By building backlinks, increasing social media engagement, and improving brand awareness, a website can improve its visibility and ranking in SERPs, leading to more traffic and ultimately more business.

Lastly, improving brand awareness is another way to improve off-page SEO. This can be done by creating a strong and consistent brand identity and promoting it through various channels such as social media, advertising, and public relations.

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About the author

Eze Erondu

Eze Erondu is a prolific forger of impressive brand identities and a creative Web Designer & Digital Marketer in Nigeria with more than 5 years of experience in delivering result-oriented brand and creative solutions. He takes a holistic approach to brand creation and promotes cohesive identities across physical and digital media.

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