Getting Started with SEO
Hello and welcome to the first lesson of your introduction to SEO.
In order for websites to rank in search engines like Google, Bing, and others and attract targeted traffic, you must first learn how search engines operate.
Did you know that in a minute, Google processes between 40,000 and 70,000 searches? In other words, there are more than a trillion searches performed annually, at least 1 billion of which are done every month. In actuality, 1 out of every 7 queries is a first-time search. That demonstrates just how rapidly the web is evolving.
Technical Knowledge required for SEO
At its most technical level, SEO is vast, complicated and obscure at times. SEO is extremely systematic, involves observation, and necessitates factual proficiency. There are a lot of technical aspects to wrap your head around. However, in-depth knowledge is usually not required for many medium to small-business websites that are built on content management systems like WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace. All you need is Google and average research skills!
If you are a beginner or intermediate SEO specialist, it is imperative that you get a strong grasp on the processes for conducting keyword research and developing a content strategy as they will be the core tools in your arsenal.
You’ll understand the following at the end of this lesson:
- What SEO is about
- Why SEO is valuable to businesses
- SEO’s ultimate objective is
- How to approach SEO
- The operation of search engines
- Three SEO pillars
Beginning of lesson 1
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. At its core, the goal of SEO is to optimize your web pages for search engines—Specifically, your web pages will rank at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
In my experience, most small businesses just want to rank on page 1 of the SERP; however, many enterprises aim for the number 1 position.
What is SEO
SEO is the art and science of ranking your website on the first page of search engines. For example, if you sell ‘office chairs in Toronto’ you would want your product pages to show up when consumers search for ‘office chairs in Toronto’ online.
Use this tool. Go to Google.ca and search for office chairs. Then go to Google.com and search for office chairs once more.
Consider the following:
- What are your first impressions when comparing both organic listings?
- How does the user experience differ between the first organic listing and the second, third, or even fifth listing?
- Do you agree with the order of Google’s listings, or would you arrange them differently? If your answer is yes, then ask yourself why.
This is how SEOs think. SEO specialists strive to provide a fantastic user experience in addition to making websites easier for search engines to crawl and understand.
SEO = Free Advertising on Google!
Now, what makes SEO so important? The answer is simple—free traffic. . You can therefore save your hard-earned money and put it to other uses. Having an SEO strategy typically means it’ll be a machine that keeps driving traffic and driving your return on investment.
Of course, your time is a cost component but think about it this way. If you paid an agency to do SEO, that would be your only cost. However, if you paid an agency to run ads for you, plus provided a budget for your ad campaigns, you would be paying a lot more. Conversely, you can manage SEO and ads yourself, but SEO will always be more cost-effective. Depending on which industry you are in, it can be very expensive to run ads.
It would cost $22.26 per click (and your time) to pay Google to appear at the top of the results page for the search term” data warehouse software.”
SEO on the other hand simply requires your time in order to earn or rank at the top of the search results page. The only caveat is that (depending on your niche) it can be extremely difficult to rank at the top of the search engine results.
“On average, 71.33% of searchers click the number one result on Google,” according to Moz’s research. This means that if you appear on Google’s first page, you have a very good chance of receiving organic traffic. Moreover, Google rewards websites that have improved user experience and adhere to user intent. If a searcher finds your website near the top, it is likely because you are giving them a worthwhile experience.
How a Search Engine Works
Here is a 3-minute video with Matt Cuts explaining how search engines operate.
Consider a time before the internet. Let’s say you want to learn more about Jackie Chan. How do you behave? You inquire with the librarian at the library about getting some Jackie Chan reading material. They have access to a sizable collection of labelled index cards that are arranged in a specific order. They track down where these books are and bring you there. You read the books and discover that they are valuable, interesting, and helpful in answering your question.
This straightforward illustration best demonstrates how a search engine like Google or Bing functions. Except, imagine that the librarian is actually sophisticated software, and the information isn’t limited to books in the library but also includes internet web pages. A search engine will then examine your request and use a specific set of guidelines, criteria, and procedures to help you find the information you’re looking for and feel satisfied.
But in reality, the librarian isn’t able to look through every book to help you with your question because she hasn’t read them all. When you think about the power of search engines, it’s truly quite fascinating.
Imagine that you are a member of the Google search team and are responsible for instructing the search engine on what to look for in order to provide the user with relevant results. What approach would you take? What signals would you look for in the content to indicate that it is excellent and helpful? What kind of guidelines would you provide to search engine users? Thinking about this can be quite intriguing. Google has dominated the search engine market for more than 20 years. Their longevity isn’t a fluke.
3 SEO Pillars
These three pillars may be used to categorize the sorts of optimizations we can make to enhance our SEO. These pillars are Content, Technical, and Authority. We’ll go into more detail on each of these three in another lesson, but first, let me summarize what they stand for.
On the most fundamental level, content pertains to the text on a page, the images, or anything else that helps us market to visitors. Is the information you have on the page useful to the reader? Does it aid in problem-solving? Will it assist in resolving a query? Would it match what they had read or expected to see? For now, just consider content as the words on the page or how effectively we communicate. We’ll talk more about how we can improve our content and how to help us rank higher as a result later.
Technical SEO focuses more on the source code. It is more concerned with how easily the information can be read and interpreted by crawlers. Your traffic and sales may suffer greatly if the crawler is blocked and unable to view the information. As we progress through the lessons, we’ll learn more about how to identify and address these problems.
The term “authority” refers to the significance or weight attached to a page in relation to a specific search query. What are people saying about your website or web page? Who is linking to you? Do reliable websites like Forbes or the New York Times provide you with quality links? Or are you receiving spammy links from websites that offer a poor user experience and perhaps even pose a threat to anyone visiting their site? In another lesson, we’ll examine a variety of tactics you can employ to increase your authority and trust while also raising your overall ranking.