Basic SEO Guide for Beginners – Understanding Foundational Strategy

Beginner's Basic SEO Guide

Post In Progress

We initially planned on publishing a formal Basic SEO guide for total beginners via this post but it suddenly became a long rambling. It wouldn’t hurt to look back and test yourself if what you knew about Search Engine Optimization is still fully aligned with what it's all about basically - but we assure you that a lot of insights can be gained even with these search engine optimization fundamentals. 

But of course if you think that you are already an EXPERT, even if we know that this is an industry which is mostly based on educated guess, you can skip to our SEO blueprint.

You may have heard of the term SEO and felt like everyone in the digital world of business uses it but no one really explains exactly what it means . Or perhaps you've recently learned its benefits and now you want to do it but you don’t know where to begin? Have little or zero background about it? Well, congratulations! Bid your neophyte blues goodbye because this post is just for you, designed to help out beginners and the like.

As you browse the web, you may have encountered the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization. You may have seen advertisements promoting SEO services and opportunities. The concept of SEO can be very technical for those who couldn’t care less and are still focused on their traditional day jobs. But for those who had been “enlightened” by what online marketing can offer, search engine optimization is one of the most lucrative industry that anyone can get into and it keeps on growing. It is fun, challenging, and rewarding.

What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization?


The Dependence on Online Search

Whenever you have a question and your computer (with Internet connection) is within reach, what do you do? You search the web… most likely through the use of a search engine such as Google.

When you want to buy something and you want to come up with a better decision, what is the most convenient way to search and compare options? You search the web and most likely through Google.

A lot of people have become very dependent on online search. This is especially true whenever the needs are urgent. The Internet offers almost every answer to any question imaginable but without an effective way to search, you will find yourself wondering around a vast field of random knowledge. This is how search engines can become extremely useful.

The Need for Quick Answers and Solutions

Let us try to go through this topic in the simplest way possible. So you have problem or question and you use a search engine to find answers. Search engines then return the most relevant results that can answer your query.

Now as you browse, have you ever wondered if one can be patient enough to browse as far as even page 3 of the search results before keying in another keyword or phrase? …Probably not.

This means that you will most likely focus on the top 10 results which appear on the front page. Now you as a normal person looking for answers through Google may often be a customer looking for products or services.

With those top 10 results, one of them can become lucky enough to present what you are looking for and therefore make a sale.

 

The Opportunities for Businesses and Marketer

In the point of view of the website owners who are most likely promoting something, being on the top 10 results means getting the most traffic or online visitors which then become potential customers.

Thus, the main goal is to appear on the front page of the search engine results through a process called SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Now if your website deserves it, you shouldn’t require this process but with the number of competing websites nowadays, you wouldn’t want to be left behind.

What SEO Marketing Is For

Search Engine Optimization signifies the process of helping search engines make your site more visible to those who search for it. A billion websites are available on the Internet today, how do you make sure your site shows up when people look for content similar to yours? That is what SEO is for.

As much as you aspire your website to be as unique as possible, how do you know you’d still stand out among the others that contain the same ideas as yours? That is what SEO is for. Sure, you’ve put a lot of effort in your content, but how do you ensure that it reaches out to those whom its made for? People want quick results, what do you do if you’re on the second page of someone’s online search? That is what SEO is for.

Factors that Lead to Success

In SEO, the main goal is to appear on top of search engine results pages (SERPs) whenever people search for keywords that are related to the content of your website to invite visitors and improve traffic.

Your creativity and marketing strategies will find their place when it comes to SEO because you are technically competing for traffic. Content needs to be appealing and engaging in the eyes of your audience and Google as well as other search engines. Your site can’t stand a chance to gain increased attention if it doesn’t appear to cater the needs of a specific niche.

When people do a search on Google, those pages that contain relevance and authority are the ones that Google will provide links to. Authority is measured by the quantity and quality of links from other web pages. Your site can potentially rank on Google as long as other sites link you to them. The secret? Create great content. When you catch the interest of other pages, they can link you and these links can show Google that you are authoritative. In return, Google will begin to show you up in search results because that is what they’re up to.

When it comes to ranking. Authority is a big word, too. The more authoritative you appear, the higher the ranking you will get. Put effort in coming up with useful content because people share them in blogs, social media, and other platforms which send Google an idea that you possess valuable authority. Don’t forget about making your content easily shareable and searchable by using words and phrases people can find you with.

What Factors Can Contribute to My Ranking?


An improved ranking on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo is affected by many areas but in general, it all narrows down to how well your site is optimized. Here are some of the main factors that contribute to your ranking. You might want to improve your efforts on these if you’re aiming to optimize your site.

A. Domain Authority

Domain authority refers to the measurement of your domain’s trustworthiness gained with the help of backlinks and age. A backlink is a link made when a website links to another. As aforementioned, authority comes to the picture when more sites talk about yours. With respect to the age of your domain, higher domain authority is affected by time.

The name of your domain is something to note. Once you’ve come up with the keywords you’re targeting, don’t distance your domain’s name from the very idea of your targeted keywords. Stick to being relevant to what your site contains. Also, don’t overdo your name. Keep it straightforward and as short as possible.

B. Branding and URL

As much as possible, your URL should readily present your brand. Everything should be easy to remember in order improve brand retention on the minds of your audience.

The shorter and more comprehensive your URL is, the better it will be for visitors and search engines to understand what your website and pages are all about. Point what you’re talking about in your URLs and be as short and descriptive as possible to drive right traffic.

C. Keywords

How do you provide a way for your target audience to find your website? Through keywords. One strategic way in coming up with the right ones is to think how your customers think. How are they going to describe the products and/or services that you have?

If they are going to a search engine, what are the words are they likely going to type in the search bar? Know what you are targeting and prioritize using terms that you would want your website to show up when searched. Don’t forget to include synonymous words for your target terms.

D. Content and Relevance

Nothing really happens when your content isn’t optimized. People aren’t really going to waste time in things that they don’t find useful to them so it’s best to provide wholesome content that will be worth people’s time and attention. After all, your audience are what your ideas, products, and services are for, right?

Always write with the target audience in mind. What do they need? What are their wants? What will make them desire to spend time and read what you have to say?

Length matters, too. Your content won’t get an opportunity to rank unless it has at least 1500-2000 words. That’s applicable per post. Maximize using your voice and the platform that’s available to you and your audience. Catch their attention. Be in full-detail as much as possible but not too much. Focus on what matters most to your readers. When they spend longer spans of time in your site, Google will see that your content is great and worthy.

Blogging on your website is a substantial way to keep your website updated and competitive when it comes to ranking. Google will lose its interest in your website if you don’t have new content regularly coming up. This is because the robots and users in your site don’t have something new to read thus, making your ranking possibly waver.

But when you provide valuable content, you will have more traffic to your website and will result to improved ranking. But, be careful when putting up new content. Be original. Search engines are more intelligent than you think. They will know if its a copied one or not.

E. Inbound and Outbound Links

Inbound links, also called as backlinks, are links coming from other domains that point to your domain. Outbound links on the other hand are links that come from your domain that point to other domains.

With regard to these so-called links, your site is better optimized when the websites your site points to are relevant. But, your website is best optimized when you get a handful of backlinks especially when they come from known, credible sources.

F. Technical On Page Factors

G. Structure and Internal Linking

H. Site Design

I. Traffic and Engagement

J. Competition

K. Compliance

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Basic Guide on How Search Engines and SEO Correlates


How does SEO work?

Now that you have a background on what SEO is, you might wonder how it works. Here’s a comprehensive, made easy five-part explanation on how it basically works:

It Starts With The Publication Of The Web Page

The starting point of the whole SEO journey begins at the publication of your web page. When it comes to Google, each page found within your website counts as one particular entity, distinct from the other ones. Your Home Page is a single page with a unique URL. Your About Page and Contact Us Page are counted individually as well.

Google registers or indexes each page on your website separately. While it is a massively great idea to work on bettering the totality of your website, Google doesn’t index your web page as a whole so it would be best for you to optimize each page that you have on your website. Connection and internal linkages between the content of your website is a must because these are what gives Google a glimpse of how your content is associated with each other.

 

Search Engine Robots Will Crawl Over Your Page

Google will send out search engine robots also called as crawlers or spiders. These will crawl all throughout your website so that Google can be able to find your published pages. These robots are programs designed to collect every word that your site has. The collection will take place in each of the pages that you’ve published and will extend to following inbound and outbound links. Now, you see the significance of the role that link building plays in SEO. This is for Google to garner information about your webpage as much as possible.

However, robots are only able to read text. For non-text content that they can’t read such as photos, sound and video clips, it is advisable that you put supporting alt text and captions to allow the robots to crawl on these types of content as well.

After the robots have collected the data from the pages of your website, they will then do a reporting to the main search engine index which has a complex set of algorithms that allow the obtained data to undergo analysis.  The algorithms of the search engine are used to calculate the level of significance of your page when people search for a question or keyword.

Search Engines Will Decide your Rank

Now that the search engine has calculated and evaluated your website using the gathered data of the robots and its algorithms, it can now determine the main keywords in each page of your site. Part of what it can also determine are the relevance of the pages of your site with regard to similar sites and how much authority your pages are given.

This authority refers to the respective significance of your pages which is figured out by discrete metric which may include the quality and/or influence of pages that link to you or external links, your meta description and many more.

Search Engines Will Index Your Page

As long as your page has no problems or issues, the search engine now ranks and indexes you. People in need of your service are all over the Internet and will use search engines to look for what would sustain their specific needs. Upon searching, they will most likely type keywords that are specific instead of general ones. The formula is often name of product or service plus name of location.

Web Page Will Be Displayed In Search Engine’s SERP

When people search for your products or services in search engines, your page will appear in a SERP (search engine results page) if it's optimized correctly.

Your ranking depends on the contribution of various factors as mentioned above. However, it all lies within your SEO efforts and how well you understand how it’s done and what its significance is.

The Foundations of an Effective SEO Strategy


Oftentimes when everything gets too complicated, try going back to the basics.

So a common scenario – you are about to experience “analysis paralysis” as you formulate a supposedly effective SEO strategy. While you can spend three lifetimes learning the ropes and the technicalities of each, missing the essentials won’t get you anywhere.

Now for a few minutes let’s take a break from the noisy SEO community, all those experts and gurus who overwhelm us with seemingly impressive tips which often come with a disclaimer – that everything is actually an educated guess.

But I admit that there are those who we look up to and they actually bring results through proven data.

But then again, a single algorithm can destroy everything. (~hyena laugh)

Sorry about the “seesaw” of expectations. lol

Anyhow, we believe that the essential basics we are going to cover can be considered future proof if successfully applied to your SEO operations.

Now let’s focus more on the real essence of Search Engine Optimization. We’re not promising anything but, this might just help you layout the foundations of your SEO strategy – which hopefully should result to an optimization technique that could go long term and withstand any search engine algorithm updates.

SEO is Not Just About You

Well it’s not just all about you… not just all about the search engines as well.

For instance, a simple glance in your awesome looking website would reveal if you are obsessed on highlighting how awesome you are or if you are more focused on providing real value for everyone.

Now as we go through this – keep in mind the 3 major key players in your search engine optimization strategy:

the search engine optimization practitioner (or most likely the website owner)

the search engine

the search engine users or online searchers

Now ask yourself. Are you taking into consideration the interests of these 3 major players?

Relationships and Experience

These two factors connect the 3 key players in SEO. Never forget that once these two aspects are ignored, your SEO strategy is bound to fail. Do not micro manage at the expense of establishing good relationships and user experience.

It clearly, it all boils down to GREAT USER EXPERIENCE.

Basically, SEO involves a collection of tasks and techniques to make sure that your website gets found by your target audience. There is more to SEO than simply competing to achieve the best positions on the search results pages.

But simply put, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is all about aligning the quality of a website to satisfy the demands, requirements, standards, and expectations of both the search engines and online visitors.

This would mean prioritizing quality, providing real value and implementing legitimate content or techniques. The ultimate goal is for online users to find what they are looking for while search engines provide good user experience.

Consequently, a marketer or a website owner can achieve the exposure you need and perhaps the online income that you deserve through free traffic offered by search engines.

The Foundations of an Effective SEO Strategy


The concept of SEO can be very technical for those who couldn’t care less and are still focused on their traditional day jobs. But for those who had been “enlightened” by what online marketing can offer, search engine optimization is one of the most lucrative industry that anyone can get into and it keeps on growing. It is truly fun, challenging, and rewarding.

Now as we take a break from all the technicalities of SEO, let’s look at an analogy this time.

The Old School Library

Here’s a simple analogy which compares SEO to a common library scenario.

And, I don’t know if kids nowadays can still relate to the usefulness of the library lol, now that the Internet has dominated everything that relates to information.

So search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing) will take the role of the librarians while the library becomes the entire web.

Consequently, a particular “book” represents a website with its “pages” representing the “web pages” of the website where they belong.

Now the online users (or the searchers) will take the roles of the “borrowers” or “readers” of the “books”.

Finally, a person who performs search engine optimization will take the role of the “publisher” or the “author” of the so called “books”.

So,

In this case, as a publisher of a certain book (or a person doing search engine optimization), there are two perspectives to consider… that of the librarians and that of the borrowers/readers who are supposed to interact effectively.

The Librarian

Librarians have the duty to get familiarized with the entire library in order to provide good services to the borrowers of books. They would want to know which book is appropriate based on what people are looking for.

In the same way, search engines crawl and index the entire web. (Translation: they create a copy of the entire web… well almost the entire web). They do this so that they can categorize every website and web pages, then provide what the online users actually need every time they do an online search.

The Readers

If you are doing a research and decided to use the library, you would want to find accurate information right away through the right book. Well you would tend to look for a librarian who would not waste your time and give you exactly what you are looking for.

The same is true online, a large percentage of online searchers use Google more than other search engines simply because their service is great and it is more likely for you to get the result you are looking for.

The Librarian's Duty

Now a librarian would want to have a system to make sure that that the right book is provided without any delay. Search engines on the other hand use the so called algorithms to categorize and classify websites and web pages. When an online search is made, search engines use these algorithms to return the most relevant results to searchers.

Enter the Authors

Now as a publisher of a certain book, it is natural for you to have a main goal of having your book read by as many readers as possible; otherwise, the book becomes almost useless. For this to happen, you will need to make sure that you are writing about a topic that will most likely arouse the interest of many readers. The more readers you can target, the more sensational your book becomes…in the end, this leads to more sales for your book.

In the online world, you would want your websites to have as many targeted visitors as possible – people who are really interested on what your website is all about.

But there is another factor to consider – the librarians. Most people don’t recognize a certain book directly if they are not even popular or existing in a library (or being promoted in a bookstore in most cases). This is why a publisher should figure out a way to convince librarians that his creations are the ones that should be presented to the readers over the other books of the same topic.

A website owner would try his best to comply with the algorithms of the search engines so that his/her website will be viewed as the most relevant resource for any targeted online user.

(Translation: Website users will perform tasks to have high positions on search engine results pages, ideally the first page). This is how search engine marketing is born in which search engine optimization or SEO is the way to acquire free search engine traffic (online visitors).

The Wrap

Okay let’s get back to our senses and talk about that SEO strategy you are formulating or reevaluating.

Ask yourself:

Are you optimizing for the purpose of the search engines or just for your own gain?

Are you balancing everything making sure everyone is on the win-win level?

Are you more of a marketer or a spammer?

Are you for long term or short term benefits?

Remember the true meaning of SEO. It is all about making sure that the most deserving web asset gets found simply because it satisfies the online searcher. Optimize for search and promote your online assets while considering the welfare of the channel where everything happens. That channel is of course the search engine or in this day and age, refers to the master G.

Actionable Summary


What You Can Do:

 Here's your AxiFic takeaway for this post!


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Bonus SEO Take Aways:


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