What is SEO?: The Complete SEO Guide for 2021
SEO – What is SEO?
The term SEO stands for search engine optimization. It involves all processes that are responsible for increasing your website relevance and authority on search engines and thus higher ranking. The relevance of your website or blog pages is one of the determining factors for its ranking on search engines.
Many of the time, people have asked questions relating to what SEO really means; questions like, what is SEO? Is my page link part of search engine optimization? How relevant are my blog posts to my website Search engine optimization? How does SEO affect my website performance? Does SEO improve sales and revenue? etc.
If you are wondering what search engine optimization stands for, it is the answer to all the questions you have ever asked that are related to why your blog or website is not highly ranked on search engines. The number one factor that plays a significant role in ranking your site on search engines is search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization involves everything in your blog or website, starting from the coding to the frontend that the users of your website interact with. This involves the design, the speed, the responsiveness, and how easy it is for users to interact with your website, and many more aspects of your blog such as the quality of your content and how it serves as a solution to what people are searching for.
Significance of Search Engine Optimization
When you understand the question, what is SEO? You will know why it is relevant to properly implement good search engine optimization for your blog.
Generally, the web experience resolves around the researcher, the search engine, and the user experience. In order to be relevant to search results on search engines, one must ensure that there is a good user experience for all pages on one’s website followed by unique and quality content. This is not negotiable.
If you go to the market to buy some foodstuff and other groceries, you may consider returning to a seller on another purchase date if and only if you had a good experience buying from that particular seller.
When a researcher searches on Google and other search engines for a solution or information, if such users do not have a good user experience with your blog or website, there is no possibility of them returning to your website another day, most of such users will even block your blog on search engines.
According to reports, the first five search results that appear on Google get over 67% of all clicks. Google is the leading search engine at the moment. Google search engine will love your website if it has strong relevance and authority which can only be achieved through some good search engine optimization strategy.
If you are looking for a list of reasons why your business website or blog needs good SEO, the following points explain a bit of it.
- One of the most important reasons your blog needs a strong SEO is to generate organic traffic and keep returning customers. Organic traffic can only be achieved through a good SEO strategy.
- SEO is one of the most important sources of generating leads for every business. If you run an eCommerce website or a real estate business or any other form of business at all, one of the most important ways to get leads is through good SEO for your business website.
- Optimizing your business for a specific keyword(s) can only be achieved through good SEO strategies. Every result that is fed to a researcher online is based on certain keywords used when searching for solutions.
- SEO is one of the best strategies to increase sales without constantly running ads for your business. If your business website is well optimized for search engines, it is only natural to generate a lot of traffic which will turn into sales and eventually returning customers.
- Good customer or user experience. A good customer or user experience can only be achieved through search engine optimization. This may revolve around the contents, products, layout, design, and other aspects of your website.
- SEO improves the credibility of your website thus allowing more people to trust your website. This improves authority and website relevance to search engines.
Organic traffic is often regarded as one of the most important or primary sources of website traffic. This explains all the reasons why your business needs good search engine optimization strategies to grow and nurture leads.
The term “search engine optimization” (SEO) is a diverse term and incorporates every aspect of your website including the user experience. It forms the foundation of all contents and designs that are specific to your website. There are several aspects of it that must be taken seriously, these include the following;
- Keyword Research
- Content creation
- Content optimization
- Meta description
- Alternative text description
- Link building and internal linking
- Indexing on search console
- Crawling of pages
- Technical SEO
- Website Speed
- Mobile usability
Before understanding keyword research, it is crucial to understand what a keyword is, this is the reason for the question; what are keywords? In simple terms, keywords are the search terms that a searcher types into the search engine. They are also referred to as search queries. Keyword research and optimization is an important aspect of on-page SEO.
Keyword research is a thorough process that seeks to identify potential keywords that are significant to a company’s goals and audiences, the competition for such keywords as well as their click-through rates. It is one of the first strategies in every SEO strategy.
There are some relevant free keyword research tools that have proven significance in keyword research, these are listed below;
There are significant reasons why keyword research is important in SEO, these are listed below;
- Identify keyword search volume for a particular location
- Determine keyword relevance
- Measure keyword click-through rate (CTR)
- Identify the ease or difficulty in ranking for such keywords
- Identify competitors and spy on their strategy
- Develop a better content strategy than your competition
- Improve ranking and clicks on your web pages
On-page optimization or SEO includes all optimizations that are carried out on the pages of a website; it involves content optimization, image optimization, URL optimization, keyword density, meta description, keyword research and optimization, and title optimization.
For a good on-page SEO level, the factors mentioned above must be considered and properly implemented to increase ranking. The following are best practices for on-page search engine optimization (on-page SEO);
- Optimize your keywords to make sure it is clear as the theme of the content by making it a part of the major part of your content
- Ensure that the keyword is a part of the URL of the page or post before publishing the content, this is essential for ranking
- Use the keyword as a part of the alternative text description of all images on the page
- Ensure that the keyword forms a part of the first 10% of the content
- Make the keyword a part of the heading and subheadings like H1 and H2 tags
- Use plugins to generate a table of content for your posts
- Use Wp Rocket or Smush plugin to optimize your images for speed
- Use on-page plugins like Yoast and Rank Math to guide your on-page optimization
- Research for search intents and make it a crucial part of your content to encourage better CTR
- Optimize your title with positive or negative intents and also with relevant power words
- Use number in your title optimization
- Include the keyword in your meta description
- Write a good meta description of not more than 160 characters
The main aim of technical optimization is to achieve a better website speed and user experience.
Good user experience and speed are some of the factors that Google and other search engines place great significance on ranking. A website with great content but with horrible user experience and speed will rank below those that are better. Good speed, better user experience, and good quality contents are the major ranking factor for a website.
The first step when working on technical optimization is to carry out an audit of the website. This will identify key issues that need to be optimized for a better performance of the website, some major technical audit results include the following;
- Content delivery integration
- Image lazy load
- Accelerated mobile pages
- CSS optimization
- SSL certificate and website security
- txt file optimization
- Crawling and Indexing
- Sitemaps generation
- Website speed optimization
- 404 error page optimization
Identifying and implementing good recommendations on these subjects is very important in technical optimizations. Technical optimization of a website can also be achieved using some relevant WordPress plugins such as hummingbird, auto-optimize, WP Rocket, and others.
These tools will give you a critical audit and good recommendations for implementations to make your website load faster and better, and thus, better ranking when you have good quality content on your website.
For example, if you are a researcher who uses the search engine to search for solutions on certain topics, what has been your experience having to wait for a website to load for over 5 seconds, 15 seconds, 1 minute, or more? Frustrating right? This is the same negative feeling that people get when they try to access your website and it takes longer than usual to load.
It is important to note that there are some WordPress themes that are not mobile-friendly and some level of optimization using hummingbird may alter the appearance and functionality of the website. This is why it is relevant to ensure that any chosen theme for your WordPress website is light and very responsive and not loaded with files that are not useful.
- Install the hummingbird plugin on WordPress
- Activate and set up an account and save settings
- Go to the hummingbird, click on the performance test, and run a test – This will give you information on the optimization need of your website. See image below;
How to Setup Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
AMP is one of the recommended methods to keep your website pages fully mobile friendly with just a few clicks.
AMP is directly connected to your Google search console and gives information on pages of your website with issues and the severity level. Pages that are marked in red on your AMP from your search console will not be displayed on search results, and could generally affect your ranking on Google.
The AMP pages with warning are shown as pages with a warning on your search console and are marked yellow; such pages will still be displayed on search results until issues are marked as errors.
Generally, you can check your pages and the issues they have on AMP and know how to resolve such issues, AMP is very useful for increasing the mobile-friendliness of your website.
To install AMP on your blog, go to plugins from your WordPress dashboard, and select add new plugin – AMP, and activate after installation, go to settings and set up your plugin and save settings. It is very useful when creating posts as pages can be made responsive with just a click.
Information requested by your website visitors is sent from your server to the page of the website. Sometimes too many requests may delay load time. Page caching in WordPress is easy and can be easily done using a few plugins such as WP total cache or hummingbird.
Page caching with the hummingbird plugin can be achieved in the following steps;
- Install the hummingbird plugin and activate
- Hover on the hummingbird plugin and select caching
- Select all the pages you want to cache
- Save settings
It is important to note that before using the caching on the hummingbird plugin, disable other caching plugins you may have installed, this helps to keep your website healthy and avoid breakages and clashes that could break your website.
Caching is significant for enhancing page speed, reducing the load on your website server, increasing ranking due to an increase in speed, and giving a better user experience. Cached web pages load faster and this is what Google considers very well when ranking your website.
Optimizing the technical aspect of your website increases speeds, reduces requests, reduces page weight, assures users of security, prevents issues of duplication of similar contents or links, improves image optimizations, improves your website mobile usability and responsiveness by using AMP, and thus generally helps to create relevance.
You are putting your best foot forward with your website. That means you are competing with others in your niche that are doing the same. Technical Search Engine Optimization is one way to even up the odds.
The first thing I like to do is make sure your site loads fast. There are more mobile devices accessing the internet now than ever before. A slow loading site will give you a high bounce rate and nobody wants that. The easiest thing to do here is to get an Accelerated Mobile page for your website (AMP). Make sure it is the newest version of your operating system.
When you built your site, I’m sure that you built it with an eye toward Search Engine Optimization, didn’t you? Your site architecture is important in this instance. It will give you a good foundation that will help you. Website traffic can be hard to come by if your infrastructure is not up to par.
In my business, I always recommend a full website audit once a year. This will uncover any errors that might have slipped by when you were working on the blog or any other errors that you need to fix. You need to be able to fix website errors in a timely way.
Keep your website analysis to compare them so when analyzing and auditing the reports you know what you have. A big help here is to make sure you have an SSL Certificate for security. This will help to stop intruders and the search engines show secure sites first.
Check all of your reciprocal links to make sure they haven’t been hijacked or are otherwise compromised. This is one of those activities you should do quarterly. Do not let one of your links go to a porn site; otherwise, you won’t get anything done.
Did you get values? I have a question for you, what is SEO?