Search Engine Optimization

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Search Engine Optimization

What is search engine optimization?

Definition:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic.

Analogy:

Search engine optimization is like a restaurant improving their Yelp profile.

A restaurant depends on the opinions and reviews of those who dine with them. The more people who like the restaurant, the better the reviews will be, the higher the restaurant will rank and the more customers the restaurant will get.

Yelp depends on the opinions of those who have been to the restaurant to build a profile for the restaurant itself. In order to get positive reviews, a restaurant needs to please their customers. This means they need to focus on a handful of variables to reflect their quality:

  1. The restaurant is clean and the ambiance is well decorated. People wouldn’t want to go to a restaurant with dirty floors or paint-chipped walls
  2. The food is tasty! This is an obvious one.
  3. The price is in-line with the quality of the food.
  4. The waiters are kind and prompt.

By improving all of these little details, the general presence of the restaurant will improve and therefore their rank on Yelp via Google will go up with better customer experiences.

In other words:

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving your website’s ranking on Google (or other search engines).

Why is search engine optimization important?

It's one thing to know what search engine optimization means, but that is worthless if you don't know why you should know what staff augmentation is in the first place. Let's break down the importance of this tech term based on two high level categories. We'll walk through an explanation as well as provide a score, 1-10, that shows you how much you should care about search engine optimization (SEO).

Pre-Product: 4/10

The first will be if you do not have a product yet. This means that you don't have a physical product. Maybe you're in the ideation phase, or maybe you're almost ready to start development. Whichever it is, we'll get into why search engine optimization is important and why you should or shouldn't care about it if you do not have a product.

If you don't have a product yet, you likely don't have a website yet. This means that nobody can find you on the internet. That is okay for now - but it is important that you start thinking about your SEO for when you do build a website as the earlier you can start planning your effective SEO campaign, the better.

Live Product: 10/10

The second category is if you do have a live product. Maybe you just launched your business or maybe it's been live for years and you're continuing to improve its quality. Regardless of the scenario, if your product is live, search engine optimization carries a different weight.

If you have a product, you need to focus on SEO and get your website ranking! If not, nobody will be able to find you. It is imperative that you focus on your website's SEO to ensure that you are ranking through organic search and for the right keywords.

Examples of SEO strategies

So you know what search engine optimization is by definition. You know if you should care about it or not depending on your situation as a business/company/product. To dig in deeper, we will walk through some s so we can make sure you really have a solid grasWe're going to walk through

We're going to walk through 6 high-level categories of SEO strategy to help you get your website ranked on Google: SEO - the basics, keyword research, content, on-site SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO. Within each category, you'll find a checklist breakdown of the items you need to think about as well as relevant SEO tools that will help you achieve success.

SEO - The Basics

The basics of SEO is built around the foundation of infrastructure you need to start the process of getting your website ranked on Google. In order to get ranked, you need to have a handful of things in place to ensure that you're setting yourself up for a successful search engine result.

The SEO Basics Checklist

  1. Set up Google Analytics
  2. Use an SEO plugin
  3. Build a sitemap
  4. Create a Robots.txt file
  5. Create a Google Search Console account
  6. Learn how to index

Basic SEO Tools

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Google Search Console
  3. Yoast
Google Analytics dashboard
Google Analytics

Keyword Research

In order to build an effective SEO campaign and get your website ranking, you need to have an effective keyword strategy. Your keywords are the way you rank on Google. For example, if someone searches for "marketing" on Bing or Google, the search engine will spit back links that rank highest for the keyword, marketing. The keyword, as it sounds, is the key word to focus on, meaning when people search this word on Bing or Google, you want your website to pop up for it.

Keyword Research Checklist

  1. Identify your competitors
  2. Perform a keyword gap analysis
  3. Understand your user's search intent
  4. Find long-tail keywords
  5. Pick keywords with high traffic potential and low keyword difficulty

Keyword Research Tools

  1. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
  2. Ahrefs Site Audit
  3. Answer The Public
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Content

Writing high quality content is very important if you want to rank for your desired keywords. It is important that you produce original content and not duplicate existing content, as otherwise you aren't offering useful or unique information to your target user. The more content you can pump out, the higher chances you have of ranking via organic search. This is a gold nugget when it comes to SEO - most companies will overlook content, so if you want to beat out your competition, be sure to invest in quality content.

Content Checklist

  1. Perform a content audit
  2. Build your topic clusters
  3. Set a content calendar
  4. Target one to two keywords per content piece
  5. Make sure your content is keyword optimized

Content Tools

  1. Ahrefs Content Explorer
  2. Scalenut
Scalenut content tool
Scalenut

On-Site SEO

On-Site SEO refers to the optimization of the copy on your website itself. This means that you have proper meta descriptions, title tags, headers, along with other items. It's one thing to attract a user to your website, it is another to ensure that the content on your website is not only attractive to Google, but also to your target users. On-page SEO will help ensure that you strengthen your chance of getting ranked.

On-Page SEO Checklist

  1. Ensure title tags are less than 55 characters and keyword optimized
  2. Make sure your meta descriptions are less than 160 characters
  3. Only have one H1 (header) per page
  4. Optimize image files to WEBP format
  5. Organize content search-ability

On-Page SEO Tools

  1. Screaming Frog
  2. Pixelied
Screamingfrog URL audit
Screamingfrog

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO refers to not only how effective your competitors are at ranking, but also helps you understand your content gaps. Through off-site SEO, you'll be able to understand where you need to improve as a website. Furthermore, off-site SEO is focused on ensuring that you build up domain authority (DA) for your website. It is important to have external links on your page as well as backlinks (other articles that link back to you). The more backlinks you can get, the more authority your article will have in Google's eyes. Backlinks and external links are the secret sauce to organic search ranking.

Off-Site SEO Checklist

  1. Analyze competitor's backlink profile
  2. Target competitor's broken backlinks
  3. Ensure you have external and internal links on all pages
  4. Build backlink campaigns
  5. Create a PR campaign

Off-Site SEO Tools

  1. Ahrefs Backlink Profile
  2. Screaming Frog
  3. HARO
  4. Mailshake
HARO homepage
HARO - Help A Reporter Out

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the nitty-gritty behind the scenes work that you need to do in order to get your website to rank on Bing or Google. This means things like optimization of image files and website load speed. We'll walk through the things you need to keep in mind to ensure you cover the basic technical SEO requirements and keep your website health score in check. Depending on the size and complexity of your site your technical SEO may require an SEO expert.

Technical SEO Checklist

  1. Inspect your URLs
  2. Ensure images have alternative text
  3. Fix broken links
  4. Use SEO friendly URL structures
  5. Check canonical tags
  6. Add structured data
  7. Utilize HTTPS
  8. Ensure quick page speed
  9. Make your website mobile friendly

Technical SEO Tools

  1. Google Search Console
  2. Ahref Site Explorer
  3. Ahrefs Health Score
  4. PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights dashboard
PageSpeed Insights

Key Takeaways

  1. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving your website’s ranking on Google (or other search engines).
  2. If you don't have a product, start thinking about SEO.
  3. If you do have a product, you need to focus on SEO right away.
  4. There are 6 high-level categories of SEO strategy to help you get your website ranked on Google: SEO - the basics, keyword research, content, on-site SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO.

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