Article reading time: 12 min
Video length: 8 hours
One day the Youtube algorithm recommended me an 8-hour video on SEO by the Youtube Channel Simplilearn.
I watched it all and took notes.
Find them below.
Notes on SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of optimizing your website to rank high in search engines.
Reasons why you don’t rank high:
1. Your competitors have better content than you do and have been around for longer
2. Improper usage of keywords
3. Poor link building practices
4. Your web page is slow to load
5. Bad user experience
6. Your website is de-indexed by mistake
If you want to rank high, you need to have on your website:
- relevant content (engaging)
- suitable titles (suitable tags, URL)
- logical structure (header tags)
- suitable synopsis (meta description)
- neat and readable (responsive design and site speed)
- link building, both internally and externally.
Google follows three steps to rank your website:
- They crawl your website (bots go to your website to read it and see if it is worthy to be indexed)
- They index it: the page will now appear in Google search results
- They rank it: they decide how high the website should be ranked in the search result
User experience: measured based on page load time; average session duration; bounce rate (measured thanks to cookies).
There are two types of SEO: On-page SEO and off-page SEO.
Optimize your own website: header tag, meta description, title tag, keyword research, keyword usage, internal links, site maps.
KEYWORDS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT.
You need to understand what you want to rank for -> you need to know the keywords associated with the theme of your website.
For that, you need to do proper research. You need to know how much competition there is for a specific keyword, and how popular it is as well.
These keywords will have to appear on your meta tags and in your content.
To research keywords, use Google Keyword Planner. Search for the keywords with high volume and low competition. While you can check the volume in GKP, you can’t look for the competition (the competition you see is for ads).
Get the Moz Bar Chrome extension and type your keywords in Google. The MozBar will tell you how strong these websites’ SEO is.
Add all of your keywords into a spreadsheet so you will know what to use before writing your website.
Title tag is the most important factor of on-page SEO. The title tag is the HTML title tag of a page. Get all of your keywords inside that title. The title tag should be around 50-60 characters
Always update the meta description which should have your keywords be written with no more than 160 characters. Should be well-written and clear.
The last element which is important is the URL. It should be the same as the title tag. Poor URL structure is a big issue in SEO and may result in low ranking. Write a readable URL, not too long.
Now, you can optimize the page itself. It needs to be structured, with headers, sub-headers, paragraphs, etc. Stick with H1 and H2 when you’re writing (you should have only one H1 and that should be the title tag of your page as well as the header tag, and the URL of the page)
Internal linking: links your blog articles to each other.
Use natural language: if your website is about digital marketing, you don’t especially wanna rank about that (too broad, too much competition). You want to use words that indicate it is about digital marketing.
Words that are more natural: digital marketing strategies, different types of DM, becoming a DM specialist, etc. Think about keywords you can optimize for digital marketing.
Sitemaps: Sitemaps are lists of all the pages on your website. It helps users and SE (search engine) to comprehend the website. You have the HTML sitemaps for users and the XML sitemaps for crawlers. You need to have links to your sitemaps on your website.
This means linking or promoting your website with external links.
Google measures the trustworthiness of a website according to whatt other websites link it (If you get a BBC or NYT link to your website, you get a lot of SEO points).
You want to have your site linked to other websites so that it becomes trustworthy. It increases traffic, high-domain authority, better credibility, increases page rank, and increases brand awareness.
Try to get linked on high-authority websites. Don’t get backlinks from an irrelevant site, as it will hurt you.
Use social media to create links to your website.
The key when it comes to SEO is always content: the better the content is, the more likely other websites will link back to you and people will actually read your website, which will increase your rank in a virtuous cycle fashion.
Post on social media where you can have external links.
Collaborate with bloggers. Write on their blogs, or have them write about you.
Do not use black hat techniques (stuffing content with keywords).
WRITE ENGAGING CONTENT.
Do not duplicate titles on multiple pages.
Wait for a while. It takes time to rank your content.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Keywords research tools: Raven, Word Tracker, Google Keyword Planner, Moz, Ahrefs
When you search for keywords, you are looking at what people are searching on the web so you can answer their questions. It helps your copywriting.
Headlines on print VS search are different. While you do want a catchy title, you also wanna make sure you got your keyword in the title.
For branding: go out and look what are the keywords people use with the brand.
You need to be able to measure your SEO. You need to use Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Now, we will talk specifically about keyword research.
Why: You need to know the keywords people search to find the type of content you want to write. Once you know, you can add these keywords to your content.
You want to find high-volume low-competition keywords.
There are two types of keywords: short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords:
- Short-tail keywords: 3 words in the phrase or shorter. They usually have high search volume, high competition, not specific and therefore, don’t convert well.
- Long-tail keywords: they have more than 3 words, are more specific, less search volume and competition, quality traffic, and a higher conversion rate.
How to choose keywords:
- Come up with a theme
- Find keywords you think could work
- Do keywords research
- Open a spreadsheet and write for each keyword the volume, and the competition
- Create a volume/competition ratio so you know the keywords you have higher chances to rank for
Don’t choose a keyword that is not relevant to your content. Relevancy is what drives the traffic to your website. Always choose keywords relevant to your content even if they are high volume.
Use secondary keywords: every page should have a primary keyword and a secondary keyword.
Primary = define the nature of your content. The secondary keyword is relevant to the primary keyword. Eg: your primary is relevant but does not rank high. So, you choose a secondary which is relevant to the primary and ranks high.
There can be several secondary keywords, but only one primary keyword.
Alternative keyword research:
LSI: keywords linked to your primary keyword.
Quora: a good place to get ideas about a specific topic
Google suggestions: type in the Google search bar and see what google suggests
Wikipedia: identify a list of keywords in the meta description of Wikipedia itself and in the articles.
Reddit: use the Keyworddit tool
To rank high, make a list of keywords for each theme of each page of your website, and cluster them on each page. So after a keyword search, group them into core topics.
Overall, stay up to date on industry news; brainstorm your ideas and identify a list of keywords to your business; determine the keywords that your competitors are already ranking for.
Tools like Google keyword planner, Moz, Semrush, Keywordtool, are great to use.
Google Tag Manager
Enables you to track all of the activity on the website.
You can implement new tags, which are pieces of java code in order to measure new things you want to measure. The tags are quickly updated.
GTM is a free tool offered by Google to help every marketer to deploy and track tags on your website. Many different tags can be deployed.
How to rank first on Google
There are four factors that will help you. They work according to the 80/20 rule.
1. Keyword research
You want high-volume and low competition KW, but this is not easy to do, so, find a balance.
Identify a list of relevant keywords, check the keywords that your competitors are ranking for; use third-party tools to choose keywords with less competition and more search volume for your website.
Look at the competition and results for keywords in Google Keywords planner, then check with the search engine how many websites use these keywords in their title with the caps “allintitle:”
Write everything done in a spreadsheet so that you have a broad view of all of your keyword
Find out the keywords your competitors are ranking for: SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz
Other keyword research techniques: on social media, find the most shared article for a topic/keyword. Check Reddit and Quora where people ask about certain topics/keywords. Stay up to date on the industry news to learn the new jargon.
For every web page, you want to rank for, find a primary keyword and a secondary keyword. The primary defines the nature of your business, while the second is relevant to the primary keyword. Once you have done your search, you should group your keywords and they should appear on each page of the website. Why? Because you want to target many keywords, hopefully, the maximum number of keywords related to your theme (and website).
2. High-quality content
Content is a key driver. Google looks at the bouncing rate of your website (arriving then leaving right away) and if it is high, then Google will conclude that the content is not good, and will push your website further down the search bar.
When the content is good, it is often shared on social media, and Google notices that. People will click to read your website, which will decrease the bounce rate, etc.
How to create good content?
- Perform research on your chosen keyword: (frase.io is good to use).
- Create content that fulfills users’ requirements.
- Make the content readable. Write for your audience. Don’t use fancy words, jargon, etc. Write short sentences with short and simple words. Avoid most adverbs and passive voices. Use specific verbs.
- Keep the content organized: use headers and sub-headers, use paragraphs that are not too long.
- Add resources from well-known sites to your post
- Use white hat techniques: you don’t want to stuff keywords in the content. You want the content to be naturally flowing that people can read easily. Write it naturally.
- Use different forms of content: infographics; use videos and images; longer and engaging content rank higher on search engine results
- How to write a post:
- begin with a comprehensive introduction where you tell people what they are going to learn and why it is important
- content should be relevant to the chosen keyword
- create a click-worthy title
- include LSI keywords in your content
- headings and sub-headings should consist of keywords and variants
- build a comprehensive internal linking structure of webpages, speak of one idea at a time
- Break the content with images
- incorporate callout boxes
- update the content regularly
- include a CTA.
3. Optimize on-page elements and website level factors (off-page)
On page: Optimize the following:
- Meta tags: these are the title tags and meta description tags. There are titles and descriptions that appear in Google when you search for something.
- Write unique titles and descriptions for each page, with your primary keyword in the title obviously.
- Don’t write descriptions and titles that are too long (max 65 characters for titles and 160 for descriptions).
- Title with numbers tends to result in higher clicks-through-rates. Titles being emotional or with power words too.
- Header tags
- have only one H1 tag in your post
- Add your keyword to the header tag, and the title should be relevant to the content.
- Avoid repetition of H1 tag in other pages of the site
- don’t stuff keywords in the header tags
- the tag H1 tag should be from 20-70 characters
- answer the user intent.
- use hyphens, avoid underscore
- use canonical URLs
- use a favicon in your URL
- add targeted keywords in the URL
- use 301 redirects for broken URLS
- include mobile URLs in the sitemap; avoid capital letters in URL
- use readable URLs
- prefer short URLs
Off-page SEO: optimize the following:
- Website architecture
- Create a logical hierarchy structure
- balance the number of sub-categories within each category
- code your site navigation in CSS or HTML
- build a structure of internal links.
- Secure websites:
- Use https (enable SSL certificates)
- you can also use HSTS
- Sitemap: a sitemap is a page where you organize all of your URLs in one place.
- Prioritize high-quality web pages in your sitemap
- Google can see when was the last time the content was updated in the sitemap so it is important you update the content regularly
- add canonical URLs in the sitemap
- build dynamic URLs in the sitemap for sophisticated websites
- you can create a sitemap at xmlsitemaps.com
- do not add no-index URL in the sitemap.
- Page speed:
- Optimize images that are larger than 150 bytes
- use a simple design (HTML + CSS)
- use browser files caching
- upgrade server response time
- anything that loads slower than 4 seconds should be dealt with
- you can also check how your website does on google page speed insights
- minimize redirects
- Google takes site speed as an important ranking factor!
It is driving traffic through referral, simply getting more people to your site because of what you do outside of the site.
There are many things you can do, from advertisement to giving interviews, to launching campaigns, etc. It is not enough to have your site with perfect SEO, you also need to go into the world and talk about it.
How To Drive Traffic To Your Website
You can’t build a website without thinking about how to drive users to it.
1. With paid advertising: search ads (displayed in search engines results); social media advertising; display advertising.
2. Promote your site on social media: Facebook; IG; Linkedin; Youtube; Twitter, etc
3. Guest blogging: write a blog post posted on a blog that isn’t yours but that links back to your blog.
4. Interview industry thought leaders
5. Make sure your website is responsive: test it on different browsers, mobile, etc
6. Build a brand community: build a brand that people will use as a tool to communicate and exchange ideas.
7. Be active in the comments section (Medium, Reddit, Quora)
8. Optimize your SEO
9. Build backlinks (get your URL onto another website, and link other websites on your own website)
10. Perform internal linking
11. Target long-tail keywords
12. Focus on email marketing (have a newsletter)
13. Host webinars
14. Incorporate videos on your site
15. Submit your content to content aggregators (Reddit, Medium, Quora)
16. Learn from analytics: track traffic on your site with google analytics. You need to become able to learn what Google Analytics is telling you.
SEO Tools You Can Use
Keyword research: Google trends, GKP, KW Finder, Moz, etc
Technical SEO: how does your website perform?
You can ask for some tools, like Moz, which will site crawl your website and tell you if your SEO is well-done, or not.
Other tools: Screaming Frog, Deep Crawl, Woorank. You can also use the Google Search Console.
Tools for backlink monitoring and analysis: You can use Moz and Google Search Console
– Monitor website backlinks
– Analyze the strongest links of your webpage
– Perform competitor analysis
– Measure ratio of referring domains to backlinks
– Identify and disavow poor backlinks
– Measure citation flow and trust flow
– Check the ratio of link distribution
– Track the number of dofollow and nofollow links
Tool for rank tracking: these tools will
- help you rank your website’s ranking
- measure the average click-through rates and impressions
- track keyword ranking for desktop and mobile across locations
- identify top-performing
- gaining and losing keywords.
Tools: Google Search Console: put the URL in and Google will tell you what are keywords people used to get to the website. AMZ, Rancher, Moz are other tools.
You can also check the optimization of the content with Moz.
Organic traffic: look at Google Analytics.
Seo Tips And Tricks
Tip #1: choose a smarter way to do keyword research.
Here are a few tips.
- Identify a list of keywords that are relevant
- put them all out in a spreadsheet
- Choose keywords based on the following
- high search volume; keyword/product fit (must be relevant to your product)
- commercial intent (buy flowers will have a low search volume but means a lot in terms of the intention of the person whose typing)
- difficulty (find low difficulty/competition).
- Identify trends in search query websites (like amazon)
- Know what your competitors are ranking for
- Find LSI keywords on google
- Choose a primary and secondary keyword
- Stay up to date on industry news (search engine watch)
- Look at Quora, Wikipedia, and Reddit to find keywords you may not be aware of
Tip #2: Publish high-quality content
- Publish long and engaging content
- Include target keywords
- Use LSI keywords in your content
- Make your content readable with the help of visuals, subtitles, and bullet points.
- Write effective and organized content in order to reduce bounce rate
- Share customer reviews and ratings
- Update content on a regular basis
- Build internal links
- Add a short video of the product
Tip 3#: Analyze meta tags and URLs to improve CTR
- Meta description: additional tips:
- Always provide a unique description for each web page of your website
- Be specific on what your webpage is offering
- Use number symbols, catchy words, etc
- Make your URL readable
- Include the target keyword
- Avoid using too many subdirectories
- Match URLs to titles most of the time
- Don’t make it too long
- Avoid dynamic parameters
- Use hyphens not underscores
Tip #4: add rich snippets to improve your website’s visibility on SERPs.
A rich snippet is a structured data makeout (reviews for example). It can be an image, a description, ratings, reviews, offers, price, site links, product availability, etc.
The chances of ranking increase A LOT when you have rich snippets
Tip #5: Optimize your site for a great user experience
- URL should follow site hierarchy
- Optimize your homepage to drive traffic to your product pages
- Build a comprehensive structure of internal linking
- Code site in css or html
- Add breadcrumbs to all your product pages
- Make use of canonical tags to avoid duplicate content
- Optimize site for desktop and mobile
- Keep the checkout page as simple as possible
- Optimize sitemap. Tell google search console where your sitemap is
- Fix broken links
- Prefer predictive searches and integrate product typographic errors
- Use a live-chat widget
Tip 6#: improve page speed and reduce the bounce rate
- Enable browser caching
- Reduce plugins
- Use a simple design
- Optimize your code
- Reduce server response time
Tip #7: Build quality links
- Google’s top search ranking factor is link buildings.
- It’s all about quality over quantity.
- Earn backlinks from relevant and authoritative webpages
- Promote your content on social media
- Opt for guest blogging
- Use Influencer marketing
- Start your own page on social media
- Participate in forums
- Start your own blog
- Get listed on high-quality directories
- Prefer testimonial link building
For more summaries, head to auresnotes.com.