In this course, we’ll be teaching you the fundamentals of SEO with a heavy focus on execution.
And while it’s a beginner’s SEO course, I don’t want you to be fooled by the word “beginner”, as even for all our client’s sites (and even our own website), we don’t do anything really technical or complicated.
Right from the start, we’ve stuck with the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimisation that always leads to a top ranking in the Google search results.
And today, our client’s get hundreds of leads and enquiries every day from Google search alone, making SEO one of the most effective strategies to get traffic to your site.
In this post, we’ll go over the basics of SEO and cover things like what it is, why it’s important and how it works.
In this SEO guide, we’ll talk about optimising your pages to rank for your main keywords.
Part 3 will be on link building, which is one of Google’s most prominent ranking signals, which has proven to contribute to higher rankings in search.
So let’s kick things off with the SEO basics.
We’ll talk about what search engine optimisation is, why it’s important and how Google works.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and is the process of optimising content to be discovered through a search engine’s organic search results.
Let’s first talk a bit about how they work. If you’re completely new to SEO, then it’s easiest to think of search engines as libraries, but instead of storing books, they store copies of websites and web pages.
So when you search for a query, the search engine will then look through all pages in its index and try to return the most relevant results.
And SEO helps demonstrate to search engines that your web page is the best result.
Now, you might be thinking: why should I focus on SEO when there are so many other marketing mediums?
Well, there are three major things that attract marketers to search engine optimisation and we believe these three things make SEO the best traffic source.
#1. Unlike paying for ads, search traffic is free.
#2. Organic traffic is typically consistent once you’re ranking high, whereas other mediums like social media and email marketing often result in traffic spikes that usually end up fading to nothing.
And it makes sense because social media networks are designed to surface fresh content.
Emails often get marked as read, forgotten, or land in the spam box, whereas search traffic is a result of users actively searching for information.
And the number of searches for a given topic is typically consistent month to month.
And finally #3. You have the opportunity to reach massive audiences you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
In fact, as of October 2019 there were nearly 4.39 billion internet users around the world, and almost 4 billion of those people are Google users.
This is why search engine optimisation is an £80 billion industry and why marketers from all walks of life are adopting and pursuing it today.
Everyone wants their business to get discovered and SEO is the perfect way to do that.
When it comes to SEO basics, you need to know how Google works, and there are two parts to this.
The first is crawling and indexation, and these two things are what actually allows Google to discover web pages and create their search index.
So to actually find information, Google uses crawlers, also known as spiders, which gather publicly available information from all over the web.
The spiders will start crawling from a list of known URLs called seeds. They then follow the links on those pages and crawl those newly discovered pages.
And this process goes on and on, allowing them to collect a LOT of information.
They then take all of this data back to Google’s servers to be added to their “search index,” and that’s what people like us are searching through when we type in a query in Google.
Now, if you were to search for something and Google returned every result that mentioned your words on the page, you’d end up with some really muddled results.
This brings us to the second part of this SEO basics guide, which is Google’s ranking algorithm.
Google has hundreds of ranking signals and they make tweaks to their algorithm 500 to 600 times per year.
Now to be frank, no one knows exactly how their algorithm works, but they’ve given us clues and some guidelines to better understand the factors that are most important.
In addition, SEO companies like us are always doing studies to test and better understand these SEO factors.
Don’t worry, we won’t bore you with all the ranking signals we are aware of, but we will cover a few of the most important SEO factors that you’ll need to understand from a fundamental standpoint.
First are backlinks, which are links from a page on one website to another.
And Google has said that if other prominent websites link to a page, that’s a good sign that information is to be trusted.
The easiest way to understand the value of a backlink is to think of them as votes. When a page receives a backlink, it’s essentially another website vouching for the content on the page.
And the more “votes,” you get from credible sources, the higher the trust.
We also studied the effect of backlinks on search traffic and found a clear positive link between backlinks from unique websites and a page’s organic traffic.
Second is search intent, which represents the reason behind a searcher’s query.
If you think of Google’s goal for search, It’s to return the most relevant results for any given query to it’s users.
So with that said, you can discover search intent simply by looking at the top ranking pages for the query you want to rank for.
For example, if you search for “waffle maker recipes” you’ll see that the search results are mostly sites with a list of slow cooker recipes.
So if you try and rank a product page where you’re selling a waffle maker, you won’t be matching search intent and therefore, you won’t rank.
Now, if we change the query to just “waffle maker,” you’ll now see that the pages are mainly eCommerce pages.
So if you try and rank your blog post of waffle maker recipes, then you probably won’t rank, because you’re not matching search intent.
This is a critical SEO basics concept to understand and I’ll share a simple 3-step checklist you can use to determine search intent for any query in Part 2.
And third is content depth. Search engines are made up of computer programs, so they can’t actually read and understand text like you and I would.
Nevertheless, Google has poured billions into creating sophisticated technology that understands content to a certain degree, but it’s your job as a content creator to provide context about the subject.
For example, if you look at the top-ranking pages for the query “how to drive a car”, you’ll find that they talk about things like fastening your seatbelt, familiarising yourself with the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals, adjusting your seat and mirrors, and other things that a first-time driver may not know.
Basically, you want to be able to answer the searcher’s query the best that you possibly can, and it should naturally lead to content that has depth.
Now, it’s important to note that depth doesn’t always translate to length. For example, a topic like “how to turn off galaxy s21” doesn’t need to and shouldn’t be too long.
In fact, the top-ranking page for this search enquiry is only 172 words, but the content solves the user’s query from start to finish.
So that’s some SEO basics to get you started. In Part 2, we’ll look at What are keywords in SEO? and why it’s crucial to get them right.
Catch you in the next post.
Do you want more website traffic, enquiries, leads and customers for your business, but just want someone to do it all for you?
No problem. Just contact me and I’ll show you how we can help, leaving you to focus on growing your business.
We guarantee to get you on page 1 of Google and offer a great ROI. We’re SEO professionals with over 20 years of experience and offer a money-back guarantee and no contracts. We also provide a free SEO audit of your website so you can try us out first at no risk to yourself.
Our only goal is your success, so get in touch with me if you want us on your team.
Pete Skuse (The SEO Guy)
Plymouth SEO Services – Let’s put your website to work for your business