What is SEO?

If you’re new to the online world when it comes to building and ranking websites then you’ve probably come across the term ‘SEO’ or ‘Search Engine Optimization’ more than once. This is something extremely important for your website, as it’s going to directly relate to the organic traffic you can receive and the revenue you can generate from it. It gets neglected by a lot of website owners because they think it’s too hard or they just want to spend money on advertising to get traffic instead. This can work well for some people, but optimizing your website for search engines should be a must for every inch of your website. So this begs the question; what is SEO?

“SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is the art of making a website or web page appear higher within search engine results pages for what people search for.”

SEO is a constantly evolving and ever-changing practice and there is no clear-cut way to do it that will yield the results you are after. The search engine optimization techniques that worked 6 and 3 years ago are very different to what is being practiced today and the only way to do it right is to follow a set of strict guidelines that won’t change as often and are widely considered to be the safe way to do it.

What is SEO

What is SEO and How it Works

SEO used to be as simple as having a word appear on a web page X amount of times and then building a bunch of links to that page. It didn’t even matter where the links came from and many people made a lot of money ranking their websites with ease. Search engines are constantly monitoring methods and techniques that are being implemented by people trying to gain higher rankings and in turn, they update their algorithm to combat against it. In fact, Google has even created an SEO Starter Guide for people to learn the basics.

So, in this guide, you are going to learn about some SEO terminology and techniques that are considered standard practice to perform on your website, providing you do it right. Search engines constantly update their algorithms so what works today might not be as effective in a few years from now but these techniques have been around for some time and have survived the updates so they are considered to be fine in the eyes of a search engine.

SEO is not as simple as creating a link somewhere and thousands of people will visit your website. While this can happen in the long run, every link you create will have an effect on your websites SEO and it’s so important to do it properly. It’s very hard to rank a website and very easy to screw it up so please, familiarize yourself with the terminology below before you undertake any actions.

SEO Terms and Definitions

So now that you know what SEO is you should know the terminology and their meanings. There are many elements that make up search engine optimization and before you start performing it on your website you should learn them. If you don’t, you could cause irreparable damage to your site and never rank for anything. Seriously.

SEO is no joke, and it’s constantly changing as time, society, and technology progresses. The scale of SEO and everything that encompasses it is absolutely massive and it will take you years to properly learn what is what and how it affects and relates to other things. We are going to outline the basics you need to know for performing on-page SEO and acquiring backlinks from other websites.

On-page SEO is the techniques and actions you perform internally on your website’s pages. So when you’re writing a blog post, for example, on-page SEO would consist of doing specific actions in the content of that blog post such as inserting keywords and creating heading tags.

Off-page SEO is the techniques and actions that you perform off your website, such as acquiring backlinks to your web pages.

Let’s take a look at some key SEO terms and definitions:

Keyword

To put it short, a keyword is any word. Baseball, gloves, salt, power, you name it. Anything you type into Google is a keyword, even words that are spelled incorrectly. The results that it shows you are the order of what websites it decides will rank for that specific keyword and SEO relates to this because it is the art of ranking for specific keywords. They don’t have to be one word either, it can be “Baseball Gloves”, “Brown Baseball Gloves”, and even longer phrases which are known as Longtail keywords. More on that shortly.

Every keyword has a monthly search volume which is the number of times on average it gets searched by people every month. The word “website hosting” gets searched approximately 40,000 times a month in the United States alone at the time of writing this. Each keyword also has its own level of competition in regards to how easy or hard it is to rank for which is determined by many factors including the domain that is ranking for it, how well-optimized that web page on the domain is, the quality of backlinks the domain/web page has and the relevance it has to your search. The fact that a keyword may get 40,000 or 40 searches per month is irrelevant to the competitiveness of it and some keywords with a very low search volume can be very hard to rank for. The amount is only relevant to the potential traffic that ranking highly for that keyword can bring to your website or in relation to advertising for it.

Types of Keywords

Generic/Exact Match

This is a common term that people will search for and most likely also have the highest monthly search volume. It’s not too specific and it commonly refers to just what the topic or product is by its generic name.

Example:
Baseball Gloves

Broad Match

The keyword becomes a bit more specific and the people searching for it know a bit more about what they are looking for and are easier to target competition wise than a generic or exact match keyword.

Example:
Brown Baseball Gloves

Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are extensions of a keyword which are longer and more specific. These types of keywords actually make up about 70% of everything that gets searched and they should not be neglected. While they have a smaller amount of monthly search volume, they are very specific and the person searching for it is after information on that topic. This can then make them more inclined to click on your ads or purchase your products.

Examples:
Where To Buy Baseball Gloves
Where To Buy Brown Baseball Gloves
Where To Buy Brown Baseball Gloves For Kids
Where To Buy 11.5 inch Brown Baseball Gloves For Kids

As you can see, long tail keywords can basically just keep going but they are commonly within the 4 – 10-word range. Each one of the keywords above also represents somebody’s stage in the buying cycle.

The person who searches for “Where To Buy Baseball Gloves” may be at a stage where they are curious about prices and are just browsing the market.

The person who searches for “Where To Buy 11.5 inch Brown Baseball Gloves For Kids” is most likely a lot further into the buying cycle and they are at a stage where they know exactly what they want and practically have a credit card in their hands.

You need to perform keyword research for every web page you are going to create on your website. The title of your articles, guides, and blog posts should be the main keyword you want to rank for on that specific page.

So if you’re going to target the keyword “Baseball Gloves for Kids”, then your blog post should be structured in a similar fashion to this:

Main Heading
Baseball Gloves for Kids
Paragraphs of text
Insert the main target keyword in the first paragraph
Paragraphs of text

Sub Heading
About Baseball Gloves for Kids
Paragraphs of text
The second heading should also contain the main target keyword
Paragraphs of text

Sub Heading
Toddler Baseball Glove
Paragraphs of text
The other sub-headings should be related and longtail keywords
Paragraphs of text

Sub-Sub Heading
Toddler Baseball Glove Left Handed Throw
Paragraphs of text
This is a related longtail keyword to the one above
Paragraphs of text

Sub Heading
Best Baseball Glove for 10 Year Old
Paragraphs of text
Just continue the article with everything related to its target
Paragraphs of text

Sub Heading
Buying Baseball Gloves for Kids
Paragraphs of text
The last heading should contain your target keyword or a variation of it.
Use this section as a conclusion to your article and insert the main target keyword in it.
Paragraphs of text

This is the structure that you should follow when writing blog posts or articles for your website. You will also need to insert the main target keyword, broad match keywords, and longtail keywords throughout the entire article but the article must maintain a natural flow when being read. Don’t just insert the keyword for the sake of it; this will not help you rank.

In order to discover target, broad, and longtail keywords with a decent monthly search volume, you will most likely need the help of some tools to find them for you. This will greatly speed up the keyword research process for you and probably lead to you discovering keywords that you never would have found otherwise. A really good tool for performing keyword research is KW Finder.

Backlinks

These are links from other websites that link to your website. Backlinks are ultimately what influences your search engine rankings and it can turn a page that has the potential to rank from nothing into something. It is very important that your backlinks are niche-related and that the page linking to your website is directly related to the page on your website. This is one of the factors that makes it a quality backlink and there’s no point getting backlinks from websites that are not relevant to yours.

Example: If you have a page on your website that is all about bicep exercises and you get a backlink from a page that is just about chest exercises, this backlink is not what you are after. While it is niche-related, it’s not directly related. You need a backlink from another page that is about biceps. Even if the page isn’t about bicep exercises, just having it being about something to do with biceps is sometimes related enough, although the closer you can get the better it will be.

A backlink is either Dollow or Nofollow which can also affect its power. More on that soon.

A backlinks importance comes from where the backlink originates from. A backlink coming from an authoritative and relevant website can do absolute wonders for the page of your website that it links to. This is because a website that search engines trust and rank highly is saying that your website is also relevant and important to this topic.

When it comes to getting backlinks for your website, remember that quality is far more important than quantity. Getting 1 backlink from bodybuilding.com to your web page about bicep exercises will be better than getting 10 backlinks from a computer programming website to the same web page, even if it’s an authoritative site. Once you know enough about SEO to start a link building campaign for your website you will be able to say no to certain linking opportunities because they don’t meet your standards or criteria. If you think that just getting 100, 1000, 10000 or more backlinks regardless of where they come from will skyrocket your rankings, then you don’t know enough about SEO and you should just leave your site alone in regards to link building for now. Always value quality over quantity.

10 Backlinks from 10 good websites are far better than 1000 backlinks from 1000 average websites.

Relevancy and authority is key

Dofollow

This means that the link pointing to your website is signaling that it wants to pass some of its power to you. These are the best types of backlinks to get but also the hardest to find.

Nofollow

This means that the link pointing to your website will not pass on any of its power and is only acknowledging you rather than saying that your website is amazing. This is not a bad thing.

It is very important that the backlinks pointing to your website are a mix of Dofollow and Nofollow. This is because that is what a website will naturally accumulate over time and not every website has its links set to Dofollow. If all your backlinks are Dofollow it will be a big red flag for search engines as this is just not normal so it is important that you have a good ratio. Most links are commonly Nofollow so you should try to have more of them.

If you only target Dofollow links then you need to come back and learn more about SEO. Nofollow links still contribute to the overall picture of your websites rankings and having them from authoritative and niche-relevant sources is key. If backlinking opportunities meet this criteria and you can get them, then get them. Make sure you pay attention to the anchor text used though. This will be covered in the next point.

So staying on the example from before with your bicep exercises article, getting a Dofollow backlink from bodybuilding.com could be huge for ranking that web page. While on the other side of the coin, getting a Dofollow backlink from a website about furniture repair to that article is going to do absolutely nothing for you.

KWFinder Tool

Anchor Text

We’re sure that you have all seen a link on a web page before. They are commonly a blue color and can be underlined. Obviously, that link will take you to another web page or website or may perform another action.

Anchor Text is the piece of text that is used for a link.
Example: You can click here to see a list of types of anchor text.
(As you can see, “click here” was used as anchor text in this example.)

Anchor Text is extremely important because it tells search engines what the page it links to is about. If you create a backlink to your website and use “click here” as your anchor text, search engines will think that your web page is about clicking things. Not really what you want now is it?

But, because SEO is a complex beast, getting “click here” for your anchor text can actually be beneficial.

Why?

Because it looks natural.

Web pages that link out to other websites could use this type of anchor text a lot because it fits in with the natural flow of the text.

That’s why it’s important that your anchor text is relevant but, it also needs to be diverse. If you are trying to rank for the keyword “How To Lose Weight” and you use that exact phrase when creating all of your backlinks, you may get a penalty from Google and find that your website is practically erased from search engine results. Web pages commonly have a wide range of anchor text used for them because what everyone decides to use as anchor text is often going to be different from each other.

If a bunch of bloggers decides that one of your web pages is cool and wants to link to it, how many of them do you think will use the anchor text “How To Lose Weight”? Most of them will choose something different such as “lose weight”, “losing weight”, “weight loss”, “learn more”, “click here”, “visit website”, the list goes on. Search engines are programmed to know this behavior and you need to mimic it when building backlinks.

Types of Anchor Text

Generic

A Generic anchor is typically a phrase that is used as a call to action.
Example: “click here”, “visit website”.

Branded

“Branded” anchor text is an anchor that is using a brand name in it.

Example: Have you tried the latest new flavor from Coca-Cola?

Naked

A Naked link uses a raw URL as anchor text.

Examples:

http://yourwebsite.com
http://yourwebsite.com/
http://www.yourwebsite.com
https://yourwebsite.com
https://yourwebsite.com/
www.yourwebsite.com
www.yourwebsite.com/
yourwebsite.com
yourwebsite.com/

Visit yourwebsite.com to find out more about this great offer.

Brand + Keyword

This uses your target keyword plus your brand as the anchor text. Let’s say for example you are targeting the keyword “how to lose weight”.

Example:

You can learn how to lose weight at Your Website for all your weight loss needs.

LSI

LSI is an acronym for Latent Semantic Indexing.
Basically, it’s variations of your target keyword used in links.

Examples:

weight loss
getting weight loss
fast weight loss
get weight loss fast

Partial Match

This is using your target keyword with some generic text.

Examples:

learn about weight loss
weight loss article
this weight loss website

Long Anchors

This is using a sentence as anchor text:

Example:

If you are interested, you can read this article to learn more about weight loss and try to achieve your goals.

Backlinks need to be built over time and you can’t just create mass amounts one day then leave it alone. Granted, a web page which has gone viral on Social Media may receive a lot of backlinks very fast and then die off, but behavior like this is often picked up by search engines as opposed to you building lots of links then stopping. This also brings us to a very important component of link building; anchor text diversity.

Anchor Text Diversity

Think that you can just build a bunch of exact match anchors targeting your keyword with Dofollow links? Then expect your website to be hammered by search engines and erased from their results pages.

Your anchor text needs to be diverse and have a mix of different types. This is because this is just how a website will accumulate its links as we mentioned before. A web page could receive 10’s of different anchor texts being used when linking to their page and yours should be no different.

Mix and match when building your links to ensure diversity and give your website the best chance you can and improving its rankings.

Build a mix of branded, naked, generic, exact and brand + keyword anchor text to your websites main page – yourwebsite.com

Use partial, LSI, exact, generic and long anchor text for your other web pages.

H Tags

H stands for “Header” and H Tags are used to define HTML headings.

These are used as a form of structuring for your web pages and are essential.

H tags go from 1 to 6 and are to be used on your web pages headings and subheadings. Search engines read these headings to understand the topic of the web page and the structure of its content. Every H tag should make sense in relation to your target keyword and/or the topic of the page.

The main heading of your webpage is always H1, and you should not use more than one of this tag.

Your second heading should be tagged as H2 and should also contain your target keyword. It’s OK to use multiple H2 tags, but only if it’s applicable for the specific article.

The next heading should be H3 and doesn’t need the target keyword in it. If it can contain a related keyword or a partial match one then that’s great. Don’t try to force this though, and keep the article as natural as possible.

If your article is quite long, you’re probably entering the territory where the remaining H tags would be applicable to use as the length progresses.

So if we go back to the start of this guide when we covered keywords, we can add H tags to those headings for SEO purposes and the structure would look like this:

Main Heading
H1 – Baseball Gloves for Kids

Sub Heading
H2 – About Baseball Gloves for Kids

Sub Heading
H3 – Toddler Baseball Glove

Sub-Sub Heading
H4 – Toddler Baseball Glove Left Handed Throw

Sub Heading
H3 – Best Baseball Glove for 10 Year Old

Sub Heading
H5 – Buying Baseball Gloves for Kids

If you are using Shopify or WordPress then it’s very easy to add H tags to your headings.

Simply highlight the text you want to tag and then click on the drop-down menu shown in the images below:

Meta Description

The meta description is the text that you can see in the search engine results underneath the SEO title of the page. These can also target keywords and give the person searching a preview of what your web page is about. These should always be made and once again if you’re using Shopify or WordPress it’s extremely easy to do.

meta description seo

Indexing

Websites, its inner pages, and backlinks need to be indexed by search engines in order for it to appear in its results. The indexation process happens naturally over time and search engines send out “crawlers” which scour the Internet’s pages and formulate its ranking process while acknowledging the existence of links.

Indexing is basically a search engine acknowledging that a link exists. If a web page doesn’t appear in search engine results, then according to that search engine the web page does not exist. If it doesn’t exist, then it can’t be considered in regards to rankings. As we said, indexing will happen naturally within time so all good links will index themselves.

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