A Beginner’s Guide on Search Engine Optimization
Say hello to your audience from the top 10 results in Google. But how do you make sure that your website belongs in the top search results? Here’s where search engine optimization comes to the rescue. And if you’re still new to the idea, this guide will introduce it to you.
Most startup entrepreneurs are fond of search engine optimization (SEO). Why? Because it doesn’t necessarily require a large budget. At times, all you need is a creative strategy and the internet to connect with your target audience.
According to statistics, Google receives the most searches worldwide. As of April 2021, it has 360 billion searches from internet users. It accounts for over 70% of global desktop search traffic. It looks tough to compete in the arena, right?
No need to fret, though! You can use a good SEO strategy to help you rank higher on search results. So start creating a solid foundation and increase your visibility. Here is a guide to help you get the most out of basic SEO marketing.
Search Engine Optimization: Getting to Know the Growing Industry
Search engine optimization is the process of improving your website’s ranking in search results for specific SEO keywords. Its main goal is to acquire more organic traffic for lead generation and conversion. So every time a searcher uses your keyword, your optimized content makes it to the top results.
Unpaid website traffic comes from numerous searches, such as the following:
- News Search
- Academic Search
- Image Search
- Video and Other Multimedia Search
- Other Industry-Related Content Search
The history of the usage of “SEO” dates back to 1997. But after more than two decades, it has become an essential part of any digital marketing strategy.
Search engine optimization is part of search engine marketing strategy. The latter includes direct or paid traffic from PPC optimization. Unlike SEO, pay-per-click optimization is a digital marketing strategy where businesses pay a fee every time a user clicks a specific ad.
Search Algorithm Is A Major Influencer
There is a formula that search engines use to determine your rank in search results. It’s generally called the search algorithm. The term refers to specialized formulas, machine learning systems, and other technologies used by Google, Microsoft Bing, and others.
Here’s an example of how a search algorithm works. Let’s say you’re looking for a software development company. You type the keywords “software development company” into the search box. After a few seconds, numerous suggested sites come out in the search results. How does that happen?
- Bots of the search engine understand the query to provide an exact answer
- It crawls thousands of websites indexed in their database to find relevant pages
- Then it chooses the best results in terms of content quality, readability, accessibility, security, and timeliness
- After that, the bot also takes into account the user’s location, settings, search history, and other contextual elements
- Lastly, a list of suggested websites according to their rank come out
The search algorithm is a complex system that needs regular updates and maintenance. That is why Google and other major search engines may roll out minor updates daily. But they also implement core algorithm updates annually. When it happens, they usually announce it ahead to the community.
SEO Should Be Your Best Buddy, Here’s Why
Modern consumers take their shopping online. Their journey begins with a search query that typically starts with Google, as mentioned. Statistics also show that the top three results in Google garner 75% of all the clicks.
Therefore, if you want to be visible, you need a good SEO strategy on your side. It helps you connect with your target audience by providing answers to their queries. Who knows, your content can even solve their most pressing problems.
In turn, you become a trusted resource site for different things related to your business. Thus, without a good SEO marketing tactic, opportunities for being discovered by your target audience lessen.
Best Search Engine Optimization Practices for Beginners
Search engine optimization may sound intimidating at first. You’re not alone in thinking about that. But once you read more about it and do some basic practices, things will follow naturally. Take note of these basic tips to kickstart your journey.
1. Always consider search intent.
What is user or search intent? It is the purpose of every search query of each user. That is why you must always put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Before creating any content, ask if it answers the most common questions of your customers.
Search intent has four types—navigational, informational, transactional, and commercial.
- Navigational search intent means any search query for a particular website or app. Instead of using the URL, users may input brand names into the search bar to find its site. For instance, a user may input “Full Scale” into the search bar to find information about the company.
- An informational query is when a user searches for specific information online. However, the user is not looking for a particular source. And the query covers a broad topic where thousands of results can be found. An example would be a search query about the statistics of COVID-19 patients in the US.
- Transactional search intent is when a user already has a product or service in mind. But there is no specific merchant yet, so the user has to search for any company that can provide it. An example query is “buy HP x360” or “buy iPhone 12.”
- Commercial search intent happens when a user has a specific product in mind. But the user has not decided what brand or other product to buy yet. Like, the user may search for “best appointment scheduling software” or “nearest grocery store.”
2. Optimize your title tag and meta description.
Why are these two important for your SEO strategy? Well, because of two reasons: keywords and click-through rates. Hence, you must take time to optimize your title tag and meta description for every page. How?
Title Tags that Work
- Create catchy but concise titles
- Make sure it includes your target keywords
- Avoid creating misleading headlines
- Ensure its alignment with search intent
- Follow the standard character count for the search engine
- Avoid SEO keywords stuffing
Meta Descriptions for the Win
- Create an accurate but attention-grabbing summary within the character limit (up to 160 characters with space)
- Make sure every description is unique for every page
- Incorporate your keywords but avoid stuffing them into the pitch
- Write actionable content that encourages the user to click through your page in the search results
3. Make use of images in your content.
The right images can boost the user experience on your website. But do you optimize these images or multimedia content for your SEO marketing strategy? If done the right way, it can improve your website’s overall SEO campaign.
Just remember to choose the best file format, whether it’s JPEG or PNG. And compress your image to avoid affecting your site speed. Moreover, don’t forget to write unique alt texts for each image used on a page. You can even lazy-load your images for better site performance.
4. Improve your page speed constantly.
When your page takes several minutes to load, its bounce rate tends to be higher. And it can significantly affect your search engine optimization ranking. Fortunately, there are free tools that you can use to check your page speed. There are also analysis recommendations available online to help improve your site.
5. Take advantage of internal linking.
Internal linking is when you link a page to another page or resource within the same website. It can be an image, a document, or another blog post. It establishes an information hierarchy for search engines to familiarize your website contents. And when you hyperlink a low-ranking page within your most visited content, it’s a winning SEO marketing moment.
6. Optimize your URL.
Make sure to include keywords in your URL. Make it simple and understandable that any user will know what the content is about while reading it. Avoid using numbered codes on your website address. Most of all, remember to remove stop words in your URL.
7. Prioritize reasonably long, quality content.
In a study conducted by Semrush, long-form posts make your SEO ranking better. Compared to average length content, long-form articles gain three times more traffic. It also has four times more shares and 3.5 times more backlinks.
Aside from the content length, it is best to publish well-researched, timely articles relevant to your target audience. Also, it has to be unique and original content, which you can run through a plagiarism checker tool. Most importantly, it should contain your target keywords spread evenly throughout the content.
Take the first step in your SEO strategy as a beginner.
The tips shared in this article forms the basic foundation of an effective SEO marketing campaign. When done correctly, your website ranking in search results will increase. And if that happens, you are more visible to your target audience online. But don’t stop here—learn more about SEO so that you can stay ahead of your competition.
Do you also need help with software development? Full Scale is an offshore software development company catering to both startups and large enterprises. We have highly skilled and experienced software development and marketing professionals to help you achieve your business goals. Contact us today for a FREE consultation. And feel free to browse through our blog posts for more startup tips and tricks.