Understand the SEO basics is the first step for every new blogger to be successful in blogging. In this guide “SEO Basics for Bloggers – Ultimate SEO Guide for beginners (2021)” you will learn about all major aspects of SEO, from meaning to techniques, the importance of doing SEO, pros and cons, the cost involved, and much more to make your site search engine friendly.
The process of search engine optimization is complex and keeps on changing. But by understanding the SEO basics you can make a big difference. Start from learning the basics of SEO and then practicing it you will master it over time and surely going to become a successful blogger and digital marketer.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. SEO is the practice of optimizing your blog or website pages to appear on the top searches of search engines like Google, Bing, and others.
Best SEO practices improve the ranking of your blog or websites in an organic way i.e. free method in the search results.
SEO is part of your marketing efforts if you own a blog or website and want more traffic.
First, you start with the SEO basics gradually you will master advanced SEO tactics.
What is a Search Engine?
A search engine is an internet-based tool to enable users to search information on the World wide web. There are several search engines and the most popular ones are Google, Bing, Yahoo, and MSN.
The search engine uses robots, bots, or spiders which are automated software applications that crawl along with the web, page to page, site to site following the links. Based on the information gathered by the spiders the search engine creates a searchable index of the web.
How Does Search Engine Works?
Every search engine uses different complex algorithms to produce search results. The search results for a certain query are then shown on the search engine results page (SERP).
The search engine takes into consideration the key elements of a web page. These elements include the page title, keyword density, content, meta title, description, etc., and bring out the ranking for where to put the results on the search pages.
This is also to keep in mind that every search engine’s algorithm is different. A top-ranking article on Bing does not necessarily be on top of Google search and vice-versa.
The search engines keep the algorithms guarded and regularly keep on modifying and revising. So to understand the criteria for the best-optimized site must be understood through observation and applying and analyzing different practices. This has to be a regular process and regular observation and improvisation bring better results.
We can understand the functioning of Search engine in four different parts:
Crawling is the process which search engine and web crawlers (bots or spiders) use to visit and read all the information from the webpage in the website and extract its links to find additional pages.
Indexing refers to getting your web pages (or other various forms of content from PDFs to videos) indexed in search engines. A search engine will crawl your webpage and its linked pages in search of content to add to its index.
In this process, the search engine algorithm figures out the relevancy of website pages in its index to the search string.
• Retrieving Results
This is the step where a search engine will retrieve the results of your web pages in relevance to your search query.
Why SEO is important
When everything is going digital and the market is becoming more and more competitive, SEO marketing is getting more and more important than ever.
Everyday users are making millions of searches and search engines are serving those users. If you have a blog, website, or online store SEO can help you get targeted traffic from search engines.
We can understand the importance of SEO due to the following reasons:
- It is a tendency of more than 70% of people who searches in search engines to click on one of the top 5 search results in the SERPS. You can see the below image to understand it better. If you want to gain more visitors to your blog, website, or online store you must do SEO to appear in one of the top positions.
- Good SEO practices improve the user experience of a website too. So SEO is not only for search engines. It is important from the user’s perspective as well.
- SEO helps you bring your website on top searches. It is also observed that users trust search engines and if you are in the top position in search results for the relevant keywords, improves the website’s credibility and trust.
- SEO also helps you promote your website or blog on social networks. If people find your content on search engine’s top searches and find it good they would never mind sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
- SEO helps you ahead of your competitors. If you have competitors and selling similar products but if you have SEO optimized website that you are likely to have more customers and able to generate more sales.
- SEO is necessary for the smooth running of a big website. If a website is big and more than one person is managing the same then SEO can benefit them in some way or the other. Their common benefit of getting organic traffic and a common checklist to use before publishing content on the website.
White hat vs black hat SEO
In this SEO basics guide, you will now learn about what is difference between Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO.
Below are some main differences between Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat SEO:
|White Hat SEO||Black Hat SEO|
|White Hat SEO techniques comply with search engine guidelines and are used for better search engine rankings||On the other hand, Black Hat SEO is a technique that is used to improve the search engine rankings that are not approved by search engines.|
|You will never have any risk of penalty or de-indexing of your site.|
By applying White Hat SEO you will neither be penalized nor having any chance or risk of de-indexing your website.
|If you apply the Black hat SEO technique there is always a chance that you may be penalized by search engines or your site may be banned or deindexed.|
|In this technique, the idea is to provide quality and valuable content that engages the users.||In this technique quality of content is not given any heed.|
|It is an ideal way of improving the ranking of a website and is like a long-term investment.||It is a way for a quick financial return which is for a very short period and is very risky as you are putting the whole website at risk.|
Types of SEO
Back then in 2000, SEO was not that complex as it is now. Over the years SEO has become more complex to understand and apply. There are many types of SEO and all have the same goal to optimize a website to be visible on the search engine’s top pages.
There is a number of rules to consider to satisfy various search engine ranking factors and simultaneously keeping it user-friendly.
So to make it easier SEO industry has categorized into different types of SEO. Based on the rules these types can be distinguished.
The most important types of SEO are Technical, On-Page, and Off-Page SEO as shown in the diagram below.
What is Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the process to improve the technical traits of a website to improve the ranking of its pages in the search engine. For perfect technical optimization, you must make your website faster, easy to understand, and crawl for the search engines.
Technical SEO mainly focuses on optimizing the infrastructure of a website. Online shopping portals like Alibaba, Amazon use this method to achieve the top search engine rankings. There are some Technical SEO tips which you can follow.
Tips for Technical SEO
- Specify your preferred domain in WordPress and Google Search Console.
- Ensure your website has easy navigation and website structure.
- Optimize your robots.txt and 404 pages.
- Improve your URL structure.
- Include schema markup for breadcrumbs.
- Add structured data to your homepage.
- Add structured data to your pages and posts.
- Check and analyze your canonical URLs with the help of Google analytics.
- Optimize and improve the loading speed of your website.
- Submit your XML sitemap to Google, Bing, and other search engines.
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.
- Check your pagination and multilingual settings.
What is On-Page SEO
On-page SEO also called on-site SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages to improve a website’s ranking on search engines and attain organic traffic. It involves publishing valuable and high-quality content.
On-page SEO constitutes optimizing your headlines, HTML tags including title tag, meta tag, H1, etc., and compressed high-quality images.
Below are some important tips for On-Page SEO:
Title and Meta Tags
- Titles and meta descriptions must be unique for each page.
- The length should be 50 – 65 characters.
- The description tag should not contain more than 160 characters.
- It should naturally include keywords.
- All links made by using anchor text.
- Put a title on anchor text.
- Use broad keywords as anchor text.
- Never use exact keywords as anchor text.
- The image filename should be descriptive. You can use keywords in the filename.
- All images must have an alt tag. You can use keywords in the image alt tag.
- Do not use a large-size image.
- Create internal links using anchor text.
- Link all important pages to your home page.
- Include two to five internal links per page.
- Content on the website has to be fresh and unique.
- You must write small paragraphs and use H3, H3, H4, and bold, italics style appropriately.
- Proper inclusion of primary and secondary keywords
- The length of the content should not be too large or too small.
- Create an XML sitemap
- Mention all public URLs inside the sitemap.
- Include XML sitemap in the root folder of your site.
- Create a robots.txt file to authenticate and stop the crawler from crawling anything apart from your home page.
What is Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO covers all SEO strategies that take place outside of your own website. Activities like brand building, citation building, social media, and many more tactics play a crucial part in a comprehensive SEO strategy.
In simple terms, you can say that any tactics that you use don’t implicate making changes to your own website, pages, publishing content, or posts on your own site.
Off-page SEO techniques
Below are some important and common off-page techniques and ways to get backlinks.
• Guest Blogging
Guest blogging, commonly known as guest posting, is writing content for other company’s blog or websites. Through guest posting, you will get a link to your site from that guest site. It helps to increase your brand credibility and awareness.
• 404 Link Building
This is one of the best white-hat SEO techniques. In this webmaster replace broken links with correct links. Here you can reach the site owners who are getting 404 errors, you can outreach them to replace that broken link with your relevant blog or link. This is a very scalable, effective and content focuses link-building method.
• Resource Link Building
Most of the sites have a resource page with a list of tools, resources, and helpful links relevant to a particular topic. You can reach webmasters or site owners to get your site listed on the page as one of the resources.
• PDF Links
Here you will create a PDF document and can add links to your blog posts, reference pages, and web address. You can share these PDFs on relevant PDF submission sites and get a high authority link and traffic.
• Forum or Q & A sites
Q&A sites and forums are ways to engage with your community. This interaction helps you to build trust among your target audience. In turn, this will improve SEO and blog traffic.
• Slide and Video Creation & Sharing
In this method, you need to create videos and slides pertaining to topics related to your niche, business, or website. The next step is to share those slides and videos on relevant sites and social media platforms.
• Business Directory Submission
There are several business directories relevant to a different business. If you have a business you can create a directory listing and get a backlink from there. Also, users will get information about your business.
What is SEO Copy-writing
SEO copywriting is the way of writing a text on a web page in a manner readable for the user. It also targets certain specific keywords or searches terms. It also aims to rank highly in the search engines for the targeted keywords or search terms.
This is also an integral way of content marketing. In content marketing comes the optimization of title tags, meta description, keyword tags, headings, etc. This in turn automatically helps you optimize other on-page elements for the targeted keywords.
You may like to read Content Writing Tips for Creating Unique Content: Complete Beginners Guide.
What is Mobile SEO?
Search Engines like Google are giving preference to mobile-friendly sites. Mobile SEO is a method of designing a website in a way that is equally suitable for viewing on mobile devices of different screen sizes which have lower bandwidth.
All the rules are the same which are needed for a desktop site, but you need to take some extra care while designing a mobile-friendly site.
Key attributes for mobile-friendly websites
- A mobile website should have a responsive design.
- The contents should be readable without having to zoom the screen for a mobile website.
- It should have appropriate fonts, layouts, and colors.
- The mobile-friendly site should have an easy interface.
- A mobile-optimized site must have important links displayed on the Home page so that they get enough visibility.
Pros of doing SEO
When we are learning SEO basics we must know the pros or advantages of doing SEO. Below are some key benefits of doing SEO:
- SEO is the simplest method that helps you to make your site visible on search engines.
- You can get more traffic on your websites with various SEO techniques.
- SEO is the most effective way for branding your business on Google and other search engines.
- You can easily take your business from local to national and International Business with the help of proper SEO.
- SEO is the organic and free method to increase traffic and sales in the long run.
Cons of Doing SEO
Every aspect has both pros and cons, and there is no exception with SEO. SEO also has some cons which are mentioned below:
- SEO is a gradual and slow process. It may sometimes take months or years to achieve the desired results.
- This is not a very transparent process so there are a lot of things to consider for measuring it.
- You may not control a lot of things, so it requires a lot of persistent efforts and optimizations.
- It is not just link building but it needs a combination of skills like tech, content, and analytics on the part of persons who are performing the SEO task.
How much does SEO Cost?
One should not need a lot of money to perform SEO. There are free tools available for basic SEO techniques like keyword research, link building, and site optimization.
But in order to perform the SEO in a professional manner, you need to have some paid tools like Ahref, SEMRush, etc. My personal favorite all-in-one SEO tool is SEMRush it has got all the features to perform each and every aspect of SEO.
If you don’t want to invest your time and money in doing SEO, which is a specialized task to achieve the desired results, you could hire an SEO agency to do the hard work for you. My Digital Marketing agency is specialized in doing SEO and the rest of the Digital Marketing tasks at the most affordable price.
How Long does it take to see SEO results?
Normally you can start seeing the results within the first 4 weeks from SEO. Although there are no fixed criteria for this as the result may vary from case to case.
However one can expect to see the positive movement in search engine rankings and visibility within the first few weeks of SEO.
How quick you will see the results from SEO depend upon several factors as below:
- How difficult is the keyword you’re trying to rank for?
- The competitiveness of the niche.
- How old is your website?
- If anything different that your competitors are doing?
- The search engine, area, and location you’re trying to rank
This clearly indicates that the difficulty level can fluctuate and hence the time.
It could take a lot longer if you are trying to rank for a very competitive keyword.
However, your results may and will certainly vary, due to all of the factors above.
But don’t let this information put you off your SEO efforts.
I have tried to cover all the SEO basics in this blog “SEO Basics for Bloggers – Ultimate SEO Guide for beginners (2021)”. Hope you liked the post and gained some valuable information on SEO through this.
Even if you are a beginner blogger, startup, or business owner with you must give due importance to SEO. It is a gradual process but in the long run, you will see substantial results.
So start doing SEO for your blog or website and analyze the result on ranking after that.
If you have any further queries, suggestions, or feedback, please comment below.