In part 1 of a 5-part series on SEO basics, we'll introduce SEO, and walk you through best practices for starting a campaign.
There are many of you who have never heard of search engine optimization (SEO), and many of you who have that don’t have an accurate conception of what it entails or how it works. Accordingly, I’ve decided to create a 5-part series that introduces the strategy, and walks you through the best practices for building and managing a long-term campaign.
This is part one in the series, focused on helping you build an SEO strategy from scratch.
The SEO Overview
First, let’s examine SEO from a high-level perspective. SEO is a series of tactics used to help your site rank higher in Google (and other search engine) search results, thereby increasing your organic search visibility. This, in turn, will bring your site more traffic and sales. It’s a long-term strategy that requires consistent dedication to user experience and quality material. (This is a highly simplified definition, but it will serve our purposes).
SEO comprises many factors; there’s no one strategy or one pattern of action that can lead you to success. Instead, you’ll need to spend time planning and strategizing your campaign (the subject of this part of the series), and executing your strategy across four main areas (the future parts of this series):
1. On-site Optimization.
On-site optimization involves changing the technical structure and content of your website to make it accessible to search engines and optimized for your target keywords and phrases.
2. Ongoing Content Marketing.
This is an ongoing strategy to produce on-site content, which will help you rank for more keywords, build domain authority, and attract inbound links (which increase your domain and page authority even further).
3. Link Building and Off-site Optimization.
This is a strategy involving your off-site work, which includes manually building links that point back to your site, developing your reputation through off-site guest posts, and engaging in social media.
4. Measurement and Analysis.
Finally, you need to constantly measure your impact, evaluate your success, and adjust your strategy to get even better results.
There are two main things Google takes into consideration when ranking sites: a page’s authority and relevance. Its authority is a measure of how trustworthy the site is, which can be improved by acquiring more inbound links from external sources. Its relevance is determined by how appropriate the page is for a given user’s search query.
Most of your strategic development will be focused on the “relevance” side of things: figuring out who you’re targeting, how to target them, and how you’re going to achieve your goals (though authority will come into play as well).