-46 Removals
+71 Additions

What Is SEO

Created by:rmbakken

1SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide1SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
22
3Home > SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
3seo4seo
45
5Guess how many blog posts are published each day.6Guess how many blog posts are published each day.
67
7Any ideas?8Any ideas?
89
9Over 2 million.10Over 2 million.
1011
11That means 46 people have pressed publish by the time you read these 4 sentences. This makes it kinda tough to stand out. But you have to, if you want to make your blog a successful one, that is.12That means 46 people have pressed publish by the time you read these 4 sentences. This makes it kinda tough to stand out. But you have to, if you want to make your blog a successful one, that is.
1213
13While I often spend 4-5 hours on writing my blog posts, the 10 minutes I spend optimizing each post are easily the most important.14While I often spend 4-5 hours on writing my blog posts, the 10 minutes I spend optimizing each post are easily the most important.
1415
15No wonder millions of people google the term “SEO” each month.16No wonder millions of people google the term “SEO” each month.
1617
17In a world where over 90% of online experiences start with a search, showing up on the front page of Google can be the deciding factor between a business that’s thriving and one that’s, well, bankrupt.18In a world where over 90% of online experiences start with a search engine, showing up on the front page of Google can be the deciding factor between a business that’s thriving and one that’s, well, bankrupt.
1819
19But what does SEO even mean?20But what does SEO even mean?
2021
21Sure, you know that it stands for search engine optimization, but what gets optimized?22Sure, you know that it stands for search engine optimization, but what gets optimized?
2223
23Is it the design? Or the writing? The links maybe?24Is it the design? Or the writing? The links maybe?
2425
25Yes, yes and yes. It’s all of them and more.26Yes, yes and yes. It’s all of them and more.
2627
27But let’s start at the beginning.28But let’s start this SEO guide at the beginning.
29
30
2831
29Definition32Definition
3033
31According to Wikipedia, SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results”34According to Wikipedia, SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results”
3235
33Alright, let’s translate that to English. Here’s my go at it:36Alright, let’s translate that to English. Here’s my go at it:
3437
35SEO is the process of optimizing your online content, so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.38Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content, so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.
3639
37Let me break that down even further:40Let me break that down even further:
3841
39There’s you, doing the SEO, the search engine, and the searcher. If you have an article about how to make vegan lasagna, you want the search engine (which, in 90% of all cases, is Google), to show it as a top result to anyone who searches for the phrase “vegan lasagna”.42There’s you, doing the SEO, the search engine and the searcher. If you have an article about how to make vegan lasagna, you want the search engine (which, in 90% of all cases, is Google), to show it as a top result to anyone who searches for the phrase “vegan lasagna.”
4043
41SEO is the magic you have to work on your article, in order to make Google very likely to include your article as one of the top results whenever someone searches for that keyword.44SEO is the magic you have to work on your article, in order to make Google very likely to include your article as one of the top results whenever someone searches for that keyword.
4245
43Overview46Overview
4447
45Now what does that magic look like, and why does it even matter?48Now what does that magic look like and why does it even matter?
4649
4793% of online experiences begin with a search engine, 68% of which use Google to do so.5093% of online experiences begin with a search engine, 68% of which use Google to do so.
4851
49Combine that with the fact that the first 5 results in Google get 67% of all clicks, and you get an idea of why SEO is so important.52Combine that with the fact that the first 5 results in Google get 67% of all clicks, and you get an idea of why search engine optimization is so important.
5053
51There’s a joke going around the web that highlights how crucial it is to hit the first page of Google:54There’s a joke going around the web that highlights how crucial it is to hit the first page of Google:
5255
53If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.56If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.
5457
55Your blog post, article or product being linked on any other page of the Google search results than the first is equivalent to not being ranked at all.58Your blog post, article or product being linked on any other page of the Google search results than the first is equivalent to not being ranked at all.
5659
57But to understand how to show up first in the search page results, you first need to know how search even works.60But to understand how to show up first in the search engine results, you first need to know how search even works.
5861
59How Search Works:62How Search Works:
6063
6164
6265
63Now that you have an idea of the basics of SEO, I’ll take a look at some of its components in detail.66Now that you have an idea of the basics of SEO, I’ll take a look at some of its components in detail.
6467
65While Google guards their search algorithm pretty well and not all of the over 200 determining factors are known and verified, Backlinko did a great job of compiling as many as possible of them into one big list.68While Google guards their search algorithm pretty well and not all of the over 200 determining factors are known and verified, Backlinko did a great job of compiling as many as possible of them into one big list.
6669
67But first, I need to get one thing straight. There are 2 sides of the SEO force, and you need to choose yours, right now.70But first, I need to get one thing straight. There are 2 sides of the SEO force, and you need to choose yours, right now.
6871
69White Hat vs. Black Hat72White Hat vs. Black Hat
7073
71As you know, I’m playing the long-term entrepreneurial game, instead of just trying to get a quick buck out of it.74As you know, I’m playing the long-term entrepreneurial game, instead of just trying to get a quick buck out of it.
7275
73It’s the same with SEO. Some people are in it to make a few grand really quickly, others are in it for the long haul.76It’s the same with search engine optimization. Some people are in it to make a few grand really quickly, others are in it for the long haul.
7477
75If you want to work SEO like a get-rich-quick scheme, you’ll probably end up doing what’s called black hat SEO.78If you want to work SEO like a get-rich-quick scheme, you’ll probably end up doing what’s called black hat SEO.
7679
77This type of SEO focuses on optimizing your content only for the search engine, not considering humans at all. Since there are lots of ways to bend and break the rules to get your sites to rank high, these are a welcome way for black hat SEOs to make a few thousand dollars fast.80This type of SEO focuses on optimizing your content only for the search engine, not considering humans at all. Since there are lots of ways to bend and break the rules to get your sites to rank high, these are a welcome way for black hat SEOs to make a few thousand dollars fast.
7881
79Ultimately this approach results in spammy, crappy pages, which often get banned very fast, often leading to severe punishment for the marketer, ruining their chance of building something sustainable in the future.82Ultimately this approach results in spammy, crappy pages, which often get banned very fast, often leading to severe punishment for the marketer, ruining their chance of building something sustainable in the future.
8083
81You might make a few grand this way, but will continuously have to be on the lookout for search engine updates and come up with new ways to dodge the rules.84You might make a few grand this way, but will continuously have to be on the lookout for search engine updates and come up with new ways to dodge the rules.
8285
83White hat SEO, on the other hand, is the way to build a sustainable online business. If you do SEO this way, you’ll focus on your human audience, trying to give them the best content possible and making it easily accessible to them, by playing according to the search engine’s rules.86White hat SEO, on the other hand, is the way to build a sustainable online business. If you do SEO this way, you’ll focus on your human audience, trying to give them the best content possible and making it easily accessible to them, by playing according to the search engine’s rules.
8487
85black hat white hat88black hat white hat
8689
87(Inbound Marketing Inc. does a great job at explaining the difference)90(Inbound Marketing Inc. does a great job at explaining the difference)
8891
89Needless to say, you’ll only hear and see me talking about white hat SEO.92Needless to say, you’ll only hear and see me talking about white hat SEO.
9093
91Choose your side of the force wisely, young Padawan.94Choose your side of the force wisely, young Padawan.
9295
93star wars96star wars
9497
95Cleaning inside your house and outside: On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO98Cleaning inside your house and outside: On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO
9699
97There are 2 broader categories of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
98100
101There are 2 broader categories of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
99On-page SEO concerns all of Google’s ranking factors that are determined by directly looking at the page you try to optimize, such as headlines, content and page structure.102On-page SEO concerns all of Google’s ranking factors that are determined by directly looking at the page you try to optimize, such as headlines, content and page structure.
100103
101Off-page SEO refers to all variables Google takes a look at, which are not exclusively in your own hands, but depend on other websites, such as social networks, other blogs in your industry and the personal history of the searcher.104Off-page SEO refers to all variables Google takes a look at, which are not exclusively in your own hands, but depend on other sources, such as social networks, other blogs in your industry and the personal history of the searcher.
102105
103They’re different, but you need to get both right in order to do well with SEO.106They’re different, but you need to get both right, in order to do well with SEO.
104107
105To give you a better idea of what that means, here’s an example:108To give you a better idea of what that means, here’s an example:
106109
107Let’s say you have a house with a garden in the front yard, and a little pathway, that leads through your front yard to your house.110Let’s say you have a house with a garden in the front yard, and a little pathway, that leads through your front yard to your house.
108111
109Imagine these two scenarios:112Imagine these two scenarios:
110113
111Scenario #1: Your house is super clean on the inside, but your front yard is a mess.114Scenario #1: Your house is super clean on the inside, but your front yard is a mess.
112115
113What happens in this scenario? Well, even if you have the cleanest Mary Poppins-style looking house on the inside, if your garden looks like the forest from Sleeping Beauty, no one will come in in the first place.116What happens in this scenario? Well, even if you have the cleanest Mary Poppins-style looking house on the inside, if your garden looks like the forest from Sleeping Beauty, no one will come in in the first place.
114117
115sleeping beauty118sleeping beauty
116119
117It’s the same if your page is super optimized around on-page factors, has great content and looks stunning, but no one gives you credit for it or points to your page.120It’s the same if your page is super optimized around on-page SEO, has great content and looks stunning, but no one gives you credit for it or points to your page.
118121
119No one will ever see your beautiful masterpiece, because you won’t get any traffic.122No one will ever see your beautiful masterpiece, because you won’t get any traffic.
120123
121What about the other way around?124What about the other way around?
122125
123Scenario #2: Your front lawn is neatly trimmed, but inside your house is a mess.126Scenario #2: Your front lawn is neatly trimmed, but inside your house is a mess.
124127
125Turn things around and they look similar: Having a neatly mowed yawn will attract plenty of people to come visit your house, but if your living room reminds your guests of a war zone, they’ll leave quicker than you can pronounce SEO.128Turn things around and they look similar: Having a neatly mowed lawn will attract plenty of people to come visit your house, but if your living room reminds your guests of a war zone, they’ll leave quicker than you can pronounce SEO.
126129
127When a visitor leaves your site after viewing only one page, in Google’s eyes that visitor is considered as a bounce. The higher your bounce rate (=number of visitors who leave your site instantly), the worse your page will rank in Google.130When a visitor leaves your site after viewing only one page, in Google’s eyes that visitor is considered as a bounce. The higher your bounce rate (=number of visitors who leave your site instantly), the worse your page will rank in Google.
128131
129That’s why you need to do both on-page SEO and off-page SEO.132That’s why you need to do both on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
130133
131You can do several things on your page to get the former right and then even more things outside of that (off the page if you will) to ace the latter.134You can do several things on your page to get the former right and then even more things outside of that (off the page if you will) to ace the latter.
132135
133We’ll take a look at on-page SEO first.136We’ll take a look at on-page SEO first.
134137
135On-Page SEO138On-Page SEO
136139
137There are 3 big categories in on-page SEO, that you’ll need to take a look at. The first, and most important, is content.140There are 3 big categories in on-page SEO, that you’ll need to take a look at. The first and most important, is content.
138141
1391. Content1421. Content
140143
141You’ve probably heard it before: “Content is king.” Bill Gates made this prediction in 1996 and it’s as true as ever today.144You’ve probably heard it before: “Content is king.” Bill Gates made this prediction in 1996 and it’s as true as ever today.
142145
143bill gates146bill gates
144147
145(here’s the original article by Bill Gates)148(here’s the original article by Bill Gates)
146149
147Why?150Why?
148151
149Because a Google customer is happy, when he finds the result that serves his needs in the best way.152Because a Google search engine customer is happy when he finds the result that serves his needs in the best way.
150153
151When you Google “quick and easy homemade mac and cheese”, Google will put all its energy into delivering to you what Google believes is the best recipe for homemade mac and cheese (that takes little time and uses few ingredients) on the entire web.154When you Google “quick and easy homemade mac and cheese,” Google will put all its energy into delivering to you what Google believes is the best recipe for homemade mac and cheese (that takes little time and uses few ingredients) on the entire web.
155
156It doesn’t look for the quickest recipe, the easiest recipe, or throw out a bunch of online shops for frozen dinners.
152157
153It doesn’t look for the quickest recipe, the easiest recipe, or throws out a bunch of online shops for frozen dinners.
154158
155Google always tries to give you the best possible experience by directing you to the greatest content it can find.159Google always tries to give you the best possible experience by directing you to the greatest content it can find.
156
157This means your number one job, to do well with SEO, is to produce great content.160This means your number one job, to do well with SEO, is to produce great content.
158161
159Bummer, right? You still have to put in a ton of work.162Bummer, right? You still have to put in a ton of work.
160163
161SEO is no different than any other skill – the great results will always come from big effort.164SEO is no different than any other skill – the great results will always come from big effort.
162165
163Just like the best marketing in the world won’t help you sell a bad product, super advanced SEO will be useless if you’re content plain sucks.166Just like the best marketing in the world won’t help you sell a bad product, super advanced SEO will be useless if you’re content plain sucks.
164167
165Here are the factors that make up great content in Google’s eyes:168Here are the factors that make up great content in Google’s eyes:
166169
167Quality170Quality
168While the times where just delivering the best quality content would make you stand out from the crowd are long gone, it is still the starting point for any successful SEO effort (and online business, really).171While the times where just delivering the best quality content would make you stand out from the crowd are long gone, it is still the starting point for any successful SEO effort (and online business, really).
169172
170But coming up with great content is not easy, after all, it means you have to become a teacher, and a good one at that.173But coming up with great content is not easy, after all, it means you have to become a teacher and a good one at that.
171174
172Yet, you don’t have to start from scratch. Okdork has published a great guide on how to create great content by piggybacking on what others have done.175Yet, you don’t have to start from scratch. Okdork has published a great guide on how to create great content by piggybacking on what others have done.
173176
174Maybe you have your own ideas already, then it might be worth to brainstorm for a while and then come up with a compelling headline to start out with.177Maybe you have your own ideas already, then it might be worth to brainstorm for a while and then come up with a compelling headline to start out with.
175178
176Once you start writing, make sure you include all the important ingredients of great content in your blog post.179Once you start writing, make sure you include all the important ingredients of great content in your blog post.
177180
178Even if you’re a complete newbie, you can always take a professional approach to great content by simply committing to making writing a daily habit and work your way up in increments from there.181Even if you’re a complete newbie, you can always take a professional approach to great content by simply committing to making writing a daily habit and work your way up in increments from there.
179182
180Keyword research183Keyword research
181Doing your keyword research up front is a crucial part of great content.184Doing your keyword research up front is a crucial part of great content.
182185
186
187
183Since you ideally want to include your targeted keyword in your post’s headline and throughout the article, you need to choose your keyword before starting to write.188Since you ideally want to include your targeted keyword in your post’s headline and throughout the article, you need to choose your keyword before starting to write.
184189
185I’ve covered keyword research extensively on Quicksprout, but if you’ve never done keyword research before, you might want to take a look at Hubspot’s guide for beginners.190I’ve covered keyword research extensively on Quicksprout, but if you’ve never done keyword research before, you might want to take a look at Hubspot’s guide for beginners.
186191
187Out of all on-page SEO factors, this is the one you should spend the most time on to learn. You don’t even need to buy a book, Backlinko’s definitive guide to keyword research will do.192Out of all on-page SEO factors, this is the one you should spend the most time learning. You don’t even need to buy a book, Backlinko’s definitive guide to keyword research will do.
188193
189When I say don’t sleep on this, I mean it. There’s a reason we took the time to compile the top 40 posts on keyword research on KISSmetrics.194When I say don’t sleep on this, I mean it. There’s a reason we took the time to compile the top 40 posts on keyword research on KISSmetrics.
190195
191Use of keywords196Use of keywords
192Google has gotten smarter over the years. While you should of course use your keyword throughout your content, jamming your keyword into your text as much as possible will hurt your rankings, rather than improve them.197Google has gotten smarter over the years. While you should, of course, use your keyword throughout your content, jamming your keyword into your text as much as possible will hurt your rankings, rather than improve them.
193198
194Keyword stuffing is an absolute no-go these days.199Keyword stuffing is an absolute no-go these days.
195200
196In 2015, the use of keywords is much more about semantics. Google has gotten so good at interpreting the meaning of the keywords searchers use, it’s creepy.201In 2015, the use of keywords is much more about semantics. Google has gotten so good at interpreting the meaning of the keywords that searchers use, it’s creepy.
197202
198It not only looks at your keyword, but also synonyms of it, to understand what you mean when you type in, say “five guys nyc”.203It not only looks at your keyword, but also synonyms of it, to understand what you mean when you type in, say “five guys nyc”.
199204
200five guys205five guys
201206
202Google will know that you’re probably not looking for 5 random males, but rather guesses that you’re looking for the fast food chain “Five Guys, Burgers & Fries” by looking at similar searches that may include the keywords “burgers” and “fries.207Google will know that you’re probably not looking for 5 random males, but rather guesses that you’re looking for the fast food chain “Five Guys, Burgers & Fries” by looking at similar searches that may include the keywords “burgers” and “fries.”
203208
204As long as you make sure your keyword is present in strategically important places (like headlines, URL and meta description), there is no need to mention it tons of times in your text.209As long as you make sure your keyword is present in strategically important places (like headlines, URL and meta description), there is no need to mention it tons of times in your text.
205210
206Just focus on the reader and seamlessly integrate your keyword a few times.211Just focus on the reader and seamlessly integrate your keyword a few times.
207212
208Freshness of content213Freshness of content
209Hubspot has done a benchmark this year that showed, once again, that posting more frequently improves Google rankings.214Hubspot has done a benchmark this year that showed, once again, that posting more frequently improves Google rankings.
210215
211However, posting new content is only one way to signal Google freshness. There are plenty of things you can do with already published content to make it more up-to-date.216However, posting new content is only one way to signal Google freshness. There are plenty of things that you can do with already published content to make it more up-to-date.
212217
213Brian Dean from Backlinko, for example, has only published around 30 posts in 2 years. Yet he keeps all of his posts up to date by rewriting them and adding new information as he finds it.218Brian Dean from Backlinko, for example, has only published around 30 posts in 2 years. Yet, he keeps all of his posts up to date by rewriting them and adding new information as he finds it.
214219
215While it is important to publish regularly, you can still get great results with posting once a month, as long as your content is thorough and in-depth.220While it is important to publish regularly, you can still get great results with posting once a month, as long as your content is thorough and in-depth.
216221
217Direct answers222Direct answers
218Finally, one of the more recent updates provides searchers with direct answers. If your content is written clearly enough for Google to recognize it as an answer to a particular question, it will show up directly beneath the search bar.223Finally, one of the more recent updates provides searchers with direct answers. If your content is written clearly enough for Google to recognize it as an answer to a particular question, it will show up directly beneath the search bar.
219224
220direct answer225direct answer
221226
222Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s spam team and often public voice for the latest in SEO and algorithm changes, announced last year that people who were cutting the jargon would be right on track.227Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s spam team and often public voice for the latest in SEO and algorithm changes, announced last year that people who were cutting the jargon would be right on track.
223228
224That’s why detailed guides and long how-to’s become more and more popular. So make sure you clear up your writing, fancy buzzwords and complex sentence constructions will neither make you sound smart nor help your SEO game.229That’s why detailed guides and long how-to’s have become more and more popular. So make sure you clear up your writing, fancy buzzwords and complex sentence constructions will neither make you sound smart nor help your SEO game.
225230
226Moz has listed out all critical aspects you have to keep in mind if you want to do well with direct answers.231Moz has listed out all critical aspects you have to keep in mind, if you want to do well with direct answers.
227232
2282. HTML2332. HTML
229234
230The next big chunk you have to take care of, once you’ve made sure your content is evergreen, is HTML.
231235
232You don’t have to be a professional coder or get a degree in programming by any means, but running an online business without knowing the basics of HTML would be the same as driving without knowing what the colors of traffic lights mean.236The next big chunk you have to take care of, once you’ve made sure your content is evergreen, is HTML.
237You don’t have to be a professional coder or get a degree in programming by any means. But, running an online business without knowing the basics of HTML would be the same as driving without knowing what the colors of traffic lights mean.
233238
234Thankfully, with places like Codecademy or Khan Academy, there are more than enough possibilities to learn everything about HTML you need in the blink of an eye, and for free.239Thankfully, with places like Codecademy or Khan Academy, there are more than enough possibilities to learn everything about HTML that you need in the blink of an eye and for free.
235240
236Heck, you can even learn it on the job, by just using a simple cheat sheet, like this one.241Heck, you can even learn it on the job, by just using a simple cheat sheet, like this one.
237242
238Let’s take a look at the 4 parts of HTML you should optimize for each and every single piece of content you produce.243Let’s take a look at the 4 parts of HTML you should optimize for each and every single piece of content you produce.
239244
240Title tags245Title tags
241Title tags are the online equivalent of newspaper headlines. They are what shows up in the tab of your browser when you open a new page.246Title tags are the online equivalent of newspaper headlines. They are what shows up in the tab of your browser when you open a new page.
242247
243The HTML tag used for them is called title, but in case of blogs it often becomes an h1-tag, which stands for heading of the first order.248The HTML tag used for them is called title, but in case of blogs it often becomes an h1-tag, which stands for heading of the first order.
244249
245Every page should only have one h1-tag to make the title clear to Google. We’ve shown you how to do this in Quicksprout University, but the website First Page Sage has compiled a few more things you can do to get these right.250Every page should only have one h1-tag to make the title clear to Google. We’ve shown you how to do this at Quicksprout University, but the website First Page Sage has compiled a few more things that you can do to get these right.
246251
247Meta description252Meta description
248Meta descriptions are what shows up as an excerpt when Google displays your page as a result to searchers. It’s easy to spot who’s done their SEO homework and who hasn’t:253Meta descriptions are what shows up as an excerpt when Google displays your page as a result to searchers. It’s easy to spot who’s done their SEO homework and who hasn’t by the meta description:
249254
250meta tags255meta tags
251256
252Optimized results will never be cut off and end with “…” or seem like they end mid-sentence. They also often mention their keyword up front.257Optimized meta description results will never be cut off and end with “…” or seem like they end mid-sentence. They also often mention their keyword up front.
253258
254You can learn how to come up with great meta tags in Quicksprout University, and should also check out some good examples to get a feel for descriptions.259You can learn how to come up with great meta tags in Quicksprout University, and should also check out some good examples to get a feel for descriptions.
255260
256Don’t overthink this 160 character text snippet though. When writing it, you should keep the searchers in mind, much more so than the search engine.261Don’t overthink this 160 character text snippet though. When writing it, you should keep the searchers in mind, much more so than the search engines.
257262
258Schema263Schema
259Schema is the result of a collaboration of several search engines and is basically just a subset of specific HTML tags, which will improve the way your content is displayed on the search engine result pages (also called SERPs).264Schema is the result of a collaboration of several search engines and is basically just a subset of specific HTML tags, which will improve the way your content is displayed on the search engine result pages (also called SERPs).
260265
261The rating from the above example with Bitcoin was created using Schema, for example. It’s a rather small factor, but definitely good practice.266The rating from the above example with Bitcoin was created using Schema, for example. It’s a rather small factor, but definitely good practice.
262267
263Moz has some good tips on how to get the most out of Schema. When you’re done, don’t forget to test your page to make sure everything runs smoothly.268Moz has some good tips on how to get the most out of Schema. When you’re done, don’t forget to test your page to make sure everything runs smoothly.
264269
265Subheads270Subheads
266I’ve previously identified subheads as one of the 7 things every great landing page needs.271I’ve previously identified subheads as one of the 7 things every great landing page needs.
267272
268Not only do they help format and structure your content, and give your readers easy reference points, but they also affect SEO.273Not only do they help format and structure your content and give your readers easy reference points, but they also affect SEO.
269274
270Compared to your h1-tags, h2, h3, h4 and further subheads have less SEO power, but still matter, and should therefore be used.275Compared to your h1-tags, h2, h3, h4 and further subheads have less SEO power, but still matter and should therefore be used.
271276
272Plus it’s one of the easiest SEO wins you can get in WordPress.277Plus it’s one of the easiest SEO wins you can get in WordPress.
273278
2743. Architecture2793. Architecture
275280
276The third and last part of on-page SEO, that I’ll cover, is site architecture. While this part gets super techy super fast, there are a few simple things everyone can and should take care of, to improve SEO rankings.281The third and last part of on-page SEO, that I’ll cover, is site architecture. While this part gets super-techy, super fast, there are a few simple things everyone can and should take care of, to improve SEO rankings.
277282
278A good website architecture leads to a great experience for the user when he navigates your page, through things such as fast loading times, a safe connection and a mobile-friendly design.283A good website architecture leads to a great experience for the user when he navigates your page, through things such as fast loading times, a safe connection and a mobile-friendly design.
279284
280Ideally, you’ll map out the architecture of your site before even buying the domain, which allows you to really get into the head of your user and reverse engineer your way to a great user experience (UX).285Ideally, you’ll map out the architecture of your site before even buying the domain, which allows you to really get into the head of your user and reverse engineer your way to a great user experience (UX).
281286
282ConversionXL has published a great guide on how to make sure your UX rocks.287ConversionXL has published a great guide on how to make sure your UX rocks.
283288
284You also need to optimize a few things in order for a great “search engine experience”. The easier your website is accessible to Google, the better it will rank.289You also need to optimize a few things in order for a great “search engine experience.” The more accessible your website is to Google, the better it will rank.
285290
286Easy to crawl291Easy to crawl
287Remember the spiders from the introductory video? These are the programs that “crawl” from one page on your site to the next through links.292Remember the spiders from the introductory video? These are the programs that “crawl” from one page on your site to the next through links.
288293
289Depending on how well they can index all the pages on your site, they’ll be more likely to report back to Google that you are a good result.294Depending on how well they can index all the pages on your site, they’ll be more likely to report back to Google that you are a good result.
290295
291The thicker the web of links between pages of your site, the easier it is for the spiders to reach all of them, giving the search engine a better understanding of your site.296The thicker the web of links between pages of your site, the easier it is for the spiders to reach all of them, giving the search engine a better understanding of your site.
292297
293You can make this job easier for Google by creating a sitemap, using a simple plugin if you’re on WordPress or an online XML sitemap generator.298You can make this job easier for Google by creating a sitemap, using a simple plugin if you’re on WordPress or an online XML sitemap generator.
294299
295To see a crawl in action, you can use this tool.300To see a crawl in action, you can use this tool.
296301
297Duplicate content302Duplicate content
298There are a lot of myths ranking around duplicate content, and how it hurts your rankings. A common mistake is to think everything on your page should be original.303There are a lot of myths ranking around duplicate content, and how it hurts your rankings. A common mistake is to think everything on your page should be original.
299304
300Re-posting your content on other websites, or publishing your guest posts again on your own site, doesn’t hurt your SEO, unless you do it the wrong (spammy) way.305Re-posting your content on other websites or publishing your guest posts again on your own site, doesn’t hurt your SEO, unless you do it the wrong (spammy) way.
301306
302For example, if you re-post your exact same content to a big outlet like Medium, it might hurt your rankings, because Google indexes your Medium article first, as it’s on the more authoritative domain.307For example, if you re-post your exact same content to a big outlet like Medium, it might hurt your rankings, because Google indexes your Medium article first, as it’s on the more authoritative domain.
303308
304In order to make sure you don’t get penalized, educate yourself about 301 redirects, which are a great way to handle duplicate content.309In order to make sure you don’t get penalized, educate yourself about 301 redirects, which are a great way to handle duplicate content.
305310
306I’ve also put together a guide to show you how to address the issue with rel=canonical tags for links on Quicksprout.311I’ve also put together a guide to show you how to address the issue with rel=canonical tags for links on Quicksprout.
307312
308Mobile-friendliness313Mobile-friendliness
309Let’s face it, if your page isn’t mobile-friendly, you lost.314Let’s face it, if your page isn’t mobile-friendly, you lost.
310315
311Consider this: Over 500 million Facebook users (that’s half a billion, just for clarity) ONLY uses facebook through their mobile phone on a daily basis.316Consider this: Over 500 million Facebook users (that’s half a billion, just for clarity) ONLY uses facebook through their mobile phone on a daily basis.
312317
313While there are several ways to make your page mobile-friendly, I recommend you start by checking with Google’s tool how you hold up right now.318While there are several ways to make your page mobile-friendly, I recommend you start by checking with Google’s tool how you hold up right now.
314319
315mobile320mobile
316321
317Most WordPress themes are mobile-friendly from the get go these days, and if not, you can always install a plugin to take care of it.322Most WordPress themes are mobile-friendly from the get go these days, and if not, you can always install a plugin to take care of it.
318323
319You can also just implement Google’s suggestions from the tool yourself or hire someone to make the changes.324You can also just implement Google’s suggestions from the tool yourself or hire someone to make the changes.
325
326
320327
321Page speed328Page speed
322Don’t fool yourself, you know just how important this is. Remember how angry you were the last time the wifi took 20 seconds to load a page?329Don’t fool yourself, you know just how important this is. Remember how angry you were the last time the wifi took 20 seconds to load a page?
323330
324Today, we value our time more than anything, and long loading times can absolutely kill your conversions.331Today, we value our time more than anything, and long loading times can absolutely kill your conversions.
325332
326Again, Google has a tool to easily test this. Another way to see if you’re doing okay is to use this free test by Pingdom.333Again, Google has a tool to easily test this. Another way to see if you’re doing okay is to use this free test by Pingdom.
327334
328ConversionXL has identified a few low hanging fruits for increasing your website speed and at Crazy Egg we show you how to squeeze out that extra second to improve your user experience.335ConversionXL has identified a few low hanging fruits for increasing your website speed and at Crazy Egg we show you how to squeeze out that extra second to improve your user experience.
329336
330Keywords in URLs337Keywords in URLs
331Including your targeted keywords in the URLs of your blog posts is a can’t miss. You shouldn’t squander those SEO points.338Including your targeted keywords in the URLs of your blog posts is a can’t miss. You shouldn’t squander those SEO points.
332339
333You might have to change the structure of your permalinks on WordPress, and should certainly keep your human users in mind, but including your keyword in your URLs is a no brainer.340You might have to change the structure of your permalinks on WordPress, and should certainly keep your human users in mind, but including your keyword in your URLs is a no brainer.
334341
335HTTPS and SSL342HTTPS and SSL
336Google announced that security is now considered a ranking signal.343Google announced that security is now considered a ranking signal.
337344
338There are two common security protocols: HTTPS (a secure version of HTTP) and SSL (Secure Socket Layer).345There are two common security protocols: HTTPS (a secure version of HTTP) and SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
339346
340Both of them work and are worth considering, even if they won’t up your SEO game too much.347Both of them work and are worth considering, even if they won’t up your SEO game too much.
341348
342Moving from a non-secure connection to HTTPS or SSL is a bit of work, but worth your time. If you’re starting out with a new domain, consider purchasing it as an option from your domain registrar or web hosting service.349Moving from a non-secure connection to HTTPS or SSL is a bit of work, but worth your time. If you’re starting out with a new domain, consider purchasing it as an option from your domain registrar or web hosting service.
343350
351Pro tip: You can save a lot of on-page SEO by using a tool. For example, if your blog is a WordPress site, Yoast SEO will help you with many of the important on-page elements we just discussed.
352
353
354
344Off-Page SEO355Off-Page SEO
345356
346Alright, time to step outside your house and take a look at the front yard. I’ll now show you 4 big areas of off-page SEO.357Alright, time to step outside your house and take a look at the front yard. I’ll now show you 4 big areas of off-page SEO.
347358
348If you want a solid overview on one page, consider looking at Shane Barker’s great infographic.359If you want a solid overview on one page, consider looking at Shane Barker’s great infographic.
349360
3501. Trust3611. Trust
351362
352PageRank, the famous formula invented by the founders of Google is by far not the only measure they take when ranking pages in the top 10 search results.363PageRank, the famous formula invented by the founders of Google is by far not the only measure they take when ranking pages in the top 10 search results.
353364
354Trust is getting increasingly important and most of the recent Google updates have hit spammy and obscure websites.365Trust is getting increasingly important and most of the recent Google updates have hit spammy and obscure websites.
355366
356Trustrank is a way for Google to see whether your site is legit or not. If you look like a big brand, Google is likely to trust you, for example.367Trustrank is a way for Google to see whether your site is legit or not. If you look like a big brand, Google is likely to trust you, for example.
357368
358Quality backlinks from authoritative sites (like .edu or .gov domains), also help. There are 4 parts to building trust.369Quality backlinks from authoritative sites (like .edu or .gov domains), also help. There are 4 parts to building trust.
359370
360Authority371Authority
361The overall authority of your site is determined by a mix of 2 kinds of authority you can build:372The overall authority of your site is determined by a mix of 2 kinds of authority you can build:
362373
363Domain authority, which has to do with how well known your domain name is (coca-cola.com is very authoritative, for example), and374Domain authority, which has to do with how well known your domain name is (coca-cola.com is very authoritative, for example), and
364Page authority, which relates to how authoritative the content of a single page (for example a blog post) is.375Page authority, which relates to how authoritative the content of a single page (for example a blog post) is.
365You can check your authority here, based on a scale of 1 to 100.376You can check your authority here, based on a scale of 1 to 100.
366377
367To improve your authority, use the cheat sheet I that came up with to increase your authority without cheating.378To improve your authority, use the cheat sheet that I came up with to increase your authority without cheating.
368379
369Bounce rate380Bounce rate
370Your bounce rate is simply a measure of how many people view only one page on your site, before immediately leaving again.381Your bounce rate is simply a measure of how many people view only one page on your site, before immediately leaving again.
371382
372Content, loading times, usability and attracting the right readers are all part of decreasing your bounce rate.383Content, loading times, usability and attracting the right readers are all part of decreasing your bounce rate. The math is simple- the right readers will spend more time on a site that loads fast, looks good and has great content, right?
373384
374Video is another great way to do so, but you need your video content to stand out and deliver (Buffer’s 5-step process is a great place to get started with video).385Video is another great way to do so, but you need your video content to stand out and deliver (Buffer’s 5-step process is a great place to get started with video).
375386
376Domain age387Domain age
377Remember the times before young entrepreneurs like me were all the hype? Who were the most respected businessmen around?388Remember the times before young entrepreneurs like me were all the hype? Who were the most respected businessmen around?
378389
379The old guys. The Jack Welchs and Warren Buffetts of the world.390The old guys. The Jack Welchs and Warren Buffetts of the world.
380391
381warren buffett392warren buffett
382393
383(Google respects age)394(Google respects age)
384395
385With domains on the internet, it’s similar. Domain age matters, if only a little.396With domains on the internet, it’s similar. Domain age matters, if only a little.
386397
387If you haven’t got your site up and running yet, consider finding an affordable, expired domain and using it.398If you haven’t got your site up and running yet, consider finding an affordable, expired domain and using it.
388399
389Identity400Identity
390As mentioned above, having a brand or personal identity online is a huge trust signal for Google, but it takes time to build.401As mentioned above, having a brand or personal identity online is a huge trust signal for search engines, but it takes time to build.
391402
392You know you’re a brand when you google yourself and something like this pops up:403You know you’re a brand when you google yourself and something like this pops up:
393404
394brand405brand
395406
396You don’t have to have a brand name, creating your personal brand works just as well.407You don’t have to have a brand name, creating your personal brand works just as well.
397408
398What’s more, building brand signals prevents you from future penalties through Google updates.409What’s more, building brand signals prevents you from future penalties through Google updates.
399410
4002. Links4112. Links
401412
402Just by how far you’re into this guide already shows you that the common conception of “backlinks are everything” is just wrong.413Just by how far you’re into this search engine optimization guide already shows you that the common conception of “backlinks are everything” is just wrong.
403414
404They’re only a part of SEO, just like all the other areas I covered already. There are plenty of ways to get backlinks.415They’re only a part of SEO, just like all the other areas I covered already. There are plenty of ways to get backlinks.
405416
406But no matter what you do, don’t just wait for people to link to you, that’s a fool’s game, you’re going to have to take initiative and ask for them.417
418
419But, no matter what you do, don’t just wait for people to link to you, that’s a fool’s game, you’re going to have to take initiative and ask for them.
407420
408Consider these 3 factors when trying to get backlinks:421Consider these 3 factors when trying to get backlinks:
409422
410Quality of links423Quality of links
411While links are not everything, when looking at links, their quality is everything. The quality of your links matters much more than the amount of links you have.424While links are not everything, when looking at links, their quality is everything. The quality of your links matters much more than the amount of links you have.
412425
413Building quality backlinks is all about reaching out to the right sources and offering value in exchange for a solid link, and I show you tons of ways in our advanced guide to link building.426Building quality backlinks is all about reaching out to the right sources and offering value in exchange for a solid link, and I show you tons of ways in our advanced guide to link building.
414427
428
429
415Anchor text430Anchor text
416The anchor text is the text used when other sites link to you and yes, it matters. Differentiating between the types of anchor text is part of the nitty gritty, but a good rule of thumb is:431The anchor text is the text used when other sites link to you and yes, it matters. Differentiating between the types of anchor text is part of the nitty gritty, but a good rule of thumb is:
417432
418The more natural the link text sounds, the better.433The more natural the link text sounds, the better.
419434
420Here’s an example: You could either link to a guide on anchor text best practices by linking the word “click here” or just naturally mentioning it in the flow of your writing (like I did in the first half of this sentence).435Here’s an example: You could either link to a guide on anchor text best practices by linking the word “click here” or just naturally mentioning it in the flow of your writing (like I did in the first half of this sentence).
421436
422The second category is called contextual backlinks, and that’s the one you should strive for.437The second category is called contextual backlinks, and that’s the one you should strive for.
423438
424Number of links439Number of links
425Lastly, the number of total links you have does of course matter as well, and you need to over time build high quality backlinks at scale.440Lastly, the number of total links you have does of course matter as well, and you need to over time build high quality backlinks at scale.
426441
4273. Personal4423. Personal
428443
429The third category of off-page SEO, that’s worth taking a look at, is personal factors. While most of these are out of your control, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of reaching a certain audience.444The third category of off-page SEO, that’s worth taking a look at, is personal factors. While most of these are out of your control, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of reaching a certain audience.
430445
431Country446Country
432All searchers are shown results relevant to the country they’re in. Open times of recommended stores and restaurants are displayed in your time zone.447All searchers are shown results relevant to the country they’re in. Open times of recommended stores and restaurants are displayed in your time zone.
433448
434country449country
435450
436(country – it’s all about where you’re from)451(country – it’s all about where you’re from)
437452
438Words are interpreted differently. Someone searching for “comforter” in the US will be displayed blankets for their bed, whereas someone in the UK might see pacifiers, because that’s what the term means there.453Words are interpreted differently. Someone searching for “comforter” in the US will be displayed blankets for their bed, whereas someone in the UK might see pacifiers, because that’s what the term means there.
439454
440A way to signal Google that you want to target certain countries is of course including them as keywords, but definitely ask yourself it it’s worth it to go multinational.455A way to signal Google that you want to target certain countries is of course including them as keywords, but definitely ask yourself it it’s worth it to go multinational.
441456
442City457City
443The geo-targeting goes even further, down to a city-level. That’s why, when you google any fast food chain, you are usually shown results from right around the block.458The geo-targeting goes even further, down to a city-level. That’s why, when you google any fast food chain, you are usually shown results from right around the block.
444459
445Again, using city names as keywords helps, but don’t paint yourself into a corner or you’ll end up being considered as a local authority only.460Again, using city names as keywords helps, but don’t paint yourself into a corner or you’ll end up being considered as a local authority only.
446461
447Searcher’s history462Searcher’s history
448If the searcher has been on the same page before, or even just visited your site in general, you’re more likely to show up, because Google thinks you’re a relevant result for the searcher.463If the searcher has been on the same page before, or even just visited your site in general, you’re more likely to show up, because Google thinks you’re a relevant result for the searcher.
449464
450google knows465google knows
451466
452Socialization467Socialization
453Do you have a YouTube channel, or a Google Plus profile for your brand? If so, the more people like you, the better.468Do you have a YouTube channel, or a Google Plus profile for your brand? If so, the more people like you, the better.
454469
455When google recognizes that you’ve signaled you like a brand on social networks, it’s more likely to show you results from those brands, or even personal contacts you have.470When google recognizes that you’ve signaled you like a brand on social networks, it’s more likely to show you results from those brands, or even personal contacts you have.
456471
457network472network
458473
4594. Social4744. Social
460475
461Lastly, let’s take a look at the social factors of off-page SEO. Besides social signals directly from the searcher, there are other ways good results on social media will help you rank better.476Lastly, let’s take a look at the social factors of off-page SEO. Besides social signals directly from the searcher, there are other ways good results on social media will help you rank better.
462477
463Whether that’s directly through more links, or indirectly through a PR boost, social matters.478Whether that’s directly through more links, or indirectly through a PR boost, social matters.
464479
465I’ve done several case studies on Quicksprout, proving social media are well worth your time.480I’ve done several case studies on Quicksprout, proving social media is well worth your time.
466481
467There are 2 main factors of influence.482There are 2 main factors of influence.
468483
469Quality of shares484Quality of shares
470As with the quality of backlinks, who shares matters more than how often. Google recognizes influencers and when they share your content that share has more SEO juice than your neighbor’s.485As with the quality of backlinks, who shares matters more than how often. Google recognizes influencers and when they share your content that share has more SEO juice than your neighbor’s.
471486
472A great way to get influencers to share your content is to give them a heads up before you even publish, or still better, include them by quoting or interviewing them.487A great way to get influencers to share your content is to give them a heads up before you even publish, or still better, include them by quoting or interviewing them.
473488
474Of course you should also tell plenty of online celebrities who are already interested in your topic.489Of course you should also tell plenty of online celebrities who are already interested in your topic.
475490
476You can find a similar article (maybe one you fund during your research), plug it into a tool called Topsy, and find influencers who shared it.491You can find a similar article (maybe one you fund during your research), plug it into a tool called Topsy, and find influencers who shared it.
477492
478Then let them know you published a new piece on the same topic.493Then let them know you published a new piece on the same topic.
479494
480influencers495influencers
481496
482Number of shares497Number of shares
483The secondary social metric is the number of shares. Landing a viral hit is every marketer’s dream, but it is overrated.498The secondary social metric is the number of shares. Landing a viral hit is every marketer’s dream, but it is overrated.
484499
485Okdork’s guide on what it takes for an article to go viral gives you a few ideas what to optimize, but know that “going viral” is mostly a matter of consistently publishing great content.500Okdork’s guide on what it takes for an article to go viral gives you a few ideas what to optimize, but know that “going viral” is mostly a matter of consistently publishing great content.
486501
487Oh, and promoting your blog post like crazy.502Oh, and promoting your blog post like crazy.
488503
489Conclusion504Conclusion
490505
491I hope this guide helped you realize that in 2015, SEO isn’t optional any more.506I hope this guide helped you realize that in 2017, search engine optimization isn’t optional anymore.
492507
493While it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get a few basics right, it might kill your online presence if you don’t.508While it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get a few basics right, it might kill your online presence if you don’t.
494509
495Don’t worry if you’ve already made some SEO decisions in the past that might not have been the perfect choice.510Don’t worry if you’ve already made some SEO decisions in the past that might not have been the perfect choice.
496511
497Just commit to getting started today. Do your keyword research before you write your next blog post and optimize the basics, like title tags, using your keywords and adjusting your description.512Just commit to getting started today. Do your keyword research before you write your next blog post and optimize the basics, like title tags, using your keywords and adjusting your description.
498513
499And who knows – maybe the next time you press publish, you’ll stand out.514And who knows – maybe the next time you press publish, you’ll stand out.
500515
501After reading this guide, how will you change your attitude towards SEO?516After reading this guide, how will you change your attitude towards SEO?
Editor
Original Text
Changed Text
Recommended videos