Essential Guide to SEO in 2020

 In this guide to SEO, you will learn how to do SEO for your business and actually dominate the search without hiring an SEO expert. I will teach you everything about SEO and how you can rapidly learn SEO in less than 45 minutes.

First, I have some question for you.

  • Do your business show up on Google search result?
  • Do you get traffic to your website?

If you answer no to any of the above questions, then there is something called SEO you need to learn?

Heck! What is SEO?

Let’s ask Google:

what is seo?

According to SearchEngineLand – “SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches”.

But there is something with search engines, they decide what they want to show first. That means, you do not have control over the position of your website content on search result but there is something you can do to increase the chance of showing contents of your website first on a given query. It is SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the “Magic” you do on your online content so that search engines like to show it as a top result for searches related to a certain keyword.

– Neil Patel

Let me break it down a bit…

If you have a piece of content on your website where you write about “scar treatment”. You want search engine like Google to show it as a top result whenever someone searches for the key phrase “scar treatment”.

On this guide, I am going to dig dip into SEO and make sure to deliver a clear message. But feel free jump to any section that interests you:

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Understanding how the search engine works.

It would not be easy to learn SEO without having a good understanding of how the search engine works. Let’s take a look!

Search Engine in the picture:

How the search engine works

When a search is triggered, search engines goes back to its index to fetch the most relevant content and display them according to “what they believe is most relevant”.

Every search engine has three functions;

  1. Crawl
  2. Index
  3. Rank

Each time a website is published, search engines send out Crawlers (known as spiders) to scour the internet and fetch new contents. Crawlers usually look at the source code of any website it founds to discover links that lead to new pages.

Once a page is discovered, it will be sent to the index where it is organized and stored. When indexed, it is now considered ready to show up on search Result Page.

However, Google (Most popular search engine) has over 1 Trillion pages on its index, choosing the most relevant to a query can be determined by many factors.

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Why you should learn SEO

The search engine is the best source of traffic. So you do not have an option. You must have read of different strategies to drive traffic to a website, but among all of them, SEO is the best.

Any traffic coming from search engine tends to last longer because people will not stop searching the web for information. As long as your website is listed, you will keep getting traffic over and over again without paying for them.

A while ago, Andrew Dennis outlines the process he used to successfully build up traffic for a brand-new website from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors — without using any tricks or hacks

And here, I want to show you how you can do the same thing.

Let’s look at different types of SEO

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Types of SEO

There are basically two types of SEO you should know:

  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO

On-Page SEO:

This relates to all the elements of SEO you have control over. For example, content interlinking, keyword placement, site navigation, etc.

Most on-page SEO advice I have read so far focuses on placing exact match keywords on places like “Title tag”, “Meta description” and other places within the content. But there is more to it.

In fact, there are two types of on-page SEO:

  1. Content-Related SEO
  2. Technical SEO

When you are optimizing contents of your website, you are doing the content-related SEO. It includes:

  • Writing SEO friendly pages
  • Optimizing the title-Tag
  • Optimizing the Meta Description
  • On-site navigation
  • Using Headings
  • URL optimization
  • Eliminating 404 error pages
  • Internal web page linking
  • Improving the user experience
  • Image optimization

Content-related on-page SEO is usually the main part of over-all SEO. It can break or attract Good off-page SEO

Technical SEO relates to the non-content elements of a website, they include:

  • Website speed optimization
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Indexing
  • Crawlability
  • Structured Data
  • Site architecture
  • Security

On-page SEO is just of so important and must be paid close attention to. we have a free guide to on-page SEO. Feel free to explore.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO refers to actions taken outside a website to improve search engine and user perception of website popularity, trust wordiness, relevance and authority.

It is a signal that tells search engines that a website is worth ranking for a keyword. For example, if trusted websites keep linking to your website, or if influencers keep talking about your website, your site will start gaining popularity, and both human and search engines will begin to trust you.

Off-page SEO involves:

  • Backlink Building
  • Influencers outreach
  • Social media signal, etc.
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Different factors that affect SEO ranking

Google and other search engines lookout for different signals to determine the relevance of a webpage. Dean Brain listed about 200 of these signals (factors) in his post.

The truth is, these factors can negatively or positively affect your website SEO. For example, placing keywords on certain places of your website will tell search engines what a page talks about. But misusing these keywords (using them more than recommended times) will result in what is called keyword stuffing. And you could be penalized for it.

The purpose of SEO is to increase your site’s visibility on Search Engine (which 80% of times is GOOGLE) and drive free organic traffic.

According to Google’s own search quality rating, when a website is indexed, Google checks factors like:

  • The purpose of the web page
  • Authority and trustworthy
  • Amount and quality of content
  • Information about the website and content creator
  • Website Reputation 
  • Authors Reputation

These factors go into its ranking algorithm and help determine SERP ranking

But let me get this straight to you: “content is still king”.

Without creating quality contents, SEO won’t favour you. Have got some tips on how to create good quality along with post that people will actually read.

Even though there are 200 SEO ranking factors, not all just factors are so important below. I am going to list the 10 most important SEO ranking factors that can make or break your SEO strategy. 

Keyword in the title and Meta description.

Both the title tag and meta description are very important. This is what appears on a search result and if you don’t use keywords on these places, there is a higher chance that your content won’t perform well on SEO Rank and is it accidentally rank, people won’t click, because it does contain the keywords they are looking for.

Using keywords in heading tags

Header tags are used to identify heading and break down long articles into sections. Using a keyword in at least one of your content header tag (H2-H6) will indirectly impact your SEO Ranking by making your content easier to skim and providing keyword-rich content about your content to search engines 

Site navigation.

When people can’t find what they need within a few clicks, they will leave your website. And that will increase bounce rate.

Once Google notice that people aren’t staying long on your website, they assume your website hosts low quality pages and they will continually push you down the Search result page.

Website speed.

According to Neil Patel, 40% of a website visitors leave if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load. Google also announced that page speed is a ranking factor. If your website doesn’t load within 10 seconds, there will be an increase in bounce rate, and it will be negatively affecting SEO.

Mobile Friendliness.

Some elements of a website may look good on a pc, but so weird on tablets and Mobile devices, making it difficult for mobile users to access your website contents. Google actually made it a ranking factor.

Duplicate contents.

Identical (or slightly identical) content on your website or on another site can negatively affect your website search visibility.

Outbound Link Quality.

Linking out to authority sites helps send trust signal to Google and other search Engines.

Broken links.

Having too many dead links on your website tells Google that you are abandoning your website. And it can terribly hurt your site’s search visibility.

Affiliate Links.

Having too many affiliate links will make search engines think your site is a thin affiliate website. It will make them pay attention to other SEO factors.

Sitemap.

Sitemaps help search engines to index your pages easier. If you don’t specify a sitemap for your website, chances are Google and other search engines may not understand how to crawl your website.

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How to get started with SEO

When I first started learning SEO, I was so frightened, hearing terms like “Hummingbird”, “Crawlers” and so many of them.  It appeared to me that SEO was full of so many confusing jargons.

Then I realised there is no short cut to SEO.

SEO is a gradual process and requires constant practice. If you are reading this, you are about to learn how to practice and become an SEO expert in your Industry.

We have a handy list of very best SEO tools and courses that will help you master SEO. But let’s first look at the basics of SEO.

  • Keyword Research
  • Content creation
  • Links and anchor text
  • Design and UX
  • Indexing
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Keyword Research for SEO

The process of discovering new words and phrases that people use in search engines with the goal of optimising contents around them is known as keyword research. It is a compulsory first step in SEO. And I am going to show you exactly how to do that without stressing yourself.

Let’s get started…

Always begin with brainstorming.

Think about a topic in your niche that your customers would be interested in.

For example, let’s say you are in the health and wellness niche, you would have to ask yourself: “what do people search for, which is related to my business?”

Some ideas that may come to your mind would be:

  • Diets
  • Weight loss
  • Obesity
  • HIV
  • Diabetics
  • Etc.

These are just broad terms, and should not be regarded as keywords yet. You will later use them to drill down to more specific terms.

Next, head over to Google search and type in those keywords, then scroll down the bottom of your page and you will see other keywords people are searching for.

For example, I search for “how to loose weigh”. Normally Google would return 804,000,000 results in 0.72 seconds.

But I will skip all these results and scroll right down the search result page.

how to loose weight

When you click on any related search, you will get new suggestions, fresh and new.

You don’t need to be told that people are also searching for those keywords.

Next, take those keywords to “Google Keyword Planner” to find out their search volume and keyword difficulty.

Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool. Once you launch the tool, it shows you the approximate number of times people search for a keyword, and how difficult those keywords will rank.

For example, let’s type “SEO for small business”, and boom! We have it.

keyword research

If you scroll down, you will find other related keyword suggestion from Google.

Another tool I use all the time is Ubersuggest.

Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest is a free tool that pulls data from Google. It will even show your competitors keywords and their best-performing articles.

There are other paid and more advanced keyword research tools, including:

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Content Creation

If you were to choose only one skill to learn, let it be “How to create content for SEO”.

Content is still king. If you don’t create it right, you won’t rank well.

One big challenge most content creators face today is writing content optimised for search engines as well as appeal to people.

If that sound like you, then don’t continue without reading this section.

So what’s up with content creation?

A website content relates to every content on your website, including blog posts, product page, images, etc.

And here is the best tip I can give you…

Always start with keyword research:

Read HubSpot’s Guide to keyword research

Optimize the Title tag:

Even though your content is cool and very informative, if your title tag is mediocre, it won’t attract good clicks. While writing content for SEO, your title tags should attract people’s attention and prompt them to click-through and read the rest of the content.

For example, a title tag like this one will attract a lot of attention:

Small Business Funding: How to raise $50,000 in 60 days.

Optimize the Meta Description:

A meta description is what tells search engines why a keyword keeps appearing on the content. In other words, it briefly explains the content on the page.

Here is how it appears on the search result:

guide to seo preview on google

The text in blue is the title tag, while the grey text is the meta description. It is what the people read to decide whether to click-through or not.

Optimize Images:

Images add flavour to a page. Research shows that pages with more images tend to get more views and engagements than those with little to no images at all.

But I must also let you know that non optimised images will also add to the size of your web pages and reduce your website speed.

What’s the ideal image size?

Honestly, there is no ideal image size for SEO. The deal is to reduce the size (byte) as much as you can without reducing the image quality.

Here at MKTProfit, we follow a specific rule for image dimension:

  • Featured Image: 1200 x 600 pixels – 18KB (or less)
  • Infographics: 663 x 2000 pixels – 30KB (or less)
  • Pinterest: 800 x 1200 pixels – 40KB (or less)

And we use tools like Canva and Adobe photoshop to create these images.

If you are a WordPress user, you can also use tools like reSmush.it and EWWW Image Optimizer to optimise your already uploaded images without affecting the image quality.

Optimize Blog posts/pages:

Search engine bots love contents a lot and you should produce a lot of it. Not just any content, but SEO optimised good quality content.

If you are having a bad time writing a blog post, we recommend Postcron’s tips on how to create a perfect blog post.

Pro tip: Rank Math is a free WordPress SEO plugin that helps you create an SEO optimized page.

Links and Anchor texts:

When crawling a web page, search engine bots (crawlers) follow links to discover new pages within or outside a website. And these links can positively or negatively affect your website SEO.

For example, if you continue linking to spammy websites, you will attract a negative impact on your website SEO.

There two types of link you can create:

  1. Nofollow links – tells crawlers not to follow a link
  2. Dofollow links – tells crawlers to follow a link.

Both have their SEO value.

For example, if for any reason you want to link out to any website you do not trust, you can tell search engine crawlers not to follow that link, By adding a rel=“nofollow” attribute to the link tag.

Anchor texts also matter. They are those clickable text of an anchor link.

For example, How to start a profitable blog is an anchor text.

The HTML structure of the link above is shown like this:

<a href=https://mktprofit.com/start-a-profitable-blog
rel=“nofollow” target=“blank”>How to start a blog</a>.

To break it down:

href: shows the destination of the hyperlink

Rel: Tells crawlers whether to follow a link or not

Target: Tells browser how to open the link.

And the only text readable to human How to start a Profitable blog is the anchor text.

There are about six types of anchor text:

  1. Branded link anchor: A link with your brand name as an anchor text. For example, MKTProfit
  2. Naked link: A link with the full URL path as the anchor text. EG. https://mktprofit.com/
  3. Article Tile anchor: Matching the exact title of a page/blog post. EG. On-page SEO Guide
  4. Partial matching anchor text: Using variants of the page keywords to make an anchor text. EG. Learn Keyword research
  5. Exact match anchor text: Using your exact keyword to create anchor text.
  6. Generic links: using generic words like “Click here”. “read more”, etc.

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