SEO Basic Setups: How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s visibility and relevance in organic search results. SEO involves five main steps:
- Keyword research. Find what people search for related to your topic or niche.
- Content creation. Craft content that matches the search intent and provides value to your audience.
- On-page SEO. Make your content as clear and easy to understand as possible for both humans and search engines.
- Link building. Build trust and authority by getting links from other relevant and reputable websites.
- Technical SEO. Help search engines find, crawl, and index your content efficiently and correctly.
Keyword research is the first step of SEO. It involves finding the words and phrases that your potential customers use to search for your products or services online. Keyword research helps you understand what topics are popular, what questions are asked, and what language is used by your target audience.
To do keyword research, you can use a dedicated keyword tool like Ubersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush. These tools can help you generate keyword ideas, analyze the search volume, competition, and difficulty of each keyword, and find related keywords that you can also target.
The goal of keyword research is to find long-tail keywords with lower search volume but easier to rank for. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive than short-tail keywords. For example, “SEO” is a short-tail keyword with high search volume and high competition, while “SEO basic setups” is a long-tail keyword with lower search volume and lower competition.
You should aim to create a list of long-tail keywords that are relevant to your niche, have a decent amount of monthly searches, and have a low to medium keyword difficulty score. You can use a spreadsheet or a document to keep track of your keywords and their metrics.
Content creation is the second step of SEO. It involves crafting content that matches the search intent and provides value to your audience. Search intent is the goal or purpose behind a search query. It can be classified into four main types:
- Informational. The searcher wants to learn something or find an answer to a question. For example, “what is SEO” or “how to set up SEO”.
- Navigational. The searcher wants to find a specific website or page. For example, “Ubersuggest” or “SEMrush blog”.
- Transactional. The searcher wants to buy something or perform an action. For example, “buy SEO tools” or “sign up for SEO course”.
- Commercial. The searcher wants to compare different products or services before making a purchase decision. For example, “best SEO tools” or “SEO tools reviews”.
To create content that matches the search intent, you need to understand what kind of information, format, and tone your audience expects to see when they search for a certain keyword. You can use the following tips to create content that satisfies the search intent:
- Analyze the top-ranking pages for your target keyword. See what kind of content they offer, how they structure it, and what keywords they use. Try to emulate their best practices and improve on their weaknesses.
- Use the inverted pyramid method. Start with the most important information, then provide more details and examples, and end with a summary or a call to action. This way, you can capture the attention of your readers and keep them engaged throughout your content.
- Use headings, subheadings, bullet points, lists, images, videos, charts, and other visual elements to break up your content and make it easier to scan and digest. Use keywords and variations in your headings and subheadings to signal what your content is about.
- Write in a clear, concise, and conversational tone. Avoid jargon, fluff, and filler words. Use short sentences and paragraphs. Use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas and guide your readers. Use active voice and action verbs to make your content more dynamic and persuasive.
On-page SEO is the third step of SEO. It involves making your content as clear and easy to understand as possible for both humans and search engines. On-page SEO helps you optimize the elements of your web page, such as the title, URL, meta description, headings, images, and text.
To do on-page SEO, you need to follow some best practices, such as:
- Put your target keyword in the page title. The page title is the clickable headline that appears in the search results. It should be descriptive, catchy, and relevant to your content. It should also include your target keyword as close to the beginning as possible. The page title should be no longer than 60 characters, as anything longer will be truncated by search engines.
- Put your target keyword in the page URL. The page URL is the address of your web page. It should be short, simple, and descriptive. It should also include your target keyword and separate words with hyphens. For example, https://example.com/seo-basic-setups is a good URL, while https://example.com/index.php?id=123&category=seo is a bad URL.
- Put your target keyword in your meta description. The meta description is the snippet of text that appears below the page title in the search results. It should be informative, enticing, and relevant to your content. It should also include your target keyword and a call to action. The meta description should be no longer than 160 characters, as anything longer will be truncated by search engines.
- Put your target keyword in your H1 text. The H1 text is the main heading of your web page. It should be clear, concise, and relevant to your content. It should also include your target keyword and match the page title. You should only have one H1 text per page, as having more than one can confuse search engines and users.
- Use your target keyword and related keywords in the page’s content. You should use your target keyword and its variations naturally and strategically throughout your content. You should also use related keywords that are semantically linked to your target keyword. For example, if your target keyword is “SEO basic setups”, you can also use related keywords such as “SEO basics”, “SEO fundamentals”, “SEO essentials”, and so on. This way, you can cover the topic in depth and signal to search engines what your content is about.
Link building is the fourth step of SEO. It involves building trust and authority by getting links from other relevant and reputable websites. Links are like votes of confidence for your website. They tell search engines that your website is valuable, credible, and trustworthy.
To do link building, you need to create and promote high-quality content that other websites want to link to. You can use the following strategies to get more links to your website:
- Guest posting. Guest posting is where you write and publish an article on another website in exchange for a link back to your website. You can find guest posting opportunities by searching for your niche keywords and adding terms like “write for us”, “guest post”, “contribute”, or “submit”. You can also use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find websites that accept guest posts and have a high domain authority score.
- Skyscraper technique. The skyscraper technique is where you find a popular piece of content in your niche, create a better version of it, and reach out to the websites that linked to the original content and ask them to link to your improved version. You can use tools like Ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner to find popular content in your niche and tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find the websites that linked to it.
- Broken link building. Broken link building is where you find broken links on other websites, create relevant content to replace the broken link, and contact the website owner and ask them to link to your content instead. You can use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find broken links on other websites and tools like Ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner to find relevant content ideas.
Technical SEO is the fifth and final step of SEO. It involves helping search engines find, crawl, and index your content efficiently and correctly. Technical SEO helps you optimize the elements of your website, such as the speed, security, structure, and code.
To do technical SEO, you need to follow some best practices, such as:
- Set up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. These are free tools that help you monitor and improve your website’s performance in search engines. They can help you find and fix errors, submit sitemaps, check indexing status, and more.
- Set up Google Analytics. This is a free tool that helps you measure and analyze your website’s traffic and behavior. It can help you track your SEO goals, identify your audience, understand your content, and more.
- Install and configure an SEO plugin (if you’re using WordPress). An SEO plugin can help you automate and simplify some of the SEO tasks, such as creating titles, URLs, meta descriptions, sitemaps, and more. Some of the popular SEO plugins for WordPress are [Yoast SEO], [All in One SEO]