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What Is SEO? A Beginners Guide To Better Rankings
Micah Marcano
July 5, 2023
What Is SEO? A Beginners Guide To Better Rankings

Have you ever googled something and clicked the top result without looking any further? Most people do. That's why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important for driving traffic and customers to your business website.

As an experienced SEO agency here in Tampa, Florida, I’m going to walk you through exactly what SEO is, why it’s important, and how to use it to get more clients and customers. Get ready for a practical SEO education.

What is SEO: Back to Basics

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It refers to strategies and techniques that improve your ranking in unpaid, organic search results. The higher you rank for keywords related to your business, the more traffic your website will get from searchers.

More website traffic means more leads and sales. According to HubSpot, businesses that rank #1 for a keyword term receive an average of 36% of overall traffic for that term. The numbers prove it: high SEO rankings equal business growth.

Now let's look at some tips to climb up the search results pages.

Related Article: Is Local SEO Worth It? Understanding Its Critical Value

SEO Tips For Better Rankings

SEO tips for better rankings

Craft Compelling Optimized Website Content

Your website's content significantly impacts the SEO strategy. To rank well, you need pages and articles that are optimized for keywords that your target audience is using and can easily be crawled and understood by search engines. Follow these best practices:

  • Research target keywords using tools like Google Keyword Planner
  • Include keywords naturally in titles, headers, content, image names, URLs
  • Create useful, engaging content that answers questions
  • Write meta descriptions with keywords to boost click-through-rates
  • Check that pages load quickly and are mobile-friendly

Well-optimized content establishes you as an authority and directs qualified traffic your way.

Earn Backlinks to Build Domain Authority

Gaining backlinks or links to your website from external sites is crucial for building your domain authority. They act like votes of confidence in your content, and in turn, Google views sites with more quality backlinks as more reputable and elevates your search rankings.

There are many ways to earn authoritative backlinks:

  • Create share-worthy content that sites want to link to
  • Reach out to niche websites and bloggers to request links
  • Participate in industry forums and comment on relevant blogs
  • Post on social media to gain followers, links, and shares
  • Publish guest posts on reputable websites in your field
  • Sponsor local events or contests and get linked recognition

The key is earning links naturally over time by producing assets others want to reference. With smart strategies, your domain authority grows steadily so focus on acquiring backlinks from quality sites related to your industry.

Master the Art of Technical SEO

Beyond optimizing content and backlinks, technical website structure and performance have a big impact on SEO success. Mastering the fundamentals of technical SEO takes your visibility to the next level.

Here are key elements that every SEO strategy should address:

  • Use XML sitemaps to guide search bots in indexing your site
  • Optimize page URLs with target keywords
  • Implement 301 redirects to pass equity from old to new pages
  • Prioritize key pages in top-level site navigation
  • Add image alt text and video transcripts for better indexing
  • Improve internal linking between related pages using keywords
  • Make sure your website loads fast on all devices. 

Optimizing these critical aspects of your website's architecture and speed will give you the best chance at maximum discoverability and user experience. Your site will be thoroughly indexed and ranked to its fullest potential.

Technical SEO is complex but foundational to ranking higher. By mastering the essentials, from XML sitemaps to site speed, you gain an edge over the competition because a well-structured, fast-loading website stands out in search results.

Track SEO rankings

Track Rankings and Traffic to Gauge Progress

Once your SEO efforts are underway, you have to monitor progress through analytics to gauge the effectiveness. Consistently tracking key metrics provides insight into how your strategy is working and where you will need to make adjustments. Be sure to:

  • Check keyword rankings regularly to see how you're trending
  • Analyze traffic sources to measure SEO impact
  • Use Google Search Console for performance insights
  • Create SEO reports to present data like rankings, traffic, and conversions
  • Conduct quarterly site audits to identify new optimization opportunities

With consistent tracking and analysis, you can optimize your approach for better ongoing SEO results. Analytics metrics make it easy to showcase SEO impact and find areas for improvement.

Develop an SEO-Focused Content Strategy

For search success, your content and SEO strategies must tightly align for the best results. Developing SEO-optimized content around your products, services, company, and related topics should always be a primary focus. Some best practices include:

  • Conduct keyword research to uncover topics your audience cares about
  • Create individual pages for important information instead of lumping them all on one page
  • Create blog posts and long-form guides optimized for keywords
  • Produce search engine-friendly videos like demos, testimonials, and tutorials
  • Publish guest posts on industry websites to build links and visibility
  • Use tags and categories to structure related content

With SEO principles like keyword optimization at the core, you’ll develop remarkable content that pleases both your target audience and search engines. The more quality content you produce, the more search engines will connect you with your customers over your competitors. 

Don't Forget Location-Based SEO

For local businesses, optimizing for geographic keywords is crucial yet often overlooked. You want nearby searchers to easily find your locations or your ability to service their areas. Tactics to connect with local customers include:

  • Adding your city, address, and local keywords where relevant
  • Completely optimizing your Google Business Profile
  • Add locations based pages to your website
  • Earning citations, reviews, and local backlinks to build trust
  • Build business listings around your locations
  • Creating content focused on your locations and regions
  • Sponsoring local organizations and events to gain visibility

With a strategic location-focused SEO approach, you will attract and convert searches from customers in your region seeking your products or services close by. Optimization for geographic intent is key.

Related Article: Google Business Profile: Powerful Benefits for Local SEO

Stay Up-to-Date on SEO Best Practices

Because SEO algorithms and trends change rather frequently, it's in your best interest to stay on top of the latest developments to keep improving results. Tips to continually advance your SEO skills and strategy include:

  • Follow industry blogs and experts for recent news
  • Test new strategies and analyze the impact on your rankings
  • Utilize tools for keyword research, competitor analysis, and auditing
  • Monitor the competition to identify their successful tactics
  • Schedule regular website checkups to refresh content and optimize new pages

With a commitment to continuous learning and testing, your SEO skills and results will keep getting better. Staying current gives you an edge as you optimize based on this ever-changing landscape.

Cracking the SEO Code for Search Visibility

And there you have it—an in-depth beginner's guide and answer to what SEO is. By putting these tips into practice, you can unlock greater visibility in search engines like Google and drive more customers to your website. 

Remember to be patient and persistent as you execute your SEO strategy. The long-term rewards will make the effort well worth it. Now get out there and start climbing the rankings!