What Is SEO? [A Beginner’s Guide]

by Anna Moss

Doing SEO is one thing.

Doing it the RIGHT WAY is quite another.

It’s when you do the latter that you can pat yourself on the back because you will be setting yourself on the path to success.

But if you’re struggling, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

In this post, I’ll show you SEO tactics that work in 2019 and beyond – including the latest tips to crack voice search results.

But first, let’s get one thing straight:

What is SEO and Why Is It Important? 

SEO is the art and science of boosting the quantity and quality of website traffic through organic search engine results.

There are three key terms:

1. Quality traffic

Not all traffic is created equal. Some people who come to your site will be more interested in what you have to offer than others.

Naturally, you would want search engines to send such visitors more.

For instance, if you run a rent-a-car company, and Google directs visitors looking for information on The Cars — the famous American music band from the 1970s and 1980s in large numbers, you won’t feel gung-ho.

2. Quantity

More quality traffic is good, really good.

3. Organic results  

When you Google something, you see two things — paid ads of websites and then a list of websites relevant to your search.

The second type of results is called organic.

For example, when I ran a search on Google using “ a website,” I got this result:

Those in the blue rectangle are paid results, and those in the red rectangle are organic.

Now you might be wondering:

Why should I even bother with organic traffic?

Well, because it is a BIG source of traffic. Google statistics show that it accounts for 70.6% of all traffic.

Here’s an example to drive home the point.

Let’s say you own a car rental company. Every single month, 701,000 people in the US search Google with the keyword “car rental.” 

Given that the top-ranking site on a Google results page gets around 33% of all traffic, that’s 231,330 visitors a month if you rank first!

And that’s just for one keyword!

If you learn SEO properly, you can rank well for hundreds of search phrases relevant to your business — and increase targeted traffic manifold.

This brings us to the all-important question:

What qualifies as good ranking on Google?

Around 60% of organic traffic goes to the top three ranked pages, with the winner taking the lion’s share. Anything outside the first results page is too low because 90% of visitors abandon a search if they don’t find relevant information on the… Click To Tweet

Let’s now revise the SEO definition to make it more to-the-point.

SEO is the process of ranking well (preferably in the top three) on the search engine results pages (or SERP) for keywords relevant to your business.

How Does SEO Work?

Before we discover the SEO process, it is necessary to understand how search engines work.

They have three primary functions:

  • Crawl – Search engines must find content on the internet. For this, they use a team of robots that looks over the content for every URL they locate.
  • Index – Next, they index (i.e., store and organize) pages found during the crawling process.
  • Rank – Finally, when you do an internet search, they sort web pages by relevance.

Alright, now let’s check out what’s really important to us — the SEO process.

It consists of three steps, the first one of which is content creation. This is where you try to give the most relevant information to your potential viewers. However, even the best of content is completely useless if it can’t be indexed.

This is because:

Google — and other search engines — show only content they can index. So indexing, the second step of the SEO process, is just as important as the first.

If you’re worried your website has not been properly indexed, type its URL with “site:” written before it in the Google’s address bar and then press enter.

For instance, if your site’s name is xyz.com, type site:xyz.com. You’ll now see all those web pages that Google has indexed.

The third and most important step is ranking. When done well, this is what helps you stand out from the crowd — and generate more traffic.

Content creation and indexing are things that everybody does. For every keyword, Google has millions of indexed web pages.

But for every search query, it shows only 10 content pieces on the first results page.  

So the real question is:

How can you show up in the first page of search results?

Basic SEO Concepts

Well, there are a host of things you need to do and do well. Before we get to the more important stuff, let’s look at some basic SEO factors.

Keywords

The primary principle of SEO is:

Speak your viewers’ language.

That is, you should target the same keywords that your viewers use to find information related to your business.

For instance, if the most-often used keywords in the car rental niche are what is car rental, car rental service, and car rental coupons,  make sure you have a page for each one.

LSI Keywords

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing.

In plain English, LSI keywords are words related to your main keywords. While some LSI keywords may be synonyms of the main keyword, most are words people use naturally with a given topic.

You might be thinking:

But why the heck should I bother with them?

Well, there’s a good reason — Google uses LSI keywords to determine what a web page is all about.   

For example, LSI keywords like Audi, luxury car, and budget car rental help Google understand your page is about cars, the vehicle — not Cars, the movie, or The Cars, the American rock band

Title Tag

A title tag describes the title of a web page. Google displays the title tag as a clickable headline for a particular result on its result page.

Here’s an example:Title tags tell search engines and users what your page is about — and it’s important they convey your message loud and clear.

At the same time, keep them short and concise — under 60 characters. Otherwise, Google will not show the entire title.

A good title tag is one that:

    • Gives an accurate description of a page’s content and is unique
    • Piques viewers’ curiosity
    • Contains the main keyword (preferably in the beginning)
    • Isn’t stuffed with keywords

Meta Description

A meta description is a brief description of the page’s content — no more than 155 characters. Search engines sometimes show this text in the search results to give visitors an idea about what they will find on that page.

Here’s an example:

As you can see, a meta description is like a mini ad for your web page. If you craft it well, it can help boost your click-through rates considerably.

Which begs the question:

How to write a good meta description?

Well,  the good ones have three things in common:

One, they give a brief overview of the page.

Two, they give viewers compelling reasons to click the link.

Three, they contain the main keyword.

Anchor Text

Anchor text refers to clickable words that link one web page to another. Most often, it is blue and underlined.

As it tells users what to expect if they click on the link, try to keep them useful, descriptive, and relevant. Also, avoid stuffing keywords into it. Neither Google nor viewers like such texts.

Now that we’ve seen what is SEO and the way it works, let’s discover: 

SEO: Types and Techniques

SEO is typically divided into two parts: on-page optimization and off-page optimization. Let’s check out on-page SEO first. 

What Is On-page SEO?

On-page SEO refers to everything that you do on your web pages to improve their search rank.

Which begs the question:

What exactly does on-page SEO entail? 

Well, here are the top 5 on-page techniques for 2019.

1. Strategically place the main keyword in the title, meta description, and H1 tags

First things first:

Placement of exact-match keywords in these places is not the be and end all of on-page SEO.

I’m not saying it doesn’t matter — but it’s no longer as important as it used to be.

Google is much smarter in 2019 than it was in, let’s say, 1999. Today it understands synonyms and LSI keywords (more on this later) — and can figure out the context of your content from them.

Not convinced?

Well, have a look at the top entries on Google search results page for the keyword “best Windows computer:”

There’s only ONE result with the word “computer” in its URL or title tag. The rest talk about best laptops, chromebooks, and notebooks.

Google knows: 

When you type “best windows computer,” what you really want is information that will help you purchase a new Windows desktop, laptop, or notebook.

Having said that, it’s still a good SEO practice to place your main keyword in the title, meta-description, and H1 tag if you can do so naturally. This can help show users the page is relevant to their search query.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you are looking for a Windows registry cleaner tool and you search Google with “registry cleaner tool”.

Which one of these two you are more likely to click?

The first one — right? I know I would. 

It has the keyword in the title and meta-description — and on the face of it looks like offering the right thing.

But mind, if your keyword is awkward and odd-sounding, like “SEO analyze tool free,” it’s better to leave it out. Instead, use stop words or synonyms or LSI keywords. Google will figure things out — and so would readers — as long as your content is relevant and appropriate.

2. Understand search intent

Google and other search engines want only one thing:

To present users with information that’s most relevant to them.

They know if they can do that well, they’re in business. Otherwise, users will leave them in a hurry in favor of a search engine that does this more efficiently. 

This means:

The first prerequisite to gain a place on Google’s first search result page is to create content that resonates with your potential viewers.

If you don’t do that, there’s no way it will even consider you for a top rank.

You might be thinking:

How can I find out what viewers want?

Well, that’s easy as pie. Just listen to Google.

Let me explain with the help of an example.

When I run a search on Google using the key phrase “improve website speed,” this is what I get:

As you can see, Google favors a list of actionable tips for this search query. So if I want to rank for this keyword, that’s exactly what I must do.

3. Use descriptive URLs

Look at this URL:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325517.php

Can you tell what the article is about by looking only at the URL? I can’t.

Now look at this one:

 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-ways-to-do-intermittent-fasting

This one is easy. Anyone can tell it’s about intermittent fasting.

Descriptive URLs tell users upfront what to expect, which is always a good thing.

4. Write descriptive alt-tags

Did you know 8.1 million Americans suffer from visual impairment and might be using a screen reader or magnifier while browsing the net?

This means:

Around one in every 34 users won’t know what your images are about unless you write descriptive alt tags.

An alt tag (or alt text) is an HTML attribute that is rendered when the image it describes can’t be loaded or when the viewer is using a screen reader.

Here’s an example of a descriptive alt tag:

alt=”A super cute white Labrador”

Anyone who hears or reads the description can easily guess what the picture is about.

There’s one more reason why alt-text is important:

According to Google, it is useful for ranking images in image search.

So how can one write good alt text? 

Be descriptive and specific and include the main keyword. That said, don’t shoehorn it because neither Google nor users like unnatural sounding alt text.

5. Include LSI keywords in your content

LSI keywords help Google understand the meaning of your content. But the question is how to find them.

Well, Google’s there to give you a helping hand. 

Let’s say you want LSI keywords for “On-page SEO tips.”

Well, simply type it in Google, press Enter, scroll down to the bottom of the page — and Bob’s your uncle!

Now that we’ve seen the 5 top on-page SEO tips, let’s move on to:

What Is Off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO includes everything you do outside your website to improve your site’s ranking on search engines.

If on-page SEO tells Google what your site is about, off-page SEO demonstrates it is important and valuable.  

The latter helps convince search engines your web pages are good search results, since they’ve gained the vote of confidence of others.

Let me explain with the help of an analogy.

Your LinkedIn profile is on-page SEO. It tells others about your work experience and achievements.

In contrast, endorsements from others are off-page SEO, telling others people your profile is genuine.

Which begs the question:

How can you get other people’s vote of confidence?

Try link building and guest blogging.

Both are up next — along with three more top-ranking SEO tips – so stick around.

1. Link Building

Gaining links from other websites is the most powerful way to show Google your site is trustworthy and reliable.

That said, not all links are equally beneficial. Some links are more valuable than others, such as:

    • Links from authoritative websites
    • Links coming from pages relevant to your content and brand industry
    • Links with anchor text that’s closely related to your content or brand
    • Links from sites that have a large number of backlinks

Therefore, try to gain backlinks from high-authority websites with relevant content and anchor text.

But the thing is: 

How do you check a website’s authority?

You can try Alexa Rank, which shows how popular a website is vis-à-vis all other sites.  

Simply enter a URL into Alexa’s Site Overview Tool to see its global and US ranking. The lower the Alexa Rank, the more popular the site is.

2. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is arguably as old as SEO itself.

However, since Matt Cummins pronounced guest blogging as mainly spammy in 2014, many people have turned up their nose at it.

What about you?

If you are giving guest blogging a cold shoulder, it is time you reconsider.

Because:

Guest blogging is alive and kicking.

Let me explain:

You see, Matt Cummins wasn’t talking about the concept of guest blogging — but rather about the practice of guest blogging only for links.

Posting guest articles on low-quality and spammy sites is, at best, a waste of time. At worst, it can hurt your site’s ranking because Google penalizes sites with bad links.

However, links from authority sites are valuable — and the more of these you have the better.

As I said above, quality backlinks help convince Google that your site is genuine and reliable. If you can do that well, you are well and truly in the race for the top spot.

So, by all means, knock on the doors of respectable sites that accept guest posts.

Besides helping in link building, guest blogging helps you to:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Increase brand mentions
  • Gain referral traffic 

3. Brand mentioned link acquisition

If your brand is popular, there’s a good chance many other sites might have already mentioned it.

Search for your brand, taglines, and product names to find such sites. If you find one that lists your brand but didn’t link it back to your site, send them a gentle reminder.

4. Help your target audience on various forums

Another effective way of gaining more “natural” links is by helping your target audience on various forums.

Mind, the focus here is to help people with their problems — not to promote.

If this means including the name of your product or service in the response, that’s fine. If it doesn’t, that’s fine, too.

As long as your aim is to add value to the discussion, you’re on the right track.

It will not only help you get more inbound links, but you’ll also improve brand awareness, win the trust of your target audience, and increase brand mentions.

5. Social Networking

If you want to build a strong online presence, you can’t afford to stay away from social media sites.

Because:

69% of US adults use at least one social networking site — while the average American has about 7 social media accounts.

This means most of your target audience are likely to be hanging out on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

If you want to connect with them, that’s where you should be heading.

But remember, the name of the game is building a strong social community by helping users — not spamming them with promotional links.

White vs Black Hat SEO – What’s the Difference

There’s a right way (white hat SEO) and a wrong way (black hat SEO) to optimize your site.

First, let’s learn about the proper way of doing things.

What Is White Hat SEO?

A white hat SEO strategy is one that meets these criteria:

  • It adheres to Google-approved guidelines

White hat SEO is in line with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which defines the correct, ethical way to do site optimization.

These guidelines explain what constitutes ethical SEO in detail — but the long and short of it is:

Don’t cheat the system

  • It strives to improve user experience

White hat SEO is about one thing and one thing only:

Offering more value to viewers.

When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. After all, Google’s number one priority is to provide visitors with results that are most relevant to them.

And the best part is:

If you follow the most recommended SEO strategies, you don’t have to make any separate efforts to improve user experience. Many time-tested SEO techniques like publishing quality content and improving website speed automatically make your site more fun.

  • It is a long term approach

You cannot publish loads of high-quality content overnight, nor can you improve page load times in a jiffy. These things, like all other white hat SEO techniques, require time and effort.

However, the upside is that you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of your effort for many years to come.

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is everything that white hat isn’t:

It flouts guidelines, is manipulative, and runs after quick wins.

If a tactic fulfills any of the below-mentioned criteria, be wary because it’s black hat.

  • It goes against Google’s guidelines

All black hat tactics have little regard for guidelines – and some are exactly what Google classifies as things you shouldn’t do.

  • It uses manipulative tactics

Black hat SEO improves rankings by cheating Google’s algorithm rather than improving user experience.

In other words, any tactic that tricks Google into thinking a website is offering more value to visitors than it actually does is black hat.

  • It takes a short-term approach

Black hat SEO focuses on taking shortcuts to improve ranking. 

But there’s a catch. 

Some of these techniques lead to nowhere, giving you temporary results at best. 

This is because:

Google is relentlessly working on its algorithm to plug out the loopholes. Whenever a new algorithm update comes, sites using black hat SEO risk losing their rankings for a long time, if not forever.

How Can Black Hat SEO Harm a Website?

Here are some of the common black hat practices and how they hurt you.

  • Duplicate content

This is the easiest — and the worst — black hat SEO technique.

Not only is copying plagiarism, but Google is also pretty good at catching wrongdoers and punishes them severely by de-indexing their sites.  

  • Article spinning

Since duplicate content gets caught easily, some people came up with a better idea — article spinning.

Instead of copying, they re-use an article again and again by throwing it into an article spinning software, which changes it enough every time to pass it as “new.”

They then publish the multiple copies on different sites to give their inbound link count a boost.

But there’s a snag.

These tools do exactly what your grammar teacher told you not to do to avoid plagiarism:

Replace words with their synonyms.

Most “spun” articles are low-quality, and some are practically unreadable. In short, they kill user experience.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Google is smart enough to catch poorly-spun articles. When it does, it stops indexing them once and for all.

  • Hidden text

This involves the use of text that is visible to a search engine crawler — but not to humans.

No, there’s no magic involved.  It is just a cheap trick, which is usually completed by using white text against a white background or setting the font size of the text to zero.

Site owners use this tactic to add extra keywords into the page.

This may work temporarily — but never for long.

Because:

Visitors bounce off such pages quickly. This in turn signals Google to push the page lower, as it doesn’t match user intent.

Also, search engines are getting better at sniffing out pages that have hidden text.

  • Cloaking

Cloaking is an advanced black hat SEO practice that allows a website to automatically adjust its content, depending on who’s visiting — a human or a search engine.

That means the website shows one thing to the search engines and another thing to humans.

What’s the payoff? 

People use cloaking to improve ranking for certain keywords.

However, if detected, Google punishes these sites heavily by relegating them or even banning them permanently.

  • Buying links

This is exactly what it sounds like — spending hard cash to purchase inbound links.

That said, buying links is anything but a smart idea, because it’s hard not to leave any footprints.

If you get caught, you can lose all your organic traffic overnight. 

Bottom-line: 

Black hat SEO techniques can give you temporary gains at best. And if Google finds out, you can end up in a huge mess. 

That’s why focusing on the right SEO techniques, including the ones listed ahead, is a much better deal. 

Hacking Google’s Algorithm – 9 Factors that Affect Your Ranking

Google uses around 200 factors to rank a page. (Yeah, that many!)

While this number can be intimidating, the thing is: 

Not all of these factors carry equal weight

There are some you simply can’t ignore, while some others are not so-important.

So which are the important ones?

Well, here’s a list of some really important ranking factors in 2019. 

1. An accessible and secure website

Having a URL that Google’s bots can reach and crawl easily is a must-have.

But it’s not the only thing you need. You also require:

A robots.txt file that clearly tells Google where to look for information

A sitemap that lists each and every page on your site. If you have a WordPress site, consider using Yoast SEO for this purpose (more on this in the FAQ section). If not, using an online sitemap generator like XML-Sitempas is a great idea.

Https. The s at the end stands for Secure. Both Google and users prefer HTTPS over HTTP. While the search engine uses it as a minor ranking factor, people are much more comfortable entering secure sites. 

2. A descriptive and keyword-optimized URL

URL is one of those ranking factors that are fairly easy to get right. 

You will do fine if you can follow these 4 top SEO practices for URLs:

One, keep your URLs simple, relevant, accurate and concise. A viewer (and a search engine crawler) should be able to get a good idea about your page’s content by looking at the URL.

Two, include keywords in it if you can add them naturally. Mind you, it’s more important to have a human-readable URL than an odd-sounding, keyword-stuffed URL.

Three, use lowercase letters and avoid using ID numbers and codes.

Four, use hyphens to separate words for readability — not spaces, underscores, or special characters.

Here’s an example of a good URL:

You can tell what the page is about just by looking at the URL. Also, it is concise and devoid of numbers or special characters. 

3. Optimized, high-quality content

Google’s algorithm relies on keywords, which means you should use them, too.

Start by identifying the keywords most relevant to your niche. A reliable keyword tool can help you dig them out (more on that later).

Once you have the list of primary keywords ready, let the writer in you come to the fore.

Some important tips that will keep you in good stead are:  

4. Publish high-quality content

Content is still king.

Create content that provides value to viewers instead of just writing for writing’s sake.

If you can help or impress your audience with your content, they’ll visit your site more, spend more time per visit, and share your posts more — all of which can boost your rankings.

5. Keyword targeting doesn’t mean keyword stuffing

The first one is a legitimate way to impress Google — while the second is the surest way to put it off and invite a penalty.

Which begs the question:

How can you avoid keyword stuffing?

Consider using secondary keywords and LSI keywords in addition to your main keyword.

Whenever possible, use the primary keyword in your URL, headline, and meta-description. Also, try to mention it a couple of times within the article.

While there’s no ideal keyword density for better ranking, most experts recommend 1-3% keyword density along with secondary and LSI keywords.

6. Long form content typically has higher SERP ranking

First things first:

Google doesn’t care a fig about word count. It doesn’t rank pages based on how many words they have.

That said, research does show long form content usually ranks better. Arguably, this is because better content is typically longer.

So the bottom line is:

Focus on writing better content. If that means more content, that’s great.

7. Inbound links

Google wants to show authoritative and relevant content to its visitors — and inbound links is one of the ways it uses to evaluate content.

But mind you, Google is not after content that has the most links. Instead, it prefers content that has relevant links from authoritative sites.

So don’t bother with low-quality sites. 

Want to find your inbound links?

Use backlink-checker or a good keyword research tool.

8. User Experience (Rank Brain)

The viewer is the best judge of the quality and relevancy of content.

And therein lies the rub for Google.

None of us knocks on its door to tell this or that top-ranking content offered us apples when we wanted oranges. 

So how does Google find out which results are relevant to us and which aren’t? 

Enter artificial intelligence (aka RankBrain).

Google is the market leader in AI development. For some time now, Google has been using a signal called RankBrain to better rank pages. The latter takes into account three ranking signals to gather information about user experience:

  • Click-through rate – the percentage of visitors who click the link to your site after it appears in the search results.
  • Bounce rate – the percentage of visitors who abandon your site after visiting only one page.
  • Dwell time – the amount of time a Google searcher spends on a page after entering it via search results page and before hitting the back button.  

Ideally, you would want the click-through rate and dwell time to be as high as possible and bounce rate to be as low as possible.

If lots of people bounce away or return to the search results page quickly, Google might think: “This page doesn’t match user intent. Maybe I should not rank it so high for this particular search query.”

On the other hand, a low bounce rate and high dwell time suggests the page is relevant to searchers. 

9. Mobile-friendliness

More people search on Google on mobile devices than desktops. Therefore, it’s no surprise Google has gone the mobile-first indexing way. This means it now indexes sites based on their mobile version rather than desktop version (as things used to be).

You might be wondering:

But what if I don’t have a mobile-friendly website? Where do I stand then?

Unfortunately, not on very solid ground. You are missing out on a huge chunk of traffic and risk losing your ranking.  

So take the cue and get a mobile version of your site up and running.

What does “mobile friendly” mean?

According to Google, a website is “mobile friendly” if it:

  • Doesn’t use software not found on mobile devices, like Flash.
  • Adjust itself automatically according to the size of the screen on which it is being accessed.
  • Use text that can be read on smaller screens without zooming.
  • Place the links sufficiently apart to allow users to easily tap the correct one.

How to Optimize for Voice Search? 3 Top Tips

Did you know?

  • Voice-based searches will account for 50% of searches by 2020.
  • 1 billion voice searches take place every month.
  • 1 out of every 4 people aged 16-24 uses voice search on mobile.

If you’ve not optimized your site voice search, you’re doing a huge disservice to your brand — and a huge favor to your competitors.

Here are 3 tips that help you do voice search optimization like a pro:

1. Target voice search keywords

When people search via voice, they use different key phrases.

Since voice search queries are typically longer, more natural sounding, and question-based, first identify voice keywords relevant to your business.

If you’re thinking of using an LSI keyword generator tool, STOP. 

Such tools can’t help you. They only know how to give back text-based search queries. 

So what’s the way out? Glad you asked.

Try this free tool. For every keyword, it returns various questions and other naturally-sounding phrases people might use for voice search.

Once you have a list you want to target, include them naturally in your content.

2. Make your site mobile-friendly

A big percentage of voice searches happen on mobile search — and that’s understandable. When you’re on the move, you’d rather talk than type. 

But the thing is: 

You can’t target this audience unless you optimize your site for mobile.

In the previous section, I shared what it takes to make your site “mobile-friendly.” So what are you waiting for? Go get ‘em, tiger!

3. Optimize for local search

In 2018, mobile devices accounted for 50% of all organic search engine visits.

Now I know what you’re thinking:

I’ve already made the site mobile-friendly. So what do I need this stat for?

Well, a lot of voice searchers do a local search on the go. To target them, you need to optimize your site for local search as well.

Start with optimizing your content for keywords that describe: 

  • Your location or neighborhood
  • Landmarks near your location
  • Local institutions relevant to your business

Also, it’s worth trying out “main keyword + near me” in your title tags, anchor text, and meta description. 

5 Top SEO Tools

I have a little exercise for you. Come on, humor me, please!

What’s 2122 x 2322? Ah yes, you can use a calculator.

Found the answer in a jiffy? Well done.

Now, what’s 2122/2322? And this time, no calculators, please.  

Hmmm, so you either gave up or took like 5 minutes — and that’s perfectly OK.

Because the thing is:

Machines are better than us at doing calculations. They’re also better and quicker at gathering data.

And precisely for these reasons, you can’t do SEO without specialized SEO tools. That’s just not possible.

So how do you find the best ones?

Well, you actually don’t need to — because I’ve done it for you. Here they come. 

1. Ahrefs

This is the go-to SEO tools for many SEO experts and business owners — and understandably so.

Its Site Explorer is the best in the business, giving you in-depth analysis of backlink profile and search traffic of any site.

Another standout feature is Site Audit, which highlights parts of your site that require fine-tuning to get optimum results, among other things.

Its Content Explorer is also a handy tool. Just enter a keyword or phrase, and it will show you the most popular pages, along with their domain rating (DR). The latter is a metric developed by Ahrefs to measure both the quality and quantity of backlings going to a website.

Ahrefs has one more impressive tool up its sleeve — the Keyword Explorer 3.0. It gives you a keyword’s search volume, keyword difficulty, related keyword ideas, SERP position history, and much more. 

Pricing starts at $99 a month with annual options. 

2. Seobility

Want to know how your website is fairing on the SEO front?

Try Seobility.

It has 4 main features that tell you everything you need to know to achieve better website optimization.

  • Keyword Check – Shows how your pages are optimized for important search terms.
  • Ranking Check – Checks your website Google search rank for any keyword.
  • TF-IDF Analysis – Analyzes text optimization of top-ranking sites and allows you to compare your content with your competitors.
  • SEO Check – Tests your site and gives tips to improve SEO optimization.

The tool offers both free and premium plans.

The free plan crawls up to 1,000 pages, analyzes up to 10 keywords, and compares maximum 3 competitors per domain.

Premium plans start at $50 a month with a 30-day free trial. 

3. SEMrush

SEMrush has an impressive keyword research tool that comes with a slew of features.

You can use it to search for keywords that perform well on Google and Bing and gather detailed information about them, like volume, trend, CPC, and number of results.

Want to find out the keywords your competitors are ranking for?

With SEMrush, competitive analysis becomes a whole lot easier. It offers over 20 ways to research your competitors. You can check their backlinks, top-performing content, and best keywords, among other things.

SEMrush also proves useful when you want to invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign. 

Pricing starts at $99 a month with annual options.

4. Serpstat

An all-in-one search engine optimization platform, Serpstat helps you optimize your site for SEO, content marketing and PPC.

It gives you access to the following key features:

  • Site audit – You can audit your entire site or specific pages with a single click. The tool shares a detailed set of data to help you analyze important elements – like H1 headers, title tags, meta description, and duplicate content – and assess site performance.
  • Position tracking – Use it to track down keyword rankings live.
  • Website Analysis – It provides data and statistics to give you an accurate picture of your site’s overall performance.
  • Keyword Research – It shows the average position of keywords, pages with the highest visibility, and keyword variations.
  • Competitor Research – You can find out how well your site is performing vis-à-vis your closest competitors.
  • Backlink Analysis –   It makes tracking backlinks within your site easier than before.

Pricing starts at $69 a month with annual options.

Want to check out Serpstat before signing up? Use the freemium model that allows you to research keywords and analyze competitors for free.

5. SEOquake

It is a free, easy-to-use browser extension that gives you a page’s data on the fly.

Some of the metrics it shows include, among others, the following:

  • The number of links
  • Alexa rank
  • Google rank
  • Bing index
  • Domain age (Webarchive age)

The toolbar can prove extremely handy when you want to research a competitor’s site or find link opportunities.  

Wrapping Up

So what have we learned today, friends?

We found out the answer to the question: What is SEO?

We also learned that the best way to play the SEO game is to stay on the right side of Google’s guidelines. 

Writing quality content, creating a clean and accessible site structure, having a mobile-friendly site, and gathering high-quality inbound links are some of the most effective SEO practices. Click To Tweet

What’s more, it’s necessary to optimize your site for voice search. Otherwise, you risk losing a lot of traffic.

Lastly, pick a good SEO tool — because if you don’t have access to the right kind of data, you might be shooting in the dark, despite your best intentions.

If you can do all this, you’re all set. Best of luck! 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does SEO stand for?

A: SEO stands for search engine optimization. It involves a wide array of strategies that help rank your web pages higher on search engine results pages.

This could be anything from creating content around keywords related to your business niche and getting more high-quality backlinks to using a well-structured URL

Q: What is SEO writing? 

A: SEO writing helps websites grab the attention of search engines.

This is where original, engaging content that’s also optimized for search engines comes in. High-quality and optimized content is the hallmark of SEO writing. You take one out, and it is no longer SEO writing.

Q: How do you optimize content for SEO?

A: Here are some tips:

  • Use the main keyword and secondary and LSI keywords naturally in the content
  • Write a descriptive, attention-grabbing meta-description. If possible, use your main keyword here. 
  • If possible, optimize the content’s title by including the main keyword, preferably in the beginning. 
Q: What is domain authority? 

A: Domain authority is a metric (1-100) that predicts how your site will fair on search engines. The higher the score, the better it is.

Mind you, a higher domain authority score doesn’t mean a good rank on search engines. This metric only predicts; it doesn’t promise anything.

Also remember, Google uses not one but about 200 signals to rank pages.

So while a good domain authority score is welcoming news, it’s not the only thing you should be looking at. 

Want to find your site’s score? Use an online domain authority checker

Q: What is SEO in simple terms?

A: SEO makes your web pages more visible to search engines like Google. Think content creation or link building – both are time-tested strategies that can give your ranking a shot in the arm. 

Other popular SEO techniques include a secure and accessible website, an optimized URL, and mobile friendliness. 

Q: What is Yoast SEO?

A: The Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most popular WordPress plugins–and understandably so. 

It simplifies SEO, and it’s also free. It makes it easier for you to do things like controlling titles and meta descriptions, managing site maps, setting targeted keywords, and checking how often you’re using them or doing page analysis. 

Q: What is SEO marketing?

A: Google ranks every webpage using a complex mathematical formula called an algorithm. There are more than 200 ranking factors — some more important than others.

SEO marketing entails all activities that help you crack these ranking factors.

These include, among others, creating killer content, writing quality meta descriptions, getting good backlinks, building a strong presence on social media, and adding quality product images.

Q: What is SEO and how it works?

A: SEO refers to the process of bringing more organic traffic to your website from search engine results. It involves making changes to your site and content to make them more attractive to search engines.

Also, since Google gives preference to authoritative sources, SEO also entails all activities — like guest blogging on quality sites and leveraging social media — that you do outside of your site to build your brand’s reputation. 

 

Alright, with this we have come to the end of our exploration of “What is SEO.” See you next time!  

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