SEO Basics: The Only SEO Primer You’ll Need

SEO, or search engine optimization, isn’t a very technical topic, but it’s also much more than just strategic placement of specific keywords into content in the hopes of getting it to rank on the first page of a search engine. Since we are talking about the “basics”, let’s keep things simple and fundamental.

Getting the SEO of a website right or helping it rank higher entails taking a step-by-step approach. The different steps are:

• Learning what your target audience is searching for
• Creating web pages optimized for the search terms
• Ensuring your site is accessible – both by users and search engines
• Creating backlinks

Learning About Your Audience/Customers

If you don’t know what your customers want, you cannot possibly create a site that’s optimized for its target audience. And to ascertain what your customers are looking for; all you need is some common sense. For example, if you are in the business of selling consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptops, it shouldn’t be that difficult to ascertain the exact search terms potential users might use to find an online store like yours.

Do your research online to find the exact search terms, conduct brainstorming sessions with your staff, etc. and note down the keywords. Narrow down on the keywords and only try to incorporate those terms that are the closest to the terms potential searchers would use. Do not overuse search terms or stuff them all in on a web page.

Create Optimized Pages

Structuring your web pages is equally (if not more important) as keyword research. If a potential buyer lands on your website and finds the structuring of your pages off, they would immediately bounce off and may never come back. In other words, a major part of the optimization you do should focus on ensuring visitors to your site enjoy the user experience they’re provided. Using typography and design that make content consumption easier is recommended.

Make Your Site Easy to Find

SEO is about making your site discoverable by both humans and search engine bots. While the line between humans and search engine algorithms is thinning, the two are still discrete enough to warrant individual attention. In other words, the website experience you offer should be positive for both buyers and bots.

Bots and humans alike like a website that loads quickly and is mobile-friendly. SSL certificates, an XML file (sitemap), a robots.txt file, etc. are things your site must have in place to particularly cater to search engines. Internally linking relevant pages and posts are also things you could do to help a search engine find different pages on your site.

Make Backlinks

The links to your site from other relevant sites or sites within your niche are arguably the most important aspect of your site’s SEO. Therefore, you must spend a considerable amount of time promoting your site and creating links.

There are different ways to create backlinks or make other sites link to your site. Before you start creating links, it’s important you learn how your competitors created their links or which sites are linking to them. Not all backlink creation techniques are considered “legitimate” or effective.

For instance, if you create multiple ancillary sites just to send links to your main site, those links won’t do anything for your site’s ranking. Such linking techniques could, in fact, push your site further down in search results or make things even more difficult for your site.

The best way to create backlinks is to not create them by yourself. In other words, the backlinks to your site should be organic. Other sites should link to your site without you asking for the links. To ensure other sites link to your site, create high-quality content. The links may not generate in days, but they would come for sure.

Hiring an SEO Agency

If you cannot do your site’s SEO because you lack the expertise or do not have the time for it, you may hire SEO experts to do it for you. How much you’ll end up paying for the service would depend on your requirements and also the length of the project.

Usually, SEO is an ongoing process. Also, results are not guaranteed since there are multiple factors involved – which keep updating and evolving. Also, fresh search engine algorithm updates could call for a revamp of your entire site’s SEO at any time.

The factors influencing the cost of your site’s SEO include your website’s age, its design and content quality, the industry it caters to, your target market areas, the competition, etc. Your monthly SEO prices would usually be in the $300 to $3,000 per month range. If you’re a local business, the cost should be under $500. If your market is global and/or your business is much bigger, you may have to spend more.