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Chapter 101: Standard SEOXNUMX

We are glad you are here!If you already have a solid understanding of SEO and why it's important, you can skip to Chapter 2 (though we still recommend browsing Google and Bing best practices at the end of this chapter; they're useful refreshments).For others, this chapter will help build your foundational SEO knowledge and confidence as you move forward.

What is search engine optimization?

Search Engine OptimizationStands for "Search Engine Optimization".This is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic and brand exposure through non-paid (also known as "organic" or "natural") search engine results.

Despite the acronym, there are as many search engines themselves as there are search engines.It's about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they're looking for, the words they're using, and the type of content they're looking to consume.Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to connect to people searching online for the solutions you offer.

If knowing the intent of your audience is one aspect of the SEO coin, delivering it in a way that search engine crawlers can discover and understand is another.In this guide, look forward to learning how to do both.

Search Engine Basics

Search engines are answer machines.They search billions of content and evaluate thousands of factors to determine which ones are most likely to answer your query.

Search engines discover and catalog all available content (web pages, PDFs, images, videos, etc.) on the Internet through a process called "crawling and indexing" and then sort them according to how well they match in what we call "ranking" query during the process.We'll cover crawling, indexing, and ranking in more detail in the next chapter.

Which search results are "organic"/naturally ranked?

As we said earlier, organic search results are obtained through effective SEO, not paid (i.e. not advertising).These used to be easy to spot - ads were clearly marked as such, and the rest of the results usually took the form of the "10 blue links" listed below.But as search patterns change, how do we discover organic results today?

Today, search engine results pages (often referred to as "SERPs") are filled with more advertisements and more dynamic organic result formats (called "SERP features") than we were before. Some examples of SERP features are featured snippets (or answer boxes), people also ask boxes, image carousels, etc.New SERP features are constantly emerging, mostly driven by what people seek.

For example, if you search for "denver weather," you'll see the weather forecast for Denver directly in the SERPs, rather than a link to a site that might have it.If you search for "Denver pizza," you'll see a "local pack" result consisting of Denver pizzas.Convenient, right?

It's important to remember that search engines make money from advertising.Their goal is to better address searcher queries (in the SERPs), keep searchers coming back, and keep them on the SERPs longer.

Some SERP features on Google are organic and can be affected by SEO.These include Featured Snippets (promoted organic results that show the answer in a box) and Related Questions (aka the "People Also Ask" box).

It's worth noting that there are many other search features that aren't usually affected by SEO, even if they're not paid ads.These functions often have data obtained from proprietary data sources such as Wikipedia, WebMD, and IMDb.

Why SEO Matters

While paid advertising, social media, and other online platforms can generate website traffic, most online traffic is driven by search engines.

Organic search results cover more digital real estate, are more credible to savvy searchers, and receive more clicks than paid ads.For example, in all US searches,Only about 2.8% click on paid ads(Many Chinese people do not understand what is advertising and what is natural ranking, so this pay-per-click ratio is higher, but the specific number is only available in Baidu).

In short: SEO has 20x more traffic opportunities than PPC on mobile and desktop.

SEO is also one of the only online marketing channels that, if set up properly, can continue to pay dividends over time.If you provide solid content that is worth ranking for the right keywords, your traffic can snowball over time, and advertising needs constant money to send traffic to your website.

Search engines are getting smarter, but they still need our help.

Optimizing your website will help provide better information to search engines so that your content can be properly indexed and displayed in search results.

Should I Hire an SEO Professional, Consultant or Agency?

Depending on your bandwidth, willingness to learn, and the complexity of your website, you can perform some basic SEO on your own.Alternatively, you may find that you prefer the help of an expert.Either way is fine!

If you do end up seeking expert help, it's important to know that many agencies and consultants "offer SEO services," but the quality varies widely.Knowing how to choose a good SEO company can save you a lot of time and money, as the wrong SEO techniques can actually do more harm to your website than they help.

White Hat vs Black Hat

"White hat SEO" refers to SEO techniques, best practices, and strategies that follow the rules of search engines, and its main focus is to provide more value to people.

"Black hat-SEO" Black hat SEO refers to techniques and tactics that attempt to spam/deceive search engines.While black hat-SEO can work, it puts the site at huge risk of being penalized and/or de-indexed (removed from search results) and has ethical implications.

Penalty sites have bankrupted businesses.This is just another reason to be very careful when choosing an SEO specialist or agency.

Search engines share similar goals with the SEO industry

Search engines want to help you succeed.In fact, Google even has a Beginner's Guide to SEO, just like our own Beginner's Guide to SEO!They are also very supportive of the efforts of the SEO community.Digital marketing conferences - like UNBUNCE, MNsearch, SearchLove and Moz's own MozCon - regularly attract engineers and representatives from major search engines.

Google assists webmasters and SEOs with their webmasters central help forum and hosts live office hour summaries (Unfortunately, Bing shut down their webmaster forum in 2014.)

While webmaster guidelines vary by search engine, the basic principle remains the same: don't try to trick search engines.Instead, provide your visitors with a great online experience.To do so, follow search engine guidelines and fulfill user intent.

Google Webmaster Guidelines

The basic principle:

  • Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.
  • Don't trick your users.
  • Avoid techniques designed to improve search engine rankings.A good rule of thumb is whether you are willing to explain to Googlers what you do with your website.Another useful test is to ask: "Will this help my users? Would I do this if the search engine didn't exist?"
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable or attractive.

Things to avoid:

  • auto-generated content
  • Participate in the Link Program
  • Create pages with little or no original content (i.e. copied from elsewhere)
  • Stealth - The practice of showing search engine crawlers different content than visitors.
  • Hidden text and links
  • Doorway Pages - Create pages to rank well for specific searches in order to funnel traffic to your website.

Bing Network Administrator's Guide

The basic principle:

  • Provide clear, in-depth, engaging, and easy-to-find content on your website.
  • Keep page titles clear and relevant.
  • Links are considered a welcome signal, and Bing rewards links for organic growth.
  • Social reach and social shares are positive signals that can influence the way you rank organically over the long term.
  • Page speed is important, along with a positive, useful user experience.
  • Use the alt attribute to describe the image so that Bing can better understand the content.

Things to avoid:

  • Thin content, pages that primarily display ads or affiliate links, or pages that otherwise redirect visitors to other sites rank poorly.
  • Abusive link strategies designed to inflate the number and nature of inbound links (e.g. buying links, participating in link schemes) can lead to de-indexing.
  • Make sure that a clean, concise, keyword-containing URL structure is in place.Dynamic parameters can smudge URLs and cause duplicate content issues.
  • Keep your URLs as descriptive, short, keyword-rich as possible, and avoid non-alphabetic characters.
  • Bury links with Javascript/Flash/Silverlight; keep those.
  • Duplicate content
  • keyword stuffing
  • Hidden Pages - The practice of showing search engine crawlers different content than visitors.

Guidelines for Representing Local Businesses on Google

If your business performing SEO work operates locally, whether it's performing services out of a store or driving to a customer's location, it qualifies for a Google My business listing.For local businesses like this, Google has guidelines governing what you should and shouldn't do when creating and managing these listings.

The basic principle:

  • Make sure you're eligible to join the Google My Business index; you must have a physical address, even if it's your home address, and you must meet customers face-to-face at your location (like a retail store) or their location (like a plumber) Provide services
  • Honestly and accurately represent all aspects of your local business data, including its name, address, phone number, website address, business category, hours of operation, and other features.

things to avoid

  • Create Google My Business listings for ineligible entities
  • Misreporting any of your core business information, including "stuffing" your business name with geographic or service keywords, or creating fake address listings
  • Use PO boxes or virtual offices instead of real street addresses
  • Abusing the review section of the Google My business listing by making false positive reviews about your business or false negative reviews about your competitors
  • Expensive newbie mistakes caused by failing to read the details of Google's guide

Local, National or International SEO?

Local businesses often want to rank for local intent keywords such as "[service]+[around me]" or "[service]+[city]" in order to capture potential customers searching for products or services in the specific area they offer.However, not all businesses operate locally.Many websites do not represent location-based businesses, but target audiences at a national or even international level.See the topic on local, national and international SEO in Chapter 4!

Analyze and meet user intent

Instead of trying to trick search engines into ranking higher by violating these guidelines, focus on understanding and fulfilling user intent.When a person searches for something, they get expected results.Whether it's an answer, a concert ticket, or a cat photo, what's required is their "user intent"

If a person searches for "band," are they going to find a band, a wedding band, a band saw, or something else?

Your job as an SEO is to quickly give users the content they want in the format they want.

Common types of user intent:

  • Information: Search for information.For example: "What's the best laptop for photography?"
  • Navigation: Search for a specific website.Example: "apple"
  • Transactions: Search for something to buy.Example: "Good deal on MacBook PRO"

You can browse user intent by browsing for the desired keywords and evaluating the current SERPs.For example, if there is a photo carousel, people searching for that keyword are likely to search for photos.

Also evaluate what your top competitors are currently offering.How can you provide 10x the value on your website?

Having relevant, high-quality content on your website will help you rank higher in search results and, more importantly, it will build credibility and trust with your online audience.

Before that, you must first understand your website's goals for executing a strategic SEO plan.

Understand the goals of your website/client

Every website is different, so take the time to really understand the business goals of a particular website.Not only will this help you determine which areas of SEO you should focus on, where to track conversions, and how to set benchmarks, it will also help you create talking points for negotiating SEO projects with clients, bosses, and more.

How will your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) measure SEO return on investment?More simply, what is the barometer for measuring the success of an organic search effort?You want to log it, even if it's as simple as:

For the site ________________________.

Here are some common KPIs to get you started:

  • Sales
  • download
  • Email registration
  • Contact form submission
  • 电话
  • If your business has a local component, you will also need to define KPIs for your Google My business listing.These may include:
  • click to call
  • Click on the website
  • Clicks-for-driving-directions

You may have noticed that things like "ranking" and "traffic" are not on the KPI list, that's on purpose.

"But wait a minute you say." I came here to learn about SEO because I heard it helps me with rankings and traffic, and you're telling me these aren't important goals? "

Not at all!You heard right. SEO can help your website rank higher in search results and thus drive more website traffic, and it is ranking and traffic that are means to an end.If no one clicks on your website, it's of little use in terms of rankings, and increasing traffic is of little use if that traffic isn't fulfilling a larger business goal.

For example, if you run a lead generation site, you'd rather have:

  • 1000 monthly visitors and 3 people filling out a contact form?or. . .
  • 300 monthly visitors and 40 people filling out a contact form?
  • If you're using SEO to drive traffic to your site for conversions, we want you to choose the latter!Before you start SEO, make sure you have business goals in place, and then use SEO to help you accomplish those goals—not the other way around.
  • SEO accomplishes more than just vanity metrics.Done right, it can help real businesses achieve their real goal of being successful.

Setting (and ultimately achieving) the right goals is one of the most important things you can do as an SEO.We even have a handy whiteboard on Friday on how to set smart, measurable goals for your clients!

This guide will help you become more data-driven in your SEO efforts.Grab a cup of coffee and let's dive into Chapter 2 (How Search Engines Work - Crawling, Indexing and Ranking).

Brand Marketing米国生活range.png

Extended reading:

Google SEO Reference [SEO Terms and Meanings]

How to make your brand appear on the first page of search engines

Types of Brand Negative Public Opinion and Negative Handling

Brand reputation index evaluates five-star enterprises

米国生活The founder was hired as an expert in the brand marketing industry think tank of the Central Academy of Management

 

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