Originally posted on https://blog.thinkfuel.ca/seo-basics-7-things-you-need-to-rank-better
Here’s the deal, search engine optimization (SEO) can be challenging to master, but if you don’t start with the SEO basics you have no hope of ranking.
It’s true, search engines are always updating their algorithms in an effort to serve you the most relevant content. However, there are 7 things that have always been critical ranking factors and chances are you’re overlooking them.
In this article, we’re going to take you through these 7 basic aspects of SEO so you can start improving your search rankings right away. We’re going to try and leave the really technical SEO aspects at the door and focus just on the basics of on-page SEO so you don’t have to rely as much on paid search ads to grow your business.
We’ll be showing you screenshots of HubSpot, WordPress, Yoast! SEO plugin for WordPress and SEMRush. There are hundreds of tools out there that will do the same things as these two so pick the one you feel most comfortable with.
First thing first, you are not going to rank for a phrase if you don’t have a page dedicated to it. If it’s a product or service you sell, make a dedicated page for it. If it’s a concept, challenge, use case, etc. write a blog about it.
For each page, focus on one keyword or phrase. Don’t try to fit your whole product catalogue onto one page and expect to rank well for every item. It’s not going to happen.
As an example, this page is optimized for the keyphrase SEO basics. Sure, there are 1,000’s of related topics and keywords but the purpose of this blog is to show up for people searching for SEO basics. If I want to attract an audience looking for a similar topic like how to optimize their images for search engines, I would write a different post for that Oh wait, I did – How to Optimize Your Website Images for SEO
Some great tools for helping you conduct keyword research include SEMRush and Google’s Keyword Planner.
There are two different types of titles on your pages and blogs. One is called an H1 Header or H1 Title, and the other is your Page Title.
Your H1 Header is typically the visible title you see at the top of a page. In the case of this page, it’s “SEO Basics – 7 Things You Need To Rank Better”. They call it an H1 Header because if you were to look at the code for this page you would see the title between two H1 tags:
<h1>SEO Basics – 7 Things You Need To Rank Better</h1>
Search engines like Google use your H1 Header to help identify what the page content is about. To set your title as the H1 Header, simply highlight the title within your text and from the style drop-down, select the Header 1 option.
The second title you need to adjust is the page title or title tag. This is the title that shows up in the top bar of your browser:
And in the results page of Google.
Your page title can be updated and modified in a number of different ways, one of the easiest ways to customize it is through the Yoast SEO plugin. When you install the Yoast plugin, all you need to do is open the page or article you want to modify in WordPress, scroll down to the Yoast SEO section, click Edit Snippet, and enter your SEO title.
When you’re writing your H1 headers and title tags be sure to follow these simple tips:
Meta descriptions are small blurbs that tell search engines more detail about the page/content. They are also the text that shows up in your Google search results:
If you’re using Yoast, you can add a meta description following the same steps as adding the title tag. If you are using HubSpot, you can click on the settings tab, then enter your meta description in the field provided:
This is an important step but I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here. Check out the article we wrote on How to Optimize Your Website Images for SEO
Your website should be like playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon (Harvey Keitel to Kevin Bacon Go!). By this, we mean all your related pages should be connected with internal links.
You know all those blog posts you write as part of your content marketing strategy? They won’t be nearly as impactful from an SEO perspective if you don’t make it clear to search engines how they are related to other pages and focus keywords. Search engines are machines, they are literal, and we need to make things clear for them and we do that through high-quality internal links. When you create internal links there are three things you should keep in mind.
So, next time you’re creating content for your site, remember to include internal links.
Linking building is an important part of SEO. Search engines don’t just care what you have to say about yourself but what other people on the web are saying about you as well.
Link building is the process of getting high-quality links on external websites that point back to yours. Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as sharing a bunch of content on social media. Some of the best ways to grow your backlinks include:
Link building can be one of the most powerful, but at the same time, the most difficult SEO tactic to you can employ. If you want to learn more about it, please feel free to contact us about our link building / authority building services.
The last thing we’re going to touch on is your mobile page speed load time. This is essentially how long your site takes to display on a mobile device.
Back in 2018, Google announced that they were going to use the mobile version of your website as the primary resource for measuring your site’s ranking factors and specifically mentioned load speed as a main contributor. Google has a really handy Page Speed test tool that will let you know how well you’re site is doing. Just don’t freak out when you score in the yellow or red zones, most people do.
We won’t get into every detail of what this tool reports on and how to fix them. If you’re not a web developer, I highly suggest you just pass the results along to your developer and ask them what it would take to improve.
So that’s it. We’ve come to the end of our SEO basics overview. Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on the mysteries of SEO and given you some actionable ideas to implement on your own site.
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