Table of Contents
SEO Made Simple : The 2020 Guide
So, the question is, are you ready to spend 30 minutes now or would you rather spend months if not years learning SEO through long, painful, time consuming and expensive mistakes?
So first, let’s define SEO.
What is SEO?
What are search engines?
Search engines are algorithms that attempt to provide the most relevant answer to your query online. They go through the web ( this process is called “crawling”) and assess the content posted (Videos, Images, text, etc…) by using hundreds a various ranking factors. This process of ranking the content by relevance is called “indexing”.
I will be sharing later some of the most important ranking factors for search engines.
Search engine results pages are often referred to as “SERPs” and contain a combination of both organic and paid results since search engines make their money from advertising.
In order to sell more advertising, the search engines ultimate goal is to answer as well as possible searchers’ queries in an attempt to make them come back and spend more time on the SERPs and therefore see more advertising.
How do search engines crawling and indexing work?
The identified new content is added to their database also referred to as index.
Why is SEO important?
In addition to this, and although search engines are getting more and more sophisticated, they still require our help for their “crawling and indexing“ process in order to dis-play more relevant information in SERPs.
What are the 3 parts of SEO?
These 3 categories are looked at by Google to determine your position in the SERPs ( Search Engine Result Pages).
I will start by explaining how Google works and ranks you on the SERPs, then cover the importance of On-page SEO, Technical SEO and finally Off-page SEO.
"White hat" vs "Black hat" SEO
What search engines are available?
Another known one is Bing by Microsoft.
No matter who they are, the follow similar guidelines and principles.
Search engines guidelines
- Write your content for the searcher not the search engine.
- Focus on delivering quality content that answer clearly the request/question.
- Make your site is engaging and content easy to find, this is often referred to as “user ex-perience – UX”.
- Ensure your pages load quickly.( Also part of UX)
- Be on social media as social influence has an impact on your ranking in the long run.
- Image SEO practices are also valuable. ( check out my article on On-Page SEO for more details.)
- Use Keywords in URL structures.
Things to avoid – Black Hat practices
- Do not exchange links with other sites that are not relevant. This is referred to as Link schemes. They ultimately disappoint the user and is being reprimanded by search engines.
- Automatically generated content.
- Duplicate content.
- Keyword stuffing.
- Cloaking which is the practice of showing different things to search engines and users.
How Google works : Key Ranking Factors
Having said this, if you want to make this article longer to read, you can also go on my website to check out the complete version of the QRG document from Google.
Ranking Factor #1 : Relevance
What is a keyword research?
Keyword research is the identification of strategic keywords that must be used in your website’s content to answer searcher’s questions. It is the keystone of strategic SEO and helps better understand what your target audience is searching for and how it is searching for content. Its purpose is also to help search engines index your content.
Keyword research is a data based process that help you understand:
- What is the intent of your audience?
- How many people are looking for an information?
- In what format does your audience need the content?
Before you start your keyword research
It is a common mistake for companies to bypass the keyword research stage in order to save time and money because they believe they know what keywords they should be using.
Truth is, what you want to rank for and what your audience is looking for are often very different.
Running a keyword research will ensure you do no waste your time and money to generate content based on keywords that your audience is not interested in.
This way, you can pinpoint the exact information your audience is looking for, deliver the correct answer and rank higher.
Keyword Research method #1 : Finding keywords with a keyword research tool
There are many tools you can use and most of them have free limited access for you yo try. You can find a complete list in my tool box section of my website.
Since you know your business, you probably have a few ideas of keywords that you would like to rank for.
For example, the products or services you offer is a great place to start for keywords ( also referred to as Seed keywords).
By entering these keywords into the research tool, you will uncover other related key-words, topics as well as questions.
For example, if your business is in “Oil paintings”, you would do a search on these seed keywords.
And would discover highly relevant terms and questions such as:
- Oil painting
- Oil based paint
- How to clean oil paint brushes
- How to oil paint
You will notice that each keyword variation and question is associated with a search volume that indicate how many searches have been done within the period.
Before you get excited and decide to select all the keywords with high search volume, pay attention to the following factor.
At the top of the page there is also a keyword difficulty index that indicates how difficult it would be for you to rank if you were to use this keyword on your site.
The keyword difficulty relates to how competitive it is to appear on the SERPs for these keywords.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the search volume, the higher the keyword difficulty and therefore the amount of work to get ranked in a good position.
The goal is to appear on page 1 on SERPs and for that matter, not only on page 1 but in the top 3 positions.
Why the top 3 positions you ask?
Simple, the top 3 positions gathered over 75% of the clicks alone!
It is important to note that high volume keywords in addition to be more competitive and difficult to rank for, are also indicative of an ambiguous intent.
If you target them, you are taking the risk to bring people to your site where your content might not match their search or provide the answer they are looking for.
So, you might be tempted to go with very easy keywords.
Unfortunately, they often come with very little search volumes (At least according to these keyword search tools, more about this further down).
So, the soft spot here is to target highly specific, lower competition search terms that we call long-tail keywords.
What are long-tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are three to five keyword phrases which are very specific to the product or service you are selling. Long-tail keywords get less search traffic, but usually have a higher conversion value because whenever a customer uses a highly specific search phrase, they tend to be looking for exactly what they are actually going to buy.
In fact, long-tail keywords gather 70% of all search volumes and are much less competitive, hence why your strategy should be built around them.
What is the best Long-tail keyword strategy?
No, now you have your extensive list of keywords, how to you rank them to know where to start?
There is no one answer fits all here but, here are a few ideas that you might want to consider :
Keywords by competitor
In this case you can prioritize the keywords that your competitors do not rank for and push at the bottom of your list the ones they already rank for.
Regional keyword strategy
For example, a “truck” would be more suitable in the US than a “lorry” that would work far better for the UK.
Keywords strategy by season
This is where Google trend is again very useful as some keywords might become popular at certain times of the year which should guide you to create relevant content at the right time
Understanding the user intent
This is where, the suggested “questions” in your keyword search tool come into play.
They identify clearly the intent of the user searching for your keyword and can provide many different routes for content creation.
In the example we took previously you can see that “How to clean oil paint brushes” and “How to oil paint” are two very different intent yet related to the see keywords.
These keyword questions are extremely specific and therefore very valuable and will convert higher if you provide a suitable answer through your content.
Most often you will find that the most popular ones start by : “how”, “what” and “why”
Keyword Research method #2 : Finding keywords manually
Here’s how to run a quality keyword research :
4 Steps for a quality keyword research
Step 1: Run a search for your keyword in the Google search box.
Let’s say as an example, I am doing a website on oil painting.If I want to know what the biggest searches are online, Google has autosuggest, which are the suggestions that appear son screen as you start typing your search.
These suggestions are best guesses by Google to help you get to your search as fast as possible in order to give you a great user experience.
The awesome thing about these suggestions is that they are actually based on Google’s enormous database unlike other tools that extrapolate and may end up suggesting random words..
Step 2: Select the search suggested by Google that seems the closest to you.
Let’s say to continue with the example of the “oil painting tips” is very relevant as we want to become thought leader in the subject matter.
Step 3: Now we have selected the suggestion, scroll down all the way to the bottom of the page where Google has all the related searches. This should look like this :
Ranking Factor #2 : User Experience (UX)
What is User Experience?
User experience (UX) is a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership.User experience is important because it aims to provide positive experiences that keep a user loyal to your product or brand.
It is basically looking at how long visitors stay on your page, what content is being consumed, for how long, how they navigate on your site etc…
All of that to see if the search has been satisfied by the website Google provided from the Search.
And all of that is rather easy for Google since they have access to so many data sources such as Google Analytics, Google Chrome, Android devices and many more.
Ranking Factor #3 : E-A-T
What is E-A-T?
E-A-T stand for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness and is a factor measured, amongst others, by backlinks.
It is important to note that the E-A-T factor applies independently to the website and to the author of the website or content creator.
You can find in the Off-page SEO : the 2020 Guide how to establish a strong EAT for a website.
Also, keep in mind the E-A-T has been at the forefront of Google’s communication lately and has taken an even more important role in its algorithm.
What are Quality Backlinks?
A quality backlink is a link placed on a website that is considered by Google to be an authority on a specific subject.
When this quality website links back to you for a subject it is considered to be an authority on, it passes some of this authority to your own website. It is a little like a battery giving you a little of its juice.
When you have plenty of websites/batteries with high authority on a specific subject linking back to you, it piles up and ends up making your website an authority as well.
It is a little like a vote of confidence from your peers, a certificate of excellence or a proof that the content on your site can be trusted.
It is important to know that although Domain Authority (DA) is a critical factor in SEO, it also has major impact on your paid campaigns.
As an example, if you decide to run a Google PPC campaign, your Cost Per Click would decrease as your DA gets higher for the matching search term.
If you want to know more about this, checkout my Google Ads Made Simple: The 2020 Step-by-Step Guide article on my website.
There are many views on the right backlink strategy, and I will share my personal favorite in the Off-Page SEO Made simple : The 2020 guide.
You will see, not your average cup of Joe, even chocking at times but damm powerful !
In addition to these 3 ranking factors, there are many others that are considered like the images used on the sites or the outbound links which are the sites you are linking to from your site.
For example, if you are linking to site that only have obsolete content, your site might be considered to be obsolete well by Google or if you link to spammy sites, Google might think that your site is also spammy.
Social signals, showing if there is a lot of social activity on social platforms related to your site of even the structure of your site itself meaning how easy it is to navigate or are the various pieces of content are connected with each other.
Now we have covered a few important ranking factors on Google, let’s discuss how long it takes to be ranked by Google.
How long does it take to be ranked by Google?
So, That’s it for this introduction to SEO.
Check out the related articles if you are interested in knowing more.
Table of Contents
Do you want more online revenue?
Just enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter and GROW YOUR REVENUE
About Gilles Argivier
He is an International marketing expert and visionary entrepreneur.
For over 20 years, he has been entrusted by world class organizations as a driver of top and bottom line growth through transformational business development, brand’s sustainable strategy, product innovation and powerful online customer centric experiences
He owns and operates his marketing consultancy firm out of the US.
Do you want more online revenue?
Just enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter and GROW YOUR REVENUE