The Eight Core SEO Fundamentals
The 8 Foundations of SEO
By Jeremy Ashburn
March 24, 2019
Consider the Big Picture
Before diving in to search engine optimization and what it means for your brand it is important to consider the “big picture” of your website and what it represents. Who is the audience you want to appeal to and why? Who is most likely to benefit from visiting your website, and what might incentivize them to learn more about your brand? Do you have competition, or are you able to dominate the marketplace?
When you have a clear vision of what you want your brand and website to be, it is much easier to implement SEO that is targeted towards the right audience and demographics. Big picture thinking is extremely beneficial if you plan to grow and expand your business and brand even beyond local reach.
Keyword research is one of the first steps to complete before you begin optimizing your website for search engines. Research keywords using tools such as Google Trends to learn more about the messaging and copy used when potential visitors are browsing for relevant content, products, or services similar to your own brand. Keyword research helps to prevent wasteful spending when planning and executing new online digital marketing campaigns.
Domain Name Authority
Consider your domain name and how easy it is to find, spell, and remember. Domain name and web page authority is determined based on how “easy” your domain reads as well as how “trustworthy” your official website is to all visitors. Ensure your website is safe and secure with the right web hosting company when you are working to boost your domain name’s page authority, helping your website climb in the rankings of top search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
Basic SEO Optimization Preparation
Basic SEO implementation is possible with headers, meta tags, and page titles of each individual page you want to publish on your website. Use a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress in conjunction with plugins and add-ons designated to track SEO and to optimize your website regardless of its size. Incorporating meta tags, descriptions, and keywords into each new page you publish is imperative to fully optimize any website.
Content marketing allows you to optimize your website with the use of blogs and social media. Sharing content, having followers distribute it, and allowing potential customers to engage with updates that link to your official website is all ways to drastically improve your website’s overall optimization.
Share links of those you have connected within your industry in exchange for them sharing your official website on their own sites or blogs. Link building is ideal when you are getting involved in any market or industry for the first time, or simply launching a business from the ground up without additional assistance.
Guest blogging allows you to write about specific topics that are relevant or similar to your own business and brand on blogs other than your own. Network and connect with other entrepreneurs in your industry to inquire about guest blogging. When your website is linked from other high-ranking and authoritative sites, it is much easier to boost your search engine optimization in less time.
Data & Analytics
Using data and analytics collected from completed marketing campaigns and advertisements is a way to truly gain insight into the minds of your followers and loyal customers. Once you have data available regarding your website traffic along with marketing campaigns, gauge which promotions are most effective at promoting engagement and incentivizing sales.
Put A/B testing to work for you to truly gain a glimpse into the mind of your followers and those who are genuinely interested in your business and brand. The more you know your potential customers on a deeper level, the easier it is to achieve the success you envision for your brand.
Putting It All Together
Learning how to properly optimize your website and brand for search engines is a way to solidify a name and professional reputation for your business. With enough dedication, commitment, and persistence, drastically improve your website’s SEO while generating more page views and potential sales leads.
What’s Your SEO Score?
Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.
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JunkEver seen this type of writing on the web? Seriously? What does this stuff even mean? What we’re looking at here isn’t high quality writing. No, my friends, this is junk. Everything you publish on your site or on the web should ad value for the searcher. Never, ever, is it OK to publish junk, anywhere on the web. Unfortunately, the web is littered with junk like this: See how the words “red apples” are repeated over and over in the content of this paragraph? The process of doing this is called “keyword stuffing.”
Keyword StuffingGoogle defines keyword stuffing as the “practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.” Quite often, keywords appear over and over again in lists, groups, or patterns. Most of the time, these keywords appear totally out of context and repeated over and over. And, guess what? Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing. This is because the act of doing keyword stuffing is an attempt of manipulate Google’s algorithm. Google especially hates any attempt to manipulate their algorithm in any way. What happens when Google finds out a website is trying to manipulate them? Yep, you guessed it. Whenever Google finds violations like this they will “add a slap” to the website and penalize it in the rankings. In real world examples, this usually means that the offending site will drop out of Google’s First page into the second, third, or hundredth page. Basically, the offending website disappears from Google’s Search altogether and it can take alot of work to make that website “move to the top” again. Sometimes it’s not even possible.
Why Publish this Junk?So why do we see this so called “keyword stuffing” across the web? Once upon a time back before 2012, keyword stuffing was actually common practice among people that did SEO. The reason that SEO people did this was because it actually worked. The combination of keyword stuffing and publishing articles across the web would actually make a website go to the top of Google. Unfortunately, the web was littered with more examples of things that look like this: Keyword stuffing is, at it’s core, spam. And, Google hates spam. When the engineers at Google saw that the web was being littered with all this spam, they decided to do something about it.
Google RespondsSo, what happened? Google got smarter. Around 2012, Google started releasing a whole bunch of updates to their algorithm that began to penalize sites for keyword stuffing. At that time, thousands of sites that were using keyword stuffing dropped out of Google completely, never to be seen again. 2012 were dark days for many SEO’s because they lost thousands of hours of hard work down the drain. Because they considered Google unpredictable, many people stopped doing Search Engine Optimization completely. Since 2012, Google has gotten better and better at recognizing and penalizing all types of spam. The actual process of Google’s engineers updating the algorithm, over and over, have made it much more intelligent. It’s my opinion that all this algorithm updating has made Google into the first Artificial Intelligence (AI). No worries though, Google isn’t an artificial intelligence that wants to “take over the world,” it’s an AI that wants to make the world a better place by giving the user a great experience. Thing about it? If suddenly, Google started delivering search results that had spam, would people keep using it? Of course not. People would start flocking over to Bing (gasp) and Yahoo (double gasp) away from Google. Google would start loosing it’s 64% desktop market share of the search engine market. For that reason, Google’s top concern is delivering an excellent user experience. Google wants:
- people to quickly find what they’re looking for.
- results that solve problems.
- results that answer questions.
- to suppress spam as much as possible.
Adding ValueOne of my mentors would always repeat this mantra: “Always add value to the web.” When he said this, we meant that whenever we publish anything online, we must make sure that it adds value. We need to make sure that the content we’re publishing answers questions, solves problems, and helps people. Why is Value so important to Google? The reason is that sites that provide a high amount of value help people quickly find what they’re looking for. The more value that people find using Google, the more they’ll tend to keep using Google vs other search engines. When a site answers questions that people are asking for, that’s value. When site’s provide direction to life’s persistent questions, that site is providing value. When a site has a high quality design, that’s value. When a site publishes excellent content, that’s value. Value also gets ranked at the top of Search Engines.
How Can You Add Value?Ok, we get it. Value is, well, valuable. Publishing high quality content on your site will actually boost your company in the search results and also increase your site’s value at the same time. So, what are different ways that you can add value to the web? Here’s a list of pages or blog posts that you could create on your site to add more value:
- Blog Posts that answer your most common questions.
- Pages that Answer Specific Questions.
- Videos about your Company’s Service and/or Offerings.
- Info-graphics about humorous, interesting, and great topics.
- Transcriptions of videos or audio that you’ve recorded on your phone.
- Blog Posts that comment on trending relevant topics on the web.