1. Learn How the Search Engines Operate
The Google index has trillions of web pages built primarily from web crawling. When you enter a search query into Google, it pulls all the matching queries. Since there are usually millions of results, the Google algorithm ranks them based on many different factors. Nobody knows what all the factors are or even how they are weighted, but some are known.
Note: SEO influences only the organic results and does not affect paid ads.
2. Understand the 3 Critical Ranking Factors
People are often bogged down optimising for the ranking factors that aren’t necessarily important. That means, before you start worrying about page speed or title tags, it is always important to ensure that you are on top of the three major ones.
It refers to how well your page matches the query. If somebody types “how to make chamomile tea” into Google, then Google will not return pages about cars since that is irrelevant. Relevance, however, goes deeper than that. Your page should also match the type of content that people would like to see.
For instance, a person searching “how to make chamomile tea” is looking for a tutorial. They are not looking to buy ready-made chamomile tea. It is due to this reason that most if not all the results on the first page for such a query will be blog posts and not product pages. Catering to the “why” behind a search query is known as optimising for search intent. See here for SEO for dentists.
It mostly boils down to backlinks. According to Google, links are essentially votes of confidence. The more high-quality links you have, the higher you are likely to rank. The best backlinks have two important attributes: relevance and authority.
Authority relates to the power of the linking website and webpage. Domain Rating and URL Rating are two of the metrics used to measure authority. The most powerful links are those from high-UR pages.
Relevance relates to the topic of the linking website and web page. For instance, if a post about making chamomile tea has two backlinks, one from a health website and one from a tech blog, the one from the health website is probably more relevant.
Page-level relevance, however, also matters. If the linking page on the tech blog is about a relevant topic such as the best tea brewing machines, while the one on the health website is about something unrelated such as bodybuilding, then the link from the tech blog would be more relevant.
Google aims to show the best result in the top position. That means it is not enough just to match search intent, your content should also be the most deserving of the top spot. However, what constitutes the utility and quality depends on the actual search query. So, the best course of action is reviewing the current top-rankings, seeing the good in them, and where they fall short.
3. Master the Four Key Buckets of SEO
Always view SEO as a puzzle with many different pieces. Understanding how they fit together is critical knowledge for any professional in the industry.
The four pieces are:
- Technical SEO
- Link building
- On-Page SEO
- Keyword Research
It involves finding relevant words and phrases that people are typing into search engines such as Google. You should generally target words that:
– Are not too competitive
– Have “business value” (likely to attract potential customers)
– Have “traffic potential” (likely to send organic traffic if you rank for them)
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