Search Engine Optimization Guide

Search Engine Optimization Guide


The desire of everyone that creates content online (blog, eCommerce, eLearning, or usual website) is to get visitors to that site. Most often, online users do not know the website they want to visit or have the exact URL. They mostly use search engines to get to the website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method of getting a website ready to be displayed on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

So this Search Engine Optimization crash course will help you to understand the nitty-gritty of SEO, and place you on the pathway to becoming an SEO expert.

Course Objectives

The course will cover the following:

  1. SEO Introduction

  2. SEO KW Research

  3. On-Page SEO

  4. Off-Page SEO

  5. Technical SEO

  6. SEO Tools

  7. SEO Tips

  8. SEO FAQs

Kindly consider donating to us to enable us to create more great content for FREE.

SEO Introduction

Search engine optimization is the practice of making a website more appealing to search engines. It is the process of influencing the visibility of a website or a web page in the unpaid results of a search engine. 

SEO is also the professional title of someone who does this for a living. For example, "we recently hired a new SEO to increase our web presence.”

Search engines use different methods to crawl and index websites.

SEO Terminologies

Here's a short glossary of important terms in SEO as culled from the Google developers page.

Index

Google stores all web pages that it knows about in its index. The index entry for each page describes the content and location (URL) of that page. To index is when Google fetches a page, reads it and adds it to the index: Google indexed several pages on my site today.

Crawl

The process of looking for new or updated web pages. Google discovers URLs by following links, by reading sitemaps, and by many other means. Google crawls the web, looking for new pages, then indexes them (when appropriate).

Crawler

Automated software crawls (fetches) pages from the web and indexes them.

Googlebot

The generic name of Google's crawler. Googlebot crawls the web constantly.

In the next lesson, we shall start to look at Keyword research, which is a very important part of SEO.


SEO KW Research

The very first thing to understand when it comes to search engine optimization is keyword research. Although keyword research has dramatically changed in recent times, it is still very vital.

Before you start publishing content online, you should enquire and use the right keywords people are searching for. Let us look at these keyword research elements.

Keyword Research Elements

Relevance

Google ranks content based on its relevancy. This is where the idea of search intent comes into play. Only if your content matches the demands of the searchers will it rank for that term.

Furthermore, your content must be the finest information source for the query.

After all, why would Google rank your content higher if it offers less value than other web content?

Authority

Google will give more weight to reliable sources. That implies you must do everything possible to establish yourself as an authoritative source by enhancing your site with useful, informative content and promoting it to win social signals and backlinks.

Volume

There is the possibility that your content will rank on the search engine's the first page for a given term, but if no one ever searches for it, you won't get any traffic. It's a little like opening a business in a ghost town.


Monthly Search Volume (MSV) is used to calculate volume, which is the number of times a term is searched each month across all audiences.

Performing Keyword Research

Below are the basic methods you can use to perform keyword research with free tools.

Google Search

The very first step to begin your keyword research is from Google search itself. As you enter a search query into the google search box, it shows you what other users are searching for. This is known as Google auto-suggest.

Again, when you scroll down to the bottom of the google search engine result page. You will see another section that shows what other people also searched for. These keywords will help you to understand the type of content you should create online.

Google Trends

Another free tool you should use is Google Trends. This free SEO tool does percentage-based comparison analysis on keywords.

Semrush

For those who want more automated tools. Semrush is a premium SEO tool you can use to perform your keyword research. It gives you access to other statistical data like search volume, keyword difficulty, competition, etc.

Although the tool is a premium one, you have 10 daily usages. I will list more SEO tools later in this course.

On-Page SEO

As soon as you have your seed keyword and its variations. The next thing you should do is place them strategically on all of your web pages. Let us take them one after another.

HTML Tags

Now let us look at different HTML tags where you can put your keywords. You may wish to take the HTML crash course.

Title or Headline

The first place to add your seed keyword is in the title or headline of the web page. Inasmuch as you shout optimize your title, the exact keyword should appear there.

Sub-Headings

Another important place to add your keywords is in subheadings. HTML categorized them as H1, H2, H3, etc. Place your seed keywords and other variations of the keywords in various subheadings of your blog or web pages.

Focus Keywords

If you are using an SEO plugin like Yoast or Rank Math, you should always insert your primary keywords (or seed keywords) in the focus keywords box. Below are other places you should also insert your focus keywords.

Meta Description

A meta description is a piece of information that displays in search engine results. It helps a user to decide if they should open the website or not.

It is a good SEO practice to always place the focus keywords in the meta description bod. However, google now selects metatext automatically these days.

ALT Attributes

When using images on your web page, you should also add the focus keywords in the ALT attribute of that image. By so doing, google and of course, other search engines understand what the image is all about and index them correctly.

Internal Linking

Another good factor that helps the SEO of websites is links. Internal links are used to link to other pages on your website. Using the correct focus keyword when linking to a web page helps the site SEO-wise.

Also, remember that you should naturally insert the seed keywords and their variations in the body of the website. Adding too much of it is called keyword stuffing and your site may be punished by search engines.

Off-Page SEO

"Off-Page SEO" refers to all of the efforts that you and others conduct away from your website to improve a page's ranking with search engines.

Although many people equate off-page SEO with link building, it is more than that. Many activities that do not result in a typical link on other sites are significant for off-page SEO.

Webpage Backlinks

Inbound links are HTML hyperlinks that point from one website to another. They are also known as backlinks or external links. They are the Internet's currency because they function similarly to real-life reputation.

Search engines have considered links as votes for popularity and relevance on the web since the late 1990s.

A high number of internal links connecting to a specific page on your site will indicate to Google that the page is valuable, as long as it is done legitimately and not spammy.

Getting Backlinks

In order to get backlinks to your web page. The page should be of high value. A good content someone will like to refer others to. Using infographics, statistics and quotes will help to attract quality backlinks naturally to your website.

You can as well build backlinks through guest posting, participating in forum discussions, commenting on blog posts, etc.


Non-Link Related

Apart from having your links inserted in another website, there are other non-link-related off-page SEO that really matters. They are listed below.

  • Social Media Marketing

  • Influencer Marketing

  • Brand Mentions

As minute as they may seem, their overall impact on your website's SEO cannot be overemphasized.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is an essential component of any SEO plan, which is why the site must adhere to all search engine guidelines. The foundations of technical optimization include making a website faster, easier to crawl, and more understandable to search engines.

The following are some important technical SEO you must consider.

Page speed

Fast-loading sites are becoming increasingly important to search engines; the good news is that this is advantageous not just to search engines, but also to your users and your site's conversion rates.

Mobile compatibility

If your site receives (or might get) considerable search engine traffic from mobile queries, the "mobile-friendliness" of your site will affect your ranks on mobile devices, which is a rapidly rising sector.

Response to the header

The use of header response codes is a critical technical SEO problem. If you're not highly technical, this can be a complicated issue, but you want to ensure that functional pages send the right code to search engines (200) and that pages that aren't discovered provide a code to indicate that they are no longer present (404).

Redirects

Improper redirect implementation on your site might have a significant influence on search results. You should avoid shifting your site's content from one URL to another whenever possible.

Sitemap in XML

XML sitemaps can assist Google and Bing in understanding and finding all of your site's content. Just be careful not to add useless pages, and keep in mind that submitting a website to a search engine through a sitemap does not guarantee that the page will rank for anything.

Robots.txt

In a robots.txt file, tell search engines how you want them to handle certain information on your site (for example, if you don't want them to scan a specific portion of your site).

Remember that security is essential in technical SEO. If you use WordPress, try to keep your website theme and plugins up to date. Keep an eye out for spam comments and make sure your site is always served through HTTPS.




List of SEO Tools

In this lesson, we are going to make a list of SEO tools that will help you to skyrocket your website visibility.

Keywords Research Tools

Here is a list of keyword research tools both free and paid.

Keyword Autosuggest

  1. Google Search

  2. Google Search Console

  3. Google Keyword Planner

  4. Google Trends

  5. Keyword Everywhere

Keyword Volumes

  1. SEMRush

  2. Ahrefs

  3. KWFinder

  4. Moz Pro

  5. Ubersuggest

  6. SpyFu

Question-Like Keywords

  1. Answer The Public

  2. Answer Socrates

Headline Tools

The title is as important as the rest of the content. Here is a list of title/headline tools.

Title Generators

  1. Title Generator

  2. Akanne Title Generator

  3. Reedsy Book Generator

Headline Analyzers

  1. Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule

  2. Headline Analyzer by MonsterInsights

  3. Headline Analyzer by IsItWP

Website Auditing Tools

Finally, these tools in this section will help you to understand the performance of your website.

Site Speed Checkers

  1. PageSpeed Insights

  2. Pingdom Website Speed Test

  3. Sitechecker Website Speed

Note: You can use many keyword tools to check for backlinks and domain authority.

SEO Tips

There are other important things you should also know about SEO.

URL Structure

The URL structure of a website should be as basic as possible. Consider arranging your content such that URLs are written logically and in a way that humans can understand.

Use understandable terms rather than extensive ID numbers in your URLs wherever possible.

Examples: https://akanne.org/courses/seo/

User Intents

User intent, also known as query intent or search intent, is the identification and classification of what an online user meant or desired to find when they entered their search terms into a web search engine.

You should be able to analyze a keyword and determine whether the user wants to buy a product, get information, or just learn how to utilize a product.

4 Types of Keywords

Here is how SEMRush described the 4 keyword types.

  • Informational keywords — searchers looking for an answer to a specific question or general information.

  • Navigational keywords — searchers intending to find a specific site or page.

  • Commercial keywords — searchers looking to investigate brands or services.

  • Transactional keywords — searchers intending to complete an action or purchase

Schema Markups

Schema markup is code that allows search engines to better comprehend your content and display it in search results.

For the time being, skip schema if you're new to SEO. You only need to study schema if one or both of the following conditions are met:

1. Your pages are already well-ranked, and the material is suitable for rich results (more on that later).

2. You already have a strong brand presence, which can help your organization establish itself in the Knowledge Graph.

If any of the above conditions are true, I will recommend you start your learning journey from Schema.org.

Google’s E-A-T Concept

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. The idea stems from Google's Search Quality Rater rules, and it gained popularity following the controversial Medic Update in August 2018.

E-A-T is one of the factors used by Google to assess the overall quality of a web page. Bloggers and other content creators should have a niche and establish authority in that field.

Google Ranking Factors

According to Backlinko, Google has up to 200 ranking factors. Let me make a list of the Google ranking factors you should focus on as a beginner.

  1. Write valuable and unique content.

  2. Create contents that cover topics in-depth

  3. Add keyword in your H1 and H2

  4. Have a good number of relevant backlinks

  5. Increase your page loading speed.

Learn more about Google ranking factors from Backlinko.

SEO FAQs

SEO is increasing the number of visitors to a specific website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of search engine results pages (SERP).

Can you do SEO yourself?

Definitely yes. SEO can be done by a blogger or website admin. All you need is to take the Search Engine Optimization Course and master at least the basic principles and apply them judiciously.

How do you do SEO for a website?

You do this by optimizing web content in such a way that it will be easy for search engines will pick the web content and rank the website higher than its competitors.

Are search engine optimization important?

Yes, there are millions of contents scattered everywhere on the internet. Hundreds of these contents are related. So you will need to use SEO to differentiate yours from others.

Is search engine optimization worth it?

Sure! If a blog or eCommerce site is well optimized SEO-wise. There may be little or no need for paid promotion.

Is search engine optimization dead?

No! It is true that many people are solely relying on paid promotion because of hectic competition in SEO. Numerous digital marketers and bloggers are still relying on SEO for their traffic sources.

Learn more from SEO FAQs from Pat Ugwu Blog.

Search Engine Optimization Guide


The desire of everyone that creates content online (blog, eCommerce, eLearning, or usual website) is to get visitors to that site. Most often, online users do not know the website they want to visit or have the exact URL. They mostly use search engines to get to the website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method of getting a website ready to be displayed on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

So this Search Engine Optimization crash course will help you to understand the nitty-gritty of SEO, and place you on the pathway to becoming an SEO expert.

Course Objectives

The course will cover the following:

  1. SEO Introduction

  2. SEO KW Research

  3. On-Page SEO

  4. Off-Page SEO

  5. Technical SEO

  6. SEO Tools

  7. SEO Tips

  8. SEO FAQs

Kindly consider donating to us to enable us to create more great content for FREE.

SEO Introduction

Search engine optimization is the practice of making a website more appealing to search engines. It is the process of influencing the visibility of a website or a web page in the unpaid results of a search engine. 

SEO is also the professional title of someone who does this for a living. For example, "we recently hired a new SEO to increase our web presence.”

Search engines use different methods to crawl and index websites.

SEO Terminologies

Here's a short glossary of important terms in SEO as culled from the Google developers page.

Index

Google stores all web pages that it knows about in its index. The index entry for each page describes the content and location (URL) of that page. To index is when Google fetches a page, reads it and adds it to the index: Google indexed several pages on my site today.

Crawl

The process of looking for new or updated web pages. Google discovers URLs by following links, by reading sitemaps, and by many other means. Google crawls the web, looking for new pages, then indexes them (when appropriate).

Crawler

Automated software crawls (fetches) pages from the web and indexes them.

Googlebot

The generic name of Google's crawler. Googlebot crawls the web constantly.

In the next lesson, we shall start to look at Keyword research, which is a very important part of SEO.


SEO KW Research

The very first thing to understand when it comes to search engine optimization is keyword research. Although keyword research has dramatically changed in recent times, it is still very vital.

Before you start publishing content online, you should enquire and use the right keywords people are searching for. Let us look at these keyword research elements.

Keyword Research Elements

Relevance

Google ranks content based on its relevancy. This is where the idea of search intent comes into play. Only if your content matches the demands of the searchers will it rank for that term.

Furthermore, your content must be the finest information source for the query.

After all, why would Google rank your content higher if it offers less value than other web content?

Authority

Google will give more weight to reliable sources. That implies you must do everything possible to establish yourself as an authoritative source by enhancing your site with useful, informative content and promoting it to win social signals and backlinks.

Volume

There is the possibility that your content will rank on the search engine's the first page for a given term, but if no one ever searches for it, you won't get any traffic. It's a little like opening a business in a ghost town.


Monthly Search Volume (MSV) is used to calculate volume, which is the number of times a term is searched each month across all audiences.

Performing Keyword Research

Below are the basic methods you can use to perform keyword research with free tools.

Google Search

The very first step to begin your keyword research is from Google search itself. As you enter a search query into the google search box, it shows you what other users are searching for. This is known as Google auto-suggest.

Again, when you scroll down to the bottom of the google search engine result page. You will see another section that shows what other people also searched for. These keywords will help you to understand the type of content you should create online.

Google Trends

Another free tool you should use is Google Trends. This free SEO tool does percentage-based comparison analysis on keywords.

Semrush

For those who want more automated tools. Semrush is a premium SEO tool you can use to perform your keyword research. It gives you access to other statistical data like search volume, keyword difficulty, competition, etc.

Although the tool is a premium one, you have 10 daily usages. I will list more SEO tools later in this course.

On-Page SEO

As soon as you have your seed keyword and its variations. The next thing you should do is place them strategically on all of your web pages. Let us take them one after another.

HTML Tags

Now let us look at different HTML tags where you can put your keywords. You may wish to take the HTML crash course.

Title or Headline

The first place to add your seed keyword is in the title or headline of the web page. Inasmuch as you shout optimize your title, the exact keyword should appear there.

Sub-Headings

Another important place to add your keywords is in subheadings. HTML categorized them as H1, H2, H3, etc. Place your seed keywords and other variations of the keywords in various subheadings of your blog or web pages.

Focus Keywords

If you are using an SEO plugin like Yoast or Rank Math, you should always insert your primary keywords (or seed keywords) in the focus keywords box. Below are other places you should also insert your focus keywords.

Meta Description

A meta description is a piece of information that displays in search engine results. It helps a user to decide if they should open the website or not.

It is a good SEO practice to always place the focus keywords in the meta description bod. However, google now selects metatext automatically these days.

ALT Attributes

When using images on your web page, you should also add the focus keywords in the ALT attribute of that image. By so doing, google and of course, other search engines understand what the image is all about and index them correctly.

Internal Linking

Another good factor that helps the SEO of websites is links. Internal links are used to link to other pages on your website. Using the correct focus keyword when linking to a web page helps the site SEO-wise.

Also, remember that you should naturally insert the seed keywords and their variations in the body of the website. Adding too much of it is called keyword stuffing and your site may be punished by search engines.

Off-Page SEO

"Off-Page SEO" refers to all of the efforts that you and others conduct away from your website to improve a page's ranking with search engines.

Although many people equate off-page SEO with link building, it is more than that. Many activities that do not result in a typical link on other sites are significant for off-page SEO.

Webpage Backlinks

Inbound links are HTML hyperlinks that point from one website to another. They are also known as backlinks or external links. They are the Internet's currency because they function similarly to real-life reputation.

Search engines have considered links as votes for popularity and relevance on the web since the late 1990s.

A high number of internal links connecting to a specific page on your site will indicate to Google that the page is valuable, as long as it is done legitimately and not spammy.

Getting Backlinks

In order to get backlinks to your web page. The page should be of high value. A good content someone will like to refer others to. Using infographics, statistics and quotes will help to attract quality backlinks naturally to your website.

You can as well build backlinks through guest posting, participating in forum discussions, commenting on blog posts, etc.


Non-Link Related

Apart from having your links inserted in another website, there are other non-link-related off-page SEO that really matters. They are listed below.

  • Social Media Marketing

  • Influencer Marketing

  • Brand Mentions

As minute as they may seem, their overall impact on your website's SEO cannot be overemphasized.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is an essential component of any SEO plan, which is why the site must adhere to all search engine guidelines. The foundations of technical optimization include making a website faster, easier to crawl, and more understandable to search engines.

The following are some important technical SEO you must consider.

Page speed

Fast-loading sites are becoming increasingly important to search engines; the good news is that this is advantageous not just to search engines, but also to your users and your site's conversion rates.

Mobile compatibility

If your site receives (or might get) considerable search engine traffic from mobile queries, the "mobile-friendliness" of your site will affect your ranks on mobile devices, which is a rapidly rising sector.

Response to the header

The use of header response codes is a critical technical SEO problem. If you're not highly technical, this can be a complicated issue, but you want to ensure that functional pages send the right code to search engines (200) and that pages that aren't discovered provide a code to indicate that they are no longer present (404).

Redirects

Improper redirect implementation on your site might have a significant influence on search results. You should avoid shifting your site's content from one URL to another whenever possible.

Sitemap in XML

XML sitemaps can assist Google and Bing in understanding and finding all of your site's content. Just be careful not to add useless pages, and keep in mind that submitting a website to a search engine through a sitemap does not guarantee that the page will rank for anything.

Robots.txt

In a robots.txt file, tell search engines how you want them to handle certain information on your site (for example, if you don't want them to scan a specific portion of your site).

Remember that security is essential in technical SEO. If you use WordPress, try to keep your website theme and plugins up to date. Keep an eye out for spam comments and make sure your site is always served through HTTPS.




List of SEO Tools

In this lesson, we are going to make a list of SEO tools that will help you to skyrocket your website visibility.

Keywords Research Tools

Here is a list of keyword research tools both free and paid.

Keyword Autosuggest

  1. Google Search

  2. Google Search Console

  3. Google Keyword Planner

  4. Google Trends

  5. Keyword Everywhere

Keyword Volumes

  1. SEMRush

  2. Ahrefs

  3. KWFinder

  4. Moz Pro

  5. Ubersuggest

  6. SpyFu

Question-Like Keywords

  1. Answer The Public

  2. Answer Socrates

Headline Tools

The title is as important as the rest of the content. Here is a list of title/headline tools.

Title Generators

  1. Title Generator

  2. Akanne Title Generator

  3. Reedsy Book Generator

Headline Analyzers

  1. Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule

  2. Headline Analyzer by MonsterInsights

  3. Headline Analyzer by IsItWP

Website Auditing Tools

Finally, these tools in this section will help you to understand the performance of your website.

Site Speed Checkers

  1. PageSpeed Insights

  2. Pingdom Website Speed Test

  3. Sitechecker Website Speed

Note: You can use many keyword tools to check for backlinks and domain authority.

SEO Tips

There are other important things you should also know about SEO.

URL Structure

The URL structure of a website should be as basic as possible. Consider arranging your content such that URLs are written logically and in a way that humans can understand.

Use understandable terms rather than extensive ID numbers in your URLs wherever possible.

Examples: https://akanne.org/courses/seo/

User Intents

User intent, also known as query intent or search intent, is the identification and classification of what an online user meant or desired to find when they entered their search terms into a web search engine.

You should be able to analyze a keyword and determine whether the user wants to buy a product, get information, or just learn how to utilize a product.

4 Types of Keywords

Here is how SEMRush described the 4 keyword types.

  • Informational keywords — searchers looking for an answer to a specific question or general information.

  • Navigational keywords — searchers intending to find a specific site or page.

  • Commercial keywords — searchers looking to investigate brands or services.

  • Transactional keywords — searchers intending to complete an action or purchase

Schema Markups

Schema markup is code that allows search engines to better comprehend your content and display it in search results.

For the time being, skip schema if you're new to SEO. You only need to study schema if one or both of the following conditions are met:

1. Your pages are already well-ranked, and the material is suitable for rich results (more on that later).

2. You already have a strong brand presence, which can help your organization establish itself in the Knowledge Graph.

If any of the above conditions are true, I will recommend you start your learning journey from Schema.org.

Google’s E-A-T Concept

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. The idea stems from Google's Search Quality Rater rules, and it gained popularity following the controversial Medic Update in August 2018.

E-A-T is one of the factors used by Google to assess the overall quality of a web page. Bloggers and other content creators should have a niche and establish authority in that field.

Google Ranking Factors

According to Backlinko, Google has up to 200 ranking factors. Let me make a list of the Google ranking factors you should focus on as a beginner.

  1. Write valuable and unique content.

  2. Create contents that cover topics in-depth

  3. Add keyword in your H1 and H2

  4. Have a good number of relevant backlinks

  5. Increase your page loading speed.

Learn more about Google ranking factors from Backlinko.

SEO FAQs

SEO is increasing the number of visitors to a specific website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of search engine results pages (SERP).

Can you do SEO yourself?

Definitely yes. SEO can be done by a blogger or website admin. All you need is to take the Search Engine Optimization Course and master at least the basic principles and apply them judiciously.

How do you do SEO for a website?

You do this by optimizing web content in such a way that it will be easy for search engines will pick the web content and rank the website higher than its competitors.

Are search engine optimization important?

Yes, there are millions of contents scattered everywhere on the internet. Hundreds of these contents are related. So you will need to use SEO to differentiate yours from others.

Is search engine optimization worth it?

Sure! If a blog or eCommerce site is well optimized SEO-wise. There may be little or no need for paid promotion.

Is search engine optimization dead?

No! It is true that many people are solely relying on paid promotion because of hectic competition in SEO. Numerous digital marketers and bloggers are still relying on SEO for their traffic sources.

Learn more from SEO FAQs from Pat Ugwu Blog.

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