SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

This article aims to give an overview of what SEO is, why it is important, how Google functions, and a guide to what you can do. This article is not a definitive guide to every aspect and subtlety of SEO — search engine optimization. SEO is a vast subject that cannot be fully covered in a single article.

Page Contents

Definition of SEO 2020

SEO is the art and science of persuading search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to recommend your content to their users as the best solution to their problem.

If you want search engines to offer your content in results, you need to do three things:

  1. Ensure these search engines understand who you are and what you offer.
  2. Convince them that you are the most credible option for their users.
  3. Make your content deliverable.

How high in the rankings and how often you appear is merit-based; these engines will show the results they consider to be the best fit for their users.

Why is SEO important?

SEO traffic (also known as organic traffic) is “free” — when a search engine shows your content to its users in the organic part of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page), you do not pay for the ranking. When the user clicks on the result and visits your site, you do not pay Google for the visit.

On that same SERP, there are often paid results; they are identifiable by the ‘Ad’ icon to the left. When a user clicks on a paid result and visits the site, the advertiser pays the search engine for that visit.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

So for ads, you pay to be the top, front, and center, and with organic search results (“SEO results”, if you prefer), you are top, front, and center through merit, and it is free.

Let’s take a closer look at the search engines and what are the most typical ranking factors you should focus on.

How search engines work

Search engines consist of three main ingredients:

  1. Crawling
  2. Indexing
  3. Picking the results

The process goes like this:

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Crawling

Crawling or spidering means scanning the website, its sections, content, keywords, headings, hyperlinks, images by thousands of small bots. Any data that can be found on the website is crawled.

Crawlers detect all hypertext links on a website that point to other websites. Then they parse those pages for new links over and over again. Bots crawl the whole internet regularly to update the data.

Indexing

Once the website is crawled, the indexing takes place. Imagine the index as a gigantic catalog or a library full of websites from all over the world. It usually takes some time for a website to be indexed. From our experience, it’s from 1 to 10 days.

Pro tip: You can check what pages of your website have already been indexed by using this search operator: site:domain.com

Furthermore, every time it’s changed, our good friend crawler scans it again. Keep in mind that until the updates on the website are indexed, they won’t be visible in search engines.

Picking the results

Results are critical for both developers and users. Once the internet user submits a search query, the search engine digs into the index and pulls out matching results. It’s a process of checking the query against billions of websites based on various algorithms.

Companies running search engines (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!) keep the exact calculations of their algorithms in secret. Nonetheless, many ranking factors are well-known.

Ranking factors

Most of these factors are proven, but some are just speculations or even myths. On top of that, some are more important than others.

Also read: Complete SEO Checklist 2020: Tips, Techniques & Ranking

You don’t have to know all of the ranking factors by heart to learn SEO, but it is good to have at least a basic overview.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

One of the most important factors, the backlink profile is based on the number and quality of backlinks leading to a website. It’s a very simplified view on Google approximation of the website’s authority. Each backlink is basically an analogy of an academic citation.

Some other important ranking factors include (in no particular order):

  • use of relevant keywords and phrases
  • HTTPS
  • link relevance
  • grammar and spelling
  • topical authority
  • social sharing
  • domain age
  • AMP
  • page layout

Ranking factors can be divided into on-page SEO factors (including technical SEO) and link building or off-page SEO factors.

Also read:

How people use search engines

To recap: The main point of SEO is to be friendly both to users and search engines. If you invest all your money and time into perfect technical SEO, it’s fine. But if the user interaction is poor, your positions can suffer. And that’s how you start wasting money. The user’s point of view is a number one priority.

The picture below represents one of the common user journeys in Google Search:

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

The interactions with search engines have evolved over the years. However, the principle remains the same:

  1. A need for a solution, information, or an answer
  2. Typing the need in form of a query (keyword) into the search engine
  3. Going through the first results
  4. Clicking on one or more results (websites)
  5. Scanning websites for the answer
  6. Going through more results on the 1st SERP and/or changing the search query, if the answer isn’t found.

Search engines market share

In the charts below, you can see which search engines people use the most. The data is from Netmarketshare’s reports.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

How do we classify search queries?

There are three types of search queries:

  1. Navigational search queries
  2. Informational search queries
  3. Transactional search queries

Navigational search queries

They represent an intent to search for a particular brand or website. People tend to type “youtube” or “google” into search engines rather than using browser’s history or bookmarks.

Based on our case study where we analyzed 1,6 billion keywords, brands such as YouTube, Facebook and Google reach the highest search volumes along with other navigational search queries.

Informational search queries

These are submitted when users are searching for information. They aren’t looking for a particular website, yet for an answer or guidance on how to do something. For example, “How to bake pizza”.

Transactional search queries

This type is an intention to make a transaction. It usually comes with a product name (Nike Airmax) or category (sneakers). Additionally, it can be written with “Where to buy …”“… price” or in a similar manner.

There are many blog posts on how to target a particular search query. However, it’s may not be that easy in the future because of the increasing popularity of voice assistants such as Siri, Google Now or Alexa.

Informational search queries can quickly transform to transactional by opening a new app or giving an option to make a purchase.

Also read:

SERP updates

Being on the first page of the organic search results is good, scoring the top three is great but there’s only one winner, right? Or, is it? It’s a matter of perspective.

Websites all over the world are updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, …ok, some are not but that’s a different case. The thing is that the internet grows every single day. When new websites and changes are indexed by a search engine, the organic results may change.

Another very important factor is Google algorithm which changes all the time. Minor tweaks may not cause anything at all, but a major algorithm update can end up as an earthquake.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

What we’re trying to say is that even if you’re the winner, your positions can (and probably will) be replaced by competitors the other day, and vice versa.

In the chart below, you can see the importance of the highest rankings in Google depending on their organic click-through rate (CTR) distribution for May 2019 (based on data by Advanced Web Ranking).

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

SERP features

Of course, ranking first is important, but these days, you have to take into consideration the so-called “zero position”.

Let’s take a look at the results for “best adsense plugin 2020” search query. The first result is a Google featured snippet with all or the most important information, so you don’t need to check the other results.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

There are many SERP features (also called Rich snippets). Why should you care about them? Rich snippets influence the behavior of users when they see the SERP. In other words, the generic organic search results may have and in many cases, they do have lower click-through rates (CTR).

It’s because the SERP features have bigger visual appeal and they often provide enough information so the Google Search users don’t have to click on other results at all or they click only on the featured results.

These are some of the most common rich snippets you’ll see in the SERP:

  • Featured snippet
  • Answer box
  • Carousel (images, videos, products)
  • Image pack
  • Map pack
  • Sponsored features (Google Ads, flights, shop on Google)
  • Knowledge graph
  • Top stories
  • Events
  • Sitelinks

The good thing is that there are ways to spot and analyze the impact of these enhanced results. For example, Moz will do the job.

Just type in the keyword, select the location and device type. This tool will show you the search results and SERP features if there are any. It estimates the impact on a scale from 0 to 5.

To find out more, click on the feature. You can also see the actual appearance of the SERP if you click on the “Preview snapshot”.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

On-page SEO technical 2020

On-page SEO includes quite a long checklist of tasks to do. A few years ago, it was mostly about meta tags, over-optimized content and headlines. If you want to learn SEO in 2020 you’ll have a lot more fun with the on-page stuff. Let’s dive in.

Search engine algorithms have come a long way and become more sophisticated from the times when content, titles and descriptions stuffed with keywords were enough to achieve high rankings in search results.

If you want to learn SEO, you can’t get stuck in the past. One of the biggest improvements of search engines is that they consider the human factor, in other words, the user engagement.

Meta tags

Meta tags are a part of the HTML code. They describe website’s content. The most important are meta titles and meta descriptions.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Meta titles and descriptions packed with keywords don’t directly influence your rankings BUT they remain a strong psychological factor affecting the CTR and overall user engagement. Therefore, they are still very important for SEO.

Don’t get confused by bloggers saying that title tags and meta descriptions aren’t important at all. On the other hand, keep in mind that Google algorithm changes titles and descriptions to better indicate their relevance to the search query in case your copy doesn’t match enough.

There are many tools and plugins (e.g. Rank Math) analyzing your content in terms of focus keyword usage in meta title, meta description, headings, overall keyword density, alt image attributes and others.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

They offer a lot of hints, yet can hardly follow Google’s algorithm focusing when it comes to human factor. Make sure that you consider both technical points of view and user experience when creating meta tags.

On-page SEO Checklist 2020

Let’s start with the things you can do in WordPress or any other content management system.

1. Find out what people are searching before you start writing

Do you plan to write about a topic that people search for? Are you sure your point of view is different, unique? Can you offer a new added value to the topic? Is your timing right?

These are the major questions before you start writing and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a blog or a product landing page.

There are many ways how to find out. Keyword research is an inevitable part of it. We talk about how to do keyword research in the Keyword research

2. Title tags and headlines

Create an appealing title tag, meta description and headlines. Keep in mind what we mentioned earlier. Your main focus keyword should still be there, so users know what is your website about. Use the meta description as a great opportunity for the call-to-action (CTA) emphasis.

Persuade both users and search engines that your website is the one to be clicked on.

Once again, think of the user engagement, so don’t overact by using cheap or too cheesy words. Look at your competitors, analyze what works for them and build your own strategy.

Quick tips for title tags and headlines:

  • Google will show the titles if they’re up to 70 characters and meta descriptions up to 155 characters (updated on May 2019).
  • Make sure to use correct <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, … structure for good readability and structure.
  • Check the search results preview in tools such as our Google rich snippets

3. Use SEO-friendly URLs

Avoid using auto-generated URLs with figures and characters:

www.example.com/2017/post318e7a349f6

Use URLs corresponding to your content and its title:

www.example.com/how-to-bake-pizza

If you use WordPress, you can set permalinks in the common settings.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

SEO Experts and bloggers say that short URLs ranks better in Google. We think it’s a matter of the user experience. Of course, this doesn’t mean a 20-word URL is alright.

4. Multimedia

Do you want to engage your visitors? Use images, infographics, charts and videos. They lead to lower bounce rates and higher engagement. Some things have to be written in the good old-fashioned way but multimedia are a must.

Video streaming has been one of the hottest marketing trends over the last couple of years. Furthermore, they motivate people to like, share or comment your content.

Quick tips for multimedia:

  • Optimize images by using relevant file names (how-to-bake-pizza.jpg), alt image attributes and file size.
  • Embed interactive multimedia such as videos or charts.
  • Don’t forget to include transcripts so you don’t lose important keywords (search engine crawlers can’t “read” the video).

5. Outbound and internal links

Using outbound links gives a relevancy signal of your topic to Google. Make sure to link to relevant and authoritative sources.

Internal links are a perfect way to promote your other articles or website sections. It makes easier to visit them and leads to higher engagement. Internal linking also helps Google bots to understand the website structure.

Quick tips for outbound and internal links:

  • Outbound links may not directly improve your rankings, yet it is highly advisable to use them.
  • Use up to 2-3 internal links, depending on the content length.
  • Search engine crawlers scan these links, so don’t try to cheat and watch out for broken links.
  • Follow the topic cluster model for internal linking.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

6. Let people engage

Great content shares itself. Yes, maybe in the past. People are lazy these days so the share buttons should always be on your website. According to BuzzSumo, social sharing dropped by half since 2015.

Besides Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, consider adding specific and topic-related social networks, such as Reddit, Pinterest and many others.

Technical on-page SEO checklist 2020

We can classify technical SEO as a part of the on-page SEO that deals with more technical stuff. It usually requires at least some development skills or a web developer. But don’t get scared too much, there are many things you can do easily in WordPress 😎.

These are the most important technical SEO factors you should focus on:

1. Search Console

Connecting your site to the Google Search Console (former Webmaster tools) is one of the SEO basics. It helps you to monitor and maintain your site’s presence and performance in Google Search.

The Search Console helps you analyze your keyword rankings, CTRs, possible Google penalties and many other useful data for technical SEO.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Other features include content mobile usability, choosing what you want to be indexed and what not, site errors, structured data errors and links.

Quick tips:

2. Website speed

Website speed is one of the ranking factors so you should always aim to improve it. It’s known that 50% of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. If it doesn’t load in 3 seconds, they will leave.

Recommended:  SEO for E-commerce: Ultimate Guide for Beginners 2020
Recommended:  Off Page SEO Techniques & Strategy for Beginners 2020

Quick tips:

3. Mobile optimization

Mobile optimization is a must. The world is shifting from desktop to mobile. In fact, running a website that is not mobile-optimized will negatively influence your rankings.

Google started rolling out the mobile-first indexing in March 2018. The mobile-first indexing means that Google will use the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking.

Quick tips:

  • Test the responsivity of your website in the Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • Monitor your keyword rankings in mobile search results.
  • Make sure the mobile version of your website works like a charm.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

You can also consider the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). It’s an HTML code extended with custom properties that enable to render static content faster. In 2017, it was one of the main Google’s projects of mobile search. We’ll see if there’s any future for this.

4. Sitemap

A sitemap helps search engines to crawl your content. It’s a file where all website sections are listed. It’s good to have one when you run a large website with a complicated structure or when you use rich media content.

Having a sitemap doesn’t mean your rankings will improve. According to Google, it’s a benefit but you’ll never be penalized for not having one.

Quick tips:

  • Not all websites need a sitemap.
  • There are more types of sitemaps than just the XML sitemap.
  • The Sitemap shouldn’t contain more than 50,000 URLs and cannot exceed 50 MB.
  • Place the sitemap in the root directory of the website:
https://example.com/sitemap.xml

5. Robots.txt

Robots.txt is a file that tells crawlers which website sections you don’t want them to be accessed. It’s located in https://example.com/robots.txt and it’s public.

It’s handy when you don’t want some scripts, unnecessary files or images to be indexed.

robots.txt syntax:

User-agent: * (e.g. Googlebot)

Disallow: /  (e.g. /images/xxx.png)

Quick tips:

  • Don’t use robots.txt to hide content from search engines.
  • Crawlers or malware robots should not be able to violate robots.txt

Further technical SEO hacks 2020

There are many SEO hacks that will boost your website performance. First, start with the analysis of the current state. It will help you find the opportunities.

Moz Pro is a great tool for on-page SEO analysis. You can analyze one URL per day and download a PDF report without registering.

Set up Google Tag Manager for advanced tag management, so you don’t need any assistance from web developers.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

HTTPS vs. HTTP: Back in 2014, Google announced they will boost rankings of HTTPS/SSL websites. Today, we know that it’s a lightweight ranking factor influencing a small percentage of search queries.

However, security is a strong psychological factor. Google Chrome, for example, labels a website that is not encrypted with SSL as “not secure”, which influences the user engagement.

URL/IP canonicalization: IP canonicalization is important when a website is indexed under both its IP address and domain name. URL canonicalization means that:

https://example.com and https://www.example.com/ should resolve to the same URL

If you want to dive deeper into on-page optimization, check out our practical on-page SEO guide for beginners. It covers everything from techical stuff, through content and CTR optimization to monitoring and analysis of your progress.

SEO Content

Are content & SEO two independent terms or one ideal couple? A lot of marketers used to think that they are separate players. Let’s find out how you can benefit from their synergy.

There was a popular myth among some marketers that perfect content doesn’t need SEO. The truth is they were wrong. And we’ll show you why.

Seriously, can you imagine high-quality content without on-page optimization or without a single backlink? Likewise, can you imagine a perfectly optimized website packed with content that no one would read?

Some people still believe, that:

  • SEO is for search engines
  • Content is for human beings

They’re wrong! Content & SEO overlap. You simply have to create unique content and optimize it for search engines and people at the same time. This technique is sometimes referred to as “SEO content” or “SEO copywriting”.

What content should I create?

This is the first and most important question. The answer (at least in theory) is simple: “Be unique”Creating original, thought-provoking and engaging content is a great start. Content and SEO must go hand in hand from the beginning. You can choose from various content types:

Blogs

Blogs are very popular, especially in the last years. A good blog is a great source of user engagement not only for bloggers but also for e-commerce websites, SaaS businesses or professional service providers.

Blogging is also a way how to earn money by doing what you love (travel bloggers, marketing bloggers, etc.). Unique blogs with in-depth articles, guides and how-tos can make you a respected influencer in the industry.

Quick tips:

  • Stand out from the crowd, be original
  • Conduct your own research and use unique data
  • It’s not about length, it’s about quality and added value for readers
  • Be consistent to create a strong personal brand
  • Cooperate with companies and influencers

You can be really creative with the types of content you publish on your blog. Here are the most common ones (based on a survey by JasaSEO.be team):

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Product pages

Quality product pages should be the top priority of every online business. They are often used as landing pages for PPC campaigns, including the AdWords remarketing or paid social media.

Quick tips:

  • When it comes to eCommerce, simplicity is a must so clearly describe the product, how much is it and how to buy it (CTA)
  • Use professional photos of products and write appealing copy
  • Website speed and UX are more important than ever

Reviews

Do you want to be an influencer? Writing a review is nothing new but in the world of the internet, everything can be reviewed. You can write reviews of tools, films, bars, restaurants, electronics, you name it.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

If you manage to become a trustworthy influencer, you will form people’s opinions and profit from sponsored reviews. Reviews are an inevitable ingredient of the influencer marketing.

Quick tips:

  • Choose one specific topic
  • Don’t sell yourself out just because some company pays well for a 5-star review
  • Create your own standard of what is superb or poor
  • Consistency is the key to become a strong brand

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Infographics

Everyone likes them! They’re easy to share and download. However, authors frequently use them as a text substitution. Infographics then end up as complicated images with a bunch of copy, so they lost the potential.

Creating infographics is about making information nice and easy to read.

Quick tips:

  • Infographics still have a great sharing and linking potential so make sure to play with both data and design
  • Use only the most important data
  • Create a story, add charts or pictures
  • When uploading infographics as pictures, don’t forget to write a transcript because crawlers cannot “read” the text in the image

Guides, how-tos, tricks & tips

Many times, guides are published as a part of blogs. The “… guide” and “How to …” are attractive keywords. You can write guides or how-tos, but keep in mind that there are already thousands of them.

Don’t copy others, provide different tricks & tips than your competitors.

Quick tips:

  • Record your own videos, or at least use custom screen recordings and screenshots
  • Outreach the product owner or seller to possibly get a backlink or share on their social profiles
  • If you are writing a guide on your own product, put the guide on the product landing page to get additional traffic and an internal backlink

Top lists

Another popular form of written content. There are thousands of top lists out there so think wisely about the topic.

Writing lists is an opportunity to include downloadable items to collect leads, to earn valuable comments and to create a buzz thanks to social shares and backlinks.

Quick tips:

  • The headline says everything about the post
  • Stress extraordinary facts
  • Keep the structure simple
  • Use proven data sources
  • Ask the readers to suggest other items to your list in the comments

Interviews

Getting unique information and opinions from an industry guru is excellent! It helps to build credibility, traffic, social shares and backlinks.

What’s more, interviewees with large audience generate high traffic for free if they share the interview. You can write, record a video or a podcast.

Quick tips:

  • Try to interview a thought leader (famous person in the industry)
  • Set a clear structure of the interview
  • Questions should flow naturally
  • Allow some space for the interviewee, readers are curious about their thoughts

Videos

Higher engagement, social shares, likes, backlinks, more leads and conversions. These are the biggest benefits of using video content. Videos can increase conversion rates by 80%.

Quick tips:

  • Write a script, proofread and practice the script
  • Prepare some budget either for hardware and editing software or for hiring a professional video maker
  • Include transcript
  • Formulate a marketing plan or at least plan the basic promo activities to justify the time and money you’ve put in

Of course, you don’t always need to create your own videos. Make your post more interesting by sharing or embedding the video by an industry expert! It can enrich your content and make the reader stay longer on your website.

Ebooks

Ebooks are usually used for lead generation. Maybe more in the B2B industry but there are still many B2C websites that require an email address to download an ebook.

No one gives you the contact details just like that. You need to give readers a good reason. Ebooks usually come in PDF and contain a long piece of content.

Quick tips:

  • Write it as a proper book: you need a killer topic, title, preview, credible author, proper proofreading and catchy design
  • Motivate users to download: use ebooks with unique data and special tricks that can’t be found on your website or when compared to competitors

What’s the ideal blog post length?

A few years ago, long posts stuffed with keywords ranked on the top positions easily. Somehow, it got to the point, where it looks like there are hundreds of almost identical articles with the same keywords.

Creating content for the sake of content doesn’t work anymore.

If you write an article, you need to keep reader’s attention. It starts with the title, first paragraph, content type and most importantly the overall content structure. Use <title>, <h1, h2, h3, …> and other HTML tags correctly.

When it comes to time, posts with a 7-minute reading time are ideal according to Medium. When it comes to SEO, there are many studies. Most of them prove that longer posts rank slightly better.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

What about duplicate content in my other articles or website sections?

Sooner or later, we all get to the point where we need to repeat a few words we have written somewhere else on our website.

If there’s too much duplicate content across your website, you can use 301 redirects or rel=”canonical” link element. You can find out more on Google Search Console help pages.

Keyword research

Keyword research is one of the basic SEO tasks. In this article, you will learn how to find your niche and how to find profitable keywords you can rank for.

Creating content without keyword research doesn’t pay off. The content without proper optimization won’t rank and the website traffic will be low. You simply have to know what keywords to target to generate enough quality traffic.

Where to find keywords?

There are various ways to find keywords.

Your first task is to come up with the seed keywords – phrases you’ll use as the stepping stone to finding more keyword ideas. If you run a coffee blog, simple phrases such as “coffee beans”“coffee machines” or “espresso” will work great.

The classic ways to look for keywords:

Google suggestions

Google offers many keyword suggestions directly in the SERP. Features such as Google AutocompletePeople Also Ask or Related Searches can be a great source of keyword ideas.

With the autocomplete feature, you just need to write your seed keyword into the Google search and the suggestions will appear automatically.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

You can combine your seed keyword with different letters from the alphabet to find more autocomplete ideas (e.g. email marketing aemail marketing b,…)

Keyword tools

There are many free keyword tools that can give you hundreds of keyword ideas based on a single seed keyword. One of the most popular ones is Google Keyword Planner although it’s main focus is keyword research for PPC ads.

Another popular free tool is AnswerThePublic. It automatically generates hundreds of Google autocomplete suggestions.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Of course, free tools are very limited in their features. They offer many keyword suggestions, but what to do with 500 keyword ideas?

The professional paid keyword tools offer other useful SEO metrics and insights to evaluate the keywords and pick the best ones. Besides, they save you a lot of time a give you a competitive advantage.

Other platforms

You can look for keyword ideas almost anywhere. Focus on websites people in your niche use to ask questions, communicate and share ideas.

Some of the most popular platforms to find keyword ideas:

  • YouTube
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Wikipedia
  • Forums
  • etc.

Keyword metrics

In the past, content creators did keyword research only to find the keywords with high search volumes. They stuffed them into content to trick the search engine algorithms and ensure high rankings in organic search. This no longer helps because keyword research has become a lot more complex!

These days you have to work with more metrics, consider the Google RankBrain algorithm and the actual SERP you plan to rank in.

Google RankBrain
RankBrain is a component of Google’s algorithm based on artificial intelligence. It helps Google to understand the intent behind the search query and deliver the most relevant results thanks to the machine-learning system.

Relevant keywords with high search volumes and low keyword difficulty – an ideal combination of the three most important factors of keyword research.

Long tail keywords vs. search volumes

Start by looking for the long tail or middle tail keywords.

Long tail keywords have lower search volumes but there are thousands that represent the opportunity for you. Count them up and you’ll see their enormous potential.

Visitors who find you via long tail keywords will engage with your content a lot more and their conversion rates are higher. It’s because the query is specific enough to find relevant results. And you want to be at the top of these relevant results.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

The biggest con of long tail keywords is their search volume. Sometimes, it may be as low as 100 searches per month. That’s why you need to find the right balance and the metric called the keyword difficulty will help you to do achieve it.

Keyword difficulty

Once you find keywords you want to rank for, you’ll need to evaluate how hard it will be. The keyword difficulty is a very useful metric that will help you with it.

The value is usually indicated on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the score is, the harder it is to rank on the 1st SERP for the keyword.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

There are many keyword research tools on the market calculating the keyword difficulty. The values may vary – you can see score 30 in one tool and 50 in another one for exactly the same keyword.

That’s because the calculations are based on slightly different metrics and algorithms. The important thing is to compare the results within one tool.

Search intent

SERP analysis is a very important part of keyword research. It helps you to find out whether:

  1. You are able to compete with websites in the 1st SERP
  2. The search intent behind the keywords you want to optimize for

By looking at the SERP you can identify what’s the intention behind the search query. When you are searching for a “homemade pizza recipe”, you probably don’t want to buy a pizza.
Always keep this in mind so you won’t end up optimizing for wrong keywords.

There are 4 different search intent types:

  • Navigational – search for a specific website/brand (“google search console”)
  • Informational – search for general information (“how to make coffee”)
  • Transactional – user wants to buy something online (“buy apple iphone xs”)
  • Commercial – user does the research before purchase (“canon 6d review”)

How NOT to do keyword research

Newbies and impatient content creators usually find a keyword with high search volume in Google Keyword Planner or any other keyword research tool while not thinking about other metrics.

As we have explained above, finding an ideal keyword is not only about search volume.

Another mistake is data misinterpretation. A common example is the “Competition” score in Google Keyword Planner. There’s a confusion between this metric and the keyword difficulty.

The competition in GKP represents the level of competition in Google AdWords. It doesn’t represent how hard it is to rank for that keyword.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Another thing you should avoid at all costs is keyword stuffing. Keyword research is no longer about finding one ideal keyword and using it as much as possible.

Instead, select one focus keyword and use it in:

  • The heading
  • Title tag and meta description
  • One of the first paragraphs of the text
  • A couple of times in the text (depends on the length of the keyword too)

Google has evolved and it understands what the content is about. If it is well-written, comprehensive and user-friendly, you may actually rank for keywords you did not even use in your text.

Instead of using the same keyword over and over again, try to look for LSI keywords.

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are keywords that are semantically related to the main seed keyword. They are a great add-on to keyword research.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

LSI keywords change all the time based on the current trend. Adding semantic keywords to your content is a good idea. You can use LSIGraph to generate a bunch of beneficial keyword ideas.

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Link building

Link building is a process of getting links from other websites. From the technical point of view, backlinks are hypertext links that serve as navigation among websites. The links are crawled by search engines which allows them to index the web content.

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SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Why is link building so important?

Search engines use links to explore new websites and to set the overall ranking of a website in SERP. In other words, they explore new content and determine the authority of a website based on the authority passed from external sources.

This means that a website’s link profile is one of the most important ranking factors.

When Google introduced PageRank in the 1990s, the number of backlinks was used as an important metric of the overall ranking. The more links you earned, the better was your ranking.

As this could easily be misused, several Google algorithm updates focused on penalization of shady link building techniques.

Today, link building is no longer about the number of backlinks, but mostly about the quality and relevance.

Types of backlinks

Generally speaking, there are two types of backlinks:

  • Do-follow backlinks pass the authority of the linking page to the linked page. This authority is also often called the “link juice”.
  • No-follow backlinks don’t score any points to the linked website. They don’t pass the authority because of the rel=”nofollow” HTML tag that tells crawlers not to count it.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

In the illustration above, Site A links to both Site B and Site C. But only the link to Site B passes the “link juice”. The other one has a no-follow tag, so no authority is passed to Site C.

No-follow links have no value from the SEO point of view.

Anchor text

The anchor text is a visible, clickable part of a hyperlink. It helps crawlers to indicate what the linked page is about.

If more pages link to you with certain terms used in the anchor texts, it may help you rank for these terms in the search engines.

Well, then all I need is a lot of backlinks with my focus keyword as an anchor text, right?

It’s not that easy. An over-optimized anchor text profile may lead to an algorithmic penalty by Google. It is better to leave the anchor texts to be natural rather than trying to tweak them artificially.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Quality aspects of backlinks

Google considers multiple quality aspects of the referring websites:

  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority
  • Other link profile quality metrics

There are several metrics by Moz and Majestic which help us to evaluate/approximate these qualities:

  • Moz Page Authority (PA)
  • Moz Domain Authority (DA)
  • Majestic Trust Flow (TF)
  • Majestic Citation Flow (CF)

The higher is the value, the higher is the quality of the backlink.

When we take a look at Majestic’s “Trust Flow and “Citation Flow”, we’ll get another evaluation of links.

The first mentioned says that sites closely linked to a trusted seed site can see higher scores, whereas sites that may have some questionable links would see a much lower score. Citation Flow predicts how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it.

Relevancy

Links referring to a website have to be relevant to its content. A backlink from a clothes e-shop will be useless for you if you write a blog about recipes.

Link placement

Links placed in the main articles or sections are better than links in footers and sidebars. Single links tend to be more valuable than sitewide links.

Sitewide links appear on all pages of a website. They are usually in the footer, header, sidebar or blogrolls. Sitewide links are great both for internal and external link building.

They can generate a lot of traffic. Don’t get scared by them but make sure to use only natural links and keep in mind that their SEO potential may be a bit lower when compared to single links.

Besides the aspects mentioned above, we need to consider the freshness of the link, the anchor quality, popularity and social signals.

Link building strategies

It’s not easy to acquire a high-quality backlink. The techniques that were the simplest (reciprocal links or directory submissions) do not work anymore, so the SEOs spend a lot of time trying different approaches.

Let’s take a look at what works the best these days:

Guest posting

Guest posting is probably the most popular link building technique. The equation is simple: You write a post and publish it on another website. The website will get free content and you’ll get a free backlink. Win-win.

Of course, it all comes down to quality. If you want a good backlink, you need to bring your A-game in terms of the guest post quality. The popularity of this technique means that everyone uses it and there are too many bad guest posts and bad outreach emails. Here’s what you should keep in mind when doing the guest post outreach campaign:

  • Don’t use templates
  • Be personal
  • Offer relevant, well-researched topics

Competitors’ backlinks

A time-consuming but still quite effective strategy is to find what works for the others. Check the websites that link to your competitors, create better content and contact relevant people behind these websites to link to your website instead.

The easiest way to find your competitors’ backlinks is to use a backlink tool such as Ahrefs. All you need to do is to enter the domain of your competitor and the tools will show you the backlinks they have.

Once you find your competitors’ backlinks, it’s time to analyze the best opportunities. You should consider:

  • Link relevance – Is the link relevant to your content?
  • Link strength – What is the authority of the linking page?
  • Chance to replicate the backlink – Will I be able to get the same backlink?

The next step is the so-called email outreach – contacting the website owners to replace the backlink of your competitor (also known as The Skyscraper Technique) or add your backlink as an additional resource.

Here are some other popular link building techniques:

  • Content-based link building: Create content that will naturally attract backlinks, social shares and referral traffic
  • Social backlinks: Share your content on social media, promote it on Facebook, join discussions, comment relevant posts and create connections
  • Broken link building: Find websites with inactive links and give them your content to link to instead
  • PR articles written by professionals and published on news portals will give you high-quality backlinks but prepare some budget for this and make sure they are truly relevant
  • Buying backlinks via paid blog posts
  • Writing a testimonial for a product with a backlink to your website
  • Backlinks from forums, Q&A sites, top lists, comments, content aggregators, business listings, etc. (keep in mind that a vast majority of them are no-follow or low-quality backlinks)
  • Grey/black hat techniques such as PBN (Private Blog Network) link building

Black hat techniques and penalties

Paid backlinks and PBN (Private Blog Network) link are another way to build backlinks but these techniques are considered black hat (or gray hat). Google may detect the pattern and penalize your website.

On the other hand, these techniques work. You just need to be super careful and think about all the possible risks before taking the black-hat path

Penalties

Google Penguin algorithm update from April 2012 started to detect and penalize for bad, spammy, or low-quality links.

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

However, if you have spammy or low-quality backlinks you did not create, don’t panic! Google understands that not all bad backlinks were created on purpose and usually, the worst-case scenario is that it will just ignore these backlinks. If you want to be sure, you can still disavow such backlinks in the Search Console.

Buy Quality Backlinks for SEO

SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Why should you buy backlinks?

Ever sat there and wondered how someone else has managed to get the number one spot in Google for your target niche? Or just why it seems impossible to get to the top even though there is no major competition for your keywords? It is possible that you don’t have enough dofollow backlinks.

Backlinks are the most important part of any SEO campaign, and you can think of it as if Google sees every link to your website as a “vote” as to why you should be in the top spot. The more quality anchor text links there are pointing towards your site, the better you’ll rank in a Google search for any of your keywords.

Why should you purchase backlinks from us?

We offer a wide range of different types of backlinks for SEO including contextual backlinkssocial bookmarksguest post and PBN backlinksdofollow niche related blog comments and more. Now if you aren’t already educated about high DA / PA backlinks you might not understand why you need such a variety of backlinks pointing to your site.

Link Diversity

Link Diversity is now more important than ever. With many malicious web masters looking to use “Black hat” techniques to automatically receive thousands of links, the search engine companies are penalizing websites that have a huge amount of a single link type. To make your link building look as natural as possible, we’ll have links from a variety of sources pointing to your website.

An example of this is explained here:

Website A – This website has 10,000 links that all come from either forum profiles or blog comments. All of the backlinks are indexed and show on the websites statistics. After ranking #5 for a week it suddenly drops into the 100’s. This is because it was penalized for low quality links.

Website B – This website only has around 50 links, however they are much more powerful than those pointing to Website A. 25 high PR web 2.0 properties with quality articles pointing directly to the website, with each web 2.0 having backlinks of their own (passing on some of the link juice). On top of this Website B have high quality guest posts, a small amount of press releases and social bookmarks plus local directories and citations links giving it a nice range of authority links. Search engines such as Google will recognize that there is a variety of different sources with high authority sites pointing to the website and adjust the rankings accordingly. If Website A was ranking #5, you can certainly expect Website B to rank higher.

Look for quality vs quantity when buying backlinks.

If you are about to buy backlinks, you want to make sure that the links you receive are not low quality, spam links that are going to hurt your websites authority in the long run. Ask for a sample or in depth insight into the services the company provide and you should get a good idea of what links you can expect for your money.

Google is continuously updating their algorithm to make sure websites with low quality links cannot hit the top rankings, so when you are ready to purchase backlinks, instead of looking for quantity; look for quality.

Do you really need backlinks?

In reality, yes you do. Buying backlinks is one of the most important parts of any affordable SEO campaign after the website has been built. Without quality SEO backlinks pointing to your website you wont see your website at the top of search engines.

More then 70% of your rankings depend on your inbound links. Search engines use links to determine where your web site will rank in a SERP for your targeted keywords. By buying backlinks you will increase the quality and quantity of links to your website, increasing the perceived importance of your pages by search engines and helping your web site to rank higher in search results.

So is that the only effect? Do Google just rank me higher? NO.

Another key advantage to having a lot of high quality backlinks, is that they link to your site. Now instead of having just Google linking to your site, you have thousands of websites based on your niche pointing straight back to your website for more information. This is the perfect way to drive great target related traffic to YOUR money making website.

There are plenty of ways you can get backlinks to your site, and some will be better for your ranking than others. One thing you will not want to do, is spend hours upon hours of your valuable time building links manually when you could have someone else do it whilst you focus on your primary target; making money.

The most common methods for getting backlinks to your site is through blogs and forums that are directly related to your niche. If Google come across 100 blogs on Health that link back to your website based on the Health and Fitness niche, it’s going to think that your website is very popular within the Health Discussion; this results in higher rankings.

Now there are many different types of links around and at the end of the day it comes down to quality not quantity. You will find thousands of people on the web offering you the best backlinking service at the best price; however when you check it out on Google you find hundreds of sites offering an ever cheaper price for even more backlinks, but most of these companies will spam your links across the web and get your web site banned.

And that’s where we come in. We’re here to offer you the best quality backlinks on the web for unbeatable prices. We can give you the high quality backlinks that you need to move up the rankings, drive more traffic and earn more PROFIT.

If you have any questions, or not sure which package will work best for your web site, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!

Check the backlink package: JasaSEO.be SMM Panel

How Social Media Helps SEO

Is social media part of SEO?

Whether social media activity, including likes, replies, comments, and shares directly help with ranking is not clear. For most major platforms, we know that Google crawls a great deal of the content. However, there is so much content being generated; Google cannot catch all of it. For example, according to The Social Skinny, there are 510,000 comments, 293,000 status updates, and 136,000 photos added on Facebook every minute. But Google is crawling and indexing these sites and large amounts of their content. So we can safely assume that a healthy presence with ongoing engagement from a relevant audience helps SEO.

Also read:

Additional benefit: Social media is vital to your marketing efforts beyond just SEO, so having a well-thought-out social media strategy is an essential aspect of your digital marketing strategy. Social media activity helps enormously with building your reputation, brand awareness, and your audience. Over time it is a great channel for maintaining contact with your existing audience, expanding your reach, and distributing the content you create.

How fast does SEO work?

SEO is a long term strategy. As we saw earlier, SEO has three main pillars — technical, content, and links. For your strategy to bear fruit, all three need to be solid, and that doesn’t happen overnight.

Some of your efforts will pay-off in the short term after they are implemented. Changing meta titles, headings, or improving the content on a few pages are typical examples.

Other efforts, such as implementing Schema.org markup across a number of pages, creating a substantial volume of informative content, building links, or attracting positive reviews, take time and will pay off in the long term.

No one single thing will revolutionize the performance of your SEO strategy. All the elements I described above work together, and it is the combination of all the signals Google reads that will make the needle move for you.

Conclusion

Is SEO dead?

Almost every time Google makes an update to its algorithm or to its SERPs features, this question is trending. The answer is “no.” But SEO does not exist in isolation. It is one (very vital) pillar of your digital marketing strategy. New customers will see your brand multiple times before deciding to do — not only in Google search but also on many other platforms such as social media, TV, radio, YouTube, on review sites, Google My Business, etc. As you now know, these can all help with your SEO, and they all bring benefits to your business in their own right and, therefore, can all necessary for your digital marketing strategy to be successful.

So, an intelligent digital marketing strategy will use SEO to help drive other aspects of your marketing, and vice versa.

What are the most important elements of an SEO strategy?

For your SEO strategy to be successful, you must trigger as many of the signals that Google is looking at as possible. A helpful way of looking at how all these individual actions fit into an overall strategy is to think in terms of serving the three following pillars:

Understanding, credibility, and deliverability.

Understanding – if you want Google to recommend our content as the most suitable solution to their user's problem, it must understand clearly and precisely what it is you are offering. Actions such as clear copywriting, adding schema markup, relevant inbound links serve the purpose of helping Google understand and be confident it has correctly understood what it is you are offering.

Credibility – If Google has understood that multiple pieces of content offer a solution that brings a similar level of value to the user, then it will recommend the one it perceives as the most credible. Actions such as improving E-A-T, link building, linking out to relevant sources all help with your credibility and the credibility of your content.

Deliverability – Google wants to recommend content that provides a great user experience – fast, attractive, great quality, and in the most appropriate format according to the user’s specific needs at that time (geo-location device, bandwidth, etc.). Actions such as mobile-friendliness, download speed, using videos, and text in your content all help to ensure Google considers your content deliverable.

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