Learning Friday: SEO For Beginners

Alex Rens works on his laptop in the 8THIRTYFOUR office

We love acronyms! BRB. PPC. GDPR. LRD (AKA Long Road Distillers, here in GR).

But, one of our favorites is SEO. Today we are proud to bring you our debut Learning Friday video on SEO!

Not a video person? Not a problem. Here is a written recap of what you need to know.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is essentially the art and science of making sure your website performs well in search results, without paying for advertising. It’s making sure that your clients and customers can find you easily when they’re looking for you.

Sounds easy, right?

While the basic concepts are pretty straight forward (make your digital presence user friendly), the mechanics and algorithms are constantly evolving, thanks to our friends at Google.

Essentially, Google wants to serve searchers the most relevant and valuable results to their search queries. This means content that is easy to read, quick to load, accurate, and trusted, among other factors.

In fact, there are over 200 different factors that go into how well you rank in search results!

As a result, this requires a serious time commitment, and delicate eye, to be done successfully. But, that time investment and attention to detail is clearly worth it when you consider the payoff.

Why Should You Care?

Check out some of these statistics related to SEO and the benefit you’ll see:

  • Sites in the 1st result of searches receive 56% of clicks
  • Sites in the 2nd result receive 13%
  • The 3rd result receives 9%
  • And the 4th gets 4%

The number continues to go down from there, so if you’re ranking towards the bottom of the first page of results, or somewhere on the second, you’re in trouble.

But Really, How Does SEO Actually Work?

How do you get yourself up to those top slots? The best way to look at it is through the SEO pyramid method, first developed by SEO expert Rand Fishkin of Moz.

Content

The first step in creating a stable pyramid is to have a sturdy foundation.

The foundation of your site is your content. Before you worry about keywords or backlinks, you have to make sure that your content is accessible, valuable, and understandable.

When building your pyramid foundation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your content accessible to all users? Are there any 404s or improper redirects?
  • Is the site easy to navigate? Can users find all the pages and content they need?
  • Is the content easy to understand? Will your target audience know what you mean with the language used? 

Keywords

The next level of your pyramid is keyword density.

First, identify your priority keywords. What are people searching for to find you?

Next, you need to implement these words and phrases into your website, through copy, image data, metadata, blog titles, H1 & H2 tags, etc.

Link Building

The next level of your pyramid is link building: the art of generating inbound links from prominent websites around the internet.

A website gains authority by being recognized as a destination for other sites. This happens via links. When they link to you, you gain authority in the eyes of search engines.

But, watch out for spam tactics here. The credibility of that site will factor into how much love Google is going to give you. A link from buildlinks.com won’t do you much good. However, a link from Forbes.com is cause for celebration.

Bonus Tip: It is important to mention that social media sites are treated differently, as they make it easy for anyone to add a link to them.

Social Metrics

For our purposes, the final level of your pyramid is two-fold.

The first is your presence on social media platforms. While social media sites do not give your site the same authority as normal link building, it is a great way to engage your audiences and drive relevant traffic to your site.

The second aspect encompasses the social metrics on your website. These are things like bounce rate, time on page, session duration, and average pages per session attributed to the website traffic you generate from social.

By having strong website interaction, it shows that your website is a valuable resource and provides relevant content.

Don’t Set it and Forget It

At this point, you will have a fully formed SEO pyramid, with each level impossible to accurately build without the level below it. Congratulations!

Not so fast. Those 200+ factors, and the algorithms that we mentioned, are constantly evolving – ongoing maintenance is critical. However, once the groundwork is laid, it can be a very efficient process.

That’s it!

Need some help on next steps for how to apply this knowledge for your organization? Let’s connect!

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