You can Google. A BUNCH of stuff. Or you can read this and get the full picture of everything SEO-related.
Subscribe to our blog and check out the SEO category if you want to dive deep on any of the topics here.
Want a beautiful eBook (FREE) on SEO? Click or tap here to download that. More design and depth covering the same topics here.
Last (yes I promise) Joy's YouTube channel is chock-full of SEO fabulousness, including a modestly well known video here: On-Page SEO Crash Course for Beginners.
SEO refers to the process of optimizing your online presence for search engine performance.
What makes SEO testing so unique is that it is done in a live environment, which makes it more difficult.
SEO progress requires time to pass to generate statistically relevant results. This can take up to 3-6 months. SEO is not an instant gratification discipline.
You need wisdom and experience to understand the data. The data is not wisdom. Professionals outperform amateurs.
SEO is not cheap.
There are three variables for SEO services:
You want SEO that works. It takes a solid investment and it takes time. But it does work, and all of the traffic you earn is yours to keep.
Interest- Aware of Need
Search- Clients using digital media to research options
Research- reviews, product specs, price, brand, expertise, authority and trust
Purchase- online, phone, brick and mortar
EAT refers to Expertise, Authority and Trust
Expertise, Authority and Trust are CORE Goals
Your Money Your Life - News, Government, Law, Finance, Shopping, Pricing, Health, Safety
Top ranking site goes to site that is least imperfect
No site is perfect = impossible
Low End of SD= unoptimized sites
High End of SD= overoptimized Sites
Top Ranking= Natural, within Standard Deviation, not over or under optimized
PageRank system is a point system - not a ranking. Points can be in the millions.
People linking to you gains points. Internal linking can also generate points but can dilute equity.
Best Practice- link to Homepage for brand name, then link to subpages within the site by KW. Can pass rank.
Pages located furthest away from the homepage lose the most equity.
Pagerank decay = distance within the site from the homepage matters.
3 major areas impact SER
1. Search Engine- is not your friend. Public companies generate revenue by staying on a property and clicking on ads. This means impartial, vague answers and constantly changing. There are as many as 3,000 algorithm adjustments per year.
2. The Competition- also not your friend. It wants your traffic and is constantly changing.
3. Your own website- On Page factors, Off Page Factors, Rankbrain Factors, Production Schedules, Website Performance, Content, Term Ambiguity, Mobile Friendly, Local Presence, Jargon (Coke v Soda v Pop), Engagement Objects.
Google wants to reward organic sites because they are the best and deliver the best experience to their “customers,” who are the people doing the searching.
Site Structure- should be able to start at the home page and get to the entire site. If you cannot do this, then the page does not matter to SE. Do not orphan pages.
Google uses Mobile First Indexing- sites must be developed in Mobile format for SE crawl.
Head Section- page title, description, canonicals, misc tags.
Body Section- section users usually spend their time in. Heading, body, image.
Page Layouts- Use responsive design.
Design for Mobile first- Mobile layout is what Google uses to interpret web design; if elements do not appear on mobile Google will not see them.
Use single URL for content and let CSS handle rendering- do not make multiple entities.
Always use compressed images- WEBP.
If on Safari, use compressed JPEGs.
TIP: Improper images are biggest speed suck out there
Navigation should be short and sweet on mobile.
Start off with major themes then drill down to specifics.
ID major pages, then secondary pages, then third pages, so on until four deep max. Create a map.
Major pages should be major SERP query answers, then secondary pages for longer tail queries.
Not every page on every site is spidered every day.
Some subpages might not be spidered every month. Crawl budget is important.
Spider does not determine if a page is worthy of ranking, it just determines if you are breaking Google’s rules. It can palace you in index, if you have a quality property. Spiders do not like errors. There can be a gradual increase in distance between crawls if a site does not update content.
TIP: No need to spider if nothing has changed
On Page Optimization is about 3 things:
Establish a theme. Make sure the SE knows what you are about.
Content should succinctly and descriptively answer as many user queries as possible.
Singular and Plural terms must be mixed together on the page
Write in natural language- to the consumer and not to the SE
Make sure you stay in the right topical universe
Use related phrases and keyword families: for instance — Smile, Smiled, Smiling
Think about intent, which will differ and shape your content.
Shopping Sites- Shorter, fewer words, smaller images, faster load, more drilldown
Research Sites- Longer, fewer images, bigger images, slower load, less drilldown
3 Types of Queries
Think about whether you want your site visitors to TAKE ACTION or simply COLLECT INFORMATION.
TIP: Sales and marketing intersect as you shape SEO strategies.
Website architecture changes, competition profiles change constantly, and the algorithm changes often requiring constant SEO performance evaluations.
Tips for Your Title Tag
Be aware of what competition is doing. If the competition has fewer words and all performing pages have fewer words, take the cue.
Tips for Your Meta Description (MD)
KW in title must also be shown in MD. If MD does not have the same KW as in the query, Google may provide content pulled from the page as a better alternative.
Try to make sure every word in the title is repeated in the description tag. This provides a higher probability of displaying in SERP.
Use complete sentences and natural language. Relay what to expect from the page.
Tips for Your Headings
Tips for Your Images
Get original images whenever possible. Unique images are better than stock. If using stock photos, alter them in some way to make them unique.
Alt Tags on images are also important for ADA compliance. If descriptions of an image do not match the image, it is a poor experience for individuals who are using screen readers. Images should contain dimension information
Tips for Your Links
Tip: Advertisement links should have a “Sponsored” attribute.
Investigate more: watch this video on SEO Anchor Text & Linking
Tips for the Body
Target 8th grade reading level for general content. Higher for technical or specific content.
HTML- Best Practices
Load files in sections. First load above the fold JS and CSS, then delay load the rest of the page JS and CSS. It may be better to load inline JS/CSS for the top of the page.
Remember, user intent drives SEO. If your site can become one that answers all of the questions of your ideal client persona (ICP), you will improve your search ranking. Answering all of the questions matches the goal of Google providing users with easy and fast access to the content you want. All of the optimization tactics in the world won’t replace the value of good content on your website to drive organic traffic.
Related: Read Segment Your Audience — Demographics
Google picks up on AI-generated content and actively searches for plagiarism and duplicate content.
Curious about that claim? Read Does AI Content Work for SEO?
There are plenty of ways to improve writing for search, and here is a handy SEO writer checklist to evaluate website copy:
Watch the Video: How to Edit Copywriting (Your Own or Others’)
Do you know your brand voice? Take the Hire a Writer Brand Voice Quiz
Tips on Keyword Research
Keyword research should inform keyword campaigns, and is an act of ongoing analysis and implementation.
Watch the Video: How to Create an SEO Keyword List
Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a technical aspect of SEO
The basics have to do with the following:
Related: Read an Overview of Technical SEO
There are all types of strategies around linking. This is an area where you should really watch out for black hat practices, which are bad and represent major risks to your domain authority and site health.
There are 3 types of links:
Tips About Your Links:
Related: Read 6 Link Building Strategies That Actually Work (And Don’t Violate Google Guidelines)
What is siloing?
A form of organization that makes it easier for Search Engines to review your site
15 steps to Silo
1. Have a good idea of what the website is about
2. Perform basic and advanced KW search
3. ID personas and expand KW lists
4. Prepare a comprehensive semi-final KW list
5. Select high ROI, CPC, KPI and Brand KW
6. ID Unicorn posts and articles and strengthen associated words
7. Perform a content gap analysis
8. Based on CGA- develop next-to-final KW list
9. Build content to cover gaps
10. Revise existing content to fit KW lists and optimal page structures
11. Analyze what Google thinks through rank changes
12. Select target landing pages- starting points
13. Link theme pages together
14. Draw a hierarchy map for site
Inspo source for this was Bruce Clay - check it out.
We briefly mentioned black hat above, and that’s a real thing. There are bad actors and malicious strategies in play that attempt to game the system. Google makes every effort to reduce these, but it’s important that you don’t engage in them, either inadvertently or on purpose. The short term yield could have devastating long-term consequences.
Solid SEO ethics look like this:
SEO Code of Conduct
Inspo source for this was also Bruce Clay - check it out.
We are two teams with one mission: to create visibility for deserving domains on the internet.
This is achieved through thoughtful, expertly executed SEO strategies and link building activities.
We want you to win… the right way.
You're on the Hire a Writer site, obvs. Learn more about Baby Got Backlink here.
Take a walk through time and around the globe to learn how storytelling shapes humanity.
Humor is an underutilized writing tool.
The TikTok heating feature isn't an urban myth. Here's what you need to know.