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SEO: SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

ALMOST EVERYTHING WE DO ONLINE STARTS WITH A SEARCH:

IF WE LOOK FOR AN ANSWER OR WE WANT TO BUY SOMETHING, WE LOOK FOR IT ON THE WEB.

THIS GUIDE WILL EXPLAIN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO IMMEDIATELY START OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITE AND INCREASING THE NATURAL NON-PAID VISIBILITY ON SEARCH ENGINES.

 

WHAT IS SEO

SEO is the English acronym for Search Engine Optimization and defines all the optimization activities of a website aimed at improving its positioning in the organic search engine results such as Google and Bing.

The process of optimizing a website involves 3 activities:

TECHNICAL OPTIMIZATION.

This phase allows search engines to correctly access and index the pages of your website. Doing SEO also means adopting innovative solutions such as AMP [1] and Schema.org [2] to respond to users’ research evolution.

CONTENT CREATION.

The contents of your website will have to respond to different research intent [3]. If they are appreciated by users, they will also be appreciated by search engines, because they are aware of having provided the best answers to their questions.

CONTENT PROMOTION.

Promoting content designed to be shared is a fundamental step in the success of your SEO campaign. Being cited with a link from authoritative sites is an unmistakable way to tell Google that yours is a quality website.

We can therefore say that SEO is a perfect combination of technical optimization and marketing strategy.

HOW GOOGLE SEARCH WORKS

Before starting to optimize a website, you need to understand how search engines work:

SCAN OR CRAWLING

Google scans the Web for new content with sophisticated programs called crawlers. Found new pages, the spiders follow the detected links to discover new contents in a continuous chain process.

INDEXING

Google stores a copy of the scanned content in an index. The index is stored in high-powered servers so that it is available in real time.

POSITIONING OR RANKING

When the user performs a search, the search engine algorithms evaluate on the basis of the positioning factors, which contents respond best to his informative question.

KEYWORD STRATEGY

To understand who your users are and what they are looking for, answer these 4 questions:

  1. What are they really interested in?
  2. What problems do they want to solve by searching the web?
  3. What kind of language do they use?
  4. Who are your competitors?

Once answered, you will have an initial list of search terms and a list of competitor websites from which to draw to find new keywords.

KEYWORD RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS IS THE FIRST STEP OF AN SEO CAMPAIGN BECAUSE IT WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND THE INFORMATIVE QUESTION OF YOUR USERS.

The factors that will guide you in choosing the most suitable keywords for your positioning goals are 3:

SEARCH VOLUMES

Number of times on a monthly basis for which a keyword is used for a search

RELEVANCE

A term can also have high search volumes but not be relevant to the site you are optimizing

COMPETITION

Keywords with high search volumes can potentially attract many users but also have high competition

Before proceeding further, I want to explain to you the model of the Long Tail or Long Tail

LONG TAIL – STRATEGY FOR SEO

Long-tailed keywords make it easier to respond to users’ information requests and therefore potentially generate more conversions.

According to this strategy, it is advisable to position yourself for a higher number of keywords with lower search volumes rather than for a few very competitive keywords.

KEYWORD SEARCH TOOL FOR KEYWORDS STRATEGY

There are numerous tools that can help you find the right keywords: the most popular is the Google Ads Keyword Planner or Keyword Planner Tool

GOOGLE ADS – KEYWORD SEARCH TOOL – USER PANEL

The Google Ads free keyword research tool provides ideas, research volumes and historical research statistics.

Now you have all the data you need to prioritize the selection of your keywords and map the search intent of your users.

WEBSITE STRUCTURE

WEBSITE STRUCTURE

The architecture allows search engine spiders to find, crawl and index the contents of your website.

DESIGNING THE STRUCTURE OF A WEBSITE, ESPECIALLY IF IT IS LARGE, IS A COMPLEX ACTIVITY.

There are 3 steps that can be useful to organize and develop the architecture of a website:

ARCHITECTURE

the website structure must be flat so that the most strategic pages are just a few clicks away from the home page

PAGES

identifies the pages that receive multiple internal links, using a tool capable of emulating spiders such as ScreamingFrog

INTERNAL LINKS

place the most relevant pages at the top levels of the navigation tree so that they receive more internal links

INTERNAL LINK OPTIMIZATION (INTERNAL LINKING)

Internal links are links that go from one page to another in the same domain and are commonly used in the main navigation menu.
A well structured internal link structure is useful because:

  1. favors access and indexing of resources
  2. allows users to browse the site
  3. determines a hierarchy between the pages of the site

 

The text used as a link between the pages, called anchor text or anchor text, is another parameter to be optimized: the text must be descriptive and predictive. This will help Google (and users) understand the content of the landing page.

ON-PAGE SEO OPTIMIZATION

The contents alone are not enough to ensure the good positioning of your web pages.

On-page SEO optimization allows you to make a web page relevant for specific search terms.

Let’s see in detail what are the fundamental structural elements of a web page to be optimized for search engines.

TAG TITLE

The structural element of a web page to which search engines attribute the most importance is the Title tag.

To optimize the <title> tag in SEO key you must:

  1. limit its length to 55 characters (including spaces)
  2. enter the keyword at the beginning
  3. write in an appealing way, possibly including a CTA

META TAG DESCRIPTION

The Meta Description is the fragment of text associated with each web page that is displayed in SERP.
Often users do not click on the first result offered by the engines but scan the search results page to find the snippet that best meets their information needs. The Meta Description, if strategically compiled, can influence the Click To Rate (CTR) and therefore the positioning of your web pages.

Here are 3 tips to optimize the meta description of your website:

  1. Use up to 145 characters (including spaces)
  2. Try to be brief and include a call to action
  3. Remember to enter the keyword

Remember, it’s always a matter of research intent.

URL

Structuring a URL with a maximum of 3/5 words, according to some studies, seems to be rewarding and favors organic positioning. Another aspect to consider is the inclusion of the keyword:

  1. if speaking and descriptive, it improves the user experience
  2. it is often used in external links as anchor text

MARKERS TITLE HX

The hX title markers are HTML tags used to determine a hierarchy between the contents of a web page and have a positive influence on the ranking.

Here are some simple best practices to best optimize them:

  1. there must be only one h1 per page and be populated with the target keyword of the page
  2. the h2, h3, etc., markers can be used multiple times and must provide a clear description of the content they anticipate

 

SEO IMAGE OPTIMIZATION. SEO FOR IMAGES

If you are a blogger or you write articles for an online newspaper, you will have asked yourself if it makes sense to include images in your posts. The answer, of course, is yes. The images infact speak the textual resources of your website and contribute positively to the positioning of your content.

If you want to optimize an image for search engines, remember:

  1. carefully choose the file name
  2. compress the file size to reduce loading times
  3. compile the alt = “X” text with the keyword for which you want to place the page
  4. Use a CDN for increase performance and parallelism

LOADING SPEED ​​OPTIMIZATION

Users are increasingly attentive to the loading speed of a web page. Like them, even search engines like Google are. People want to find answers to their questions in ever shorter times.

A fast website in loading times, allows in fact:

  1. improve user experience, thus increasing conversion rates
  2. facilitate access and indexing of site resources

Google Page Speed ​​Tool can hel you to undestand the limits and error of your website. Google has made the PageSpeedanalysis tool available which provides some suggestions for improving page load times. Alternatively, you can the use of WebPageTest which, offers more detailed and reliable results.

SEO OPTIMIZATION FOR MOBILE DEVICES (SEO MOBILE )

Each of us has a smartphone that he uses every day to communicate and search for information online. Google has confirmed to give priority to the mobile version of the contents of a web page to decide the positioning of the organic search results. Optimizing a website for mobile devices is a fundamental requirement to be visible on search engines today.

Optimization for mobile or mobile SEO requires that:

  1. resources must be accessible from any device
  2. the contents must be equally visible on all devices
  3. Page loading times must be quick even on smartphones
  4. user experience (UX) must be rewarding on all devices

Google mobile optimization test.

Again, Google comes to our aid by offering us a Mobile Optimization Test tool [17] that provides useful tips on how to make a site more mobile friendly.

OFF-SITE SEO OPTIMIZATION

The Google algorithm is based largely on links and it is therefore important that a website has a quality backlink profile. There are several off-site optimization strategies but, since search engines have become increasingly clever in identifying artificial manipulations, some of them have become extremely dangerous. If you are a SEO neophyte and do not want to jeopardize the organic visibility of your website, focus your efforts on content marketing. So let’s see together how to proceed step by step in the creation and promotion of quality content.

HOW TO IDENTIFY THE REFERENCE AUDIENCE

If you want your content to be quoted or, better yet, linked, you must first understand who is willing to read it.

There are several tools that can help you identify the influencers of reference. The most effective is certainly BuzzSumo.

  1. Buzzsumo – User Panel – Influencer marketing
  2. Buzzsumo and FollowerWonk allow you to understand what they share and link the influencers of your reference niche.
  3. How to choose and promote new content

Some content is particularly suitable for receiving external links or for sharing. If you are looking for the right inspiration, here are some tips:

  1. create content that can solve your users’ problems
  2. analyze the contents that have already received approval among your influencers, improve them and disseminate them
  3. share the contents of the influencer of your interest so that you feel more inclined to return the favor

REMEMBER THE KEYWORDS!

Use keyword research to understand how your users use search engines and use their language to develop new content and to optimize existing ones.

HOW TO MEASURE RESULTS

Once you’ve optimized your website, you’ll need to analyze the quality of your work. There are several KPIs  to monitor, each with its own specificities.

MONITOR THE POSITIONING OF KEYWORDS

The constant (and anxious) monitoring of the positioning of all the search queries for which your website is positioned, is an approach that I strongly advise against. To understand the results of your SEO campaign, monitor over time the positioning of the most important and strategic keywords. The market offers a variety of free and paid tools. Some of these also allow positioning to be monitored for searches from mobile and geo-localized devices. If you are a small business or you are approaching SEO, a free tool like Google Search Console [21] will allow you to develop the familiarity needed to evaluate the positioning of your website.

ANALYZE THE ORGANIC TRAFFIC BY SEARCH ENGINES

The analysis of organic traffic allows to measure the number of visitors coming from search engines and to understand their behavior within the site. Organic traffic from search engines is the most representative KPI for evaluating the results of your SEO campaign. Google Analytics is the most widespread web analytics suite which, already in its free version, offers very advanced analysis tools.

To know the natural traffic intercepted by your website on Google Analytics, go to the main panel, go to “Public” => “Overview” => “All sessions” and filter by “Organic Traffic”.

LEAD AND ORGANIC SALES

TERMS USED IN THE ARTICLE

Among the most important KPIs to monitor to measure the ROI of the SEO activity are the leads, sales and turnover. The simplest way to obtain this data is to set goals or activate e-commerce monitoring in an analysis tool like Google Analytics. Although the data from web analytics tools is generally simple to collect, you need to keep the following in mind:

  1. analytics data is, in a more or less variable way, inaccurate
  2. site technology can cause distortions in the data collected
  3. attribution models can be misleading

TAKEAWAY

If you have come this far it means that you have everything you need to start optimizing your website. Wondering where to start? Prioritizes! From my experience as an SEO consultant it is rare the case in which a site is optimized to perfection in every aspect.

Think about what you do well, the budget you have and the optimizations that you think are most effective for your positioning strategy. If you’re smart at creating content, carefully select keywords and focus on content marketing. If you have a complex website or many pages, focus on On-Page optimization, or ask for help from an SEO consultant who does it for you.

MEMBER, THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF ANY SEO STRATEGY IS TO GET MORE VISIBILITY AND ORGANIC TRAFFIC QUALIFIED BY SEARCH ENGINES. SELL AND CONVERT.

TERMS USED IN THE ARTICLE

  • AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages): official website of the open source project developed by Google that allows users to improve the mobile experience.
  • Schema.org: specific vocabulary of tags or microdata that facilitate the understanding of a web page by search engines.
  • Search Intents: reason why a user performs a search. The intent is commonly classified in navigational, informative and transactional and helps to understand the informative question to which the web page must answer.
  • Crawlers: also referred to as web crawlers, spiders or robots, they are computer programs developed to visit websites, read their contents and codify words / terms that can best describe them.
  • Long Tail: expression coined by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 article in Wired Magazine describing an economic and commercial model.
  • Keyword Planning Tool: The Google Ads Keyword Planning Tool is a search tool that allows you to find the most suitable target keywords for display ads, the search network, videos and app. app
  • ScreamingFrog: desktop SEO tool (PC or Mac) that scans links, images, CSS, scripts and apps from websites.
  • HTML: Abbreviation of HyperText Markup Language, a language used for describing web page documents. Indicates the basic elements of the web pages, including the text of the documents and any hypertext links and embedded images
  • SERP: Search Engine Result Page abbreviation or search results page provided by a search engine, such as Google or Bing.↲
  • Markers hX title: HTML tags that communicate the organization of the content of a page.↲
  • Find out how you stack up to new industry benchmarks for mobile page speed: Think With Google – Daniel An Google Global Product Lead, Mobile Web.
  • Using site speed in web search ranking: Google Webmaster Central Blog.↲
  • PageSpeed: PageSpeed ​​Insights analyzes the contents of a web page and generates suggestions to make it faster.↲
  • WebPageTest: free speed tests available from all over the world. The tool uses real browsers and connection speeds and provides detailed optimization recommendations
  • Rolling out mobile-first indexing: Google Webmaster Central Blog – March 26, 2018.↲
  • Mobile Optimization Test: tool that allows you to check the ease of use of your page on mobile devices
  • BuzzSumo: platform for content marketing and SEO agencies to discover engaging content and opportunities for outreach
  • KPI or Key Performance Indicators: indicators that allow measuring the performance of a specific activity or process, such as an SEO campaign
  • Google Search Console: Search Console provides reports on which you can perform actions, tools and resources for learning, designed to bring your content to Google Search.
  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics allows you to measure sales, conversions and user behavior on your website