Seo Basics: 22 Essentials You Need For Optimizing Your Site

      178 has come to lớn be known mostly as a PPC destination. But we also know a thing or two about SEO, & people ask us all the time for a primer on SEO basics. So we’re delivering: This article will be an introduction & overview of tìm kiếm engine optimization (SEO), a mandatory sale tactic if you want your website to lớn be found through search engines lượt thích Google.

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In this guide khổng lồ SEO for beginners, you’ll learn:

By the time you reach the kết thúc of this SEO basics guide, you’ll have a svào understanding of what tìm kiếm engine optimization is, why it’s valuable & important, và how to get great results in an ever-changing SEO environment.

Note: If you"re looking for SEO tips specific lớn COVID-19, check out our post 13 SEO Strategies for SMBs During COVID-19

1. What is SEO và Why is it Important?

You’ve sầu likely heard of SEO, và if you haven’t already, you could obtain a quiông chồng Wikipedia definition of the term, but understanding that SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a website page in a tìm kiếm engine"s unpaid results” doesn’t really help you answer important questions for your business and your trang web, such as:

How vị you, for your site or your company’s site, “optimize” for tìm kiếm engines?How vì you increase your site"s organic search visibility, so it"s easy for your content lớn be found?How do you know how much time to spover on SEO?How can you differentiate “good” SEO advice from “bad” or harmful SEO advice?

What’s likely interesting to lớn you as a business owner or employee is how you can actually leverage SEO khổng lồ help drive more relevant traffic, leads, sales, & ultimately revenue và profit for your business. That’s what we’ll focus on in this guide.

Why Should You Care About SEO?

Lots & lots of people search for things. That traffic can be extremely powerful for a business not only because there is a lot of traffic, but because there is a lot of very specific, high-intent traffic.

If you sell blue widgets, would you rather buy a billboard so anyone with a oto in your area sees your ad (whether they will ever have any interest in xanh widgets or not), or show up every time anyone in the world types “buy blue widgets” inlớn a search engine? Probably the latter, because those people have commercial intent, meaning they are standing up và saying that they want to lớn buy something you offer.


People are searching for any manner of things directly related lớn your business. Beyond that, your prospects are also searching for all kinds of things that are only loosely related khổng lồ your business. These represent even more opportunities khổng lồ connect with those folks và help answer their questions, solve their problems, và become a trusted resource for them.

Are you more likely to lớn get your widgets from a trusted resource who offered great information each of the last four times you turned to lớn Google for help with a problem, or someone you’ve sầu never heard of?

What Actually Works for Driving Traffic from Search Engines?

First it’s important khổng lồ note that Google is responsible for most of the search engine traffic in the world (though there is always some flux in the actual numbers). This may vary from niche to lớn nibít, but it’s likely that Google is the dominant player in the tìm kiếm results that your business or trang web would want to show up in, & the best practices outlined in this guide will help position your site & its nội dung to rank in other search engines, as well.


Regardless of what tìm kiếm engine you use, search results are constantly changing. Google particularly has updated lots of things surrounding how they rank websites by way of lots of different animal names recently, & a lot of the easiest & cheapest ways lớn get your pages to rank in search results have sầu become extremely risky in recent years.

So what works? How does Google determine which pages to return in response to what people tìm kiếm for? How vày you get all of this valuable traffic to your site?

Google’s algorithm is extremely complex, & I’ll giới thiệu some link for anyone looking lớn dive sầu deeper into lớn how Google ranks sites at the over of this section, but at an extremely high level:

Google is looking for pages that contain high-unique, relevant information about the searcher’s query.They determine relevance by “crawling” (or reading) your website’s nội dung & evaluating (algorithmically) whether that nội dung is relevant khổng lồ what the searcher is looking for, mostly based on the keyword it contains.They determine “quality” by a number of means, but prominent aước ao those is still the number và chất lượng of other websites that liên kết to lớn your page & your site as a whole. To put it extremely simply: If the only sites that link to your xanh widget site are blogs that no one else on the Web has linked lớn, and my xanh widget site gets liên kết from trusted places that are linked to frequently, like, my site will be more trusted (and assumed to lớn be higher quality) than yours.

Increasingly, additional elements are being weighed by Google’s algorithm to determine where your site will rank, such as:

There are hundreds of ranking factors Google’s algorithm considers in response lớn searches, và they are constantly updating & refining their process.


The good news is, you don’t have sầu lớn be a search engine scholar to lớn rank for valuable terms in tìm kiếm results. We’ll walk through proven, repeatable best practices for optimizing websites for search that can help you drive targeted traffic through search without having lớn reverse-engineer the core competency of one of the world’s most valuable companies.

If you’re interested in learning more about how tìm kiếm engines work, there are a ton of great resources available, including:

Now, baông xã lớn SEO basics! Let’s get into lớn the actual SEO tactics and strategies that will help you get more traffic from tìm kiếm engines.

2. Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices

The first step in search engine optimization is really khổng lồ determine what it is you’re actually optimizing for. This means identifying the terms people are searching for (also known as “keywords”) that you want your website to lớn rank for in tìm kiếm engines like Google.

Sounds simple enough, right? I want my widget company to show up when people look for “widgets,” và maybe when they type in things like “buy widgets.” Onlớn step three!


Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. There are a few key factors khổng lồ take into lớn trương mục when determining the từ khóa you want to lớn target on your site:

Search Volume – The first factor lớn consider is how many people (if any) are actually searching for a given từ khóa. The more people there are searching for a keyword, the bigger the audience you stvà to lớn reach. Conversely, if no one is searching for a từ khoá, there is no audience available to lớn find your nội dung through search.Relevance – If a term is frequently searched for that’s great: but what if it’s not completely relevant to lớn your prospects? Relevance seems straight-forward at first: if you’re selling enterprise tin nhắn marketing automation software you don’t want to show up for searches that don’t have sầu anything to lớn vì chưng with your business, lượt thích “pet supplies.” But what about terms like “email sale software”? This might intuitively seem lượt thích a great description of what you vày, but if you’re selling to Fortune 100 companies, most of the traffic for this very competitive term will be searchers who don’t have any interest in buying your software (and the folks you vì want lớn reach might never buy your expensive, complex solution based on a simple Google search). Conversely, you might think a tangential keyword lượt thích “best enterprise PPC marketing solutions” is totally irrelevant to lớn your business since you don’t sell PPC sale software. But if your prospect is a CMO or sale director, getting in front of them with a helpful resource on evaluating pay-per-cliông chồng tools could be a great “first touch” and an excellent way lớn start a relationship with a prospective buyer.Competition – As with any business opportunity, in SEO you want to consider the potential costs and likelihood of success. For SEO, this means understanding the relative competition (& likelihood to rank) for specific terms.

First you need to lớn understvà who your prospective sầu customers are & what they’re likely to lớn tìm kiếm for. If you don’t already underst& who your prospects are, thinking about that is a good place lớn start, for your business in general but also for SEO.

From there you want to lớn understand:

What types of things are they interested in?What problems vày they have?What type of language vị they use lớn describe the things that they bởi, the tools that they use, etc.?Who else are they buying things from (this means your competitors, but also could mean tangential, related tools – for the tin nhắn sale company, think other enterprise sale tools)?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have an initial “seed list” of possible keywords and domains to help you get additional từ khóa ideas and lớn put some tìm kiếm volume và competition metrics around.

Take the list of core ways that your prospects và customers describe what you do, and start to input those into từ khoá tools like Google’s own từ khoá tool or tools lượt thích Uber Suggest or’s từ khóa tool:

You can find a more comprehensive menu of keywords tools below, but the main idea is that in this initial step, you’ll want lớn run a number of searches with a variety of different keywords tools. You can also use competitive sầu từ khoá tools lượt thích SEM Rush to lớn see what terms your competitors are ranking for. These tools look at thousands of different search results, & will show you each search term they’ve sầu seen your competitor ranking in Google for lately. Here’s what SEM Rush shows for kinh doanh automation provider Marketo:

Again: this doesn’t just have to be something you look at for competitors. You could look at related tools that are selling khổng lồ the same market for content ideas, và even look at the major niđậy publishers who talk about your topic (và that your prospects are reading) & see what kinds of từ khoá those sites are driving traffic for.

Additionally, if you have sầu an existing site, you’re likely getting some traffic from search engines already. If that’s the case, you can use some of your own từ khoá data lớn help you understand which terms are driving traffic (and which you might be able to rank a bit better for).

Unfortunately, Google has stopped delivering a lot of the information about what people are searching for to lớn analytics providers, but you can use SEM Rush (or similar tools, such as SpyFu) on your own site to lớn get a sense of the terms you’re ranking for and their estimated tìm kiếm volume. Google also makes a bit more of this data available in their free Webmaster Tools interface (if you haven’t set up an account, this is a very valuable SEO tool both for unearthing tìm kiếm query data and for diagnosing various technical SEO issues – more on Webmaster Tools phối up here).

Once Webmaster Tools is mix up, you can navigate to this links when logged in & see the tìm kiếm queries that are driving traffic lớn your site:

These could be good terms lớn focus additional content promotion and internal linking around (more on each of those topics later), & could also be great “seed keywords” lớn help you get more great ideas about what to target.

Once you’ve sầu taken the time to lớn understand how your prospects talk và what they search for, have looked at the keywords driving traffic lớn your competitors và related sites, and have sầu looked at the terms driving traffic lớn your own site, you need khổng lồ work khổng lồ underst& which terms you can conceivably rank for and where the best opportunities actually lie.

Determining the relative sầu competition of a từ khóa can be a fairly complex task. At a very high màn chơi, you need lớn understand:

How trusted and authoritative sầu (in other words: how many liên kết does the whole site get, & how high quality, trusted, và relevant are those linking sites?) other entire sites that will be competing lớn rank for the same term areHow well aligned they are with the từ khoá itself (vì chưng they offer a great answer khổng lồ that searcher’s question)How popular and authoritative each individual page in that search result is (in other words: how many liên kết does the page itself have sầu, và how high unique, trusted, và relevant are those linking sites?)

You can dive deeper into lớn the process of determining how competitive từ khoá are in Backlinko’s in-depth guide or by using founder Larry Kim’s competitive index formula (tip number 3).

There are also a variety of different tools (most of them paid) that offer từ khóa difficulty scores:

And while it’s more advanced in nature, Niông xã Eubanks’ post about understanding rank potential offers a great in-depth look at not only understanding but creating an actionable formula for determining keyword competition and your own site’s actual likelihood of ranking for a term.

If you’re looking khổng lồ dive sầu even deeper inkhổng lồ the topic of keywords research and keywords targeting, there are several great resources on the topic:

3. On-Page Optimization

Once you have sầu your keywords menu, the next step is actually implementing your targeted từ khóa inkhổng lồ your site’s content. Each page on your site should be targeting a core term, và a “basket” of related terms. In his overview of the perfectly optimized page R& Fishkin offers a nice visual of what a well (or perfectly) optimized page looks like:

Title Tags

While Google is working to lớn better understvà the actual meaning of a page & de-emphasizing (and even punishing) aggressive & manipulative sầu use of từ khoá, including the term (& related terms) that you want to lớn rank for in your pages is still valuable. And the single most impactful place you can put your từ khóa is your page’s title tag.

The title tag is not your page’s primary headline. The headline you see on the page is typically an H1 (or possibly an H2) HTML element. The title tag is what you can see at the very top of your browser, & is populated by your page’s source code in a meta tag:

The length of a title tag that Google will show will vary (it’s based on pixels, not character counts) but in general 55-60 characters is a good rule of thumb here. If possible you want khổng lồ work in your core keyword, and if you can vày it in a natural và compelling way, add some related modifiers around that term as well. Keep in mind though: the title tag will frequently be what a searcher sees in tìm kiếm results for your page. It’s the “headline” in organic search results, so you also want to take how clickable your title tag is into lớn account.

Meta Descriptions

While the title tag is effectively your tìm kiếm listing’s headline, the meta description (another meta HTML element that can be updated in your site’s code, but isn’t seen on your actual page) is effectively your site’s additional ad copy. Google takes some liberties with what they display in tìm kiếm results, so your meta description may not always show, but if you have sầu a compelling mô tả tìm kiếm of your page that would make folks searching likely to lớn click, you can greatly increase traffic. (Remember: showing up in search results is just the first step! You still need khổng lồ get searchers lớn come lớn your site, và then actually take the action you want.)

Here’s an example of a real world meta description showing in tìm kiếm results:

Body Content

The actual nội dung of your page itself is, of course, very important. Different types of pages will have sầu different “jobs” – your cornerstone content asset that you want lots of folks to liên kết lớn needs to lớn be very different than your tư vấn nội dung that you want to lớn make sure your users find & get an answer from quickly. That said, Google has been increasingly favoring certain types of nội dung, và as you build out any of the pages on your site, there are a few things lớn keep in mind:

Alt Attributes

How you mark up your images can impact not only the way that search engines perceive sầu your page, but also how much search traffic from image search your site generates. An alt attribute is an HTML element that allows you to lớn provide alternative information for an image if a user can’t view it. Your images may break over time (files get deleted, users have difficulty connecting to your site, etc.) so having a useful description of the image can be helpful from an overall usability perspective sầu. This also gives you another opportunity – outside of your nội dung – to lớn help tìm kiếm engines understand what your page is about.

You don’t want to lớn “keywords stuff” and cram your core từ khoá & every possible variation of it into your alt attribute. In fact, if it doesn’t fit naturally into the description, don’t include your target keyword here at all. Just be sure not khổng lồ skip the alternative text attribute, và try to lớn give sầu a thorough, accurate description of the image (imagine you’re describing it khổng lồ someone who can’t see it – that’s what it’s there for!).

By writing naturally about your topic, you’re avoiding “over-optimization” filters (in other words: it doesn’t make it look like you’re trying lớn trick Google into ranking your page for your target keyword) and you give yourself a better chance to rank for valuable modified “long tail” variations of your core topic.

URL Structure

Your site’s URL structure can be important both from a tracking perspective (you can more easily segment data in reports using a segmented, logical URL structure), and a shareability standpoint (shorter, descriptive URLs are easier to lớn copy and paste và tover to get mistakenly cut off less frequently). Again: don’t work lớn cram in as many từ khóa as possible; create a short, descriptive sầu URL.

Moreover: if you don’t have to lớn, don’t change your URLs. Even if your URLs aren’t “pretty,” if you don’t feel as though they’re negatively impacting users và your business in general, don’t change them lớn be more keywords focused for “better SEO.” If you vị have sầu to change your URL structure, make sure to use the proper (301 permanent) type of redirect. This is a common mistake businesses make when they rethiết kế their websites.

Additional URL resources:

Schema & Markup

Finally, once you have all of the standard on-page elements taken care of, you can consider going a step further và better helping Google (and other tìm kiếm engines, which also recognize schema) to lớn underst& your page.

Schema markup does not make your page show up higher in search results (it’s not a ranking factor, currently). It does give your listing some additional “real estate” in the tìm kiếm results, the way ad extensions vày for your Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) ads.

In some tìm kiếm results, if no one else is using schema, you can get a nice advantage in click-through rate by virtue of the fact that your site is showing things lượt thích ratings while others don’t. In other search results, where everyone is using schema, having reviews may be “table stakes” và you might be hurting your Google CTR by omitting them:

There are a variety of different types of markup you can include on your site – most probably won’t apply lớn your business, but it’s likely that at least one khung of markup will apply lớn at least some of your site’s pages. 

You can learn more about schema và markup with any of these resources:

Also check out our walkthrough on off-page SEO (the factors on other sites that can affect your own site"s rankings).

4. Information Architecture và Internal Linking

Information architecture refers khổng lồ how you organize the pages on your trang web. The way that you organize your trang web and interlink between your pages can impact how various content on your site ranks in response lớn searches.

The reason for this is that tìm kiếm engines largely perceive sầu link as “votes of confidence” và a means to help understvà both what a page is about, và how important it is (và how trusted it should be).

Search engines also look at the actual text you use khổng lồ liên kết to lớn pages, called anchor text – using descriptive text to liên kết khổng lồ a page on your site helps Google underst& what that page is about (but in a post-Penguin world especially, be sure not to lớn be overly aggressive sầu in cramming your từ khóa into lớn linking text).

In the same way that a link from CNN is an indication that your site could be important, if you are linking to a specific page aggressively from various areas on your site, that’s an indication lớn tìm kiếm engines that that specific page is very important lớn your site. Additionally: the pages on your site that have sầu the most external votes (link from other, trusted sites) have sầu the most power lớn help the other pages on your site rank in tìm kiếm results.

This relates baông xã to lớn a concept called “PageRank.” PageRank is no longer used in the same way it was when initially implemented, but if you’re looking to understvà the topic more deeply here are some good resources:

Let’s walk through a quick example lớn help you underst& the concept of how liên kết equity (or the number & quality of liên kết pointed to lớn a page) impacts site architecture và how you liên kết internally. Let’s imagine we have a snow removal site:

We publish an amazing study on the impact of snow on construction in the winter in cold weather climates. It gets linked to from all over the web.The study is published on our main snow removal site. All of the other pages are simple sales-oriented pages explaining various aspects of our company’s snow removal offerings. No external site has linked lớn any of these pages.The study itself may be well-positioned lớn rank well in search results for various phrases. The sales-oriented pages much less so. By linking from our study to our most important sales-oriented pages, however, we can pass some of the trust & authority of our guide onkhổng lồ those pages. They won’t be as well positioned lớn rank in search results as our study, but they’ll be much better positioned than when they had no authoritative documents (on our site or on other sites) pointing khổng lồ them. An important additional note here: in this example our most-linked khổng lồ page is our fictitious study. In many cases, your most linked to lớn page will be your home page page (the page that people links lớn when they talk about you, when you get press, etc.) so being sure to links strategically lớn the most important pages on your site from your home page is very important.

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Information architecture can be an extremely complex topic – particularly for larger sites – & there are a number of great additional resources below with more specific answers listed at the end of this section, but at a high level the most important things lớn keep in mind are:

You want to understand your most linked-to pages (use tools lượt thích Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, or Moz và look at “top pages” reports to lớn determine these).Keep your most important search pages (the pages you are using to lớn target your most valuable keywords) “high up” in your information architecture: this means linking to lớn them often in navigation elements và linking lớn them whenever possible from your most linked-khổng lồ pages (e.g., make sure your trang chủ page và your site’s version of our hit snow study are linking lớn the most valuable pages on your site from a tìm kiếm perspective sầu – your “money pages”).

Below are a number of additional resources around information architecture (many of these are older resources, but the SEO principles outlined in them still largely hold true):

5. Content Marketing & Link Building

Since Google’s algorithm is still largely based on liên kết, having a number of high-unique link khổng lồ your site is obviously incredibly important in driving search traffic: you can vày all the work you want on on-page and technical SEO, if you don’t have liên kết to your site, you won’t show up in tìm kiếm results listings.

There are a number of ways khổng lồ get links lớn your site, but as Google & other search engines become more & more sophisticated, many of them have sầu become extremely risky (even if they may still work in the short-term). If you are new to lớn SEO and are looking to lớn leverage the channel, these riskier and more aggressive means of trying to get liên kết likely aren’t a good fit for your business, as you won’t know how to properly navigate the pitfalls and evaluate the risks. Furthermore, trying lớn create links specifically lớn manipulate Google rankings doesn’t create any other value for your business in the sự kiện that the tìm kiếm engine algorithms shift and your rankings disappear.

A more sustainable approach to lớn developing liên kết is khổng lồ focus on more general, sustainable kinh doanh approaches such as creating & promoting useful content that also includes specific terms you’d want khổng lồ rank for and engaging in traditional quảng cáo for your business.

The process of creating & promoting nội dung that will get you link và social shares is a labor-intensive one. Once again you’ll find more detailed step-by-step guides lớn various aspects of nội dung marketing below, and there are a lot of different ways lớn effectively create nội dung, help it lớn get discovered, and rank well in tìm kiếm results. Most approaches, however, will require you khổng lồ walk through some variation of the following three core steps:

1. Identify & Understand Your Linking & Sharing Audience

The first thing you need to lớn bởi in working to get traction for your nội dung, is underst& who is likely lớn liên kết khổng lồ & cốt truyện your nội dung. There are several tools to lớn help you identify influencers within your niche who might nói qua your content, but probably the most powerful is BuzzSumo:

Similar tools include FollowerWonk, Little Bird and Ahrefs. More detailed tutorials on using these tools lớn better understand your nibịt are included below.

The idea in leveraging these tools is khổng lồ first identify the thought leaders & potential linkers in your space, & then underst& what they tóm tắt và liên kết to. Find out what their problems are, what types of content they typically mô tả, and start to think about how you can create something they would find valuable và want khổng lồ mô tả with their audience (who would also find it valuable).

As you work through this process, start to lớn think about what you can do for these influencers. How could you help them with their own projects? What can you vày (unsolicited) that would help them achieve their own goals or what could you create or offer that would be of value to lớn the audience they are creating nội dung for và trying to lớn help? Do you have access to quality data or knowledge that would help them vì chưng their jobs better? If you can consistently be of use to lớn smart content creators in your niđậy, you’ll start to lớn build powerful relationships that will pay dividends as you’re creating content.

Before you create a major piece of nội dung, you should have sầu already thought about how that content will get shared: who will mô tả it, và why would they?

2. Determining What Content You Can Create và How You Can Promote It

Next you have khổng lồ try khổng lồ underst& what your own capabilities are, & what kind of nội dung you can create that will be likely khổng lồ be shared & promoted by others.

A number of different types of nội dung assets will be shareable:

Focus on creating different nội dung assets that will be of real value, have a plan for promoting those assets, and don’t be shy about letting people who you’ve featured or whose audience would benefit from your resource know that it exists.

3. Map Your Assets lớn Specific Keywords

Finally, don’t forget about your keywords! This doesn’t mean that every time you create a great resource you need khổng lồ cram in a keywords that doesn’t fit: it means that you can use từ khoá retìm kiếm as a means for discovering pain points (if people are turning to tìm kiếm engines to look for things, they want content that provides a great answer to their question!), & that as you create new assets you want khổng lồ look for the different ways you can incorporate the language your prospects & customers are using into lớn your assets: particularly those that will actually get linked lớn & shared (as you will increasingly need to lớn get some sort of distribution for pages where you want them lớn rank for valuable keywords).

Additional Resources:

6. Comtháng Technical SEO Issues & Best Practices

While basics of SEO lượt thích the most efficient ways to lớn build links to drive sầu tìm kiếm engine rankings have sầu changed in recent years (& content sale has become increasingly important) what many people would think of as more “traditional SEO” is still incredibly valuable in generating traffic from search engines. As we’ve already discussed, keywords retìm kiếm is still valuable, và technical SEO issues that keep Google and other search engines from understanding và ranking sites’ content are still prevalent.

Technical SEO for larger, more complicated sites is really its own discipline, but there are some comtháng mistakes and issues that most sites face that even smaller to mid-sized businesses can benefit from being aware of:

Page Speed

Search engines are placing an increasing emphasis on having fast-loading sites – the good news is this is not only beneficial for tìm kiếm engines, but also for your users và your site’s conversion rates. Google has actually created a useful tool here khổng lồ give you some specific suggestions on what to change on your site lớn address page tốc độ issues.

Mobile Friendliness

If your site is driving (or could be driving) significant tìm kiếm engine traffic from thiết bị di động searches, how “điện thoại friendly” your site is will impact your rankings on Smartphone devices, which is a fast-growing segment. In some niches, Smartphone traffic already outweighs desktop traffic.

Google recently announced an algorithm update focused on this specifically. You can find out more about how khổng lồ see what kind of Mobile search engine traffic is coming khổng lồ your site along with some specific recommendations for things to lớn update in my recent post, và here again Google offers a very helpful miễn phí tool khổng lồ get recommendations on how lớn make your site more mobile-friendly.

Header Response

Header response codes are an important technical SEO issue. If you’re not particularly technical, this can be a complex topic (và again more thorough resources are listed below) but you want khổng lồ make sure that working pages are returning the correct code lớn search engines (200), and that pages that are not found are also returning a code lớn represent that they are no longer present (a 404). Getting these codes wrong can indicate to Google & other search engines that a “Page Not Found” page is in fact a functioning page, which makes it look like a thin or duplicated page, or even worse: you can indicate khổng lồ Google that all of your site’s nội dung is actually 404s (so that none of your pages are indexed & eligible to lớn rank). You can use a hệ thống header checker to lớn see the status codes that your pages are returning when tìm kiếm engines crawl them.


Improperly implementing redirects on your site can have a serious impact on search results. Whenever you can avoid it, you want lớn keep from moving your site’s content from one URL to another; in other words: if your nội dung is on, & that page is getting search engine traffic, you want lớn avoid moving all of the content khổng lồ, unless there is an extremely strong business reason that would outweigh a possible short-term or even long-term loss in tìm kiếm engine traffic. If you bởi need to lớn move sầu content, you want to lớn make sure that you implement permanent (or 301) redirects for nội dung that is moving permanently, as temporary (or 302) redirects (which are frequently used by developers) indicate lớn Google that the move may not be permanent, và that they shouldn’t move sầu all of the link equity và ranking power to lớn the new URL. (Further, changing your URL structure could create broken links, hurting your referral traffic streams và making it difficult for visitors khổng lồ navigate your site.)

Duplicate Content

Thin & duplicated nội dung is another area of emphasis with Google’s recent Panda updates. By duplicating content (putting the same or near-identical nội dung on multiple pages), you’re diluting liên kết equity between two pages instead of concentrating it on one page, giving you less of a chance of ranking for competitive sầu phrases with sites that are consolidating their liên kết equity into a single document. Having large quantities of duplicated nội dung makes your site look like it is cluttered with lower-chất lượng (và possibly manipulative) content in the eyes of tìm kiếm engines.

There are a number of things that can cause duplicate or thin content. These problems can be difficult to diagnose, but you can look at Webmaster Tools under Search Appearance > HTML Improvements to lớn get a quiông xã diagnosis.

And kiểm tra out Google’s own breakdown on duplicate nội dung. Many paid SEO tools also offer a means for discovering duplicate nội dung, such as Moz analytics & Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps can help Google và Bing understvà your site and find all of its content. Just be sure not to lớn include pages that aren’t useful, và know that submitting a page lớn a search engine in a sitebản đồ doesn’t insure that the page will actually rank for anything. There are a number of không tính phí tools to generate XML sitemaps.

Robots.txt, Meta NoIndex, và Meta NoFollow

Finally, you can indicate to lớn tìm kiếm engines how you want them to lớn handle certain content on your site (for instance if you’d like them not khổng lồ crawl a specific section of your site) in a robots.txt file. This file likely already exists for your site at You want to lớn make sure this tệp tin isn’t currently blocking anything you’d want a tìm kiếm engine khổng lồ find from being added to their index, & you also can use the robots file to lớn keep things like staging servers or swaths of thin or duplicate nội dung that are valuable for internal use or customers from being indexed by tìm kiếm engines. You can use the meta noindex and meta nofollow tags for similar purposes, though each functions differently from one another.

Additional Resources:

Technical SEO can be tough to lớn bởi vì on your own, so if you"re thinking professional help is a worthwhile investment, kiểm tra out this post on How to lớn Find the Right SEO Services for Your Small Business

7. How lớn Traông chồng & Measure SEO Results

So once you start writing your awesome SEO nội dung & putting all of these steps inlớn motion, how bởi vì you actually track how well it’s working?

On its face this question has a fairly straightforward answer, with some key metrics to lớn focus on, but with each metric there are some key factors to lớn consider as you measure your site’s SEO performance.

Keyword Rankings

Looking at where your site ranks for a menu of keyword certainly isn’t a final destination – you can’t pay your staff in rankings, things lượt thích personalization in tìm kiếm results have made them variable across different locations, & therefore hard lớn traông xã, & of course all they indicate is where you show up in tìm kiếm results. Some would even go so far as to declare them dead. But getting a rough idea of where your site ranks for core terms can be a useful leading indicator of your site’s health. High rankings across a range of từ khóa is a strong indicator of organic search visibility.

This doesn’t mean you should get overly obsessed with rankings for any one term. Remember: your ultimate goal is lớn drive sầu more relevant traffic that drives more business – if you sell xanh widgets, is it more important that you rank for “xanh widgets” or that you outline và exedễ thương an SEO strategy that helps you sell more blue widgets in the most cost-efficient way possible? Use rankings as a general health check, not a course-charting Key Performance Indicator.

A number of tools can help you check your rankings. Most offer fairly similar functionality but features lượt thích local or sản phẩm điện thoại rankings are sometimes unique in some of the tools. If you’re a small business or just getting started with SEO, I’d recommover picking a free và easy-to-use tool and just keeping an eye on a handful of the core terms you want lớn traông chồng lớn help you gauge progress.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is a much better leading indicator of the health of your SEO efforts. By looking at the organic traffic lớn your site, you can get a gauge for the actual volume of visitors coming to your site, và where they’re going.

You can measure your organic traffic easily with most analytics tools – since it’s free và the most-used, we’ll look at how to lớn get this information in Google Analytics.

For a quiông xã check, you can simply look at your site’s main reporting page and cliông chồng on “All Sessions” to filter for organic traffic (traffic from search engines that excludes paid search traffic):

Note: Make sure once you view this report that you’re selecting the organic traffic segment again, or you’ll be looking at all of your traffic by page rather than just unpaid traffic driven by tìm kiếm engines.

This can be powerful for sites just getting started with SEO, because frequently most of your site’s traffic will be driven by what’s known as “branded queries,” or searches that contain your company’s brvà name (for instance a branded tìm kiếm for might be “ PPC” versus a non-branded tìm kiếm term, which might be “pay-per-click software”). You clearly want khổng lồ have sầu people searching for your brand, và of course you want them khổng lồ find you when they vày, but unless your site has been penalized by Google, you will almost certainly rank for your br& và have sầu that branded traffic come khổng lồ your site’s trang chủ page. What most of your ongoing SEO efforts should be centered around is driving incremental traffic to lớn the site (people who might not have found và engaged with you otherwise).

As I mentioned in the keyword section of the guide, unfortunately Google has made it difficult khổng lồ get data around the actual từ khoá people are searching for, but by looking at page-cấp độ traffic (outside of your site’s trang chính page) you can start lớn glean insight inkhổng lồ your overall SEO progress. Looking at rank data and using the tactics mentioned in the từ khóa section of this guide will also help you lớn get more insight into the actual terms that are driving traffic (và whether your SEO growth is being driven by optimization efforts rather than off-line marketing).

Organic Leads & Sales

Obviously the primary way to measure your search engine optimization results should be actual leads, sales, revenue & profit. Like with any business activity you need khổng lồ answer: how does the activity help lớn move sầu your bottom line?

The simplest path here is to mix up goals or e-commerce tracking in a tool like Google Analytics. You can use the above report to lớn look at organic traffic & goals (or different e-commerce metrics) by trang đích, which means that you are specifically looking at who converts aước ao the people who are landing on your site from an organic tìm kiếm (versus people who may have sầu come khổng lồ your site from PPC or another channel within the window that your analytics tracking can track, then searched for you, then converted).

This seems pretty straightforward, & generally for most businesses is a good initial way to measure the success of your SEO efforts, but again there are a few caveats & things khổng lồ keep in mind with this data:

Web-based analytics is always imperfect. If you’re transitioning from billboards or newspaper ads to lớn online kinh doanh, you’ll likely be impressed by the volume and precision of the data available, but there can frequently be a variety of different tracking issues that can make the data you’re seeing anywhere from slightly to lớn wildly off – always have a degree of skepticism about data that doesn’t seem to add up, và vị what you can lớn have sầu some checks in place to make sure that your analytics information is synced to lớn your actual revenue and spover data.Your system might create gaps in tracking. If you have a back-end system that you can’t quite tie to analytics for some reason, you might have some gaps between what you can track as goals và actual sales.Attribution & life-time value metrics can be tricky. This is more of a business and web metrics problem than something specific to lớn SEO, but figuring out how you attribute sales to lớn different channels và factoring in life-time value to lớn your site’s traffic can be tricky. Make sure you’re applying the same types of tough questions and attempting to lớn measure SEO the same way you would with any other marketing endeavor.

Additional Resources

8. Additional SEO Considerations

For many businesses, getting the technical aspects of SEO right, understanding the keywords you want to lớn target, và having a strategy for getting your site’s pages linked to & shared is really all you need lớn know about SEO. There are, however, some specific cases and business types that need to be concerned with specific types of tìm kiếm. A few types of tìm kiếm environments that require chất lượng approaches include:

So What Now?

So if you’ve gotten this far, you should know a lot of information about how search engines rank websites và about how you can position your own site & business to lớn generate more search traffic from tìm kiếm engines like Google. What should you vì chưng next?

Prioritize. No site does a perfect job of executing against every single aspect of search engine optimization. Think about the things you bởi vì well, have sầu budget & resources for, & that will give your business the best return for your investment – this will be at least slightly different for every business & site.

If you’re great at creating and promoting nội dung, determine which từ khóa to go after và focus your efforts there.

If you have sầu a large and complex site, focus on getting the technical SEO right (or hire someone who can).

If you’re a small business that would benefit from ranking for very specific geo-focused terms but not much else, shore up your local SEO efforts (& then maybe focus on other marketing efforts once you start lớn see diminishing returns from your efforts there).

Always remember that the ultimate objective with any tìm kiếm engine optimization efforts is lớn get more exposure và traffic for your business or your site’s nội dung. Look for ways that tìm kiếm engine traffic can help your business & site: don’t just chase after the latest SEO buzzwords or jump every time Google makes a recommendation that might improve your search rankings while hurting your overall business.