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Understanding SEO: How to Top Rank on Google

Topic: SEO
Published In: 2021/01/ 26

Improve your SEO Knowledge and Rank Higher on Google.

Let’s be honest, Generating Organic Traffic, and improving Google Ranking requires Time, Effort, and Consistency. To ensure Efficient Growth of your website, understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using its techniques is essential.

If you are entirely new to this concept, then the first thing you think is let’s hire an expert. Usually, this is the best option, but hiring an expert simply means additional costs. For less capitalized entrepreneurs, it might be another barrier that compromises the launch of their venture.

What if you learn some techniques and grow as a business? Sounds great, right? Today, we have come up with an ample amount of knowledge regarding SEO and SEO techniques that newbies can use to in their websites with ease.

Computer showing online organic traffic on google in a desk with plants

Photo by Serpstat from Pexels . Transformed and adapted by the World Marketing Forum

Importance of Having SEO Knowledge.

A little knowledge of SEO can help you achieve big business goals. But what exactly is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how is it useful in achieving big business goals?

SEO refers to the optimization of your website to generate unpaid traffic. When you go for the paid method, you might end up with traffic on your website, but it requires regular funding. Moreover, it has commonly been seen that more traffic is generated through SEO rather than advertising. In the case of organic traffic, your business gains the trust of your online audience. Gaining their trust is the first step to building a consistent online audience.

SEO & Business Objectives – What’s the Connection?

Why is SEO important for your website? It leads to increased traffic on your website, therefore more potential leads and conversions.

A good analogy could be comparing your website to a store, without people going to your store or office how your company can operate? SEO brings you traffic so you should take excellent care of it like you would do if a customer just got into your front door on a traditional brick and mortar store.

But before studying and implementing the strategies to increase the website traffic, it is essential to set business goals.

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

The primary goal of SEO is to cater to the long term goals of the business. What is your purpose behind generating more traffic? Vaguely going out for SEO will take you nowhere. If you manage auto parts shop, it doesn’t make any sense to cover an article comparing the different types of insecticide just because there’s organic demand for that. Still, it makes sense if you operate a florist, a seed supplier, a natural food grower etc… even if you don’t sell insecticide.

Now we need to know the difference between organic and inorganic traffic;

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Benjamin Franklin – Founding Father of the United States of America. Portrait by David Martin in 1767.

Organic Traffic.

Organic (or unpaid traffic) is Naturally Generated Traffic on your site. You make “zero investment” in order to generate this traffic.

It is generated using Targeted Keywords that people use the most in search engines along with creating Quality Content.

In the long run, a reader returns back to your site only if you have quality content. Many people try to fool the search engine algorithm by adopting practices like Keyword Stuffing and eventually, end up getting banned.

Organic Traffic Key Points

  • Free
  • From search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Duckduckgo.
  • Connected to the subject of your website
  • Keywords are strong determinants
  • Traffic volume depends on topic interest and website rank on search engine
  • Can beoptimized

Inorganic Traffic.

Inorganic or Paid Traffic is for those website owners that are targeting Instant Traffic Generation.

Initially, you will come across increased traffic on your website but let’s be honest, in the long run, the picture will be the complete opposite. There are various different ways of generating inorganic traffic like Advertising and Affiliate Marketing.

Inorganic Traffic Key Points

  • Paid
  • From paid search in search engines like Google
  • Comes from other websites
  • Comes from social media
  • Comes from affiliated partners
  • Traffic volume depends on general topic interest and budget to spend

Organic vs.Inorganic Traffic.

Generating Organic Traffic requires Time and an ample amount of effort in research and editing. You need to ensure the content that you create is Unique & Valuable.

Along with this, creating Backlinks from trusted sources help you in increasing Credibility and hence, traffic. Most people avoid spending time in research and this results in minimum traffic. No matter how much paid promotion works, in the end, what sells is your content.

Therefore, never take it for granted. We will talk about this in detail as we move further.

When it comes down to reliability, Organic Traffic is much more reliable and consistent as compared to the initial boost on your website due to paid advertisement. For the medium term, it’s the solution you should invest on. If you’re aiming to have instant influx traffic in your website due to an immediate change in market conditions or abnormal increase in demand Paid Advertisement should be your strategy

How Search Engines Work.

Search Engines are always seeking new information on the Web. They have their own software programs that scour or crawl the Web looking for information. These are sometimes also called spiders or bots. They go from site to site and collect data. They use a ranking algorithm that determines which websites to rank and in what order.

The objective is to provide users with the most relevant and useful content and with an experience that allows users to consume content easily.

If you aren’t providing that as a brand or website, you are likely not ranking or visible to search engine users. If that’s the case, it is time to educate yourself and/or employ a search engine optimization expert to help provide services that help you.

Google offers its own “Starter Guide” for websites looking to learn about SEO.

Also, it’s essential to think beyond the technical and HTML code aspects of SEO. It’s evolved into much more of a comprehensive game that requires a more expansive view around tech, content, and popularity aspects.

“High-Quality Content and Link Building are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search”Andrey Lipattsev | Partner Development Manager at Google

Diagram on How Search Engines Work

Set up the Perfect Environment.

An optimised website technical environment is Critical, and the top priority when it comes to SEO and capturing stable organic traffic levels. If you don’t have your website technology set up correctly, your content will not get crawled.

Operating your website in the best conditions will give you a big plus in ranking higher on Google and other search engines.

Here you will find a few points that we recommend you to have a look an optimise accordingly on your website and you will see significant improvements

Let’s move on to the SEO Techniques you can use to generate traffic on your website. Firstly, you need to understand Google’s Algorithm is not static, and it keeps changing. This is the main reason why techniques that were successful a few years ago might not work now like for example Keywords Stuffing  

Redirects:

Do a redirect when a page has been moved to a different location or URL. These can be temporary or permanent. There are many kinds of redirects, but it’s essential to know that Search Engines recognize and pass SEO value only for permanent redirects. These are also called 301 Redirects (whereas temporary ones are called 302 redirects). You can manage this through the webserver.

URL Structure:

The URL string provides a unique identification for the page. Additionally, URLs are a crucial area search engines look to when identifying what a page is about. The URLs and their folder structures must include the keywords you’re trying to get your public attention.

Look at our Example: https://worldmarketingforum.com/seo/understanding-seo-how-to-top-rank-on-google/

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Use hyphens when separating terms. Hyphens communicate to search engines to separate the terms versus merging them and ranking them for the merged phrase search results. The closer to the root folder of the URL, which is the folder closest to the .com, the more emphasis the keyword gets.

Loading Times:

How quickly a web page loads, or page speed, is one of the most important ranking factors right now. The top search engine ranking is typically dominated by faster-loading pages, especially on mobile devices that are at the centre of Google’s design. Google will push you down your page search engine rankings if your site or web page loads slowly.

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World Marketing Forum Homepage scores by Gtmetrix.

Quick-loading pages positively affect user experience and may increase your conversion rates According to a Study by Skilled for every one-second delay in load time equates to a 7% drop in conversions.

Possible causes of Slow Loading:

  • Server performance.
  • The density of your web page’s HTML code.

If your server is causing the issue, work with your hosting provider to know the causes for poor performance or consider moving to a different provider that may be closer in distance to your target audience, your location. If the problem is with your HTML code try to make it leaner and easier to load and read.

XML Sitemap and Robots.txt:

XML sitemaps and robots.txt files allow you to communicate to search engines the web pages that should get indexed and display in the search results. Be sure to build a complete XML sitemap and robots.txt files and have them validated and submitted on Google’s Search Console

404 Pages:

404 Pages represent pages that don’t exist in your website, broken-links, old links of your pages etc… like mentioned above, conduct a 301 redirect on the old links. 404 pages frustrate the user intent to access a page, it greatly harms user experience and, therefore, greatly harm your website ranking.

Duplicate Content:

Duplicate content was one of Google’s original spam checks and part of its algorithm early on. Web pages are considered duplicates if their content is 80% or more similar. Sites that have duplicate content are usually significantly affected by penalties and lower search engine rankings. Make sure you don’t have duplicated content in your pages in order you’re not affected

Page Linking:

Page linking within a website is essential. Search engines follow them while crawling the site, and the anchor text that links use is another area search engines look to for determining what a page is about (Relevancy). Every page should have at least one internal link pointing to it and include the term that you’d like the page to rank for in the anchor text.

SEO Meta tags:

HTML tags are essential to search engines. They explain what your site is about, what to display in the search engine result copy it ranks for, and what type of page it is (home, category, product page, recipe, etc.). Each page should have its own unique set of tags in order you don’t fall into the duplicate content criteria and harm your ranking.

You can find all the latest meta tags at Schema.org.

It’s essential to keep your website tags always updated to maximize the likelihood of your pages to rank higher.

Https Encryption:

Providing users with a secure website has become a top priority to search engines and to enforce that on the market, they decided to include it as part of the search engine ranking algorithm. If your website doesn’t use HTTPS by now, you should expect it to rank lower on the search results compared to other sites that operate under this protocol.

For more information on why HTTPS makes such a difference read this brief Google Developers Page. If you want to look more into it, see the video below.

SEO Global Elements:

Global brands understandably need to have multiple versions of their website for each country and language. Ideally, countries should have a different TLD for each country (Volkswagen.de for Germany versus Volkswagen.ie for Ireland). This is the preferred method to tell search engines which content to rank in each country. If that’s not possible, another option is to use a subdirectory (apple.com/pt/)

Pro Tip: Be sure to use hreflang tags (rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”) on each page as they communicate to search engines which pages should be shown to the users based on their location. If your website operates in a multi-language country like Switzerland or Canada, it’s even more important to use this tag.

Moz.com created a comprehensive but easy reading guideline about the hreflang tags.

Aleyda Solid created a hreflang tags generator that anybody can use for free online.

Page Layout and Text Usage:

Even though it’s not one of the most important factors if you want to give that little extra SEO boost, you should consider changing your page layout. Be sure your web pages offer a lot of text, especially in the area at the top of the page that displayed upon loading, without scrolling.

Pro Tip: Copy that’s within an image does not count since search engines have a difficult time reading the image and typically just scan a page and extract basic HTML text.

Top-ranking pages typically offer long-form content around a given subject. Search engines tend to reward fast-loading pages that provide a lot of basic text copy with the top rankings.

Content is King.

Always have present in your mind that Content is King, and you will succeed in your Marketing Career or your Online Business Venture.

In the Financial World, the motto is “Cash is King”, and it is, as without incoming cashflow companies cannot operate, and they go out of business. In the digital marketing world, it’s the same analogy but in regards to Content. Content is critical to the SEO process because it allows you to rank for the searches you are targeting.

For the best chance at ranking, you should build a dedicated web page for each search term you would like to rank.

Identifying content ideas can come in many ways, but in general, there is nothing like the insight search keyword data provides. The World Marketing Forum created a list where you can find some of the top Market Audience Resources.

Once you identify what phrase or category of phrases you’d like to rank for, you need to determine what kind of content you’d like to create.

The World Marketing Forum created a Beginners Guide on Copywriting to give you hand and help you top rank on google.

Is Traffic per se Any Good?

Firstly, you need to understand that your audience is looking out for a solution. Your primary focus should be on the query.

What issue am I focussing on and how is that helping my online audience?

To generate traffic and achieve your target, you need to provide High-Quality Content. You need to provide in-depth knowledge and add some value. In the end, the material that you provide will decide if you achieve your goals or not.

Whenever a user searches for something, he/she has the desired outcome. If you try and understand the user intent, you can end up meeting your targets. What exactly are they heading out for? They could either be looking out for information, a specific website or searching to buy a product. Understand the user intent and adequately develop relevant content accordingly. If you provide valuable content, then the user will most likely return to your website.

The aim is not only to attract an online audience but also to retain them

Do not blindly run behind traffic generation. Keep the bigger picture in mind. Why do you want what you want? Always remember that there is no shortage of websites providing content. But do all of them achieve what they set out for. No, right? What makes the difference is what you need to understand. Conduct proper research and make sure you never take the user intent for granted.

Understand User Intent.

In order to answer this question, you need to put yourself in the user’s shoes. When you visit a website, what makes you spend more time and also what makes you spend the least time? Content, right?

Well, high-quality and relevant content is the topmost reason behind a user staying longer on your site. On the flip side, a lack of such content is what makes them leave sooner.

Using Google Analytics you can easily keep a track of all the user information that you possibly require. In this manner, you can understand, keep track, and improve your content as and when required.

Create Content with Valuable Information.

What do you expect when you search for a specific topic that you are interested in knowing about? You plan to come across content that provides valuable and in-depth knowledge on the subject matter, right?

This is what people are searching for. No one wants to go across mediocre content that is available on almost every other website. They want valuable content with enough useful information. Provide them with this, and you will soon develop and retain the audience.

There is no point of links if they do not lead to valuable content.

Google’s  Rank Brain

It is essential to ensure that your content leads to the solution of the query searcher has. Your content should help the searcher. Try to provide unique and informative content, and you will receive the Top Ranks for that Query.

One component of google’s core algorithm referred to as RankBrain makes it necessary to give proper emphasis to content. If users search for a query and find relevant solutions in the URLs down the list, then RankBrain will automatically move it upwards. Therefore, if you are providing valuable content, later you will most likely be identified by RankBrain.

On the flip side, you will rank lower if your content does not meet the expectation of the user, so be sure to provide value.

Long story short, that’s what Rankbrain is but for more insights about how it works to have a look on these links:

Understanding SEO: How to Top Rank on Google | 4

Search Engine Algorithms are becoming more and more complex, incrementing new variables and constantly changing the scoring system in order to provide the best results for every single query. Image by Colleen O’Dell from Pixabay 

Use Enough LSI Keywords in your Content.

Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI Keywords are those keywords that search engines usually target in order to have in-depth knowledge about the content.

In order to rank higher in search engines using enough LSI keywords must be your priority. How can you expect your content to rank higher if the search engines fail to understand what it is about? This is strongly connected with the Rankbrain system that goes through your website and looks for many related keywords, terms and concepts around a particular topic.

This is why you need to spend an ample amount of time researching and understanding these keywords. The more you focus on them, the more results you will obtain.

Pro Tip: Use Google Keyword Planner and even Google Itself to look for different queries and the results that pop-up 

If you want to have more insights on LSI Keywords have a look into this comprehensive guide from LSIGraph.com

Is your Website Mobile-Friendly?

Before you answer this question, ask yourself whether or not you go through most of the sites on your mobile phone.

The fact is research has shown people use mobile phones more frequently to browse through different websites. Yes, a mobile-friendly website can help you in generating more traffic as it is easier and accessible every time. This is why the first thing you need to ensure is users can easily browse through your website using their mobile phones.

Also, when they first land on your website it should create an impression that they stay for long and scroll through the available content. There is no point in having a creative website if it has a bad first impression. Therefore, your website must be mobile-friendly, along with being presentable in front of an audience.

Capitalise Social Media.

Now more than ever, people are active on social media. Social Media Marketing (SMM) when done in the right manner, can help you achieve your targets. All it takes is the right amount of promotion and consistency to achieve your objectives.

Always remember that the best way to be recognised by the users is by increasing your social media presence. It will help you improve your brand awareness along with generating traffic and spreading your content through the web, increasing the chances of lead generation and conversions.

Adapt your content to different channels, as they have different public and consume different types of content.

Don’t plan on making a text recipe to paste on Instagram. But a video of cooking the recipe and the list at the end makes absolute sense for that platform and will engage way more users.

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The World Marketing Forum has a full section dedicated to Social Media. If you’re want to boost your Social media, check our Social Media Articles.

Unique and Engaging Meta Description.

When it comes down to the meta description, it plays an important role. This is the one area people tend to avoid, but you must take time out to focus on it.

It is a summary of your content, and it must give the right idea about how it is useful for the users. In short, you need to arouse the curiosity of the user for him to read forward. Ending it with a question usually helps in achieving that. Whatever you do, make sure it’s catchy-enough for the reader to go through more.

Pro Tip: Make sure you use your targeted keywords and make it attractive for the user to read.

Website Popularity.

Popularity is the most difficult factor to affect as it doesn’t solely depend on you.

Backlinks are the links to your website appearing on various different websites. If the links to your website appear on trustworthy websites then your ranking can improve. When it comes down to backlinks from credible sources, the website ranking eventually improves. This is one way of improving the traffic that will never fade.

How do you get backlinks from credible sources? You know it by now. Yes, Content.

Focus your time and attention on creating content in order to generate enough backlinks for your website. PageRank is a link analysis algorithm prepared to ensure that the ranking improves along with the number of backlinks. This acts as proof that the content on your website is relevant and can solve the searcher’s issues. It not only analyzes the number of links but also quality. This means the higher the backlinks on trusted websites the higher will be the ranking.

Page Rank is not dead, it’s very much alive according to ahrefs.com it just changed.

SEO Techniques: White Hat vs. Black Hat.

Nowadays you can’t manipulate Link Building. It’s virtually impossible to fool the Search Engines, you may get a short temporary boost, but it will also give you a hard and long penalty once it’s flagged. In the past, there were all kinds of link vendors from the lowest kind to some of the most famous ones like famous publisher Forbes. If you engage in these techniques and others you’re using Blackhat SEO.

If you want to know more about Blackhat Techniques, Hubspot created a comprehensive guide on the matter

You might be wondering what’s White Hat SEO. Well, it’s all we have been covering so far in this article. To boost links, nothing works better than offering useful and unique content. This requires long-term, strategic thinking.

Pro Tip: Regularly monitor that low-quality sites aren’t pointing links to them (AKA Toxic Links). Search engines provide a link disavow option via their Google Search Console, be sure to use it to mark incoming links as low quality and instructs them to “disavow” that essentially means to ignore them.

Do’s

  • Getting links from high-quality sites, especially .org and .gov websites
  • Link your home page and other important pages that you want to rank
  • Include the term that you are trying to have your website rank for in the anchor text of the link pointing to it
  • Promote your content on Social Media, Forums etc to Boost Awareness of your content.
  • Disavow low-quality links using Google Search Console

Dont’s

  • Get links from low-quality sites
  • Just link to your home page
  • Use a general anchor text like “click here”
  • Buy or rent links

Closing Statement.

Now you have an ample amount of SEO Knowledge to help you get started.

Focus your time and attention on generating organic traffic to ensure long term benefits.

Make sure you focus on all the points mentioned above rather than going for blind promotion. Keep the bigger goals in your mind and consistently work hard to achieve them. SEO can help you reach a wider audience with time if operated on in the right manner.

Make sure you conduct timely research, understand your competitor’s keywords and content to get better. The key to achieving your target is consistent efforts in the right direction. With time, you will reap the benefits of your efforts.

The WMF Editorial Board is composed by a team of experienced Marketers from all over the world. Only with the contribution of such a rich multicultural background of different writers based in different places we can deliver high quality content to the Marketing Community and Worldwide Business Owners.

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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