Are you struggling to drive traffic to your website?
As a blogger or business owner, you know that having a website is not enough.
You need people to visit it. And engage with your content to achieve your marketing goals.
That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. In this post, I will introduce you to the world of SEO.
And show you how to use it to drive targeted audience from Search engines.
I’m Popmati Emebu, the founder of Shakeworld Digital a Nigerian startup that helps businesses profit from digital marketing and SEO.
I have seen the struggle in getting traffic to a website, blogs and sales page. So my mission is to help people solve this problem.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, marketer, web developer, or blogger, this post is for you.
I will cover the strategy, tactics, and real-life examples of how SEO works.
From e-commerce to local sites. You’ll learn how to optimize your content and drive traffic to your site.
But this post isn’t just about theory. It’s about putting your SEO knowledge into practice.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a deep understanding of the web or HTML. This SEO Course is written for beginners who want to get a solid understanding of SEO from front to back.
So let’s kick off with an overview of SEO and dive into some tactics that will help you achieve your marketing goals.
Are you ready? Let’s get started
Table of Contents
Overview of SEO
First things first, let’s answer the question: is search really that a big deal?
The answer is a resounding YES In fact. Search is still a massive deal in the online world.
Think about it – how do people find information, products, and services online?
They search for it.
Search engines have become the go-to source for finding what we need. As a result. they play a huge role in driving traffic to websites.
But how exactly do people use search engines, and what are the major sources of traffic.
Sources of traffic & statistics
You might think that search engines and social media are the only main sources of traffic.
According to Hubspot traffic survey, direct traffic is the highest. which accounts for a whopping 22% of all traffic.
Direct traffic happens when people visit your site directly by typing your URL. Or click on a bookmark.
This type of traffic doesn’t have a referral string, so it’s difficult to know where it came from. That’s why it’s categorized as indirect traffic.
So, even though direct traffic might not get as much attention. It’s still a huge factor to consider when analyzing your site’s traffic sources.
Almost 17% of all web traffic flows through search engines. Making it a major source of traffic.
To give you an idea of how important organic traffic is. Let me compare it to traffic coming from Facebook.
Facebook is great for building a community of followers and fans. But the traffic it sends to external websites is very small.
Google sends about 10 times more traffic than Facebook does out of the network.
If you are trying to build your online presence. And get your website in front of as many people as possible. It is important to rank well in search results.
Referral sends 9% of traffic to websites. Referring link is when people follow links from one website to your site.
It can be through blog posts, articles, or other forms of content. if you’re creating content online.
Building a strong network of quality links can help drive more traffic to your site. And increase your visibility on the web.
Display ads account for a decent 12% of total traffic, which is quite understandable.
However, it’s important to know that these percentages may vary depending on the industry, niche, or website you’re operating in.
It’s crucial to evaluate where your potential audience could be. And structure your marketing efforts accordingly.
Why is SEO so important
When people are searching for something, they usually have a pressing need for it.
They want that answer, product, or service right now. And that’s what makes organic traffic so incredibly powerful – it’s not just about search intent, it’s also timely.
For instance, imagine you want web hosting for your website. You search for the best web hosting and click an article on the search result page.
Then you go to the site, read the article, and make purchase through their affiliate link. The hosting company and the site owner will make some money.
And you end up with the best web hosting for your project. This is the power of search engines – fulfilling a need exactly when it arises.
Other traffic sources such as display ads or social media ads, are more passive.
They’re waiting for you to see them, hoping that you’ll remember them later when you need that product or service.
TV ads, billboards, and radio commercials all try to project a message to you. Hoping that you’ll eventually want or need their product.
But search is different – it’s how you find exactly what you need at the exact moment you need it.
How search result works
Let’s talk about how search results work and why SEO is crucial for any website. Even if it’s already ranking well.
So, when you type in a search query like “Best web hosting”. You will notice a few things at the top of the page – some ads, product recommendations, and possibly news or images.
But what you’re really interested in are the organic results. Which are the traditional blue links that we’re used to seeing.
On average, these organic results get about 82% of all clicks on Google. Which is a staggering number considering the billions of searches happening every day.
Interestingly, only 18% of clicks go to paid searches. Even though businesses and organizations typically invest 80% of their budget in Google ads. And only 20% in SEO.
This means there’s a huge opportunity for us to focus on SEO and get more organic traffic. Which is more likely to convert into customers.
So why is this important?
Well, when someone searches for something, they’re usually looking for an answer to a question or a solution to a problem.
And when they see your website at the top of the search results. They’re more likely to trust you and click through to your site.
By optimizing your website for SEO, you’re not only helping people find you more easily. But you’re also establishing credibility and building trust with your audience.
In short, SEO is critical for anyone who wants to be visible and successful on the web. So, if you’re not already investing in SEO, it’s time to start.
By understanding how search results work and how to optimize your website for SEO. You can increase your chances of success and attract more traffic to your site.
Click through rate
Let’s talk about click-through rates and how it relates to your search rankings.
If you’re currently ranking in the fifth or sixth position and wondering if it’s worth the effort to move up the rankings. The answer is yes.
In fact, moving up from the fifth to first position could increase your traffic by four, five, six, or even seven times.
On average, the first position in search results receives 31% of all clicks. followed by 14% for the second position, 10% for the third, and so on.
The sixth through tenth positions collectively receive 3.7% of clicks, while the second page receives about 4%. and pages three through one million receive a mere 1.6% of clicks.
So, it’s clear that moving up in the rankings can have a significant impact on your traffic and potential business growth.
SEO can help you reach visitors who are actively searching for what you offer. Making it an incredibly powerful tool.
SEO Myths and Misconceptions
Let me clear up some myths about SEO. It’s important to know that SEO has come a long way since its early days in 1999 and 2001.
Unfortunately, many misconceptions from that era are still floating around, and it’s time to dispel them. These outdated beliefs can be harmful to your SEO efforts.
1. Domain name
Let’s talk about domain names and their impact on SEO.
You might think that registering a domain name like bestiphones.com could help you rank higher for that keyword.
And while it might give you a slight boost, it can actually hurt you in the long run.
The thing is, having an exact match domain name can be hard to brand and remember.
Think about it, would you rather shop on Jumia.com or e-commerce.com?
The best branding practices usually apply to SEO too. As having a memorable and trustworthy brand can lead to press, PR, and direct traffic to your site.
People are also wary of exact match domain names as they’ve been associated with spammy sites in the past.
So, it’s better to build a brand that people recognize and trust instead of going for a domain name that sounds a little fishy.
2. Keyword stuffing and repetition
Let’s dive into the second myth of SEO, keyword repetition, and stuffing.
Back in the day, people would try to repeat their target keyword multiple times on a page. thinking that would get them to the top of Google.
Unfortunately, that tactic doesn’t work anymore. It might even harm your website.
When users land on your site and see keyword-stuffed content. They are likely to think it’s spammy and not trustworthy.
This will make them bounce back to Google, which sends a negative signal to the search engine.
So, what should you do instead? Focus on providing high-quality content that is relevant to your audience.
Include your primary keyword in the title and intelligently throughout the content. But don’t overdo it. Remember, your main goal is to provide value to your visitors.
Not to stuff keywords into your content. By creating content that satisfies the needs of your visitors, the rest of your SEO tactics will fall into place.
3. Meta tags
You might have heard that SEO is all about meta tags, but the truth is, it’s not that simple.
While some meta tags like the title element and the meta description are important for SEO, it’s not just about stuffing them with keywords.
The title element is crucial as it appears in the search results and at the top of the browser. So you should make it engaging and match your headline.
The meta description is also important, but not for keywords. Its purpose is to convince searchers to click on your page. So it should be a compelling ad copy that sells your site.
On the other hand, the meta keywords tag is totally useless and can even harm your SEO efforts. It’s only good for telling your competitors which keywords you’re targeting, so avoid using it.
Other meta tags like the meta robots tag and rel canonical are important for managing crawling and indexing.
But they won’t help you rank better by themselves. And while there are many schema types of data that can help you get rich snippets in Google. Stuffing them with keywords won’t help either.
4. Social media helps in ranking
So, you’re wondering if being active on Facebook can help boost your website’s search engine rankings?
The answer is yes, but not directly.
This actually applies to all social networks. Such as Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and so on.
The audience on these platforms can discover your content. and visit your website.
And potentially take actions that benefit your online presence. like sharing your content or linking to your website.
While it’s great to have a presence on social media. It’s important to keep in mind that the benefits are mostly indirect.
It’s more valuable to invest in the social networks where your audience is most active.
By doing so, you can engage with them directly and build a community around your brand.
Remember, keywords and links are important for SEO. But social media can indirectly help you gain visibility and reach a wider audience.
Just keep in mind that social media should be viewed as a complementary strategy to your overall SEO efforts. Rather than a direct means of boosting your search engine rankings.
5. Keywords and links
You may have heard the age-old saying that SEO is all about keywords and links.
While this might have been true a few years ago, things have changed. Google has become much more sophisticated in its algorithms and ranking factors.
It’s no longer just about optimizing for a few keywords and building links.
Now, in order to rank well, we need to focus on serving our visitors well. Associating our domains with relevant topics and entities.
And optimizing our pages so that visitors want to stay on our site. This means doing all sorts of things around rich snippets. And marking up our content so that it stands out in search results.
SEO has become much bigger than just keywords and links. If you try to reduce it to just those two things.
You may end up losing out to competitors who have a more comprehensive SEO strategy.
So, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. and best practices in SEO to stay ahead of the game.
The best Search Engine Optimization process
Now, let me talk about how we can turn our ideas into a blog post that can actually rank on Google. and drive traffic to our website.
As marketers, we need to follow a process for successful SEO. But before we even start thinking about which keywords to target and what pages to create. we must first begin with audience research.
By understanding our target audience. We can create content that resonates with them and attracts them to our website.
So, let’s start by getting to know our audience.
To create effective SEO, it’s crucial to know your target audience and who influences them.
For instance, if you sell web hosting space. Your target audience might be people who want to launch their business online.
But your influencers could be professional Web developers, Digital marketers, and Youtubers with large subscribers.
These are the people that Web hosting buyers pay attention to. So you need to find them.
You can find your audience and influencers in various places. Such as digital marketing blogs. And social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
It’s also important to understand their search behavior. Do they actively search for content like yours?
What niche sites and offline media do they pay attention to?
Once you have a clear understanding of your audience and their influencers. You’ll be better equipped to conduct effective keyword research. That will help you create content that resonates with them.
Before diving into keyword research. It is important to have a solid understanding of our audience. Knowing their preferences, and behavior is key to creating great content.
To get started, let’s brainstorm a list of terms. And phrases that we think our audience might be searching for around our topic.
Once we have come up with a list of keywords. We can use various tools to refine and expand our keyword list.
The AdWords Keyword Planner, Ahref, SEMRush, Ubersuggest. And even Google itself can be great resources to help us discover new keywords and phrases.
As we gather our list, we can begin to narrow it down by selecting the most relevant and easy-to-rank keywords.
Finally, we can organize our keywords into a spreadsheet to help us prioritize which ones to focus on. This process can be time-consuming.
But it’s crucial to ensure we are targeting the right keywords for our audience. With a solid understanding of our audience and an effective keyword research strategy.
We can create valuable and engaging content that ranks on the search result page (SERP).
I will cover the basics of content strategy for now. And you can always learn more from the numerous experts on the web.
Let’s say our target keyword is “best copywriting tool”. We’ve done our research and found that it has good volume, low difficulty, high opportunity, and high business value – perfect!
Now, we need to think about our audience’s needs. What are they looking for when they search for this keyword?
They likely want to see Reviews, information on copywriting tools, and comparisons of copywriting software.
And maybe even tips on copywriting. By understanding our audience’s needs. We can create content that provides them with valuable information.
But we can’t forget about our own business needs. What are our goals for creating this content?
Perhaps we want to drive brand awareness. Or direct traffic to our copywriting tools sales page. Where we offer all of our subscription packages.
It’s important to keep our business goals in mind so that we can create content that not only resonates with our audience. But also helps us achieve our objectives as marketers.
So, let’s get creative and start crafting content that hits all the right notes for both our audience and our business.
On-page optimization is essentially a checklist to ensure our content hits all the right points. Firstly, we need to use the keyword intelligently in the title element.
Ensuring that the page title and headline match. The headline is what readers see on the page, while the page title appears at the top of the browser.
It’s also crucial to have a compelling snippet, which includes the meta description and title.
As well as rich snippet opportunities such as images or ratings. This will entice people to click and have a positive experience when they land on our page.
To create truly valuable content. We need to look at the search results and ask ourselves, “How can I create something ten times better?”
By answering this question, we can create a resource that anyone who finds it will wish it were the first result on Google.
To achieve this, our content should provide an excellent user experience on every device. load quickly, and answer the user’s search intent.
Finally, we must include semantic keywords related to our target keyword. For instance, if our keyword is “best copywriting tools”.
We should include related words such as “copywriting tools” “copywriting software,” and “AI writing apps” in our content.
Crawl friendliness, linking, duplicate, block &more
Crawl Friendliness means. It’s all about the structure of your website and ensuring that it’s easy for search engines to navigate.
When you’re conducting a website audit, it’s important to look at the architecture of the site and identify any potential issues.
Search engines like Google crawl web pages through links. If they come across a page that’s buried deep within the site and requires multiple clicks to reach. They may view it as less important.
As a result, they’ll crawl it less frequently and it won’t hold as much value in their ranking algorithms.
To ensure your site is crawl-friendly, make sure it has a clear and organized structure.
Use internal linking to guide search engines to important pages and ensure they’re easily accessible.
Don’t bury pages too deep in the site, and consider creating a sitemap to help search engines better understand your site’s hierarchy.
By doing this, you’ll help search engines crawl your site more efficiently and increase the chances of ranking higher in search results.
It’s important to know that your internal link architecture can impact not just your site’s readability. But also its search engine ranking.
To keep things simple and accessible, it’s recommended that you structure your pages so they’re no more than three clicks away from the homepage.
Assuming your homepage has around 30 links, this three-click rule will allow access to up to more than 3000 pages.
So, take some time to assess your internal link structure and ensure that your pages are easily accessible to both humans and search engines.
Avoid having duplicate content on your website. For example, you may have a page on “How to Start a Blog”. and decide to create a separate sales page on the same topic.
To prevent confusion for search engines. Make sure to use the “rel=canonical” tag in the header of the sale page.
Indicating that it is a duplicate of the original page and the original page should be the one that search engines rank.
By doing this you can ensure that the right page gets all the ranking signals. And is included in search engine results.
Robot and bots
It’s important to make sure that you’re not blocking crawlers by restricting their IP addresses.
Recently, someone noticed a significant drop in their search traffic. Because their technical team mistakenly blocked the IP range from which Google crawls.
This can be a serious problem, as it means that Google won’t be able to access your website. Which could cause major traffic issues.
If you want to restrict bots, you can use the meta robots or robots.txt tag. But it’s important to be cautious about it.
Keep in mind that blocking a bot doesn’t necessarily mean that the page won’t be in the search engine’s index. As search engines can still see links to a page.
The best way to ensure that a page won’t appear in a search engine’s index is to use the meta robots tag and specify “no index” for that page. It can be frustrating, but it’s an important step to take.
Earning external link
Creating high-quality content is crucial to attracting our target audience. However, we also need to get the word out there. And earn external links to our content.
This is where the “Who will help share this, and why?” question comes into play.
Before publishing any piece of content. we need to have a solid answer to this question. Who will help spread the word about our content?
It could be bloggers, journalists, social influencers. or the owner of a niche site. It could even be through paid ads on content advertising networks like Outbrain or Taboola.
Having a list of people who will share our content is crucial to the success of our content marketing efforts.
It’s not just about the quantity of links, but the quality of the links we earn. So, let’s focus on creating great content.
And building relationships with those who can help us get it in front of our target audience.
I want to encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to creating content. While written content like blog posts and articles are great.
There are so many other forms of content that can be just as effective. Don’t limit yourself to just writing!
Presentations can be a fantastic way to share information. Especially if you are good at creating beautiful PowerPoints.
And if you’re great at visual design, creating images or infographics can be an awesome way to communicate your message.
Don’t forget you don’t have to be the only author of your content. Consider contracting writers.
Or finding talented writers within your company. Who can help turn your knowledge and expertise into compelling content.
Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating great content. So, let your creativity flow.
And experiment with different types of content to see what works best for you and your audience.
It’s important to think beyond just written blog posts or articles when it comes to SEO and targeting specific keywords.
The key factor to consider is the searcher’s intent – what are they looking for and what kind of information will be most helpful to them?
For example, if someone searches for queries, like “where to visit in Nigeria” you can provide a broad overview of different cities and attractions.
But for specific queries, like “where to buy goods in Nigeria”. You need to provide detailed information about specific national markets, business centers, malls, and plazas.
It’s not necessary to stick to a strict content calendar or publishing schedule. But it’s important to focus on producing high-quality. Valuable content that truly meets the needs of your audience.
Basic SEO ranking factors
Have you ever wondered how Google decides which content to show for a particular search query. And in what order.
Google’s algorithm is a complex system that evaluates all the content on the web. To determine which ones are most relevant to a specific search query.
As marketers, it’s crucial to understand the factors that affect how Google ranks content in search results. These are what we refer to as SEO ranking factors.
Understanding these factors can help us create content that meets the criteria for a high-ranking position in search results.
List of some of the basic SEO ranking factors:
You may have heard of “domain authority” or domain level. But what does it mean? Simply put, it refers to all the links that point to your website from other websites.
Google takes a lot of factors into consideration when determining the relevance and quality of a website.
And one of them is what other websites say about you through the link graph. This means that Google is interested not only in the content on your page. But also in what other people on the web say about you.
So, it’s important to have high-quality, relevant links pointing to your website to improve your domain authority and ultimately improve your rankings in search results.
As we talked about before. Domain authority is all about the links that point to all the pages on your website from other sites.
But Page authority is a bit different – it’s about the links that point to a specific page on your website.
So, let’s say you have a website with several pages, each covering different topics. Page authority takes into account the links that point to a specific page.
And tells Google how important, relevant, and influential that page is for a particular query.
The more high-quality links a page has, the more likely it is to rank higher in search results.
When someone clicks on your page from Google’s search results. But then quickly jumps back to the search results page, it’s called pogo-sticking.
This is bad because Google takes note of it. and it can negatively impact your ranking.
Google wants to provide the best experience for its users. So if people keep jumping back to search for better results. It’s a sign that your page isn’t meeting their needs.
That’s why it’s important to focus not only on SEO. But also on making sure your page provides a good experience for visitors. This includes having high-quality content and making it easy to navigate.
Let’s talk about the big picture of SEO strategy and how to start forming a plan for your campaigns. But first,
What exactly is an SEO strategy?
It’s not the same thing as tactics, which include things like keywords and link building.
Instead, a strategy focuses on how organic search traffic can help you achieve your business goals.
To get started, you need to ask yourself if more search traffic can help. If the answer is yes.
Then you can prioritize your investment in tactics that support your strategy. These may include content creation, keyword optimization, website improvements, and more.
When deciding which tactics to pursue, you’ll need to consider the expected value and cost. the level of business importance, and the teams or people involved.
Many people expect SEO and other organic marketing channels to work like paid advertising.
With immediate results and a quick return on investment. However, this is simply not the case.
SEO and other organic marketing channels require a long-term investment. And a different way of thinking. It takes time to see results. and you must be patient and persistent in your efforts.
You may not see an immediate increase in rankings or traffic. But over time, with the right strategies in place.
You can build a successful SEO campaign that will bring in high-quality traffic and leads.
Entrepreneur, Writer, Digital Marketer, Web Developer, Insightful Teacher and Blogger…