Need a breakdown of the basic concepts of SEO and the things you need to succeed? Then check out this week’s article where we’ll provide an easy guide so you can make sure you’ve ticked all of the right boxes.
What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of optimising a website to gain better visibility on search engines and increase the flow of organic traffic. There are many different SEO techniques and strategies and in this article, we’ll take you through them and show you how to implement them on your pages.
SEO optimization is not a one size fits all approach to gaining traffic, but if you follow the right practices and combine the best techniques, then you can see a significant increase to your traffic flow.
Why use SEO?
SEO techniques are great, because they don’t cost you anything to implement and the traffic that they bring is free. The benefit of this is that organic traffic, if your SEO is done well, highly-targeted, as people that visit your site were already searching for it.
While organic traffic might not cost you money, it will cost you time. It’s your job therefore, to determine how much of your time it’s worth.
Good and Bad SEO
There are the right ways and the wrong ways of doing SEO and understanding the difference is important. We’ll show you the right ways and the wrong ways of implementing each SEO technique so that you can see where the pitfalls are and how some people have been able to exploit them to their advantage.
As SEO has evolved, loopholes have been exploited and search engines have reacted to penalise sites which exploit them.
Back in the early days, when the internet was still the wild west, then it was the people who exploited SEO that benefitted. Today, if you want to use SEO effectively, then it’s always best to play by rules.
A Breakdown of SEO
To make it easier to look at the different aspects and techniques of SEO, we can break them down into 4 groups. These are:
Technical SEO - How easily search engines can crawl your website and index its pages.
Content - How relevant your content is to the people who arrive at your website.
On-Site SEO - How well optimised the content on your site is and how well the HTML is written.
Off-Site SEO - How much of an authority your site is in relation to the subject it covers.
Technical SEO is probably the one people have the most trouble with, however, unless you’re building your website completely from scratch, then you probably won’t have to worry too much about the more in depth details. For example, if you are using a WordPress site then most of the technical stuff will be handled for you. However, there are still things you should be aware of, such as broken links and mobile optimisation.
Breakdown of Technical SEO
Here are the main things to take into consideration when improving the technical aspects of your SEO.
Crawling: How easily can search engines navigate and crawl through your site’s pages?
Indexing: Can search engines clearly see which pages should be indexed and returned?
Speed: How quickly do your pages load?
Mobile-Friendly: Is your website optimised for mobile visitors?
Hierarchy: How are the pages and content structured and do they make sense?
For most affiliate marketers, most important here are mobile optimization and page speed. If you are using a site like WordPress, then these should all be fairly well taken care of. However, you should always check every page on mobile just to make sure it’s user-friendly and make any adjustments wherever necessary.
For more information about how to improve the speed of your website, and how to get Google to index your site faster, check out these articles:
The quality of your website can only go as far as the quality of your content. After all, that’s what people are looking for. Everything else just ensures people can actually get there and look at what you have to offer. Therefore, it’s important to get it right.
When it comes to improving the SEO of your content, it’s important to find a balance. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a checklist and be sure to tick all of the boxes. The questions you should ask yourself are:
- What are my visitors looking for and can I provide it?
- What questions and keyword terms do they search for?
- Does my content answer those questions clearly and effectively, and do I provide an easy solution?
- What do people gain by visiting my site, that they wouldn’t if they visit my competitors?
- Is my writing interesting enough and does it give the message out that I want it to?
- Are my CTAs (Calls to Action) clear and do people know what is expected of them?
One of the things you’ll notice, especially if you actively look for it, is that a lot of websites don’t think about the customer journey. Instead, they produce content to fill up space and keyword stuff. This is really bad practice and will end up doing your site more harm than good.
The easiest way to improve the SEO of your content is to write as simply and as honestly as possible, ensuring that you always have clear guidance. This does two things. Firstly it means that people can easily find the answers they are looking for. Secondly, if you can give people information, then they feel as though you have given them value for their time. In return, they will give you more of their time, which will reduce your bounce rate and lead to better search rankings and increased customer trust.
Creating great SEO content takes time and practice and requires you to speak clearly to your audience so that they know exactly what is expected of them. Essentially, give the people what they want, not what you think they should have.
For more information about content SEO and how you can start improving it, check out these related articles:
There is quite a lot of crossover between On-Site SEO, and Content and Technical SEO as it makes for a meeting point between the two. This is because your site needs to have structure, and the technological elements should be titled logically to match the content.
If your site is well-structured and has a clear focus, then these are the on-site aspects you should look to optimise:
- Keywords: Knowing the exact terms people are using to search will help you match their needs to your page.
- URLs: Use simple descriptions including keywords in the URLs of your pages.
- Page Titles: Use logical page titles containing keywords, but don’t force them to work.
- Meta Descriptions: These should lead customers to click, so make sure they are persuasive and promise more information.
- User Experience: Your site should be as easy to navigate as possible, with things clearly labelled so that people know what to do.
- Content Optimisation: Your content should be clean and contain keywords. Don’t overuse keywords though, as this will work against you in the algorithms.
On-Site SEO may seem a bit challenging at first, but essentially it’s just about putting in the time and effort to build a site that makes sense and has clear labels. It’s much easier to do right from the beginning and it will help you stay organised when building your site. If you try to do it retrospectively however, it can be a real headache.
The key to great on-site SEO is understanding your funnel and knowing exactly where you want your visitors to go and what you want them to do. The rest is just labelling all of the signposts accordingly and showing them the way.
Off-Site SEO - Link Building
Your website authority is important on and off of your site, that’s why it’s important to build links. However, this is one of the more difficult aspects of SEO and it will require a lot more time and effort than the other aspects.
The key to link-building is finding and connecting with sites that are relevant to yours. They should also be trustworthy and have a good source of quality traffic.
To get started with link-building, it’s a good idea to connect your site to social media and then follow the people and companies you think will be relevant. Thanks to the algorithms used by social media companies, once you start following a few related profiles, you’ll have more relevant suggestions. This will give you a good overview of your core niche and introduce you to the names and companies you should be connecting with.
Social media will also provide you with a good source of information about what other companies and affiliates are doing and the content they are producing. You can use this as a source of inspiration for your own content. As you search, you may have questions along the way which you haven’t found the answers to. For example, a blog post might have briefly mentioned something you didn’t understand. Write these questions down if they are relevant as often the best articles come from people trying to figure things out for themselves.
Once you have all of this information, you’ll have the base for great content that other people will want to share with their audiences. Alternatively, you can reach out to other site owners and let them know you exist and ask if they will feature your link. A lot of sites want money for this, but if you have a big enough presence or they are just getting started but look reliable, then you can often exchange links.
Linking to other reputable sites from your website is also important, but you shouldn’t overdo it. Your links should flow naturally into your content and should be used to give additional information, or promote a site, article, product that you like and that you think is relevant to your audience.
The Bottom Line
SEO is not a one size fits all solution. It requires you to carefully maintain and improve all aspects of your website to give your visitors the information they want in the ways that they want it, quickly and effectively. It requires time, planning, a willingness to learn and adapt, and some good old fashioned common sense. However, if you can afford to spend time nurturing your site and connecting with the wider world, you will be successful.
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