Before the age of the Internet. If you wanted to get people in the door to your business, you had to physically advertise. You had to pass out flyers, rent one of those big billboards you see on the highway or hire some poor sap to dress up in a gorilla outfit and twirl a sign. But nowadays all you have to do is make a website and use what’s called SEO. In this basic SEO guide for new affiliate marketers, I’m going to explain what SEO is and tell you how it works.
What is SEO?
First off, SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is the practice of increasing your pages that have been indexed by the search engines based on particular keywords you place in the articles on your site. This is how search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo allow users to find your site. For example, someone is looking for information on “how to start an online business”. You would optimize your article to answer that specific search term.
The ultimate goal you want to achieve through SEO is to get the pages or posts on your website to rank on the first page of Google for the search term, “basic SEO tips for a beginner”, then you would want to make sure that your article not only serves up the highest quality answer to this question but also is easily recognized by Google’s fancy algorithm to determine who ranks the highest.
How Does SEO Work?
In order to get your website to be recognized by Google and placed at the top of the search, you have to use what’s called SEO strategies. This strategy is made up of two components. The first component involves actions to ensure the content on your website is optimized for search engines.
The second involves actions that you do behind the scenes of your website to increase its authority. Collectively, this is what is known as on-page and off-page SEO.
What is On-page SEO?
On-Page SEO basically refers to everything that you can do on your website to help search engines understand your site as well as navigate the content and the structure corresponding to it. By fully optimizing the content on your site, you will improve the chances that you will rank high for your target keywords.
When I say the content that is present on your Web page, it actually means doing the following:
- Finding the optimal keyword for your content
- Placing your keyword within the first paragraph of your content
- Placing the keyword in the title (also known as Title tag)
- Placing the keyword in an image tag
- Placing the keyword in the Meta description for your content
- Ensuring the keyword is in the URL
- Using header tags throughout your content
- Internally linking to other pages and posts on your site
- Externally linking out to other websites
All of this falls into the category of on-page optimization. It also includes an XML site map as well.
Additionally, your website performance can be measured using this technique. By doing the things I mentioned above, you can improve the pages on your website to rank higher in search engines and drive more targeted traffic to your website.
If this sounds a little bit confusing, let me break it down with an example.
Let’s say that I wanted my website to rank on the first page of Google for the search term “Basic SEO Tips for a”.
First and most importantly, I would want to write a very informative and interesting article about the best SEO techniques.
Second, I would want the title of this article to contain the search term inside of it, so it would be something like:
“Basic SEO Tips for a Beginner Webmaster”
Do you see how the search term is hidden within the title? That is something that Google, Bing, or Yahoo’s algorithm is going to be looking for.
The next thing you want to do is insert the search term into the first sentence of the introduction for your SEO article. For instance, I would write my introduction like this:
Ranking higher in Google can be difficult and confusing. That’s why I’m here to share some basic SEO tips for a beginner webmaster to help boost a new website as well as the search term so that, too, will stand out to Google.’
Third, you want to edit the Metadata on your website and image to contain your focus keyword or phrase. Metadata is the information that people typically see in search engine results. You can do this by using a plugin such as RankMath or Yoast SEO, both are free.
The same goes for the images you have on your site. You want to place the keyword in the Alt Tag section for your mage so that when you hover your mouse over the image, the title of that image should contain the keyword phrase.
Fourth, you want to edit the URL for the web page to contain the search term as well. So, it could be something like:
Lastly, you want to ensure that you have at least one internal link and one external link on your page or post. For the internal link, I would link to other content on my site that is relevant to the content I am creating.
The same goes for my external link. I would link to another website that is relevant to the content on my site. So, for my SEO tips example I would link to the Search Engine Optimization Wikipedia page because, in the eyes of the search engines, Wikipedia is a trusted authority site.
As you can see, with on-page SEO, you have control over several key factors that influence the rankings. If you do these correctly from the start, with time, you will see your pages ranking well.
What is Off-page SEO?
If on-page SEO is the action you can take on the pages of your website. Then off-page SEO refers to all the actions you can take off your website to establish authority and help boost your sights ranking.
- Backlinks from other websites
- Guest blogging
- Posting on social media or writing forums
All of these come under the category off-page SEO or off-page optimization. In other words, acquiring links back to your site from other sites or simply put, backlinking.
Why Do We Need Off-page Optimization?
Search engines such as Google consider backlinks to be similar to a vote of confidence. We are all familiar with how voting works. In SEO, a vote of confidence shows that someone else outside your website trusts your content and believes it’s valuable enough to link it back to you.
The amount of quality of links pointing to your website remains one of the top three signals taken into account when a search engine ranks your website. Backlinking to your website plays an important role in generating leads for a list, which in turn may generate sales for affiliate products you may be promoting.
The search engines will pick up on that, too. It looks at how many times your website is linked to other websites.
And if other people are sharing a very interesting article that you wrote on their websites, this could improve your rankings, because the search engines will see you as a source of important information based on other people’s recommendations.
Now, this method is a little more difficult because you have to rely on other people. But as long as you’re writing high-quality information and you’re networking within your niche, then your chances of this happening go way up.
Search engines also look at relatable search terms on your website. So, if I wanted my article on basic SEO tips for a beginner to have a greater chance of ranking higher then I would also want to include a bunch of information on my website about similar search terms within that same niche.
For example, I could write articles on free Google SEO tools or how you can track the SEO on your website, or anything about digital marketing, for that matter. Because these are all relative topics that a visitor to my website might be interested in and Google will reward this by ranking your site higher.
I could go on for hours about all these legitimate ways of increasing your rankings on Google. But that would be the scope of this article.
However, there are also some illegitimate ranking methods that I do not recommend using because search engines are cracking down on these methods, like paying for more website traffic from third-party sites or maybe hiding keywords on your website with invisible text to make it seem like it’s more relevant to the topic than it actually is. Doing any of these types of shady practices will definitely hurt your website’s ranking and you don’t want that.
SEO is not rocket science, but trying to use shortcuts will definitely hurt your search engine rankings. The number one recommendation I would like to leave you with is to create high-quality content that is focused on a specific topic, along with some of the other legitimate SEO methods that I’ve mentioned earlier. If you correctly implement on-page and off-page SEO, then you’re already light years ahead of 90% of the people on the Internet.