Traffic is the currency of the digital age.
Simply put, if your website isn’t properly optimized for the search engine, it isn’t going to get more traffic. And, when it doesn’t get more traffic you know what happens. Phoof! You can’t make money.
As an SEO expert, one of the first things I advise clients is to work on their SEO optimization first.
Because that is the only way they are going to make money from their website unless they have a paid budget in thousands of dollars…. Well that is another story.
The purpose behind this ‘How to do SEO Yourself’ guide is to help beginners including SEO learners, website owners, e-commerce store owners, website managers understand how they can improve the ranking of their websites on Google to bring in more traffic without spending extra efforts and money.
We have many examples in front of us where people have made millions just by ranking for the high volume keywords. Some of them are 10beasts.com, an affiliate website working with Amazon.
Next, we have Nichehacks.com, the creator of long tail pro and many other passive income websites. Third, we have greenhatseo.com, a free resource of SEO tools that generate millions from AdSense alone.
These are just some of the examples I am showing to help you understand why SEO alone is so important for a website.
People have been becoming financially stable, starting their businesses and selling them off for millions through sites like Flippa just by having websites that get a lot of traffic. And, traffic comes from SEO. Let’s understand it in detail.
What is SEO And How it Works?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one topic that is at the core of internet marketing.
Today it has become a lot difficult to rank your website online on a particular topic but a few years ago it was way too easy. Simply write a blog post and it will start ranking for a particular topic in just a few days.
Now, it takes efforts, strategy, and a proper plan just to get your website off the ground. This is because SEO algorithms have become way too strong.
The SEO algorithms are made using Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, means they self-learn and improve themselves.
A little history of SEO
Google created search indexing to help scholars find information online and add it to their research papers. This was highly helpful and they decided to make it public.
The idea was to help all people find relevant information available online. When the digital marketing folks (who were not marketers but pure geeks) found it out, they started filling the web with relevant information.
But not many people were doing it and Google wasn’t making money. So, it had to incentivize users to do so.
Enters Google AdSense. Now, creators were earning money through paid advertisements, and more people were able to find relevant information.
Later giants like Amazon, Best Buy started affiliate programs that led to even more influx of information. You get the point I guess.
Now, the only way to find information was by entering a query. This query is also called as the keyword. The more information available on a keyword the more competitive it will become.
Google rolled out AdWords keyword planner so creators can find keywords to write about trending topics.
Once they started writing, more websites had to compete for the first page rankings. So, people started spamming the content with keywords.
And, adding links at other websites to give their own websites more weight. That’s when Google introduced penalty plugins Panda and Penguin. One penalized keyword spamming and second penalized link building.
That’s how we reached the SEO that is currently in practice.
Some statistics about SEO and Google Search
- 80 percent of internet users use Google search every day to find an answer to their queries
- Google gets 60,000+ searches every second
- More than 50 percent of searches are long-tail i.e. they use four words or more
- An average blog post is around 1800 words or longer
- According to one study, web content that is more than 1000 words or is long-form, receives more shares in comparison with short-form content. This study evaluated 1 million pages
- Updating and repurposing blog posts can increase traffic by 100 percent
Types of SEO: On-page, Off-page
Now that you have a fair idea about what is SEO and how it works, let’s discuss some of the white hat SEO tips and techniques 2019.
White hat SEO tips
SEO has two phases. Both are necessary to increase the ranking of a website. If you ignore one, the website won’t rank higher for your required keywords. The two phases of SEO include:
Let’s see how they differ from each other and why they are necessary for improving the search rankings of your website.
“Consider SEO as a road to your website. The more keywords you rank on, the more roads you build to your website.”
On-page SEO includes all optimization tactics you do on your website to increase the site’s SERPs. These include improving Meta titles and tags, adding more content, create a relevant site architecture, creating contextual internal links, and creating content that answers all user queries. We will discuss more of it in the details below.
Off-page SEO is all about promoting your website on other websites to give more weight in search engines. How is that done? That’s where link juice comes in.
Consider that every link you create has a certain potential between 0 and 100. When you create links on websites that have higher Domain Authority (DA), the link juice passed from them will be higher.
When the DA is lower, the link juice passed from them will be lower. So, when SEOs promote their websites they search for link building opportunities that offer the most DA.
So, in short, off-page SEO consists of opportunities to find relevant link building opportunities through domains including but not limited to forums, blogs, websites, e-commerce stores, submission sites, directory listings, classifieds, social media sites, social bookmarking sites, news websites, press release websites, private blog networks, blog commenting, scholarship postings, broken backlinks, encyclopedia submissions, citations and web 2.0 blogs.
Now that we have discussed the phases/types of SEO you need to show your website in searches, let’s discuss ways to do that. First in our list is finding relevant keywords.
This is because everything on organic search engines is driven by keywords. We have already explained the concept of queries and how they drive searches. Let’s dig deeper.
Best SEO Practices: Finding Keywords
Multiple keyword tools exist in the market and as a beginner, you will be confused about which one to choose. Because if you stick with one and you don’t rank higher in searches you will be in doubt that maybe I should try the second one. But it doesn’t work like that as many factors are involved.
What you can do instead is to choose a keyword tool that best works for you by experimenting with many.
There are many keyword tools available and the best ones are:
But these are all paid tools. In the start, you may not have the budget for these tools and that’s quite possible because you are just starting out your website.
So, what you should do is to find free keyword tools that offer the most value. I have personally used many free keyword tools without any problem.
The free keyword tools are:
- Google keyword planner
- Answer the public
Tips for getting keyword tools:
- Ask your friends to get a shared account for a keyword tool. You can also find people who are interested in keyword tools on many Facebook groups. Simply add a cookie plugin and use the same account from multiple computers.
- Don’t pay for the yearly plan. Instead, plan a content strategy. Start a trial of a keyword tool and find all keywords. This way you will only have to pay a one-month fee at max. When you need it again, simply renew the account.
- Try to find all keywords using free tools. This way when you have to filter between them based on keyword difficulty, you can easily do that with a paid tool, saving you money and time.
Next, we have the keyword formula. Keyword formula is the number of keywords you should have on your website and how to find the ones that will help it rank higher.
Keyword formula should be:
Keyword difficulty: less than 30 for beginner websites
Keyword volume per month: at least 100
Keyword competition: Low or medium
Keyword density: 1.5% at max
Tips for Keyword difficulty:
Focus on long-tail keywords that you can easily rank for. In fact, Brian Dean of Backlinko suggests creating your own keywords. He created the keyword ‘The Sky Scrapper Technique’ and gets almost 3,000 searches from it every month.
Best SEO Practices: Explaining On-page SEO
Now that we have a fair idea about how to find keywords and what should be the ideal density, let’s focus on on-page factors of a website.
On-page SEO is a mix-up of multiple elements. We have broken it down below for easy explanation. Let’s learn how to do SEO for a website in this step-by-step guide for free.
The title tag is the title that shows on the title bar. It is ideal to keep it within 60 words. You should have your keyword in the title tag. It is even better if you can start your title with the keyword.
The meta description is the text you see underneath the title when you search for something on Google.
It is usually under 160 characters. But in most cases, Google takes the Meta description from the website itself. However, it is still a good practice to add a Meta description.
Tips for Writing Best Meta Descriptions
- You should have your keyword in the Meta description for on-page optimization.
- Most SEO specialists prefer to use one keyword and one LSI in the Meta description.
Keyword density is how many times a keyword is repeated in a sentence. At max, the keyword difficulty should be between 1 and 2 percent. Ideally, it should be 1.5% i.e. in an article of 1000 words, the keyword should be repeated around 15 times.
Google sometimes highlight the keyword in the search results, the example is provided in the below image.
Another thing to do is to optimize your website images. You can optimize the website images by:
- Having a keyword in image alt field
- Having a keyword in the caption
- Having a keyword in the image file name
Make sure not to over-optimize the images on your website or else it will become spam. And, Google doesn’t like spamming techniques. More on this in the FAQ section of On-Page SEO.
Internal linking is the internal links pointing from one page to the other. Ideally, the internal links on a single page should not be more than 100.
The more links you have to a single page, this means you are giving more authority to that page. For example, the home page is the most linked page of the website because it is linking to almost all pages.
According to an unofficial web design rule, every website should be designed in a way that at most it takes 3 clicks for a visitor to get to the deepest page of a website.
This not only reduces the crawl budget that Google spends on a website, but it also increases UX.
Content is the driving engine of the web. The more quality content you have on your website the higher you will increase in rankings. Now, before you start writing and publishing all type of content here are a few things you need to know.
- What type of content do you need to have on your website?
- What is the niche that you are trying to break into?
- What is the keyword density of each keyword? What is its volume?
Once you have decided upon the niche, next create a content strategy. A content strategy will help you plan the overall content calendar. The content strategy of your website will include the type of content you should produce i.e. text, images, videos, and infographics.
Tips for Creating Epic Content
- Make sure that your content is easy to read
- Make small paragraphs because readers on the web don’t have the patience to read long and lengthy paragraphs
- Once your content is ready, get it to proofread
- Your content should have at least 1500 words if you want to rank on the first page of SERPs
Use the above mentioned on-page optimization tips for an SEO boost
Common FAQs Related to On-Page SEO
Many people who start doing SEO for their website often get confused about Google penalties and updates. We have tried to help you with that by providing common FAQs for on-page SEO.
Search engine optimization – SEO concept. Businessman or programmer is focused to improve SEO and web traffic.
Will Google penalize me if I do SEO?
No. Google encourages users to properly optimize their websites so they show up in searches more often. You should not worry about Google penalties at the start.
What is Black Hat On-Page SEO Tactics?
On-page SEO tactics include the following:
- Keyword stuffing your website
- Adding more keywords with an invisible font to maximize searches
- Adding more internal links just to pass internal link juice
- Adding similar content to multiple pages so they rank higher in searches – this can also lead to cannibalization and will result in both pages getting removed
- Article spinning just to rank it higher within searches
- Link cloaking a website just to make it look genuine – This is done due to many reasons such as affiliate link, doorway pages, or link manipulation,
Should I hire someone for SEO?
Not at the start. That’s what I would recommend. If you are a total newbie it is better to understand how the SEO process works before you hire someone for the job.
Hiring someone for SEO from the start will lead to money loss and even scams sometimes. It is better to hire when you are capable of understanding most of these terms by yourself. After that, you should make deep research before hiring SEO services providing company.
What is the best article length for SEO?
According to Neil Patel, the best length of an article is 1800 words. He references a study of one million pages conducted by Buzzsumo for the said reference.
How to optimize products on my e-commerce store?
The best way to optimize your e-commerce store product pages is by adding at least 1000 words per product page. If you have featured products then only add 1000 words per product. If you have a regular product then add 300 words for each product.
The structure of each e-commerce product page should be like:
- Product Title
- More HD quality images
- Long Description
- Best Uses of the Product
These all can lead to 1000 words on your product pages easily.
Best SEO Practices: Explaining Off-Page SEO
As we have already discussed that SEO consists of both on-page and off-page. Now that we have discussed on-page SEO, let’s shed some light on off-page SEO tactics.
Creating Organic Links
It is all about the quality links. That’s the best way we can describe off-page SEO. Though Google now says that creating organic links is not important but top SEO specialists don’t carry the same view. So, we will go with them.
A few reasons links are important:
- Links provide link juice. This is a vote that this website is worth following
- Once your website gets links from a high domain authority website, it will mean that the website endorses your website
- Links can be no-follow and do-follow. Both are necessary for your website
- Links created just for the intention of link building can have an adverse effect on your organic traffic
- Context matters when building organic links for your website
Dofollow vs Nofollow links
Dofollow links are necessary for passing link juice to your website. They are not easier to get because people don’t pass do-follow links to everyone. Nonetheless, they are a certificate of endorsement and help crawlers understand that the website mentioned is worth following.
Dofollow links don’t have the attribute ‘rel=nofollow’
On the other hand, no-follow links carry a ‘rel=nofollow attribute’. These maintain that the website that is linked is not worth following. Humans don’t feel any difference in both types of links.
Best SEO Practices for Link building
Let’s discuss some link building to gain quality links to your website. We have prepared a list of the best ways possible ways for white hat off-page SEO.
First in our list is Guest posting. Guest posting is posting content on another person’s website. You have to be an authority in your niche to write quality guest posts.
Not many websites allow guest posts, and that does allow guest posts to have strict criteria for posting. And, in most cases, those websites only offer one link in the author bio. This is insufficient for a website to rank higher.
So, what can people do while writing guest posts? They should write on a topic that is already published on their own blog. This is called bottom-up guest posting technique.
When done right, you will be able to add the link of your own blog to the content of the guest post. This will not only get you a backlink from the content, which has higher link juice value, but it will also drive referred visitors to your website.
Domain Finding Formula
You will need to find domains that are relevant to your website. Here are a few ways to find link building opportunities for your website for guest posting, press release, announcement, and even for partnerships.
You can easily search for websites on Google. Here are a few ways:
- site:domain.com “submit a guest post”
- site:domain.com “guest post by”
- site:domain.com “contribute an article”
- site:domain.com “want to write”
- site:domain.com “submit your post”
- site:domain.com “become a contributor”
- site:domain.com “accepting gust posts”
Once you have found some domains, before pitching these websites make sure they are highly relevant and have high domain authority and low spam score.
- Only post on websites that have a DA > 30
- They should have a spam score < 2
- They should have an Alexa rank of < 500,000
- They should have the traffic of at least 50,000 per month on Similar web
Forum Postings & Blog Commenting
You can also post on forums and comment on relevant blogs instead of just writing guest posts.
Most blogging websites prefer forum postings because they can also get a steady stream of traffic from forums, unlike most guest posting sites that don’t offer any visitors.
Blog comments are another way of building quality links. I personally believe that a beginner website should start building links through blog comments because they are easier to get approved.
The downside of building links through blog comments is that most of them are no-follow and won’t pass any link juice.
Also, since almost everyone in your niche will be commenting on blogs that have allowed it, they become spam-filled junkyards.
So, make sure that you check the spam score of each website where you are trying to build a link through blog comments.
Another great way to build links is by doing expert roundups. Expert roundups are important because this may your website can get around a dozen link with a single post. This is how it works:
- First, select a topic that works for you
- Next, prepare questions to send the top experts. You can also use HARO to get responses for your website
- Once you have the responses available create an expert post similar to this expert roundup post.
- Now share this post with all the people that you added. They would love to share it with their audience and may also provide a link back to your post.
You can also create webinars to create links for your website. Webinars are rare and can only be done by experts. So, make sure that you have an expert on the niche onboard before you start the webinar.
Before the webinar, create hype by promoting it through social media, PR websites, and blogs. They are a great way of promoting your webinar.
But… we aren’t talking about webinars, right?
The good thing is all this hype will get more links to your website for almost free. Just make sure to make the webinar an epic success, or all these links will vanish into thin air.
You can also create infographics for your website. These get shared a lot especially if they are meaty. Just create an infographic on the latest trend or an answer to a question.
For example, if you have a website about cat foods, you can create an infographic on 5 Best Foods That Will Make Your Cat Sleep, 5 Reasons Why Your Cat is Not eating Food. You can even hire someone from Fiverr to create this infographic.
Once the infographic is created:
- Create a small post about it on your website
- Share it on other websites – Outreach to them just as we have provided above in our Guest Post segment
- Share it on infographic submission websites
Another great way to get traffic to your website is by creating PBNs. Private Blog Networks (PBNs) are a great way to create authoritative links fast for your website’s promotion.
These are not only powerful but don’t require permission. You usually create links from multiple PBNs that are relevant to your niche. This is how it will look like visually.
But there is one catch.
PBNs are disfavored by Google because they manipulate link building. So, what do you do? You create only a few PBNs that don’t actually look like PBNs. Here is what the king of PBNs, Matt Diggity, says about it:
Read more about it at his website.
While creating PBNs for your website make sure:
- They are natural and don’t have site-wide links of another website added
- Make sure to check their DA, Spam Score, Citation Flow (CF), Number of Outbound Links
- Don’t create more than 3 PBNs per month in the start
- Once you have a year old website you can create 7 PBN links per month
- Make sure all your PBNs look separate, independent entities
- If you own the PBN network, make sure to make it look like a real blog. You can read more about setting up or acquiring a PBN for your website here.
Next, we have Web 2.0s. Web 2.0s are subdomains of blog directories like blogger, Kinja, WordPress, medium. These are not as popular as they were a few years ago, but they still work. And, most people create Web 2.0s for two-tier link structure.
In the two-tier link structure, you create one post on a high-quality website. Now you link to it from your web 2.0 link.
Your MONEY Site < Link from High DA website < Link from your Web 2.0
Tips to follow while creating Web 2.0s
- Make sure the Web 2.0 is natural and don’t just link to your website
- Write 400+ words post on your web 2.0s.
- Create more than one Web 2.0 for a money website and make it look unique. Make it look like it is created by a fan or something.
- You can also create Web 2.0s 1st tier and second tier in this way. Your MONEY site < Web 2.0 (first tier) < Web 2.0 (Second tier)
Content submission directories aren’t as popular now as they used to be. They are nonetheless a powerful way to build links to your website.
Content submission websites and directories include classifieds, business directories, submission websites, social directories.
Here are a few tips for content submission:
- Make sure that they are relevant to your Money site.
- Write accurate details and select a relevant category
- Follow submission guidelines
- Submit them manually don’t use any automated software
- Hint: Add time-sensitive information like a giveaway, discount offer or something. These will help your website get indexed faster
Just like web 2.0s, you can also get video links for your website. Video links are placed underneath the video that you post on submission websites like Dailymotion, youtube, Metacafe and various others.
The benefit of publishing video content is that you can easily get it ranked in Google. People rarely post video content so your video will have more opportunity of ranking higher without much effort.
And, once a person is on the video, he/she can click on the link in the description to get to your money website.
The more videos you create the more links you can place. Sometimes, video submission sites also offer do-follow links.
Tips for submitting Video Content:
- Make it on a topic that relates to your website
- Optimize description of the video and add link prominently on top
- Write a small blog post as video description to rank higher
- Add at least 5 tags for each video post you create
- Use full space in video title to rank your video higher
- You can also upload the same video on your website and it will show on Google search (Videos)
Questions About Off-page SEO
My website is losing links. What to do?
You can’t do anything about losing links because it is at the discretion of the web administrator who linked to you in the first place.
Maybe he/she doesn’t like your content, or maybe he has found a better content. Or, maybe he has removed the post from his website. There can be many reasons.
What you can do to counter this is to make a list of all places where you either guest posted, or you build links by paying money.
If these links are removed, simply contact the administrator because these were made by your effort. It is unethical to remove them.
My traffic has decreased from Google. How to increase it again?
Website traffic often fluctuates. You don’t have to worry about it if it is just a small dip in traffic. If it is not a dip but your website is constantly down for a few months, then that is a sign that your website has dropped from rankings. Simply, do more effort to create engaging content. Create more backlinks by the ways we provided above.
PS: You should aim for ranking in rich snippets, People often ask answer box, through FAQs, Graphs, Tables, and bullet points.
How many days will it take to see the result after following the above tactics?
On average, new websites get out of Google sandbox within three months. In these three months, you will see fluctuations in your rankings. This is because Google is testing new websites and checking if they are not spam.
You can create quality content and do social outreach to get out of Google sandbox faster. Here are more tips on Google sandbox.
Well, that’s it for on-page and off-page SEO. We hope you liked this how to do an SEO guide for beginners. If you have any questions about SEO or would like to suggest something that we may have missed out, simply comment it below.