Step by step SEO guide for 2021
Without false modesty, SEO can sometimes be overwhelming and intimidating, even for experienced marketers. Especially nowadays when there are so many rules and factors to take into account. We live in an age where the average person makes most of their purchasing decisions based on information from search engines. They spend hours researching and looking for valid information about services or products. Or, in other cases, simply browsing the internet for informative reading and entertainment. Anyway, this all makes SEO vital, inevitable, and impossible to ignore. Whether you are a blogger, business website owner, or digital marketing agency, you will find this step-by-step SEO guide for 2021 useful.
SEO guide with essential optimization steps for 2021
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a methodology marketing experts use to improve website ranking positions. All in the effort of increasing the website visibility and traffic and keeping visitors engaged. It’s a series of steps to optimize everything from website content to formatting, structure, and speed. As a result, both search engines and visitors will recognize the value of a website.
To make it easier to research SEO, here is the list of necessary steps you should follow as SEO guidelines in 2021:
- Review your website’s optimization potential
- Find the right keywords
- Offer quality content
- Sort your internal link structure
- External link building
- Website performance
- Monitor results
Review your website’s optimization potential
Altogether, a considerable part of search engine optimization happens directly on a website. That’s why it’s necessary to closely inspect all its elements. Everything from titles and content to metadata and structure has to be in order if you want high online visibility. Good SEO audit and website inspection will help you identify problems and places for potential improvements. Further optimization will help search engines discover and adequately evaluate a website. But it will also help you provide a better user experience for visitors.
Here is a general list of elements you should focus your attention to, SEO-wise:
- URL structure
- Website navigation
- Internal links
- Broken links and redirects
- Use of keywords
- Title, header, and alt tags
- All types of metadata
- Duplicate content and quality
Another crucial aspect of SEO is website accessibility. Basically, the goal is easy access for everyone, including impaired readers. It should take perception, understandability, and availability into consideration. Because, in essence, website content is truly and completely valuable only when everyone can use it, under any conditions.
Find the right keywords
Keywords are the center of all Search Engine Optimization activities. In fact, they are the foundation and the start of most quality SEO efforts. You can find them in the content, titles, links, other website elements – basically everywhere. That’s why finding the right keywords is one of the most critical steps.
While there are dozens of SEO tools, to start with, you can use Google search itself. Just start typing the term you are considering and observe what’s happening. Before hitting search, Google automated suggestions will start offering you different terms. You can use them all as keywords since suggestions are based upon what people look for. Or, you can add a word or two and check the so-called long-tail keywords.
However, choosing the right keywords is not as simple as it seems at first. To make the right pick, you will have to:
- Analyze the first page of results
- See what top results are ranking for
- Consider the competitiveness of each potential keyword
- Check what your direct competitors are doing
- Check the search volume of each keyword
- Inspect the keyword trending potential with Google trends
While searching for keywords, probably one of the best steps is to create your customer persona – a depiction of your ideal customer. This will help you identify customer intent (why people are using the search engine) and, consequently, better keywords. An excellent way to proceed is to discover where your target audience is spending their online time. Check the topics they are interested in and tailor your keyword strategy accordingly.
Offer quality content
Creating quality content is essential for two things. First, it will help search engines properly evaluate your website relevance and rank you better. Second, by providing valuable information to your visitors you will motivate them to spend more time on your website. For this, you will need plenty of content, and it has to be optimized.
The type of content varies from simple blog posts to excessive guides and tutorials. However, it shouldn’t be limited only to text. Visualization and graphical elements should also be considered, especially today when video is becoming one of the dominant media formats everyone can consume with ease. For example, besides being the most prominent video portal, YouTube is the second largest search engine. Right after Google.
Of course, to be visually appealing, your content has to be properly formatted. No one is going to spend time trying to find information within a wall of plain text. For example, use H1-H6 headings, choose relevant topics, and optimize all the metadata inside. Content design is one of the most common mistakes that can easily hinder your website’s usability. By providing a bad user experience this way, you will ruin your SEO efforts.
Finally, make sure to keep your content up to date. Add new and remove obsolete information whenever you can.
Sort your internal link structure
There are two factors why your internal links are important:
- Internal links help improve your website hierarchy, navigation, and user engagement. They allow you to connect content from different pages so people can discover your other content. This, in general, improves page views and overall time visitors spend on your website, which can affect your SEO score.
- Internal links can increase the value of other pages. With different tools, you can check the page authority of each of your pages. Use this information to connect pages with high scores to those that are lacking it. This will improve the ranking power of your website overall.
External link building
One of the most important SEO ranking factors is backlinks. Simply put, those are external links that link back to your website from other places. They serve as a vote from other websites that your website is worth linking to. In search engine eyes, this can be a decisive factor when they evaluate your ranking potential. When creating links to strengthen your ranking for specific keywords, you can:
- Analyze your competitors
- Use different methods like Broken Link Building and Skyscraper technique
- Share and promote your content on social media
- If you own a business, create listings and submit a website to industry directories
- Create guest blog posts
- Reach out to experts and other niche influencers
Another aspect that can influence your SEO results is your website performance. Generally speaking, people don’t have much patience to wait for pages to load. Just a few second difference will make them leave. Most likely, to your competitors. Here, the goal is to provide an excellent user experience. In return, search engines will reward you with better rankings. This will lead to an increase in traffic, higher engagement, lower bounce rate, and eventually, better conversion rate. In addition, make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices as well. With so many smartphones and similar devices, not using the mobile-first approach would be a waste. Even Google gives priority to websites with their mobile-first indexing.
Finally, no good results from your SEO efforts will last forever. SEO is not a one-time job, and you will have to constantly evaluate and work on it. Remember, your competitors are doing the same things and will always look for ways to overtake your ranking positions. That’s why you have to track your SEO constantly by monitoring all the results. There is a lot of competition in search results, and a good step by step SEO guide can help you stay on track. Don’t underestimate the power of optimization, and you will be able to answers the visitors’ needs better than your competitor.