Are you entering 2019 with an effective, time-proven marketing strategy? If you’re looking for some pro insights – be sure to read this complete guide and get armed with new skills and knowledge.
Ranking on the top of the search results can be the difference between being found and being forgotten.
Search Engine Optimisation(SEO) means not having to regularly pay your SEO guy for website traffic. You can hire a specialist to put your site on #1 of Google – for a very hefty pay, that is … or you can do it for yourself? Seriously? SEO on your own? Yes, you can!
Who is this guide for?
This SEO strategy guide for 2019 has got you covered. If you’re a beginner, you’ll learn everything about the basics and benefits of SEO, which will help you to understand how SEO works and how to get organic traffic for free. We’ll walk you through it completely. We will take you through the basics like on-page, off-page techniques, keyword optimization, website traffic etc.
If you’re already familiar with SEO you’ll also find some useful information that you might not know. In the later topics, we discuss how to fix SEO issues, how to build backlinks in the right way etc.
Just like Batman, Superman has plans for everything, this SEO guide also has plans for:
- How to design your website that will maximize your rankings;
- How to provide amazing UX that will keep users coming back;
- How to use competitors strength to increase your visibility and many more.
In this digital full information world, every website owner wishes to rank his/her website on the top list for targeted keywords. This is what exactly SEO does. It creates your brand identity online.
Let’s get started!
What is SEO
In a simple way, SEO is the practice of achieving your website to rank high in the search engine result pages (SERPs). When a user types a query or word in search engine, Google’s algorithm shows all the relevant web pages, ranked so that the most relevant search results appear at the top of the results.
The best way to understand it is by breaking down SEO into parts. In that manner, it is
1. SEO is disciplinary
It’s continuous action to be performed because this is the only best and simple way you can drive quality traffic to your site and generate more leads and business. You should focus more on creating the content for your blogs and article which creates value to your audience. You don’t need to write the content to rank top, write it in such a way that your audience attracts to it.
2. SEO is technical
You have to learn and apply the best practices of SEO to drive traffic to your site in this hugely competitive market. You have to optimize your website and content with paid and free marketing tactics. Always follow as per Google guidelines WhiteHat SEO techniques to avoid penalty and rank top within a period of time.
3. SEO is for passionates
It’s not one day job. It’s a continuous effort which runs with your passion and commitment to rank your site top and maintain it for a long time. Always get an update with Google algorithm and work smartly on On-Page and Off-Page SEO techniques of 2017. You should love the evolving nature of SEO and it is the fact that marketers like you have to constantly get an update on algorithms, practices etc.
Why SEO will grow your business?
According to one of the HubSpot reports, 75% of search users won’t go the second-page results. All that matters is the results that appear on the first page.
Implementing SEO in your marketing strategies is the intelligent choice, as it means that the people you get to your site are those who are actually searching for the products and services that you offer.
Brand reputation is measured how well know your business is and how people feel about your product in the market. Making customers warm and welcome on your site, and making it easy what they are looking for, improves your reputation across the internet.
An important aspect of SEO is making your content easy for a user as well as search crawler to understand. Although search engines plays such a huge role, they still can’t see and understand an internet page the same way a human can. SEO helps the search engines figure out what each page is about, and how it helps.
Imagine you posted online a picture of your cat. A human will describe it as white or black, playing in the room or drinking the milk.” On the other hand search engines struggle to understand the picture at anywhere near like a human’s understanding. So, how do you make search engines understand it? SEO allows webmasters to provide hints that the engines can use to understand. Adding structure to your content is essential to make engines understand.
SEO is changing constantly
Yes, SEO is changing year to year either it could be a major or minor change. Every change is the matter to you when it comes to increasing your SERPs. According to Quicksprout, What used to work doesn’t anymore.
When search engines began in the 1990s, manually submitting URLs, meta keywords and keyword stuffing in the content were some regular practices to rank well.
In 2005, mass link submission with keywords as anchors, buying links from spam injectors were some tactics to rank.
In 2012, SMM became mainstream for search engine optimization. The search engines have made the algorithms along with this decade to decade evolution. So many of the practices that worked in the 2000s can badly hurt your SEO in this era.
Change is constant. Few claims SEO is not producing these days and some say this is the major weapon to get revenue in business.
Can you do SEO by yourself?
Many SEO companies claim to be able to get your site to the top pages of Google, but most of them end up with giving you false hopes and eats your money.
You can manage your own SEO by spending just a few hours a week. However, if you don’t have the time to manage SEO or don’t want to hire an SEO specialist, an agency can be a better option then – Just make sure that you understand what techniques agency is using to improve your SERPs. You need to make sure that SEO is long term strategy and should be played safe, not cheap and spam tricks to get instant rankings by manipulating Google algorithms.
How does SEO actually works?
Search engines have two main functions; crawling and building an index. These are like answer machines. When a user searches some word online, the search engine filters its billions of web pages and does two things; it shows you the results that are relevant to the user’s query; second, it ranks those results according to the popularity. It is both the relevance and popularity that influences SEO.
When any user searches for a term or product on search engines like Google, Bing then they can see some results with series of websites that are relevant to the searched term and websites that have good Page rank and domain authority ranks first on the list.
For example when you search for ” best hosting service provider“, the top results are the ones that followed the best SEO practices as per guidelines.
This is because mainly because search engines like Google uses advanced crawlers and spiders to crawl the information from websites, which creates an index for every site that is compared with Google algorithm.
SEO practice according to Google webmaster guidelines
Google recommends the below practice to get good rankings in their search engine:
- Write the content for users, not for search engines. Do not deceive your users for the sake of ranking, After all, Google is the king of the internet and getting smarter day by day.
- Create a useful, information-rich website and write accurate content. Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and create human-friendly URLs.
SEO practice according to Bing webmaster guidelines
Microsoft Bing engineers recommend the following practices to achieve better rankings in their search engine:
- Make sure for keyword rich URL structure.
- Create keyword-rich content and match keywords with the user’s search query. Stay tuned with fresh content.
Interaction with search engine
Basically, there will be three types of queries from any users:
Do – I want to book a ticket, I want to buy an earphone, listen to music etc.
Know – I need some info, best hotel nearby, shopping malls etc.
Go – Navigate queries such as I want to access my Facebook, Twitter or YouTube etc.
The search engines primary function is to produce relevant information to the search users. So as a business owner ask yourself what your targeted users are looking for and make sure your website offers the information.
You always need to focus on below practices
What is On-Site SEO?
On-Page SEO is all of the work that you can do on your page/article to help you improve SERP position. It is all of the stuff you perform to indicate Google that what is your article about and what keywords it should come up for.
Below is the important on-page seo checklist:
The title must be accurate, relevant to the content. It’s important for both user experience and search crawlers. When i search for “best wordpress themes” below is the result i got in first place. Why?
- It has perfect title with interesting title
- This title is creating an interest to click the link
- It has perfect length
- Generally search engines display first 65 characters of title). So sticking to the limit is wise.
- Place the keyword close to the front. The closer the keyword appears the more likely user will be able to click. Do not use stuffed keywords, it will be considered as spam.
- In Moz’s biannual survey of SEO industry leaders, 94% of participants said that keyword use in the title tag was the most important place to use keywords to achieve high rankings.
The meta description represents short description of the page’s content. Search engines do consider the keywords used in meta description for ranking. However this is the primary snippet that appears below the title.
It functions as attention grabber. It is an important point of search marketing and can draw attention of your users to click the link and enter your website.
In the above pic you can see:
- The first description is more than 160 characters, so it is coming as …… You can use this tactic when you have multiple keywords to rank.
- The second description is within 160 character limit. This tactic you can use when you have only 1 or 2 keywords to rank.
Search engines generally consider first 160 characters content as meta description. So staying in this limit is wise. If your page has no meta description added then search engines will create the snippet from your content. For pages that target multiple keywords then this might be the perfect tip.
3. Meta keywords
The meta keywords had value in the past. But this is no longer a tactic for SERPs. So no need to think of this.
4. URL structure
- URLs must be descriptive and shorte is advisable.
- One keyword is recommended, but more than that dangerous.
Avoid URLs like
Always use URLs like
URL structure should be crawlable – one that lets the crawlers browse the short form of the website’s content. Thousands of websites repeat the mistake of their URL structuring which makes search engines cannot access to get pages listed in the indexes.
In the above illustration, Google’s crawler has reached Homepage A and see links to pages B and E. But unable to see C and D. This is because there is no link directly to them. Content, keywords and traffic doesn’t matters if the crawlers can’t reach those pages.
In such case Interlinking works well to crawl all the pages that you have.
5. Keyword density
When we enter sentence to search for, the search engine matches the web documents to retrieve based on the search query. One of the best ways to optimize PR is to make sure that the keywords you want to rank for are used in title, content and meta description.
In general, if you make your keywords specific, you have high chances to achieve higher ranks for your website. Since the competition increased, people started stuffing keywords everywhere in the content, title and description to manipulate the search engines. Unfortunately, this keyword stuffing does more harm these days.
Types of keyword stuffing in general:
- Unnecessarily repeating words
- Adding words that are not relevant
- Using same keywords everywhere
Keyword density = No. of words in the copy/No. of times keyword appears in a copy
Let’s understand this with an example
“If you’re looking for ‘best branded watches’, look no further. Our shop offers ‘best branded watches’ that you’re looking for. With latest designs and prices our shop is the one to offer you ‘best branded watches’.”
The above is the best example for keyword stuffing. And this kills your SEO for sure. Less than 2% density is always recommendable for SEO.
Check out in above pic what Yoast SEO has to say about keyword density.
The best practice is to use your keywords naturally and content wise. If your page targets the keyword phrase “Midnight in paris” then you might naturally include the content related to it. If you start stuffing keywords everywhere in the content, then you will not be ranked well.
Try the keywords phrase as given below:
- In the title for one time
- Possibly starting of the content
- At least one or two times in the content body by adding various instances to it
- If you’re using image, add the keyword in ALT attribute
- Once in the URL and meta description
And note that you should not use keywords in link anchor text pointing to other pages, which is known as Keyword cannibalization.
6. Image optimization
Optimizing your image is also one of the key factors to be considered, as this decides your page loading speed.
The more your size of the image, the less loading speed will be. So, if you’re not aware of this, i recommend reading this guide of Image optimization.
Also, make sure the image files you add has one target keyword (For example, seo-guide-2019.png) and that keyword should be included in the image Alt Text by editing your image in wordpress.
Check your blog or website loading speed using Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool and follow its suggestions.
7. Internal and External Linking
- Using outbound links doesn’t degrades your post quality. This is one of the white hat SEO strategy to get traffic. Outbound links to sourceful pages helps search engines figure out your page’s topic. Search engines also thinks that your page has quality information.
- Internal linking is one of the best strategies i like. It also helps to reduce your website’s bounce rate. Whenever you publish new blog with 1000 words content ensure you have 2-3 internal backlinks.
8. Content quality
I’m sure you must be tired of listening that content is the king. Irrespective of what you think, content of a page is what makes it worthy of SERPs. It is what your targeted user wants and search engine likes.
Writing valuable content and sharing it the right people can be one of the best ways to build your site authority. Always try to update your content according to your audience and trends in mind, and take advantage of your social media to boost it in small time.
Use videos, images and infographics in your post if necessary. Always target for long tail keywords if you want to rank in less time.
Recommended reading: Content marketing strategies – A Definitive guide
So what is good content? From an SEO perspective, good content must have two qualities; demand and linkable. Content that doesn’t supply a demand or is not linked to other sites is bad in the eyes of the search engines.
Your top priority should be to create more engaging content, if you look into the report of Content Marketing institute it says the same.
In my opinion, content development doesn’t take huge budget. Anyone can create engaging content for free. Those who keep their focus on telling good stories will win the run.
Shouting louder won’t help you anymore. Only shouting better things will.
As we are discussing On-Page techniques, i must talk about Yoast SEO.
What is Yoast SEO?
Yoast SEO is a wordpress plugin that can really help you with half of your on-page SEO work. It is considered as must-have plugin for any wordpress site.
Recommended reading: Learn how to install and use Yoast SEO
2. What is Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO is all the work that you perform outside of your website or blog to improve SERP position. In simple terms, Off-page SEO helps search engines to understand what internet users are thinking about your blog or web page. Even having just a few recommendations from trusted or high D.A sites will increase your chances of ranking good.
It is not only about getting backlinks from other sites. It is about getting backlinks to your site from the relevant and trusted one.
How many types of backlink available?
SEO has two types of backlink; do-follow and no-follow.
Backlink is considered from only do-follow links. It means the other site is recommending your web page to read, it is like a vote.
These doesn’t considered to be backlink. However these are also important to increase your domain authority
1. Presence on Social Media
According to OrbitMedia, Sharing your links on social media will affect your rankings.
You might be thinking how social media interaction can decide my website rankings in SERPs. As like backlinks, social media is also playing quite important role in SEO. Search engines decides your site DA and PA by the popularity that you have on social media. Number of followers, likes, shares and interactions also matters. You should not neglect social media presence of your blog.
According to reports, people spend more time surfing social media sites now than they did before.
It’s not that you have to make your presence on every single social media platform – just a few like Facebook, Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn etc which are quite popular. Make sure you update your content regularly and interact with your fans. Each time your fan asks you a query, leaves feedback or express their opinion, you must respond to them in a nicer way. Remind that search engines are watching your presence on Internet.
2. Backlinks building
Getting links from other trustworthy sites in your niche can help with getting better exposure. Each time a user visits your website from an external website, you just got a backlink! And you should must keep building your backlinks. The reason why link building is important in SEO is that search engines determine the popularity of a website by the number of backlinks that it has got. There are 100s of strategies to build backlinks, which we have covered in other articles.
In this video if you see, Neil is making the real point of building authority links to boost your SEO rankings. Writing a guest article on other site with a back link to yours is not a back link anymore. You have to understand what Google wants.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
If you want to build links that don’t gets you penalized, you must understand and work along with Google’s mission. This is safe and recommended.
Recommended reading: According to Google, 7 Link building mistakes that you must avoid in 2019
Earlier, leaving any kind of comment on the other blog post with a back link to your site was a fast and easy way to get backlink. That is until the strategy was abused and Google decided that irrelevant and no value comments are useless.
Doing comments is not that Google has warned you about. As long as you’re commenting in the right way, you’re doing great. Comment helpful information, but not just for the sake of backlink. It will help you build networking and relationship with fellow bloggers.
Recommended reading: Getting started with blog commenting strategy- Shout Me Loud
4. Use Forums
Search internet for Question and Answer sites, forum discussions that are related to your blog niche or product that you deal in. Build a good and trusted communication with the community, respond to the answers, threads, give suggestions, take suggestions because Google love communities and discussions!
Just make sure you create your profile with the right information, along with your picture.
Recommended reading: Drive website traffic from forums
5. Guest blogging
Guest writing has been one of the most popular off-page technique to drive quality traffic. The only challenging task here is, you need to do lot of research where to write and on what topic to write. You need to find out the high authority blogs in your niche and submit your post.
There are literally millions of blogs on the internet that are open to receive your guest article. You just need to identify them. Make a search on the Google in below way:
- Submit guest post technology
- +Write for us SEO
- Become a contributor
- Guest blogging
You will learn how guest blogging can help you to achieve your 30% Off-page SEO here.
6. Directory submission
Some says directory submission concept is dead and not effective.
In my opinion it is not, if you do it in right way. Unless you submit to the right directory, you may not find this as beneficial. Online directories can surely help you to create your brand online, if the job is done properly. However here are some helpful tips to ue directory submission strategy:
- Directory quality
Do not only depend on link building through directories. It is really a bad practice. Keep your organic traffic as much as you can, and focus on submitting your site to the directories. Do not submit your site to all the directories at once, schedule the time and do it in multiple parts. In this way, you are not spamming.
Recommended reading: List of high Page Rank Directory submission sites in 2019
Apart from these you should also focus on Reducing your site bounce rate
If you follow these, you’ll find your website ranking top in search engine’s list. Remember it’s not a day or month job. Don’t get attract to the companies or freelancers who promise you paid backlinks, more traffic within days. It always fails in very bad way. Google started penalizing such providers and buyers.
Now go and explore more SEO tips and share your thoughts in the comments section.