A Beginner's Guide to SEO - Where to Start

Just getting started with SEO and don’t know where to start? The online world can be overwhelming, especially for those just getting started and finding your feet. So, here is a guide to get you started and informed about SEO techniques and to-do’s for your website.

 

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and refers to the process of optimising your online content to rank high in organic, unpaid search.

 

Why is this important?

Optimising your content for search engines can be classed as one of the most important activities to include in your content and website creation. This is because a search engine is usually the first place people visit when they are looking for answers.

We all know the process: you have a problem or need specific information, you go to your preferred search engine (Google is the top choice for most), you type in your question using relevant keywords and are presented with millions of results.

 

Research shows that the top five results receive 67% of clicks!

 

This is why ranking high is search engine results is so valuable for your website as it will increase traffic and improve your websites performance just by ranking higher in search engines. This research goes to show how important it is to rank on the first page of a search, not many people go much further.

 

Types of SEO

There are 2 main types of SEO that need to be included in any strategy: on-page and off-page SEO.

SEO strategy

On-page SEO

As the name suggests, on-page SEO is referring to everything within your website. This includes the following:

  • Technical elements such as code
  • Website speed
  • User experience
  • Textual content and its quality
  • Visual content and its quality
  • Relevance and ‘freshness’
  • Keywords
  • Meta Descriptions and Tags

Ultimately, on-page SEO relates to the factors you can control the most as they concern your content and your website itself.

Off-page SEO

This of course relates to the external factors surrounding your website, which includes:

  • Link building
  • Social Media
  • Shares and Engagement
  • Authority
  • Bounce Rates
  • Trust and Brand identity

Off-page SEO is the essence of how you gain traffic from external sources and begin to build a brand that search engines can trust and want to direct traffic towards.

Both of these areas contribute to your website’s overall SEO and you must address both in order to improve and grow in regards to your search engine ranking.

Now we can start to break down the most important techniques to get started with in SEO.

User Experience

This refers to the overall functioning of your website and how the user would experience your website. Therefore, including good design features, navigation and optimisation will contribute to your websites SEO ranking as search engines are able to analyse the user friendliness and rank it accordingly.

You want to ensure you website is optimised for all screen types: desktop, tablet and mobile, has fast loading time and images are optimised also, and effective, explanatory menus. One of the most important features to focus on is your mobiles mobile optimisation. This is because a high percentage of online traffic is mobile and this will be key in improving your ranking and traffic overall.

 

In addition, search engines also analyse the loading speed of your website. This is important as generally, if a website takes a while to load, they well look elsewhere. Therefore, improving loading speed not only assists with SEO, it also helps retain traffic and boost potential leads.

 

Social Media

Social media is not a huge contributor of high SEO ranking but it is very important to understand how it does. Social media is excellent place to market your websites content and relies mostly on the engagement of your audience.

In a similar way, shares of your content boosts your SEO. The type of people that share and the number of shares shows the value of your content to your audience and is therefore more recognised by search engines also. This is because there will be more social links directing people towards your website.

social media

Content

One of the most important areas of a websites focus for SEO is the content and the quality of the content. Great, informative and relevant content is important for SEO as search engines recognise the value the content provides it readers and can therefore rank it more highly.

Creating content includes many different factors that you need to take into account:

 

Original Content

Search engines will recognise duplicate content all over the internet, however, you can be penalised and punished for duplicating content as it is not providing true value to its users. Therefore, creating original content is key in being Google’s “good books” as well as being properly indexed and recognised.

 

Headings and Subheadings

Content composed well using headings and subheadings gives search engines sign posts about what is included. Not only are headings great for search engines, they also help guide the readers and make the content more user friendly.

Headings and subheadings are also very important to include keywords, this will be explored in more detail later.

 

Consistency

In addition to original and well composed content, posting content consistently is important for SEO ranking too. This builds trust between your website and search engines as it is always providing new, relevant and consistent content. This improves the authority of your website as Google will crawl your website more often, see it as more authoritative and reliable and therefore boost your ranking.

Therefore, combining all of these factors in your content will improve your SEO as you are appealing to search engines. However, you must keep in mind that you are not content creating just for Google, real people are reading and consuming your content too. You must find a balance between reaching your audience with your message and improving your ranking together.

 

Writing High Quality Content for SEO

  1. Create a Reader profile

This is all about knowing who your reader is and the problems they have, in order to write relevant, valuable content for your target audience. Without this insight, your content may lack focus, become off topic and even be too general to attract readers at all. Understand their needs, what they lack, how you can help them, and resolutions to their problems and write for them.

 

  1. Know your keywords

From your reader profile you can build an idea of the exact questions they are asking and answers they are searching for. This means you can conduct effective keyword research to include within your content, meaning your content can rank in search engines and be found by your target audience.

 

  1. Provide Value and Length

Value within your content is recognised by both your readers and search engines, additionally, research shows that blog posts over 1,000 words are more likely to rank on the first page of Google. Therefore, creating content that solves your audience’s problems, includes keywords and maintains value in more than 1,000 words can be more successful for SEO than shorter pieces of content.

 

  1. Develop your Titles

A title for content can be difficult to decide, however, with a keyword in mind and a very specific topic idea, you can generate an effective title. For each keyword, develop more than 5 different title ideas to find the right one and even ask peers for feedback on which one they think is most captivating.

 

  1. Optimise Image Alt Text

As you are writing with your readers in mind, often your content will include images. Not only do images contribute to maintaining your readers interest, they also improve your on-page SEO. However, images are only effective in this way when you optimise the alt attributes. Include a short description that includes your keywords in the alt text as this is the information that search engines crawl, not the image itself. In addition, images can also rank highly within Google results and send more traffic to your website.

 

  1. Insert Links

Links are a huge part of SEO and inserting them within your content is key for search engine crawlers. Internal links (links to your other content) shows how your content is relevant to itself and creates an easy navigational system for search engines and your readers. Including links to high authority websites also helps to support your content and build trust between you and your audience.

 

  1. Edit and Analyse

Of course editing before publishing is essential in any content creation to ensure there are no mistakes, to make sure the message is clear and that all points have been met. However, your content also needs to be developed and improved even after publishing, this is informed through your analytics. There you can analyse traffic, bounce rates, areas you might need to change and the best performing content to implement new strategies and ideas continuously improve your content.

Keyword Research

Another essential element of SEO is keyword research. Why are keywords important?

Keywords are what people type into the search bar in order to find the most relevant results. The more relevant the content to the keyword, the more likely you are to appear higher in search results.

 

Long Tail Keyword research

A Long Tail Keyword is a phrase of 3 or 4 words which are very specific to what a person is looking for. These are the terms used most often by people in search engines as they have specific questions and problems.

The diagram below shows that with more specific long-tail keywords there is less competition which means there is a higher possibility of being ranked highly within these search results. This is why long-tail keywords are important to research and implement within your content as it enables you target specific customers, queries and provides a better opportunity for success.

yoast-longtail-keywords

 

Conducting Long Tail Keyword Research

Researching long tail keywords is simple and effective when conducted correctly. Firstly, you want to research keywords relevant to your website and the content you are creating. This can be conducted using free and paid methods.

Google prediction - begin by selecting some seed words that are relevant to you and your website. For example, a seed word you may use can be ‘content marketing’, enter this seed word into Google search and it’s predictive function provides you with related Long-tail Keywords, see below:

google_predict

This provides you with an idea of the top searches relating to that keyword. By using a simple google predict query, you can create content targeted and enriched with this keyword, making your content relevant to these searches.

You can also use this technique in Pinterest with its suggestions:

keyword research technique

Therefore, Pinterest also provides you with a variety of keywords and clearer ideas about what people search for in relation to your chosen seed word. All of these suggestions mean you can focus your content on highly specific Long Tail keywords.

 

Google keyword planner - originally used for those looking to invest in paid search results, the keyword planner shows the search frequency and competition levels of keywords. This gives you an idea of what people search for most and also informs you about high competition. If there is high competition and high search frequency, you know it will be difficult to rank high for that keyword. You can then target less competitive keywords with the opportunity to rank high and be very specific.

 

There are also paid tools such as Semrush and Magools KWFinder, that also provide free trails. With such tools you can examine the competition for certain keywords and check out their content. It provides you with a huge range of related keywords and how many searches are conducted per month on your searched keyword.

 

You can also look into other keyword research tools to further your insight into relevant and useful keywords for your website.

LSI Keyword Research

An LSI Keyword stands for Latent Semantic Indexing and is another area of keyword research that needs to be addressed for SEO. What Latent Semantic Indexing means is a way that Google and other search engines use to have a deep understanding of content and determine the contents topic.

This does not mean long tail and other specific keywords, LSI keywords are related words to the main topic and frequently occur together in search terms. Therefore, search engines will not only rank according to the main keyword and how often it is used, but also consider relative words within the content.

For example, if the topic for your content is ‘Gluten Free Food’, then semantically related keywords such as ‘bread’, ‘cake’, ‘recipes’ and ‘gluten free friendly’ may be used within the content. These keywords can occur naturally through your writing but can also be inserted through research.

 

Additionally, LSI keywords need to be selected effectively in order for search engines to obtain the right message. For example, your topic may be gluten free food but specifically focused on eating out. Therefore, the related words would be more specific such as, ‘restaurants’, ‘starters’, ‘dessert’ and ‘mains’. This means that Google knows this particular content is about ‘Gluten Free eating out’.

LSI keywords allow Google to better determine the specificity of your content through related LSI keywords and when these are used in search terms, the content is more relevant and will therefore rank higher.

 

Conducting LSI Keyword Research

LSI Keyword research is carried out in a very similar way to long-tail keyword research and can be done using free and paid tools.

Using the same technique with Google predictions, you can use the single words as LSI keywords as they are confirmed to be related to your topic and can be included within the content you are creating. So for the example of gluten free eating out you could include:

lsi-keyword-google

 

‘The restaurant I recently visited also had many gluten free options and even offered gluten free bread to go with our main meals and food.’

 

Additionally, there are tools such as LSIGraph and LSIkeywords.com which are created for generating LSI keywords. Below is an example of the results from LSIkeywords.com:

lsikeywords

This tool produces over 10,000 results for you to use as LSI keywords and provides a huge variety in comparison to Google’s prediction.

Another benefit of using this tool is that is also provides details on the search volume and competition of these particular keywords. This gives you an idea of what content topic is the most competitive and would therefore need LSI keyword focus in order to rank effectively.

 

In-depth Research and Search Volume

This has been touched upon briefly during the keyword research sections. However, the value and information you can gain from in-depth research is very important during the keyword research stages.

Using Google and Pinterest and other free tools for keyword research is initial stages of keyword research. In-depth research is best carried out using online tools and programs which offer analysis and information that you cannot obtain otherwise.

The screenshot below shows results from Semrush’s keyword magic tool. Again, analysing the keyword ‘content marketing’:

 

Not only does this tool provide you with hundreds of long tail keywords you can use for your content and website, it provides in-depth analysis of each keyword.

Key:

Volume            - The average number of monthly searches over a 12 month period

Trend               - The interest of searchers over a 12 month period

KD%                - Keyword Difficulty index from 1-100, 100 being the hardest

CPC                - Cost per click, the average price in USD advertisers pay for a click on an ad for this keyword

Com.               - Competitive density, level of competition between advertisers from 0-1.00, 1.00 being most difficult

SERP              - The number of SERP features that appear in search results

Results            - The number of URLs shown in organic search results

 

The most important results to look at when using this tool to improve your organic search results are the volume, trend, keyword difficulty, and results. This is because they relate more closely to organic search rather than the paid search.

The higher volume recording indicates that this particular keyword is popular and searched for very often. However, this does not always mean you should use this keyword. The KD percentage and results sections add perspective and context to each keyword.

Take the first result ‘content marketing’ for example. There is a high search volume which is promising but the high competition and extreme amount of search results for this keyword show that the potential for ranking highly, is unlikely.

 

Similarly, Mangools KWFinder tool also offers in-depth keyword analysis. Below are results for the keyword ‘social media’:

mangool-kwfinder

The KWFinder also shows the trend and search volume over the last 12 months, the cost per click, the level of competition of paid search, and the keyword difficulty. The colour coding of the KD% is a great addition as it really highlights the ranking difficulty for each keyword.

 

Why is this important?

Now that you have an idea of what you are looking at, you need to know how to use this information effectively and successfully for your own SEO. Analysing the competition of keywords is essential research to include before deciding to pursue that particular topic or keyword.

 

What you gain from this research:

  • Understanding keyword competition
  • Informed choice about which keywords to focus on
  • Insight into search volume for particular keywords
  • Information on successful long-tail keywords
  • Top competitor websites

 

High competition for keywords means that the chance of ranking highly is very unlikely. It would then be a wise choice to target your topic more specifically to keywords that have lower competition and therefore a higher chance of ranking successfully.

This is why Long tail keywords are so important, as they make your content targeted and specific but also competition can potentially be lower. There is a risk however that the low search volume for long tail keywords may lead to low traffic but the benefit is that the traffic you receive will be readers interested in your content and finding value from your website.

Now you can understand why this research is important, so that your content is successful, reaches the right people and has the highest chance of ranking high in organic search engine results.

What do I do now?

Now that you know how to conduct both Long Tail, LSI keyword research and keyword analysis you can now start applying it to your website and content.

Keywords need to be inserted as much as possible. However, you need to avoid keyword stuffing:

the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose)

Google Search Console

questions

Keyword stuffing is not recommended as it can make reading your content difficult for readers. Remember that Google and other search engines rank according to many different factors and not only on keywords, therefore, keyword stuffing can effect the readability, relevance and user experience of your content.

 

Instead, your long tail keywords are more effective when inserted into headings and subheadings, as these are sections that crawlers look for first and they are guides for your audience. Including the long tail keywords in your headings shows the relevance of the content and the value it provides to your audience.

 

Also, you want to include the long tail keywords in your meta descriptions, slugs and tags. This reinforces the keyword strength in the content and your websites expertise. Ensure you edit these areas when creating content so the keyword is obvious and relevant.

 

Your LSI keywords are more of a focus when writing and composing your website and all content. Once your long tail keyword has been chosen, LSI keyword research can be conducted and a specific focus of the content can be determined.

 

With relevant keywords in mind during the creation process, it may be easier to insert them naturally and ensure your content stays on subject. LSI keywords will also be important during the editing process as more can be incorporated within the content itself as well as the meta description and headlines.

 

Ultimately, keywords are a very important element of SEO to research and implement effectively in order to improve your ranking, relevance and value that you are providing to readers and customers.

Link Building

Link building for SEO includes all types of links, internal and external. Google has also revealed that links are the top ranking factor, with content second and RankBrain the third factor. Therefore, link building is a MUST for building your websites SEO.

Internal links help guide the crawlers through your website, provide it with a clear map and show how your content is relevant within itself.

External links, particularly from authoritative websites, increases the recognition your website has from search engines. Do-follow links encourage the bots to follow the link, bringing with it some link juice. This build the authority and trust in your website as Google values quality links over quantity.

 

How Do you Know a Quality Link?

When you are starting out with SEO, you may not know what a quality link means and the kind of effect is has on your website. The quality of a link is mainly determined by a few different factors:

  • the page authority
  • the anchor text
  • the relevancy of the site
  • the placement of the link

 

The websites authority relates to the power a website has, the trust it has built, traffic it has and links pointing towards it. The authority of a website can easily be found using online tools such a Moz. Moz offers a free chrome extension which evaluates the Domain Authority, Page Authority and links to the website, as shown below.

 

The higher the DA, the more authority the website has and therefore a higher quality link would be coming from this website and the more link juice that will be sent to your website. This is why quality links are so important to boost your own authority and trust for SEO purposes.

 

Additionally, the relevancy of the authority website to yours is also highly important. A high authority link will not have the same influential power if it is from a website that is irrelevant and off topic. Therefore, be considerate about the website you want to gain links from as search engines recognise authority within relevant subjects.

 

The link its self is also highly important, not just the website it is placed on. The position of the link is significant in the quality of the link and links in side bars, footers or at the bottom of content is not as valuable as links in the main body of the content.

 

To reinforce the quality and relevance of the link, the anchor text is also important. The anchor text is the short phrase or word that is used as a link to your website. If you think of the text used for links to your website as similar to LSI Keywords. The anchor texts hint at what your website is about and Google recognises this information and adds context to your links.

 

Therefore, not only must you concentrate on obtaining the links, you should also analyse how important and effective the link will be at improving your search engine ranking. You want search engines to see your website as an expert and obtaining a number of links using the contextual anchor text, the same link and shown highly on a page will reinforce this.

 

Do follow or No follow?

There are 2 types of links that can be used by websites. A No follow link uses the tag rel=“nofollow” to indicate to crawlers that this link should not be followed or endorsed. This results in no ‘link juice’ being sent to your website.

Therefore, Do-follow links are the preferable type to receive the most benefits from links. However, no follow links are still recognised as links, they can boost traffic and sent new traffic to your website and they are not entirely useless.

seo links

How to Build Links for SEO

The important part: placing and building the links.

 

What will other Websites Link to?

Content is king and the type of content you publish has the potential to be linked to from anywhere, and as you know, high quality content also contributes to SEO on its own. Types of content you can create:

  • Infographics, videos, images or charts
  • List Posts
  • Ultimate Guides
  • Original Research

These types of content, that hold huge amounts of value and information, are going to be excellent resources that other websites will want to link to. In addition, high authority websites within your niche are going to be interested in this kind of content. So, it not only encourages back links, it also reinforces your niche and specialism that search engines will recognise.

Email Outreach

Once you have prepared and published high quality content, you start reaching out to websites to obtain links. Stages of email outreach:

 

  1. Finding Websites

This is more than just finding websites to publish or pay for links, good SEO practice includes links from relevant and high authority websites. Therefore, invest time in searching Google, Pinterest and social medias, other competitors websites and forums.

Use online tools such as Moz to understand the authority of site through its DA and link data to decide if a link would be beneficial or not. Other tools such as KWFinder also identifies highly relevant and authoritative websites to choose from.

 

  1. Find their contact details

Some websites will have contact details readily available and others may not. Of course, email addresses are the best way to contact websites however, this may not be possible and contact forms can be the alternative.

Keep an eye out for ‘Write for us’ or ‘Contribute’ pages. These often show options available to reach out or contribute to their website and potentially place links.

 

  1. Compose your email

Take advantage of canned responses in email, especially as you’ll be sending quite a lot, to save time and keep the message consistent. Do not make your email too generic or impersonal as people receive hundreds every week and these kinds of emails do not grab their attention.

So, grab their attention! Include things you like about their website, or the ways you can contribute to help you both out. Reaching out through email should not be impersonal, you want to build online relationships and gain links at the same time.

 

What to Ask for

You may be wondering what you are offering or asking for from these websites in order to obtain links. There are many things you can ask for/offer such as:

  • Asking for Back-links
  • Guest Posting
  • Testimonials or reviews
  • Asking to replace broken links
  • Proposing your best content or info-graphics as a resource to link to

Do your research on each website and select the best option for both of you to benefit the most. Bear in mind that many website, especially of high authority, will more than likely have a charge so prepare yourself for these kinds of responses also.

Additionally, you can also comment on relevant websites blog posts. This may not always be the case, but comments can also include a link to your site. Not only do you gain knowledge from their content and understand the audience in comments, you can also contribute your perspective, ideas and praise. This also helps build an online relationship with other websites.

How do I know if my SEO techniques are working?

In addition to implementing these SEO techniques, monitoring your websites progress and ranking is also very important. This can reveal if the techniques are successful or if you need to find new ways of boosting your websites ranking.

There are plenty of tools that show in depth details and analysis of your websites performance. Many monitoring tools analyse back links, the anchor text of links, domain and page authorities and website optimisation. What is important to note that it is difficult to analyse your website’s progress without using online tools as areas of SEO are immeasurable and very time consuming otherwise.

Below are some tools you can use to measure your KPI’s (key performance indicators).

On-Page SEO Monitoring:

Website speed

An excellent free tool to use that analyses your website’s speed is Google’s Page Speed Insights. All you need to do is enter your websites URL and the tool analyses the loading speed on mobile and desktop versions. You can see an example below using Neil Patel’s website mobile speed:

pagespeed

 

As you can see from the screen shot below, the analysis provides details of your website’s loading speed to the millisecond as well as areas that need improvement and that are slowing down your website. This analysis can be done near the beginning of your SEO journey but can also be conducted at many different stages to monitor improvements or errors.

Consistently checking your websites speed on mobile and desktop is a key KPI to monitor in order to ensure your website is functioning correctly. You are able to notice error patterns to correct them and ensures you have the best chance at improving your ranking by having optimal page speeds.

 

Technical Information

The technical side of your website can be the hardest area to monitor without using online tools. This includes checking your titles, descriptions, image sizes and their alt attributes, as well as any errors within your search engine optimisation.

This information is most commonly obtained through a site audit. A website audit is a great way to analyse even more elements of your websites performance than page speed. You can conduct this yourself but there are online tools that can perform an audit on your whole website within minutes.

You can use tools such as Neil Patel’s SEO Analyser and Sitechecker. The analysis you’ll receive holds very valuable information for your SEO monitoring and ways that you can improve your website’s on-site optimisation.

This information gives you the opportunity to regularly check your website for any errors regarding the on-page SEO of your website.

 

Off-Site SEO Monitoring:

Authority

In comparison, monitoring your websites domain and page authority can be much easier but you need the use of online tools. An excellent free tool to use is Mozbar. Mozbar is a free and paid tool that offers many different types of analysis on your website including a keyword explorer.

However, in this instance, their Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA), and link information is what you need. Your websites domain authority is generated using data such as links to create a score (from 0-100) that closely resembles Google’s ranking. The ratings generates gives you an idea of how your website is building, performing and improving.

It is a difficult metric to influence directly which is why overall SEO is so important, although Moz analyses links, it is not the only factor contributing to your websites DA. Therefore, monitoring your DA regularly is important to understand if the changes you are implementing, links you are placing and other SEO efforts are successful or not.

Page Authority relates to the authority of individual pages on your website. This is another KPI that you should monitor to analyse your SEO efforts for particular pages. This is important as links to your website will also be to pages, especially those with useful information, not just your landing/home page. This can show that some pages are better optimised, more popular with your target audience and has the potential to be optimised further to be even more successful.

 

SERPs

SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) is the results Google and other search engine generate once a query has been entered. This shows results that have been paid to be included, usually shown at the top of SERPs and pages that have been crawled and indexed by the search engine.

From the sections already covered in this guide, you know that the results shown are ranked and analysed by search engines according to many different factors, including keywords and relative keywords. This is what search engine optimisation is for, to rank higher in SERPs which is why this KPI also needs to be monitored.

There are plenty of online tools that analyse keywords and URLs for their SERPs. This enables you to see the ranking of your own website, if it is improving for certain keywords and if your SEO is effecting your Google ranking directly.

Here is the results page of Mangools, SERPChecker, which shows the results for ‘Social Media Marketing’. Not only does is show the ranking order, it also offers information such as flow metrics, domain authority and number of links of the websites.

Additionally, you gain huge amounts of information about your competitors. You can find out which keywords your competitors rank highly for, their popular pages, the number of links pointing towards their page, and the number of referring domains, as well as other valuable information.

 

This can inform new ways for you to compete, can highlight keywords which you need to be competing within, it will show you the type of content that is ranking highly in your niche, and it also reveals the websites that link to your competitors websites. Therefore, not only do you measure and monitor your own SERP, you also monitor that of your competitors and gives you information about new ways to improve.

 

Flow Metrics: Citation Flow and Trust Flow

Flow metrics are an evaluation of websites (a number between 0 and 100) based on link data and created by Majestic SEO. What do they each mean?

Citation flow is a metric predicting how influential a URL could be according to the amount of links going to it.

Trust flow is a metric predicting how trustworthy a page is, this is based on the idea that trustworthy sites link to trustworthy neighbours.

Here is a screen shot from Majestic SEO’s site explorer, using the example of Copy Blogger, a Content marketing website. You can see that it has both a high Trust Flow and High Citation Flow, whereas the example below, Future Content, has very low Trust flow and half the Citation flow.

 

A citation flow shows that a website has many links sending their link juice to their URL, however, if the same website has a poor trust flow then this shows that the links are not very trust worthy. This can indicate the website uses links in a ‘spammy’ or uses black hat method.

You want your website to have a balanced and high citation and trust flow to ensure your website is growing in the right way. Ideally, you want a trustworthy site, (shown in the trust flow) and also have a high number of links to your site (shown in citation flow). Therefore, checking a website’s flow metrics is an important KPI to ensure SEO is successful and if more trust worthy site links are needed.

Not only are flow metrics important for your own website, you can use this information to select the best websites to place links. The trust flow metric proves that the quality of links are essential for SEO and you want to ensure that any link contributes to your own websites trust and citation flow.

You can use Majestic to analyse potential URLs to place links, ensure they have a positive citation and trust flow before pursuing link placement in order to positively influence your own websites authority and trust.

 

Number of Backlinks

Of course with guest posting and commenting to link build, you will be able to keep track of all the links you place pointing towards your website. But what about the links that you do not know about?

It is true that authoritative websites will have other websites linking to them daily which is why tools that are able to pick up NEW links is very important for SEO monitoring. Also, as you are growing your website, you will want to know where links are coming from and how many there are as these will contribute to your search engine ranking, domain and page authorities and flow metrics.

There are free and paid tools which analyse links such as Moz, Majestic also shows the number of links below the flow metrics and Google Search Console. However, there will be limits to the number of links these tools can analyse and information they provide.

An alternative tool to use is Ahrefs. As an overall SEO monitoring tool, Ahrefs is very popular as it offers keyword research tools, daily reports and search engine ranking. In this case, we are interested in the data it generates on links.

 

The screen shot above shows Ahrefs analysis of Copyblogger. At a glance it shows the websites authority ranking, the number of back-links, number of referring domains and the percentage of these that are do-follow. But what is below this is the most valuable information.

Ahrefs shows you all the links coming to your website, as well as domain ranking, traffic and domains from the linking site. Therefore, you have information about where the most traffic is coming and going, the best back-links your website has and you can evaluate every link you have.

Additionally, Ahrefs also shows the anchor text used and the top pages that are being linked to. Now you know the most valuable content you have, the anchor texts that are being used and all of the websites linking to you, even those you did not place yourself.

Ultimately, this KPI is important to monitor to see the websites that are linking to your website naturally, which anchor texts are being used and where the most traffic is coming from. This tool can also be used to reveal links to your competitors. You can reach out to the websites to suggest also linking to you and contributing to SEO greatly.

 

Bounce Rates and Click Through Rates

A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors which view only one page on your website and the best place to find this KPI is either on Google Analytics, or on your websites analytics. This metric is better at a lower percentage, a high percentage shows that the majority of the visitors on your website are viewing one page and leaving, which is not ideal.

Contrastingly, a Click through rate (CTR) is also a percentage of the number of clicks you receive from SERP in comparison to the impressions you make, and this is better at a higher percentage. The higher this percentage the more people are visiting your website when they see it in search engine results.

Although, these metrics have opposite desired results, they are closely related as they both concern the traffic your website is gaining and how it behaves.

 

As you are working to improve your SEO, you need to monitor your CTR to understand if people are clicking on your website after seeing it on search results pages. If your CTR is a low percentage then you know more work needs to be done:

 

  • Are their searches more/less specific?
  • Does your meta description appeal to them and answer their question?
  • Are their different keywords being used that are not related to your content?
  • Are your competitors results more valuable or attractive? How?

 

These are all questions you need to ask when evaluating your CTRs and understanding the result your website has. Additionally, your bounce rate should also trigger further questions. If you have a high bounce rate, meaning visitors visit the one page and leave, then changes need to be made:

 

  • Is the website easy to follow/interpret?
  • Does the content appeal to the target audience?
  • Is the user experience negative or positive?
  • What could be making visitors leave?
  • Does the content offer value and answer their questions?
  • Is the navigation of the website clear and effective?

 

The information and insight you can gain from bounce rates can change your SEO tactics, the way your write your content and even the functions of your website. Therefore, monitoring both CTRs and bounce rates regularly is essential for SEO as it hints at the success of many on-site and off-site factors of your website’s SEO.

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