What is SEO? A Beginner’s Guide to SEO Tools

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You’ve probably heard the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization, but what is SEO? How does it work? Do I need to hire a professional for it? Keep reading for the answers to these questions, as well as an overview on using the SEO tool SEMrush.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization, in it’s most basic essence, is doing things on/for your website to make it show up higher on search engine results pages(SERPs) for searches relevant to your site. SEO consists of two different strategies: on-page optimization, and off-page optimization. On-page optimization means making improvements to your site itself, while off-page refers to actions such as link-building that is done for your website, but not on the site itself.

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How Does it Work?

To begin with, I’ll give you a rundown on how search engines index websites. The way they work is by sending out automated scripts known as “web crawlers” or “web spiders.” These crawlers procedurally check for things like site content and link profiles and other metrics important to the search engine. The data they gather is then used to organize search results to show the most relevant and high-quality websites to show on the SERPs.

In a nutshell, SEO is the process of making changes to your website that will get you displayed on search results. The algorithms they use are subject to sudden change, but some of the best SEO practices are not likely to change. One rule that is unlikely to change is that frequent, original content will help your rankings, especially if you put in keywords you hope to rank for.

Do I Need to Hire a Professional?

That really depends on if you are willing to work on it yourself, or if you’d rather outsource it. With the right SEO tools and practices, you could do it yourself with relative ease. SEO is actually fairly straightforward, it just takes time. It’s important to remember that rankings are somewhat volatile, so don’t panic every time your rankings dip.

By now, you may have some questions on how to do this yourself. The first thing you need to do your own SEO is to get software for SEO reporting. The industry leader in SEO software is SEMrush. I will now give a brief overview of how to plan and execute an SEO campaign using SEMrush.

The first step is keyword research. Using the keyword magic tool, you can enter a keyword related to your site niche. You will be given a list of common variations that include your selected keyword, as well as statistics about them. The two most important values are Search Volume and Keyword Difficulty. Search Volume is the number of searches that are performed a month that include the keyword in question. Keyword Difficulty is a percentage from 1 to 100 that shows how difficult it would be to outrank competitors on this specific keyword.

After you have chosen keywords to rank for, it’s time for site content. Posting content on your site with keywords is one of the best ways to increase your site rankings. Just make sure you don’t over-optimize your content with too many keywords, as your content should be readable. Using too many keywords is known as keyword stuffing, and will not help your site.

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For off-page optimization, SEMrush has a link building tool. This tool helps research good websites in your niche that you can use to generate links. The process is simple, just enter your domain. Next, you have a list of possible backlink sites, and it’s time to reach out. Using automation, SEMrush makes this easy. After that, you can see a report on how many of your backlinks are live.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what SEO is and how to do it yourself. Quality content and backlinks have been two of the most important components of SEO for a long time. If you’re ready to start your SEO journey, use the link below, and get a seven day free trial of SEMrush.

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