Ever heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs? It's a theory of psychology that prioritizes the most fundamental human needs (like air, water, and physical safety) over more advanced needs (like esteem and social belonging). The theory is that you can't achieve the needs at the top without ensuring the more fundamental needs. Love doesn't matter if you don't have food.
Our founder, made a similar pyramid to explain the way folks should go about SEO, and we've affectionately dubbed it "Mozlow's hierarchy of SEO needs."
The foundation of good SEO begins with ensuring crawl accessibility, and moves up from there.
Using this beginner's guide, we can follow these seven steps to successful SEO:
Search engines are answer machines. They scour billions of pieces of content and evaluate thousands of factors to determine which content is most likely to answer your query.
Search engines do all of this by discovering and cataloguing all available content on the Internet (web pages, PDFs, images, videos, etc.) via a process known as “crawling and indexing,” and then ordering it by how well it matches the query in a process we refer to as “ranking.” We’ll cover crawling, indexing, and ranking in more detail in the next chapter.
SEO is also one of the only online marketing channels that, when set up correctly, can continue to pay dividends over time. If you provide a solid piece of content that deserves to rank for the right keywords, your traffic can snowball over time, whereas advertising needs continuous funding to send traffic to your site.
Search engines are getting smarter, but they still need our help.
Optimizing your site will help deliver better information to search engines so that your content can be properly indexed and displayed within search results.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Local, national, or international SEO?
Local businesses will often want to rank for local-intent keywords such as “[service] + [near me]” or “[service] + [city]” in order to capture potential customers searching for products or services in the specific locale in which they offer them. However, not all businesses operate locally. Many websites do not represent a location-based business, but instead target audiences on a national or even an international level.
Know your website/client’s goals
Every website is different, so take the time to really understand a specific site’s business goals. This will not only help you determine which areas of SEO you should focus on, where to track conversions, and how to set benchmarks, but it will also help you create talking points for negotiating SEO projects with clients, bosses, etc.
What will your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) be to measure the return on SEO investment? More simply, what is your barometer to measure the success of your organic search efforts? You'll want to have it documented, even if it's this simple:
For the website ____________, my primary SEO KPI is ____________.Here are a few common KPIs to get you started:
And if your business has a local component, you’ll want to define KPIs for your Google My Business listings, as well. These might include:
You may have noticed that things like “ranking” and “traffic” weren’t on the KPIs list, and that’s intentional.
“But wait a minute!” You say. “I came here to learn about SEO because I heard it could help me rank and get traffic, and you’re telling me those aren’t important goals?”
Not at all! You’ve heard correctly. SEO can help your website rank higher in search results and consequently drive more traffic to your website, it’s just that ranking and traffic are a means to an end. There’s little use in ranking if no one is clicking through to your site, and there’s little use in increasing your traffic if that traffic isn’t accomplishing a larger business objective.
For example, if you run a lead generation site, would you rather have:
If you’re using SEO to drive traffic to your site for the purpose of conversions, we hope you’d pick the latter! Before embarking on SEO, make sure you’ve laid out your business goals, then use SEO to help you accomplish them — not the other way around.
SEO accomplishes so much more than vanity metrics. When done well, it helps real businesses achieve real goals for their success.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.