SEO: the complete guide for you to conquer the top of Google in 2020

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a set of optimization techniques for sites, blogs and pages on the web. These optimizations seek to achieve good organic positioning, generating traffic and authority for a site or blog.

One of the biggest goals of companies investing in  Digital Marketing  is to reach the top positions in search engines – after all, who doesn’t want free clicks and more visitors to their site?

But in such a fierce and competitive terrain as the Internet, making your website stand out among the millions of pages on the net seems like an impossible task. And I say it seems because in reality it is not.

However, being on the Internet is not enough to guarantee that your site, e-commerce or blog achieves a place on the first page of Google: it is necessary to invest in a specific strategy to optimize results and ensure that your business achieves a good positioning. web for the most important keywords in your segment.

With SEO or Search Engine Optimization – from English Search Engine Optimization – you can make your website appear in relevant searches, connecting your content with people who are looking for products or services like the one you offer.

It is the perfect operation!

But you should know that doing SEO requires a lot of study to understand terminologies, build strategies and apply practices that take you to the top of the Google results pages .

Do not worry! Whether you want to take your first steps in the world of search engine optimization, or you want to refresh your knowledge, in this complete SEO guide we will explain everything you need to know about the matter.

In this article you will find:

  • What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
  • 7 advantages of implementing an SEO strategy
  • What types of search are there?
  • Brief history of SEO and how the Google algorithm has evolved
  • How to put together a good SEO strategy and conquer the top of Google?
  • What is SEO on Page?
  • What is SEO off page?
  • How does technical SEO work?
  • What is local SEO?
  • Conclusion and bonus

Read carefully and become a SEO specialist!

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, which means “search engine optimization.” It consists of a series of optimization techniques, disciplines and strategies that are implemented in the pages of a website or blog to improve its search engine rankings.

This Marketing strategy is essential for your company to gain prominence, visibility in the digital world and, consequently, more leads , customers and billing for your business.

How?

Optimizing sites and blogs through the use of techniques to improve the web positioning of your pages and positioning your company in the first results of Google, for example, increase (and a lot) your business opportunities.

Ultimately, 90% of people who search on Google only click on the results that appear on the first page of the engine.

The main goal of SEO, therefore, is to increase the volume of organic traffic and ensure more visibility for web pages.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

We do not want to leave out of this article a topic that causes a lot of confusion among professionals who are starting in the world of Digital Marketing and this is the difference between SEO and SEM.

Although at first they may seem to refer to similar actions given the similarity of their acronyms, you should pay close attention because they refer to completely different actions. Let’s go one by one.

SEO = Organic positioning

As you may already know, SEO refers to all those actions that you can take on or off your website to optimize your search engine positioning organically. This last point is key since organic means “no payment” .

With an SEO strategy you do not pay Google or any other search engine to gain positions in the SERP. It’s your valuable content and your optimizations that earn those spots in their own right.

SEM = Payment positioning

On the contrary, SEM —Search Engine Marketing— refers to those strategies that include the use of paid advertisements.

That is, with an SEM strategy you create an advertising campaign so that when a user enters a search, your site appears before the organic results in the form of an advertisement, as long as it matches the user’s search intention.

Which to choose?

A complete Digital Marketing strategy should not opt ​​for one and exclude the other. That is, you must include in your strategy a combination of SEO and SEM strategies to increase your results .

With the use of SEM, results are generated instantly in a short term, necessary when you want to increase visibility or brand recognition quickly or when you want to launch products or promotions for a limited time. 

In addition, SEO is a strategy that works in the medium and long term, constantly bringing better quality visits.

If you want to expand this issue further, we recommend reading our article on SEO vs. SEM .

But what are the advantages of this SEO strategy and how efficient can it be? Here are the main ones.

7 advantages of implementing an SEO strategy

1. Increase the visibility of a brand

Implementing an SEO strategy is one of the best ways to organically increase your brand’s visibility .

Imagine the following scenario: your business sells washing machines. A user, let’s call him Pedro, is having problems with his washing machine, so he does a Google search on how he can fix it himself.

Coincidentally, you have an article that shows a step by step to repair washing machines, so you conquer that visit for your website.

And although the article talks about repair and not sale, this is only the beginning of a customer relationship with your brand. It is what in Inbound we know as the attraction stage.

2. Attract qualified traffic

Like Pedro, many other users will come to your content to solve their doubts or find solutions to their problems. 

By creating valuable content, optimized for search engines, your website will be able to organically attract the leads you are looking for, at the right time.

In this way, the more visits you receive, the more people will know you and the more likely you are to close a sale, which leads us to the next advantage.

3. Generate sales opportunities

Imagine that, although Pedro repaired his washing machine, he definitely needs to change it, as it still has other faults. 

Since Pedro already knows your brand, thanks to the fact that he has found the solution to his questions in your articles, he will surely already trust your business and will think of you, as the first option, to buy his next washing machine. This is the decision stage in the Inbound methodology.

4. Positions a brand as an authority in the market

Continuing with our example, in Pedro’s mind and in that of many other users like him, your company will occupy their Top of Mind , that is, it will be the first brand that comes to mind when they think of washing machines.

SEO allows you to achieve this by facilitating correct indexing and improving the organic positioning of your content.

Thus, whenever Pedro or anyone else looks for information about washing machines, your website will be the first to appear, or at least the result they are looking for.

In this area, a concept that has been highlighted is that of EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), an acronym used to represent the three fundamental elements of quality content.

Recently Google has looked favorably on content published by authors who have technical authority and recognized credibility in the respective topics.

For example, on a disease content website, you might want to have articles written by doctors, with an author page containing information about your professional history.

5. Educate the market

Users like Pedro have surely been educated with your articles on the operation, care and maintenance of their washing machines. 

Likewise, they have managed to understand what are the specifications they are looking for with their washing machine, according to their personal needs.

As you can see, the importance of positioning a content not only lies in closing sales, but also in educating the audience to make better decisions.

6. Triumph over the competition

Finally, if it is your brand that produces the most complete and relevant content about washing machines, who do you think users will look for when they want to know something about washing machines? Who will they trust if they need to make a purchase?

Although it takes time and a lot of work to implement an SEO strategy, in the long term it generates constant and lasting results.

7. Better return on investment

SEO requires a much lower investment than other strategies such as SEM or traditional advertising.

The investment required by SEO translates into the payment of some tools such as the ones we saw earlier, the salaries of the SEO specialist or the content creator and the payment of the domain and hosting of the website, for example.

However, the return more than multiplies the investment and the best thing is that the work that was done once continues to generate returns in the medium and long term.

We are now going to explain to you, step by step, the most important SEO concepts and teach you the strategies we use to reach the top of Google.

And it all starts when the user does a search.

What types of search are there?

Search psychology revolves around the user: their needs, the way they search for answers, the results they expect when searching for something, etc.

Companies that invest in Digital Marketing should respond objectively to all these questions and needs.

One of the first steps to understanding the user’s search is to know the intention of their navigation, which is essential to be able to attract the right audience to your site.

So we are going to explain to you what takes the user to Google. There are three types of search:

1. Navigational search

This type of search – also known as a shortcut search – happens when the user already knows which site they would like to visit, but may not remember the full URL or may be lazy to type.

For example, if the user searches for ” SEO MASTER ” or “SEO MASTER blog” to find our content, their search intent is clear and, therefore, there is little chance that this user will change their final destination on the web. – this person already knows what they are looking for.

2. Informational search

As the name itself says, in the informational search the user looks for information, either through news, product launches or explanatory articles.

Unlike navigational search, the user does not know exactly which site they will reach to find the content they are looking for, since it is not possible to clearly identify their search intention.

In an Inbound Marketing strategy , this organic visibility is essential to attract users to the pages of a business and start their journey to become customers.

Because they do not know exactly which site they want to visit, the user tends to use the organic results to find the solution to their doubt or need, and it is at that moment that the good web positioning of the blog or site is an advantage for business.

Look at an example of informational research:

3. Transactional search

In this type of search, the user wants to execute a transaction, such as buying a product directly or finding a store. This search is extremely valuable, especially for e-commerce .

Now that you have understood the 3 types of search, in the next topic we are going to explain how the largest search engine in the world works, Google.

4. Local Search

Local searches are searches with a geographic component, within a certain region, for example, when the user searches for restaurants, cinemas, shops, hotels, schools, offices, among other types of establishments with a physical location.

Other search types

There are also other types of searches that users can perform, such as:

  • news ;
  • institutions;
  • songs;
  • academic searches;
  • specific information (weather, date, etc.);
  • images;
  • videos.

Keep in mind that, for each type of search, Google has increasingly strived to provide specific results.

In product searches (transactional), for example, it shows Google Shopping results or when searching for a music theme, it shows the clip on YouTube and the lyrics.

The intention is to improve the search experience with more agile and precise answers for the user .

Brief history of SEO and how the Google algorithm has evolved

Since people realized that the best way to deliver their content to Internet users was through search engines , they devised a series of techniques to conquer their first places. These techniques were baptized with the name of SEO.

However, in the 90s there were plenty of content that cared more about positioning than user experience. That is why Google began to constantly update its algorithm to deliver the most relevant results in each search.

Next, we’ll take a look at the main algorithm updates.

Google panda

In 2011 the first big update of the algorithm arrived. Google Panda began to analyze and evaluate websites based on the quality of their content, reviewing aspects such as grammar and duplicate content and rewarding, in turn, original and valuable content.

Google penguin

A year later, in April 2012, Google Penguin was launched to monitor the health of website link building .

Basically, Google Penguin checks that the external links that are sent to the pages are natural and of quality. Therefore, it stimulates relevant backlinks and that add value to the user who reaches another website from them.

Google Hummingbird

In 2013, with Google Hummingbird, it began to classify content according to semantic factors and user interest.

It is with Hummingbird that Google understands natural language, expanding its way of interpreting content to variations of keywords or related keywords.

Google Pigeon

In 2014, with Google Pigeon, the search engine began to organize search results according to the geographical location of users. It is from here that local SEO begins to gain prominence.

Google Mobilegeddon

In 2015 comes the boom of mobile devices and Google adapts to it with Google Mobilegeddon. With this update, Google rewards sites that are mobile-friendly: those that have a responsive design and that optimize their loading speeds .

Google RankBrain

One of the most radical algorithm changes occurred with Google RankBrain, in 2015. With this update, Google delivers the most relevant content to the user according to their search intent. 

In this free infographic that we prepared you can find more detailed information about this story and how Google currently works.

How to put together a good SEO strategy and conquer the top of Google?

Now, it is time to know the step by step you must follow to create and implement a successful SEO strategy. Take note!

1. Define your goals

The first step of the strategy is to define what your goals are when optimizing your website, blog or ecommerce . For this, you need to know what SEO is, some possibilities are:

  • increase organic traffic;
  • generate more leads;
  • generate more sales;
  • reduce the cost of acquiring customers (CAC);
  • educate the market;
  • increase brand authority.

You should always align these SEO goals with your brand’s macro goals . If you want to increase the recognition of your brand, for example, SEO can help you with that by putting your company’s website in the first positions of Google.

When defining objectives, you can also identify goals and KPIs. If you want to have more authority, for example, you can use the Domain Auhtority and Page Authority metrics . You just have to define what score you want to achieve in these KPIs and in what period of time.

In this way, you can monitor the strategy using these indicators to be sure that you are on the right track to achieve your goals.

2. Create a buyer persona

The first step is to define who you want to reach with your content, that is, define who would be your ideal client. For this, the concept of buyer person will be of complete utility to you. In short, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer built from data.

Unlike the target audience, a buyer persona is a character with a specific and detailed description, created to better understand your customers, their interests, and their problems or needs.

Creating a buyer persona is the first step in implementing an SEO strategy because it allows you to define the communication language, the content you expect and the best content distribution channels.

That is, it will give a north to your digital strategy and will allow you to write for real people and search engines at the same time.

Remember this: everything that your brand produces must be addressed to your buyer persona to make sense and lead them to move naturally through the stages of the customer’s journey until the purchase is concluded.

3. Install initial and basic SEO tools

To start an SEO strategy you must have, at least, the basic tools to make a diagnosis of your current situation, support planning, make the first optimizations and start monitoring the impacts of each action.

We are talking mainly about two indispensable tools for SEO: Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Google provides them for free and they will always help you monitor your strategies. Let’s get to know them better!

Google analytics

Google Analytics is a widely used data analysis tool that offers a wide variety of resources for evaluating the performance of digital strategies. In SEO, you can help in different ways:

  • get to know your audience better to build the buyer persona;
  • identify which are the most visited pages and with the best performance;
  • monitor the amount of organic traffic;
  • identify the channels that generate the most traffic (email, social, organic, etc.);
  • understand engagement (bounce rate, pages per visit, session duration);
  • monitor the conversions generated by the SEO strategy.

These are just a few analyzes that you can do with Google Analytics that can help you from planning to monitoring SEO. Undoubtedly, you will find many other data in the tool to help your strategy.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a tool that facilitates communication between a site and Google and offers valuable reports to apply SEO techniques. These are some of the features it offers:

  • find out if there are problems with the site’s indexing;
  • helps you know if the site has been hacked or penalized by Google;
  • monitor the average position of your pages in the SERPs;
  • identify the click-through rate (organic CTR) of your pages in the SERPs;
  • identify which keywords triggered your website in the SERPs;
  • identify which sites direct backlinks to yours;
  • prompts Google to rework questionable backlinks to your site.

Google Search Console is a bit more technical, so it is geared towards webmasters. But the interface is very friendly, so anyone can use it to make diagnoses and direct more complex demands to specialized professionals.

The tool can also generate various ideas for content optimization, as well as being the main source for identifying queries that drive traffic to your pages and the click-through rate of your main keywords.

4. Do keyword research

Since you know who you are going to talk to and what are the topics that might interest them, it’s time to land those ideas to create relevant content for your buyer persona.

What separates your content from your users is called keywords . A keyword is the term that users type in search engines to find content that solves their concerns.

For example, if a person is planning a trip to Japan, they will surely type “best destinations in Japan” or “cheapest destinations in Japan” in the search bar.

What I put in quotes are the keywords, which have different types those terms that cover interesting topics for your buyer person.

Doing keyword research is a complete process:

  1. you start with an idea on a topic,
  2. you use tools like SEMRush or the Google Keyword Planner to identify the keywords that you can use in your articles,
  3. you determine if your search volume is relevant or how difficult it is to position content for that word,
  4. you create a list of the best keywords.

In this keyword search, it is also very important to know the location of your audience, since this information will guide all the content production of your website.

If you have a company in Mexico but want to expand your operations to Colombia, you will have to do specific research to find out which terms are the most common in this country.

To achieve this territorial domain in Google for different regions of the world, there are the international SEO techniques , which you can learn more about in the last link.

Among them are the use of hreflang tags and the production of content adapted to each national market.

We recommend reading our article on keywords to fully understand how to do this.

Keyword tools

SEMRush

An indispensable tool in an SEO work kit is SEMRush. With this platform you can, among other things, analyze the general positioning status of your website and identify the keywords in your sector.

But perhaps one of the most valued features of SEMRush is competitor analysis. Thus, you can identify the strengths of your competition’s SEO strategy and adjust yours.

In this article we present a  complete tutorial on how to use SEMRush .

Ahrefs

If you want to know the status of your link building strategy and the health of your backlinks, you should use  Ahrefs . This platform has the most complete index of links on the Internet.

Ahrefs, which now as a free version , allows you to perform different functions: find link building opportunities, find broken links on your website or your competition’s website, find ideal pages for  guest posting  and analyze the  backlink profile  of your own page. 

To take care of your link building strategy, and avoid being  penalized  by Google Penguin, you should use Ahrefs.

MOZ

MOZ  is a whole suite of tools that, used correctly, will boost your SEO strategy through its recommendations for optimization in positioning, defining the topics of your content and improving your strategy on  social networks .

For example, with the Crawl Test function you will be able to identify technical SEO problems on your website. In addition, only with MOZ will you have access to two metrics that are essential to understand   Google PageRank : the Page Authority and the  Domain Authority .

5. Analyze the competition to identify opportunities

Another fundamental step before starting content creation is to review what your competition is doing .

With tools like SEMRush you can identify which are your most successful keywords, which of your articles are the best positioned and how they are being found by users.

With this information you can make adjustments to your strategy, adopt their best practices or try to position with your keywords by creating more complete content.

6. Organize the contents with the Topic Clusters methodology

After identifying your best keywords with their different types , it’s time to write your articles.

It is necessary that you explore the main topics of your market with complete content, which must be reconciled with minor and more specific articles on topics related to the most prominent issues.

Once you have several specific articles on a general topic, you can organize them in Topic Clusters , which means gathering several related articles in a main post, creating interconnections between them.

It is important that you pay attention to this methodology since more and more, Google is paying attention to the user’s search intention and not only to the keywords that appear in an article.

With Topic Clusters, you give Google to understand that your article is the most complete on a topic and thus you will gain better positions in the SERP.

An example of the SEO MASTER universe is the pillar content that we have on the concept of Marketing, which has almost 10,000 words. But to talk about this topic it is impossible to stop covering related concepts, such as:

  • Digital marketing;
  • How to put together a Marketing strategy;
  • The 4 P’s of Marketing;
  • What is the relationship between Marketing and Advertising;
  • What types of Marketing exist;
  • among others.

The Topic Clusters concept tells us that it is advisable to write specific articles on each of these topics, making these contents send internal links to the “Marketing” page, and vice versa.

Thus the algorithm can better understand the semantic structure of the domain and reward you for this organized work.

In this free worksheet that we prepare you can use this methodology to guide the production of your content. Download it for free!

What is SEO on Page?

Here it should be remembered that the On Page factors refer to what the website administrator can optimize on their own pages to improve the visitor experience and facilitate the reading of the site by Google.

These optimizations must be integrated into the Content Marketing strategy, since a large part of them is implemented in the content published on the website or blog.

The SEO On Page has all the variables you can control directly within your website as:

  • title length, 
  • user intent,
  • content size,
  • author pages (EAT),
  • number of posts,
  • scannability ,
  • meta description,
  • Friendly and easy to understand url,
  • use of keywords, 
  • image optimization,
  • loading speed,
  • subtitle formatting,
  • internal links between pages,
  • among others.

From now on we are going to break down the main SEO on Page optimization factors and their best practices:

User intent

SEO is not about what people search for, but what they want to find.

Therefore, on-page optimizations should focus on the user’s search intent, which varies with each search, so that your pages and content match what they want to find.

That is what Google focuses on to offer what the user wants and, for that, natural language processing and analysis of the user’s location are elements that help to decipher this intention.

Therefore, the challenge for an on-page SEO and Content Marketing strategy is to understand search intentions, as Google does, to deliver what users want.

And the best way to understand user intent is by turning to Google itself!

Let’s understand better with some examples:

After keyword research, you need to Google to analyze which results are in the first places. After all, these are the pages that Google considers to best respond to user intent .

Let’s look at the results page for the search “SEO”:

As you can see, all the first contents are educational, focused on teaching what it is and how to use SEO, therefore, to position yourself you need to have content following this line.

But what if my intention was to find a “Batman costume”? What would I like to find?

Exactly pictures of the products!

Can you imagine someone renting or buying a costume without seeing it? To get to the top positions you must use images!

Therefore, analyze the first results for the specific keywords and identify the topics that you need to address and how to improve your content with topics that those results do not yet address.

Overcome them and offer optimized and more complete content!

Content size

The size of the content generally has an impact on ranking, although it is not a direct factor in the ranking of the algorithm.

Extensive content tends to be more complete, detailed, and in-depth, and is therefore better able to answer user questions.

But, of course, there is no rule: for each topic and for each person, the ideal length may vary. Here at SEO MASTER we have super complete publications, such as this one about advertising .

It is a head tail keyword , with a lot of competition, search volume and that requires extremely complete content, due to the breadth of the topic.

Already a post about 18 Instagram tricks , for example, is much more specific, with less searches and competition, and can therefore be shorter and more direct.

In conclusion: the best size is the one that best answers the user’s question . For insights on how long your post needs to be to get to the top of Google, you can also take a look at the websites that are already ranking well for each keyword.

Publication volume

The volume of publications also usually favors positioning. After all, the more content you post, the more likely you are to rank higher.

However, you can’t just think about the number of posts, okay? We need to combine quality and frequency.

There is no point in publishing hundreds of content that is not relevant or does not answer user questions. That would be a waste of energy. Posting a lot at the beginning of a blog and then leaving is useless.

It is necessary to maintain the frequency of the publications to retain the public and show Google that you always have new and updated content.

However, there is no ideal volume or frequency of publication. You must identify what are the demands of your topic, its identity and, in addition, evaluate the content production capacity of your business.

Remember that the most important thing is that quantity and quality work together!

Featured Snippets

On the other hand, Featured Snippets are a type of featured snippet known for being Google’s famous zero position. They are boxes that appear above all the results with a specific answer to a user’s search.

In general terms, to conquer a Featured Snippet you must create very valuable content and presented in a simple way that fully answers a question in a small space.

Therefore, lists, definitions and short answers are the most common content found in Featured Snippets.

As additional information, you should know that when you perform a voice search , the result you get will surely be read from a Featured Snippet. That is why it is so important to try to conquer position zero.

There are three types of featured snippets:

  • lists;
  • boards;
  • and paragraphs.

Here you can see an example of a featured paragraph snippet that we captured for the keyword “marketing information system”:

Images for SEO

Google still doesn’t fully understand what an image says, so it needs your help. And how can you help him? With image optimization for SEO .

This strategy serves to provide data in the form of text on the images. We are talking about the alternative text (alt tag), the file name, the image title, the image URL and the context (environment words).

The most important thing here is the alt text, which is essential to the visually impaired experience as the screen reader reads the alt text to the user.

Therefore, the alt text should be a description of the image and, whenever possible, contain the keyword. Look at this example:

All these elements make Google understand what the image shows, index it for Google Images search and turn it into another source of traffic.

Image optimization for SEO also includes some attention to the size and format of the file, so that it loads and indexes quickly.

Rich snippets

The  Rich Snippets  are pictures that appear with expanded information on your website. They occupy the position that your website occupies for a certain search.

If Snippets are a combination of title, short description, and website URL, Rich Snippets are a rich version of these that include more detailed information that is relevant to users.

To enrich your website with these resources, it will be necessary to establish a solid and organized structure of information that can be understood by the algorithm. This is achieved by configuring the pages with the code snippets available in the  Schema Markup .

An example of a rich snippet is the rating of content in the SERPs. The positive evaluation of users can help others who come to the page to have more confidence in a content and access it.

Internal links

Your website’s internal link network is also part of onpage SEO strategies.

Linking internal pages has a main function: to guide navigation and direct the user (and the search engines) to other content that may interest them .

But that action also fulfills a technical function in SEO. The internal link network helps Google find your content and better understand your site by showing the hierarchy between pages.

For example, the closer a page is to home and the more internal links it receives, the more important it is.

We link, in addition to our most important blogs and pages, the most relevant content directly from the home page of our website:

Another example of the internal link of SEO MASTER is in our super complete publication on ” Digital Marketing “, many other diverse contents more specific to the subject (email marketing, SEO, social networks, etc.) have links to that publication and, from that form, they strengthen their authority.

EAT

This acronym caught the attention of SEO professionals and stands for Expertise (specialty), Authoritativeness (authority) and Trustworthiness (reliability) Google uses these words as guidelines to evaluate the quality of search results.

They are presented in the document that guides the group of evaluators who carry out a manual analysis of the relevance of the results offered by the search engine. Therefore, they also show what Google considers important for the content to be considered quality:

  • the specialty of the content author;
  • the authority of the author of the content, the content itself and the website;
  • how trustworthy the author of the content, the content itself, and the website is.

Therefore, follow these guidelines in your content strategy and SEO optimization to be aligned with what Google thinks. To learn more about the subject read our article on EAT .

What is SEO off page?

Now, it’s time to look outside of your pages for off-page SEO. What can you do to gain more authority in the market and show Google that you are a reference?

Here you need to realize that, unlike on page SEO, in off page SEO you do not have full control over optimization. The decision to give backlinks to your site and mention or directly search for your brand depends on third parties.

What you can do is increase the chances of that happening by adopting a link building strategy, guestposting and redirecting broken links, among other ways to reinforce the backlink profile and generate more authority for the page.

You will learn more about these strategies below!

What is link building?

Links are the foundation of the internet. They connect one page to another and allow the user to navigate discovering content.

Like users, robots also traverse this interconnected network to index new content and understand which pages are the most important, as one transmits link juice and authority to the other.

That is why a link building strategy is so important in off-page SEO.

Link building is the construction of a network of links that direct the user to your pages (called backlinks ) and strengthen your authority on the web. For the Google algorithm, the more quality links the page receives, the more relevance it will have in the market.

Keep in mind that quantity and quality must go together. There is no point in getting hundreds of backlinks from the same domain or from a questionable or out of context website.

For a link building strategy to work it must be able to obtain quality links.

What are quality backlinks?

As we have already seen, Google makes a great effort to avoid actions of black hats.

Link building was once a widely used tool for artificially increasing authority, with systems for artificial link production and “super optimization” of anchor texts, for example.

A quality backlink, therefore, is the opposite of these actions, it is a link to your domain that you receive on its own merits and shows that you are related to reliable sites and references in your market .

Quality backlinks, therefore, are those that:

  • come from sites with domain and page authority;
  • they come from sites that Google trusts;
  • they come from several different domains;
  • they are naturally integrated into the context of the page;
  • use consistent anchor text;
  • they are in a privileged position on the page (at the beginning of the text, for example);
  • They come from sites related to your area of ​​expertise.

These are the main characteristics to look for in backlinks when designing a link building strategy.

Nofollow links

There is also an important point in the characteristics of backlinks: the difference between dofollow and nofollow links .

By default, all links are “dofollow”. This attribute tells the robot that it should follow the path indicated by the link and transmit the authority from one page to another.

The “nofollow” attribute, on the other hand, prevents the bot from following that route and assigning authority to the linked page.

It is used, for example, in blog comment boxes and social media links, which are often for spamming and creating artificial authority.

This does not mean that nofollow links are dispensable in off-page SEO. While they don’t directly convey authority to your pages, they generate traffic and make more people aware of your brand.

Link building techniques

Let’s see, then, what link building techniques can you adopt to strengthen your market authority? Next, we will talk about the main ones. Keep reading!

Link bait

It is the most natural and efficient strategy. It is about creating content that is so good that it generates backlinks naturally, without having to seek or propose associations.

For this, you can invest in in-depth content, disseminate exclusive research data, create rich materials, offer your own tools, among other types of content that become assets with great potential to be linked or shared.

The interactive content are examples that usually bring backlinks natural, and that surprise the user with its immersive character and encourage them to share it on their social networks.

There are several types of interactive content , such as:

  • calculators,
  • infographics ,
  • questionnaires
  • and ebooks.

To better visualize it, I show you the example of the interactive calculator that Lansinoh made, in which the user can know how much they would save with breastfeeding instead of standardized baby feeding formulas.

Guest posts

The guest posting is a strategy to publish posts as a guest on an associated blog. Usually it is an exchange: you produce content for the blog audience and you can place one or more links to your website.

In this way, you attract new visitors and gain more authority, if the link is “dofollow”.

It is very important to adopt this strategy in moderation. If Google realizes that you acquired a lot of links quickly, it can understand that you are using black hat techniques and penalize your pages.

Brand mentions

Brand mentions, even without a link to your website, are already valuable for SEO. Google analyzes this criterion to recognize the brands that really exist and have a good reputation in the market.

You can also search for these mentions without a link and identify opportunities for a quality backlink . Just contact the admin and they suggest adding the link.

Broken links

What happens when the URL pattern of a site changes or the content ceases to exist? Various broken links are created on the site.

That is, the user who tries to access that previous link does not find anything, falls on an Error 404 page and you lose both the visit and the authority that transmitted the link.

Also, you can find these links on websites with topics related to yours and display your content as a solution to that broken link.

You can find these links on other sites using tools like Screaming Frog and Ahrefs or using a free tool like Check My Links:

Link building tools

There are several link building tools on the market. Some are paid, others are free; some are specialized, others help with certain actions.

Tools like Majestic, Ahrefs, Moz’s Link Explorer, and SEMrush offer a comprehensive analysis of a page’s backlink profile, from the volume of citations to the quality of the anchor texts.

Some of them have their own indicators that help in this analysis, such as Majestic’s Trust Flow and Citation Flow and Moz’s Domain Authority and Page Authority.

These tools are paid, but they do offer some free features.

In addition, you can work with more specific tools for certain actions. Google Search Console , for example, should be used to ask Google to reject questionable backlinks.

The Google Alerts can warn you about mentions of your brand are good opportunities to get backlinks.

How does technical SEO work?

The SEO universe is vast and includes many technical aspects of the structure of a website, which is why a very important part of on-page SEO is technical SEO .

When we talk about technical SEO, we are referring to all the optimizations that you can make in the internal structure (that is, in the codes and architecture) of your website, with the aim of making it more secure , fast, understandable, traceable and indexable.

Next, we will tell you what the fundamental elements are and how to optimize them. Don’t stop reading!

Sitemap

A sitemap is a text document that numbers all the pages of a website , as well as information about them, such as the date of the last modification and the frequency of updates.

Its SEO function is to show this information to search engines so that they can easily find and index the URLs.

Although search engines already do this job when crawling, sitemaps make life easier for robots and ensure that all pages are indexed.

You can create the sitemap manually or with tools and plugins and then submit it through Google Search Console.

Robots.txt

The robots.txt file is also a text document, inserted in the root folder of your website, that tells Google which pages of your website it should not crawl so that, that way, they do not appear in the search engine .

You can use robots.txt to prevent Google bots from accessing sensitive pages, such as the administrator login form (the “/ wp-admin /” for WordPress sites , for example), scripts, or styles. that are not important.

In addition, it is important to know about robots.txt in cases where your pages have a problem to appear in the SERPs. They may be in that file by mistake.

UX (user experience)

The experience of the user and SEO are concepts that must go together. We have already said that the priority of the engines is to offer the best search and navigation experience until the user finds what they are looking for.

And that includes their experience on your website.

But what does UX mean, User Experience? It is a concept used in the development of websites that centralizes all the measures in the actions and responses of the users to satisfy their needs.

According to Peter Morville, president of Semantic Studios, seven characteristics are essential for a website to have a good user experience. Needs to be:

  • Useful;
  • easy to be used;
  • desirable;
  • locatable;
  • accessible;
  • valuable;
  • dependable.

Loading speed

Upload speed is one of the main criteria for classification. Google itself has already stated this openly: in 2010, for desktop searches and, in 2018, for mobile searches .

It is very important to remember that, although speed does not make you gain positions, without it you will never reach the top.

A fast pagespeed won’t rank you above your competitors, but with poor page speed you won’t even have a chance to compete.

For Google, the quality of the user’s search experience depends on the agility of the information , since no one wants to wait more than a few seconds to find what they are looking for.

It is no coincidence that the search engine provided a free trial tool: PageSpeed ​​Insights . The reports provide speed diagnostics as well as tips for improving website loading, image optimization, and code.

Mobile First Index

If cell phones are already used more than computers, if mobile searches have already overtaken desktop searches, if traffic from mobile devices is already higher, what do you think Google should do?

Of course, the seeker is an excellent reader of reality! Therefore, it began to prioritize in search results those sites that offered a good mobile experience .

In 2015 Google announced that mobile searches would become a ranking factor, prompting several sites to become responsive .

An impact that was also impressive was the announcement of the Mobile-First Index , starting in 2016, which began to prioritize the mobile version of sites to rank them.

So if you haven’t adapted your site to this trend yet, hurry up to improve the usability and loading of your pages on mobile devices!

Responsiveness

Creating a responsive website is one of the most appropriate ways to make your website mobile friendly. With this technique, the site only has one version, which is best adapted to the different screen sizes that users can use.

In addition to responsive design, you can also adopt two other techniques, although they are less indicated:

  • Mobile URL, where the mobile version has a different URL than the desktop version (m.domain.com, for example);
  • Dynamic service, where the two versions have the same URL, but have different CSS and HTML for each device.

AMPs

The Accelerated Mobile Pages are another initiative to improve the mobile search experience. This is an open source project, spearheaded by Google, whose goal is to develop static content pages that load faster on mobile devices.

They are identified in the mobile search SERP with a seal, a small lightning bolt symbol next to the URL, and are prioritized in the ranking.

The red arrow in the following image is fixed on the symbol that indicates that the page will be displayed in its AMP version.

SEO audits

In technical SEO, one of the main actions is to conduct audits, especially at the beginning of an optimization project.

An SEO audit identifies problems with tracking, loading, usability (especially on mobile devices), among other errors that affect user navigation and website ranking.

These are some elements that an SEO audit can point out:

  • broken links;
  • tracking errors;
  • redirect errors;
  • duplicate content;
  • blocked pages (robots.txt, noindex, nofollow);
  • slow loading pages.

One of the most comprehensive tools for this is Screaming Frog which offers comprehensive reports on all those items we mentioned. But auditing can also combine other tools, such as SEMrush and Google Search Console.

What is local SEO?

One of Google’s priorities in recent years is searching with local intent. Understand the reason for this!

The search engine interprets that a user looking for solutions in a certain region should receive responses in a different way, with more practical and objective information, instead of a list of links as in a traditional SERP.

In this type of search, Google activates the local search algorithm, which prioritizes the results in the region in which the user is located or that he / she types in the search terms.

In the results, the search engine generally presents information from Google My Business directly in the SERPs, so the user does not always need to enter the brand’s website (in the same line that we explained about the featured snippets).

So, home address business optimization, called local SEO , has a few quirks. What does this change in an optimization strategy? Understand it better below.

Local keywords

To display local results in SERPs, Google tries to interpret the user’s local search intent.

If you type “hotels”, “nearest hotels” or similar terms, Google considers the user’s location at the time of the search to show them the options in that region.

On the other hand, if the user types “hotels in Medellín”, the results will focus on the region that they entered in the search, regardless of its location at that time. This can happen when we plan a trip, for example.

Therefore, keyword research for local SEO strategy must consider search intentions with all these variations, not just the one that includes your city.

Think about the following:

  • terms that identify your business, for example: hospitality, hotel;
  • modifiers of industry terms, for example: best hotel, best cost-benefit hotel;
  • geographic modifiers, for example: Medellín hotels, downtown hotels, hotels near the airport.

Google My Business

Google My Business is the top ranking factor in local SEO . At the top of the local search SERP, Google displays the Local Pack, which is a box with the top three results for the user, the information of which is pulled directly from Google My Business.

It is there, therefore, that you should strive to appear, for that it is essential to register your company in Google My Business. This tool offers various registration functions for local businesses.

You can enter your name, address, telephone number, hours of operation, and also receive comments, respond to users, post photos, inform your menu, among other specific functions for different types of businesses.

Take advantage of all this variety of forms of registration and interaction with users to have a better chance of appearing in the Local Pack.

Google prioritizes companies that provide the most information on the platform, especially those with the most reviews and high ratings.

Positioning factors

Google uses three main ranking factors for local searches: relevance, proximity, and prominence. The search engine itself presents these criteria on its recommendations page to improve local ranking on Google.

These factors are analyzed and combined to provide the best answer. If a company is more distant from the user, for example, but is more likely to deliver what they are looking for, it may appear better positioned.

We will better explain each of these factors below.

Let’s keep going!

Relevance

Relevance criteria considers the match between the search keyword and the product or service that the business offers. If the user is searching for hotels, for example, they don’t want to see restaurant results, right?

That is why it is so important to complete the Google My Business registration with as much information as possible, since that is where Google performs this correspondence. For example, if the user searches for “hotel restaurant”, Google will only show hotels that have this characteristic.

Proximity

Proximity refers to the distance from the business in relation to the user’s location or geographic terms placed in the search. It is clear that Google understands that the best results are those closest to the user.

Prominence (stand out)

The standout criterion assesses whether the business is popular in your region, based on both online and offline factors. If the business does not have such a strong online presence, but is a well-known brand and is used offline, it may get a better ranking.

But user ratings and Google My Business ratings count for a lot too , in addition to the traditional on-page and off-page SEO optimizations that the site adopts.

The more trust Google has in your business, based on these elements, the better your local ranking will be.

Conclusion and bonus

Although SEO is an extensive subject and subject to constant updates, with what you have learned in this post, you are ready to start executing your first web positioning strategies.

However, we recommend that you expand your knowledge with the articles that we have linked throughout the post to complement your learning.

After all, getting good results with search engine optimization depends largely on the correct planning, execution and measurement of the SEO strategy.

If you still have any doubts on the matter, our team also produced a 50+ page ebook that delves into several of the topics we discuss here in this post. Download it for free below!

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