what is seo anksimage

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about making the search engines, like Google, Bing, etc., know that your website exists online. It’s about enhancing your webpages to let the search engines understand what each page is about. So when someone searches on any of these search engines using terms related to what you have used in your web pages, those search engines will show your web pages in their search results, prompting the user to come to your website. This boosts your website traffic, and increases your chances with lead generation and conversion.

What Is SEO?

SEO can be as simple as integrating plugins or code snippets into your website, or as elaborate as planning and implementing content marketing. Though content is the primary driving force of all your organic marketing, you also have to pay attention to your page loading times, linking, URL structure, schema markup, and a whole lot of factors to make your SEO efforts a success.

Search Engine Land has this amazing Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors resource – keep it handy when planning your SEO strategy.

How SEO works

You open Google and type something like “louboutin shoes”. Upon clicking the search icon or entering return, you will get about 4,25,00,000 results within 0.59 seconds. The first spot in this results page is from the Christian Louboutin online boutique website.

what is seo anksimage

 

So how did that happen?

How SEO works is that these search engines look at the words you have typed, that is, your query, and lists out the best content for your query, starting from the most relevant content to the least.

In this example, my query is “louboutin shoes”, and as you can see in the image above, one or both of these 2 words have been liberally used in the page link, page title, and description.

Now here are a few more of the search results for my query:

what is seo anksimage

 

As you can see, my search terms have not been included in these search results, as liberally as compared to the first search result. None of the search terms appear in the page link. They only appear in the title and description.

This is a simple example of how SEO works.

In my search engine optimisation training, I delve more into how SEO works using real-world use cases.

Also, since recent times, search engines are giving more priority to the user experience on a website as well. Which means, if a user finds your content good, is able to access and navigate your website with ease, and doesn’t encounter issues like broken links, irrelevant data, etc. search engines will list your website in the top-most search results for the keywords you want.

SEO Basics: Beginner’s Guide to SEO Success

My focus is organic marketing. I drive SEO through content. So here’s the 5-point SEO checklist I follow whenever I start working on any website:

Step 1 – Run a SEO audit.

I use a combination of GTMetrix, Google PageSpeed, Google Mobile-Friendly Test, and Similar Web to run a SEO audit. This gives me the starting point of any SEO project.

All these tools give scores as well as recommendations on how to improve those scores. So these tools can be used by both technical and non-technical individuals interested in optimising their websites. No coding required, unless of course changes to the source codes are recommended.

As a digital marketing strategist, I need to get to the big and complete picture of my client’s brand, so I run SEO audits on their competitors as well.

Step 2 – Deep dive SEO audit

I have the data from external sources. Now I need site-specific data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics to find data like:

⌲ top 5 entry pages
⌲ top 5 exit pages
⌲ customer journey
⌲ referral sources
⌲ bounce rates
⌲ demographics, interests, etc. to build customer persona, and more!

Step 3 – Quick start SEO

Based on the audit data from the previous steps, usually I have to work on the following, before I get onto on-page and off-page SEO:

⌲ enforce minification
⌲ enable GZIP compression
⌲ start browser cache
⌲ update URL structure or permalinks
⌲ activate image compression

Most websites I work with seem to have these issues, one way or the other. So it’s standard procedure for me to get started with these when I start any SEO project.

Step 4 – Keyword Research

To start on-page SEO, I start by finding the keywords I need to use for a website. Tools like Ubersuggest help me find the keywords the website is already ranking for. Before moving forward with these keywords, I check with the client if these are keywords relevant to their business.

If yes, I plan my content marketing strategy based on these keywords. I also use LSIGraph to find related long-tail keywords to fortify my organic marketing efforts.

If the keywords I found are not relevant to the client’s business, I ask for a list of competitors and get the popular keywords from their websites. The client verifies the relevance of the new keywords to their business, and I move on to on-page optimisation.

Step 5 – On-page SEO

At this point, I know which keywords to target. If the website already has a blog, I get into each post to update it according to the targeted keywords. WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO are a massive help here!

Elements to Optimise for On-page SEO include:
⌲ Title Tags
⌲ Meta Descriptions
⌲ Content Body
⌲ Image ALT tags
⌲ Links – internal and external – with right Anchor Texts

These are beginner level SEO tasks. After this step, I move onto the Off-page SEO tactics, but that’s a post for another time.

 

As I dig deeper into the SEO project, I get into advanced SEO tactics like:

⌲ Schema markup
⌲ Backlinking
⌲ Site architecture
⌲ Canonicalisation
⌲ Lead-generation forms
⌲ Local search

Advanced SEO planning depends on the website I am working on, as well as the audit data I have collected. These efforts usually start after 4-6 months of the basic SEO work. The first few months are focused on basic SEO tasks, improving the scores and troubleshooting errors of mixed content, 404 not found, broken links, etc. which are to be resolved at the earliest.

 

Common Mistakes in SEO

There are times when you can start SEO, be consistent about it, and still not see good results on Google Analytics, Alexa and/or SEMrush. This can be due to the most common mistakes in SEO listed below:

Mistake #1 – Expecting SEO tactics to give overnight results

As a business owner concerned about the performance of your website, you can get swindled by SEO “experts” who promise to make you “viral” within days. When done right, consistently and continuously, SEO can give you good results in a matter of 2-3 months.

Those early results will only get better if you stick to the original SEO strategy tweaked from time to time based on real analytics data. There’s no shortcut in SEO.

 

Mistake #2 – Thinking of SEO as an easy, one-time setup.

There are certain aspects of SEO which doesn’t need any technical background in coding or programming languages like PHP, HTML, etc. It’s easy to do, like adding targeted keywords in the crucial elements.

However, if you working on schema markup or site architecture, your technical background is of great help.

The planning and implementation that goes into SEO is a lot. I usually set up roadmaps for 12 months at a time to handle SEO of any website. And that’s just Phase 1. So don’t consider SEO an easy or a one-time task.

It’s a gruelling exercise to undertake month after month. And with each month, you are supposed to tweak your existing strategy based on the analytics data you’ve been collecting.

So you can’t stop, and you can’t lag behind.

 

Mistake #3 – Working with wrong keywords

Your website might be ranking for keywords that you never intended for it to rank for. It’s possible. That’s the main reason I always keep the client in the loop on what’s happening.

Another reason of working with wrong keywords can be guesswork. In popular niches like lifestyle, health, etc. it’s more convenient and easy to rely on guesswork rather than do the grunt work of using keyword tools to collect and collate keywords. And chaos ensues.

 

Mistake #4 – Undefined customer persona

Customer personas are often overlooked by businesses. But to target the right audience, I need to know who your ideal customer is. I also need to know the type of customer who is already buying from you. And I definitely need the user information from your analytics solution you are using on your website (like Google Analytics) who is visiting your website. All this will make me build and understand your customer persona, so I can plan and create the right strategies to target them.

 

Mistake #5 – Not using analytics data

To set up a good SEO strategy, you need analytics data about your website. You also need to spy on your competition to get their analytics data. Obviously you don’t have access to their Google Analytics accounts, but tools like Similar Web, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, etc. can give you all the analytics data you would need. So use that, and push through the scores of search results to appear at the top.

Now, over to you!

SEO is as gruelling as losing weight. If you don’t exercise, eat right, and get the right amount of sleep, it will be difficult to lose weight and stay fit. And you need to be consistent about it too. Same goes for SEO.

If you stop adding fresh optimised content to your website, don’t use the right target keywords, and are inconsistent with your SEO practices, your website ranking will tank, and you will have to start from scratch all over again.

So, have you implemented search engine optimisation in your website? What are the SEO tactics you have been using? What are the challenges you are facing? Let me know.

 

Read my other posts on Digital Marketing.

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what is blogging

Blogging is a type of content writing. Blogs are used to add fresh content to a website. Search engines give more preference to websites with fresh content. This translates into more traffic to the website. So blogging is an organic digital marketing strategy for your brand.

A proven lead generation tool, provided you are publishing good content that is useful to your audience.

When done right, blogs can build your authority within your industry and niche as well. Which, in turn, builds your brand. And then again, blogs can be about earning money online as well.

There are many bloggers in the world whose primary source of income is through blogging. And they are known to earn $$$ by publishing great content.

In this post, I want to get into what blogging is, how to get started in blogging, and how to use blogging to achieve your business and professional goals.

So let’s get started.

What is a blog?

A blog or “weblog” is a term used to describe an online diary-like list of articles in a website, displayed in a reverse chronological order. A single writer or a group of writers can publish blog posts, expressing their views and opinions on a list of topics within a particular niche or industry.

Blogs can be about a particular topic. For example, the blog by SEMrush is about digital marketing strategies.

There are blogs that are more extensive. For example, I blog on digital marketing, women entrepreneurs and image consulting.

And then there are blogs that are the authors’ personal online journals. These give us a glimpse into the authors’ personal lives. For example, mom blogs like Thrifty Nifty Mommy

 

What is blogging?

To build a great blog, you need consistent blogging. Blogging is the process of planning, creating, posting, promoting and managing a blog. Some blog on blogging platforms like Quora, Medium, etc. while others blog on self-hosted websites created with WordPress, etc.

What is a blogger?

The one who blogs and follows the blogging process is called a Blogger. You need good writing and Google Search skills to be a good blogger.

A blogger publishes articles on her blog that are more opinionated as compared to articles published anywhere else. This is because a blogger is not just writing that piece, she’s also voicing her opinion through that piece. Good writing skills, an intelligent and intellectual mind, and awesome communications skills is what you need to voice your opinions and convey the right message to your audience.

Of course, Google is a huge help to start the blogging process. So are different tools like Ubersuggest, LSIGraph, Answer The Public, etc.

Why is blogging important?

Blogging is important because it’s a:

★ great search engine optimisation tool – it brings your website closer to your target audience.

★ direct connection to your target audience as well as your customers – you can share important news and updates through blog posts.

★ proven technique to build trust and engage with your target audience.

For seasoned bloggers, blogging is especially important because they can rely on blogging to earn money. They can blog from anywhere, as long as they have access to an active internet connection. Many people opt for a blogging career nowadays simply because the potential to earn while still following a flexible workload is high.

 

How to start your own blog?

To start your own blog, you can either sign up on WordPress.com, Quora, Medium or any of the popular blogging platforms available online. The only drawback with this approach is that monetisation options might not be available across all these platforms based on your location.

Like, I’m eligible to earn through Medium but can’t because they have only Stripe available as a payment option. And Stripe in India is still in the beta stage.

 

The other option to start your own blog is to blog on your self-hosted website. By “self-hosted websites”, I mean your own website that you own and control by buying the domain and web hosting, and then installing a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.

 

So the steps involved in starting your own blog are:

Step 1 – Buy domain name and register.

Choose the domain name to reflect what you want to blog about.

My domain name is anksimage.com because I wanted my website to reflect what I can do for a brand. Like changing the image of a brand.

Step 2 – Buy web hosting and SSL.

This is a slightly expensive investment you would have to undertake. But GoDaddy usually offers higher discounts for longer durations. So take advantage of that!

Step 3 – Install WordPress

Once you have the domain registered and your web hosting ready to be set up, you can log into GoDaddy to access your Control Panel. I’m a big fan of Linux, so I always opt for Linux based hosting, but Windows is fine as well.

So on the cPanel, you can find shortcuts to install WordPress. All you have to do is click and follow the instructions. It hardly takes five minutes to complete this step.

Step 4 – Log into your new WordPress site, and set up your theme and plugins.

Themes are the framework of your blog, and plugins are the mini soldiers who work hard to make your blog popular.

And don’t worry – most of the themes and plugins are free, and easy to use. So it’s all clickity-click for you – no coding needed!

However, if you have a technical background and are familiar with PHP, you can do your own customisations with the themes. I do NOT recommend customising plugins. At all. Just don’t.

So here’s a list of the basic plugins you need to have on your site:

Akismet Anti-Spam – to control comments and keep out the spam
Contact Form 7 – to let users contact you using the contact form
Smush – to optimise your images, and make them load faster
W3 Total Cache – to enable browser cache, and make your pages load faster
Yoast SEO – to optimise your content for search engines, and make your website more searchable.

As you gain more familiarity with WordPress and its plugins, you will be adding more plugins to refine your blog.

 

Now the key things you need to keep in mind while designing your blog:

★ Framework should be simple, hence easy to load

★ Overall web design should be reader friendly, hence a good user experience

★ Less use of moving parts like sliders, videos, etc to avoid annoying the users

Step 5 – Plan your content. Start with your target audience.

★ Who are your readers?
★ Whom do you want to visit your blog?
★ Which pain points are you addressing on your blog?
★ What differentiate you from the competition?
★ List the topics you would like to discuss with other people?
Maybe you’re going through something (or been through something) in life that you would want to voice and support others who are on the same route?

Dig into your own psyche to find what makes you write. As you answer the above questions, you can plan your content better. It can one blog a day, week, or month. Quantity doesn’t matter, as long as the quality is high.

Step 6 – Create your content calendar. Use content design tools to get content ideas.

I often use the Ubersuggest and LSIGraph tool to find topic ideas once I know what the central topic is.

For example, the main topic can be “business analytics”. That’s a generic wide-range topic one can write about. But to feature on the top spots for search engines, you can use the content design tools to come up with ideas like:

Business analytics training
IBM Business analytics tools
Business analytics videos online, and so on.

You start big and then refine it to get possibly 2–3 articles from each keyword or iteration of the keyword idea you get from the tools.

Once you have the content ideas, you can now create your blog calendar – when to publish what – and get started with the content creation.

 

Step 7 – The actual writing.

Make sure your content:

★ Is well-written and includes high-quality media
★ Is relevant to your readers
★ Educates, informs, and/or entertains your readers
★ Includes a clear call-to-action that compels your readers to do SOMETHING at the end of the post. It can be as simple as sharing the post with their network.

 

Step 8 – Promotion.

You need social media to promote your published works. Share consistently and build your followers. Create a community.

You can nurture this community with repurposed content to build your brand and invoke reader loyalty.

And that’s how you start your own blog.

Why Self-Hosted Blogs?

I find this approach of blogging on self-hosted websites better, because with this you know what’s happening on your blog. You have the controls within your fingertips. I’ve been a GoDaddy customer for both domain and web hosting for over a decade now, and it’s been awesome.

Creating a website from a combination of HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript is how I started my career in digital marketing. In fact, I had created dozens of websites in this way. But ever since I discovered WordPress back in 2010, I’ve been a fan.

So even though it’s a relatively more expensive option for you, it’s the one with the better returns.

 

How to make your blog popular?

Blog posts when written in a conversational style yield better ROI, as compared to a formal writing style. And the best way you improve on this is when you start enjoying these conversations yourself. So proofreading is crucial, as well as practicing your writing skills.

Write more. Go back to old posts and revise. Trust yourself.

Another fact to keep in mind – online readers don’t read, they SCAN.. till they find something interesting to read.

So keeping that in mind, use white spaces liberally within your blog posts.

 

How Do Bloggers Make Money From Blogging?

Here’s how you can earn money from blogging:

★ Publish good content. Think about what people search in your niche, and post content to inform, educate, and/or entertain your target audience.

★ Sign up for Google AdSense and choose the right categories.

★ Join Amazon Affiliate Program, choose the right categories, and publish content based on those.

★ Look for other affiliate marketing websites, and publish content accordingly. (Just make sure Google AdSense doesn’t have any issues with your other revenue sources in affiliate marketing)

★ Promote your content on social media

★ Optimize your content continually to be included in search results. Think how your target audience might be thinking and write/optimize accordingly.

★ Make sure your content is easy to read AND easy to understand.

★ Ensure your website loads fast enough, just so that you can avoid visitors going away from your site because the page loading time was really high.

★ Use rich media to convey your brand message. Make sure the media supports your content for maximum impact.

★ Scout for other bloggers with whom you can collaborate and earn together. Cross promotion opportunities too.

 

Now, over to you!

I hope you’ve learned about blogging through this post. I’ve included a lot of information here, and I will continue posting about blogging to help you become a great blogger. Try out the steps I have mentioned above. Leave your questions about blogging in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends :)

Read my other posts on Digital Marketing.

 

Love what you just read?
Tell us what you think in the Comment section below.
If you have a question, or would like Ankitaa to blog about something in particular, use the Contact Us page.

ai website design process checklist

Starting a website needs a well-thought-out website design process. It’s more than stringing some slick visuals together. I have been designing websites for more than 15 years now to support my work as a digital marketer. And I’ve managed to work out a pretty effective website design process checklist to start any website.

Read more

Roadmap: How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Brand
Image Credit: AGD on Canva

Some time back, I submitted a 2-year digital marketing roadmap to a client, so I can share the things I did for that project to get you started in creating a digital marketing strategy for your brand.

A little background on my client

They are a global publishing house and Read more

There are millions of tools – free, free to try and paid – anyone can use for web design. I would like to share the ones I have used till date. Here are the the 5 web design tools you should be using for awesome web design work..
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Last Updated: 28th March 2020

achieve online success anksimage

Online success without implementing proper digital marketing strategies can be as elusive as watching out for wild rhinos on a jungle safari without a local guide through Kaziranga in Assam – sometimes those rhinos can be seen from the national highway, other times all you end up seeing is rhino poop!
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