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SEO Basics: The most basic explanation of everything SEO related

This brief guide post was originally written in 2018, but recently edited to provide more and updated useful information on January 3rd, 2020. Specifically the section on SSL’s benefit to SEO and why the perceived security of your site affects your page ranking.

The basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are fairly simple to understand and implement. The concept of SEO is basically to get search engine bots to fetch your site quickly and associate your site with the branded keywords you need to succeed in your business. In this short series, I'll go over some of the key factors of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how implementing them can garner revenue and new customers.

Sitemap and how it helps SEO

One of the easiest and sometimes most looked over aspects of SEO is having a good coherent sitemap. While a visualization of a large websites sitemap may end up looking like a unintelligible spider web to the human eye, to a search bot, it's the difference between taking side streets to your data vs. the highway.

You want the fastest and most efficient route, so that's where a well structured sitemap helps.

A sitemap will have multiple levels if setup correctly, each blog post, gallery item, or other such tiered data will branch out from a main point.

You need to ensure your site structure is logical. This ensures that each search engine bot gets to content quickly.

Luckily, most CMS these days have plugins that will make your DIY SEO life easier. Wordpress, for instance, has Yoast, or All-In-One-SEO plugins to help out.

One keyword to rule them all; long live the keyword list

If you thought the most important part of SEO was just getting the bots to crawl your page. You'd be right, that's definitely important.

If the bots don't come, you don't get indexed; no index means no listing on search engines. But ruh roh, Raggy! The bots only have your site coming up if someone searches for best use for bed pans.

This is where keywords and keywords research comes in. You know what terms you'd like your site to be found by. What you don't know is how other people are going to use search to get to your site.

And you have competitors.

Much like Bob and his delicious burgers, you've got to find your edge by understanding what keywords your competitors are using and with how much success.

Now unless you're just on amazingly friendly terms with them, I doubt you could just cross the street and just ask.

That's where thorough keyword research comes into play.

Find out how people are getting to your site, how they're getting to your competitions site, change your strategy and reap the benefits. That's where thorough keyword research comes into play.

Find out how people are getting to your site, how they're getting to your competitions site. Change your strategy and reap the benefits.

SSL’s benefit to SEO

A prevalent, and at times, overbearing constant in the last five or so years has been security. Or the lack thereof, in a lot of the more egregious cases in the news. You might be thinking right now, what do data breaches and hackers have to do with my rank on Google?

I’m glad you asked! I definitely have an answer for you too. Here goes.

In the past, most pages on the internet were just thrown up willy-nilly.

With the most secure sites were those run by financial institutions. Banks had to convey to their customers that their most private, and important assets (access to their money, social security numbers, etc.) were safe to be sent over the internet.

But did you know, that back in the adolescence of the internet, most sites were insecure because certificates were too expensive for smaller sites? Or deemed non-essential for anything but banking.

In 2014, Google decided that a more secure web would benefit everyone. So, they decided to change their algorithm to give a boost to sites that are secure.

Yay for security and rankings boosts!

Https infographic use

“So what does that have to do with me and my site?"

If you're like many new business owners, you've been wondering something. What's with all this SSL non-sense!? Well, I think the answer is really pretty simple – more sales!

Research from the major SEO tool providers (Moz, Ahrefs, etc.) have shown that having a properly secured, website gives your page a slight boost.

Even one of Google’s own engineers stated that secure vs. insecure could be the tie breaker for ranking position!

With a good SEO campaign, tie breakers rarely happen. But, if a simple change on the backend could result in higher page rank... That should send everyone scrambling to get secure.

However, some sites aren’t. And honestly, I’m not quite sure as to why these days. With the rise of Let’s Encrypt, you've got no reason for your site to be unencrypted.

Once your business grows, more expensive certificates can be purchased for higher levels of security. And those certificates can get pricey.

Most of the time, hosting providers now provide a SSL certificate with your hosting package.

Your business needs a secure certificate and you’re doing your business, a disservice by not having a secure site.

Rank up and TopOut by adding a secure certificate today. 😉

Need some technical help with getting your site secure, or SEO ready? Contact a TopOut Group expert today and we'll be happy to help you get all that technical stuff done.

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