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SEO Training Day for Beginners - An Example

SEO Training Day for Beginners - An Example

This is an example of a basic SEO training day, similar to those delivered by the team at Whitworth

Our training days are utterly bespoke and tailored to the particular team or individual it is being delivered to - but this deck is a good example of the themes a beginner's course would cover

The courses are delivered in-house, at your office or digitally

Whitworth SEO

May 09, 2024

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  1. What is SEO? • As algorithms have become more and

    more complex in the years since the advent of SEO in the 1990s, it has become about far more than just optimising for search engines • To start with elements such as meta keywords, keyword stuffing, hidden links and excessive web copy were all enough to rank well. There were also the precursors to Google, who had fairly simple ranking algorithms • In time aspects such as link spam, mobile search, digital PR and AI have all culminated to make SEO a lot more difficult, but also a lot more rewarding
  2. Today, an organic campaign is very different 1. Campaign briefing

    2. Insight & research 3. Ideation 4. Testing & Validation 6. Scoping 7. Data collection 8. Content creation 01 02 03 07 08 10. Outreach 5. Social Listening 11. Report & Analysis 9. Brand Monitoring 01 1 12.Key Learnings Planning & Ideation Testing & Validation Outreach & Post Campaign Analysis Campaign Creation
  3. Competitive SERPs Favour Paid Search • One of the biggest

    challenges we have as SEOs is competing for SERP real estate • This is particularly the case for competitive keywords, where Google prioritises Ads or Sponsored listings in can monetise • But organic listings still make up around 53% of all results pages, so are a great source of free or earned traffic] • These ratios also differ a great deal based on competition and search intent
  4. Three pillars of SEO • Tech & Code: These elements

    are often the first port of call, with them forming the foundation of future performance. • Content & Relevancy: This is the key to showing Google that your the experts and can answer the queries being performed by searchers or provide the required product. • Links & Trust: These are vital to getting your site into the ‘consideration pool’ – without strong links Google won’t start to put your site in front of searchers.
  5. Google’s algorithm updates • Google’s has thousands of algorithms but

    there are a few that are seen as key when it comes to SEO • Core Updates (one of which landed just yesterday) tend to target, then, same elements such as quality, engagement and EAT (more on that later) • But there are separate algorithms for all sorts of searches from local SEO, to mobile friendliness and site speed and even site security
  6. Panda (2011) Penalises: Duplicate, Plagiarised & Thin Content. Over optimisation

    and keyword stuffing. The first big algorithm update targeted at those trying to manipulate search engines. Baked into the core algorithm in 2016 meaning that both penalisations and recoveries happen more quickly. Mobile (2015) Penalises: Lack of a mobile website, responsivity and usability. The first big move towards mobile first crawling and indexing, with further iterations in 2018 and 2020. This was labelled “Mobilegeddon” and devalued sites that did not have a strong mobile experience both for GoogleBot and users. Penguin (2012) Penalises: Spammy and irrelevant backlinks with over optimised anchor text Perhaps the most crucial update due to how powerful links were and indeed, still are today. Spelled the end of aggressive link building and purchasing organic success through links. Although some still attempt this, it is dangerous and short term. Venice (2012) Penalises: This update was in improvement to how Local results were shown in the “pack”. Although no sites would have been penalised for this, those with strong Local SEO signals such as reviews, trust signals and clear NAP data benefitted. This has been continually improved to this day. Key Google Algorithm Updates
  7. Key Google Algorithm Updates Hummingbird (2013) Penalises: Keyword stuffing and

    poor quality content. Whilst not necessarily a quality update, Hummingbird still benefits sites with great content. This algorithm helps Google to better understand queries and match searcher intent by using natural language processing and latent semantic indexing. Bert (2019) Penalises: Poor content, lack of context and focus. An iteration of Hummingbird that also utilises RankBrain technology, this is another step away from traditional keyword targeting. This update also saw sites with excellent content prosper as the algorithm gets better and better at understanding context. Medic (2018) Penalises: Lack of authority on YMYL sites, poor E-A-T signals. Labelled the Medic update as the majority of sites that were hit for poor authority, but it also impacted other sectors such as law, finance and education. There is no fix for this other than demonstrating expertise, growing your link profile and having reputable contributors to your website. RankBrain (2015) Penalises: Lack of query specific relevance, thin content and poor UX. Part of the Hummingbord algorithm, but labelled by Google themselves as the 3rd most important ranking factor. This is the part of the algo that customises and individual’s results using things such as personal search history.
  8. Key Google Algorithm Updates Helpful Content Update (2023) Penalises: Poor

    quality or artificially produced content that is not “people first” Whilst it hasn’t been said implicitly, many feel this has been attack on low quality affiliate websites or those that have artificially created content (perhaps via AI). A turbo charged Panda, if you will utlising Google’s own AI capabilities. Product Reviews (2021) Penalises: Product pages and descriptions that are thin or lack detail This was released in 2021 but had various iterations, but essentially looks to reward sites giving great levels of detail and specifications via their product pages. Not to be confused with actual customer reviews, this focusses on product descriptions. Page Experience Update (2022) Penalises: Pages that are slow, not engaging or generally provide a poor user experience./ This was much anticipated and many believes would blow any slow sites (using Core Web Vitals) out of the SERPs, but the impact was moderate. This did see marginal gains and acts for a tie breaker where authority is similar and put onus on UX as well as SEO Unnamed (2012 - ) Penalises: Miscellaneous Google also releases all sorts of unnamed updates to its algorithms on a daily basis, mah of which will be testing and moving dials slightly to test the impact on the the quality of the results. Whilst we do not get much information regarding these, they will tend to target the classic ranking factors such as quality, authority, expertise and trustworthiness.
  9. Tech & Code • Crawling • HTML • JavaScript •

    CSS • Structured Data • Website & URL Structure • Site Speed
  10. 16 GoogleBot • At the core of technical SEO, is

    how GoogleBot is crawls and renders a given website • You can have the most compelling and engaging content on the web, but if a site is not technically sound then you are likely to struggle algorithmically • This has been made all the more complicated since JavaScript frameworks became more common within web development • Whilst these have helped to create beautiful, engaging and interactive websites, we cannot always be sure that what we see in our browser, is what Google is using for indexing and ultimately, rankings
  11. 17 Web Crawlers • These are essential, as they look

    to emulate how GoogleBot crawls and renders a website • Screaming Frog, SiteBulb, DeepCrawl, OnCrawl, Ahrefs, SEMRush and many more all have their own user agents • This allows us to gather all the information required to audit and optimise a website for organic search • More recently, these have allowed for JavaScript rendering, which is vital
  12. Crawler output • The output of these crawlers can also

    provide priceless information for other departments, especially if there is a redesign or migration taking place • Excessive JS for instance, or a huge amount of image files can inform decisions such as CDNs or client/server side rendering
  13. Google search console a crucial SEO tool • This gives

    you a mine of SEO of data that you cannot get from Google Analytics due to the fact it does not require cookies • Formerly called Webmaster Tools, Search Console is designed to help web developers and SEOs provide all the information Google needs to rank a site effectively
  14. Search console also helps with all important JavaScript rendering •

    By submitting URLS to Search Console and comparing what we see in the browser and our tools, with what is rendered, we can see exactly how GoogleBot is crawling and honouring our code and content
  15. Structured data is additional code we can add under the

    bonnet • This is code, usually injected using JSON-LD which can give search engines extra context about a wide range of things • As this isn’t visible on the front end, it doesn’t have any aesthetic impact • But when implemented properly, it can really enhance a site’s appearance in the SERPs
  16. How a website is structured technically, has significant impact •

    Site structure is usually something that need compromise between channels such as SEO and UX • But this has significant SEO impact due to something called internal PageRank • This is essentially the flow of authority across a given domain and utilizing your strongest pages • Ensuring URLs aren’t orphaned, that pages receiving the most backlinks are prominent and not buring key content all had has an effect on organic visibility
  17. Like paid search, keyword research is key • This is

    often more laborious than paid search keyword research, as search intent defines how you can earn clicks and impressions, rather than buying them
  18. EAT and YMYL are two key content considerations • These

    two ranking factors are hugely significant for any website looking to rank for competitive terms • It’s not all about just mapping your chosen keywords, brand need to demonstrate why they are the most authoritative and credible
  19. EAT recently updated to E-E-A-T to include experience • In

    further promotion of the user experience and creating compelling content for the user and not just search engines, Google introduced Experiences to the E-A-T guidelines • This is now rewarded algorithmically, and we also see sites that nail this, get a boost when Google’s updates go live
  20. Google rewards great content, however it comes • In can

    be very easy to obsess about keyword optimisation for SEO but that should just be the start of any campaign • Mapping your key themes to your website is obviously a no brainer, but this is just the foundations • There are all sorts of other ways to send these positive signals to search engines and Google has become very sophisticated in terms of picking these up
  21. You can then group terms in order to target them

    Insurance Policy Management System 170 p/m All Keywords 12,960 p/m Insurance CRM Software 1,300 p/m CRM for Insurance Agents 3,230 p/m Property & Casualty Insurance Software 130 p/m Insurance Agency Management System 2,380 p/m P&C Insurance Software 220 p/m Insurance Software 1,150 p/m Insurance Outsourcing 1,400 p/m Office Insurance 2,400 p/m Insurance BPO 550 p/m CRM Insurance 920 p/m
  22. Topic clustering is also very handy • It is unwise

    to optimise for every single keyword from an SEO perspective, or you can end up with keyword cannibalisation • So, by using AI (or doing it the good ol’ manual way) to cluster your keywords, you can establish topic clusters that you can target from a single hub or page
  23. Google trends and the keyword universe • In addition to

    data from GoogleAds, we can utlise Google Trends to analyse seasonality and also geography • This is still based on Keyword Volume but allows us to track the locations you have supplied and any changes in user behavior • The above, for example, are current trends for ”BPO” in the United States
  24. We can go deeper with longer tail PAA searches •

    ‘People Always Ask’ are usually more suitable for blog or article content, but can also be good for adding context to product pages • They can also be emerging queries which may be low volume today, but high volume in the future • We can therefore get ahead of the competition by ranking for these terms now
  25. Content briefing • These are usually completed monthly and allow

    copywriters to create SEO content with ease
  26. Digital PR • The most impactful way to boost a

    link profile, and therefore authority, is through Digital PR • This boosts brand awareness, brand and direct traffic and also results in natural backlinks to a website • Although very effective, this can be expensive due to the time involved in campaigns and outreach
  27. Other forms of link building • Although strictly against Google’s

    guidelines, there are other ways to boost a link profile aside from Digital PR • High quality relevant directories can still work, especially for local SEO • Image link building, links to digital assets and even newsjacking negative press can result in backlinks
  28. There are others • Guest blogging • Broken Link Building

    • Grabbing Your Brand Mentions • Lost Link Reclamation • HARO & Newsjacking • Creating Amazing Linkable Assets • Buying Links • Being Amazing
  29. SEO visibility tools • These tools track a vast amount

    of the keyword database to give you an idea of your site’s overall organic visibility • Using a presumed Click Through Rate for keywords, rankings and search volume these tools can give a fairly accurate view • But there are flaws, as ranking shifts that take place off of P1 and 2 are unlikely to result in huge shifts in traffic • They are helpful for assessing the impact of SEO implementation and also the effect of any Google Updates or migrations
  30. Looker (formerly Data) Studio • There are a lot of

    SEO reporting tools available to automate things, but the best solution is usually using Looker Studio • This allows you to sync data sources such as GA, GSC, Ahrefs, Sistrix or any other major 3rd party into one dashboard