Finally, your website is ready! Now the next step is to bring people to it, and for that, you need to make it visible on the web and the top results of search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Bing.
Search Engine Optimization is a core digital marketing strategy used by many businesses across the world to reach more customers, boost brand awareness, and earn more return on investment. When you understand how it works, you can use different strategies to increase your website visibility on search engines, SEO can lead to gain more traffic and increase SERP visibility in a short period.
But here, the question for most small businesses is, “How to optimize the website SEO for FREE??
In this article, we are going to read about the SEO landscape and how you can optimize your website SEO for free. Let’s get started.
What is SEO?
As mentioned above, SEO is an acronym of Search Engine Optimization. It is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on the website presence in search results on search engines. In simple words, it is a process of optimizing your website to get un-paid or organic traffic from the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It also involves making relevant changes to your website design and content that makes your site more appealing to both users and search engines.
There are two ways by which you can categorize SEO — on-page and off-page. The aim of on-page & off-page SEO is to make a business website trustworthy and user-friendly.
When search engine crawlers notice that your website is friendly to them and users, it boosts the chances that your website will rank well.
How Does SEO Work?
Let’s face it; getting noticed on the web is hard. For a strong internet presence, your website must appear on the first page of the search results.
SEO works by conducting keyword research, earning inbound links, and optimizing a website’s pages for both robots and people to read it. You can see the results once the webpage has been indexed and crawled by a search engine.
Search engines have automated spiders. These spiders collect all the information about web pages that make up your website. This process enables them to determine which page has a maximum search on your site. They collect things like social signals, feedback links, internal linking, title tags, and more.
But what does this mean for YOU?
It means that if you do all of the above things mentioned (plus some more), then you have a high chance of landing your site on the first page of Google – so let’s dive a little deeper.
1. Keyword Research
Keywords are the phrases and words that users type on Google. So, before you execute an SEO campaign, you need to decide which keywords you want to rank. Keyword research helps you find popular keywords related to your product and services that can attract the target audience. However, you need to find keywords that have enough search volume and can send targeted search engine traffic to your website. But you can also not use keywords that are too competitive that a smaller site cannot compete with due to their dominance in the market. For example, a local sneaker store should not optimize for “sneakers” because you will never be able to compete with major brands like Amazon and Zappos.
You can use a popular keyword research tool, “Keyword Planner” because the data it offers comes directly from Google. You just need to create an account and enter a phrase or keyword that you think people may use to find your content. This tool will show you search volumes. Once you know the right keywords to use, you can create and optimize your content, making it SEO friendly.
2. On-page Optimization and Content Creation
The next step is on-page optimization and content creation. When planning content creation, you can start it by doing a quick search in the search engine to find out what content is ranking for the keywords that you are targeting.
You may see that the type of content that you anticipated initially is different from the content shows up in Google. Therefore, it is essential to create higher quality content, focusing on the keywords that are currently ranking in the top content in Google. High-quality material with relevant keywords has more chances to receive more links and attract more people. Also, there is a high chance of higher ranking in the search engines.
The Title Tag and Meta Description
The most critical HTML tags are the meta title and meta description. It tells search engines what your website page is all about. You can optimize these by ensuring that you include the chosen keywords. Make sure the keywords you select should appear on the web page at least once.
To learn more about optimizing in-depth – check out this Ultimate SEO Guide we wrote.
1. Link Building and Off-Page Promotion
After creating the website content and optimizing it, now the next step is to promote the content so that your potential audience can find it easily. The most important ranking factor used by search engines to determine a website’s quality is the total number of inbound links to the site. A link from another website is just like a vote of confidence that your website has quality content.
When you get links to your website, it makes your website trustworthy in front of search engines. By linking your website from an authoritative website like government sites or news channels, you will be able to get more than a link, and that is the reason such websites are known as high-authoritative websites. Apart from this, there are many other options to get links to your website, and these are getting press coverage, blogger outreach, or reverse engineering competitor backlinks.
2. Conversion rate Optimization and User Experience
When optimizing your website SEO, make sure that it creates a good user experience and intuitive navigation so that people can easily find it online. Your website should load quickly and be mobile responsive as well or having a maximum number of pop-ups.
Why is SEO Important?
As mentioned, SEO has become a significant element for making and breaking your business.
Search engines serve billions of people every day, looking for solutions to their issues and search queries.
If you own an online store, blog, or website, SEO can assist you in getting free website traffic from varying search engines. Here are some reasons to invest in SEO:
- The overwhelming majority of users on search engines are more likely to visit the top 5 suggestions in the SERPs. To get more and more visitors to your website, you need to ensure that your website is in one of these high search engine rankings.
- SEO is not just about search engines, but its best practices can boost the user experience and usability of a site. Optimizing for SEO improves conversion and money coming through the door.
- The audience trusts search engines, and having top position for the search terms (keywords) people are searching, improves your site’s trust.
- SEO is perfect for the social promotion of your site. People who find your site by browsing Yahoo or Google are more likely to advertise it on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
- A proper SEO strategy can put you ahead of your competition. If two websites are selling the same products or services, the search engine optimized site is more likely to attract more website traffic and make more sales.
SEO is known as a “New Age” marketing strategy, which is essential to the web presence of a brand in this age and day. These are some of the valid and top reasons to invest in SEO. Implementing quality and reliable SEO techniques on the website of a brand is always going to be beneficial to that particular brand and its marketing efforts.
The Key Parts of SEO
There are a few core parts of SEO that you need to look into to make a versatile, all-round search strategy: pre-SEO analysis, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
By breaking down your organic search strategy and thinking about SEO as these four parts, you can organize and execute your SEO optimization plans efficiently.
Now, we will talk about all these SEO categories and how they are essential to your marketing strategy. Let’s talk about them in detail.
1. Pre-SEO Analysis
Before you start making strategies for on-page and off-page optimization, you must do a pre-analysis of your website from the search engine’s point of view. The analysis will help you figure out what is going wrong on your site and how to fix it to get a higher ranking in search engine results.
The pre-SEO analysis sheds light on various opportunities that you can take in your hand to improve your SEO. Usually, it involves the following steps:
- Checking the visibility of your site on Google and other major search engines
- Analyzing the URLs and meta descriptions
- Examining the title tags and heading tags
- Evaluating internal links and broken links
We will learn about Pre-SEO Analysis in detail in the following section.
2. On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is related to the content on a website. It involves multiple strategies to optimize a specific page on a site. These factors help search engines in understanding the title of the material and determining that the site is a valuable source that people can find useful.
On-page SEO refers to every possible aspect that includes optimizing the web pages for search. But, it is essential to separate it from all the technical elements. This is because when you say on-page SEO, the first thing that comes into mind is content or keywords. When talking about on-page SEO, you need to consider:
- Keyword selection
- Keyword placement
Moreover, on-page SEO involves:
- Keyword Research: Finding high-ranking keywords to target on a particular page of the website.
- Keyword Optimization: Adding the target keywords to the right place and using effective meta tag SEO.
- Content Creation: Uploading and publishing high-end content contracted on target keywords.
The reason it is known as on-page SEO is that all the changes you make on your site are visible to the audience. For instance, if you change your sentence around to add more keywords, all these changes will be visible.
Thus, you can say on-page SEO is a balance between providing the right info to search engines without compromising the details that your audience is reading on the web page.
3. Off-Page SEO/Technical SEO
Off-page SEO is as simple and easy as on-page SEO to understand. On-site SEO tells search engines on how to match web pages to queries. Search engines analyze different signals or factors to guess how relevant a web page is as compared to others.
An off-site SEO technique is anything that is used outside of your website to boost these ranking signals. The most common one is – the backlink. But, link building only refers to the best practices of securing relevant and high-quality backlinks to your site. Several tactics can help you with link building, such as:
- Content marketing
- Forum and blog commenting
- Social bookmarking
- Link outreach
- Guest posts
- Social media
Moreover, there are several other off-site SEO tactics that you can use for backlink management.
Technical SEO refers to enhancing the technical aspects of a site to boost the ranking of web pages in the search engines. Making a website more accessible and faster to crawl for search engines is the base of technical optimization. Technical SEO is related to non-content attributes of your site. It involves strategies to enhance the backend structure and foundation of a website.
Technical SEO boosts the readability of a site and offers a good user experience, which can help search engines determine that the website is of high quality. Also, good user experience is critical for readers, and it can affect overall engagement rates and traffic of your website.
The SEO types involved in this category relate to:
- Website speed
- Website architecture
- Structured data
Technical SEO refers to the procedure of optimizing your site for the crawling as well as the indexing stage. With this SEO type, you can help search engines in accessing, crawling, interpreting, and indexing your site without any issues. The main motive of technical SEO is to optimize the infrastructure of a website.
Overall, to build an SEO plan that can lead you to organic search results, you need to focus on all these parts of SEO. Concentrating on just a single category is not enough. You should pay attention to all these SEO parts together to give your website the best chance at appearing in search results.
The Process To Do SEO for Free
Now when you’re aware of all three significant parts of search engine optimization, let’s find out how you can work on them to gain a higher ranking in search engine results.
As mentioned above, the pre SEO analysis gives you direction on how to improve your website’s technical aspects and content.
Besides this, it also helps you understand your audience’s persona and competitors.
If you want to make an informed decision for improving your SEO, consider conducting pre-analysis.
Let’s find out how you can perform pre-analysis for absolutely free.
Although there are plenty of SEO analysis tools out there, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two reliable ones. They help you track various vital metrics of your site for free. To use these tools, you need to add your website into these two tools and let them accumulate different essential data for you.
1. Google Analytics
You can use Google Analytics (GA) to analyze the followings:
Google Analytics helps you see how many people visit your website, where they are coming from, and what keywords they type in to discover your website. Moreover, you get to know which particular web page has a high bounce rate. Thus Google Analytics enables you to understand your audience persona.
Based on this information, you can make changes to your website’s design, content, and digital marketing strategies.
Google Analytics has an Advanced Segment that allows you to learn a lot of things about your website visitors such as demographic data (gender, age, and interests), date of the first visit, traffic source, and more. This data can help you drive more value and personalization to your marketing strategies.
2. Google Search Console
Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console also helps you perform pre-analysis. The tool helps you with the following things:
You can use the Google Search Console to identify various errors related to crawling and indexing. Just sign in to your Google Search Console account, add your property and invite Googlebot to crawl your site. As soon as your site is crawled, you can see errors on your site. You can fix those errors to improve your website user experience.
Set Schema Markup
You can use this tool to find out if your website is accurately set for Schema Markup. For those who don’t know, it’s a code that you have to put on your site to help Google and other search engines understand the content on your website.
Linking is a crucial part of SEO. A website with an excellent link structure gets good visibility in search engines.
With Google Search Console, you can identify broken links and then fix them.
Now, based on your analysis, you can plan how to proceed with on-page and off-page optimization.
2. On-Page Optimization
Meta Title & Description
If you want your website to be searched by more people, you must optimize the title tags and descriptions of all web pages available within your site.
Add your targeted keyword at the beginning of each title. If it is not possible, try to place it anywhere in the mid at least. Don’t use your targeted keyword more than once in the title and keep the character length under 65 characters.
Similar to the title, create a unique yet relevant meta description for each page of your website. Again, you need to use your targeted keyword in the meta description. The ideal length for a meta description should be between 155 to 160 characters.
Don’t stuff your content with targeted keywords, as it can hurt your ranking significantly. Although there is no magic number for keyword placement, the density should be around 1.5% percent with a mix of latent semantic indexing keywords.
However, it’s essential to add your main keyword in the 1st paragraph and again in the last section.
Since permalink (the URL of your web page) remains unchanged, create it carefully. It should not include any special symbols, characters, brackets, commas, etc.
To differentiate the strings in the permalink, you can use dashes (-) because most web browsers support this permalink format.
Here is an excellent example of a permalink:
Use Heading Tags Properly
To highlight different sections of your content within a page, you must use heading tags. For example, the title tag should be set at Heading 1 (H1).
You can break your content section using H2 and H3 tags. Remember, you don’t have to use more than one H1 tag within the content.
Image optimization is an essential step in on-page SEO. After all, it helps you drive website traffic from image searches.
Use your relevant keywords in your image title and the alt tax to make your webpage more SEO-friendly. Always give your image a meaningful and relevant name.
Also, reduce the size of your images before uploading them to your site. It will dramatically improve the loading time of your website, which is a significant ranking factor.
There are various free tools available in the market that you can use to compress the size of your images without compromising on the quality. You can use any of the following tools.
Look for High Search Volume Keywords
Look for keywords that have high monthly search volume, low competition, and relevancy with your website niche. Google Keyword Tool and Google Trends are two prominent tools that enable you to search for high-ranking keywords for free.
Publish High-Quality, Relevant Content
Quality content helps you build trust among your website visitors and improve your ranking. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that you can’t imagine SEO without content. It’s the soul of search engine optimization.
Check out how you can create quality content.
- Your content (text, images, videos, infographics) must be original, not published anywhere on the web before. You can use a free plagiarism checker from Small SEO Tools.
- Don’t just create content for the sake of publishing. Make sure it is valuable for your readers.
- Write unique and compelling titles for each web page.
- Add targeted keywords within the body and the title of the content.
- Update your content frequently to engage your audience.
Fix 404 Errors
If you have already analyzed and created the list of dead links available on your website (as mentioned in the pre-analysis section), it’s time to fix them.
You can use Google Search Console to set up 301 direct.
Internal linking is the process of linking all the relevant web pages of the same website. Internal links are hyperlinks that point at a similar page within the same website to improve user experience.
It is also important from the search engine’s point of view as it helps search engines understand the relationship between different web pages on your website.
If you have a WordPress website, you can automate this process by installing SEO Auto Links plugin.
Optimize Your Site Loading Speed
As speed is a prominent ranking factor, you must optimize your website loading speed. Some useful methods for the same include:
- Eliminate unnecessary redirects
- Reduce the size of images
- Improve response of your server
As the majority of people use their smartphones to access the internet, you can’t neglect to optimize your website for mobile devices.
Remember, Google and other search engines won’t be able to show your webpage in mobile search results if it is not optimized correctly.
You can take a free mobile-friendly test using Google Search Console.
Here is what you can do to optimize your site for mobile devices
- Choose a responsive theme
- Invest in a reliable web host
- Improve your website loading time
- Enable AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
3. Off-Page Optimization
As we mentioned in the above section, off-page optimization includes a lot of promotion techniques that happen off your website.
Let’s have a look at top off-page SEO techniques that help you drive traffic and brand awareness.
It’s an act of publishing content on other websites to attract an audience to your site. All you need to do is, search for a similar niche blog that allows you to contribute as a guest author. Guest posting plays a vital role in building credibility, improving website traffic, and brand awareness.
Social Media Promotion
Around 3.8 billion people use social media platforms. If you’re not leveraging this platform to promote your website, you’re surely missing on a huge opportunity.
Social media promotion is an effective technique to engage your audience, gain traffic, and build authority.
Email Marketing is probably one of the oldest off-page-optimization techniques to grab the attention of a targeted audience. To start with email marketing, first, you need to collect the email addresses of targeted customers and then promote your website, service, or product via an impressive email marketing campaign.
It’s a popular off-page optimization technique that helps you improve traffic and search engine visibility. There are three types of links.
- Natural Links: A user or second person links to your site as a sign of appreciation, endorsement, and trust.
- Manual Links: You ask other sites or business owners to link back to your site.
- Self-Created Links: You create them intentionally by guest posts, commenting on blogs, submitting directories.
List Your Business
Getting listed in local directories is another effective off-page technique to improve the visibility of your site in the search engine results. You can submit your website to the following popular yet free sites.
Other off-page techniques you can give a try include:
- Social bookmarking
Best Free SEO Tools To Improve Your Ranking
As an SEO consultant or expert, you are looking to accomplish more and more tasks in less time. Whether it is determining all the crawling problems of a site without manually reviewing each URL or fetching all the meta tags from a domain within no time, SEO tools have always been the protector for marketers. These tools can help you in completing a bunch of tasks quickly and effectively.
Here, you will find a vast list of best SEO tools on the market – that are either completely free to use or provide a freemium version. To be honest, these are SEO tools that even professionals use every single day. So let’s take a closer look.
When it comes to mobile – search questions on mobile devices are improving day after day. Thus, it is essential to optimize your website for mobile devices.
Mobile-Friendly Test is a FREE tool that can let you verify the responsiveness of your site on a mobile device.
To use this tool, enter the URL of the website that you want to test and then hit the “Run Test” button. Within a few moments, you will get to know whether or not your site is mobile-friendly or not.
- It allows you to check if your site is mobile-friendly or not.
- Suggests different ways to optimize your website for mobiles.
Why Use It
Building a mobile-responsive website that can automatically adapt itself as per the device used by a visitor is an excellent method to enhance the user experience. The Mobile-Friendly Test tool of Google helps you in checking whether or not your site is appropriate for mobile users. It also gives you suggestions on what you can do to make your website mobile-friendly and lower bounce rates.
Loading speed is one of the most critical factors of a site. Better website speed can lead to higher rankings and improved user satisfaction. Google PageSpeed Insights is a FREE tool that can check your site speed and offer suggestions to enhance it.
To use this tool, insert the blog or site URL and then press the Analyze button. Now, the tool will check the speed and user experience of your website and offer a score – for both mobile and desktop. Here’s how the scores rank:
- A score above 90: your website is FASTER compared to other sites.
- A score between 50-90: your site is AVERAGE.
- A score below 50: your website is slow.
If you want to provide your audience with a better browsing experience and rank high in the organic search results, you need to ensure your website score is above 90.
- Check your website speed for both mobile and desktop devices.
- Find out that your sire is fast, average, or slow in no time.
- Provides tips to enhance the performance metric of your page.
Why Use It
Page speed is a top-ranking element for mobile searches. And Google PageSpeed Insights is essential as it can help you optimize your website for page speed, which is crucial to ignore any penalties.
SEMrush is one of the best SEO tools on the market. It conducts a thorough SEO audit and shows the number of backlinks a website has and the percentage of search traffic. The tool also helps you in conducting topic research, keyword research, and thorough competitive analysis.
To use this tool, make an account on SEMrush and insert the domain that you want to analyze. It will quickly determine the amount of traffic your website is receiving, the keywords that are bringing that traffic, the number of backlinks with the referring domains, and the primary organic competitors. It also provides an extensive outline of link type and anchor text.
- It allows you to perform a detailed technical site audit.
- Enables you to carry out a Domain vs. Domain competitive analysis.
- The backlink analysis feature helps you go deeper to determine the links indicating any domain.
- The keyword research tool can let you choose the best keywords for your SEO campaign.
- The content analyzer feature evaluates the content quality on your website and highlights the significant problems in it.
Why Use It
SEMrush is one of the most popular SEO tools present on the market. It allows you to figure out all aspects of SEO right from keyword research to link building. If you’re looking for a single tool to get started, then SEMrush must be your priority.
Note: The free version of SEMrush lets you carry out ten searches a day. If you require more than that, you can subscribe to the Premium version starting at $99.95 per month.
SEOquake is another popular FREE SEO tool. It is an extension that reveals an SEO outline of any page using a SERP overlay or a toolbar.
To use this tool, install the SEOquake extension on your browser. All browsers, including Mozilla, Chrome, Opera, and Safari are supported. After installing the extension, a toolbar will display in your browser. You can run a comprehensive audit of any site using this useful tool.
- It shows the total number of social shares, indexed pages, external links, and domain age.
- Provides a free on-page audit tool to check if there are any flaws on your site, and then gives suggestions on how to correct those mistakes.
Why Use It
It is quite essential as you can conduct a thorough SEO audit in no time. This is the best SEO tool when you’ve less time and multiple URLs to examine.
5. Keyword Tool
Keyword research is another best part of making an effective SEO strategy. But, without the right tool in hands, it is a time-consuming procedure. This is where the “Keyword Tool” comes into play. It provides several appropriate keyword tips for each research type.
To use this tool, insert the primary keyword in the search tab, press the desired search platform or engine, and then pick the targeted country from the drop-down list. The tool returns the best keywords to target, depending on the main keywords.
- It offers over 750 search terms for each keyword research.
- The best thing is that it involves long-tail keywords in the search results. You also have the option to select which country to search for keywords, in what language, and on which platform, such as YouTube, Amazon, Google, etc.
- It allows you to separate negative keywords and sort by common questions that include your keyword.
Why Use It
Keyword Tool is excellent when you’re searching for those specific phrases that your users are using to reach you. It is equal to doing an incognito Google search, but with more added value.
This SEO tool enables you to analyze SEO problems immediately, understand the SEO profile of your competitor, and create reports that you can act upon.
To use it, just enter your website URL and press the “Checkup” button. The tool analyzes the URL and gives a score out of 100. The higher the score, the better your site is in SEO terms.
- The tool checks the on-page ranking factors of the site, such as keyword usage, meta tags, etc.
- It conducts 404 pages of tests, structured data tests, and canonical tag tests.
- It tests the speed and security of your site.
- Performs a mobile design check which can help you find out if your website is mobile-friendly or not.
Why Use It
Except for your site’s SEO score, SEO Site Checkup also transmits details on how you can fix the analyzed problems about SEO, including mobile usability, security, and speed. Just enter your site URL to check how it is currently working.
Note: The FREE version of this tool provides five check-ups a day. That means you need to build a free account to check over one site every day. If you require to create over 300 reports/month for up to three websites, then you must go for a paid plan beginning at $24.95 a month.
It is crucial to understand how each of your web pages is performing depending on their keywords, and SERPs Rank Checker can help you out. You can search for the domain and keyword or the keyword on Yahoo and Google. You may also check the current ranking based on the device.
To use this SEO tool, simply insert the domain name and the keyword you want to track. It will automatically analyze the search engine rankings of a specific domain for the chosen keyword.
- It allows you to track the ranking of your site easily on chosen locations without analyzing them on Google and without the use of a VPN.
- It provides other free tools, such as Google Location Changer and Keyword Research Database.
- Using the Location Changer, you can monitor the position of your keywords in varying locations.
Why Use It
You may track the rankings of keywords easily without having to examine them in Google manually.
Note: With the FREE version of SERPs Rank Checker, you can test only one keyword at a time. But to track over 1,000 keywords, you need to buy the Premium version for $99 a month.
Limitations on Doing SEO for Free and Why You Need to Take a PRO SEO SERVICE or HELP
In today’s competitive world, SEO marketing is more critical than ever. SEO marketing is the key for business or website owners to get more traffic to the site. If you have an online store or website, SEO can help you get traffic from search engines for free.
SEO can help you in building better relationships with the audience, increasing the authority, driving more traffic to your site, improving the customer experience, increasing conversions, and giving you an edge over the competition. That means – more loyal clients, more sales, and more growth for your business.
Though there are several ways of doing SEO for FREE, remember that it comes with several cautions or limitations. There is no doubt that free SEO optimization can make your job easy and cost-efficient, but it can lead you to several disadvantages, such as:
- Free SEO optimization has no guaranteed results.
- Free SEO tools often come with limited features that are not sufficient in the modern competitive era.
- When you do SEO yourself, you often aren’t aware of the latest updates in search engine algorithms.
Let’s find out why you need to take professional SEO help.
Over the past few years, the landscape of SEO has dramatically changed. Google has been continuously making updates in its algorithms to improve its search results. Consequently, you must keep up with the latest trends in the SEO industry to beat your competitors.
It’s a common approach to do basic SEO yourself, but search engine optimization is much more complicated than you think. To stay ahead of your competition, you need to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and create strategies accordingly.
However, because you won’t have adequate time and technology to understand the ins-and-outs of search engine optimization, you should invest in professional SEO service. Look for a reliable SEO partner who has years of experience in making effective SEO marketing plans.
Working with a professional SEO partner will benefit you in several ways. An SEO professional can help you with tracking your target audience, understanding competition, and creating result-oriented SEO strategies.
So, if you’re a small business and want to improve your website’s visibility in the search engine, you must give professional SEO service a try.
It’s no surprise that optimizing your website SEO is the key to making your business successful in the industry. With a proper SEO strategy and right tools in hand, you can engage in more traffic and get more opportunities to transform them into regular customers. SEO is quite complicated, but knowing the basics and quick wins can give you a great start. Hopefully, the information available in the post will help you understand the importance of optimizing your website SEO and how you can do it for free.
Focus on the details mentioned above to pinpoint simple SEO fixes; you can make right away to boost your website performance today. So make an effective SEO plan today and get ready for higher search engine rankings and traffic on your website.