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SEO by Mind Map: SEO

1. SEO Audit

1.1. Accessibility

1.1.1. Crawl errors (Google Search Console)

1.1.2. Robots.txt

1.1.2.1. This is a file that Google (and other search engines/bots) look for instructions as to what pages to crawl and which to ignore.

1.1.3. URL Errors

1.1.4. Crawl Budget

1.1.4.1. Crawl budget is the time or number of pages Google allocates to crawl a site.

1.1.4.2. The best way to think about it is that the number of pages that we crawl is roughly proportional to your PageRank.

1.1.4.3. The pages that get linked to a lot tend to get discovered and crawled quite quickly.

1.1.4.3.1. > crawl budget is determined by authority.

1.1.4.4. Google Caffeine (Freshness Algorithm)

1.1.4.4.1. Goals

1.1.4.4.2. Tactics for Recovering from the Freshness Algorithm

1.1.4.4.3. Updating your content for the sake of freshness isn’t necessary, but keeping your content relevant and up-to-date is. Updating old content is also a way to earn new links and fresh engagement.

1.1.5. CrawlRank

1.1.5.1. content not crawled within ~14 days receives materially less traffic.

1.1.5.2. but getting those same pages crawled more frequently produced an increase in traffic.

1.1.5.3. You win if you get your low PageRank pages crawled more frequently than the competition.

1.1.5.4. Crawl Optimization Checklist

1.1.5.4.1. Track and Monitor Googlebot

1.1.5.4.2. Manage URL Parameters

1.1.5.4.3. Use Robots.txt Wisely

1.1.5.4.4. Don’t Forget HTML Sitemap(s)

1.1.5.4.5. Optimize Your Internal Link Structure

1.1.5.4.6. External Links

1.1.6. HTML Errors

1.1.7. Page Architecture

1.1.7.1. The first thing to check for is the H1 tag; there should only be one on the page, and it should be descriptive of our business and keyword rich.

1.1.7.2. Another useful thing to check is the images. If they don’t have img tags with alt text, they won’t show up in Google Image Search and Google won’t know what the images are relevant to so they won’t boost the page’s’ relevancy.

1.1.7.3. One other thing we should check for is OG (Open Graph) tags. This help show the right content whenever a user shares on social.

1.1.8. Speed Test

1.1.8.1. The last but most important thing we’ll cover is page speed. This has been shown to be a major ranking factor, and it also improves user experience and increases conversion rates.

1.1.8.2. If you want a second opinion, head over to Pingdom, who offer a slightly different speed test.

1.1.9. Google Index Coverage

1.1.9.1. Data from the Index Coverage report confirms the high value of crawl efficiency and crawl optimization. Additional analysis also provides further evidence that click signals and engagement are important in the evaluation and ranking of content

1.2. Relevancy

1.2.1. There are two ways to approach this:

1.2.1.1. 1) target a set of keywords and try and move the needle on those by creating relevant content

1.2.1.2. 2) see what we’re already ranking for and make changes to our content to improve our ranking.

1.2.1.2.1. Search Analytics >Google Search Console

1.2.2. On-Page Optimization

1.2.2.1. Optimizing the meta title and description should improve our CTR.

1.2.2.1.1. SEO experiments show that when more people click your result in Google search, then your rankings typically rise.

1.2.2.2. Bounce rate

1.2.2.2.1. In Google Analytics, we can see this by first filtering for just New Visitors from Organic Search.

1.2.3. SEO Pages

1.2.4. Navigation

1.2.4.1. Google often users your footer links to crawl your website. Anything you link to here will be deemed important and teach Google about what your site is relevant for.

1.3. Authority

1.3.1. good content is essential, but it’s not sufficient

1.3.1.1. Pages ranking #1 in search results have an average of 168% more backlinks than those ranking in position 5, and remember that can mean 6x more traffic.

1.3.2. Domain and Page Authority

1.3.2.1. Domain authority is a score, on a 100-point scale, developed by Moz to predict how well a website will rank. This score is logarithmic, meaning it’s easier to grow from 10-20 than it would be to get to 70 from 60.

1.3.2.2. It can be difficult to benchmark domain authority, but you typically need around a 30 DA before things start getting interesting. The best way to benchmark is versus our competitors.

1.3.3. Link Quantity, Variety and Velocity

1.3.3.1. You can see pretty easily the correlation between a number of links and Domain Authority. All things being equal, more links is a good thing.

1.3.3.2. The number of domains linking is almost as important as the number of links total.

1.3.3.3. Link velocity is also important; though not directly affecting rankings, the number of links ‘Just Discovered’ in the past 60 days gives us an indication that our website getting stronger

1.3.4. Link Quality

1.3.4.1. The quality of your links is extremely important. If someone who has a high Domain Authority links to you, it can be worth hundreds or thousands of links from less trusted sites.

1.3.4.2. Any link with a rel=’nofollow’ attribute is basically that website telling Google “I’m not vouching for this website”.

1.3.4.2.1. If you don’t have any, or your ratio of nofollow to follow is low, Google might get suspicious that you’re trying to game the system.

1.3.5. Anchor Text

1.3.6. Top Linked Content

1.4. Checklists

1.4.1. Technical Audit Checklist

1.4.2. Annie Cushing's Audit Checklist

1.4.3. Technical SEO Checklist - The Roadmap to a Complete Technical SEO Audit

2. SEO Optimization

2.1. Your primary goals should be (1) to ensure that every page on your website is accessible to Google and (2) to block pages you want inaccessible to Google’s crawlers (Googlebot).

2.1.1. The truth is that optimization is only as strong as one’s understanding of the search engine part of the equation. When the rules of search change, so must the strategy.

2.2. Tactics

2.2.1. Use Google’s guide — not your guesswork — to define what’s good.

2.2.1.1. If improving your content quality and traffic is your goal, there are levers to pull, but don’t assume you can choose which ones. “Most people instinctively nominate themselves as authorities of what’s good when it comes to content and user experience. With SEO, that’s not what actually matters

2.2.1.2. Google has a set of guidelines — about 150 pages of them — and has hired thousands of quality raters to rate pages and sites based on their guidelines.”

2.2.1.3. When it comes to Google’s guide to content quality, it’s big theme is EAT, which stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness.

2.2.1.3.1. What kind of expertise is required for the page to achieve its purpose well?

2.2.1.3.2. In order to get a high EAT score in shopping, Wanelo shows reviews and photos for each product as well as return policy and shipping information.

2.2.1.3.3. For local services, Thumbtack highlights how many years a practitioner has been in business, whether they are licensed, how many jobs they have completed and, most importantly, lots of 5 star reviews.

2.2.2. Keep good hygiene

2.2.2.1. One of the underappreciated aspects of SEO has less to do with what you do and more with what you don’t.

2.2.2.2. Schedule a weekly open-ended crawl of your site.

2.2.2.2.1. A lot of times, companies’ sites will have pages cluttering Google’s index that they don’t want indexed and don’t know about.

2.2.2.2.2. Track your number of pages, how many are getting crawled, how many are indexed and how many are getting traffic.

2.2.2.2.3. Track your number of pages, how many are getting crawled, how many are indexed and how many are getting traffic.

2.2.2.3. Eliminate incidental indexed page

2.2.2.3.1. It bears repeating: it doesn’t matter if you think your pages are important; what’s key is what Google deems important.

2.2.2.3.2. Once you’ve found “thin" pages, there are a few ways forward. “The best and fastest way to eliminate them is to remove an entire directory by disallowing it in the robots.txt file or using the directory removal tool in Google Webmaster Tools.

2.2.2.4. Flatten your internal link architecture

2.2.2.4.1. Most internal links are skewed toward just a few pages. You might have internal links that are the most recent posts. If you have a thousand pages, the most recent posts are likely ten pages. Then you're not linking to the other 990, which signals to Google that these pages are not important and so they don't get traffic

2.2.2.4.2. Instead, link across all your pages so that Google has many paths to find all of the pages on your site, not just a small percentage of them. So, if you’re showcasing an easy-to-use digital camera, don’t just link to other cameras. Link to other easy-to-use categories, like headphones or TVs. Cross-linking vertically and horizontally creates a more tightly-connected, flat link architecture.

2.2.3. Steal first. Then innovate.

2.2.3.1. Worry about innovation when it comes to your core product, not your SEO. It’s not well publicized but most successful growth teams and companies take the most effective strategies from competitors, apply them in-house, then improve upon them

2.2.3.2. We look for the most successful SEO companies. We deeply analyze their site and strategy to understand what’s working.

2.2.4. Approach SEO as acquisition.

2.2.4.1. When viewed as an acquisition channel, SEO can be one of the most impactful channels to drive long term lifetime value.

2.2.5. Content Relaunch

2.2.5.1. The 3-Step Process to Higher Rankings and More Traffic With “The Content Relaunch”

2.2.5.1.1. Step #1: Identify under-performing content

2.2.5.1.2. Step #2: Improve and update that content

2.2.5.1.3. Step #3: Republish your post

2.3. With SEO, you can be righteous or right. To be the latter, follow Google’s guidelines, not your gut.

3. SEO and AI

4. Link Building

4.1. Links are important since Google confirmed that links are the #1 ranking factor, alongside great content.

4.2. How to get backlinks

4.2.1. Turn your mentions into backlinks

4.2.2. Find the strongest competitors healthy backlinks

4.2.3. Be aware of your competitor's new links

4.3. Big, Fast, & Good: Backlink Indexes Compared

5. Determine Search Behavior

5.1. The State of Searcher Behavior Revealed Through 23 Remarkable Statistics

6. Psychology Based SEO Strategy

6.1. Businesses need to look at every page as a ‘landing page’.

6.1.1. And they need to ask themselves these questions:

6.1.1.1. What are visitors arriving at this page looking for?

6.1.1.2. What problem are they facing and how can we help them?

6.1.1.3. How can we deliver an experience they’ve been looking for everywhere else?

7. Ranking factors

7.1. On-Page factors

7.1.1. Keyword in the title tag

7.1.1.1. Ideally, the keyword should be placed at the start of the title tag. Pages optimized this way will rank better than those with keyword closer to the title’s tag end.

7.1.2. Keyword in meta description tag

7.1.3. Keyword in H1 tag

7.1.4. Using keywords in the pages copy

7.1.5. The length of the content

7.1.6. Duplicate content

7.1.7. Canonical tag

7.1.7.1. Sometimes, however, having two URLs with similar content is unavoidable. One of the ways from preventing this from becoming a duplicate content issue is by using a canonical tag on your site.

7.1.7.2. This tag does one simple thing; it tells Google that one URL is equivalent of another, clearly stating that in spite of two pages having the same content, they are in fact one.

7.1.8. Image Optimization

7.1.9. Content Updates

7.1.9.1. Google algorithm prefers freshly updated content.

7.1.9.2. It is wise however to include some strategy to update certain types of content once every 12 months or so.

7.1.10. Outbound links

7.1.10.1. Linking to authoritative pages sends trust signals to the search engine.

7.1.11. Internal links

7.1.11.1. Interlinking pages on your site can pass their strength between them.

7.1.12. Keyword in URL

7.2. Site factors

7.2.1. Sitemap

7.2.1.1. A sitemap helps search engine to index all pages on your site. It is the simplest and most efficient way to tell Google what pages your website includes.

7.2.2. Domain trust

7.2.2.1. How to generate trust?

7.2.2.1.1. Link Out to Authority Sites

7.2.2.1.2. Privacy Notice, Terms

7.2.2.1.3. Bounces and Blocked Sites

7.2.2.1.4. References and Sources

7.2.2.1.5. According to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, the principal qualities that define a high-quality page are Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT).

7.2.3. Server location

7.2.3.1. Some SEOs believe that a server’s location helps to boost rankings for that particular country or region.

7.2.4. Mobile optimized site

7.2.5. Google Search Console integration

7.2.5.1. Lastly, having your site verified at Google Webmasters Tools is said to help with your sites indexing.

7.2.6. Speed

7.2.6.1. Speed is a confirmed ranking factor.

7.2.6.2. Additionally, Google announced site speed as a ranking factor for mobile results.

7.2.6.3. PageSpeed Insights

7.2.6.4. Page Load Distributions

7.2.6.4.1. contentful paint (FCP)

7.2.6.4.2. DOMContentLoaded (DCL)

7.2.6.5. How to Improve Website Loading Speed Time

7.2.6.5.1. Limit the Number of Resources

7.2.6.5.2. Improve Server Response Time

7.2.6.5.3. Optimize & Reduce Image Size Without Affecting the Visual Appearance

7.2.6.5.4. Reduce the Number of Redirects & Eliminate Redirect Loop

7.2.6.5.5. Set a Browser Cache Policy

7.2.6.5.6. Minimize the Render-Blocking Javascript and CSS

7.2.6.6. Website Functionality & Usability

7.2.6.6.1. Make Sure Your Resources Are Crawlable

7.2.6.6.2. Verify the Indexed Content

7.2.6.6.3. Test Your Robots.Txt File to Show Google the Right Content

7.2.6.6.4. Review Your Sitemap to Avoid Being Outdated

7.2.6.6.5. Review Blocked Resources (Hashbang URLs) with Fetch as Google

7.2.6.6.6. Optimize Your Crawl Budget

7.2.6.6.7. Audit Internal Links to Improve Your Chances to Rank Higher

7.2.6.6.8. Use Structured Data to Highlight Your Content

7.2.6.6.9. Keep a Reasonable Number of Links On-Page

7.2.7. Backend performance

7.2.7.1. The back-end performance of a website directly impacts search engine ranking.

7.2.7.1.1. web servers and their network connections

7.2.7.1.2. the use of CDNs

7.2.7.1.3. the back-end application and database servers

7.2.8. Time to First Byte

7.2.8.1. Website owners should explore ways to improve their TTFB.

7.2.8.1.1. TTFB captures how long it takes your browser to receive the first byte of a response from a web server when you request a particular URL.

7.2.8.1.2. TTFB is affected by 3 factors:

7.2.8.1.3. This includes using CDNs, optimizing your application code, optimizing database queries, and ensuring you have fast and responsive web servers.

7.2.8.1.4. WebPagetest - Website Performance and Optimization Test

7.2.8.2. TTFB directly correlate to search engine ranking.

7.3. Off Page factors

7.3.1. The number of linking domains

7.3.1.1. The number of domains linking to you is one of the most important ranking factors.

7.3.2. The number of linking pages

7.3.3. Domain Authority of linking page

7.3.3.1. Links to pages with higher domain authority will be a bigger factor than those on low authority domains.

7.3.4. Link relevancy

7.3.4.1. Some SEOs believe that links from pages related to your pages topic carry more relevancy for search engines.

7.3.5. Authority of linking domain

7.3.6. Links from a homepage

7.3.6.1. ome SEOs believe that links from a home page of a linking domain carry more strength than those on one of its pages.

7.3.7. A number of do follow vs. nofollow links

7.3.7.1. Google officially stated that they don’t count nofollow links (link with rel=nofollow attribute attached). Therefore the number of your do follow links should affect your rankings too.

7.3.8. The diversity of link types

7.3.8.1. The types of links you build to your site matters too. Too many links of one type may be a spam indicator and impact your rankings negatively.

7.3.9. Contextual links

7.3.9.1. It is said that links within the content of the page are worth more than links in a sidebar for instance.

7.3.10. Link anchor

7.3.10.1. Anchor text of a link used to be a strong ranking factor. Today it can be utilized as a web spam indicator, negatively impacting your rankings.

7.4. Domain factors

7.4.1. Domain registration length

7.4.1.1. Google considers domains registered for longer than a year as more trustworthy.

7.4.2. Domain history

7.4.2.1. You may not be the first person who registered the domain. And if your domain has been penalized in the past, its history might affect its current rankings.

7.4.3. Country TLD extension

7.4.3.1. If you try to target a particular local market, it is said that having a domain with a country specific TLD will help to achieve better rankings for that location.

8. Google’s ranking algorithms

8.1. RankBrain

8.1.1. RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results.

8.1.2. RankBrain is part of Google’s overall search “algorithm,” a computer program that’s used to sort through the billions of pages it knows about and find the ones deemed most relevant for particular queries.

8.1.3. RankBrain is part of Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm?

8.1.4. RankBrain is the third-most important signal

8.1.5. RankBrain’s real power is understanding never-before-seen queries and delivering results based on its understanding of the term. RankBrain groups search queries close to each other in linguistic similarities into “distributed representations.”

8.1.5.1. RankBrain is trying to predict what people “mean” in their search queries by looking at their intent.

8.1.5.2. The main intent for RankBrain is to help with brand-new queries.