Want to grow your business using traffic from Google? Then you need to become a master Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The hardest part about trying to learn SEO is keeping track of all the different ‘types’ or ‘categories’ of SEO – aka SEO techniques.
Have no fear – in this post we list for you all the different SEO techniques, and explain what they are and how they fit in the full picture of SEO.
After you read this article you will understand exactly what goes into a successful SEO campaign, and have an awesome foundation to get started with.
The Full List of Search Engine Optimization Techniques
Master each of these “sub-divisions” of SEO and you will be able to harness the power of Google.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is a blanket term that basically means “any SEO that is high risk”. It refers to SEO practices that are currently working very well but can be potentially damaging to your site in the long run. It’s more of a general term that an SEO technique, but it is definitely a style of doing SEO, so we are including it here. Some examples of Black Hat SEO techniques are:
- Manipulating links
- Manipulating anchor texts
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO is the opposite of Black Hat. It’s a term that is loosely thrown around to refer to SEO practices that are generally considered safe to do for the long term success of your website. They may take more work, be more expensive, or just be plain slower – but if you are looking to grow a sustainable business into the foreseeable future this is where you normally want to start.
Some examples of White Hat SEO techniques are:
- Creating well thought out & fully researched valuable content
- Using social media to promote your new content
- Always keeping the user in mind when doing SEO, not just Googlebot
- Making sure your website loads fast & is mobile responsive
- Fixing all technical errors
Content SEO (aka Content Marketing) refers to everything that goes into auditing, researching, planning & creating great content that your readers will love, and search engines will reward you for.
Content SEO is probably the most fun part of this whole part because it is the part where you get to take all the knowledge, experience & expertise that you have and finally communicate to your audience – once and for all – your stance on things. Be polarizing, be authentic, be factual – and most of all be entertaining! Publishing awesome content on your website will start to show search engines that you are relevant & authoritative in your subject matter – which helps your SEO progress and leads to better rankings, more traffic, and new sales.
Some examples of good Content Marketing techniques are:
- Running an audit of your current site to see what content you have to work with & if there is any room for improvement.
- Using keyword analysis tools to see what terms people are searching for in your industry, and building content around those terms.
- Building a list of primary keyword terms that are relevant for your business & would make good pieces of content.
- Building a list of secondary keyword terms that would warrant their own article, and help to build a “cluster” or “silo” or articles that support your primary one.
- Reaching out to influencers in your industry when you release new content so they can share it with their followers.
Using content to grow your business is by far one of the most powerful ways to establish your brand, your authority, and your SEO. We can’t recommend it enough.
Competitor research, in SEO, means finding out exactly what your competitors are doing that is bringing them organic success – and then using that information as a starting point to craft your strategy. Here at SERP Co, we like to start by Googling our main keyword goals and seeing who is ranking. We then put them into a tool, like Ahrefs, that shows us what keywords they are ranking for, where they are getting their links, and how much traffic they are getting. We can then add them to a list and then repeat the process until we have a nice spreadsheet/database of competitors that we can track, monitor & build off of. If you want help with competitor SEO research, monitoring & reverse engineering – you will need these 2 tools:
Some examples of Competitor Research for SEO:
- Create a list of the products & services you offer.
- Create a list of some common questions/search queries people could use to potentially find your website.
- Search these keywords on Google.
- Compile a list of websites that are currently ranking for the keyword terms you want – these are your “SERP Competitors” or “SEO Competitors”.
- Add the
Keyword research is the art & science of meticulously finding, sorting, categorizing & planning out the content relevant to your niche based on keywords that people are already searching for. Really the entire point of SEO is to bring people to your brand’s products & services at the moment the consumer is searching for a solution to their problem (that your company solves). Most of the time they don’t know about YOU, but they know what their issue is.
We can use tools to find the keywords people are searching for, and then write content specifically designed to solve those problems, answer those questions, and provide solutions to the issues the searches have. For example, we didn’t pull the keyword “SEO Techniques” out of thin air when deciding to write this article. We first found out how many people are searching for this per month (more than 7,000 searches per month globally, and close to 2,000 per month in the USA)
Does your business serve customers in a specific geographic area? Maybe at your office, or maybe you travel to the homes/workplace of your customer? If so, you’re going to want to put some serious emphasis on your Local SEO strategy. Local SEO is the skillset that will help drive a ton of traffic for your local business through placement in the maps, and by showing up for any search term that is geographically relevant. Some examples of searches that would highly benefit from local seo:
- “personal injury lawyer los angeles”
- “dentist near me”
- “emergency plumber in philadelphia”
- “good italian restaurants”
Showing up in maps is a huge driver of traffic for many businesses. We have been able to help one of our Landscape Marketing clients in New York with the Local SEO portion of their digital marketing
, and it’s driving a good portion of leads to her business each month:
Off Page SEO
Off-Page SEO is where the magic happens. Or at least where everyone says the magic happens. It’s definitely the “sexy” part of SEO, and certainly, in the top 3 most powerful things you can do to get your site ranking on Page 1. Getting other websites to link to you is basically like those websites telling Google “we trust this website, please send some of our authority over to them.” Link building is critical for the success of your SEO campaign but is something you should do after you have done keyword research, competitor research, content creation, site structure optimization, technical optimizations & even on page seo optimizations. It’s really one of the last things you do, but also one of the highest impact.
Some off-page SEO strategies are:
- Setting up the social profile foundations for your business (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google My Business, etc).
- Building links to your website from business directories (Yelp, Yellowpages, MapQuest, etc).
- Getting your business mentioned on relevant industry blogs & news sites.
- Participating in other people’s podcasts, interviews, guest posting, and other forms of content creation for another brand that they will subsequently post on their website and mention/link to you.
On Page SEO
On-Page SEO is a sub-speciality of SEO that involves making sure everything on a specific web page of your site is fully optimized for search engine crawlers to get a crystal clear picture of what the page is about.
Some examples of On Page SEO Techniques are:
- Put your primary keyword in the URL of your page/post
- Put your primary keyword in the HTML Title Tag of your page/post
- Get a variation of your primary keyword in the H1 HTML tag
- Use secondary & supporting keywords in your H2, H3, H4, etc. HTML tags
- Include multimedia (images/video/infographics/gifs/etc.) on your page
- Write comprehensive, high-quality content
- Avoid having pages with thin content
Schema / Structured Data
Schema (also known as “structured data”) is the practice of adding meta information to your website that gives even more information to search engines about what your website is about. It’s a bit difficult to understand at first, but what you’re essentially doing is attaching a little “explainer document” to every page of your site that provides further info to the algorithms. You ‘create relationships’ between what is on your page and what has been set as ‘web standards’ but a few main organizations, so the web crawler sees your page and then sees these “connections” and can understand what your page is about with more certainty. The set of standards is set at schema.org.
Some examples of using Structured Data SEO Techniques are:
- Adding “recipe schema” to a page on your website about recipes.
- Adding “person” schema to your ‘team’ or ‘about’ page on your website.
- Adding a link from your location page to your Google Maps CID so search engines can make a stronger connection that you are the business.
If SEO is for nerds, then Technical SEO is for the super nerds. I happen to be one of those super nerds, and personally I love technical SEO because it’s something very few people can do extremely well – but can really be the difference between a good SEO campaign and a great SEO campaign. If you don’t have the stomach (or left brain) to want to sit around and learn all this yourself – don’t fret. You can always outsource bits and pieces of this stuff to highly specialized people and still make your campaigns great again. MAGA, but for SEO.
Some examples of Technical SEO Techniques:
- Improve the PageSpeed of your website
- Improve the mobile-friendliness of your website
- Properly implement a Robots.txt file
- Avoid duplicate meta descriptions
- Set proper canonicals & paginations
- Avoid keyword cannibalization
User Experience SEO Techniques revolve around optimizing your site for user signals. User signals are essentially analytical elements that Google can see (how long people stay on your site, how many shares your content gets, how many reviews your business has, how often do people return to your website, etc.) that gives Google an indication about how much value your website is providing. Remember, Google’s entire goal is to keep its searchers satisfied by finding websites that sufficiently answer their searcher’s questions. If Google can see that your website is doing a good job of keeping its users happy, then you will be rewarded with good/better rankings.
Some examples of User Experience SEO Techniques are:
- Putting contact information in easy to find places
- Creating content with the user in mind
- Keeping your website easy to navigate
- Utilizing heat-maps, scroll tracking & behavioral analytics tools to continually improve your website in places where users are having issues
- Encouraging people to share & review your content
- Not annoying users with all your pop-ups (you know who you are)
- Keeping ads below the fold
By the year 2020, 50% of all online searches will be performed with voice search. (source) They key difference between voice searches & text searches is simply human laziness. Yeah, I said it. You’re lazy. I’m lazy too. Voice searches tend to be questions where text searches tend to be incomplete sentences, usually just one or two words. That’s why when I am out drinking with friends having an argument over who was the lead role in the movie “BIG” I would type “Big actor”, but if I was doing it on a voice search device I would actually ask a question like “Who was the main actor in the movie big”. Why? Because typing takes time and energy – so when we type searches we usually truncate them into just 1-2 words if possible. But talking is easy, and most of us talk too much anyway – so we don’t mind asking questions if we can speak it!
Some Examples of Voice Search SEO Optimization Techniques:
- Write your content around long-tail type keywords
- Use Schema/structured data on your posts/pages
- Create topical clusters (instead of just single keyword posts)
Learning SEO takes time. There is a lot of information (and even misinformation) online. There are also a lot of “sub-sections” of SEO & it can be hard just to wrap your head around all the different areas of expertise within SEO. Our top 3 recommendations for learning SEO are:
- Take your time.
- Get your information from trusted sources.
- Find a mentor & ask questions from experts.
We created SERP University so you would have one central place to get your information. It’s free to join & 100% written by yours truly. Check out SERP University here. We also have a community for all students of SERP University where you can ask us questions in Slack, jump on weekly Q&A calls, network with other SEO professionals, and improve your game everyday.