Have you decided to independently optimize and promote your site in Yandex and Google? We offer a guide that will help you understand the basics of SEO and quickly improve your site’s position in search.
From the article you will learn:
what is modern SEO; how to build a semantic core; how to do «stuffing» the site is SEO-optimized; what should be the content of the site; which includes external SEO.
Organic SERPs are one of the main traffic sources. The development of social networks, contextual and display advertising, video marketing and other channels did not shake the position of SEO and did not lead to a decrease in budgets allocated to this area. In Russia, users visit websites from search engines more than 3.5 billion times per month. And according to the Consumer Barometer, 91% of respondents from Russia answered that they use search engines when they want to find a particular product (for comparison, only 19% of respondents use social networks for these purposes).
The problem is that after the introduction of a number of algorithms by Yandex and Google aimed at combating cheating, the SEO rules have changed significantly. Traditional recommendations (like adding key phrases from Yandex.Wordstat to texts and bulk buying links) no longer give the same effect as before, or may even lead to the imposition of sanctions.
Next, we will tell you how to SEO-optimize your site taking into account the current requirements of search engines, where to start and what resources are needed for this. You will also find out what actions can harm your site and what absolutely must not be done.
What is modern SEO?
In order to understand how SEO works, you need to understand the logic of building search results. After a user enters a search query in Yandex or Google, he receives a list of results. They are all divided into three groups:
search contextual advertising (up to 4 top and up to 4 bottom positions on a page with a mark «Advertising»); map (a list of organizations with a designation of their location on the map; the results of issuance depend on the location of the user and the nature of the request); organic search results (other search results – 10 positions on the page in Google, 10-15 – in Yandex).
In addition, blocks with videos, pictures and news can be mixed into the search results. Typical results for a commercial request look like this:
This can be a deterrent to SEO. The main argument is that the 1st position in organic is in fact the 5th position in the general search results, and it is easier to launch contextual advertising and get instant results.
But this is a superficial view. SEO, unlike contextual advertising, works in the long term and provides stable traffic. In addition, SEO allows you to bring users to a huge segment of queries for which contextual advertising is impractical to launch (for example, informational, brand and general queries).
The search results are built according to complex search engine algorithms that take into account hundreds of factors. Even the developers of search engines will not be able to accurately predict the positions of the site, because the output is dynamic and depends not only on a specific site, but also on competing sites, and the user who enters the query (where he is, what are his preferences, from what device he comes in and etc.).
Due to the complexity of the ranking algorithm in SEO, it is not work on one or two factors (for example, texts and links) that comes to the fore – it is important to work comprehensively in all areas.
In addition, SEO has gained «humanized» view – to get into the TOP you need to make a website that is useful and user-friendly. It is the site visitor who is at the forefront, not the search engine. This is the fundamental difference between new SEO and traditional SEO, which is associated with markups.
All ranking factors can be conventionally divided into 2 large groups:
internal (On-page); external (Off-page).
On-page SEO is associated with changes on the site in order to make it more convenient, faster, more informative, more attractive. This includes all work that is carried out within the site.
Off-page SEO is a set of measures aimed at increasing the authority (citation) of a site, improving its indexing and visibility in search engines.
The ultimate goal of SEO is to bring the site to the TOP for the most converting search queries.
But what is the TOP?
Usually we mean TOP-10. But if we analyze the statistics of traffic distribution depending on the position, it turns out that positions 6-10 give not much more clicks than positions 11-20:
So if your site is in the TOP-10, this is not a reason to stop – keep working and strive to get into the TOP-5.
So, we’ve got the basics of SEO down. Let’s move on to optimization and promotion.
How to promote a site yourself: the main areas of work.
1. On-page SEO: Selection of the semantic core.
The set of key phrases grouped according to certain criteria is called the semantic core.
Why do you need a semantic core:
It allows you to identify the information needs of users and get pages that are relevant to search queries (this is the main function of the semantic core, because without understanding the needs of the audience it is impossible to create a website that will solve their problems). Simplifies the elaboration of the site structure (for example, during the analysis you found that users are often interested in white sofas, and they ask much less about lilac sofas. In this case, in the online store of sofas, it is advisable to devote one of the sections to white sofas). Sets guidelines for the formulation of a technical assignment for copywriters (authors of texts are guided by the search queries specified in the assignment).
Ideally, the semantic core should be compiled before developing the site. This will make it easier to adapt the site to it. If you already have a site, but no semantics, be sure to collect it.
There are various tools for working with the semantic core. To save money, use free services:
. Basic word picker for Runet. Contains search queries for Yandex. The data for each phrase can be viewed for the last 12 months. Statistics are available by country and region, desktop and mobile search results. The disadvantage is the abundance of handmade work. The problem is partially solved with the help of special operators of Wordstat and the Yandex Wordstat Assistant plugin, but the process is still laborious. Yandex.Wordstat is more suitable in cases where you need to quickly look at statistics for a specific phrase, rather than to collect a full-fledged core. … This is the keyword base of the Google AdWords advertising system. Suitable for optimizing commercial projects for Google, but the database of information queries is inferior to Yandex.Vordstat. … It is an automated ad system that allows you to collect key phrases for free. To get started, you need to add your site to the system, start SEO-promotion and build the core. The word picker has recently been updated to allow «on the machine» collect up to 2000 extensions from Yandex.Wordstat for each specified word. If necessary, export phrases or launch website promotion for them directly in SeoPult.
There are also paid services for collecting semantics:
. A desktop program for working with various services for collecting semantics. The functionality of the program is wide, but it takes time to study it (the manual has more than a hundred pages). Suitable for professional SEO. Cost – 1800 rubles for 1 license. … Powerful service for automatic collection of semantics. Suitable for those who promote sites to Western markets. Cost – from $ 99.95 per month.
Collecting key phrases is only the first step. Then they need to be clustered. This is not just a distribution into logical groups – the clustering process takes into account the grouping of key phrases on sites from the TOP of search engines. The result of clustering is a ready-made semantic core that can be used to develop the structure of the site and set tasks for copywriters.
For clustering, the Just Magic program is used, but it has a specific interface and takes time to learn. A tool from SeoPult is suitable for independent work on clustering. Cost – from 5 kopecks per request.
In the process of collecting the semantic core, the question arises: which search engine to target? On Yandex, Google, both at once, or some other? For an answer, let’s take a look at the statistics of the popularity of search engines in Runet:
The unequivocal leaders are Yandex and Google. They occupy approximately equal positions. Taking into account the fact that the base of search phrases of Wordstat is more extensive than the Google Keyword Planner, in order to save resources, focus on Yandex. But this is only what concerns the Runet. To promote your site in countries where Yandex is not popular (or is not available at all, as in the case of Ukraine), give preference to the databases of Google and other services.
2. On-page SEO: Website preparation.
This includes a set of works to create a user-friendly site that will appeal to visitors and rank high in search engines. The work is carried out in several directions.
Choosing a domain and hosting.
Give preference to a domain that is understandable to the target audience and easy to remember, pay for it at least a year in advance. Avoid domains with a bad history (check here). Choose hosting in the country for the audience of which the site is designed. Buy and install an SSL certificate along with the domain (this is especially important for online stores and other sites where users leave personal data).
Optimization of download speed.
Using Google PageSpeed Insights, determine the page loading speed, and if the site scored less than 90 points (for desktop and mobile versions), then follow the recommendations suggested by the service. You can’t do without the help of a programmer, but you can do some things yourself (for example, compress images, enable GZIP compression, and configure caching using plugins).
Setting up indexing.
In the root folder of the site, create a robots.txt file in which you specify the indexing settings (generator – pr-cy.ru/robots). It is necessary to close service files, pages of archives, tags, authors from robots. Open – the main pages of the site, CSS and JS files. Configure the generation of a dynamic sitemap.xml in the root folder (for example, in WordPress, this can be done using the All in One SEO Pack plugin). To speed up page indexing, configure Last-Modified headers and use ping services.
Improving design and usability.
The site should have a color scheme that is comfortable for the eyes, comfortable and readable sans-serif fonts (Roboto, Arial, etc.), an unacceptable pile of elements, unnecessarily complex animation, a blinking background, that is, everything that interferes with viewing the content. Convenient navigation is important: the usual arrangement of the menu with a small number of items, the navigation chain is configured («bread crumbs») and semantic (human-readable) URLs, there is a site search form, search by tags. The convenience of the site is also ensured by internal links. Refuse to use special programs for linking and distribution «weights» between pages – place links taking into account the usefulness for visitors.
3. On-page SEO: Content Optimization.
It is for the sake of content that users come to the site, so special attention should be paid to its quality. Content means not only text, but also images, videos, applications, etc. But it is on the basis of texts that search engines determine the relevance of documents to search queries.
Signs of text quality:
Uniqueness. This does not mean simply technical uniqueness, which can be easily verified using advego.ru or text.ru. Search engines have learned to distinguish rewriting from truly original texts, so do not retell other people’s texts, but introduce something of your own, rethink and rework them. It is allowed to use small, non-unique excerpts from other people’s texts (definitions, quotes, etc.), but with links to primary sources. Relevance. The text must match the user’s request. If the article is called «How to hammer in a nail» , but it tells about the history of the invention of the nail, then this text is irrelevant. If you are composing text for a specific key phrase, disclose the topic specifically indicated in the title. In an attempt to increase the relevance, you should not overly saturate the text with key queries (no more than 3-4 occurrences per 2000 characters), otherwise you will be penalized for over-optimization. Literacy. Search engines do not like texts with an abundance of spelling and grammatical errors. Do not allow direct occurrence «curves» key phrases in texts ( «buy moscow cheap», «salon curtains sale of curtains» etc.). The priority is the quality of the text. Convenience of reading. Well-structured texts are much easier to perceive and read more willingly. Paragraphs, lists, subheadings, quotes, anchor links – all of which make it easier to navigate the article and keep the visitor on the page.
In the process of filling the site, pay attention to the compilation of meta descriptions – title and description. Some SEOs also fill in the keywords meta tag, but for search engines and users it does not matter, but competitors can parse its values and get a list of your key queries. So it’s up to you, but we would recommend refraining from filling it out. Therefore, we do not recommend filling it out.
Consider these guidelines when composing meta tags:
meta tags should contain information that is meaningful to users, encouraging to go to the page, but not misleading; title – place basic information in the first 50 characters with spaces; description – compose descriptions for all pages with a length of about 300 characters with spaces; the first 160-170 characters should contain a complete thought with the most important information. The fact is that Google reflects about 300 characters in snippets, and Yandex – 160-170. When composing a description according to our recommendations, you optimize it for both search engines at once; add the main key phrases to the title and description, but enter them naturally, without overspam.
In addition to text, optimize images:
To achieve and maintain high positions, regularly update your content and stimulate user activity (comments, likes, multiple page views, etc.). Search engines should constantly receive signals that your site is developing and getting better.
4. Components of Off-page SEO.
External SEO is, first of all, work on building up the incoming link mass and registering a site in search engine services.
Links are one of the most important ranking factors. Search engines divide them into natural and spam ones – only the first ones work as a plus, while the second ones can be sanctioned in the form of lowering their positions or excluding the site from the search results.
Signs of natural links:
are inscribed in thematic content, lead to pages useful for users; located in the main sections of the site, in the visible area, well distinguishable against the general background; can be located next to external links to other resources; are without anchor ( «site.ru», «here», «here», «on the site» ) or have a branded anchor (store «N» , company «N» ); regularly drive targeted traffic to the landing page; Lead from sites that are not spammed with outbound links, have a high reputation and stable traffic.
You can build natural links in different ways:
creating quality content that will be linked from blogs, media and social networks; writing free guest posts on the basis of a backlink to your site; search for interesting thematic content and offer to supplement it with material about your own website, store or service; an agreement on the integration of natural links on a paid basis (directly or using a specialized service).
You can understand how many links you need to get by analyzing the link profiles of top competitors. To do this, write down domains from Yandex’s TOP-10 for the main key queries and use one of the services for analyzing the link mass (Ahrefs, Majestic or Linkpad). In addition, you will understand which anchors to use, what the proportion of nofollow links should be, and which domains to choose for placement.
Build your link mass gradually, but regularly. For a young site, 5-7 high-quality links per month are enough. After 6 months of work, the volume can be gradually increased to 10-15 links and more, depending on the scale of the activity.
Off-page SEO is not limited to link building. Search engines have useful services to help improve indexing and visibility:
Panels for webmasters. The main ones are Yandex.Webmaster and Google Search Console. You can also add the site to the Mail.ru Webmaster’s Cabinet. With the help of these services, you will track indexing, key phrases, possible problems with the site, add new pages for indexing. Maps and reference books. This includes Yandex.Directory, Yandex.Maps, Google My Business, Google Maps, Mail.ru for business. Adding your company to these services will allow you to occupy high positions in local search results. Search engines for the site. Install a search bar on your site (Yandex.Search for a site or Google’s custom search engine) – with its help you will not lose visitors, because they will be able to use the search without leaving your site.
Self-service SEO website promotion is a painstaking and complex process. Modern SEO has long outgrown from bulk link buying and writing «SEO texts» into a powerful marketing tool that allows you to improve your site, make it useful to visitors and visible on search engines.
If you are not completely sure that you can do everything right, visit intensive courses on optimization and website promotion from the CyberMarketing training center. No time to study, but do you need to promote your site? Use the automated system SeoPult, designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. SeoPult allows you to independently launch SEO-promotion of a website in just 15-20 minutes without the involvement of third-party specialists.