What is SEO in 2020 and importance of Backlinks - Saurabh Banerjee
What is SEO in 2020 and importance of Backlinks

As the saying goes, the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google and it is because only 0.78% of Google searchers click page 2 results. So this tutorial is all about higher rankings and especially getting you off that second, third or tenth page.

SEO in 2020 and Importance of backlinks!


SEO helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. Your website and content should meet a certain level of quality. Generally speaking, your site should be mobile-friendly, load decently fast, have clear navigation and UX, secure HTTPS, hassle free technical SEO issues and well written content. These are not only some of the direct Google ranking factors, but the process that can produce much better results if your website is old.

Now, I'm assuming that you have existing pages which are targeting keywords. Alright, so here's the entire process as a flow chart. Feel free to take a screenshot for your own records and let's begin.
Step 1 is to check the strength of the competition. On a battle ground, you need to know who you're up against and since you want to rank on the first page of Google, your competition is obviously going to be with the top 10 results. Now, at this stage, we just want to do a quick spot-check to see if the websites ranking for this keyword are out of our league.

So let's say you have a relatively new SEO blog and you want to rank for "SEO." You'll find that the top pages are well-known brands like,Moz, Search Engine Land, Wordstream, and Google. Chances are that you probably will not be able to compete anytime soon. Whereas something like affordable SEO services for small business shows sites you probably haven't heard of. So this can be more within your wheelhouse. Secondly you also need to look at website authority. At Ahrefs, we use a metric called Domain Rating or DR. This represents the overall strength of a website's backlink profile. Now, while I don't use this as a main metric to gauge ranking difficulty, it can work well to spot check the relative "strength" of a brand from an SEO perspective.

If you have an Ahrefs account, just go to Keywords Explorer and enter your target keyword. As you can see here for the keyword "SEO," all of the websites' Domain Ratings are quite high. So if your DR is let's say 30, then you probably won't be able to compete as for the keyword "affordable SEO services for small business," you'll see Domain Ratings ranging from 60 to 86. So for DR 30, I'd say you need to go that extra mile to achieve that higher DR. If you've chosen a keyword that's too competitive now, go back to keyword research.

If your keyword is rankable, let's move on to the next step, which is to make sure that your page aligns with search intent. Search intent means the reason behind a searcher's query. For example, if you search for "how to make a website," you'll see that almost all of the ranking pages are how-to guide with step-by-step instructions. To determine search intent, just Google your keyword and identify the 3 C's of search intent.

The first C is content type which may belong to top pages of blog posts, product, category or landing pages. For example, the type of pages ranking for “buy protein powder” is all e-commerce category pages.

The second C is content format and this applies mainly to when you're trying to rank informational content. Common formats include: how-to guide step- by-step tutorials, list posts, opinion pieces, reviews and comparisons. So if we look at the top pages for "best tasting protein powder," you'll see all pages are list posts.

The third C is content angle. This one is a bit harder to quantify than type or format, but content angle is generally the dominant unique, which sells proposition used by the top-ranking pages. For example, pages ranking for "best protein powder" almost all have the current year in the title, which to me says that freshness is the angle; whereas the pages ranking for "blogging tips" are taking the angle of "for beginners."

If you try and rank for "blogging tips" with an article called "17 Advanced Blogging Tips for Professional Bloggers," it might be tough to rank. The prime reason is simple- The better you can match the searcher's query, the better your chances of getting high ranking. If your page doesn't match search intent, you'll want to update the page as required. But if your page is matching intent, let's move onto the next stage, which is to ensure that your content covers the topic in full. The way that you and I look at topics might be very different from the way Google looks at them.

For example, if you and I were to talk about the best watch brands, I might talk about Apple and you might talk about Omega. Ask five more people and you might get five completely different responses. Now, looking at Google's top 10 pages for this query, it's quite clear that you need to write a list-style blog post that focuses heavily on luxury brands. And if you visit the pages, you'll notice something interesting. All of them mostly mention Rolex. So this is probably a brand you should include too if you haven't. Now, this is probably just a hypothesis based on observation.

So if you want to take it a step further, you can also do a Content Gap analysis at the page-level. Just take few top-ranking pages and paste them in the top section of Ahrefs' Content Gap tool. I've already done this with 5 relevant pages, so let's run the search. Now you can see queries that one or more of these pages are ranking for. Just sift through the keywords and you'll get a better idea of subtopics you should talk about. Now, if your content isn't up to par, then rewind and follow these steps. But if you've covered your topic in full, move on to the next step which is to estimate the number of backlinks you'll need in order to build them. Backlinks are an important ranking factor. Not only Google says this, but almost every industry has found a positive relationship between organic search traffic and backlinks. Now, there's no way to know an exact number of backlinks required because not all backlinks are created equal. But we can get a rough estimate using Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer. Just search for your target keyword and just below the Keyword Difficulty score, you'll see a little note that says,"We estimate that you'll need backlinks from around 43 websites to rank in the top 10 for this keyword." The way we come up with this number is by taking a weighted average of the number of unique websites linking to the top pages. So, while this can work as an eyeball metric, I recommend scrolling down to see the top 10 pages so that you can analyze other factors, like topical relevance of the pages and domains as well as website authority.

We already know that backlinks can help boost the authority of your page. But internal links can also help tremendously. To find pages you should add links from, just go to Google and search for site:yourdomain.com and then a keyword that's relevant to your page. You'll then see all indexed pages from your site that has keyword somewhere on the page. Visit the pages and add internal links where relevant. Generally speaking, the more "authority" you've built to the linking pages, the more "authority",it can pass to the linked pages. If you don't have any authoritative pages to link from, then I highly recommend watching our video on the "middleman technique," which is an SEO strategy built on the foundation of strategic linking. Now, after you've done everything up to this point, it's just a matter of waiting. How long? Well, that depends. After studying 2 million keywords, we found that less than 5% of the top 10 pages were less than a year old. So rather than sitting around twiddling your thumbs go and repeat the process for different keywords and pages. But before you get all pumped up to do that, there's one very important thing you should know. Ranking on the first page of Google may not be the answer to solve your SEO woes. If you look at this CTR curve, you'll see that there's a huge drop-off after the first 2 or 3 positions which means that if you're ranking in position 10, you'd only get around a 1% click-through rate. So to put this into perspective, if you ranked in position 10 for a keyword that gets searched 1000 times per month, that's only 10 search visitors, which may not be worth the effort. So instead of just going for a first page ranking, shoot for the top 3. And this will often come down to matching search intent, creating thorough content and building more links.

Well folks, this is it! See you in the next tutorial.


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