If you operate a website, you know the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Fully understanding how to use SEO to drive visitors to your site, however, can be another challenge entirely. Learning how to implement SEO on your website’s pages can give your site an advantage against competitors, putting you at the top of important Google searches.
Learning SEO doesn’t have to be a mystery, especially when you deploy SEO software tools to help you. We like Semrush as the best SEO tool for most website owners and content creators. It has features available for beginners and experts alike. It helps with keyword research, giving you the background information you need to maximize your site’s SEO results.
Crazy Egg’s Favorite Tools to Learn SEO
When it comes to finding the best SEO tools, quite a few good options are available. These tools are ideal for giving you the analytics and research capabilities required to make the most of SEO. They also help you implement those items in a way that can deliver the search engine results you want to see.
With Semrush, you receive the widest range of services available among the best SEO tools. Despite being a comprehensive option for helping with website optimization, it remains easy to use for website owners of all levels of expertise. Semrush offers a seven-day free trial period for new users.
When you are trying to improve your results in searches through the Google search engine, it may be best to go to the source. Google offers Google Analytics and Google Search Console as their primary tools for improving your website’s SEO results. Best of all, these Google SEO tools are all free to use.
If your website deals with niche topics, you may be more interested in an SEO tool that helps with delivering better search results for long-tail keywords. AnswerThePublic is our favorite tool for this purpose, as it focuses on helping you derive useful long-tail keywords from general keywords. As a new user, you can try AnswerThePublic for free.
More Top Tools to Learn SEO
Although it may seem like all SEO software tools should basically do the same job, they do not do it in the same way. They each have individual strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these strengths can help you find the best one for your website’s needs. We have detailed reviews of all the best SEO tools available, so you can learn more about each tool and determine which one fits your site’s needs best.
Step 1 – Get Started With Semrush
Visit the Semrush home page to start your subscription. You can try Semrush for free for seven days before beginning to pay for a subscription. You do have to provide a credit card when you sign up.
You can select among three different pricing plans. The Pro and Guru plans are available for a free trial period, while the highest-priced Business plan does not offer a free trial.
After gaining access to your new account, enter the first domain you want to track. Semrush returns data about how the website performs in terms of SEO and other areas.
In the following steps, we will discuss some of the key aspects of learning how to use SEO. We’ll also discuss how Semrush helps you implement the most important aspects of SEO on your website. If you would like to learn more about SEO’s basics, we have advice on how to optimize your website for SEO. We also collected a list of the best SEO courses and tutorials.
Step 2 – Learn About On-Page SEO in Written Content
When most people think about SEO, they are thinking about using keywords within the articles, blog posts, and other text on a webpage. This would be the most common way people use keywords on their websites.
However, you need to be able to figure out which keywords to use to bring visitors to your website. You then can create pages and content that center on these keywords while also being useful to readers. Simply stuffing an article with your desired keyword is not going to help your SEO rankings. Use the keyword as naturally as possible within the article or blog post, and don’t overdo it.
Don’t just pick random keywords when trying to create content. Instead, perform keyword research using Semrush or another of the best SEO tools. Semrush provides analytics about what kinds of phrases and keywords people actually are using related to your website’s topic. These analytics can give you insights into the topics you should use for creating articles as well.
Make sure you include the keyword in the title tag, main header, and first paragraph of your article or blog post, at the very least.
Step 3 – Learn About On-Page SEO With Headers, URLs, and Images
We mentioned using the keyword in the primary title header in the previous step, but we want to emphasize it again in this step. This step involves building the other visible parts of your article beyond the main text, which would include headers, URL addresses, and images. You can use the keyword research you did with Semrush in the previous step to make use of the keyword in this step, too.
When measuring for a certain keyword, search engines place an emphasis on the use of the keyword in headers throughout the article or blog post. Break up every few paragraphs with headers and subheaders to introduce additional ideas related to your main topics. Again, use these keywords in the headers naturally rather than stuffing them into every header and subheader.
As you add images to your page, include alt text with the image file. This is a brief description that appears in place of the image if it fails to load properly. (Alt text is hidden from view most of the time.) Visually impaired internet users can have the web browser read the alt text aloud.
Primarily, though, alt text tells search engines what the image contains. Try to use the main keyword in the alt text. Semrush can measure how successfully your website is using keywords in the alt text.
When creating a URL for the page on your website, Semrush recommends placing the main keyword for the page in the URL address. Search engines look for the keyword in the URL, as well as in the main text, headers, and alt text on the page. To keep the URL readable for both site visitors and search engines, Google recommends using hyphens between the words in the keyword. Skip using words like “the” and “a” in the URL when including a keyword phrase.
Step 4 – Learn About Off-Page SEO With Backlink Building and Tracking
You may be able to achieve decent results with SEO by focusing on using the keyword in on-page elements alone. However, to improve your results even further, you can take actions related to SEO for off-page elements.
Backlink building is one of the most important elements of gaining better SEO results for your pages. With backlinks, other websites create links that lead to pages on your website. As long as those other websites are trustworthy and have good results in search engines, the search engine assumes your linked webpage also is trustworthy. This means the search engine may then boost your page higher in the search results.
Along those same lines, if your backlinks are coming from websites known for creating spam or that rank poorly, the search engine may punish your page in search results.
When using an SEO tool like Semrush, you can measure the backlinks that are pointing to your website. Semrush can help you determine whether your backlinks are high quality and are helping your search results. If any backlinks are poor quality, you can block them.
Additionally, Semrush can provide advice on how to try to obtain more and higher quality backlinks by measuring the results of your competitors’ websites. With these results from your SEO tool in hand, you can reach out to the websites offering backlinks to your competitors’ websites. See if those sites would like to link to any of your pages that have topics of mutual interest to both sites.
Step 5 – Learn About Off-Page SEO Using Social Media
Although social media does not directly affect your website’s SEO performance, improving your results with social media can help to drive better search engine results. Some visitors to your website may come directly from your social media followers, which increases your traffic and boosts you in the search rankings.
Search engines like to reward sites that have a growing amount of traffic. Use your social media channels to promote any new articles or blog posts you have. Stay active on social media, even when you don’t have a new article to promote, to keep your followers engaged.
Semrush can help you measure the performance of your social media accounts. It determines which social media sources are generating visitors for your site’s various web pages. Semrush also can track the number of new followers you have and how they are engaging with your website’s content.
Semrush’s social media analytics focus on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Step 6 – Learn About the Technical Aspects of SEO
In the previous steps for learning about SEO, we primarily discussed items that are visible on your website and to your visitors. However, the behind-the-scenes work on your website also can play a role in your SEO performance and search engine results. Semrush calls these items technical aspects of SEO. They can include items that improve the experience for your site’s visitors and that improve the way search engines interact with your site.
It’s important to consider how you build the architecture for your website. It’s generally most beneficial to use a top-down method, where you organize web pages with their primary topics and subtopics. This top-down structure helps the search engine understand your site’s focus.
Additionally, you should link new articles to other pages on your website that have similar topics to create relationships among pages. If you have certain pages that have no internal links, called orphaned pages, search engines may downgrade these pages or may be unable to find them easier to rank them.
The ease with which a search engine moves through the architecture and internal links on your website to find particular pages yields a crawlability ranking for your site. SEO tools like Semrush can measure crawlability. They then can use this measurement to make recommendations on areas of your website that could use better organization and better accessibility.
Step 7 – Learn About Local SEO
If your website needs to especially connect with visitors who are locally based, you may want to learn about local SEO building techniques.
Local SEO focuses on helping your business website gain favor with visitors who live and work near your business’s location. If you own a restaurant or a store that sells clothing featuring local sports teams, you will want your website to connect more with local visitors than with visitors who live hundreds of miles away.
Your SEO tool can often help you specifically measure the performance of your website with visitors who are within a certain distance of your business.
A tool like Semrush can provide advice for making sure your website appears on local business directory websites, which can help with local search results. It also can research keywords that may be of particular importance to local visitors. Semrush measures the effectiveness of your Google Business Profile, which is a key component of improving local SEO results.
For a website and business that doesn’t rely on local visitors over visitors located anywhere, such as a digital-only shop, local SEO results may not be all that important to you.
Step 8 – Learn How to Audit Your Website for SEO
After you learn to use SEO and begin deploying it on your website using the steps listed here, you should start running site audits on a regular basis. A site audit uses a series of tests on your website, looking for problems that could affect your search engine performance. You then often can fix these issues with better SEO techniques.
Semrush has an especially strong audit tool that gives you a number of benefits and site measurements, including:
- Looking for broken internal links
- Looking for orphaned pages
- Looking for broken or poor backlinks
- Measuring how search engines are interacting with your website
- Looking for keyword issues on your webpages
- Suggesting ways to improve keyword results
- Looking for pages that are harming your search engine results because of poorly performing content
- Looking for topics important to your website that don’t have enough content devoted to them
- Measuring the amount of time visitors spend on your website
When you run the Semrush audit tool on a regular basis, you can see how your website is performing over time. You may be able to see areas where your site’s measurement trends are going in the wrong direction through these historical measurements using the audit tool. You can then make adjustments.
After completing the audit, Semrush displays the results in a graphical format, making it easy for you to glance at and decipher the results. If you want more information on any particular aspect of the audit, you can click on it to see the details.