SEO Training Course: The TLC Method

Introduction to SEO

Overview of SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It plays a fundamental role in digital marketing by enhancing online visibility and helping websites to attract more visitors without direct payment for ad placement. For businesses, this means not just more traffic, but traffic that is likely to convert into customers and leads, making SEO a crucial part of any successful digital marketing strategy.


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Course Objectives

This course is designed to equip you and your team with a comprehensive understanding of SEO, focused through the lens of the TLC (Tech, Link, Content) methodology. By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the Fundamentals of SEO: Gain a solid grasp of how search engines work, what they value, and the key components of SEO.
  2. Apply the TLC Method: Learn how to integrate Technical aspects, Link building strategies, and Content development to optimise any website effectively.
  3. Develop Real-World Skills: Through practical exercises, develop the skills necessary to perform technical audits, create and execute link-building campaigns, and craft compelling content that drives organic traffic.
  4. Formulate Comprehensive SEO Strategies: Combine technical, linking, and content strategies to form cohesive SEO plans that align with business objectives, particularly focusing on lead generation and eCommerce platforms.
  5. Analyse and Adapt: Utilise analytics to understand SEO performance and make informed decisions to refine strategies and improve results continually.
  6. Stay Updated: Learn how to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of SEO, ensuring that the strategies implemented are current and effective.

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Module 1: Understanding SEO Fundamentals

SEO Basics

Objective: This section aims to ground you in the essential principles of SEO, how search engines function, and the terminology used in the industry.

  1. How Search Engines Work:

    • Crawling: Search engines use bots to crawl the web and find new and updated content, be it a webpage, image, or any other type of content.
    • Indexing: Once a page is crawled, it’s indexed, meaning it’s stored in a giant database from where it can later be retrieved.
    • Ranking: When a user performs a search, the search engine sifts through the indexed pages and displays them according to relevance and authority, determined by over 200 factors including keywords, site usability, and backlinks.
  2. Importance of SEO:

    • Visibility and Rankings: Good SEO practices improve the visibility of your website, making your site more accessible to visitors via search engines.
    • Web Traffic: Increased visibility means more traffic to your website, with SEO focusing on attracting quality traffic that is more likely to convert.
    • User Experience: SEO involves optimising the user experience, making a site more user-friendly and likely to keep visitors.
    • Growth: Over time, SEO builds up, resulting in sustainable online growth and visibility that can support the development and expansion of businesses.
  3. Key SEO Terminology:

    • Keywords: Words or phrases that describe the content on your page. These are the terms that searchers use on search engines.
    • Backlink: A link from one website to another, seen as a vote of confidence from one site to the other, which enhances the site’s authority.
    • SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages): The pages displayed by search engines in response to a user’s query.
    • Meta Tags: Snippets of text that describe a page’s content; they don’t appear on the page itself but only in the page’s code.
    • Alt Text: A description of an image in your site’s HTML, crucial for image SEO and accessibility.

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The TLC Concept

Objective: Introduce the foundational TLC strategy, which integrates Technical SEO, Link building, and Content creation to drive successful SEO outcomes.

  1. Understanding TLC:

    • Tech: Refers to the technical aspects of SEO, which ensures that a website meets the technical standards required by search engines for better crawling and indexing. This includes mobile optimisation, site speed, secure connections, and structured data.
    • Link: Focuses on the importance of building high-quality backlinks. Effective link-building can enhance a site’s authority and improve its ranking in search engines.
    • Content: Involves creating relevant, high-quality content that integrates target keywords naturally, meets user intent, and provides value, thereby attracting more traffic and encouraging user engagement.
  2. Interplay of Tech, Link, and Content:

    • Integration and Balance: Effective SEO strategies require a balance between technical health, link authority, and compelling content. Each element supports the others, creating a robust framework that boosts overall SEO performance.
    • Example Scenarios:
      • For a lead generation site, how improving technical SEO can facilitate better user engagement through faster load times and how authoritative links can enhance the site’s credibility.
      • In eCommerce, how enriched product descriptions (content), structured data (tech), and external reviews (links) can synergistically enhance visibility and conversions.
  3. Practical Application:

    • Engage in activities where each team member assesses different aspects of a given website, identifying strengths and weaknesses in Tech, Link, and Content, and suggesting improvements based on the TLC approach.

Tech (Technical SEO)

This category includes all elements that enhance the technical aspects of a website to improve its performance and visibility in search engine results.

  1. Technical SEO
    • Mobile-Friendliness
    • Site Speed
    • XML Sitemaps
    • HTTPS and Security
    • Duplicate Content
    • Structured Data
  2. On-Page SEO (Technical Components)
    • URL Structure
    • Internal Linking
    • Image Optimisation

Link (Off-Page SEO)

This category focuses on external factors that impact a website’s authority and its ability to rank higher in the SERPs.

  1. Off-Page SEO
    • Link Building
    • Social Media
    • Local SEO
    • Online Reputation Management

Content

This category encompasses the creation and optimization of content to meet user needs and preferences, ensuring relevancy and engagement.

  1. On-Page SEO (Content Components)
    • Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
    • Content Optimisation
    • Header Tags
  2. Keyword Research and Analysis
    • Identifying Your Target Keywords
    • Analysing Keyword Competition
    • Using Long-Tail Keywords

Module 2: Initial Analysis and Keyword Research

Part 1: Domain and Website Analysis

  1. Overview of Website Analysis:

    • Explain the importance of understanding the current state of a website before making SEO improvements.
    • Introduce tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and SEO-specific tools like Screaming Frog or Moz for conducting a site audit.
  2. Performing a Top-Line Audit:

    • Technical SEO Check: Ensure the site is indexed and crawlable, check for HTTPS status, and review the robots.txt file, and sitemap.
    • User Experience: Check load times, mobile responsiveness, and navigational structure.
    • Content Overview: Look for duplicate content, thin content, and the current keyword optimisation status.
    • Backlink Profile: Assess the quality and quantity of existing backlinks.
    • Practical Exercise: Have trainees perform a live audit on a selected domain using the tools mentioned.

Part 2: Keyword Research Using Google Ads Keyword Tool

  1. Introduction to Keyword Research:

    • Discuss the importance of keywords in SEO and how they affect content strategy and website ranking.
    • Explain the concept of search intent and how it guides keyword selection.
  2. Using Google Ads Keyword Tool:

    • Setting up the Tool: Guide on how to access and use the Google Ads Keyword Tool.
    • Finding Keywords: Enter a seed keyword and review the suggestions provided by the tool. Focus on search volume, competition, and relevance.
    • Selecting Keywords: Teach how to choose keywords based on business relevance, competitive analysis, and strategic value.
    • Practical Exercise: Each trainee finds and selects keywords for a hypothetical campaign or an existing project.

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Part 3: Advanced Keyword Research with SEMrush

  1. Introduction to SEMrush:

    • Explain the additional features that SEMrush offers over the Google Ads Keyword Tool, such as competitor analysis and keyword difficulty.
  2. Conducting Research with SEMrush:

    • Keyword Overview: Enter keywords to get detailed insights, including trend data, keyword difficulty, and variations.
    • Competitor Keyword Analysis: Show how to identify what keywords competitors are ranking for and their strategy.
    • Keyword Gap Analysis: Use SEMrush to compare your site’s keywords with those of your competitors to find gaps and opportunities.
    • Practical Exercise: Trainees conduct a competitor keyword analysis and prepare a report on their findings.

 

Module 3.1 Link Building Strategies (Link)

Basics of Link Building

Objective: Educate on the importance of backlinks in SEO and what distinguishes a high-quality backlink from a low-quality one.

  1. What is a Backlink?

    • Definition: A backlink is an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. It’s considered a significant ranking factor by search engines.
  2. Characteristics of Quality Backlinks:

    • Relevance: Links from websites that are relevant to your site’s industry or topic are more effective.
    • Authority: Links from high-authority sites (measured by metrics like Domain Authority or Page Authority) carry more weight.
    • Trustworthiness: Sites that are secure and have a clean profile with search engines enhance your site’s trust.
    • Anchor Text: The visible, clickable text in a hyperlink should be relevant to the linked page’s content.
    • DoFollow vs. NoFollow: DoFollow links pass on link equity, whereas NoFollow links do not, though both are valuable in a natural link profile.

Strategies for Effective Link Acquisition

Objective: Explore strategic methods of acquiring high-quality backlinks through various tactics tailored to lead generation sites.

  1. Guest Posting:

    • Writing articles for other relevant blogs or websites and including a link back to your site.
    • How to identify potential sites for guest posting and approach them with a proposal.
  2. Digital PR:

    • Leveraging news or events to generate media coverage and backlinks.
    • Techniques for creating newsworthy content that attracts attention from journalists and industry influencers.
  3. Content Marketing:

    • Developing valuable and informative content that naturally earns links because others find it useful or reference-worthy.
    • Example: Creating comprehensive guides, infographics, or case studies that serve as a resource within the industry.

Analysing Link Quality and Profile

Objective: Learn to use tools to assess the backlink profile of your site and interpret the data to optimise your link-building strategies, particularly for an eCommerce site.

  1. Tools for Analysing Backlinks:

    • SEMrush: Overview of its backlink analysis tool to monitor your and competitors’ backlink profiles.
    • Ahrefs: Detailed tutorial on using Ahrefs for exploring link quality, lost links, and new link opportunities.
  2. Interpreting Backlink Data:

    • How to read and understand the data provided by these tools.
    • Identifying potentially harmful backlinks that could lead to penalties and understanding how to disavow them.

Practical Exercise: Develop a Link-Building Strategy

Objective: Apply the knowledge learned to create a detailed link-building strategy for a specific industry, focusing on either lead generation or eCommerce.

Steps:

  1. Choose an Industry: Select either a lead generation or eCommerce industry. Define the niche and target audience.
  2. Goal Setting: Outline what you aim to achieve with your link-building efforts (e.g., improve search rankings, increase website traffic).
  3. Strategy Development:
    • Identify potential link sources based on the chosen industry.
    • Plan the outreach strategy—how will you contact potential link partners? What value can you offer in return for a link?
    • Schedule the creation of link-worthy content.
  4. Measurement and Adjustment:
    • Define how you will measure the success of your link-building efforts (e.g., tracking the number of new backlinks, and changes in page rank).
    • Plan for regular review and adjustments to the strategy based on performance.

Deliverable: At the end of this exercise, each participant should have a ready-to-implement link-building strategy for their selected industry, complete with potential sources, a planned outreach method, and a performance evaluation plan.

Module 3.2 Internal Link Building

Internal Link Building

Internal link building is a crucial component of SEO that involves creating links from one page on your website to another page within the same website. This practice is essential for several reasons, including improving website navigation, increasing page authority, and enhancing user engagement. Below, we explore the fundamentals, benefits, and strategies for effective internal link-building.

Fundamentals of Internal Link Building

What is an Internal Link?

An internal link is any link from one page of a domain to a different page on the same domain. These are different from external links, which point to pages on other domains. Internal links are used primarily for navigation purposes but also serve as a tool for informing search engines about the structure of your website.

Types of Internal Links:

  1. Navigational Links: Typically found in menus, sidebars, or footers, these links guide users through a website’s primary pages.
  2. Contextual Links: These are links within the content of a webpage that lead to other relevant pages, providing more detail or background information that enhances the reader’s understanding or experience.

Benefits of Internal Link Building

  1. Improves Usability Through Easier Navigation: This helps visitors find content more efficiently, which can lead to a better user experience and increased engagement.
  2. Boosts Page Views and Reduces Bounce Rate: By providing relevant links, users are encouraged to explore your website further, potentially reducing the number of visitors who leave after viewing only one page.
  3. Spreads Link Equity (SEO Value) Throughout the Site: Internal links pass authority from one page to another, which can help improve the ranking power of the linked page.
  4. Helps Search Engine Bots Discover and Index Pages: More links to a page mean more ways for the search engines’ crawlers to find and index that page, potentially improving its visibility in search results.
  5. Enhances Keyword Optimisation: Using descriptive, keyword-rich anchor texts in internal links can signal to search engines the relevance of the linked page to specific queries.

Strategies for Effective Internal Link Building

  1. Use Relevant and Descriptive Anchor Text: The clickable text in a link should be clear and relevant to the page it’s linking to. Avoid generic texts like “click here” and instead use keywords that reflect the content of the target page.
  2. Link Deep: Rather than continually linking to top-level pages like your homepage or contact page, focus on linking to deep, valuable content pages that are less likely to be naturally discovered by visitors or search engines.
  3. Keep It Natural: Links should fit contextually within the content, making sense in the sentence where they are placed and providing value to the reader. This approach enhances the user experience and avoids the appearance of manipulative SEO tactics.
  4. Use a Reasonable Number of Internal Links: Overloading a page with too many internal links can dilute its value and lead to a poor user experience. Balance is key; only include links that are genuinely relevant and helpful.
  5. Regularly Audit Your Link Structure: Periodically check your site for broken links, as well as opportunities to update old posts with links to newer content. This not only helps maintain the health of your site but also ensures that your internal linking strategy remains effective.
  6. Utilise Content Hubs: Create pillar pages that broadly cover a topic and use them as a hub to link to and from in-depth blog posts that discuss aspects of the topic in detail. This not only helps in organising content but also distributes SEO value across related pages.

Module 4: Content Development (Content)

This module focuses on the core of the TLC approach—Content. Effective content development is pivotal to the success of SEO as it attracts and retains users, and converts visits into actions. This module will guide you through the intricacies of keyword research, content creation optimised for SEO, and the strategies to match content with user intent, using practical examples relevant to both lead generation and eCommerce.

Keyword Research

Objective: Teach how to find and select effective keywords that attract and convert, using popular SEO tools.

  1. Using Google Ads Keyword Planner:
    • Setup and Basics: How to access and use Keyword Planner.
    • Finding Keywords: Enter seed keywords related to your business to see search volume data, trends, and other keyword ideas.
    • Evaluating Keywords: Analyse keywords based on search volume, competition level, and potential to attract relevant traffic.
  2. Advanced Keyword Research with SEMrush:
    • Keyword Overview: Input keywords to get comprehensive insights including keyword difficulty, variations, and related keywords.
    • Competitive Analysis: Identify what keywords competitors are ranking for and discover gaps in your own keyword strategy.

Content Creation for SEO

Objective: Explain how to craft content that ranks well and drives targeted traffic, with practical examples for different purposes.

  1. Content Types and SEO:
    • Blog Posts for Lead Generation: Focus on solving problems or answering questions that potential leads might have. Utilise long-tail keywords that capture specific intents.
    • Product Descriptions for eCommerce: Write compelling and informative descriptions using keywords that potential customers use when searching for your products. Include key features, benefits, and any SEO-rich product specifics.
  2. Writing and Structuring Content:
    • Headlines and Subheadings: Use targeted keywords while ensuring they are intriguing and informative.
    • Engaging and Readable Text: Maintain a balance between keyword use and natural language to ensure readability and engagement.
    • Calls to Action: Incorporate clear calls to action, guiding readers towards taking a desired step, such as subscribing or making a purchase.

Optimising Content for User Intent

Objective: Match content to the various stages of the buyer’s journey and lead funnel to enhance the effectiveness of SEO.

  1. Understanding User Intent:
    • Define the different types of intents (informational, navigational, transactional) and how they align with content types.
  2. Content Strategies by Buyer’s Journey:
    • Awareness Stage: Content that educates and informs. Example: How-to articles or introductory blog posts for lead gen.
    • Consideration Stage: Content that evaluates or compares. Example: Product comparison guides, detailed service descriptions.
    • Decision Stage: Content that persuades and converts. Example: Product pages with strong user reviews, case studies, or testimonials.

Practical Exercise: Create a Content Plan

Objective: Apply learned concepts to develop a detailed content plan for a new product launch in eCommerce or a lead generation campaign for a service.

Steps:

  1. Select the Scenario: Choose either a new product launch for an eCommerce business or a lead generation campaign for a service.
  2. Keyword Research: Identify target keywords for the selected scenario using Keyword Planner and SEMrush.
  3. Define Content Pieces: Plan at least three types of content that match different stages of the user journey.
  4. Outline Each Piece: Detail the structure, main points, keywords, and CTAs for each content piece.
  5. Content Calendar: Develop a timeline for creating and publishing this content.

Deliverable: Participants will produce a comprehensive content plan that includes keyword research, content outlines, and a publishing schedule, ready for implementation.

Module 5: Integrating TLC in SEO Strategy

This module brings together the concepts of Tech, Link, and Content (TLC) into a unified SEO strategy. Participants will learn how to craft and implement comprehensive SEO strategies that align these elements effectively. They will also gain insights into using analytics to drive and refine their SEO efforts and discover resources to stay updated with SEO best practices.

Developing a Comprehensive SEO Strategy

Objective: Guide participants through the integration of technical optimisations, link-building efforts, and content development into a cohesive SEO plan.

  1. Strategic Integration:
    • Holistic View: Understand how improvements in technical SEO can enhance content delivery and user experience, thereby supporting content and link-building strategies.
    • Alignment with Business Goals: Ensure that SEO strategies align with the overarching goals of the business, whether for lead generation, eCommerce, or brand awareness.
  2. Creating a Unified SEO Plan:
    • Tech: Outline the technical adjustments needed to enhance site performance and accessibility.
    • Link: Develop a plan for acquiring quality backlinks and improving the internal linking structure.
    • Content: Schedule the creation and optimisation of content that meets user intent and drives engagement.

Using Analytics to Drive SEO

Objective: Educate on the application of analytics tools to monitor SEO performance and make informed adjustments.

  1. Google Analytics:
    • Setup and Basics: Ensuring proper tracking setup and understanding the basic metrics.
    • Interpreting Data: How to read and interpret data related to traffic, bounce rates, and conversions.
    • Actionable Insights: Using analytics to identify weak spots in your SEO strategy and make improvements.
  2. Other SEO Tools:
    • SEMrush or Ahrefs: How to use these tools for ongoing SEO audits, tracking ranking changes, and monitoring backlinks.
    • Adjusting Strategies: Real-time examples of how shifts in data influence SEO tactics.

Staying Current with SEO Best Practices

Objective: Provide resources and methods to ensure continuous learning and adaptation to the evolving SEO landscape.

  1. Continuous Learning:
    • Resources: Recommended blogs, websites, and newsletters such as Moz, Search Engine Journal, and Google’s Webmaster Blog.
    • Professional Development: Encouragement to attend webinars, online courses, and industry conferences.
  2. Adapting to Changes:
    • Algorithm Updates: How to stay informed about major search engine algorithm updates and adjust strategies accordingly.
    • Industry Trends: Keeping abreast of emerging trends like voice search, AI, and mobile-first indexing.

Practical Exercise: Optimise an Existing Website

Objective: Apply the TLC methodology to conduct a full-scale optimisation on an existing website, using both lead gen and eCommerce examples.

Steps:

  1. Website Selection: Choose a website that requires SEO improvements.
  2. Initial Audit: Use tools to perform a comprehensive audit across tech, links, and content.
  3. Strategic Planning:
    • Tech Improvements: Identify key technical enhancements needed.
    • Link-Building Campaign: Outline a strategy for improving internal and external link profiles.
    • Content Revamp: Develop a content calendar that addresses gaps in current content and plans new content that targets identified keywords.
  4. Implementation: Begin executing the planned improvements.
  5. Monitoring and Adjustments: Set up a schedule to review the impacts using analytics and adjust the strategies as needed.

Deliverable: A detailed report outlining the audit findings, the implemented strategies, the results observed, and further recommendations for continuous improvement.

Module 6: Understanding Your Audience: Being Human in SEO

In the digital age, the importance of maintaining a human touch in all online interactions is paramount. As much as SEO practices optimise sites to meet Google’s standards, it’s vital to remember that both Google’s mission and our efforts aim to serve humans. Google strives to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” which underscores the need for content that is not only SEO-friendly but also genuinely valuable and engaging for people.

The Human Core of SEO

While technical SEO helps make websites accessible and functional, content must be crafted to resonate on a human level. This involves balancing two main types of writing:

  1. Content Writing: Aimed primarily at educating and informing the audience. This includes blog posts, articles, guides, and other forms of educational content. The purpose here is to provide value by enhancing the reader’s knowledge and understanding.
  2. Copywriting: Focused on persuasion, leading the audience toward a specific action, such as making a purchase, subscribing, or engaging with content. Effective copy uses compelling language to convert interest into action, playing a crucial role in marketing and sales strategies.

Three Basic Concepts That Make Content Human

To truly connect with your audience, content needs to address fundamental human needs, wants, and emotional triggers. Briefly touching on each:

  1. The 8 Human Needs: These are core motivations that drive much of human behaviour. For example, the need for “comfortable living conditions” influences many purchasing decisions, from home goods to real estate, prompting content strategies that highlight comfort, safety, and well-being.
  2. The 9 Learned Wants: These wants reflect more refined desires acquired through cultural or societal influence. “Efficiency,” for instance, is a learned want where people seek quicker, more streamlined methods to accomplish tasks, which is highly relevant in technology and services marketing.
  3. The 7 Emotional Triggers: Emotions powerfully influence purchasing behavior. Consider “Pride,” which can drive people to buy premium brands or products that signify status, leading to content that emphasises exclusivity and superiority to tap into this emotional trigger.

Practical Application in SEO

When developing SEO content strategies, integrate these concepts to enhance the human appeal of your digital offerings. For example:

  • Use content writing to educate about the features and benefits of a product, addressing the human need for “comfortable living conditions” by explaining how a home automation system can enhance living spaces.
  • Apply copywriting to create compelling calls to action that invoke “Pride,” like owning the latest luxury car model, to convert readers into buyers.

By weaving these human-centric elements into your SEO strategy, you ensure that your content resonates more deeply with potential customers, thereby increasing the effectiveness of your online presence.

Explore More in Our Comprehensive Course

To dive deeper into how human needs, wants, and emotional triggers can dramatically improve your marketing effectiveness, our upcoming course will cover these topics in detail. Stay tuned to learn how to leverage these insights for more dynamic and persuasive content and copywriting strategies.

About the SEO Instructor

Crom Salvatera is a distinguished digital marketing specialist, renowned for his deep understanding of the Australian market. Crom wrote the evergreen article “Master SEO Like Your Job Depends On It“, which has been the go-to guide on everything SEO in the digital marketing industry in Sydney and around Australia.

With extensive experience in leading teams and departments at some of Sydney’s top agencies, Crom has honed his expertise in SEO and digital advertising, particularly through Facebook. His approach to digital marketing is not just about achieving short-term results; it focuses on building enduring relationships between brands and their audiences. This philosophy underpins his method of teaching SEO, where he emphasises easy-to-understand SEO strategies that work. In this course, Crom combines his passion for digital excellence with his commitment to crafting personalised, effective SEO tactics that resonate with audiences and deliver lasting impact.

Follow or connect with Crom Salvatera on LinkedIn.