Fast Track Guide: SEO Made Simple
Confused about Search Engine Optimization? This guide will teach you how to optimize your website in a simple, easy-to-digest manner.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is something you’ve likely heard about before. It can help you attract organic (unpaid) traffic to your website. There is a lot more to SEO than keywords to learn about. This report is not comprehensive; but it will give you the meat of what SEO is, the different types of SEO, what it does, and how to do it.
Essentially on-page SEO is any SEO that you do directly on each page of your website and it all starts with content. But, it also includes architecture and the actual code within your website.
Anything you put on your website that disseminates information to your audience is content. Posts, articles, memes, images, and graphics – all of it is content. You want to have a variety of different types of content for maximum SEO value.
- Quality vs. Quantity – While it’s true that you want to put up a lot of content for your audience it’s more important for the content to be of high quality. You do want to put up content more often than monthly but you don’t need to put up several things each day if it will compromise the quality of the information you put up for your audience.
- Keyword Research – many people choose not to do keyword research but if you do it, you’ll waste less time creating content that doesn’t get results and end up with more time to create awesome content that does get results.
- Use Words Strategically – Try to figure out what type of power words make your audience feel something and want to do something. There are general power words that you can use such as “devastating blow” or “majestic views” or something that gets their attention and makes them feel.
- Hot Topics, Updated, and Fresh – A great way to make use of the time you have to create content is to focus on hot topics and trends of the day. Keep the content updated and fresh by using headlines of the day to evoke curiosity. Warning: Don’t try to trick your readers with clickbait. It only works a few times then it stops working and you’ve lost something important: Trust.
- Horizontal & Vertical –You want a combination of both types of content. Think of it this way, horizontal content overs everything on your website is full of content on all pages like your about us page, or home page, and that it’s consistent throughout. Vertical content concerns itself with a specific topic and goes across all channels and how they work to improve your website.
- Provide Solutions – Your content also should seek to provide solutions for your audience. They want you to help them solve their problems. They should be able to solve some of their problems without buying anything and your content can fulfill that need.
- Authoritative – Longer more in-depth content such as long blog posts, white papers, and articles as well as guides can help people and search engines know that your site is serious and that you are there to help your audience.
When it comes to content and SEO you have a lot of ways that you can improve your content by using good SEO practices such as using keywords within the first paragraph, the title, subheadings and headings as well as anchor text.
The other important on-page SEO is the architecture of your website. If your page doesn’t load fast, then even if people do click through to read due to your headlines and content, they’ll lose patients and quit. Ensure that all of the following is optimized.
- Site Maps – Search engines need to crawl or 'see' your pages in order to index them. If the search engines can’t do that, your info won't be listed on search pages. The best thing to do is create a site map so that the search engines can easily crawl and index your website.
- Avoid Duplicate Content – You’ve heard it before and it’s true. To be sure, check any content you put on your website with Copyscape.com or Grammarly.com or another plagiarism checker. Even if you didn’t purposely plagiarize, you want everything to be unique on your site.
- Responsive – Your site must be mobile right now. There is no time to wait until later. If your site is not mobile, Google is not going to keep listing it. Plus most people use mobile devices to interact with the net these days.
- Load Speeds – Having a website that loads slow is bad for you and bad for users and due to that, it’s bad for SEO. You can test your website speed here. You want it to be less than 10 seconds, if not about 3 seconds.
- Meaningful Page URLs – This goes back to using keywords in titles. You want the URL to say what’s on that page. Rather than saying page 1 or page 2, make sure it says “about your business” or “take a course” so that people and search engines know what will be on the page.
- Security – If you sell anything on your website, having secure HTTPS with an SSL certificate is important not just to people using the site but Google ranks secure sites higher than the others do. Ask your WebHost for information about this.
How your site is arranged and whether or not your audience can find what they want on your page is imperative for good SEO.
The other aspect of your on-page SEO that you need to concern yourself with is all the HTML code. If you use a good builder like self-hosted WordPress this will be taking care of for you for the most part, or it’ll be easy to do it.
- Titles with Keywords – All your titles for every page and blog post should include a keyword, say what’s on that page, and what’s in that blog post. This will help that page rank higher due to it being clear what’s on it.
- Meta Descriptions – Within the website, behind the scenes are meta codes. These bits of code tell search engines what’s inside. You’ll be given an opportunity to fill out the meta descriptions if you use a good plugin like Yoast SEO to help you. Don’t skip this as you create your website, it’s important.
- Is Your Navigation Well Structured? – Also, you want to be sure that your audience can take one look at your home page or landing page and know exactly what to do and how to get around your site. A great thing to do is create a “start here” guide to help them know what to do first and how to get around if your site is large.
- Using Headers – Headlines, subheads, and proper H1/H2 tags are super important to use not only for your audience because it’s easier to read chunky content online, but for the search engines because these clues to the content on your site help them send the right audience.
If you hire a web designer, ensure that they’ll help you with these things because they’re super important for your success. If you are doing it yourself, learn all you can, and use a great website builder like self-hosted WordPress.
The next type of SEO that you should concern yourself with is off-page search engine optimization. This is everything you do off your website to bring people to your website. That is also SEO. Let’s look at the four types of off-page SEO
There is almost nothing more important to your success than trust. If you lose the trust of your audience, you lose sales and any authority standing. But, if you do what you say you will do and don’t disappear for long periods, you can build trust.
- Are Shares/links showing authority? – When you share anything, ensure that it comes from a reliable source if it’s not from you. If it’s from you, double-check your data to be sure that you are correct.
- Are you engaging with the audience? – When you post anything anywhere, do you answer questions, share other things from your audience, and get involved? Don’t forget that engagement helps build trust.
- Site Age -- One thing that search engines like Google use to rank a website is the age of the domain. They assume if it’s around for a long time it must be something important, real, trustworthy, and relevant. You can buy older domains but check them out. You wouldn’t want to accidentally buy an old domain that disappointed someone or broken the law.
- Reconsider Advertisements – Depending on the type of site you have, pay attention to how your audience views ads. Many people won't revisit sites that have lots of ads because they tend to make computers crash. What does your audience want?
You can build trust by sharing authoritative and accurate content that you have created and that others have created. Just ensure that you double-check any facts, are ready to answer questions, and you can back up what you say before you do it.
One way to build up traffic to your website is through link building. That means that there are links going into your website from another website. For example, your LinkedIn.com profile has a link to your website. There are some important factors to consider before getting started with link building.
- Who is linking to you? – First, look at who is linking to you. You want to ensure that everyone that is linking to you is a legitimate site, with legitimate reasons for existing.
- Are links and anchor text thoughtful keywords? – Ensure that when someone is linking to you, such as via a guest post, or via other means, that it’s a good keyword to ensure that you get more clicks.
- How many people are linking to your site? – Another factor about linking is that the more links you get the better. However, they still need to be high quality and built-in a natural way. That’s why article-marketing sites don’t exist anymore.
- How to get more – To get more links, find authoritative websites or blogs to guest post on. Send a letter to them with a post idea that you can write. Let them know when you’ll send it from the time they agree and then stick to that.
It’s very important that you never pay for a link. Avoid link farms and spam. Getting links back to your website should be a natural result of the work you do on social media, guest posting, conducting webinars, interviews, and more.
Another factor that is important when it comes to SEO is geography. In some cases, you won’t want the search engine to index you geographically. This could keep some of your audience from ever finding you. But, don’t overlook the importance of geography.
You can use both your country and your individual locality by using those terms within your website. Put your address at the bottom of every page, mention things about your area within your blog posts, and make it a priority to mention your local area or your country if you want to be indexed accordingly.
This is by far one of the most important off-page SEO tactics. Using social media effectively can do wonders for your website traffic. But, you have to come up with a good plan of action and see it through rather than just getting on social media and posting willy-nilly.
Look at your social shares and find out who is sharing your content. You want to ensure that they’re reputable and if they are, you can surely get more people to share it. But the biggest key to getting others to share is to ask them.
- Grow Your Followers – Run a contest, a give away, or other events to build your followers on the social media platform you’re trying to promote and build.
- Ask People to Share – When you share anything on social media, ensure that no matter how far it’s shared that it will lead back to you and ask people to share. If you don’t ask, they won’t do it.
- Keep Your Content Optimized – People will click on your content, often by chance. Make sure you’ve optimized it as much as you can. Check page titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, and so forth. Make it the best you can.
- Follow Influencers – You may need to follow influencers before they’ll follow you. Mention their name in posts, and call them out so that they notice you. Don’t be a pest, but identify the influencers you most want to mention you and find a way to stand out.
- Keep Your Brand Solid – Try not to go off-brand and lose your voice on social media. It’s easy to get mixed up with your personal accounts and your business accounts, but don’t cross them. Instead, practice your brand voice, and keep true to your brand.
Social media is an amazing opportunity for big and small businesses. There are people who have become millionaires by using Instagram creatively and strategically. Use social media to push people toward your website and you can’t go wrong.
Search engine optimization can mean the difference between success and failure. If you really want to get a lot of targeted traffic to your website then take a look at your on and off-page search engine optimization. It’s not hard, just go through the list, improve one thing at a time, and soon you’ll see a huge difference in your traffic.