Get Started in the Wonderful World of Website SEO
A Beginner Guide to Basic Website SEO
So forgive me please as although I do think it’s the wonderful world of website SEO, search engine optimization terms and how to optimize a website can be well, a bit dry and so darn technical that perhaps we speak in acronyms so no one understands, right? Let’s try to break it down so you can read this in just a matter of minutes and feel like you have at least a basic understanding of SEO. By the way, I am constantly learning and am even SEO certified by Yoast. There is so much to know. And why is SEO wonderful? Because if you get more hits to your site that could translate into more prospects, customers and cashola, baby – sales. We all want that, don’t we? So, it’s a wonderful world!
Google’s original mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, which means that according to the CEO, Sundar Pichai, “their main motivation is making information and knowledge available for everyone”.
If you have a website and want Google to be able to read and be accessible to them, you have a few factors to consider to make sure that the almighty Google understands your site.Google's main motivation is making information and knowledge available for everyone. Click To Tweet
On and Off Page Factors
On page considerations include titles, HTML, internal linking and your meta data. Off page factors include links to your site, references of your website and social media mentions. So, yes, social media plays a big part in SEO – or at least a part. Yeah, I’ll admit it. What the heck is all that? Uhh, what did you just spew out of your mouth?
Title – Just describes the contents on the page and should be short and unique. So, you should not have duplicate titles for different posts or pages. Here’s more info from Search Engine Marketing on titles.
HTML – HyperText Markup Language is the language in which pages on the World Wide Web are created. Enough said. Too much to go into in this short article.
Internal Links – References between pages and posts within the website. So, as you are writing your copy, creating your navigation and posts, it’s important to refer to other relevant pages/posts so that your visitors can peruse pertinent pages and so that Google and other search engines can also.
Meta Data – Metadata is all the information about a page that you send to a search engine that isn’t visible to your visitors according to Yoast. This includes your (meta) title, (meta) description, (meta) keywords and other information that makes it easier for Google to understand your content.
How is Your Site Structured?
It’s important that visitors to your site find what they are looking for. If a visitor can’t easily navigate your site, Google can’t either. So, really think about the structure if you are doing a new website or want to get a better Google ranking. We are basically talking about the internal linking from page to page – or from the main navigation to the secondary pages.
An example of my site includes having a main page for web design and secondary pages attached to that main page for my two website packages: Make Me Famous and the Make Me a Rock Star package. Also, because not everyone needs to know my website FAQs unless they want to hire me, I don’t list it in the main navigation, but instead have it on the website design pages. It’s a much cleaner, simpler look and I can have less items in my navigation.If a visitor can’t easily navigate your site, Google can’t either.Click To Tweet
How Can Your Website be on the First Page of Google?
This comes from Google’s website.
Everyone asks us this question. The answer is: there is no secret, there are only good practices. Here are the best practices for improving your ranking in Google search results:
- Provide high quality content on your site. Google tries to find the best answer for our users’ requests; if you write the best material, you’re in the game. Use the Search Analytics report to see which queries lead to your pages, and what the click-through rate is for links to your site.
- Make your site mobile friendly. Many users search on mobile devices; our search results favor pages that we think answer the user’s request best with the best possible user experience on their platform.
- Use informative titles and snippets. Good, clear titles and accurate meta tag descriptions help us understand the purpose of a page and generate useful snippets in our search results. Learn more.
- Add structured data to enable additional search result features such as stars, event information, or site search boxes, which add to the user experience, making your site more valuable to readers. Read more about structured data or use our tools.
- Make sure that you follow our guidelines for good sites and avoid pitfalls that could affect your search ratings.
Think Writing for SEO is Important?
If you’ve heard that blogging is important for ranking high in search engines. Well, ya better get over that one. It doesn’t work and if you are just mindlessly writing blog posts because ya think Google’s going to like your content, fuhgeddaboutit. It’s not, not, not going to work. Get it?
What is important? Good content that people actually want to read and share.What is important for SEO? Good content that people actually want to read and share.Click To Tweet
Provide High-Quality Content
Provide high-quality content and stay away from using “black hat” website SEO strategies is so important. This means you don’t want to do things to try to fool Google nor do anything against Google’s guidelines – no get-rich-quick scheme and get found cheating strategies. Nothing magical about this one.
Google has updates that penalize bad practices. Google Panda (thin content), Penguin (offsite bad strategies), Mobilegeddon (mobile ready) are some of the updates that Google instituted in the past. Why should you care? Because if your site is not right, you’ll be dinged and lose everything until the next update. This means that your site will NOT be searchable when people Google it even if you fix any cheater strategies or whatever is wrong with your site.
Use Holistic SEO Strategies
Google wants to make sure that your site is secure and that visitors have a good user experience (UX). If visitors can’t find what they are looking for on your site or can’t easily understand your navigation, neither can Google as stated above. Can’t emphasize enough. There are no shortcuts. Just do everything you can to make sure your site is well, spectacular and your website SEO will rock.
What are visitors to your site looking for? What keywords are important to be found? How do you figure this out?
Think like your customer when doing a keyword search/strategy or better yet, query them.
You can also do a Google search or an internal search (read below on how to do this) to see how visitors are finding your website. And you can use Google Keyword Planner, but unless you are advertising, you may not get the best information.
Keyword phrases should be specific and not general. So, using more specific keywords with more words work better for being found than using shorter phrases that are more generic. An example would be “real estate” which is very general versus “townhomes in Denver” and you can get even more specific by neighborhood or price. So think niche versus general. Why? Because the more generic keywords with fewer words, are much harder to rank for.
Once you know your keywords, you can create posts and pages based on those keyword phrases and create landing pages where you can create a giveaway or content upgrade for that specific keyword.
What should you use to optimize your website for searches? These are some of my favorite tools and techniques.
1. Yoast Website SEO for WordPress
If you’re using WordPress, use Yoast SEO – and I use the paid version which is worth it (no affiliation). It tells you keyword density, if you’ve used the keyword before, the readability of your piece and if you need to change any titles and headers. All you have to do is note the keyword phrase you are using on your post or page. And you get “green” dots the better your website seo is on your page so you can correct things. You don’t have to get 100% green dots, just improve what you can. You can also add Local SEO for WordPress, another Yoast product, but I’m not as familiar with it.
How do you know what is working or not? Use Google Analytics and check your traffic and keywords. It’s a free product, but you’ll have to connect your keyword info and here’s an article titled Finding Your Keywords In Google Analytics (It’s Pretty Easy) on just how to do this.
3. Bing and Google (Search Console) Webmaster Tools
These “tools” help you find issues with your site and can even let you know if it has been infected with malware. You can see if there are any errors or anything is wrong. After all, security is VERY important for Google and you want to fix anything that may be wrong ASAP. Plus you can see which queries brought more traffic to your site and a whole lotta more insights.
Search Console will email you if any unusual events occur with your properties. Unusual events include indications that your website has been hacked or problems that Google had when crawling or indexing your site. Google will email you if they detect that your site violates any of Google’s search quality guidelines. – Google
4. Submit a Sitemap to Google and Bing (and Yandex)
When you submit a sitemap, this helps search engines understand how to crawl your site, Luckily, Yoast has this built-in. It’s not 100% necessary to do this, but it does help.
According to Google, “A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.”
Website SEO Plan Challenge
There you have it a basic understanding of the wonderful (or confusing) world of website SEO. Now, what are you going to do? Here’s your plan challenge should you decide to accept it.
- If you have a WordPress site, get Yoast SEO. It’s an amazing plugin and Yoast even has a book you can read about their plugin – well worth it. Then a lot of your website SEO is done for you.
- Make sure you optimize each blog post you create.
- If you haven’t optimized your pages, go back and optimize them with the Yoast plugin.
- Create a keyword strategy and use that for your content.
- Create links to other pages from your posts/pages.
Contact me and I will send you my SEO checklist.