Imagine you have the cure for the common cold available to anyone who wanted it. The only way they can find this cure is if they go to your website. If no one knows of your site or finds it through a search engine, your cold serum would essentially be useless. And, you can miss out on business. It is vital your business’ website has exposure to the masses. That being said, this is why many people decide to get started with SEO.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is a way of bringing attention and virtual “foot” traffic to your website. SEO takes into account what people are searching for, keywords entered into search engines, the target audience of websites and several other variables.
Any time a random idea might pop into your head, you want to know where the nearest auto body shop is or you need help making a quiche, what do you do? You Google it or you search for it using any other of the internet search engines available to you. This is exactly what potential visitors of your website do when they need information. And for that, you want to be at the top of the search engine’s results list. To accomplish this, you need to optimize your website for search engines, and here are the steps to focus on as you get started.
Steps to Get Started with SEO
Keyword implication is the foundation of SEO and the first step you should take. This is because the keyword is the conduit between your website and your target audience. It is the trigger that begins the entire process on your end. What are your users looking for and/or what problems are they trying to solve? Ask yourself this question when you begin brainstorming what keywords are important to your site and be sure to begin answering these questions with the keywords you use. If you have a DIY blog about home improvement you might want to use the phrase “How to build…” knowing that a lot of users that frequent your page will be looking for information on how to build things. If you run a travel agency and you’re trying to attract potential tourists, think of using words like, “hotel” or “car rental” as your keywords.
Choosing the Right SEO Keywords
Make sure that the keywords you choose are not too ambiguous. The more people that search for your keyword, the better chance at high rankings and visibility your site will have. The fewer people that search for your keywords, the less traffic to your site you stand to generate. You want keywords that the masses will know and search for.
Also, make sure the keywords you’re using are relevant to your site’s content. You don’t want your business confused with that of another or trap a user down a rabbit hole leading to your site, when they were searching for something entirely different. For instance, if you’re a budding clothing stylist, you may want to be more descriptive in your keywords. A keyword like “style by John” wouldn’t be detailed enough. Don’t be too generic with your keywords and phrases.
Latency Semantic Keywords
You also want to include what’s called latency semantic keywords or “LSKs” on your website as well. A latent semantic keyword is a keyword that is directly related to the subject matter of the website and can help the search engine tie your website to the correct topic that it is speaking about, thus impacting your search rankings. For example, if you are a blogger that discusses the joys of coffee, some great LSKs would be “filter,” “cream & sugar” and “hazelnut.”
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Once you choose your keywords, you are ready to place them on your site. A good place for your keywords is the title tag. The title tag is an HTML coding element that you see on a search engine results page and what you view at the top of your browser when you land on a website. Therefore, you want to give your title tag some context utilizing the core keyword as well as some supporting keywords if possible but don’t make it overly robust. A common mistake made is neglecting to use keywords here.
Although the importance of keywords is great, be sure to avoid “keyword stuffing.” Being slick and inserting a keyword into every single sentence on your site can work against you. This is because some search engines might see this as spam and will rank you lower. So, don’t overdo it with your keyword usage.
Great Domain Name
Search engines lend a lot of credence and ranking favor to websites that have domain names related to their content as well. Especially if you can place the keyword as a leading or beginning word of your domain name. Additionally, this particular manner of keyword placement helps to group your page according to what a user is searching for.
Of course, content is important. It is, after all, what you want the searcher to come to your page for and how you get them to keep coming back. Quality content is essential. That being said, your content must be unique from page to page with minimal duplication. Duplication meaning a lot of content is similar from page to page, where the only variable is the page’s title tag. A lot of SEO beginners make this mistake thinking that more pages on their site will attract more visitors and rank them higher with search engines. While this is true, it doesn’t apply to duplicate content, which is a serious no-no! Exclude duplicate pages and replace them with more robust and unique pages so that the clear value stands out as the searcher moves about the site. Remember, it’s not the number of pages, but the quality.
Keep Load Time Down
Keep your site more friendly by keeping the load times down. You can do this by using appropriate image formats and keeping track of your page’s current speed. A page that loads quickly will retain more visitors and foster more engagement.
Modern Website Design
Make sure your page is aesthetically pleasing and constructed in an easy to interpret manner. However, you don’t want to go overboard. You don’t need all the design bells and whistles that could potentially slow down the load time of your website. Having a complex website could prove to be too high-maintenance for a beginner to SEO and even cause sensory overload for the visitor. Less can be more.
Length can also determine good SEO. If you provide too little content, search engines will not be able to determine exactly what your page is about. On the flip side, if your content is too robust then readers could potentially lose interest. The main thing you need to focus on when it comes to the content on your site is to be sure to answer any questions visitors to your site might have. You can always fall back on user satisfaction and let that drive the length and content on your page.
Making your content “linkable” provides a tremendous amount of value when you get started with SEO. For example, if you are blogging about a little-known family recipe and you share the recipe on your site, it is the perfect setup for you to have a link from other sites. These sites will likely have the same subject matter and find your recipe of value.
You can also double your return on this exchange by linking the other pages of your website to the original page that contains the recipe. These other pages of your website might be of lesser value to the masses and be receiving less traffic. But, linking them to your most popular page gives them a better chance of receiving more traffic. This shares some of the trust that the recipe page might have garnered with the lesser popular pages. A win/win!
Get Started with SEO!
So, there you have it. You now know how to get started with SEO. There are a plethora of other steps and rules of thumb to be effective at SEO. But, it is best to ease into the process, as it can be overwhelming. We all crawl before we walk. It can be intimidating at first due to its several steps, this we know. But once you get the hang of it, which you will, it’s a nice feather to have in your cap. So, get started with SEO and be ready to lay out the welcome mat for all the visitors to your page!
Author Bio: Hi! My name is Wade! I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio & currently reside in Atlanta, GA where I moved soon after graduating college. I majored in Psychology and double minored in Spanish and Political Science while in school. Then, I had a change of heart upon graduation and decided to pursue a career in business which has led to my current role as a Sr. Business Analyst/Product Manager for a Fortune 500 company. I spend a lot of my time doing yoga, running (I have 2 full marathons under my belt), and watching & playing basketball. I also collect sneakers and play a ton of videogames with my nephews. One of my non-work-related projects actually include launching a Youtube channel with my nephews dedicated entirely to the love of sneakers and all thing positivity. My favorite travel destination has been Western Europe ever since I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain during my undergrad. Thanks so much for taking the time to learn about me and I hope you enjoy my blog contributions!