Content Marketing, SEO, Small Business Life
Search Engine Optimization.
What do I do first for SEO? Let me break it down for you real quick and easy. SEO is Search Engine Optimization. It means you making it easier for the Search Engine, Google, to read the content on your website.
Why does it matter if your website is easy for Google to read? Well, if it’s easy to read and understand, you have a better chance of ranking higher, and when you rank higher, you normally get more traffic to your site.
There are a few core things you should do for every page. There are a few technical things you can do once you've mastered the initial steps in this plan. I'll explain more at the end.
We’re going to keep this simple and straightforward. We’ll call this the Easy SEO Plan.
Don’t use the same keyword everywhere, or you’ll hurt your ranking chances. Google will only show two results for the same website in the search results. If you use the same word on 10 pages, all 10 won’t show up in the results, only two will, and now eight other pages won’t rank.
Include that keyword in the first paragraph of the copy. If you know how to create header tags (the bigger font lines on this post), use that keyword in your header tags too.
Current best practices are a max of 60 characters for your Title Tag and a max of 160 characters for your Meta Description. You’ll want to include your most important keyword in your Title Tag and Meta Description.
If you can include an action verb in your Title Tag, you might see an increased click-through rate which is believed to help your rankings. Examples include: learn about, find out, shop, visit, and more.
Use dashes between words because Google can understand dashes (-) and reads them as spaces.
If you want your images to show up when someone searches for your brand in Google’s search results, include your brand name in the image file name. For example, what-to-do-for-seo-etched-marketing.jpg could work for this post if what to do for SEO was my most important keyword.
Create a separate page for every product, service, or offering on your website. When you have one page optimized for one word, it’s easier to rank. When you have everything on the same page, Google gets confused, and you’re less likely to rank high.
Make sure you create content that’s helpful to your Ideal Customer. It needs to answer their questions, provide value, and answer the question what’s in it for me for the customer.
Don’t write for the search engine. Write for the customer. Always. Focus on your customer and what they need to know.
You can create different types of content – website pages and blog posts like we’re discussing in this post. Still, you can also create video content, audio, infographics, social media, and more. Google values high-quality, relevant content that is detailed and provides value to the reader.
There’s a lot you can do for SEO, but the basics in The Easy SEO Plan will get you started. If you’re curious about the technical side of SEO, you can set up a free Google Search Console account and find out if Google can crawl your website or is having issues.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. People search the web via mobile phones more than desktops today, and Google knows this. You need to ensure your website looks good and is easy to interact with on mobile. It matters to Google.
They go as far now as to have "mobile-first" indexing. This means they check the mobile version of your website before ranking you.
So, if your website doesn't look great on mobile or is hard to maneuver, it's likely to rank lower than a similar website that does.
Another important thing to do is to make sure your website is fast. A slow-loading website can hurt your SEO and drive away potential customers. You can do a few things to speed up your website, such as optimizing (reducing the file size by using a tool like jpeg mini or a smoosh plug-in on WordPress) images and minimizing the number of plugins you use. Make sure you need all of the plug-ins you have on your site. Remove any you’re not using. It can help speed things up. Google likes a speedy site. Learn more here.
Using Google Analytics to track your website's performance is also important. This will give you valuable insights into how people use your website, where they're coming from, and what pages are most popular.
You can then use your analytics data to change your content or SEO strategy and see what’s working. If you’re unsure what to track in Google Analytics to find out how things are going, this post will walk you through how to run an SEO report.
Finally, it's important to build backlinks to your website. Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. When other websites link to your website, it tells Google that your website is valuable and should be seen as an authority on the subject it covers.
The best way to build links is to create high-quality content that other websites will likely link to. Don’t buy links. You will get into trouble with Google if you do that. There are penalties associated with outdated link-building tactics, and you don’t want to risk being penalized. It will hurt your website, and a penalty is hard to overcome.
When starting out with SEO, you can focus on the basics in the easy SEO plan.
As you get more familiar with SEO, start looking at the other areas that impact your website’s SEO performance and keyword ranking abilities.
Build links, but be careful how you do this and follow the rules. Cheaters (and buyers) don’t win in this particular area.
Make sure your website is speedy. Google likes a fast site. Minifying your photos is probably the #1 thing you can do to help speed your site up. Most websites' speed issues tie to image size.
Work to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. How does it look on a mobile phone, and can you easily interact with it.
These are a few more advanced SEO strategies you can start working on once you’ve got the foundation in place. Plus, understanding your GA data will tell you if your SEO plan is working or not.
If you want to learn more about this and have me walk you through it step-by-step, I teach how to do this in SimpleSEO Content, my signature SEO Content Marketing program. You can learn more here. I’d love to have you join me in class.