Got A Website? Then Use These 12 Essential SEO Tips!
The Business of SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization and it means that one is to employ several steps in optimizing a website or blog in order to make the site visible on the top pages of search engines as much as possible. Unfortunately, SEO is not a “1, 2, 3…” step by step course that most people misunderstand and assume that it’s easy to do, because it’s not. Besides creating an effective SEO strategy, one must be absolutely sure that they adhere to the search engine’s guidelines or fail – there’s no middle ground on this. Google, for instance, has the most frustrating set of rules governing SEO and 7 out of 10 people get rejected by Google when it comes to indexing their blogs and websites (it’s when they submit their website or blog for approval on search engine hosting and eventually get a page rank).
That’s how difficult it is!
The Starting Point
If you were an expert SEO Specialist what you’d need to do first is to do initial consultation with your client(s); or in this case, if you’re just on your own and have just started out, then that client is yourself. The initial consultation involves determining the niche for your website (i.e. picking a topic like hunting, or extreme sports, yoga and health & wellness, movies, business and finance etc.). And then you determine what the purpose of your website is; or just simply answer the question, “why do you need this website?” Next is your commitment. How much time are you willing to spend in doing this? How much money are you willing to fund your SEO operation and for how long?
You will have to think this through because success in doing SEO does not come overnight. It takes patience and perseverance and more importantly learning new skills on the fly. You can’t risk it waiting for Google’s update about their algorithm and you’re going to have to seek it out on a regular basis.
Determine the Competition
Once you’ve determined all of this, then you move on to the next step which is competition research. Of course by now you already know that you’re probably not the only one vying for the herbal medicine business, or operating a gym for exercise and bodybuilding, or even giving tips on start up internet business – there are hundreds, if not thousands, who already have went ahead of you. Therefore determining how many competitors you have and how strong they are is definitely an important step in the entire SEO process.
Think of it like a gladiator match in ancient Rome and you’re a regular 180 lbs Joe in the Roman Coliseum. You have your shield, sword, upper body armor and helmet and you will face a goliath weighing in at 320 lbs of pure muscle; a fearsome veteran in over 40 Roman battles and is the current champion of the arena. He brings with him a sword, a helmet, body armor 3 times that of yours; he’s also got a huge shield and a spiked ball and chain plus a 15-foot spear. How on Earth are you going to defeat him?
The same is true in business competition and you simply just can’t go toe to toe with companies like Netflix or Scout Labs and think you’ll win. They’ll bury you with their $60 million worth of marketing campaigns! You’ll need to use your skills and build a strategy that gives you a small leverage against them, without you getting whacked out of the competition in Round 1. SEO can help you win although slowly but definitely!
The Magic Words
Next is keyword research! You know those little words and phrases you type in Google or Yahoo search box? Well, those are called “keywords,” and they’re very important for SEO. The reason is because the search engine (i.e. Bing, Google, Yahoo etc.) is designed to use these keywords that are typed by web users and search their database with the best possible matches on websites in their sphere of influence. If, for example, I’ll do a search about “sports cars,” then Google will show you all relevant websites that uses these keywords and display it to your web browser in a descending order. Again we go back to competition at this point, because it means that about one or more sites are using the keywords “sports cars” to get to the first page of the search engine. You’ll need to use a keyword research tool – Google’s Keyword Planner – is one and it will show you lots of details about a particular keyword and how strong its competition is.
In order for you to get a chance to rank your website, you’ll need to fight for low competition keywords. From the term itself it means that very few online businesses are using these keywords, and that could serve as your window of opportunity to compete against the major players in the industry. Choose as many as 85 low competition keywords that are relevant to your website’s niche and start using them immediately before someone else will compete for them. You may want to put them in the site title, domain name, description, tagline, keywords, blog categories, page titles, and page content. This process is known as on-page keyword saturation, because that’s exactly what you’re doing – you’re saturating your website with the keywords that you’ve picked from the keyword research tool and you’re doing it within your site.
Note: You must select one keyword from the lot to make it your primary keyword and you must use it at least twice per paragraph in your web content as well as blog posts and articles.
Linking the keywords and other keyprahses from your homepage to your innerpages helps readers find out more about you, so do this often when you’re creating a website. Some web creator tools have auto features that does the internal linking for you also, but as a rule of thumb, you have to proactively do this on your own. Other benefits of internal linking is that it helps search engine find your content faster via the keywords you’ve placed all over your website.
How to do internal linking:
- Highlight the keyword or a specific word(s)
- Go to the CMS (content management system)
- Select the “link” icon,” then it will show you a pop-up window where you’ll put the link to any one of your pages that you like.
- Click “OK” and the word/phrase you’ve highlighted should be a clickable link now
Using Permalinks and Keywords
When left to themselves the permalinks or unique URLs tend to be more complicated that is generated automatically by the system. This makes an ugly permalink and can be quite difficult for users to memorize or recall from memory because of seeing it several times in the past. Fortunately, you can change it to a more personalized option and that’s the whole point of SEO; it’s to lead people to your site easily with no hassles or distractions. For a more comprehensive permalink, you can use your primary keyword as part of it like…
and turn it into
assuming you’ll use “awesome” as your primary keyword.
Take Out The Sluggers
I’m pretty sure that you must have waited in line for something important at least once in your life (i.e. concert tours, movie premiere night, the men’s/women’s room etc.) and I bet that it had tested your patience, hasn’t it? Well, the same is true for web users who occasionally visit websites and if yours takes forever to load, then you can kiss those visitors goodbye, because people on the web sheds more patience than people waiting to see a superhero movie. So, you might want to remove stuff like music players, large images, flash graphics, and unnecessary plugins from your website in order to enhance its page load time.
Include Keywords in Your Images Too
Like I said before, keyword saturation is very important in optimizing a website and you must leave no stone unturned. Include words that reflect your site topic in the image title, description, and alt attributes. Search engines will then easily crawl (match your keywords to user searches) on your site and keep you in the top pages on returns.
External Linking and Authority Websites
Up until this point we were doing the “on-page optimization (i.e. keyword saturation on your website’s pages, images, meta tags etc.),” but now we’ll do external linking which is the first step in “off-page optimization.” The first rule in external linking is to verify your source whether it’s accurate or not, because if the information you link your site to is false, then you’ll get a bad reputation for it and people will not want to visit your site. The sites that you should linke must be authority websites or those that have quality reputation and in time if you often link your blog posts to them, then your site too will be considered as an authority site as well.
A word to the wise though; do this sparingly because too much external linking gives reputation points to the site that you link to and not you. We’ll talk about this more later on with inbound and outbound links.
Post Updates Regularly
People on the web are people just like you and me and like us, they always want something new, something fresh to read, see or hear about. So post new blogs at least once daily and include images, videos, invitation to events, games, contests and other exciting stuff. This will get their attention easily and you’ll have a gazillion followers before you realize it!
Indexing Your Website in Search Engines
What is the difference between an indexed website and a non-indexed site? Simple. Websites that are indexed in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo gets prioritized in search returns than non-indexed sites. So, do the math and do your diligence.
Outbound and Inbound Links
Earlier we’ve talked about external linking in order to become an authority website. Well, external linking is also known as “outbound links” that has the advantage to enhance your site’s reputation but may affect your website ranking as a consequence. In order to mitigate this problem you need to have inbound links and that’s like having other people do what you did when you did external linking, except they’ll link to your website this time. This is actually the tricky part in SEO because very few sites will want to link to a newbie website, but there are non-intrusive ways to get inbound links. Among them include:
- Article Submissions
- Blog Commenting
- Forum Posting
- Guest Blog Posting
- Social Media Engagement
- Social Bookmarking
- Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC)
- Blog Branching and Link Exchange
- Vlog (Video Blogging)
Don’t Change Your Domain Name While Doing SEO
Changing domain names multiple times in a year is just plain stupid and you should never do it. One of the factors of website ranking is your domain name and if search engines have already been crawling on your site for more than 3 months now and you abruptly change the domain name, then all your efforts will have been for nothing.
Content is Still the King
And one last thing…everything I’ve mentioned above will mean nothing in your SEO campaign if you can’t keep your audience on your site for more than 15 seconds. How to do that? Simple! Write excellent and highly engaging content. Meaning, do not write blogs with the grammar of a 4-year old child, so make sure that your command of the English language is very competitive. Having great content plus all of the above equals a very effective SEO campaign.
SEO Basics Under 10 Minutes
Would you consider employing SEO or hire an SEO Specialist for your business?
- 75% of SEO is off-page and 25% is on-page
- 91% of US Internet users search every month
- Page titles are the most important on-page element after content
- Persuasive meta descriptions under 155 characters increase click through rates
- The top 5 results get 75% of the clicks
- Google+ is the highest correlated social factor for SEO ranking
- Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages. And companies with more indexed pages get far more leads.
- Content marketing rocks. Marketing Sherpa reports distribution lead to a 2,000% increase in blog traffic and a 40% increase in revenue.