When it comes to search engine optimization, there’s so much confusion and new rumors popping up all the time, it can be hard to know what to focus on.
Google changes their algorithms once a month and it’s hard to keep up on the latest ways to manage your website or blog content.
Whether you have an online business or just want more traffic to your website, you need to understand the basics of SEO.
In this article we’ll review five simple basics you can use to improve your website’s SEO for the long haul.
Start With Keyword Research
Before you sit down to write another article or news release, you have to do a little bit of keyword research to find out which words people are using when they search for your specific offer. As a website owner, we know our products so well, we often have a skewed perception of what our ideal customer is searching for to find our services or products.
The best way to find out what people are searching for is to ask your current customers what they would search to find you and your services.
You can then use the Google free keyword research tool to find out which keywords have the most competition and are searched most often. What you’re aiming for is a set of keywords that are searched for often but don’t have a lot of competing websites with the same search term.
Optimize Your Website with One Keyword Per Page
As beginners in the art of SEO, we want to rank for “all the keywords” as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, that’s just not how the search engines work. Instead, you need to focus on building each keyword into a new page or article on your website one by one. I like to think of these new blog posts or articles as the doors and entryways to your main website.
I’ve seen articles on websites that sound like they were written by a robot that only writes with keywords. If you’ve ever read one of these, you know you’ve hightailed it out of there, never return again. There are a couple of things that you can do to increase the optimization of each page that won’t make your text look like it was written for robots.
Use an SEO Plug-in on Your Site
No matter what website platform you run on (WordPress, Joomla, Magenta, Drupal) you’ll want to find out what plugins or addons you need to customize for maximum SEO. For WordPress, I recommend Yoast’s WordPress SEO plug-in (he also has plug-ins for other platforms as well).
There are a ton of free plug-ins out there that will do a lot of the heavy lifting for your SEO. If you’re using a premium WordPress theme, there will be built-in SEO functionality that you can fill out per post such as the meta title, description, and keyword tags.
Submit Your Site to Google Webmaster Tools
Once you’ve done some of the SEO basics groundwork, you’ll want to tell Google exactly where all the pages are on your website, using a sitemap.
The plug-in I recommended also helps you by creating an XML site map of your website, that you can then use to tell Google exactly where all of your pieces of content are and which keywords you want them to you use to send people to your site.
Obviously, this doesn’t guarantee your rank or where your site will appear in the results, but it tells Google exactly where everything is, and the search engine will also give you some insights and let you know if there are any errors on your website.
Another benefit of using the sitemap plug-in is every time you add a new post or article, Google will be notified so they can come over and start indexing the new page immediately.
Get Some Incoming Links and Social Media Love
If you’re reading this, you know all about getting traction using social media and other forms of engagement. What you might not know about, is the importance of getting incoming links to your website using some of those keywords that you researched earlier.
Here, you’ll want to get other websites that cover similar topics as yours to link back to your pages using anchor text that relates to your keywords.
There are many ways for this to happen. You can write a guest post, use news releases to link to some of your inner pages, try link directories, or leave comments on other people’s blogs.
The more quality incoming links you have to your website, the more reputable your site will be in the eyes of Google.
The great thing is, the better the content you create, the more people will want to link to you because they will want to share what have to say with their people. That’s where creating amazing content comes into play, and that’s why you really don’t want to focus on writing for the robots.
You want to focus on writing for humans because we’re who will determine where you truly rank.
Now I’d love to hear which part of this process you need to work on. Please leave a comment below sharing your favorite SEO tool if you’re already rocking it… and which of these five tips you know you’ll be using more!