Our Ten Step SEO Plan For Beginners
Here are ten things to consider to get up and running with SEO, as well as linking to some of the great resources we’ve found handy along the way.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): the basics
According to marketing experts HubSpot, SEO “refers to techniques that help your website rank higher in organic search results, making your website more visible to people who are looking for your brand, product, or service via search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.”
Most SEO novices know it has something to do with keywords – and proceed to stuff their web copy with keywords and phrases to help them climb to the top of Google’s page one. While keywords are important, it’s – unfortunately – not as simple as that.
Full disclosure: SEO can be pretty complicated. We know whole agencies dedicated to different aspects of SEO. If you already consider yourself a search guru, this isn’t the blog for you.
However, if your SEO activity is currently non-existent, keep reading.
Ten Step SEO Plan:
ONE. Check your current ranking
First thing’s first. You won’t know if your SEO is working until you take a look at how well you’re currently performing. Use tools such as Google toolbar and Google analytics to take benchmarks and help you keep an eye on your page rankings.
It’s important to track where your visitors come from, and the search terms they used to find your site. Then you can reach out to potential new business leads and find out what is/isn’t working in your current plan.
TWO. Create search-friendly URLs
Make your website URLs more search-engine-friendly. Try naming them with clear keywords that clearly show a reader what they will get when they visit your site. URLs should be limited to fewer than 2,000 characters, without too many hyphens – these are judged ‘spammy’ by Google and other search engines.
For more info, check out this handy guide from Moz.
THREE. Always have fresh content
Posting regular blogs to your site is crucial for increasing traffic: B2B companies that blog 11+ times a month have 3 times more site traffic than those that don’t blog at all. More site visitors shows search engines that your website is relevant and useful. They’ll reward you by placing your site higher in their search engine results page.
A blog is an excellent way to reach out to your clients. They create more opportunities for internal and external linking, while giving your site a more personal voice.
Don’t worry too much about writing blogs with search engines in mind. By creating content that is relevant and helpful for your target readers, you are already boosting what search engines are looking for. Check out this article from Business 2 Community for more information.
FOUR. Use social media
While social media signals do not directly influence, experts insist that SEO is ineffective without using your social media channels. Whenever you post an article to your blog, you should be sharing links to this fresh content across all social platforms.
Whether on your company’s account or retweeted by someone else, social shares multiply the number of places people can find you. This can help increase site traffic, too, which has a natural boost on SEO.
The true nature of the link between social media and SEO is complicated. Head over to Search Engine Journal if you’d like to read about it in more detail. If you don’t have time, just take our word for it that a strong social media presence is part of SEO best practices.
FIVE. Always link back to your content
The integration of internal links into your site is an easy way to boost traffic. You should make it standard practice to link back to your older content when creating new content.
You should also make the anchor text search-engine-friendly. The more relevant words point to a page, the more likely that page is to appear in search results when users run a query with those terms. However, be sure your links are appropriate without going OTT.
SIX. Authority links
An authority website is a site trusted by viewers, the industry and search engines. A link from an authority website is very valuable, as it’s seen as a vote of confidence. The more you have and the higher quality content, the more likely your site will become an authority.
An easy way to do this is by developing relationships with other sites. Ask the owners from well-respected sites if they’ll include a link to your site on theirs. Offer a return link and keep building on relationships.
Make sure you’re always checking the sites you’re going to partner with have a good SEO reputation. A bad site can bring your reputation down. Check out this guide from Search Engine Watch for more info!
Time for the thorny issue of keywords. As we mentioned earlier, these are often misunderstood and thus over-used in SEO practices.
You should place keywords throughout every part of your site: titles, content, URLs and images. Think about your keywords as search terms: how would someone looking for information on this topic search for it? What words or phrases would they enter into their search engine?
However, putting large amounts of irrelevant keywords on your site will get you labelled as a spammer. Remember, you will get caught: search engine spiders are programmed to ignore sites guilty of keyword-stuffing. Best practices relating to how to use keywords in SEO are constantly changing. It seems everyone has their own opinion, but here are some of the most recent resources we’ve found:
EIGHT. Give you image a description
Web spiders can only search text, not images or text in images. For a search engine to be able to ‘read’ an image on your site, you need to make the words associated with your images as descriptive as possible.
The visible text around your images is super important for your SEO. Try adding captions to all your pictures and being descriptive with the text close to your image. Don’t forget your alt text, image titles, and descriptions!
NINE. User experience
There are many SEO benefits for providing the best possible user experience. You need an easily navigable, clearly searchable site.
All the stuff that keeps visitors on your web page and hungry to explore further.
TEN. Suitable for all devices
It used to be the case your only had one platform people would be viewing your site, now that’s changed. With the rise of mobiles, a large percentage of site views come from smaller devices. It’s now important to ensure you cover all bases.
Is your website and its content equally optimised for any given screen size or device? Google has stated that responsive design is its preferred method of mobile optimisation. Optimising your site for mobile is not only user-friendly, it can also help you gain a competitive advantage in terms of your SEO.
Before you get bogged down in a mission to fine tune your site, remember: what’s good for your readers will most likely be what search engines are looking for, too. Concentrate on providing high-quality, informative content, and the rest should come fairly naturally.