We are not going to overwhelm you. We understand that you are here because you need to understand the very basics for making SEO for your website successful. We promise to give you exactly what you are looking for; nothing more, nothing less.
What is SEO?
You may not know what SEO stands for. You probably see the term posted throughout website articles and you may need to know what it means. We are not going to cut any corners in this SEO basics guide.
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization.
What this tells us is that the search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) will need to know how to take the typed keywords and choose to rank your website above the rest on the search engine results page (SERP).
How is your website going to make the most out of search engine keywords so that your website ranks above the rest?
That is essentially the million dollar question when learning the basics of SEO.
There are many factors that a search engine analyzes when they are determining your sites ranking. Knowing these factors and developing a SEO strategy will help you create a more popular site.
Step 1 – Know Your Keywords
Look, you’re going to have a tough time knowing how to optimize search engine results if you don’t know what words to search for, so this is step #1.
Keywords are what users will type in the search box of a search engine in order to find a website related to what they are looking for. As an owner of a website, you need to know what users are searching for so that you can implement those same words and phrases into your website for the search engine to find.
The best way to do this is to make a physical list of keywords that users are searching related to your website. It is important to use keywords and phrases that users are actually searching, rather than what you think they might search. By using an online resource, such as the Google Keyword Tool, you can search keywords to see how often the words are searched and what other words are accompanying the keywords.
If you want to up it a notch, invest in our favorite tool–SEMrush.
Short terms or words are known as head keywords, and phases are known as long-tail keywords. Both of these are important to search when you are creating a list of SEO keywords.
Step 2 – Site Structure
We have an entire article dedicated to site structure if you want a more in-depth understanding of what site structure is. But this is the starting place.
For the SEO basics, you need to know that the way your site is structured can have an effect on search engine optimization. If your site is structured in a way that is confusing or blocking crawlers from obtaining pertinent information, your website will have a less likely chance of ranking on search engine results pages.
To fix this, simply weed out old content on your website that is irrelevant to your website’s niche. The less irrelevant content, the easier search engines will understand what your website is about.
Create a broad homepage with subpages of links that are related to your website niche and the search engine will be able to easily find this information through crawlers and bots within the search engine database.
You will want to implement the use of headings and subheadings to create a logical site structure.
Step 3 – Create Quality Content
You will want your posts to contain the keywords you listed in step 1; however, you should naturally include these keywords in your content.
Do not overstuff your posts with keywords because Google will catch on and penalize you accordingly.
Your homepage, subpages, and posts should contain relevant content which include the keywords you have discovered through step 1.
Step 4 – Link Building
If you don’t do this step right, this can be critical to your website. (Did you know if you backlink a spam website, Google will penalize you for it? This penalty means Google prohibits your website from showing up on the search engine results page. Talk about website suicide!)
You will want to link quality, credible websites that are related to your website and the content therein. As SEO is about appealing to both humans and bots, you will need to incorporate search engine optimization in both areas. For example, a human may not care about a link you have included on your website, but Google might. Including that link may just be the reason you rank on the SERP.
Do NOT purchase links for your website. This is a surefire way for Google to penalize you. Google believes in attracting organic visitors, not purchasing them. If Google feels you are attempting to manipulate the search engine results page, they will penalize you accordingly.
Step 5 – Analyze Your Traffic
You should be using some sort of analytic to monitor your website traffic, so keep a check on how users are landing on your site.
If you notice users are searching terms related to your website niche or keywords, adjust your keywords accordingly within your posts to appeal to the masses.
You will want to review these analytics periodically to review your performance and see if you need to make any adjustments. There are some analytic programs that will email you a weekly or monthly report of your performance. This is a good idea if you find you keep forgetting to check your performance because you are busy with other areas of your business.
Keep it Simple
We said we would make this simple, and we didn’t lie; but if you want to skip to the TLDR version, here are the main takeaways:
- Define the keywords that are related to your topic.
- Create a productive, functional website structure for both humans and bots to understand.
- Create quality content on your homepage, subpage, and posts. This content should be related to your website and contain the keywords you have discovered and researched.
- Build links. DO NOT BUY LINKS. Link quality websites that are related to your website and the content within it. You want organic traffic so that search engines can view your site as trustworthy.
- Analyze your traffic and target audience to determine what works and what doesn’t. If you need to make adjustments to keywords or spam links, you should do so immediately.
Good luck–you’ve got this!