The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Most business owners have a very vague understanding of what SEO is. They think of it as “the Google thing” but are generally pretty indifferent to the idea of learning more about it or even implementing it themselves (thanks to a gazillion daily spammy emails)
But you’d be shooting yourself in the foot with this approach of only ever thinking about SEO if you feel the need to hire SEO specialists or only when your marketing budget allows it. There are plenty of things you can do for FREE that will put your business in a better position to be found online.
Understanding the basics of SEO helps you understand how the entire WEB works. It helps you get more out of everything you do online for your business, to maximize the impact of every piece of content you publish, from articles to videos and podcasts. No matter what you put on the Internet, helping search engines like Google understand what it is will yield a better ROI on the time and energy spent in creating and publishing that content.
“Social media may be trendy and more fun to talk about but Search actually puts money in the bank.”
So in this post, we will cover how to understand SEO, what makes Google tick and how you can get her to take you seriously.
Looks Will Only Get You So Far (Amen)
Think of your website as a car… your favorite sports car, like a Ferrari. And think of Google as the person you want to impress with that car. The result of how much Google gets impressed is your Ranking (your position in the search results for your keyword)
Google will rank you based on the ENGINE of that car rather than its design or look (thankfully)
The biggest mistake related to digital marketing that new business owners make, is that they invest a fair bit of time and energy and money into the design of their website, only to be disappointed later with the lack of phone calls the site generates. That’s because you made your car look pretty, but never bothered with the engine.
The SEO Engine of Your Website
So what are the parts of that engine and how do you build one that Google just cannot ignore?
In order of importance, they are:
- Your URL
- Your SEO Title
- Your SEO (Meta) Description
- Your Content
Note: Links are omitted from this list to keep it beginner friendly and limit to variables you can DIRECTLY control at no cost.
Help Google understand these 4 elements of every page on your website and you will be well ahead of most of your competitors. This gets you in the race!
Your biggest question right now probably is “How do I change my SEO Title and Description?”
This depends on the platform your website is built on. If it is WordPress, it is as simple as using a plugin like Yoast SEO, going to the Page you want to edit, scrolling to the bottom and editing the Google snippet. If you’re not using WordPress and not sure how to edit your SEO Titles, you can always… well, Google it.
This is what the Yoast snippet looks like when you’re editing your Page in WordPress:
Tip for the Advanced SEO Geeks: Go to Search Console (Webmaster Tools) -> Index > Fetch and Render and click on the “/” or the respective URL of any Page to see your Page EXACTLY as the Googlebot sees it. You will be surprised to find how much content is being blocked by fancy web design elements and that means Google is only seeing a portion of the website.
Make sure to include your main keywords in your Titles and Description. Just think about what phrases your clients or customers would type into Google. Do NOT just string a bunch of keywords together! It should still be legible and something people would want to click on.
If you’re a visual learner and like examples, check out this video in which I explain everything you need to know about tuning your website’s engine.
SEO 101 Video: The Blueprint for Local SEO
If you need help with finding your keywords, consider using a free plugin called Keywords Everywhere. It integrates with your Browser and shows the number of people searching for your keywords when you Google it.
Sorry, Your Story’s Just Not Good Enough
Ok, so now your car has a decent engine… well done!
But if you want to take Google on a ride, that engine’s going to need some fuel.
You see, changing your SEO Titles, Descriptions and content, as important as it is, is still just YOUR story about YOUR business.
Just as you would trust a referral or a recommendation from a friend or a family member, Google will trust you a lot more if other people are saying nice things about your business. In the world of the Internet, links are recommendations. As an SEO agency, our job is to find the best quality and most relevant sites to link to our clients’ websites, which increase their trust and rankings.
Building Foundation Links
Links are the fuel for your engine and they’re going to make your car actually go places.
I promised to keep things beginner-friendly… so what is a super-simple and easy way to get some great links to get Google to take you more seriously?
Well, think about it… what are some of the most powerful websites in the world?
Social media sites! And a lot of them allow you to create BUSINESS profiles and include links to your website.
You might have heard of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn… but did you know there are HUNDREDS of these sites?
So how about creating profiles on 30 of these websites and linking them to your site? They’re free and there is not a better and safer way to build the foundation of your website than building links from these ultra-powerful websites. Go to knowem.com to get some ideas for which sites you should build your profiles on. You don’t have to use their (over-priced) service. You can also order one of our SEO setup packages which have a one-time payment fee they all include creating social profiles (and much more!)
All of this you can do at no cost. So there is really no excuse to not making some effort to help Google understand your business and your content.
Wait… that’s not true. Excuses are actually plenty, but spots on the first page… there are only 10.