In this article SEO for Dummies, I will explain in simple to understand language all the important points concerning SEO. So I hope by the end of the article you will have a clearer understanding of what SEO is all about and how important it is.
SEO for Dummies: 12 Steps to optimizing your website now!
There’s no doubt Google is the king of the search engine mountain. It sure would be nice if other search engines had a chance, wouldn’t it? Well, guess what? Social Media is only about 10% responsible for the entire sales volume of a marketing campaign. Search Engines are essential to any digital marketing strategy. You have to master them if you want to successfully develop a digital marketing strategy.
If you are just starting out with SEO. If you are looking for some tips to improve the performance of your website. This is the guide for you. You will discover what is the most important thing for a new website to achieve in terms of ranking well in the search engines, and how to go about achieving that goal.
What is SEO?
To really understand what SEO is, it’s important to understand how search engines like Google, Bing, and others work. How do they rank their search results? Clearly, there are thousands of websites out there that cover the same topics. So which websites get in the top results and which don´t. What differentiates them? How do search engines determine rankings?
Imagine a search engine that indexes web pages as one of those old yellow phone books, only in a digital format.
Once you create a website, “spiders” or search engine bots crawl your website to find out what it is all about. These little robots now are capable of understanding contextualized information (both text and non-text) on your website and index based on different factors, like relevance and authority.
This is where search engine optimization comes into play. SEO refers to the process of making your site better for search engines. It helps to get your website or web page listed higher in search engine results. It is about making your site “SEO-friendly” so that search engines can understand its relevance and value.
Now, let’s make one thing 100% clear about SEO:
Search engines index web pages, not your website as a whole. This means that your SEO work should be done page by page.
Why is SEO important?
If you read the previous section, you got an idea of the importance of SEO. To further understand, just think about your own search habits.
Let’s say you go to Google because you want to find information about a specific topic, for example, ‘best small SUVs’. You type it in just like that or maybe you’ll just type in ‘small SUVs’. Immediately you will get a list of results.
Which one do you click? How far down the list of results do you go?
Have you ever gone to the second or third results page? Probably not and if yes, not that often.
This example showcases why SEO is so important. Having your pages optimized for search engines helps your overall search ranking. The higher at the top you are in the search result the higher the chance that you will be clicked. This is a well-known fact.
Your ultimate goal is to be on the first page (or even better: within the first few listings) of the search your customers are making. So that you see increased traffic to your site and hopefully increase your sales from those visits.
How to do SEO for a website
These 12 essential SEO for dummies tips are perfect for anyone who is looking to get better results from their site.
SEO for dummies greatest tips
1. Do keyword research and use relevant terms
One very important point to note at the start is that “keyword” is not necessarily one word. A keyword in SEO can very well be a combination of words. It is basically whatever is inserted in the search engine search bar. For example “best restaurants in Toronto”, “Football”, “coffee shop near me”, these are all keywords.
Keywords are very important to SEO. They are like secret ingredients which make your website or webpage more attractive to search engines. Keywords are very important, and without them, your article will be practically invisible to the public eye. This is why you need to put a lot of effort into finding a unique keyword combination that is both relevant and has a good search engine ranking.
A keyword is essentially what someone will type into a search engine when looking for something. It’s a mistake to assume that just because you’re interested in a certain niche, your customers will be, too. If you’re not clear on your customer’s search intent, you may be missing out on valuable keywords that lead to conversions. One of the first steps to writing copy for the Internet is to brainstorm a list of keyword possibilities. What were the top ten searches that people typed into their search engine just before they clicked on the blue button saying ‘Search Results’? What questions do they probably have in mind when they did this?
choose your keywords
with great Care
There’s no scientific evidence that shorter keywords lead to more traffic. But it makes sense that if people aren’t typing in a long keyword then it will be easier for them to guess what they want instead. That means your products have more competition in the search results. A long-tail-keyword is more precise. It’s also much less competitive than a broad-stroke keyword. You see, when someone is searching for a broad-stroke keyword, they are looking for something in general. One important point that is often overlooked is that you should include both short-tail and long-tail keywords in your strategy as well. Try to have a mix of both long-tail and short-tail keywords.
Furthermore, it is crucial to consider search volume and rank the difficulty of the keyword intended on being used. The search volume indicates how often people search for this specific keyword. A higher search volume means that people are more interested in this topic. The higher the ranking, the more difficult it is to get a high position. So unless your website has a high ranking, your ideal keywords will be keywords with a good amount of search volume and a category of easy. This is the case for this article where I am using the keyword “SEO for dummies” which has a monthly volume of 4,400 but is rated as easy to rank.
Keywords are an essential part of SEO, but they are not the only component of optimization.
2. Place keywords throughout your page
Each page or blog post has different relevant keywords. For this article, the keyword is ‘SEO for Dummies’. That’s probably the term you searched and ended up here! Ideally, your chosen keywords should be in the:
Title of the post The URL
The first and last paragraph of the post
In the text organically throughout the post
The tags of images used
As long as they don’t disrupt the flow of the article, put them in! Just beware of ‘Keyword Stuffing’, which we discuss further in this post.
3. seo for dummies - Include SEO in Permalinks
A permalink is a URL you see when you click on a link to access a web.
What you say about permalinks, is true. Permalinks say a lot about the overall structure of your website. They should be neither too long, nor too short, and should clearly describe what the web page is about. For the reader and also for the bots crawling your website.
For maximum exposure, have your website map done and all of your indexed pages submitted as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your website is totally finished and ready to go live. Do it as soon as you start writing the copy for your site or product. When it comes to SEO, the most important thing to think about is making sure your content is clear and meaningful. You want to organize your content so that when someone accesses your site through a search engine, they can understand exactly what they are seeing and how it relates to them. Your site’s hierarchy is essential in determining its rank in search engine results, so make sure you’re writing clear and concise hierarchies that help search engines understand what your site is about.
This could look like this:
www.muzzwebdesign.com – is YOUR website.
www.muzzwebdesign.com/blog – can be a page where people can find all the articles you have written.
www.muzzwebdesign.com/SEO – On this page, they will find an article about SEO.
Permanent links are important. They should reflect the essence of what the link is all about. It’s not encouraged to use specific dates or information that might change.
It’s a good idea to keep updating your page over time. Having a page that’s been online for quite some time plays into better SEO. Ideally, you don’t want to create pages you’ll always delete. Older pages don’t rank, just because they’ve been published for longer. They rank because over time, they managed to indicate authority through generated traffic, link-building, and more. Being able to update your pages with fresh and relevant information is key, and that means creating a timeless URL structure.
Let’s say you write an article about ‘Top 5 Marketing tips for 2021’. This is a great topic! But in your permalink, leave the 2021 out. By doing so you can update the article and later write about the ‘Top 5 Marketing Tips for 2021’.
The same rule applies for pages for specific holidays, like Black Friday. It happens annually and you’ll want to reuse this page for the coming years.
4. seo for dummies - Hyperlink your existing content
You can link other posts that you’ve written in this one if it’s relevant to the subject. It’s good practice to hyperlink your content. It makes it easier for your reader to navigate your website and it helps search engines to index your website. This will increase your user engagement and help users discover related content and navigate to other pages on your website. It will also help search engines such as Google and Bing index and contextualize your web pages.
5. Write high-quality content. No keyword stuffing!
Of course, you should always write content that is engaging. But, you should especially focus on writing content that engages your readers. After all, that’s what will make them buy from you. To make sure your topic is covered in full and that you haven’t left out important information, do your research thoroughly. You must give your readers an overview of the subject and answer their questions. This will improve their understanding of the subject and make them much more likely to purchase from you.
As written, this sentence is redundant and quite irritating. It’s like saying, “As it happens, more words do not necessarily equal higher quality.” Who says that? Nobody. Therefore, take it out and replace it with something like… Company.com says that there is a strong relationship between the number of words in the article and the rank of the page in Google. The deeper the article, the better, and the higher the rank of the page.
content is king
Besides writing clearly, your sentences must be grammatically correct. Doing so will make your reader (and probably yourself) feel more at ease, resulting in better comprehension. Keyword stuffing is not just wrong, it is also dangerous. You could get caught up in a manual review by Google and have your website penalized for using that keyword. And once you are penalized, it can be very hard to get back on the list. It’s true that some SEO experts will try to cheat the system and use too many keywords everywhere. But that doesn’t work. It’s better to focus on building relationships with your customers. Making your website valuable to them, and using organic search to get traffic to your site.
Search engines are not stupid. They are constantly changing their algorithms and can detect keyword stuffing quite easily. Always try put your most relevant keywords in your titles, subtitles and bullet points.
6. SEO for dummies - Optimize your images
From a readability perspective, it is important to have visuals on a web page. They help to “visualize” your content and help your site to be more crawlable. But more importantly, they are an important part of your on-page SEO. An image cannot be crawled, but what can be crawled is the ALT text of the image. This is the text that describes the image, and it is this text that is indexed by search engines.
By using your keyword as the image alt-text, you’ll make sure that (Google) will find your website relevant to that specific keyword.
Have you noticed the images on the top of your search results? They are a great way to get people to visit your website
7. SEO for dummies - Page speed
If you want to increase the traffic to your website, improving your page speed is one of the most important things you can do. Your page speed will be used as a ranking factor by Google for many years to come. When people visit your site. You don’t have seconds to impress them before they decide if they want to explore the rest of your site or bounce.
A fast-loading website ensures an ideal user experience. People are getting much less tolerant of slow websites these days. If your site is too slow to load, it will have very negative consequences. As people get less tolerant of slow sites, your bounce rate will increase and so will your customer churn. Although it’s not a factor that directly influences your ranking. Bounce rate is tied to your page speed, so improving your page speed will help improve your bounce rate, thereby influencing your ranking in search.
The image size and format can have a big impact on website speed. Make sure your images are rendered correctly. You can do it using image compression tools.
8. Don’t forget your mobile version!
More and more people are using their mobile phones to go online. Your website needs to be optimized for mobile use. It’s a necessity, not a nice to have. To make sure that your mobile visitors are getting the best experience from your website. It’s important to check that your site is properly formatted for the phones that people are using. The incorrect formatting could make your website irritating or look unprofessional. It could even cause your site to be penalized by search engines.
Mobile-first indexing is very important, and as Google stated, it will soon be starting to index websites mobile-first. This means that whether a person is searching on a desktop or laptop computer or using a mobile device such as an iPhone or Android phone. Your website should be designed with this in mind.
9. seo for dummies - Technical SEO
In section 3, we talked about creating a good website structure, which can already be considered a part of technical SEO.
The process of improving your website for crawling and indexing is called Technical SEO. It’s possible to help search engines access, crawl, interpret and index your website without having any problems. It is called technical because it has nothing to do with the actual content of the website or with website promotion. The main goal of technical SEO is to improve the infrastructure of the website.
As this is a beginner’s guide, this is something that you should be aware of but it is too technical to be included in any great depth in this article.
10. Update your pages and content
Since information and trends are rapidly changing and you don’t want to be penalized on search rankings because of outdated information, you will want to regularly do an SEO audit to update your content.
Take a look at older pages and sites to make sure the content is good. It’s more likely that your ranking will be hurt if they don´t have a purpose anymore.
11. Don’t forget to promote your posts and content
With time and experience, you will be able to move from an SEO for beginners to a more advanced position. One of the best ways to improve your ranking on search engines is by consistently publishing relevant posts on your blog. You should promote your posts to reach more people once you have written awesome content.
It can be done organically by sharing them on your social media channels and through a newsletter. Or it could be with paid advertising. Both should be done at some point, they are important for your marketing strategy.
An organic approach allows you to create a communication flow with your customers. Paid advertising helps to show your content to the right audience and increase traffic to your website faster.
12. seo for dummies - Off page SEO
Off-page SEO is a crucial factor in your overall SEO strategy.
Off-page SEO mainly consists of getting hyperlinks from other websites to one of your pages in your website. Why does this matter?. Because it tells Google that your content is so good that other websites are pointing to your websites and using your content as a reference.
There are two types of backlinks. Do-follow and no-follow, the best type to have are do-follow because a do-follow link tells Search Engines that the link is important and the receiving website should be recognized and more authority given to it.
as this is a beginner’s guide I will note go into detail about backlinking and strategies on how to obtain them, I just want the reader to be aware that backlinks are very important for SEO and therefore should be researched thoroughly.