Welcome to the Ultimate Beginner’s SEO Guide (What it is and Why You Need It)!
Search engine optimization is the process of affecting positions on search engines for given keywords. Ranking highly in SERPS can lead to higher traffic, more leads and customers, or increased levels of social shares – which together lead to improved visibility and authority in your niche.
Let’s be real. SEO is a hot topic. It’s talked about by nearly everyone in the publishing and online worlds and it’s important for any content creator or blogger to know how it works and what they can do to make their blog more visible, findable, successful and MONETIZABLE!
Let’s get this out of the way… SEO IS IMPORTANT. But it also takes a lot of TIME to optimize and really see the fruits of your efforts. Which is why short term growth and visibility strategies like social media, Pinterest, and email marketing come in.
But that’s a whole other post, and in today’s SEO guide, we’re focusing solely on SEO strategy! Because the sooner you get your SEO strategy in tip top shape, the better off your blog and business will be long term.
**This post may contain affiliate links – please read my Privacy and Disclosure Policy for more information!**
SHOP MY FAVORITE BLOGGING AND BUSINESS TOOLS HERE!
Beginner’s SEO Guide – What to do to improve your SEO strategy RIGHT NOW:
Keyword research is the first step in any successful SEO campaign, but finding the right keywords can be challenging.
Do some research first so you know what key words/phrases are the most popular ones people might use when looking for information like yours online. These do change quite often, depending on a variety of factors which happen from day-to-day, year-to-year, etc. The basic thing you want to think about when researching keywords, is what are people searching for when trying to find the answer YOUR blog post solves.
You can use free keyword research tools like spyfu.com to help you with this research. You can also use google itself. Go to Google and type in the subject of your blog post. For example, I might type in “search engine optimization” for this post. I’ll now take note of the pre-populated search terms that pop up in Google.
Then, spend some time looking at the different results for those different keywords. Take a glance at the articles that rank on Google’s first page, and aim to be BETTER than those articles. Provide more value, better copy, and better images.
Limited keyword density:
This means that the number of times you will be using your keywords is limited. You want to balance getting your content found by people on search engines with not turning off potential readers with an overuse of words they are searching for. The Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress can help you optimize the number of times your chose keywork or phrase appears in each post.
Make sure to create good content on a regular basis:
As often as possible (but consistently), you should be creating new and interesting things for your readers to enjoy and learn from. The best way to keep them coming back is with high quality stuff that makes it worth their while. Make their lives better and easier. (This is also a GREAT way to turn your readers into SUBSCRIBERS and potentially customers in the future.
Next up… Optimize your page titles:
Use short, succinct keywords in a descriptive title that will capture the reader’s attention to stop them from scrolling past it. Follow this with a few sentences describing what the article is below the title section of the rough draft you are writing (the person might not necessarily click if they get bored).
Create a sitemap:
A sitemap tells Google and Bing how content on your website connects together so it can index all interconnected pages properly. There are various tools available online that will automate this process, as well as generating XML files for navigation menus on websites. Some CMS platforms also update your website automatically, but if not, be sure to generate one and, once completed, submit both an XML file and .html file to Google Search Console. If your CMS does not update your sitemap automatically, you’ll want to re-submit it everytime you make significant changes to your website, or even ideally, everytime a new page/post is added.
Write Relevant Meta Descriptions:
A meta description is the text that appears below the Blue Link on Google. The Yoast Plugin will allow you to specify your meta description for every post and page – use it! The meta description should entice people to click on your link OVER your competitors. While they don’t directly impact whether your article will rank on Google or not, it WILL benefit you if someone conducts an advance search.
Also be sure to include your keyword/phrase in your meta description, and avoid alpha numeric content! Your meta description should land between 155-160 characters, and clearly explain what your article is about, and why your prospective reader should click through to read it!
Site Speed is the Queen to SEO’s King:
Yup, they’re married! And no SEO guide would be complete without site speed! You cannot have good SEO without good site speed. Site speed has a huge impact on your SEO ranking. If your site is slow, Google will search for an equally relevant and authoritative article that loads faster.
One of the easiest ways to ensure a fast loading time? Optimize your images with a plugin like ShortPixel or Smush. Yes, they are paid services, but they are relatively inexpensive, automatic, and well worth it for the SEO boost.
You’ll also need to ensure your site is mobile compatible. The easiest way to do this is to ensure you install a theme with a responsive design that will automatically adjust to the size of the screen of the user. If you aren’t sure if a theme has a responsive design, reach out to the developer to ask.
Use this Google tool to check your site speed quickly. It will break down all the date you need to know. Ideally, your site should lead in under 2.7 seconds! (Keep in mind, even with responsive design, mobile is ALWAYS slower than desktop!)
Build Content that is Link Worthy:
Contribute to blogs in your Niche and You’ll Gain Links, Trust and Traffic. But note, Internal AND external links are important for SEO.
When it comes to internal links, think of your website like a spider web. You want to connect each page with some other relevant page. This keeps your audience on your site for longer, decreasing your bounce rate, and upping your SEO.
But external links are even MORE important. This are often called back links. Developing a backlink strategy is hugely important in building your websites authority, and thus it’s SEO. Partnering with other bloggers is a good way to get back links, as is contributing to news sources and sites. HARO and Source Bottle are great free sites that will send you prompts from different news sources and freelance writers.
But respond QUICKLY! The faster you respond with a relevant quote, the more likely you’ll be included in an online article. Be sure you are responding in a relevant and respectful way, with the ultimate aim to build a RELATIONSHIP with the journalist. Provide value value value. Value first, always. The more high quality back links you get from authoritative sites, the better your SEO potential!
SHOP MY FAVORITE BLOGGING AND BUSINESS TOOLS HERE
Finally… Analyze the Data:
In order for all of that work to count, people have to find it in the first place!
You also want to know WHERE they are finding it, how long they are spending reading it, and more. This information is critical because it tells you where the most promising opportunities lie – especially if you are looking to sell something to potential leads on your site. Use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to analyze where your leads are coming from, whether they are converting to subscribers, what information they are most interested in, and more! Now we’re getting somewhere!
SEO is a BIG BEAST in the blogging and content marketing worlds, and this SEO Guide is just the tip of the iceberg. But I hope it helps you narrow your focus on specific and actionable items that need improving on your own website!
Let me know your #1 SEO tip in the comments below!
And if this SEO guide was helpful, I’d love for you to share on social media or Pinterest! There’s room enough in the blogging world for us all!
Wishing you alllll the good SEO, friend!
Until next time…
P.S. The blogging world is CHANGING – and FAST! This post was actually written in about 20 minutes with with help of Artificial Intelligence Software – Snazzy AI! Long gone are the days where you have to spend hours writing informational and value packed blog posts for your audience! Let AI do it for you!
I use Snazzy AI to write about 80% of my posts, and then I fill in the other 20% with any missing information needed! It saves me a heck of a lot of time, which I can then funnel into OTHER money making tasks in my business! WINNING! (Snazzy AI also helps with blog post IDEAS, email copy, and more!)
Check out Snazzy AI and let me know what you think!