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SEO | Basics Anyone Can and Should Do if They Want to Rank
What you'll learn:
How to not spend money on things that you can do yourself. No but seriously, this will save you money.
These are techniques that you can apply immediately as long as you have the correct access, or whoever you're paying for web development will do it for you (maybe free? good luck with that one). However, you have to keep in mind that it could take up to six months to see any significant changes in your efforts (under most circumstances). So make sure you're doing everything right, otherwise you're going to end up wasting six months of waiting around for your rank to sky rocket when it's actually never going to.
In order to to keep this simple we're not going to go over the history of SEO, we're gonna stick straight to the processes you can do to help improve your sites ranking right now. Keep in mind though, as I previously mentioned, finding out how good your SEO turned out to move your site up on Google search results page is going to take a while.
There are a couple ways to implement SEO into your website, of which all should be utilized in the end, but we're gonna focus on the 'on page SEO' or 'on-site SEO' in this article since it's rather simple and can impact your website ranking significantly.
*Quick Note: On Page SEO or On Site SEO is the practice of making changes that are on your website to help Google better understand what your website is all about. By making your site 'Google friendly' it's much more likely to bring relevant traffic in your relative field.
I want to prelude this article by saying you should be absolutely sure that your keyword research is on point when you start doing any of this. Your keyword research, and your choice of keywords are extremely important. Keyword research is the epicenter of all your SEO efforts for ranking within Google search results.
If you can get ranked for keywords your customers are using to find products like yours then you have won. Sounds easy enough huh? Not quite, so don't go buying your new Ferrari just yet with your fancy matching red racing helmet. Since this topic is so important we keep talking about it we thought the topic alone deserved it's own article to be properly explained. So, if you haven't read our article on keyword research we highly recommended that you do, so you don't build out your SEO based on improper keyword theory.
We will be talking about doing this coding in html. Some platforms give you access to these abilities but that is something you'll have to find out if you have access to or not. As long as you have access to the basic SEO concepts of your website then this article and the theories discussed can be applied to any website. Really, any platform that is a 'web builder' worth it's salt should give you access to all of these attributes within your site.
Phew! Man, felt like a disclosure agreement. However! Now we are sure we can proceed guilt free!
The SEO Basics that Anyone can and Should do....Let's do it...
1. Unique Content
As tempting and easy as it may sound to head over to your competitions website that is brutally crushing you and smash those copy/paste hotkeys to instantly build your content, don't do it. Remember, Google is a robot, never sleeps, and it will find your duplicate content and penalize you accordingly. Remember, the easy solution is rarely the correct solution. You need to come up with your own, original, and most amazing high quality content. This quite possibly might be one of the biggest challenges. Because there really is no fast track to creating content. It will take you time no matter what.
So what kind of content?
Really anything that provides value to your ideal customers. The more value the better. The more shareable the better. Info-graphics are particularly excellent sources to gain some traction when it comes to getting stuff shared. So this will help you get those valuable backlinks, and backlinks my friend, are awesome. Backlinks that are generated through your own content, and have gotten shared organically are the absolute king. So it's definitely worth investing time to put together something that, at the end, you really feel is worth the value, and creating amazing content gets you a spam score breakdown that looks like this:
It would definitely be wise to aim for a 0% spam score, but when you have 114,100 domains linking to your site there will of course be some links that are seen spam. The point is 1% is simply amazing with that many domains linking to your site.
*Quick Note: Under (almost) no circumstances purchase backlinks. Please please do not do that. Backlinks are much much harder to remove then they were to get, and especially when Google finds out you paid a company to spam your URL to 1500 different places on the internet, and they will find out, and when they do they are going to destroy you and your newly blooming website. All hopes and dreams of achieving Google page rank have vanished just like that, but hey, it only cost you $50 to get your site placed on 1500 random and irrelevant sites! Yay!
Your Content Supplies Demand
Don't create content just for the sake of creating content. Create content that is in demand. How do you find content that is in demand? Well the simplest, and most cost efficient way to do this, for someone who is looking to implement basic SEO, is simply by going to Google and typing out the phrase or keywords that you are interested in, and as you type the field below will automatically populate with phrases, keywords and the such in order of their importance or search frequency.
Depth of Content
Google's Panda update in 2011 started cracking down on websites that were considered 'low quality' or had 'thin' content. These websites with very little substantive meaning that simply grazed over topics were less likely to be considered authoritative than a website that went in depth one subject. So in order to rank higher you need to be establishing yourself as an industry expert, and you don't do that by just hammering out 25 articles that are a paragraph long. The deeper you go into your subject the more of an industry expert Google is going to see you as. Remember Google is a giant library that is constantly revising the algorithm used to find answers to the best answers that a person is searching for. If you think of it this way you're far more likely to rank. Google looks for the best resource to provide the answers to specific questions for. So your website should provide as in depth of an answer as you are professionally capable of providing.
*Side note Warning*
Duplicate Content: Just so we all have a clear idea on how things work here's a brief explanation of how Google finds your website. Google has bots that crawl the entire internet (literally). Google uses these bots to find all the websites and uses links within a site to follow one page link to another and so on. Now, if this Google bot finds a website that has the same content on two different websites it will usually results in that website being penalized, and this is where canonical tags are used. If you have no idea what a canonical tag is then you should definitely look at this article which goes over canonical tags in depth.
Depending on how your website is made and edited (raw html code, WordPress, Wix, and so on) the meta information can be edited differently from service to service, and some of these services may or may not have ways to edit the meta information, but if you can't edit the meta information you should probably look at starting your website that provides you a way to edit them. Because if you can't edit your meta information your chances of ever ranking or being competitive with a site that does are slim.
We are going to be talking about doing this using html coding, but the theory can be applied to any platform that gives you access to editing them. So even if you are using a decent web builder this information is valuable.
The meta information is not information that is displayed on your website. Your meta information and what's displayed on your web site can be completely different. Meta information is solely used to be parsed by search engines that crawl your website, and this is why it's extremely important for your site to make sure that consideration is taken when writing these, because this is what tells search engines what your sites page is about.
Most of this information is what appears in the SERP (search engine results page) after you hit the search button in search engine:
The section within the html code we will be talking about is the head section that is before the body section begins. For those that are visual, the section we are talking about looks like this:
Google uses your title tag to determine what each one of your pages are about just like a human would. So you should make sure that they hold close relevancy to your keyword theme, and if you're not sure what a keyword theme is read our article on keyword research.
If your title tag can't immediately tell someone what your page is about then search engines won't know what your site is about either.
Each page should have it's own title tag for that page. So you would have a title tag for your homepage, and if you have a blog then you would have a title tag for that one and so on.
The title tag within the html code using XHTML and is setup like this:
The title tag is what you see in the SERP (search engine results page):
Your title tag should be:
Not too long - Your title should be no more then 60 characters long, or under 570 pixels, and what we mean by that is less "R"s and more "i"s. This also helps ensure that your full title can be viewed within the SERP. Because if your title is too long your results within the search will end up having the sentence cut off and leave out part of what the page is about.
Not too short - Simply put it should rarely be less then 10 characters. The reason for this is obvious, because most likely the description won't go into enough detail to know if when someone clicks on it they will get the answers they're looking for.
Avoid Duplicate Titles - Having similar keywords and your brand name is fine, but each title tag should clearly show what is unique to each page. The concept of duplicate content doesn't just apply when using content from another website, it also applies to your own website. This really should be an applied concept to your all around SEO practice.
Contain your keywords - Your title should contain your keywords within the title.
Meta Description Tag - Description of what google sees as the description
The meta description withing the html code looks like this:
You also see the meta description within the SERP:
Your meta description should be:
Not too long - Typically your meta description should be no longer than 300 characters. If your meta description is too long then it will be cut off in the search engine results page resulting in a less then appealing click-through-rate.
Not too short - Because nobody will know what your sites page is about.
Contain your keywords - Make sure that your description contains your keywords, but this doesn't mean trying to place the keyword in there as much as possible. The keywords should only appear once in the description. If you use the same keywords too much it may look like you're keyword stuffing.
Avoid Duplicate Meta Descriptions - Each meta description should be unique to each page. So make sure that each one differs.
Page Linking Structure
It's important that you structure your site in a clear and thought out way. The site should have a logical flow in the way it's laid out and the way that each page integrates with one another.
For example, if your sites keyword theme is "athletic fitness", for your entire site. You might then have separate additional extending pages like "upper body workout", "lower body workout", "core workout", and so on.
Having your page structured this way doesn't just make it easier for people to navigate but it also sets your site up in a way that allows for users to interact with each page, and this in turn creates more engaging content.
If you're talking about something on the "upper body workouts" page that refers to having a strong core. You can then link that page to the core workouts page and so on.
The depth of each page can go down as far as you are knowledgeable and that's when search engines start to really see value in your websites content, and it ranks you accordingly.
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