SEO For Dummies A Beginners Guide To SEO

What if you build a website and nobody came? All too often this is what happens so people tend to get discouraged. I too have been one of those discouraged people. You hear and read about SEO, but honestly, I have never seen anything that explains it all to a beginner.  I do not claim to be a great SEO expert, but I can at least get my websites ranked and it is a lot less trouble than you may think.

Getting started

The first thing you need to know is what a search engine result page is. Simply put when you are searching for a topic or item you would type it into the search box. What you type is called a Keyword. It really is not a word, but more like a phrase, but for the world of SEO it is called a keyword. So now you know what a keyword actually is, the next thing you need to know is what keyword best describes whatever you want to have found on the internet.

If you are selling widgets your keywords may be widgets, widget dealers, widget retailers, widget wholesalers, or something else. So we need to isolate the actual phrases people are most likely to enter when searching for our product or service.  This is called keyword research.

Keyword Research

This phrase sounds intimidating, but it is not. There are many free tools you can use to see what keywords are the most popular for your subject. Google offers a free thing called Keyword Planner, but I avoid it as it just seems to want you to advertise to even get started. Keyword Surfer is a free plug-in for Chrome and it is one I use the most. There are many others, but for this tutorial, I will stick to this one. Once installed simply enter the keywords you think would best describe your business or website and check the results. For widgets, you will see there are over 60,000 searches per month. Widgets Android is 8,000 and so on. I try every variation of the keyword until I have a good understanding of what people are looking for.

Building your web pages to target your keyword

So now that you know what your keyword is you can at least begin building or rebuilding your website. For example, let’s use Widget Android as our keyword. I would use the title at the top of my page as Widget Android or something with that exact keyword in it. Now the very first paragraph I write on that website will have the keyword or a variation in it. For instance, ”if you are looking for Android Widgets you have come to the right place. We have many of the best widgets for your Android”.  Now when your page is crawled by the search engines they clearly know your page is about Widgets Android. Make sure you use the word a few more times but make it natural or organic.

Website Photos are also part of your SEO

When search engines crawl your website they also read the title of the photos you have posted on the page. If you are selling widgets for Androids the photos should also have that name. for a first photo you may name it widgets-android and the second maybe android-widgets and so on. If you right-click on the photo of this page you notice it is named “SEO” because this post is about SEO. Hopefully, that makes sense because it is important.

Good Grammar Counts

If you don’t have good grammar I would suggest a plug-in like Gramarly for your Google browser. . Bad grammar can hurt your results so be careful. Also, sentences should be less than 20 words and use transition words in more than 30% of the text. If you are building your website in WordPress you can use the plug-in Yoast to help you get your page content SEO friendly and both are free.

Tags Everywhere

Now that you have finished your page content and targeted your keyword the time has come to help the search engines understand what is the focus of your page. This is done by making 1 H1 Tag, several H2 tags and H3 tags, and so on. H stands for heading so your H1 tag should be your headline. In the case of Widgets Android, my headline may be Widgets Android.  Now just like making a word a link you can also make words an H1 Tag. It varies from web builder to web builder but there is always a tutorial on youtube for tagging in your builder platform. After you tag your headline, make sure you tag your subheadings H2 and so on. Also, make sure you use your keyword in a  few of your subheadings as well.

A Page Title is Important in SEO

Now you need to Title your page in whatever your website builder uses for SEO. There are too many builders for me to address them all I would suggest going to youtube and entering how to add SEO title to whatever type of builder website you are using. Once you learn this simply enter your keyword first then a spacer like a capital I or a colon. An example might be Widgets Android: Joes Widget Shop. This is the headline you see when you search for something on Google or Bing.

Meta Description aka Snippet

Under the title, you see in a search result there is also a little blurb about the page. This is called many things, but the proper name is META DESCRIPTION. When I set up a page I usually make the first paragraph around the keyword so I simply copy and paste a small section around 155 characters including spaces and letters. Make sure the meta description has the keyword in it. A good example would be “if you are looking for Android Widgets you have come to the right place. We have many of the best widgets for your Android call us today at 888-555-9999”.

Load Time Matters

Many new website builders do not realize that a slow loading website will suffer in search engine rankings. So my suggestion is to keep your web page simple. If you use photos make sure they are not too big. You can optimize your photos free with Canva. I would strongly recommend not using video as it always slows download times. Once your site is up and running you can check page speed free with GT Metrix and it will also tell you what is slowing things down. Keep in mind animation and many other cool website plug-ins slow things down too. You may need to keep your website a bit boring to look at, but at least it can be found.

Cover all Variations

Now if you have followed my instructions you have a website that can be found for your subject. There is however a lot more work to do. Now you need to create pages for variations. Say that there is a high demand for Widgets Android in Miami Florida. Let’s say the keyword Widgets Android Miami is entered 1000 times per month. I would build a new page that also targets that keyword. If you are serious about reaching everyone it is going to take a lot of work, but the rewards are obvious.

Google Search Console

One important tool in your quest to be found in Google search console and Bing Webmaster tools. There are online tutorials to set these up so I will just leave that there. Once set up you can monitor your website and make sure it is indexed. Simply put it means your site has been crawled and exists in Google and Bing. Also, you need to submit your site map to Google and Bing for a number of reasons. Make sure all that is done too.

Back Links

Backlinks play a major role in the authority or ranking of your website. But all backlinks are not created the same because there are good backlinks and there are bad backlinks.  You may be wondering what exactly are backlinks. Simply put they are links from another website to your website. To explain the difference between good and bad backlinks we need to consider the source. A good backlink may be from a publication that motioned your company in an article. A bad backlink might be from a random page that has absolutely nothing in common with the subject of your page. We call good backlinks white hat and bad backlinks black hat or spam.  Building whitehat backlinks are a slow and laborious process. It involves writing to bloggers, calling news journals, and applying for listing on certain pages. But as I said at the onset it plays a major role in the authority of your site, so it must get done.

In conclusion, you do not need a college degree to learn basic SEO. It will take a lot of patience and reverse engineering of successful websites in your industry. It does however take a lot of time and there is much more I did not cover here, but you can succeed if you follow the basic map I have laid out for you here. If you need more help feel free to drop me a line dtroiano@marketprosdigital.com or give me a call at 844-614-9400.

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