SEO for Beginners

Great website designers take the minimal SEO steps on your website to help you get better ranking.  If you’re hiring out to build your website ask if they follow and implement basic SEO into your site.  It’s in your and their best interest to ensure it.  Every designer puts a link back to their website at the bottom or your page if your page isn’t being seen it’s not doing them any good.

Building or Maintaining Your Own Website

If you’re going to continue adding content or blogs to your site there are a few SEO steps you can take.

Begin with writing your content like you’re having a conversation.  In 2014 Google changed their algorithms once again and they will continue to do so.  This time the fine line between keyword stuffing and actual blogging has disappeared.  Google and most other prominent search engines are interested in real conversational content or as they call it copy.  Adding keywords relevant to your site just to add them is frowned upon.  You don’t have to use the same word repeatedly.  Google’s sophisticated algorithms are coded to look for synonyms; words with a similar meaning.  Basic guideline is to have a minimum of 300 words, use an image, add a link and keep it simple.  Here’s are explanations to all that.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are words that people use to search for what they want.  If you’re a hair stylist your keywords would be hair salon, stylist, hair cut, colorist, etc.. When you are creating your website you will want to focus on one main keyword for each page/post.  Repeating a keyword throughout multiple pages is just another red flag.

Be Yourself When Writing

Let your personality show through your text.  Write as if you’re talking with a client or customer that has never heard of you.  Best practice is to write at a 6th grade reading level.  Understand that not everyone who reads your content knows about you or your content.  You’re not insulting anyone.  Unless you’re target market is people with a masters or a doctorate, those complicated words won’t intrigue anyone and only makes your Flesch-Kincaid readability difficult.  Your website should be a digital copy of you.

Write it like an essay

Remember back in school when you had to have an intro and three bullet points and a conclusion?  You had a title, main points and wrapped it up at the end.  Writing for SEO is the same way.  Your title is your header and should be coded as H1.  Your paragraph or bullet point headers are H2 and so forth.  Notice in this post how I have the largest font on top as the header then my points get the smaller fonts. You can easily define them in WordPress by highlighting what you’re wanting to make a header and then chose from the drop down menu above either H1, H2, H3, etc…

Using WordPress is very much like Microsoft Word program.  You have all the editing capabilities you would when typing a paper for class or a report for work.  Make a few words throughout your copy bold.  Underline what you want to emphasis to your readers.  Search engines use these when indexing which also improves your SEO.

Link, Link, Link

Links are great for SEO.  Link to posts or pages within your own site.  Link to other websites, link back to your Facebook or Twitter account.  Don’t over do the links but when they are relevant then use them.  If you notice a few paragraphs up I linked to the Flesch-Kincaid readability Wikipedia page.  It was relevant.  It allowed people to learn more about what I was talking about and it’s part of the SEO process to it’s relevant to keywording.  The best thing that can happen is that someone with a highly indexed page on the popular search engines links your site on theirs.  People achieve that by guest blogging, asking a friend or family member that has that type of a site or manually adding your site to directories.  The first is the most effective and best for online marketing.

Installing an SEO plugin

You can install an SEO plugin like Yoast, to help keep you on target.  Their page analysis will remind you when you need to add an image, if your keywording is too small or too large, if you’ve used the keyword more than once, if you have inbound or outbound links, etc…  It’s very simple to install and will show up on each page to help guide you through the process.  You can add specific descriptions for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ or let the program use what you’re written as your meta description.

These are just some basics to get you started and help you climb the search engine ladder.  Understand that this is an organic approach and that success with this isn’t instant.  The time you’ve owned your website/domain name is a factor as well.  Just stick to it and please don’t fall victim to people or companies that claim they can get you to the top in a week, month or months.  They can but staying there is the challenge.  IF your site is flagged for keyword stuffing you’ll be removed completely and the only person that suffers is you.  So be patient, get out there on social media, join the chamber of commerce, ask your friends and family to share with anyone they know that would be interested, write a guest blog.  It’s not painful or difficult… it’s just a process.

Just so you know.  I add SEO and Yoast to every website I build.