Search Engine Optimization Basics – Boot Camp for SEO Beginners
1. What are Search Engines Are Looking For?
Search engines work by referring users to websites and content that is the most “relevant” to the keywords the user is typing into the search engine.
So how is relevancy determined?
• Content: Is determined by the theme that is being given, the text on the page, and the titles and descriptions that are given.
• Performance: How fast is your website? Does it work properly?
• Authority: Does your website have enough good content to link to? Do other authoritative sites use your website as a reference or cite the information that’s available?
• User Experience: How does the website look? Is it easy to navigate around? Does it look safe? Does it have a high bounce rate?
2. What Search Engines Are NOT Looking For
Search engines have only a certain amount of data storage, so if you’re performing ugly Search Engine Optimization tactics and trying to trick them, you are going to get caught. Practices the search engines don’t want include:
• Keyword Stuffing: Unnatural use of keywords on your pages.
• Purchased Links: Buying links will get you in trouble when it comes to SEO. Don’t!
• Poor User Experience: Make it easy for the user to maneuver around your site. Making it difficult for visitors to find the content they’re looking for will force visitors to look else ware and leave your website.
3. Know Your Business Model
So many businesses forget to focus on what their main goals are. You need to ask yourself:
• Who is your target audience?
• What defines a conversion for you?
• What are your goals?
• Do you know your assets and liabilities?
4. Don’t Forget to Optimize for Your Brand
Keyword strategy should also extend to social media, advertising and email, which is why you should also be thinking about branding. These branding platforms include:
• Offline, such as radio and TV ads
Be consistent with keywords and keyword phrases within your branding: it will not only help your branding efforts, but also train potential clients to use specific keywords you’re optimizing for.
5. Be Consistent With Domain Names
The proper domain naming is also important to your overall foundation, you are better off using a sub-directory root domain (www.example.com/mycompany) versus sub-domains (www.mycompany.example.com). Additional best practices with your domain names include:
• New is Not Always Better: Old domains are better than new ones, but if you’re buying an old domain, make sure that the previous owner didn’t do anything shady to cause the domain to get penalized.
• Keywords in URL: Having keywords in your domain will only help your overall efforts.
6. Content is King!
Best Search Engine Optimization = Content! Blog and write as much new content as you can. Search Engines need to know what you are about. Don’t forget to use keywords and hyperlinks with the page/post.
Create rich media content like video and images. It is easier to get a video to rank on the first page than it is to get a plain text page to rank.
7. Focus on Your Meta Data
Your content on your site should have title tags and meta descriptions. Your meta descriptions should be unique and reference that specific page. Do not not use generic or duplicate meta descriptions from page to page, this will not help your SEO.
Title tags should be unique! Your title tag is similar to a 4-8 word ad. Do your best to entice the visitor so they want to stay on your site and read more.
Skipping the SEO Basics will only leave your website’s foundation a mess and prevent you from reaching that sweet, sweet organic spot on the first page of the search engines.
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