SEO: Where to Start

Website Tips

The thought of SEO doesn’t usually make bloggers jump for joy! Even those veteran bloggers who have a smooth system of optimizing don’t relish the keyword research. When you’re starting there are SO many questions!

Today we’ll start with a few simple answers. And then provide some next steps in your quest to conquer Google (you can do it!!)

SEO: What is it?

I know you’ll be tempted to skip this part, but a tenuous grasp here puts your whole conquering business down the toilet. I’ll be brief:

  • search engine optimization is about getting to the top of Google
  • the exact algorithm used to discover the ‘top’ sites is a closely guarded and ever changing secret
  • if you try and find new ways of gaming the system, you’ll be penalized
  • SEO is simple: be the best result for the searcher, and Google will find you

3 Things Google is looking for

  1. Relevant to the question
  2. Fresh/recent answer to the question
  3. Authoritative answer

Now go forth and prosper! Ha, keep reading there are in fact a few ways in which we can position your site so it has a good chance of being found.

SEO: How do I do it?

To be found by Google you must be the best answer to a query: relevant, authoritative and fresh. In order for Google to know that you’re the best, you can position yourself in the best light. Do not trick Google: you can’t.

1. Use relevant keywords

Choose to work on being found for select keywords. Choosing the right keywords is the make or break issue for SEO. It is the thing that the rest of these best practices depend on. Read about keywords here.

2. Become an authority

To prove your authority is the lion’s share of SEO work. Several factors play into whether or not you are seen to have authority. Some of them are:

  • the number & quality of inbound links (links going towards your site)
  • your mentions(citations) outside of your domain and social media networks
  • the age of your domain
  • the health of your domain, hosting and website
  • the quality, speed & responsiveness of your website

3. Stay up to date

Your articles and content must be current to be favored by Google. An article from 1980’s about hair cuts isn’t likely what a searcher is looking for. (Unless its Halloween)

4. Use a plugin

WordPress, especially with Genesis and a child theme installed, is pretty well optimized for Google. The extra things you can do after finding your keywords, is to create an attractive “snippet”. This is quite literally the snippet of text that Google shows on results pages. Make the article intriguing and relevant to searchers. The more people that click through, the more Google will recognize that your article is what people are looking for.

5. Text

Add your keywords to a few spots within the text. Don’t use cute words or vernacular – Google is a machine after all! If you’re writing an article about husbands, you can’t use cutesy terms for your Honey Bumkins. Use direct terms that your target audience will be using in the search box in these places:

  • in the first sentence
  • in image alt tags
  • in Headers
  • within the text/copy when it fits
  • in the permalink
  • in the category if it fits

Conclusion

This really is just the beginning of learning SEO. But I would definitely start here and practice on some articles until you get the hang of this.  Then look further into:

How familiar are you with SEO? What would you like us to cover next in this series? We’re here to answer your questions!

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