Beginners Guide to SEO
Welcome to the SEO tutorial for beginners my name is Jon Ohlsson.
Today I’m going to walk you through a beginners guide to what SEO is and what you have to do in order to start ranking your site on Google.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization
That means Google itself is a search engine and they have an algorithm based off over 300 different ranking factors.
Depending on how you SEO your site and it’s content Google’s going to pick that up with its algorithm and rank it accordingly.
How does that work?
I am going to go over the different things you’ll need to know in order for you to start ranking your site higher in the SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages)
The first thing you need to do is figure out your keywords
You can use what most people use which is the Google Keyword Planner and this will let you plug in any keywords that you like.
If you find something that you do like then you can start doing some SEO for those keywords.
So if we’re going to look for “what is SEO” we can put another variation “SEO” we can also put “SEO 2017”.
You’ll be brought to a screen showing the Forecasts for each keyword you typed in. We want to look at the Historical Metrics
These numbers are from Canada only.
You can choose other locations by clicking “Locations” which is just above Forecasts
We have found that SEO has 10,000 to 100,000 average searches per month which is great.
How do we know if we can rank for this now?
In the beginning your going to want to do something called “Long tail keywords”.
What that means is you don’t want to be going for all the keywords everybody else is going for.
You won’t have a chance to rank for general terms if you’re just starting out until you become a little more popular.
For example if you go and search “SEO” in google you’ll see the first page is full of bigger players in the industry such as Neil patel, Moz, Searchengineland, forbes etc.
If you want to see how hard it will be to rank against these site download the Moz Bar Chrome Extention.
This will allow you to see how authoritative these sites are.
(By clicking Link Analysis you can see more information on who is linking to them with Moz site explorer.)
This will help you get ideas for your keywords based off long tail variations.
These long tail keywords may have lower search volume but in the end if you get a lot of high-ranking articles for searches that have long tail variations eventually you’ll become more authoritative in your Niche and you’ll be able to rank for harder keywords.
You can also click on the questions Tab and see the questions related to this keyword.
You might find some more keywords that are easier to target.
Whatever your plan is, doing keyword research is important because you want to see what people are looking for.
If you’re not writing articles around things that people are looking for then you’re going to be losing out on a lot of traffic.
High Quality Content
We’re now going to want to discuss how high-quality and in-depth your content is.
These days in 2018 content that ranks higher is more in-depth, has more words and covers more areas.
Because Google is able to better understand longer articles better. When your content has more depth google will understand your related keywords better.
So if you’re mentioning keywords that are related to your main keywords which is going to happen more often if you have longer forms of content then you’re going to have more keywords to rank for and for google to understand.
You want to make sure you have keywords in your title tags.
The title tag is one of the most important ranking factors you can work on in terms of the things you can control right away.
If your title tag is relevant to your content google is going to be able to understand what you’re talking about much faster, which in turn you’ll start showing up in search.
Next you’ll want to make sure to fill out a Meta description.
This is what shows up right after the title.
Describe your page within 1 or 2 sentences keep it short and sweet but at the same time interesting. Ideally you want this to be 100-150 characters in length.
Make sure your SLUG or URL also contains your keyword(s). You only want to have 2 or 3 words in your ending url otherwise it gets to long and google doesn’t like that.
You want to make sure you have keywords and keyword variations in your ALT tags.
Alt tags is short form of Alt attribute.
Anytime you use an image, be sure to include an ALT tag.
Doing so will provide a clear text alternative of the image for screen readers.
This also helps google identify what the image is.
When I talk about links I’m talking about whether people are linking to you or not.
Whether you’re linking to other parts of your site to show google that the other pages are important and have relevant information.
When writing an article you want to usually have 2-3 links to other pages on your website with relevant information and 2-3 links to other authoritative sites with relevant information.
In terms of getting links to your website, normally called backlinks.
There are numerous strategies of doing this in 2018, from reaching out to local bloggers, to guest posting on other websites.
You want to be careful because you don’t want to have too many links to your site and you also don’t want to go with sketchy private blog networks (PBNs) that a lot of people promote these days.
Make sure that your site’s mobile-friendly.
Mobile-friendly is huge today because over 50% of Google’s users are now using their phones to search, including tablets.
If your site doesn’t respond to different tablet sizes or phone sizes and it’s just the same site on all platforms people are going to the your site and bouncing.
That’s going to be viewed by Google as a bad user experience.
This is one thing that you really want to make sure you do.
Make sure that you have a fast loading speed on your site, anything above about a 3-second loading time doesn’t look good to Google.
You want to make sure that your images are optimized in size and not being resized. They need to be posted at their native size.
Hosting, you want to make sure you have fast hosting and that you’re going with a person or company that provides a service that’s really quick and efficient. (We provide hosting)
Make sure that if you’re doing video or whatever other media you’re putting on your site that it’s going to load fast. This is really important.
Putting Google Analytics on your website is another important thing you’ll want to do.
This will allow you to see where people are coming from, and what kind of user experience they are having on your website.
If people are leaving your site after going there you’ll then need to figure out why. Google analytics will help you do that.
Google Search Console (GSC)
Google search console is what you can put on your site to see how people are interacting with it in terms of the search results so whether or not they’re clicking on your search results what you’re getting impressions for and all that good stuff.
Authority is definitely one of those things that you need to have if you’re going to ranking for something that’s general (Keyword: SEO).
We already talked about this at the start of this article.
If you don’t have the authority in your Niche which means people aren’t linking to you people aren’t interacting with you and you’re not writing a lot about what your saying your an expert in.
If you don’t have that then Google’s not going to be as likely to rank you for the harder terms.
That’s why you start creating long tail keyword variations of more specific queries that people can find you for, before you go to the harder stuff.
Building your authority may take some time and the best way to do it is creating engaging fresh content people want to read.
This way you’ll be shared and linked to.
Getting links to your content by other websites who have higher authority help you gain authority. It’s called passing “Link Juice” from one site to another.
Your content structure is also important
What does your website look like?
- Do you have your homepage?
- Do you have your about page?
- Do you have your your blog page?
- Do you have your contact page?
You can help Google to better understand you when you have the specific pages that it looks for on your website.
It looks for about Pages, it looks for home pages, it looks for contact Pages.
These Pages add to your credibility and you want to make sure that these are filled out well.
Regular updates, the more you update your content the better.
Google is more likely to better understand you in terms of your site when you have more regular updates about what you’re talking about.
They’re going to be crawling your site more frequently if you’re updating your content regularly. Google loves great content.
The more awesome content you produce and update the better you’ll rank.
Social signals are also important.
If you’re updating your content regularly you’ll most likely get more social signals.
Social signals are things such as shares and likes on social media platforms.
Are you sharing to your social media?
If so are those getting interactions?
If you share something on Reddit right now and it gets tons of interactions it will actually help you rank higher.
Images are important multimedia you want to do anything you can to make sure that people aren’t bouncing off your site.
If they’re bouncing off your site and going to your competitors then likely you’re going to be getting lowered in the search results
Schema markup is one of the things lots of beginners miss out on. Schema markup helps Google better understand what you’re talking about.
Schema markup is a code that you can put in your site to specify certain things about you, like whether you’re an organization or a local business.
Do you have a product that you want to have a star rating in the search results for.
Make sure you’re doing schema markup!
Things to watch out for
You need to make sure you don’t have duplicate content on your site. If you keep writing the same things over and over it’s going to look bad.
You’re basically taking your content and putting it in another area of your site. Google likes to see unique content and pages.
What keyword stuffing is, is taking your keywords and putting it in way to many times into your website.
You don’t want your keyword in your page 100 times. 2 – 3 keywords per 1000 words plus some other keyword variations will be your best bet.
Make sure all the content on your website is showing
Don’t try and hide your text.
Make sure it’s visible Google can pick up on that.
HIGH BOUNCE RATES
You’ll be able to see your bounce rates within Google analytics.
If people are coming to your site and leaving right away you need to address that and find out why.
Google will see this as a negative and start to derank you.
This concludes the SEO tutorial for beginners. Thanks for reading!