If you are new to the blogging world, you may hear the term SEO being thrown around from time to time. Well, actually, a lot of the time. But what is SEO? And why should it matter to you? Simply put, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and means that you optimise your site to allow search engines like Google to find you. But don’t worry, SEO for beginners doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
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Why worry about SEO?
The landscape of search engine optimisation is always changing. That worn old SEO map with the creases and food stains on it you got a few years ago might not be completely relevant anymore. Just like a roadmap from the 70’s, some things are going to be outdated after time.
Certain elements of good SEO remain the same, however, other parts of the algorithms have to be updated to keep spammers from ruling the Internet. No one likes the spammers. It is good SEO practice to keep on top of the algorithm changes from time to time.
Luckily, one thing that will never change is the need for content that’s real and delivers what people want. If you don’t have good content, you’re going to see your sites affected now and in the future.
Traffic is the pre-requisite for any successful business. Just like how a typical brick and mortar shop needs people walking around to see their shop, an online business needs eyeballs as well.
The problem is that for many new entrepreneurs, they lack the financial budget or know how to generate tons of traffic for their businesses. But you need not fear, this epic SEO for beginners low down is sure to help you kick the overwhelm to the curb like a creepy ex-lover.
SEO for Beginners
One of the good things about SEO marketing is that it has the ability to create free, passive traffic. Which means you’ll be getting traffic without having to actively be there. Which, let’s face it, is pretty choice. No one likes sitting on their computers 24/7 begging people to come and look at their site. That screams desperation.
What is SEO?
The essence of SEO marketing is that traffic generation relies on the optimisation of web content to draw free traffic through search engines such as Uncle Google. Google is the biggest search engine in the world with millions of searches going on daily. By tapping into SEO, you can be positively drowning in traffic.
People rarely look past the first page of search engines. We are lazy creatures after all. So the aim of the SEO game is to get your website/page/post on the first page of Google for search terms relevant to your niche. For example, if you are in the doughnut business (FYI, if you are, I like doughnuts and I’m not opposed to people sending me things…), you want your page to show first when people ask all their doughnut related questions and queries.
The better you are at SEO, the more traffic and (hopefully) the more sales you will get.
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Keyword research is an essential part of SEO. I can hear you thinking, “Oh Jeeeem, not more research?!” I know, I know. This research is well worth the time though. Pinky promise.
Keyword Research Step One:
First things first, you need to arm yourself with information. What keywords are the most sought after in your niche? Use those in your content authentically. Please don’t, whatever you do, just use keywords spammingly (totally a word) or just cause everyone else is using them.
People aren’t silly, well, the majority of people aren’t silly and will be able to see right through you as though you were a ghost. Or a window. Something transparent anyway.
You can target long-tail keywords as well as shorter ones. Long-tail keywords are keywords with 4 or more words in them such as, ‘best SEO marketing books on Amazon’. See? Long.
Long-tail keywords often have very little competition so it makes good SEO sense to have a little mixture of short and long keywords.
Where to do keyword research:
Ok, so you know why you need to do keyword research. But where on earth can you find out what keywords are ranking in your niche?
There is this handy tool called Google Adwords Tool you can use. Best of all, it is a free tool (yus!). If you have a Google account, go ahead and use that to log in.
The winning formula for good keywords are:
- High search volume
- Low competition
(Don’t get them mixed up. You don’t want a high competition and a low search volume)
As a general rule of thumb, getting more than about 1000 organic searches a day is a good bet for a highly searched keyword.
You can even do cool shizz with Google Ads like checking out competition by country. You might have a country-specific keyword so you want to see how that keyword ranks in that particular country. I do this with my hiking website as the majority of my audience are New Zealanders and the hikes I do are in New Zealand.
Once you have found your keywords:
Choose your relevant keywords and work them into your content Authentically and Naturally. Note the bold and caps? That’s coz I want you to take particular attention to those words. They are important words to keep in mind over your blogging journey.
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As mentioned earlier, SEO is the art of getting your web content highly optimised so that Google “likes” it. So how do we optimise your website?
The two types of SEO
There are two type of optimisation techniques: Onsite optimisation and Offsite optimisation. Onsite optimisation deals with the things you can tweak and modify on your own website to make it more relevant to Google searches.
Offsite optimisation deals with interactions with websites outside of your own. This could be in the form of getting backlinks or social interactions, which we will go into more detail later.
The SEO trends are constantly evolving. That is because people are constantly finding ways to exploit SEO and make their websites on top of the search ranks. But Google is a smart company, and they have a team who constantly evolves Google’s algorithm to make sure that searches remain relevant and not bring spam sites in front.
People who exploit SEO in the wrong way are called “Black hat SEO” artists and their practices should be avoided at all costs. SEO is one place where black isn’t flattering on all.
Onsite optimisation deals with the things you can edit on your own website to make your web content more likeable by Google.
This is where keywords are your weapon. Every page should have about 0.5 – 2.5% keywords density. So sprinkle your keywords where it’s due but don’t overdo it.
For total optimisation, keywords or key phrases should be present in the titles of blog posts, the first sentence of the first paragraph and also at least once in the body.
Keywords should also be bolded or italicized every now and then. Links should be worded with anchor text links (keywords and phrases).
Internal links are highly recommended. This means linking your blog posts and pages together if they are relevant. You want to spread your own links throughout all your posts if you can. This will also help your bounce rate as people will stick around on your website. See what I did there? Added an internal link. Boom!
You can optimise your images for SEO as well. Since Google can’t tell what your images are about, you need to tell Google yourself by adding an alternative text to your images.
You can do this when you are editing your page or post in the WordPress editor. Simply click the little pencil and add your alternative text (with your keyword included). Easy peasy.
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Offsite optimisation deals with the stuff outside your website that can contribute to SEO. One of the main components of offsite optimisation is getting backlinks.
A backlink is basically someone else’s website linking to you. Pages with higher page rank that link back to you give more Google Juice (the good kind of juice). The key is to get as many high page rank, relevant websites linking back to you.
Quality over quantity, ’nuff said.
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Advanced SEO Tricks
Okay, so we have covered the basics of SEO domination. Let’s look at some advanced techniques for boosting your Page Rank.
Tagging, Categories & Organizing
Tagging, categorising and organising your blog posts helps a long way and can greatly improve your SEO rankings. If you use WordPress you can easily manage your posts and organise them accordingly. You want to organise your posts into relevant categories and add tags.
This will also help the readability of your website. Your readers will be able to navigate your website with ease and without a complicated map. Which is important, you don’t want your readers to get frustrated when trying to find something, give up then leave.
Related Pages Plugin
Plugins like these work great if you are blogging and help users navigate your site better, as well as create a ton of onsite links within your website.
Create a Mini Sitemap
This is great for helping people (as well as Google spiders) navigate your map and creates a ton of mini links. If you are unsure how to make a sitemap I happen to have a handy post that will help you add your website to search engines annnd make a sitemap.
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SEO Mistakes To Avoid
SEO marketing can be a very powerful tool for generating massive passive traffic. But if you use it incorrectly, you’ll end up doing more harm than benefits. Here are some SEO marketing mistakes you should avoid at all cost:
- Over-doing the keywords. If you put too many keywords in your article for SEO purposes, you’ll end up coming off as spam by Google and this will hurt your rankings.
- Dabbling with black hat SEO techniques. Black hat techniques are banned or unethical practices. These techniques can get you banned or “Google Slapped” so that you will never get a good ranking. Black Hat SEO techniques include buying links, keyword stuffing, sneaky redirects, poor quality or copied content that doesn’t give the promised answers,
- Not having good coding. If you are designing your website yourself and mess up the coding in your website, Google spiders won’t be able to read your site efficiently and this can hurt your rankings as well. Having a good quality theme will help with this. Bluchic has beautiful, feminine clean themes that are worth the investment if you are to take your business seriously. I personally use Bluchic themes (this one is the Isabelle theme).
- Becoming a link farm. Getting backlinks are important but if you get a ton of useless backlinks from irrelevant spammy sites or use “link getting software” you’re doing yourself a disservice. You want quality links.
In short, success in SEO marketing lies in sticking to good SEO practices and avoiding silly mistakes. There are no shortcuts to success! Don’t forget, content is king so you have to place a huge focus on this while not overlooking the small stuff.
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SEO – The Way To Passive Traffic
SEO-ing your web content is a great way to generate easy traffic. That being said, you won’t get traffic instantly by writing a few blog posts.
The process of traffic building via SEO marketing is a long one, and you’ll have to consistently produce good web content which meets standards and also is up to date with relevant information. You can get there though. Be consistent, put out good quality content and do your research.
SEO for Beginners Tips to Remember:
- Not only should you have quality content on all of your sites and content that’s more than a few words, but you should also focus on your social media content. This is an often overlooked virtual real estate that’s prime for SEO strategies.
- Pay attention to customer feedback – the comments, questions and suggestions can help you gear your SEO toward what today’s customers are looking for. You can use their tips to better your SEO.
- No matter how tempting it is, don’t try to figure out a way to beat the new SEO rules. It will only come back to bite you in the end and you’ll lose valuable time as well as opportunities for business growth.
- Build genuine relationships with those who work for online newspapers or news organizations. Build relationships with experts in your niche, with bloggers and others who will talk about your business. Don’t build relationships with others purely as an SEO means. They will see right through you, but the object is to build a genuine relationship with others and one day you may be able to scratch each other’s backs. This is a way of building natural SEO links, brand awareness and more. It’s important because credible sites talking about your site gives more authority to your business.
- You must be mobile savvy when it comes to SEO if you’re not already.
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SEO for beginners doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Break it down and tick off one task at a time. You got this!!
Traffic generation is a tedious process but can be enjoyable if you have the passion to learn and give to your followers. SEO marketing is a great way, especially for young businesses on a shoestring budget to get their niche business up and running.
A smart marketer knows how to utilise all sorts of traffic generation options. Perhaps with the money made from your passive SEO traffic, you might want to invest in some paid traffic methods so to double your traffic and double your profits.
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