Looking to get more out of your investment into that new website? We’ve written this article as a quick way to familiarize our non-technical customers and friends with some basic SEO principles. It’s encouraged you to learn these basic SEO practices, to get you started in the process of website promotion. The knowledge gained from this may often help you throughout your business by providing insights into customer behaviors and mindsets. This process can also greatly increase your profits.
Warning! We’ve found that most SEO companies do not provide much benefit to the consumer and ask our readers to practice caution when buying services from others. Often times the price and promises these services provide are greatly exaggerated.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and is the topic of how the search engines (like google) rank pages. Optimization our websites and online activities to improve the ranking and traffic of our sites can lead to increased revenue and higher brand value.
Before we start, lets mention some common pitfalls and rules we should follow.
- No Duplicate Content – It might be easy to do, but copying content from other pages is highly discouraged and may hurt your website placement. Rephrasing and re-writing content is therefor highly recommended.
- Junk in the Sitemap – Make sure your site is free of junk posts. Often this incorporates “test” articles, or unfinished drafts that are produced during the creation of the site. Delete, or unpublish these documents and check the /sitemap.xml to make sure its free of these wasted assets.
- Follow Links – Linking offsite with “Follow” links shares your SEO with those you link to and reduces your page’s page rank. This may mean you’re giving promotion to pages you do not intend to and may even be hurting your own SEO.
- Bad Back-links Hurt – Backlinks with low value may actually hurt you. Utilize only the best backlinks available and check your backlink sources to make sure they give the maximum benifit.
- Poor Quality Content – If your website doesn’t provide value to visitors, then they won’t link or recommend you to others.
1st Step: Build a List of Keywords
The next step to increasing your user engagement and sales starts with a knowledge of your customer. For this, we recommend you build a list of keywords you would like to target. Due to the importance of this step, we’ve written a handy guide on best methods to research keywords.
2nd Step: Onsite Optimizations
We don’t want you investing time or money in a website that might not be ready as this may seriously hurt your site. We therefor recommend a professional audit of the website. Also, we highly recommend you sign up for “Google Webmaster Tools” and see if there are any issues. The ones that show up are critical and should be solved by a trained professional immediately. The process will require file access to the server and can be performed by a trained provider.
One of the best tools to audit a website is with the highly recommended chrome plugin “Lighthouse.” It can be found by downloading and installing Google Chrome Dev tools and can easily give an easy to read rating from 1 to 100. After that, an Audit can easily be run in Chrome by pushing ⠇→ More Tools → Developer Tools then clicking on the tab furthest to the right.
Meta-tags and Sitemap’s
Typically, a well-made site would provide Meta-tag’s and Sitemap’s to your customers automatically from an excerpt of the text. This automated approach is nice, but its best to make custom, targeted teasers for your content. This may even include images that are shown when sharing content with sites like Facebook and Twitter.
With WordPress, this is made easiest with plugins like Yoast or SEO Rush which can provide the sitemap.xml and the ability to maintain the meta descriptions. This is especially important to with pages that have minimum to no readable text to derive a description from.
To see the sitemap.xml, typically we just need to add “/sitemap.xml” to the domain.
After we fix the technical aspects, its time for the next step.
The modern website user is very impatient and won’t be waiting around to read your site. If its slow, you’re likely to loose them. It’s time to hire a professional and get that page speed up.
Last Step: Back Link Generation
We’ve made it to the last step! Generating back links can be very hard to do, but can be the most rewarding. A back link is a link that points to your website and that does not contain a “no follow”. You can see if a link is a “no follow” by looking at the HTML or getting a plugin for the browser. Recommended Plugin: Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Safari.
Quality does matter. Back links are the best way to improve your page ranking but they can be hard to get. Also, it’s important to understand that back links that don’t target your audience or that have an extremely low page rank may actually hurt you. Getting high quality links is the best way to show up on page one! It just can be very difficult.
Typical Methods to Generate Backlinks
Articles or Blogs
Writing articles that are beneficial to your customers is a great way to generate internal back-links while providing content for those looking to link to you.
Join every social network and the groups related to the article you’re posting on. Check the group rules, but many allow for articles to be posted. It’s a great way to get fast, quick traffic to the site. Often, you can submit the same article every month or so and get away from it.
Do some searches for keywords you like. Then talk to the owners of the blogs you find and see if writing an article will give you a back link. Make quality content, or it won’t be worth anything. You may even want to hire writer to do the article then based on your notes. Then proof read the work.
There is strong demand for info graphics, and their usage can include terms for accreditation. This can often entice people to link to your site.
Help a Reporter Out
Another great way to generate backlinks is with the “help a reporter out” (aka HARO) website. It’s a site where people can submit information to reporters and in exchange they provide a backlink to your business. They usually provide back-links
Purchasing back links violates Googles rules and will get you penalized. If caught, you face a website that won’t show up in any searches. None-the less, many utilize this method as its very hard for them to find out. There are marketplaces to purchase these backlinks and you can always find people peddling them on LinkedIn. Don’t invest in low page rank sites, they will only hurt you
Find Broken Links and Suggest Replacement
Through research, you can find high valued broken links on other sites and offer replacements to the owners for ones that point to your resources. This can be done with online scanners that target keywords that benefit your server.
Video’s can entice people to link to your resources and can have a major impact on SEO of their own. In addition, your video’s can often be found on YouTube and other searches that the site may not otherwise link too.