What is SEO?
If you're new to blogging, discover these basic SEO practices
If fact, if you choose to ignore the basics, your website will not rank well, and you’ll find yourself asking the same question, over and over again, what is SEO?
I’m not an expert, and I won’t pretend to be, but below is a basic guide to SEO. It will help you to get started and avoid paying somebody a lot of money, just to do something you can do yourself. You also have to remember that SEO is just part one method of obtaining traffic to your website or blog. If you rely on this alone, you’re in for a long haul.
Before you continue reading, I will always ask people, how do you track your results? This is a basic requirement for any website, regardless of whether you have an online business or a blog. Without seeing results, how do you expect to improve on your current performance?
So, first thing first, if you haven’t already, go and open a Google Account then sign-up to their Analytics and Console (formally webmaster tools) tools. Once you have read this post, I suggest making those two recommendations a top priority before implementing any of the following.
Of course, there are other providers, but I like Google and use Google a lot so that’s why I’m recommending them. Now, let’s get started and start from the top.
Your URL title is one of the first things you will choose when setting up a new post or page, so getting this right is essential.
It needs to contain the keyword(s) you are going to be using throughout your post. This is the first clue in letting search engines they have come across what somebody is searching for.
When writing your title, it needs to be written like this…
…but if you’re using a platform such as WordPress, Once you have made the relevant settings, it will automatically do this for you. This is a very basic, and yet effective, way to making sure your post get the best start. Please don’t ignore it.
The head tag is quite simply the title of your post. Nothing difficult about that, right? Well, you’d be surprised at how many people even get this wrong.
First of all, you need your keyword(s) to be written within your title. For this post, I have gone with a long-tailed keyword (what is SEO?) and used it as the actual title of this post.
As this post goes on, you’ll also understand the importance of good keyword research. If researching keywords is new to you, there are plenty of free online tools such as Google Adwords. If you’re going to use the Google tool, you will need a Google account.
Next, you’ll need to ensure your post title is written in Head Tag 1. All website software programmes should give you this option and is easy to apply. I can never understand why people choose to ignore this, unless of course, they are not aware how important this. In WordPress, you just select Heading 1 in the drop-down menu bar.
Finally, once you’ve done that, highlight your title again and select the bold button. Although your title won’t look any different, the HTML code will. It will go from this…
All that change from one little action. Anyway, the point of doing this; if you look at the second image, you’ll discover the word ‘strong’.
So, choose your link words wisely and don’t go wasting time by adding valuable links to words like ‘click here’.
We all sit back and read our own work, checking it for grammar and spelling mistakes and that it reads well. Some might even make sure it contains information our followers and readers would want to read.
But, what after doing all of that, it turns out, your post is unreadable? Enter the readability test. To ensure that your post is readable, you will need to run it through a free reading test tool such as the one you can find on read-able.com.
Whilst it is a consideration, it’s not much to worry about as most of us that blog will write to a certain standard. However, if you’re a person that writes to a high standard of literature, then this may be something to look into.
Subheadings should be written in head tag two or three. They should also, where possible, contain your chosen Keyword(s).
Now, with that said, it’s not essential, just beneficial. However, it does tie in nicely with my next point, Keyword density.
Most people will know already that your page/post is marked on its content and the keywords that it contains. Too many, and you get penalised for ‘keyword stuffing’, not enough, and your page won’t rank well. So, how is it judged?
Well, it’s called Keyword Density and this too is worked out by using a sum. Let’s say you write a post that’s a thousand words long, and in that post, your keyword appears twenty times. We do this simple sum and look for an answer that’s between 0.015% and 0.02%
20 ÷1000 = 0.02%
Many people will tell you different things about what’s acceptable and what’s not. Because of this, you may be better off using a free tool like this one from SEO Book. It’s great for getting you started and keeping you on the right track.
Most people miss this out, yet it’s so important these days. When you add an image to your post, make sure you label it. Make sure you write an alt attribute for it that is, of course, keyword rich.
So far, I have only heard of one reason for doing this. I can’t say that it’s correct, but it makes sense, so I’m going with it.
Apparently, blind people have special tools that read out the content of a post. When the pictures are labeled, the description is read out too. This means posts that have labeled their images will be ranked above those that haven’t.
As I said, I can’t be sure if this is true but it makes sense to me and therefore I’m going with it.Of course, if you know any different, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below.
There are a few types of links, internal, anchor, external and back links. All are very important.
Remember not to waste your links by writing ‘click here’. Write that all important keyword instead. You might also want to consider, the more links your post has, the better.
There is a lot more to hyperlinks than I have mentioned, but I don’t know enough about them to pass on. When you’re feeling confident and have a bit of time, I suggest looking them up. You’ll soon understand why I’ve left this info short and to the point.
By now, you would have discovered how important keywords are. Over the years, people have tried getting around research and hard work by ‘keyword stuffing’ their articles and posts, just to get noticed.
I have even known of cases where people have written a whole list of keywords in white, so you can’t see them but they are there, on the page. But Google picks up 99% of the tricks people try, and eventually, they do get caught.
People write books and dedicate websites to keywords, so I’m not going to have the time nor the expertise to write everything there is to know. How ever, follow these basic rules and you’ll find it’s a great place to start.
Remember: There are no guarantees when it comes to SEO. Getting to the top of the search engines is about hard work, research and determination. Sure, some people are experts on SEO, and once you’ve established yourself, then seek further help. Until then, implement these tips, and providing they haven’t changed again, you’re at a good starting point.
Because every website needs it, SEO is a very profitable business. And like everything, you’ll have to weed out the good from the bad, when it comes to ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’.
If you’re going to pay for somebody to provide you with a service, ask lots of question. Perhaps the most important being, ‘what keywords are you going to use?’ After all, there’s no point in being the top of page one if nobody’s searching using that keyword.
Whilst this guide is only a starting point, it’s a great ‘beginners guide’ into giving you an understanding as what SEO is about. Use it, and you’re one step closer to reaching more readers, followers, clients and customers.
These two books are what I turned to when I started reading endless posts and watching too many videos. They are great as both, a starting point and as reference books. Buy your’s today, I highly recommend them.
Please leave your comments:
What are your experiences with SEO? Are you an expert? Can you leave any tips? How do you find this article? Was it useful?
Please leave your comments in the box below. Thank you.