The Beginner’s Guide To SEO

Posted / 21 February, 2015

Author / Enginess

person using google

Here are some quick and dirty guidelines to help you optimize your website for a better ranking position (and a better experience for your users).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge web of conflicting views, retracted opinions, updates, algorithms, and heated debate.

Here are some quick and dirty guidelines to how you can optimize your website for a better ranking position (and a better experience for your users).

What is SEO?

At the end of the day, search engine optimization is the process of making sure your content shows up first when someone googles the relevant product or service. (for this post, we’re going to refer to search engines as Google, first because it’s just easier and second because, well, let’s be honest – they’re really the only game in town).

Obviously, how to make sure that your company turns up right there at the top, instead of buried four pages deep, is absolutely crucial. In fact, entire companies (albeit small ones) are made or broken according to SEO and Google’s algorithm.

Back in the day, SEO meant two things:

  1. Building lots of links
  2. Loading your content with keywords
Fortunately for users, while those are still important (more on them later), they’ve become much less so as Google focuses far more on sites with quality content.

So in this new era of Google algorithmic magic, what can you do to make sure your site ranks well?  

Produce good content

This is the number one thing you can do to make sure your website ends up top of mind for Google searchers, and for so many reasons.

First, Google is sophisticated enough now to recognize good content, so they know if you’re producing absolute rubbish.

Second, with the aforementioned demise of keyword stuffing, something has had to take that place in the Google algorithm – and that something was content. Producing fresh content all the time will help you rank well, since Google takes into account dynamic vs static web content.

But all that aside, producing good content is going to be good for your site because it’s going to be useful for your users.

Remember: the goal of your website isn’t just to get people there – it’s to get people to purchase your product or service. Good content will drive conversions. It’s as simple as that.

Optimize for local

Some companies aren’t local, and if that’s the case give this a miss. But for most organizations, there’s an office, a geographical base of operations that relevant to your customers. Use that.

People want to work with people close by, so you should make yourself easy to find to those close to you. And since users want to work with people close by, Google wants to make those close by easy to find.

In 2014, Google changed its algorithm to make local searches come right up to the top. Fortunately, there are a couple things you can do to make this nice and easy (again, this is only for Google).

  • Make a local business profile
  • Categorize your business correctly
  • Fill out all your contact info – name, address, phone
  • Get reviews for your business (if you can – it’ll help, but it’s not essential)
  • Get your contact info on your website – name, address, phone
Those are just a few tips on how to show up in local searches. One really easy way to improve your web presence from a local perspective is try and find a product or service yourself that you want local.

Imagine you’re looking for a maid. What do you Google? Do you add in your city, or your suburb to the search (e.g.Maid Services Toronto)? What do the snippets say that grab your attention?

Compile that information and incorporate it back in your own digital properties, and see if your local hits and conversions improve.

Use keywords correctly

There’s a lot of conflicting information on what to do with keywords, and lot of questions about them.

If you’re using AdWords, do you buy high-ranking keywords? Should you incorporate them into your H1 headings? Do you use them with meta tags? Should your content use them? If so, how many?

Unfortunately, none of these questions have hard and fast answers. If you have 100 keywords on your homepage, you’re not guaranteed the #1 search result. At the same time, having absolutely none will hurt your rankings too.

To get a better idea of how to optimize your keywords, you need to think about their function. Since Google can’t read our minds, keywords are a way for them to see what a webpage is about. Once upon a time, this could be easily manipulated. But now, Google can recognize when they’re being abused or ‘stuffed’ into content.

So, the best way to use keywords is naturally. If it makes sense in your H1 headings, then use them in your H1 headings. If you’re maintaining a blog on your website, it might be worth looking at AdWords to get an idea of what your desired customers are looking for, and incorporating 1-2 into each post.

Or better yet, use that information to write really useful content!  

The key to keyword optimization is to be natural. Use them when they work, don’t worry about it when they don’t. If you do that, you should be absolutely fine.

 

Key Takeaway

SEO is a big bundle of confusion for companies, web teams, and users. There’s always going to be attempts to ‘crack’ SEO to benefit a particular strategy or group. But the best possible way, again and again, to be top of the Google ranking is to just be really useful to your users.

If you do that, everything else will fall into place.

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