A Beginner’s Guide to SEO

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SEO – “Search Engine Optimisation” can be a daunting unknown, especially for start ups and new bloggers and tends to become one of those things that “we’ll look into later”. What is it and what do I need to know? They key is to start small, and thankfully Gina is on hand to share a few simple, yet effective ways to face it head on…

SEO. We know, for many that’s a term we’d prefer to avoid.

While we’re the first to admit that SEO can be dizzying (and at times it seems the more you learn, the more complex and difficult to grasp it can be), we live in an era where there are more blogs and websites than ever before and it can no longer be ignored.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of enhancing a webpage or website to improve its visibility in unpaid search engine results.

So what is the process and how can you improve your website ranking?

That’s a difficult and complex question to answer… in fact there are people who have dedicated a career to SEO (known as SEOers).

Today we are going to just skim the surface of that question by giving you a simple framework for SEO. We’re calling it our five golden rules to get you started with SEO in 2015.

Follow these five rules each time you create new content and you will be well on your SEO way!

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1. Know your focus

Each webpage or article should have a focus, known as your keywords – a conversational word or phrase that the page is about. Before you start writing content, you should know your focus and set the keywords.

Once you have your keywords, it’s important they appears in the following places:

  • title of the page or article
  • webpage URL
  • body of the page (in headings and higher up in the body have more weight. They should appear at least once or twice but not too often or you will be seen as trying to artificially improve your SEO)
  • alt tags of images and videos
  • meta description.

2. Quality content

Now that you know the focus of the article or webpage you want to create, it’s time to write original and engaging content!

Each article or webpage should be at least 300 words in length. That may seem like an easy target to reach but often we find ourselves stumped at the 150-200 word mark – especially on pages like ‘Contact us’ where we only want to provide a contact form, address or phone number.

If you find yourself struggling to write more, think about writing the ‘who, what, when, where, how’ of the topic.

With a bit of creativity, it’s always possible to reach the 300 word goal while still keeping the content interesting and relevant.

Remember the saying ‘Content is king’? Well in 2015, ‘Content is still king’!

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3. Add rich media

Add photos, illustrations (like infographics), videos, podcasts or other rich media to your website (and remember to add your keywords in the alt tag).

Not only will adding rich media help optimize your page or article, it will also help improve your marketing in two ways.

Last month we talked about harnessing the power of visuals to drive traffic to your website and turning your audience into your army of marketers. If you have appealing images on your website, your readers will be encouraged to take these away and share them with their networks on social media – helping to improve inbound links!

Visuals also play an important role in converting your audience from social media to your website. Think about your own behavior on social media. It’s most likely the posts that catch your attention are accompanied by a funny, beautiful or interesting image or video. Rich content generally gets higher engagement than text-only posts and will attract your audience to click through to your website.

4. Link building

Inbound links (links from other websites to yours) and outbound links (links from your website to others) will help improve your website ranking – just remember to do this in an authentic way!

If Google discover you have taken part in artificial link builders, i.e. those companies that promise you a number one Google ranking for a price or syndicated link building sites, you will be punished for violating their link scheme guidelines.

The Moz has a great beginners guide on how to create a link building strategy. Link building is seen as a way of determining your topic relevancy. The number of internal and external links will also demonstrate your influence to search engines.

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5. Be human

The most important part of the optimization process is to remember to put your audience first and to always be human.

Use conversational language that your audience would use when talking about (or searching!) for your products and services.

You will never outsmart Google and using black hat SEO methods (aka super aggressive SEO methods that violate their terms of use) to achieve higher ranking can lead to serious consequences.

If you follow our five golden SEO rules, you will be on the right path to improving your SEO in 2015.

Remember, the most important thing about SEO is just starting… you won’t be able to optimize every page on your website overnight but over time you will create a more valuable and user-friendly website that search engines will recognize you for and rank you higher.

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