What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear SEO? Boring? Complicated? Technical?
If you have a blog or a website then you are more than likely to be aware how important SEO is for ranking high up in Google searches and therefore increasing traffic to your website. However chances are that the whole thing may seem intimidating but I’m here today to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.
First of all I need to point out that SEO is most definitely not something that you do once and then never touch it again. SEO is a long term marketing activity that requires consistency but it doesn’t need to be time consuming.
So what exactly is SEO?
There are so many explanations available for what SEO is that I’m not surprised people who are new to SEO and marketing find it complicated. Not to mention that the factors relating to SEO are constantly changing (Google likes to keep things interesting!).
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation so essentially what you need to do is Optimise your website for Search Engines. In search results, Google displays links to web pages that it considers relevant, up to date and authoritative. These are the three main terms you need to think about when working on SEO and I’m going to explain to you in this article how you can get started in doing so.
Note: I’m going to refer to Google throughout this post as they are the main search engine however it’s also good to bare in mind others such as Bing and Yahoo.
How do I get started with SEO?
Step 1 – Submit Your Website to Google
The first thing you need to do if you haven’t already is to let Google know you exist. You can do this by submitting your website to Google. Simply head to Google and type in the search bar ‘submit URL to Google’.
Step 2 – Set Up Webmaster Tools
Webmaster Tools is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence and performance in Google Search results. Whilst it’s not a requirement that you sign up for Webmaster Tools in order for your website to be included in Google Search results, it’s worth doing so to understand how Google views your site.
If you have a Google account then you will already have a Webmaster Tools account. Simply visit this link and add your website as a property. You will then be asked to verify your site.
Step 3 – Add Your Sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools
Providing Google with your sitemap allows it to better crawl, index and navigate your site. If you are using WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin then it’s easy to get access to the link for your sitemap. Under the SEO menu on the left hand side of your WordPress dashboard, click on XML Sitemaps. Then click on the link next to Your XML Sitemap. Your sitemap will then open in a new window. You now need to copy this URL into Google Webmaster Tools.
From your search console home screen click on your domain to access your dashboard. From the left hand menu click the arrow next to Crawl and then click Sitemaps. Click the red Add/Test Sitemap button in the top right and paste your URL in here. For WordPress SEO users it’s normally sitemap_index.xml. Click the blue Submit button and it’s done, easy as that.
Step 4 – Create high quality, relevant content
Content is the single most important part of any website. When crawling your site Google looks at the quality, relevancy and frequency of your content. It’s therefore important to ensure that you are consistent in updating your website and that you don’t simply leave it once it has been created. This is where a blog comes in.
By having a blog on your website, not only are you showing potential clients that you know what you are talking about but if you are writing about subjects relevant to your industry and business then Google will see that as a high ranking factor and will therefore put you above your competitors.
It’s important to remember that when writing content for your blog you are writing for people and not search engines. Long gone are the days where you need to fill your blog posts with keywords relating to the subject of your post. You need to write content that appeals to people and this will mean you will naturally start to boost your SEO rankings.
Step 5 – Complete Basic On-Site Optimisation
There are basic optimisation techniques that you need to complete on your websites main pages, including and especially the homepage.
Title Tag – The title tag on your website tells search engines and visitors what the page is about. Keep this to 70 characters including blank spaces.
Meta Description – The meta description on your pages gives search engines and website visitors a little more insight into what your page is about. You can see an example of my title tag and meta description below.
If you are using WordPress then adding title tags and meta descriptions to your pages is easy with the use of free plugins such as Yoast SEO.
So there you have it, the very basic elements of SEO that are easy to implement but will be very effective in boosting your search engine ranking and therefore increasing organic visitors to your website. If you’re looking for help with SEO then check out my SEO Services.