SEO for Beginners - How to implement SEO on Your Website
October 31, 2022
Many website owners struggle with SEO. There’s a bunch of misinformation out on the internet about SEO, and there are tons of companies out there that scam newcomers into buying unneeded products. They want to make it seem incredibly difficult so that they can charge you a lot, but I'll show you exactly how to do it step by step!
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the craft of designing your website in such a way that it ranks high on search engines, namely Google. Google’s page rank system takes its roots from the scientific community. In the scientific community, graduate students and principal investigators publish their findings in a scientific journal. In these articles, they cite previous research which helped their own research. Researchers hope to publish a journal article that has high notoriety and impact. They measure this by a term called impact factor. Depending on what journal the article was published and how many other articles cite the article contributes to their impact factor score. Google and other search engines base their page rankings off of the same principles of “impact factor'' in scientific journal articles. This means that a website that has more links to that website is going to rank higher. Not all websites carry the same authority as other websites. For example, getting a link to your website from forbes.com will carry more weight compared to johnsawesomeblogsite.com.
However at the end of the day, the purpose of all this is to find the “best” website or the most popular website for the words you type in the search bar. This just means we need to make our website as clear and concise as possible and make it clear that we’re popular. We’ll follow a simple process to get that done.
On Page Optimization
The first step is making it clear to Google and other search engines what our site is about. We’re going to first start by determining your long tail keywords which are very exact and intention driven keywords with lower competition. Your site isn’t going to be able to beat super competitive keywords in the beginning, but by being very specific you’re going to get very targeted traffic with much less effort which will build up later and then you can start ranking higher with more competitive keywords.
For example, let’s say you are a videographer. The keyword “music video production in Columbus, Ohio” or “ways to make wedding video look professional” is going to rank higher than just “video producer.” Drilling your website down to a specific area instead of going big and vague means there is less competition and you can rank higher. The larger your scope is, the harder it is for search engines to understand what your website is about.
To find the best keywords for your website, we can use free tools by Google called Keyword Planner and Google Trends.
To use this free tool, you will need to create a Google Ads account. You’ll need to access “expert mode” to get to the tool, which might be unavailable at first. Google makes it extremely difficult to access the tool and Google is going to try to make you start a new ad campaign, suckering you into purchasing an ad campaign. To access it, you need to have your account set to expert mode which should be available when you set up your account. If the link at the bottom of the page to switch to expert mode isn’t available, go ahead and fill the form out to start a new campaign, but don’t hit submit. We’ll get into pay per click ads in another article, but for now we just want to use the tool. Wait for 24 hours and then come back. You should now see a link at the bottom of the first page like this:
Once you're able to access the dashboard, the keyword planner tool is in the tools and settings menu on the top under keyword planner. Once in, click discover new keywords. Enter your keyword and now you have access to search statistics which should help you define what keywords you want to use on your site. Play around with the tool and find keywords that match your business, have low competition, and have high monthly searches. These are the keywords that you will want to incorporate into your website.
Another free tool we can take advantage of is Google Trends. Basically, it shows how popular a keyword has been in a given time period. To access it, simply go to https://trends.google.com/ and enter in a keyword. This tool can help and show if the keywords you’ve chosen have been growing in popularity in the past years.
Below is an example of the keyword flight school near me with it set to the past 10 years in the United States. It can be seen that the keyword has been growing in popularity so now would be a good time to get into the aviation industry compared to 10 years ago.
You can also add another keyword in and compare the two to see which one is more popular than others. Below is an example of the comparison of soccer vs. american football. My location is set to the United States so as expected, you can see that soccer is much more prevalent. You can use this tool to ensure that the keyword you select is more viable than other synonyms in the keyword.
Incorporating these keywords into your website
This part can be a bit technical, but hang in there! We’re going to go through HTML basics which if you already have a website you should know. For any website, the code that makes it up is called HTML. HTML stands for hypertext markup language. Your browser will render this code to display content. Your content is wrapped in tags following this format:
<tag> text and content </tag>
The tags that we want to pay particular attention to is the <title> tag. This tag determines what text will be displayed on the top of your browser page. You’re going to want to make sure your keywords are in the title tag.
Next is the <h1> tag. The H stands for header and there are h1, h2, h3, etc. tags available with h1 being the most important and h2, h3, and so on being less important. Make sure your keywords are in the h1 tag. h2, h3 tags should have synonyms to your keyword if you incorporate them into your site.
All images embedded through the <img> tag should also have the “alt” attribute in the tag and your keywords should be in the alt text. alt text is the text that would show if the image couldn’t be rendered, but it also provides search engines context as to what your image is about.
Make sure there is at least 300 words on your website, otherwise search engines will not crawl your site and they will deem it as unimportant.
Your <head></head> should also include a meta description and title. Code in your <head> will not be rendered on the website, but it does give browsers and search engines critical information about your website. For example, the Tim Jedrek website has this meta code in the head section.
<meta name="title" content="Tim Jedrek - Website Design, E-Commerce, Enterprise Software">
<meta name="description" content="A web development venture assisting small to
medium sized businesses grow through website and software solutions.">
Your URLs should also have the keywords incorporated in them as well. For the Tim Jedrek website, I used this ruby gem to implement this.
WordPress and other CMS have setting to turn on permalinks and slugging which if your pages/posts have the keywords in them, it will make sure the URL also has them.
Next you will need to make sure that you have included a robots.txt file and a sitemap.xml file in the root directory of your site. A robots.txt file tells search engines what pages not to crawl and refers the web crawler to the sitemap. For example my robots.txt file looks like this:
Other considerations include making sure that your first paragraph on your website has the keyword in it, your website has unique content, and that your keywords show up at at least 2.5% of the time in your website content.
After you complete all of this, your website will be pretty much set from the on page optimization perspective. Now we need to get into off page optimization.
Off Page Optimization
Off page optimization is sometimes referred to as backlinks. This is where other websites link to your website. The more links from reputable websites you have, the higher your page rank will be. The easiest way to start off is by optimizing your social media presence. Link to your website on your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, GitHub, etc. Ask around your network and see if they can write an article or a blog post about your website.
Another thing to look into is online business directories. Ensure that wherever your website is linked to that your contact information is up to date. Look into associations and groups relating to your industry and become a member there. For example, if you are a roofing business, make sure to be a part of the National Roofing Contractors Association. Create webinars, articles, posts, books, videos, any kind of content and push to get it published not only on your website, but your industry’s groups’ websites.
At this stage, it’s all about building your brand authority and web presence. This part is not immediate and it’s all about the long game. You will have to work on it constantly to get this to work and it can take up to 6 months before seeing any real changes. Do not hire someone from India to make a bunch of fake posts for you. This will get your site taken down by Google pretty quickly. Google has been upgrading it’s search engine algorithm constantly and is able to detect cheaters in the game. Keep the end goal in mind and keep at it consistently.
Need Help Getting this Implemented?
If you need help getting all of this implemented for your website, go ahead and schedule a free one on one consultation with Tim Jedrek. We have the technical expertise to get this done quickly and can help your site start ranking on top of Google. Click here to get started.