SEO explained for beginners

Have you conducted a Google search recently? I bet it was somewhat recent as Google has become an essential part of our life. New to SEO? Read this post for SEO explained for beginners.

SEO Explained for Beginners

Since there are an estimated 6 BILLION searches in Google each day, you have the potential to get your website in front of thousands of people that are searching for websites or businesses such as yours every day. However, without SEO work, your site won’t be found on Google.

To help you gain an understanding of the basics of SEO, I have put together the following guide to get you started.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Here is a definition from Wikipedia:

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.”

With SEO practices put in place, you increase your chances of being found on Google. There is, however, no guarantee that you will appear first in a Google search, or that you will appear on the first page of Google.

Why is SEO important?

SEO is essential for the long-term success of your website. By paying attention to your SEO, you can organically increase traffic to your website without having to spend a lot of time on social media promoting it every day. You want your website to generate traffic on its own without having to continually promote your site.

Skills required to build SEO into your website

SEO can be complicated. SEO is continually changing. 1,653 changes were made last year to the Google algorithm. It is also getting more complicated.

Some people specialise specifically in SEO so you could hire someone to do this part of the work for you; however, you can set up the basics of your websites SEO on your own.

Start by getting your site indexed on Google by setting up the Google Search Console.

You can also start to SEO the pages and blog posts on your website so that they contain the right information that Google is looking for. The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is a great place to start.

What affects your search ranking?

Many things affect your search ranking. Below is a list of things that you need to consider to improve your ranking:

Keywords

Use your keyword in title tags, description tags, and H1, H2, H3 etc. Pay attention to the amount of times you use your keyword on a post or page. Too little or too much can affect SEO.

Metadata

Make sure that you use categories and tags that are relevant to your content.

Content-Length

Make sure your blog posts are at least 350 words. Between 600 to 800 words are best.

Website speed

If your site takes a long time to load, not only will you lose visitors but you will also rank lowly in SEO.

Image optimization

Make sure all your images have the keyword in the title and that the alt text field is complete.

Content updates and relevance

Regularly update your content. Sites that have not been updated for a while, rank low in Google. That is why setting up a blog relevant to your business helps with ranking.

Internal links

Ensure that you have many internal links throughout your website. For example, if you write a blog post that can be linked to another, make sure you do so.

Broken links

Broken links on your page affect your SEO.

As you can see, there are many aspects of your site that affect your SEO ranking.

How to improve your SEO

So, after reading this how you can improve website’s SEO? Following is a simple strategy you can start using right away to make improvements.

Step 1: Set up Google Search Console

Google Search Console is the foundation of your SEO. With Search Console, you get the chance to tell Google that your website exists by uploading your sitemaps and your robots.txt file.

Step 2: Install the Yoast SEO plugin

If you have a WordPress website, then you need to install the Yoast SEO plugin. With this plugin, you gain access to your sitemaps, robots.txt file, metadata and more. Once installed, you can start to SEO your website’s pages and posts quickly.

Step 3: Keyword planning

Strategically choose the keywords that you want to have on your website. Research these by using SEMrush or Keyword Finder. These are great tools to see what keywords people are searching on.

Once you know the keywords you need to include on your website, plan your pages and blog posts around these. However, make sure that you are providing well thought out and relevant content. Google can tell if you are just stuffing your content with keywords and not providing any value.

Step 4: SEO your website’s pages

With Yoast installed and understanding of what relevant keywords to use, start adding these to your pages. Start with your ABOUT or CONTACT page and make sure they contain the necessary keywords that they need. Then complete the Yoast details at the bottom of the page to set the SEO title, slug, meta description and the focus keyword. As you go, you can review the Yoast Analysis to determine what areas need improvement. Always aim for a green light on your page for SEO.

Step 5: SEO all blog posts

Next, you need to do the same thing for your blog posts. For each blog post enter a keyword. Make sure the keyword appears in the heading, the first paragraph and a few times throughout the article. Always try to get a green light from the Yoast SEO plugin for each post you make.

Step 6: Optimize all images

To optimise your images, you need to make sure that each image title has a relevant keyword contained in it as well as in the alt text space attached to it.

Compress your images to a small size using Smushit. And change the file of the name to something that is descriptive and informative before you upload it to your website.

Step 7: Create an internal link structure

Lastly, you need to focus on the internal link structure of your website. This is not only important to help your audience to navigate and flow through your website, but it also helps the Google bot.

Each page created on your website needs to link to other pages on your site. Try to find ways to internally link to other areas on your website that are relevant to the content.

And that’s it! By following these seven steps, you are well on your way to improving your website’s SEO.

Liza is the content manager and founder of The Content Hub. As a technology specialist she loves passing on her knowledge about the latest technology and best practices to her readers.

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best practices for seo

With every post you make on WordPress, you need to make sure that it is optimised for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Depending on how you format your posts contributes to the effectiveness of SEO. Following are five things you need to consider when writing posts according to best practices for SEO:

Post Content

  1. Your post needs to be at least 300 words and is relevant to the keyword
  2. It needs to have a catchy title and also contain the relevant keyword
  3. You need to use H2 tags within the post
  4. Within the article, you should link to some external sites as well as include some links to other posts within your site
  5. Make sure your paragraphs are short for readability purposes

These are the SEO practices you need to follow for each blog post.

Images

You also need to make sure that your images are named in a way that includes the appropriate keyword. That means that before you upload the image to WordPress, you should change the image name. If it is the default name such as IMG123 that does nothing for you in regards to SEO. So name it according to the relevance of the post. Then once the image is uploaded, you need to then fill out the title field and alt field. The title field is also important as this is what Google will index. The alt field is the content that is available to those that have hearing impairments, so you need to make sure you fill this field out as well.

Also, make sure that you only include a few images per blog post as the more images there are, the slower your page will load. Your blog needs to be easy to access, and if your site takes too long, your bounce rate will increase.

For your main image at the top of the page that you use for your blog graphic and one that you most likely post to Pinterest, this should be full width and centered so that your post looks well aligned.

Yoast SEO Plugin

One essential plugin that you need on your site is Yoast SEO. This is the easiest way to optimise all posts for SEO, and it helps you determine whether or not your post meets best practice requirements by giving your post a red, orange or green status. You should always aim for a green status on all of your blog posts under the SEO section and readability.

Firstly you need to make sure that you change the meta description. I usually insert the first paragraph of the post and tweak it a bit if needed. I then cut it off at a point so that the reader might want to find out what else I have to say so will click on my link in Google and read my article.

Secondly, you enter the keyword that you are using for your post. This keyword needs to be used in the title, first paragraph and mentioned a few times throughout the post. If not, you won’t reach a green status for SEO.

Once you have done all of the above, your post is ready to publish.

Struggling to understand how to optimise your posts on your blog for SEO? I offer an SEO auditing service on your existing blog. For further details on this service, email me at liza@lizatinker.com.

Liza is the content manager and founder of The Content Hub. As a technology specialist she loves passing on her knowledge about the latest technology and best practices to her readers.

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Tips for creating eye-catching headlines

It’s not enough that people can find your site or your blog: you’ve got to create information that matches with their needs and respects them as a reader. This blog post is all about creating headlines, subheadings, and creating engaging content so that visitors to your site will engage in dialogue with you.

Writing Eye Catching Headlines

Influencing readers is not about using a trick, schmoozing, or a pushy sales tactic. It’s about giving people something to think about and influencing how they think and feel about you while engaging in a dialogue with them. This kind of thinking takes work, just as your headlines do.

Since we know that readers are scanning what we read rather than reading it, we typically break the material up and use headlines and headers to catch their attention, or pull them toward you.

This means that instead of doing these things:

o Barraging our target market with messages
o Telling everyone our message
o Repeating the message ad nauseum
o Coercing, forcing, or tricking someone

We do these things:

o Encourage a dialogue
o Build trust by being credible and doing what we say we will do
o Show and demonstrate our message (walking the talk)
o Share the message and how our customers use our products or services

This shift in thinking means that we focus on content that people can use. Your headings don’t have to be wild and crazy, but they do need to be interesting.

Tips for Creating Great Headlines

Keep them short and direct

Often, readers are coming to your writing through a search engine, a link or from an e-mail, or an RSS feed. However, there are also plenty of ways for them to find you without coming to you directly, so you must be very easy to find.

Keeping headlines short and direct is a good start. Avoid being cute, and use vocabulary that relates to the audience you are appealing to.

Avoid confusing or pretentious language

Remember that even though we know some great vocabulary, headlines are the way for the reader to find you and tuck into your content.

Use active language and strong verbs. Don’t try to hide unsavoury elements in your writing, either. Once you’ve frustrated or tried to trick a reader, it will be very difficult to get them back to your site.

Use subheadings

Readers will engage when you catch their eye, and subheadings are a great way to help them scan through your material quickly and focus on the information they need and want.

Select a word or short phrase that describes what is in the section so that they can easily find what they want.

Liza is the content manager and founder of The Content Hub. As a technology specialist she loves passing on her knowledge about the latest technology and best practices to her readers.

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