Learn SEO

SEO Basics

Learn the basics of SEO (search engine optimisation) for your website and increase your SERP ranking. Keyword research, on-page optimisation, off-page optimisation, ALT attributes and much more.

So You Want To Learn SEO?

Have A Read Through This SEO Guide Of SEO Best Practices.

Now I’m not telling you this is going to happen overnight because it isn’t so if you’re looking for instant results you may want to stop reading right here and jump on over to ‘Google Ads‘.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a long process but has much longer lasting results for your website and if implemented yourself is FREE. Now I know we are all up for saving money in the business world but of course ‘Time is money’ and as I stated, SEO is a long process which is why a lot of businesses outsource this kind of work to a Digital Marketing Agency so you may want to spare a couple of hours in the evening when you get home from work.

Anyway lets jump in and get started…

 

Key Word Tools

Now first things first you need to figure out what your customers are actually typing into Google to look for services like yours. There are numerous amounts of keyword tools out there to help you find phrases that your potential customers use. That being said, some phrases and keywords are A LOT harder to rank for than others.

There are so many key world tools out there we would be here for days trying to go through them all so I am going to list a few of the more popular ones. 

Key words are one of the most important factors of getting your website ranked and found on Google, Bing, Yahoo you name it. Keywords or key phrases are what your potential customer types into a search engine to find your services. There are numerous types of key phrases, my personal favourite are ‘Long Tail Key Phrases’ as these drastically decrease the search volume therefore decreasing the difficulty of that search term. Another added factor of long tail key phrases is that they really narrow down the target audience. For example, ‘Plumbers Manchester’ is a really broad search term for a faulty boiler and not all plumbers may be able to fix that problem, where as ‘Plumber for faulty boiler Manchester’ will have a much lower search volume and only plumbers that state they can fix boilers will be shown within the local area.

My personal favourite Key word finder tool has to be Ahrefs Key words explorer. Ahrefs is most possibly the go to place for your SEO needs. They’re not free to use but the subscription charges are minimal compared to the value that they offer you. The tools they provide you are second to none and can really make an impact on turning your business around and improving your SERP ranking.

Another tool is Googles own Keyword Planner. An advantage of Google Keyword planner is with it being Googles own tool you can be sure it is accurate with the search volumes for that particular phrase. Also if you choose to go down Paid advertising route at some point it gives you an accurate cost per click for that phrase/keyword.

 

Titles & Meta-tags

Titles & Meta-tags are just one of many factors that count towards your Google quality score and how they rank your website. Current research states that your page title shouldn’t consist of more than 60 characters.

If you’re just starting out and want to begin building your own website I would highly recommend WordPress as your platform to start building and a great plugin for a starting point for your websites SEO is YOAST. When you purchase your domain name (Website URL) it often comes with a hosting package (What keeps your website live on the internet). Most hosting packages now come with the option to install WordPress and begin your website build.

When using Yoast SEO Plugin on your website the advantage you have is they will score your title and meta description with a bar underneath. It will indicate your quality score using 3 colours, red, amber and green, green being the highest, red being poor.  

When writing a page title you ideally want to place the keywords you want to be found for at the beginning (or as close to as possible). That being said, don’t put a load of keywords together that don’t make sense. It needs to be readable so string together a sentence. 

Now your meta description runs along a very similar purpose. This is where your keywords help out a lot as you have more room to play with. Ideally try and keep it to a maximum of 150 characters. When you’re writing your description, again, you want to try and put your priority keywords as close to the beginning as possible (Also match some keywords from your title). If you’re a local business it helps to add in your local area as well.

 

ALT Text & Attributes

As complicated and daunting as this sounds it really isn’t. As much as keywords and text plays a factor in your websites optimisation, so do your images. ALT attributes or ALT text, ALT tag as they’re also known is what tells search engines your image is and what your image is about. Think back to when you were writing your meta description writing about what that specific page was about, you do same here for your images.

When writing out ALT tags for your images you want to describe what your image is about but also what your intention of using that image is for. So to put it simply, if you run a coffee shop in Manchester you don’t want to upload an image of the double quarter pounder cheeseburger from Mcdonalds that is completely irrelevant. You would upload an eye catching picture of a cup of coffee and have an ALT tag description something along the lines of ‘Large Caramel Latte’.

Another reason ALT tags are important is that visually impaired people use screen readers which enables them to understand the content of your website. So when they come across an image on your website a screen reader will tell the user the ALT text you have used to described that particular image.

 

Schema Markup

Schema or ‘Structured data’ as its also known, seems to be quite often over looked but it makes all the difference when it comes to the quality of traffic hitting your website. Schema is code that you add to certain parts of your website to help search engines provide more informative results to users. There are lots of variations of code you can use. You have more than likely come across them before when searching on google, here are a couple of examples.

Schema can be very beneficial with traffic to your website and help with decreasing the drop off rate. Only apply Schema markups to the important parts of your website such as recipes, books, posts and videos you really want your audience to take notice of. The code helps Google take notice and crawl it more efficiently. One thing you need to keep in mind with your website is that you want your customers to be able to reach what they are looking for in 3 clicks or under. Don’t make your customers have to click through 5 or 6 different pages just to find your latest edition mens trainers or they will very likely drop off your site and not return.

One thing you need to remember when you are building your website and adding content is that one of Googles main SEO ranking factors is ease of use for your websites users and ease of crawling for Google itself. You can find a library of structured data codes here and also test that you have implemented the code to your website correctly using Googles structured data testing tool.

Schema Markup Reviews

Schema Markup Carousel

Schema Markup Article

Website Page Speed

This pretty much speaks for itself, a websites page speed is quite a huge factor when it comes to Googles quality scoring system but also your customers. Nobody likes to wait around when looking for something they want. According to research an average customer won’t wait more than 3.7 seconds for a web page to load. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it but thats the truth. With technology moving forward and fibre broadband cheaper than ever people want next to instant results.

Before I jump into anything here I just want to state that what I’m about to tell you will speed up your website but there is also a lot more that can be done to increase its speed further but involves a lot more technical work.

So that being said let’s take a look at how we can help your website move that little faster.

First things first you are going to need a to a cache system on your website. If you’re building on WordPress myself and 1+million other people will recommend a plugin called ‘W3 Total Cache‘. The way caching works is it stores data every time a user works their way through your website. When they return data loads a lot faster and therefore your website loads faster for them. That being said when you alter or delete anything from your website be sure to clear your cached data. Another bonus to the W3 Total cache plugin is the minify settings. Minify CSS & JS code will also increase your websites load speed. I won’t dive into this as it is rather technical.

Now that’s one of many factors mentioned, another important part to increasing your website speed is compression. Having lots of images and videos on your website can seriously damage your pages speed as they are quite large files and will take longer to load. Saying that, you don’t want to disregard them altogether as images and videos are a high ranking factor for Google. There is another plugin that I highly recommend called ‘Smush‘. This plugin will bulk smush all of the images that you have on your website and decrease the files size usually by more than half and still have a high quality resolution image.

Now a tool you can use to test your websites load speed is Google Page speed insights. This great little tool will analyse any URL and give you the load speed down to the millisecond and score your website out of 100. It will also tell you the faults with your website and what is slowing it down and also provide you with links on how to fix those errors.

 

Internal Links & Backlinks

Links on, to and from your website are huge plus (If they are relevant to your profession). Links help Google and other search engines crawl your website easily and find all the valuable information to score your website and rank it accordingly. The more links for your website the better as long as they are linking to valuable and quality information related to your chosen industry field. 

Before you start looking into gaining backlinks you need to look at internal linking. Internal linking means linking your pages on your website, for example if you have a contact button on your homepage simply link that button to your page its as simple as that. You could do with having multiple internal links from each of your pages which will help search engines crawl your website easily and therefore gain more information from your website and score it higher on SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).  

A great tool to check your websites score is ‘Ahrefs Link Checker‘ and also their ‘Website Auditor‘. These two tools will run a full in depth check of your website and tell you how many links you have within your website and if they’re working, broken or claiming a ‘No Follow’ status. A no follow status means that the link will work for people that will click it but it means that when search engines crawl your website that they will stop at that link and won’t follow it.  

Backlinks are quite possibly one of the most valuable things you can have in terms in of getting a high ranking on search engines. They’re not easy to come by and require quite a bit of work. There are multiple ways to collect backlinks and some are more effective than others. This topic itself we can be very in-depth and I could quite possibly write a small book on it so I’ll keep it as brief but as valuable as possible. 

 

Broken Link Method 

This method simply means that you search Google or other search engines for websites with broken links (within your industry) and then simply email the webmaster (Person who manages the website) and tell them that there are multiple broken links and recommend links to replace them (Mentioning yours obviously). This method is actually really effective and the chances your website is used are high.

You can find these websites by going to a search engine and searching for: 

• (Your Keyword) + Links

• (Your Keywords) + Resources

• (Your keywords) inurl:Links 

To easily find these broken links on these websites you can download and install a Google Chrome Extension called ‘Check My Links’. 

Backlinks Through Guest Blogging 

 

Guest blogging is also a really effective to gain valuable links to your website.  An advantage of guest blogging is that you can actively choose which website you’re going to gain a backlink from. You can find blogs that are open for submissions by going to a search engine and type in the following: 

• (Your Industry) Guest blog submissions 

• (Your Industry) Ghost writing submissions 

A lot of blogs used to allow anybody to submit a blog post and it would be featured but due to a lot of link spamming there has been a major crack down. Now majority of open blogs have a strict criteria and guidelines you have to follow in terms of not only submitting your blog post but also in how to write it.

You also have to consider the volume of submissions that these blogs receive so in order to be considered Id proof read your submission and think about how easy it is for the audience to read and also the value of the content, is it unique? Has it been featured in the blog before? 

Thank you for taking the time to read through this SEO guide and learn SEO. If you have found value within this post and think others would benefit please feel free to share.

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