SEO is Search Engine Optimization and it allows search engines to display your website hopefully on page 1 of search results when certain particular keywords are searched. But do you know how to do SEO?
In Importance of SEO, we mentioned that a website is not worth anything if there is little or no traffic. You can drive web traffic through paid ads, but SEO remains a key strategy to generating traffic, and for free.
There are perhaps 3 key steps towards carrying out SEO and these are (1) Keyword Research (2) On-site SEO and (3) Off-site SEO.
We have extracted relevant information from various sources for this article, in particular the book The Art of Digital Marketing by Ian Dodson. SEO implementation requires perhaps full 2-day training but our aim here is to help you get started with what works.
We hope this lengthy article can be your definitive guide to doing SEO yourself.
Keyword is a word or phrase which people use to search for information, or products and services on the internet.
When planning SEO for your website, Keyword Research is the first activity that must be done and it is a very important step as you begin to structure and build up the contents for your website.
There are 2 types of keywords, short-tailed keyword and long-tailed keyword with short-tailed keyword being 1 or 2-word search term and long-tailed keyword being 3 words or more. Suffice to say, you should plan to rank for long-tailed keywords and then progress to short-tailed keywords.
So, how do you go about doing keyword research?
Let’s use the example of say selling T-Shirts online, and to narrow down the scope and define a niche, it will be anime design T-Shirts.
There are two tools which can be used:
Search google by typing anime t-shirts. As you enter the keystrokes, you will see Google suggesting search terms used by others. This effectively gives you clues as to what can possibly be your relevant keywords.
Google Keyword Planner
This is a tool that is built into Google Adwords platform. You can sign up free using a gmail account to utilize this tool. We used the Google Keyword Planner and checked for the keyword anime T-shirt with the following result.
What it says is that the average monthly search for this keyword is 50 and the competition from others vying for this keyword is high. You can continue finding out search volume and competition with this tool on other possible keywords. At the end of the day, you want a list of good number of keywords with good search volume and a competition level you are confident of ranking.
On-site SEO are things which you have control over and that you can structure on your website to rank well. If you are using WordPress, use the Plugin called All-in-one SEO Pack to help you manage on-site SEO.
Title and Meta Description to Contain Keyword
With the plugin, ensure that the page or post Title and Meta Description contain the keyword. Continuing with the anime T-shirt example, this particular website which ranks on page 1 has done this correctly.
Pictures And Images To Be Renamed to Contain Keyword
It is always good to include some nice photos or images throughout your articles. Before you upload your images onto your web server, be sure to rename all the filenames to include your keyword. That way, you are telling Google (or other search engines) what your images are about and again contribute to your ranking.
H1 To Contain Keyword
Typically the name or title of your blog post or page is designated H1 by your WordPress theme but you have to check if that is actually the case. Do ensure again, that this contains your keyword. You can view page source to see the H1 for a particular web page.
You should link your articles (page or post) to each other by referencing the keywords used. So for example, We have earlier on in this article linked to another article Importance of SEO. This should be done quite naturally. As a further illustration, we can say SEO is what we do as part of our Digital Marketing Services and link that to our homepage.
Embed Video To Increase Time Spent
One of the things Google takes into consideration when ranking a website is the average time people spend on your website. A good way to gain an advantage is to embed a video to your articles.
Mobile Friendly Theme
People are moving towards accessing web contents on their smart phones. In fact, in many cases, mobile access has already overtaken desktop access. Google ranks better websites which are mobile friendly.
Original contents are important and to be an authority on any particular subject matter, you must provide useful and insightful contents to your users. Make sure your contents are well written grammatically too.
This is where you would like to maximize the amount of quality links coming to your website. Build up a good social media presence to link them back to your website. Have social share icons on your contents so that readers can easily share them across the social media platforms too.
If other quality websites are linking back to your website, that will be great too. In certain cases, you can exchange back-links with other website owners.
There is also another important technical aspect when carrying out SEO and that is to submit a html sitemap to Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools). You see, the sitemap is in the form of text links to all pages on the website. It allows search engines to crawl through, index, and rank your website.
This video goes through how you can generate the sitemap and then submit to Google Webmaster Tools.
SEO takes some time to take effect, typically over 2 to 3 months for a new website, so do be patient. It is easier to rank for longer-tailed keywords, and we do recommend to start off with those.
We have not exhaustively gone through the details of each step above as readers may have different levels of SEO experiences. We welcome you to contact us directly and leave comments below so we can discuss the best practices.