What is Search Engine Optimisation?
SEO is the business of optimising your website so that search engines classify your website as more appropriate to rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results page) than it was before.
How to do SEO simply.
The process you can follow to improve your rankings is:
- Get a Baseline
- Find the keywords that your target audience are searching for
- Put those keywords in your website home page title and home page headings
- Get back links to your home page
- Put links to other authority websites on your home page
The first step before conducting any SEO is to measure where your website is so that you can measure the impact and effectiveness of any SEO work you perform. Without getting a baseline, you don’t know if the effort you’re putting in is having any positive effect, so you won’t know if you should continue with what you’re doing or not.
My suggestion is to sign up for Serp Fox at http://www.serpfox.com. Once logged in, enter your website URL(s), and the keyword(s)/keyphrase(s) you wish to be found for. The free account allows up to 10 keywords/keyphrases. After you’ve entered your keywords, leave Serp Fox alone for 5 minutes, then come back and refresh the page, and you should see your baseline rankings. You might want to record this in an Excel spreadsheet, but Serpfox will record this baseline for you also.
2. Find the keywords that your target audience are searching for
Search engine “spiders” are continuously crawling the web of websites, indexing (like a librarian) the content on every web page they find. They find new webpages by following hyperlinks (commonly called just links) to new webpages, or by website owners submitting a new web page through a search engine management dashboard (e.g. Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools).
FACT: When spiders crawl a webpage, they take note of what words are in the webpage title, and headings (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5), and bold/strong words, and italics. The search engine considers the words in the webpage title and headings as more important than words in normal paragraph text, as the title and headings are much more likely to indicate what a webpage is about, and the search engine, being a robot, doesn’t automatically know what a webpage is about.
The take away from this fact is: the keywords you want to be found on a search engine for must be included in the webpage title at the very least, and also in the headings of the page, otherwise you stand no chance of ranking for that keyword, as the search engine has determined that your webpage is about something else, mainly whatever is in your webpage title, which might just be your business name, which means little to the search engine – it being a robot. So, adding business industry + business location to your home page’s page title is a good start. This makes sense, because searchers most often use business industry location as their search term.
Better than business name – business industry, business location, you should also actively seek for keywords that a lot of people are searching for, and that competitors are not using on their own websites.
The best place to find exactly what people search for on Google, and how often they search for that is using the Google Ads Keyword Planner. If you’re not comfortable using Google Ads Keyword Planner, an alternative is Market Samurai.
- Click on the “search for new keywords and ad group ideas”. Here’s the screen that you’ll see:
- Enter a competitor’s landing page into the “your landing page” field.
Technically, you’re supposed to put YOUR landing page here:
But there’s no rule against entering OTHER pages from the web in there, right?
When you do, you’ll find a boatload of outside-the-box keyword ideas.
Using the Google Keyword Planner doesn’t give us any fresh ideas when we used a seed keyword like “buy flowers online”.
Watch what happens when you enter a weird page…
…like the homepage of a competitor (in this case 1800flowers.com):
We have 3 long tail keywords that the tool doesn’t show most people.
Because these are keywords most people never see, we can easily create targeted articles or landing pages around them…
…and rank those pages without needing a lot of backlinks.
Let’s say that you just launched a blog on your flower shop’s site. You notice that a lot of your customer’s order flowers for weddings.
So you decide to create a blog post around wedding tips and advice.
Again, when you enter “wedding tips” into the Google Keyword Planner, you get dull variations of that keyword:
What happens when you use the search results page on Pinterest for “weddings” instead?
You get some AWESOME keyword ideas:
Those are some creative keywords…!
Here are other pages you can use:
- Blog posts
- News articles
- Wikipedia entries (surprisingly good!)
- Press releases (search PRWeb for your keywords)
Now, put those keywords in your webpage’s title (typically the home page – your website’s most important page, or whichever webpage you want to rank for those keywords), plus the headings throughout your webpage.
If you’re using WordPress, the home page title of your website is the page title of your front page.
In Joomla 3
The home page title is a combination of the site name, and home page title. It is usually site name – home page name.
To edit the site name, go to System > Global Configuration > Site tab > Site name.
To edit the home page title:
- Go to Menu > Main Menu (or similarly titled menu) 2. Find the article that has a yellow star in the Home column.
- Don’t click on that article name, but note what is written below the page title. In the example above, we see:
- So, we visit Content > Articles
- Click on the Status column header to sort by Status. Find the article that is featured, as indicated by the yellow star:
- Click on the article name
- Edit the article title
- Once you’ve edited the site title and home page article title, your new home page title should be visible when you view the home page of your website. Just hover your mouse over your website’s tab in your browser, and the home page title will appear.
Using a different website platform?
Let me know, so I can help you and other people using your platform.
Getting back links from other websites to your website has had entire books devoted to the subject.
I have 5 basic strategies that will help you.
5.1 Submit to Local Directories to gain “Local Citations”
Directory entries (like on Yellowpages.com.au) where your business name, business phone number, business address, and sometimes business website URL are known as “local citations”.
The more local citations you have on quality directory sites, the better you will rank on search engines when people search for your business industry + location.
5.2 Spy on the competition using SEMrush
SEMrush.com is a website platform measuring the strength of a website’s backlinks.
You can use it to measure the quality and quantity of your backlinks, as well as the quality of quantity of your competitors’ back links also.
With that in mind, you can find all the high page score and trust score webpages that link to your competitor’s websites and try and gain a similar link from that webpage to your own website. You might have to email that webpage’s webmaster, and ask for a link back to your website – you’ll need to use some common sense on the likelihood of each webmaster agreeing to link to your website too. If the webpage that links to your competitor is a directory, you should be able to submit your website to that directory for free or a fee. Make sure the webpage that you’re seeking a link from has a trust score of 10 or more. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a rule of thumb for the minimum trust score a webpage must have before seeking a link from it.
Do this for your top 5 competitors, finding all the high trust webpages that link to those 5 competitors’ websites, and your search rankings should increase.
5.3 Guest Blogging
5.4 Turn mentions of your brand into links
5.5 Broken Link Building – help other sites fix their broken links
Linking from your webpage to another highly relevant, high authority website will also contribute to higher search engine rankings. Low quality sites normally link to junk, while high quality sites normally link to other high-quality sites. It shows Google your site can be considered a higher quality site.
Questions / Feedback?
Got a question or some feedback about this document?
PLEASE let me know, so I can make this document more helpful.
I hope this document gave you some direction on how to go about working on your SEO, simply.
Once you get the basics under your belt, there are plenty of other resources on the web that provide more advanced techniques that will make more sense now you know the basics.
If you would like some more information on how to leverage the latest trends for your business, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call.