Beginners guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

It’s no longer just about having a website. It’s about having a website that appears at the top of search engines. If you are not on the first page your website risks never being found. And this is not necessarily an easy thing to do. And just when you think you’ve got it pinned down, the most often used search engine, Google, releases a change to their algorithm making everyone with a website panic and wonder how it will affect their ratings.

There are a lot of SEO tips out there. Some are great. Some are written by people who think they’re great. When they’re not.

It is important to remember that SEO is a campaign. You will not rise to the top of the rankings overnight. It takes time and continual tweaking. Here I will run down 7 basic actions you can put in place today that will help you on your journey.

Choosing Keywords

When writing content for a website or blog or whatever you will have identified a specific topic to write about (you don’t put everything under one heading do you?). But before you start writing you should use the Google keyword tool. It is important to take some time to do some research to identify keywords that are relevant to the subject at hand.

It’s quite easy really: you simply use the Google keyword tool, enter words or questions related to the theme you’re considering, and examine which ones are frequently searched by people on Google, using what keywords.

When you do this you’ll get a table back with a load of related entries. The amount may seem daunting but don’t worry. Simply click the competition to organize the entries and make it easier to find what you want: A keyword phrase with high traffic and low competition. Once you have this use it in your content. But it needs to be integrated seamlessly in your content and not overused.

Content Matters

There’s no getting around it. Content is still King. No matter how great your ranking is, the most important tip you can use to improve your search engine ranking results is to provide content that is rich in information, engaging, and moves your readers to take action. Like this post ; )

Quality of content matters. It really does.

It may surprise you that quantity matters as well. Make sure you don’t put out one perfect post that took months to write. The more often you create quality content, the more often the search engine spiders will crawl (visit each page) on your site.

Want Engagement? Engage with Other sites/ bogs.

Commenting on other blogs in your niche gives is good in so many ways. But one massive gift is often links back to your site. Links pointing in to your site (aka inbound links) increase your relevance to the search engine crawlers and this will result in a boost to your rankings. However take a little care with who you engage in. Fewer quality links are better than a lot of low quality (less trustworthy) sites. And never pay for inbound links. They will almost certainly be “link farms” and this could actually harm all of you SEO efforts.

Sitemap – The Map to Better Search Rankings

Did you know that having a sitemap is one of the easiest ways to boost your rankings? It is. Google sitemaps and there are hundreds of tools that can do this for you. WordPress also has a lot of plugins that will create a sitemap for you. No excuses for not having a sitemap. It is too easy. In fact one is not good enough. Ideally it is best to have an XML map and one in HTML.

Social Media

This is becoming increasingly important in ranking result and this will only increase in time. Search engines often equate a large presence on social media with quality content which is what they are after.

When you create content, take the time to link to it from multiple social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and the big one – Google+ (Google seems to have a preference for content provided by authors with Google+ profiles). And you can even have an image next to the result which increases the likelihood it will be clicked on.

Speed Matters

Make sure you site loads quickly. One second is way too long. Ensure such things as images are optimised for the web. Regularly check you websites loading time for speed and tweak accordingly.

This is especially important after any changes or after loading any plugins, as they can dramatically alter loading time. If you suspect that one of your plugins might be affecting your site’s loading time, you can check this by disabling all of your plugins, and then enabling them one at a time to see which one is the culprit.

Be Consistent

Like I said at the beginning. SEO is never finished. Ideally you should do a little bit of SEO every day. It needs to be constantly looked at and tweaked. All the SEO strategies in the world will have no effect if it is left to stagnate. Unchanged.

Don’t expect to chuck up a website and appear at number one overnight. It takes time. (Age of a website is another factor). Slow and steady and you will see your ranking rise

Remember. The above is only for starters. SEO is a constantly evolving process. As the algorithms change so too will SEO optimisation.

Oh and one final note. Don’t try and trick the Search Engines. They will notice and you risk being deleted altogether from the database. Don’t do it.