The Extremely Basic SEO Guide for Absolute Beginners
Everyone building a website knows they need to use SEO, but beyond knowing this stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ and perhaps knowing that key-words are involved or linking to other sites, beginners can draw a blank. To be fair, because the goal-posts keep moving, even the SEO experts have to keep up their professional development knowledge to stay ahead of what the search engines demand to keep ranking highly.
With this in mind, let’s just put your mind at ease a little before we begin with the reassurance that this is a process; you don’t have to know it all at once and like making home improvements, you can upgrade different parts as you go to up the value of your website to the search engines.
So here’s some basic must knows at the time of writing (but we recommend you keep an eye on your statistics (like Google Analytics) to see where you are at the start and what progress you are making… If you are already freaking out at the word ‘statistics’, bear with us, we’re holding your hand!
The Holy Grail of Key Word ProportionalityKey word optimisation is a way to use the words your ideal customer uses on your website, simply put in such a way that your text reads well and it ticks the right search engine boxes. Getting the right balance and proportion of key word insertion is part art and part science. A common mistake is to not do any key word research or as common to over use them, known as ‘keyword stuffing’.
Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms now mean that getting it wrong leads to adverse results for your website . The search engines regularly update their ‘algorithms’ to reward high-quality content and punish shoddy content, as well as attempts at manipulating the algorithm. Getting it wrong can lead to Google banishing you to the hinterlands completely.
Give Value To Your VisitorsThe search engines currently favour in-depth and informative content. If your website lacks content, your site can be treated as lower quality; i.e. your content is too “thin”. This can mean less visibility in search results. Make sure you share content that is valuable, relevant, and informative to the visitors of your site.
Rich Media Ra Ra Ra!Blogs and articles that include images, good text formatting (sub-headings for scanning, for instance) and embedded videos will rank better, get more social media shares and higher engagement with readers. What is good for your readers is good for SEO, because SEO is about the search engines giving people what they want to find.
Keep It FreshKeep in touch with your fans with a blog! Consistency and frequency of communications via your site are key to being favoured by search engines.
Find Your Natural AlliesLinking with relevant and quality websites in your niche will build your visibility. The key here is not buying into link networks who promise high traffic for its own sake… You want appropriate visitors to your site. Not only quantity but quality of inbound links are important for search engine ranking. Unnatural inbound links can banish you to invisibility ever after!
Do a search on ‘guest blogging’ and build links as you would networking offline. Write a good article someone will want to publish on their site, with a link back to your own via relevant ‘anchor text’ i.e. terms which you refer to in your own website somewhere. Alternatively, produce content on your site that others will want to link to. As a guide, can your content be classed as:
- Fun or happy
- Valuable, useful information
- Cute (yep, small furry animals and stuff)
Other strategies might be to post surveys, competitions, sponsoring events or other things to engage your visitors.
Get SocialUsing social media will be one of the best ways to drive visitors to your website who are interested in what you have to say. Once more, consistency is key. People come to expect to hear from you and your fans will help your content ‘go viral’ through sharing.
Localise it a LittleIt’s easy to get used to writing for a national audience when using key words. If you are a local business, there are a number of ways to ‘keep it local’ some of the time. Use the names of towns and cities you cover in your blogs. This way the search engines will ‘index’ you accordingly for when a localised search happens.
Blotting Your Copy BookEver heard of ‘Copyscape’? It’s a nifty bit of software that will find you out if you have copied your content from elsewhere. It’s a big no-no! It’s not only unethical, it’s unwise as far as SEO goes, because the search engines will see all and punish where they pick up on duplication… Make it your own. Your audience will love you more if they get to know your voice anyway
Plan The Drive – Drive The PlanO.K. don’t freak out, plans are not carved in stone and nor do they have to cram everything in to an ever-increasing ‘To-Do’ list that just makes you feel swamped! Write down what you would like to do in the next month, the next 3 months, 6 months, year and beyond if you are ready. (It’s good to have the end in mind!) The point is to implement a little every day. There are 365 days in a year, you would be amazed at what 365 online marketing activities can achieve… Write down where you want to be and keep adding to that written schedule. This is your road map, so you don’t swerve off SEO the mean SEO streets.
Cruise ControlO.K. if you have made it this far, take a long, deep breath, pat yourself on the back and repeat after me: “But it isn’t as difficult as it all sounds now I have RealComparisons help!” It’s true… We have chosen some of the best of the Website Builders available to showcase to you for a good reason. Because, like you we like to KISS too (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)
Sure, if you can learn as you go, then your success will come quicker and be likely to last longer term, but all of our Website Builders have SEO functionality options built in through add-ons and plug-insurance. The whole point of offering website builder software is to attract people who are busy focusing on the life they have outside their virtual world! Sweat not! There’s no need for tears over SEO. Check out what the options are on our comparison table now you know a bit more, even if it still seems somewhat confusing…
The most important thing to ask with SEO is, “does it help my visitors?” If the answer is no, then you’re doing something wrong.
- Mark Knowles, RealComparisons.com.
Review by Mark Knowles Last Updated 6th May 2014Check out