Search Engine Optimisation isn’t something you just dive into like a calm lake on a hot sunny day! There are a few steps of “SEO preparation” you need to complete before you can do your ON PAGE optimisation. Without SEO preparation your SEO attempts will be pointless. Think back to the last holiday you had, or the last party you threw, or even quite simply, the last meal you cooked! I’m guessing there was a bit of preparation needed. Chopping onions, buying suncream, sending invites, it’s part of preparation. WIthout it, well, things just don’t turn out as well. And, of course, you should know by know that you need to do your ON PAGE optimisation before you start your OFF PAGE optimisation.
Everything in order…
I am going to tell you what you need to prepare in advance so you can then execute a simple SEO strategy.
STEP 1: Understand the basics of SEO
- You need to know;
- Google ranks pages, not entire websites.
- The longer your site has been around, the more links it should have and therefore more authority. It is harder to rank a new website.
- To rank, you need good content that is search engine friendly (ON PAGE SEO), user-friendly, and you need to get links to your content (OFF PAGE SEO).
- For each page on your website, you need to decide what the focus keyword (or phrase) is. This is the phrase you want to rank for.
- There should only be one focus keyword per page.
- Your focus keyword needs to appear in your URL, your H1 title tag, your image ALT tag. It also needs to appear naturally throughout your content.
- You need several H2 titles containing your keyword or related variations of it.
- You need over 600 words of text, the more the merrier!
- The more quality content you have, the easier you will find it to rank highly.
- Content is king, and content distribution is queen.
STEP 2: Start to build a content distribution network
You can’t have SEO without content. There is no point in writing content if no one is going to read it. The very first thing you need to do is build a list of influencers who have a similar audience to you. Then, you need to start building relationships with them. This takes time. Eventually, you will want to approach these influencers and ask them to share your content, promote and link to it. This is the OFF PAGE SEO you will need to do later, but you need to start building those relationships NOW! So when you have content you have some people who will help you promote it. I am not talking about 5 or 10 influencers, I’m talking about 100! It is very hit and miss so you want to keep the odds stacked in your favour. Think 100 is too much? Then you will need to have some cash to pay someone to promote your content for you. Without links to your content, it won’t move up in the search engine results.
STEP 3: Make sure you have these essential tools for SEO
SEO takes consistent effort over a long period of time. It is something that you need to measure to see if it is working. There are FREE tools and paid tools. I find the paid tools are amazing but they can be really complicated, especially if you are not too tech savvy. The first two tools are FREE and absolutely essential.
Google Analytics – this tool will give you a wealth of information on the quality of your backlinks, are they sending you traffic. How engaging your content is (important SEO). Whether you have technical problems on your site that could affect your SEO positions.
Google Search Console – this tool is the way Google communicates with you, the website owner, to inform you of any problems it found while crawling your site. This is also where you can see;
- Your backlinks.
- Tthe keywords you are ranking for.
- Your ranking position.
- How many clicks you get from the search engine.
- How many times you appear in the search engine.
- Whether your site has been hacked.
- How many pages you have listed on Google.
Make sure you set up this tool properly by;
- Creating and submitting a sitemap.
- Make sure you have a robots file that allows Google access to the pages you want to be crawled. all files html, css, js needs to be accessible of google cant see your page. Check for blocked file https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/roboted
The final tool I recommend is a keyword research tool.
Keyword research is important for success. I recommend the FREE keyword tool KEYWORD TOOL FROM MANGOOLS. It is simple to use and covers the basics to get you going. I will go into more detail in the keywords in the next section.
STEP 4: Simple keyword research
Write a list of your branded keywords and a list of keywords you would like to get found for. The keyword can mean phrases as well as individual words. Bear in mind that the longer the phrase the easier it is to rank, although longer phrases don’t have as much traffic, the traffic is better quality.
Run your keywords through the KEYWORD TOOL FROM MANGOOLS. The free account will limit you, but I offer this research as a service so you can reach out to me and I can complete this step for you. You want to look at the number of searches your keyword gets and it’s difficulty level. You want to pick keywords that are high traffic but low in competition. Check out the competition next. You only need to beat the competition so use the tool to check out how many links and shares your competitors content has. You need to do better than them to get on page 1. Look at the content you are competing with;
- Look at the domains and URLs – How many are exact match domains? Does every URL in the top 10 include the keyword?
- Look at the titles – How do the title tags incorporate the keyword?
- What is the type of content that’s ranking – Product pages? Blog posts? Videos?
- What are the types of businesses that are ranking – Are they huge brands? Small businesses? News sites?
- How authoritative those sites are – You can use a plugin like SEO for Firefox to check the age of the sites in the top 10, the size of their link profiles and so on.
You’re looking for ways that you can differentiate yourself. You’ll need to do at least as much as your competitors are doing to beat them. Ideally, you should be doing more, and doing it better.
Also, check the intent of your keyword matches the call to action on your page. For example, the intent behind the keyword “fix my broken sales funnel” is different to “how to build a sales funnel”. The first search implies the searcher already has a funnel in place, while the second searcher doesn’t yet know how to build a sales funnel. The problem here is, if someone lands on your page and it isn’t relevant to their search, Google will see them go back to the search results and try another website. Your site will be marked as not relevant to that search query and therefore appear lower in the search results next time.
Now, you need to take action.
Make the necessary preparations before you even create your content. If you would like help just get in touch with me and I can coach you through the steps or do it for you.