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Search Engine Optimization: A Simple Starter Guide

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What is SEO and Why Do I Need It?

Ok, so here are the basics: most traffic to your website will come from search engines – Google, Bing and Yahoo being the major ones. But there are lots of websites out there which are relevant to each search query, so how do you ensure that not only your website is found, but that it is displayed right at the top where your customers and prospects can see it? THAT is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

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SEO is about understanding how to structure your website and present your content so that you will be at the pointy end of the search results page. It’s a hot topic, it can be make-or-break when it comes to traffic and exposure, yet it need not be difficult to understand or implement.

Key Words and Quality Content

It’s a simple as this: if your website contains the words which people type into that little search bar, your website will come up in the search results. But it’s not as simple as putting the words KIM KARDASHIAN randomly through your pages, hoping that half of the internet will end up on your site. Your content needs to be good, it needs to give the people what they want.

Search engines have complex algorithms that work out the relevance and the popularity of a site. The more relevant and popular your site, the higher up the results order your page will be. Creating content for your consumers is the best place to start. Keeping it fresh, updating regularly, and making it interesting for your readers is a critical foundation for success.

Finding the Right Keywords

Your content should contain words and phrases relevant to your site and your content which match the search terms which people will be searching. Think to yourself: “what would I Google if I was looking for my product?” If you sell products for people with curly hair, it might be something like “best products for curly hair.”

You ideally want to find keywords which are relevant to your site, commonly searched, and don’t have much competition (that is, there’s not many other websites out there which answer the search query). There are plenty of sites which will help you find this information. If you have a Google AdWords account you can use their Keyword Planner to help find relevant keywords for you to integrate into your content.

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Make Your Content Search Engine- Friendly

Search engines scour the internet for relevant results to a query. There’s a few tips and tricks on how to structure your content to make it easier for a search engine to find and read. Firstly, keywords need to be in text – search bots aren’t able to read videos or audio.

Putting keywords in the title of the page and keeping each page unique will maximize search engine results. Also, use keywords in sub-headings on your page. Keep your URL simple – numbers and letters only, short and simple, and dashes instead of underscores will lead to better search rankings.

Get Links Working For You

Using links correctly is one of the most effective ways to boost your search ranking. Here are some do’s and don’ts:

Do:

  • Link to other pages on your website and link to other content on other sites
  • Make sure that what you link to is live and is also relevant
  • Try to get major websites in your field to link to you
  • Use links within the content rather than in a side bar or footer
  • Link to your website from all of your social media

Don’t:

  • Link to irrelevant or non-functioning websites
  • Pay for links to your site in a link buying scheme – search engines can ban you
  • Use more than 100 links per page – that’s TOO many!

Make a Good Website and Make It Seen

At the end of the day, search engines are trying to provide the best and most relevant results to their users. They want to keep their users happy. So that’s what you should try to do, too. Your first step should be to create a quality website and THEN apply SEO.

Generate regular content filled with great information in your field of expertise and complete with lots of key words and links to relevant sources. Then make sure that you’ve got a snappy URL, some headings, and a keyword filled title, and that traffic is just going to keep flowing through the door. It comes back the age-old truth: the customer comes first.

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