Your Starter SEO Guide
Seth Godin once put it, “SEO is the purported science of optimizing your webpage so that you rise to the top of the listings in Google and Yahoo!”. However, using terms like ‘purported science’ makes search engine optimisation sound like an intimidatingly impossible task to get a grasp on if you don’t come from a technical or marketing background. This is not necessarily the case. This is a short guide to explain the areas of SEO which can be focused on in the beginning as a marketer or business owner which could help performance.
SEO can be broken into two main areas:
- On-page SEO – On-page SEO is the practice of optimising individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.
- Off-page SEO – Off-page SEO refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).
Let’s start with On-page SEO
On-page SEO has both content and backend aspects to it. The backend of a website is the point of the website where users input the information required for a page or post. Some of this information can then been seen on the frontend/website(presentation of the site), for example, images and text. Other aspects such as the following examples are for the benefit of search engines:
- Title tags: A title tag is an element that specifies the title of a web page which is then displayed on SERPS as the clickable result title.
- URL structure: It is important to ensure that your website URL’s give a clear and defining funnel to where the content is located.
- Alt text for images: Alt text is used to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page if the image fails to appear.
- Site speed: Site speed refers to how quick your website loads, completes a task etc. This heavily affects a websites bounce rate.
- Internal links: An internal link is one that points to another page on your website.
- Meta descriptions: The meta description is a short statement of up to about 155 characters which summarises your page’s content.
- Keywords: Ensure that you add keywords to each page and post on WordPress to help the right people find you at the right time. Make sure they are relevant. Don’t put everything into each post!
On-page SEO could be very easily described as just content. Creating content that is relevant to your target audience, consistently, has a significant impact on a website’s performance. For example, this blog post I have written, along with all of our other blogs, should be being read by marketers, business owners and SEO newcomers.
Content comes in so many shapes and sizes. I would recommend you choose the format most relevant to your audience. It is a common mistake for companies to invest in areas not necessary for their goals/objectives. For example it’s common for companies to invest time in social media when they should have invested their time in blogging and email marketing.
Here are just a few examples of content types you may want to consider:
- Case studies
- Original research
- Instructional articles
- Quizzes and pole
Off-page SEO (Backlinks)
A backlink is created when another website links to a page on your website. Search engines take into account both the number and quality of your backlinks, however, it is important to keep track of the websites linking to your site. Good websites can be great for your site but equally bad websites can be detrimental to your site’s performance. Here are a couple of ways to generate quality backlinks to your site:
- Guest Blogs: Relevant Media Outlets
- Directories: Quora, Yelp etc
- Sharing Sites: Soundcloud, Youtube etc
One side note in relation to content is that it can often be a fantastic lead generation tool. GDPR means that you must respect people’s privacy and inbox when gathering email addresses but if your intention is to continually provide relevant value then you won’t come into any issues.
SEO often falls in the crack between web development and digital marketing, and therefore it often goes unclaimed within company job roles. It is one of the most effective areas in modern marketing, don’t have it fall by the wayside. SEO can be complicated but making even the smallest first steps will make a difference.