SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is, my friends, the art of getting to the top of google.
Let me be perfectly clear – in 14 years, oodles of books, posts, webinars and conferences on the topic of SEO, my theory has never changed. It is the same now as it was in the beginning. And it will always be the same. And it works. Keep reading to see what it is!
That “theory” (taught by Google itself) is this:
If you want to be at the top of Google, BE THE BEST SEARCH RESULT available.
My friends, SEO is simple. Ridiculously simple. But not easy.
Google wants to find the best answer to a searcher’s question. So if you’re the best answer, guess where Google will put you? FIRST!
Of course you can immediately see the problem with this! You’re competing with sites like Wikipedia, New York Times, YouTube and Pinterest to be the best answer. Do not lose hope! YOU are the answer that someone is looking for. People look for weird and amazing things. Not that you are weird and amazing…
If you search for WordPress help, will you find my little boutique site? Nope. Notta. Probably never will! There are HUGE sites that write about that. And there is a ton of competition.
But if you search for “How to Insert Flickr Photos”, or “Change Navigation Bar” you will find me. And same with a bunch of other tutorials that managed to be somehow unique enough, and searched for, that they appear in top results.
SEO TIP #1 How to select ‘keywords’
This is called “keyword research” and it is simply going to google and typing a bunch of stuff into the search bar. You need words that do not compete with Wikipedia. And words that are still popular with your best ideal audience.
For example, I searched, “Stuck with Flickr Photos Embedding”, “Help embed flickr photos”…
“Stuck with Flickr Photo Embedding” didn’t have anyone searching for it.
“Help embed flickr photos” was too popular.
You need something in the middle: “How to Insert Flickr Photos”. This is not an exact science, I can’t tell you how to rank for this or that. I can’t tell you how many search results make your keyword too popular or not popular enough. There are a lot of tools that are available for that. Try KWFinder (paid) or this list of tools (free).
SEO TIP #2 Optimize your content
Now. This looks complicated but it really isn’t. Search this site for tutorials on each of these things.
- Be clear: If your keywords are “bacon salad” – be sure to use the words “bacon salad” in the text somewhere!
- Use headers appropriately. If it is important and on topic, highlight them with your mouse, and click the Paragraph down-arrow. Select the appropriate heading format (don’t just embolden them)
- Complete the “alt” field when inserting images.
- Keep your site fast! It matters!
- Use links with “title” tags.
- When linking to your article, use descriptive text as the link (anchor text) instead of “click here”.
- Don’t make your content difficult to find amongst ads.
- Use proper grammar and spelling.
- Use “Rich Text Snippets” or “Microformats” (for videos, images, recipes, etc) to make it easier for the search engines to see your content. (Yoast SEO for WP does this automatically for you.)
- When writing a sponsored post or receiving compensation of any kind use no-follow (paid links give an unnatural advantage to those who have paid for them).
SEO TIP #3 Gather Links To Your Content
This is where “SEO Experts” have a tough time staying ethical. This is the biggest factor impacting SEO and yet the most difficult to get authentically and organically. So here are my best tips to do so:
- Create engaging and valuable content so other sites will want to link to you.
- Link to other sites that your readers will love.
- Keep links of your most popular and engaging content on the front page.
- Use interlinking (with your own content)
- Use breadcrumbs.
- Use Social Networks – especially Pinterest.
SEO TIP #4 Win the Popularity Contest
This is one time where the popularity contest is actually a good thing. Your content needs to be so good that others read it – big sites link to it. The bounce rate is lower and people engage with the content through comments or sharing. When your content is the most popular, this demonstrates to Google that this is a really good answer to the question.
- Refresh old content – keep revised and relevant.
- Post regularly, post often (keep your audience interested and engaged).
- Link to related content.
- Include a Call to Action
- Use social networks to encourage sharing.
Honestly – SEO is simple but not easy! You can reduce all the advice and noise around you into one goal: be the best result!
- Know what the search is: keywords
- Optimize your content.
- Gather Links
- Win the popularity contest
The first couple of posts you optimize will take longer to figure out… maybe 15 – 20 minutes on a post. But after 5 posts or so, it will become so much easier! After you have your keywords chosen, the rest will become second nature in your creative process.
But with everything – it takes practice!!