How to get started with SEO

How to get started with SEO

Getting started with Search Engine Optimisation or ‘SEO’ can be quite daunting. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.

My experience is that this is an industry built on acronyms. When someone starts to real these off, it can be very intimidating. “They must really know what they are talking about.”

First off, I will try to control myself as acronym speakers are not my favourite.

Secondly, this does not have to be that complicated. If you are a small business in a specific niche, looking to get some organic traffic from search, you can.

The big “secret” is that search engines reward relevance and engagement. The last few major updates to Google’s search algorithm have shown this.

That means, if you are attracting the right audience to your website and they are sticking around for a bit, you are doing very well. This is going to go a long way to getting ranked higher in search engines.

To help you get the rest of the elements in place, check out this simple 6 step approach to getting started with SEO and becoming competitive.

Read to the end and you will discover my 5 bonus tips. There is some pretty great stuff in here.

Step 1 – Find your keywords

A keyword is the search term used by people looking for sites like yours. For example, ‘pizza restaurants’ or ‘buy jewellery’.

To find your relevant keywords, Go to Google Keyword Planner and search for terms that people might use when searching for your business.

Getting started with SEO - Google Keyword Planner

Google is going to provide you with suggestions on keywords people frequently use.

SEO keyword pizza restaurant

Select about 100 that have a high volume of searches per month and that are most relevant to your business. Be sure to try different variations of your original search term to see if it pulls up anything different.

Step 2 – Refine your keywords

Now go to a research tool like SpyFu and use the keyword feature to find the keywords in your list that have a low difficulty ranking.

Start by entering your website into the search bar on the homepage.

Refine your keywords

Then click the Keyword Research button in the second menu bar.

Spyfu keyword research

Try, where possible, to choose keywords with a lower difficulty ranking. This will make it easier to rank above your competitors on these keywords.

Check out this example. The keyword 'pizza restaurants' is pretty high.

keyword pizza restaurants

Now let's compare that to the similar keyword 'pizza places'.

keyword pizza places

You can see that the keyword 'pizza places' only ranks at 55 in difficulty compared to 65 with 'pizza restaurants'. This means that by using pizza places as your keyword, you are more likely to rank higher than using pizza restaurants.

Be sure to consider the search volumes when conducting these searches.

Create a spreadsheet and rank all of your original keywords by difficulty.

For a small business with a small website, refining your list to around 25 keywords will be fine. Use more if you think you can implement them into your site.

Step 3 – Group your keywords

Now combine your keywords into groups of 5 that make sense to go together. You are going to take these groups and implement them into different pages on your website.

Step 4 – Implement primary keywords in your website

Now you need to implement these keywords into your site. Use the keywords with the highest search volume as your main keywords.

These need to be implemented in your Meta Title, Heading Tag (H1 Tag), an image alt text, and about three further times throughout the rest of the text.

Don’t overuse your keywords or you could get penalised. Using your keywords too many times is a practice known as keyword stuffing and will negatively affect your search engine ranking.

Step 5 – Now your secondary keywords

Implement your secondary keywords throughout your sub-headings (H2-6 tags), other images alt text and throughout the text on the page. Again, avoid overusing them.

Step 6 – Improve your domain authority

This is the most important step. You need to get websites to link to yours. You can upload your website to directories, create social media accounts and reach out to bloggers and review sites and ask them to feature you.

Check out this guide to link building to help you get started. It is probably the best guide you will find on the web that is full of actionable advice.

Bonus tips

Implement these tips into the process to give your SEO an extra boost.

Tip 1 - Get some help link building

Link building is one of the most time consuming parts of SEO. A great hack is to use a link building service like Boost Local who, for a small cost, will get other websites to link to yours. Click this link to get your first payment completely FREE.

Tip 2 - Internal linking

Create internal links from keywords. When you reference one of your keywords, link that keyword back to the page of your website where it is a primary keyword. This will improve the relevancy of that page for that specific keyword.

Tip 3 - Engagement is key

Focus on getting people to stay on your site. This is a big one that Google looks out for. You want to make sure people find your site valuable and stay on it and look around. By making this happen, Google will see your site as a useful resource which will have a positive affect on your SEO.

Tip 4 - Check out the competition

Look at your competitor’s keywords. Go back to SpyFu and use it to research your competitors’ keywords. Just type in their URL on the homepage and hit search. SpyFu will tell you what keywords they are being found on.

Tip 5 - New content

Keep creating new content. New content means you are up-to-date (relevant). It gives your site visitors something to keep coming back for and provides opportunity for you to get ranked on more keywords. You can easily do this by blogging regularly. Remember to focus on engagement. That means quality content your visitors will stick around for.

That’s it from this guide. See, SEO isn’t that intimidating, right? Once you remove the acronyms and lay out a step-by-step process, it is really quite manageable.

As a last point. Do not worry if you are not seeing results instantly. You won’t.

That’s because SEO is a marathon not a sprint. Sometimes it can feel like an ironman triathlon. It will take at least 3-6 months to see any results. But when you do. Oh boy!

Imagine what all that free traffic will do for your business.

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