SEO for Beginners – DIY all the way to success

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Let’s start by trying to define what Search Engine Optimization is, or at least what I believe it to be and how by simply understanding the meaning of it can help you succeed.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO, for short, is the art of making anything that is available to a user via search more compatible with a search engine.

In simple terms, engines such as Google, Bing or even Youtube have their own rankings system in order to rank and return results to the users. And even though those ranking algorithms are usually as secret as Coca Cola’s top-secret recipe, through testing and experimentation SEOs from around the world have learned what it takes to be number one.

I always like to think that Google or Baidu are just products with users (their actual clients). Sometimes, probably because we are using them on a daily basis, we tend to forget that. These companies that produce these products want to give their users the best experience possible by providing the results that they believe are the best ones. In most cases that is a

Secure, reliable and fast website which contains a possible solution for a user’s problem, whether that is information-based or product-based from an entity which has expertise, trustworthiness and is an authority around the subject that the user is interested in.

Now, in the past few years, SEO has seen an increase in demand. It is as if prior 2010 SEO was a secret only for some and now the flood doors are open and everyone wants some of it. Unfortunately, that has caused some agencies to either grossly over-price their services, which in most cases are not even provided in full capacity, or has created a number of SEO Gurus to surface online spreading whatever they might have dreamed as being real to the masses. In most cases these SEO Gurus are just create copywriters or at the very least employ them.

If I could give a piece of advice, stay clear from anything or anyone that would present themselves as an SEO Guru or an SEO Expert. Give it a go yourself first before trusting your hard work to a celebrity.

If you want to work on your site’s SEO you are more than capable of doing it yourself, to begin with, and if you want to get more technical advice feel free to reach out to me or hire someone after you’ve done some serious research.

SEO can either bring you to the first spot of Google or quite as easily make you disappear forever.

Do your Keyword Research

Keyword Research

There are things that you can leave out in almost anything you do in order to be more productive, save time or get an MVP out. Keyword Research is not one of them.

Time and time again I have taken on clients that thought that the reason why they are not ranking high is because of some technical issue or because some competitor is doing something fishy but most of the time the problem was that they haven’t done a proper keyword research at the start of their project.

Keyword Research is the art of researching all the potential ways a user could search for your product, service or business online and finding the right keywords to attract the right people at the right time in their user journey.

It sounds hard but if I want to be honest, it is not. It simply requires time and patience. If I could offer you some advice, that would be to spend as much time as possible on the Keyword Research phase prior to moving to the next one and making sure you’ve covered all the basics.

Thankfully there are tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs or Moz that could help you with your research.

Unique & Valuable Content

Content Marketing
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

After you’re done with your research you need to create some content with it. A simple way of looking at this is that search engines are content eating machines. They eat content and they spit results. The better more relevant the content is to the user’s query the better you’ll rank.

There are two common complains that I get at this point.

“My website will not look good with content” and
“My niche is boring for unique and valuable content”.

Let me tell you something. If you believe that your niche is boring you might be doing the wrong thing, and if you think you are saying that because you are a pragmatist, I use to write copy for a business selling dirt. Just let that sink in for a while and come back to me.

A blog can always help you increase your organic traffic, branding and eventually leads but it won’t happen if you don’t put some time into it. Devote some time every week and write at least an article or two. I know that having your own business and writing content can be hard but it will pay off. You are here aren’t you?

Also, don’t mistake content with thousands of thousands of words. Content can also mean a couple of well-thought lines within your category pages, descriptive to what you are offering, or a punch line that contains your main service at the top of your lead generating landing page.

At the end of the day, you know your product better than anyone else. If you keep your item pages empty then why should anyone trust you know your shit?

Optimize Tags

Google Search Results
Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

Meta tags might sound technical but I bet you have been doing it already without knowing. If you have a site on any decent CMS like WordPress, Shopify, Magento etc then they take care of most of them automatically or with the addition of a plugin.

In most cases, the title of the page, article or product will be used as an HTML title tag which is one of the main ranking factors that engines use. You should be always making sure that your pages have an optimized title which contains the main purpose of the page. For example, if you are selling yoga mats then the item name after you’ve completed your keyword research should be something like that

“Thick & Durable, Non-slip Yoga Mat”

Of-course the title is not the only tag you should worry about. Other meta tags such as Meta Description can help your site stand out and increase your click-through rate. Even though not a ranking factor it holds a very important place when it comes to SEO.

The meta description is the description that appears in the search engine result pages under the title.

Search Engine Results

From personal experience and actual experiments that I’ve run in sites with millions of pages, sometimes it’s easier to “steal” clicks from the first place if you are at the second or third by making a your meta description stand out than making the effort to rank number one. Make sure to always spend the extra minute or two to write a good meta description.

Follow these three steps and you will be surprised what most agencies charge you thousands of dollars a month to do. And always remember, if you want some free digital marketing consultation, I am always here to lend you a hand.

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