Easy SEO Guide for Beginners

No matter the type of business or project you are getting started with, unless you are internet-present – you practically do not exist. But the trouble is that when you jump into the online world, it is not really enough to just create a site and wait and sit back and relax while the clients and customers start coming on their own. You need to invest a certain amount of effort for things to happen, but we’ll dive into that a bit more in the following paragraphs.

When you want to hide a corpse, the best place to do so is burry it on the page 2 of Google search” …is the sentence that best describes spoiled habits of today’s internet users. They don’t want to wait for it or invest too much effort into getting the information they need. They want everything right there and then – and in all truth, that is the way it should be.

Google_searchMost people who are not engaged in Internet business, but are aware internet presence poses as an important factor for their business, aren’t really clear with the concept and the idea of what exactly they should be doing. Wherever they turn, they are faced with big-shots internet specialists who promise them the”first position on Google.” But, here’s the brilliant twist – that costs a lot of money.

The fine print for beginners: “SEO – search engine optimization is a term that refers to site customization so that search engines can more easily find it and give it a better position.”

But before hiring the most expensive SEO experts (if putting your trust into premium experts, you’ll need a decent budget and a lot of confidence in what they are doing), there are some basic things you can do yourself. Yes, the SEO expert is in fact a real occupation, no matter how silly it might sound to an outside person. Usually, there’s plenty of brouhaha around it, but the fact is that this is the craft that is learned from the beginning and the base knowledge can be easily overcome.

What if you do not have enough money for a SEO expert? Does this mean that your site will languish on page 258 of Google search? Of course not, because there’s a lot you can do yourself. Do not expect miracles, but make it your motto that – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. And you should definitely not quit, no matter how hard it may all seam at the beginning of your internet things.

What is primarily needed for the first step of SEO?

Before you head for a little more detailed treatment of the ways to make your site more accessible and attractive to search engines and easier for users to find – keep in mind that SEO works on the less is more principle. This particularly applies to key words.

Do not go overboard with keywords because that’s a safe way for the browsing algorithms to start “hating” you and punish you by pushing your content further towards pages that are visited by the most persistent of fanatics.

If you are not sure what words are important/critical to your business, a great place to start your research is by using the Google Keyword tool. This tool allows you to play with keywords until you find the ones that work best for you. Read this Kismet guide to keyword research.

How to optimize the page? On site SEO

The structure of URLs

Simply, if you name the pages their real name (those that contain keywords), the chance that the page will be found through search engines is much higher.

Also, make sure you define custom url of your pages and posts, for example www.sitename.rs/category/postname or www.sitename.rs/postname.

What will attract search engines?

Title tag

Tags, in fact, help search engines understand what we’ve singled out as important on our page. Title tag is used to tell the search engines what the page is about. This tag should not have more than 70 characters because Google is only so much involved in the search. If it comes to a page where you represent your business, try to include your business name or the product key in the title tag. Of course, some pages feature keywords specific to that part of the job only.

Technically, this tag is to be inserted into that piece of code on the page between the <HEAD> </ HEAD> tags near the top of the HTML code on the page.

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Meta descriptions

This is a step further in explaining the algorithm machines on how things on the website work. Meta description contains a more comprehensive description of the topic pages.

There are still different opinions about whether meta description does affect the page ranking site in search in any way. Most are of the opinion that if the meta description contains the text crafted with the ordinary people in mind and top that with keyword inclusion used for the page, such meta description will appear in search results, just below the page title.

How important it is to use all the proper keywords on the pages of the site can be seen in search results: key words that the reader is typed into the browser appear bolded in the search.

H1 through H6 heading tags

They are used to highlight the content on the page which is the most important to us. They should be required for use; for example, Google recommends using head tags <h1> </ h1>, <h2> </ h2> <h3> </ h3> <h4> </ h4> <h5> </ h5 > <h6> </ h6>, where <h1> is the most important, and so on.

These tags are definitely used in ranking algorithms on daily basis and by using them properly we’re focusing “machine”’s attention as well as the readers’ to what’s really important to us. That way, what’s important to us immediately becomes important to the machine, too.

The proposal to schedule heading tags per page:

H1 – Title

H2 – the higher subtitle

H3 – a smaller subtitle

 

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Internal links

It doesn’t quite cut it to only have better-ranked sites leave a link to our site. They are very important and so-called internal links.

Think about how to connect to each page of your site so that there are no “blind spots”, they are logically related, but that does not dissipate the attention of readers. Well placed internal links show/explain to the search engines that you are involved in similar or related topics to the site logically and thematically in the right place.

Alt tags for images

People today aren’t accustomed to writing in straight lines. They are interested in big headlines and visually clearly separated segments, and if you add a suitable stream of emotions, you have the “perfect” message to the taste of today’s reader.

If you use images on the site (and who doesn’t?) think about the good keyword for the image name and alt tag. Because search engines do not see what it is in the picture, and these two elements serve to help it “understand” what’s happening.

Beginners often forget the importance of tags for photos. If a picture features a random tag like 143546fg which was supposed to mark AdriaHost best hosting, do you really think the browser will know what the photo is about and include it in your search?

For example, in this photo that we’re using to illustrate the text about hosting, we’ll put the following code:

<Img src = “AdriaHost-best-and- moststable- hosting- sites- and- sales-domain.png” alt = “AdriaHost best hosting and selling domain” />

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Bolded text

This isn’t something you should abuse; sure, from time to time key words need to b bolded in order to attract readers’ attention but also to make it easier on search engines to isolate what is referred to as essential.

Content is king

The content is great because it is useful for visitors but for search engines, too. The more content you have, the more likely is your visitors will find you. Further, the more content you have, the browser’s address box will index and include a larger number of your site’s pages. The question is – what to do to make both readers and search engines satisfied?

Write phenomenal content and it will surely pay off!

Link building

This is definitely one of the most commented and talked about topics within SEO.

What does it mean?

Simply, you need to get people to leave the link to your site somewhere, so that it attracts more people. If you get links together with keywords that will help you rank better in search engines for that keyword.

Not all links are the same

  • The organic links – these are the ones you do not need to ask permission for but have them come naturally, and they are by far the best. They are especially important if you are coming from an institution that already has the trust of the audiences and a good ranking.
  • Paid Links – content marketing.
  • “Whitehat” techniques for building links which provides high quality links.

Link Building is not a process that can be completed quickly, and it can sometimes be pretty tricky. Or, you can try a few “tricks” for better results:

  • Offer to write a “guest posts” for some of the popular blogs in the same industry. Be sure you can get a link to a site, even from “the author box”.
  • Try to get links from sites that are similar (but not competing) business. A good way to do this is a mutual exchange of links – if there is a section for friends, partners, associates and the like.
  • Create a profile on social networks. Although they do not always apply to the increase of ranking in the search, they will surely generate traffic to the site.
  • Sign in to directories, but be careful which ones – links in some of them can make you more harm than good. Avoid directories that “scrapbook”; it’s better to concentrate on a few in your field. For example, if you have an online store of children’s things, you will be better off with the appearance on children portal directories or magazines for children than in five general directories.

Create content that’s worth your game. A great example of content that will “force” people to share and link your content are good info-graphics – if you have a great photo featuring important data, people will certainly want to share such content. Add an attractive visual presentation to that and you’ve got yourself a score!

Google +, virtually all the help you need for quality ranking

Google likes to play. We are witnessing the ups and downs of many of their projects; who here still remembers Google Wave? But if you want to position yourself better on Google, willingly or unwillingly you have to join Google + community. Using Google’s own social network will help you rank better in the search. The difference is most evident when you are in search for specific keywords. Then you get a personalized search and the difference in your positioning on the net will be HUGE depending of your (not) using Google +.

What to do?

  • Create Google + profile and a business page.
  • Recommend the site you want to rank by giving it a +1 and sharing texts on a page, as well as by linking on the page alone.
  • Add the +1 button on your website so that people themselves can share your articles on this network.
  • Put extra effort in filling in information sections about your brand on your brand page
  • Do not go overboard by posting promo texts only; make sure you make it more interesting by adding articles relevant to your industry or something of interest to your target group.
  • Add people to your “circles” based on the interest. If you’ve done all previous steps properly, it is likely that they will follow you.

Keep track of your progress

SEO is perhaps the best example of how often knowledge on the Internet must be supplemented. Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, social networks also (who still remembers Panda, Penguin and other “critters” that search engines use to force us into change). By implementing permanent changes they want to force you to pay them more for advertising while at the same reduce the attention you are getting by posting high quality content only.

Therefore, it is very important to follow the effects of your work and, if necessary, change them. The key is to become a Ninja of Google Analytics. It has endless possibilities, even a novice can handle enough to monitor key parameters: organic search, number of visits, how many people leave your site and why, what keywords “fire up” the search, why people come to you, etc. Learn how to set a target in GA; this way you’ll know exactly which keyword is led to visit, whether these visitors were doing what you want – joined your mailing list, ordered products, registered…

NOTE: If you use wordpress, thanks to our knowledge base, you can easily do basic SEO for WordPress. Also, the market can find a quality free and premium add-ons which greatly ease basic SEO, like SEO Yoast plugin.

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