Beginners Guide to SEO
New to SEO? Don’t know what SEO is? We are here to help you get started with whatever SEO journey you decide to take. Everything from keywords, backlinks, and data collection, this guide will introduce you to the basics of SEO.
First let's discuss what SEO is. SEO or Search engine optimization is the process of ranking a website on a search engine such as Google or Bing. In our case we will use Google for most of our examples in this discussion. With proper SEO tactics you can raise your website's rankings when an individual searches for a product or service in your industry.
Let’s look at an example. You are a fitness coach who wants to gain traction in your local area. There are a few things you can do to increase your site rank, and thus gain more traffic to your site. The first item you want to focus on is keywords. Keywords can range from a variety of specific phrases, but in this case we are looking for keywords such as “fitness instructor” or “fitness programs”. These keywords are specific to you and your industry. If you aren't sure what keywords to be targeting don’t worry, there are many online tools out there to help you research what is targeted in your industry. Websites like The Hoth, Moz, and Ahrefs are all great free tools at your disposal. These websites offer keyword research, rankings checkers for specific keywords, and more.
Next we will go over the importance of backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites, social media platforms, or emails that lead to your site. Backlinks are the greatest way to increase your site's authority and relevance. Authority and relevance are two key components Google uses to rank a website in search queries. Having trusted, high quality backlinks will bolster your site and Google will rank you higher in authority and relevance. However, getting these backlinks is easier said than done. Google has formed its crawling code over the years to pick up on any black hat tactics. What this means is you have to earn your backlinks, you can’t pay a shady agency to mass produce backlinks for you. Google will catch on to any of these underhanded tactics and punish your sites rankings.
So how do you get quality backlinks then? There are a few methods that have been ironed out over the years. One of the healthiest and most ethical ways is helping other creators as a sort of barter system. A platform that does this well is HARO. HARO or Helping a Reporter Out, is a platform that connects bloggers and reporters to a professionals in any given field. Through a 3-times a day mass email, reports look for experts on a variety of topics and industries. If you can provide a quality response that is sufficient to the writer, they will then return the favor and give you a backlink from their article. Both parties win and this is a great way to boost your own backlinks along with building your reputation. Another method that has been proven is to create high level professional content on your own website. As an example, if you are a chef who does at home cooking, posting guides and recipes is a great way to produce backlinks. Having that high quality content on your page gives others a reason to mention you.
As a side note, if you are looking to always be on top of anything mentioned about your website or your industry, look to Google Alerts. Google Alerts allows you to pick phrases that when searched, you will be notified. So in our case when somebody searches for “ 1200 Studios Marketing” we are notified. You can pick how many times you want to be notified through email, whether it be immediately, daily, or weekly.
Lastly we will cover data collection. Data collection is key to understanding what is working and what is not. Without proper data collection and analysis, your keyword implementation and backlinks go to waste. First off you need a platform to go over said data. Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Wix, and Wordpress all provide high quality data on your website. Play around with each website and find what fits you and your website best.
Now that we have a platform to view data, we need to interpret that data. Look for categories like visits, time spent, Click Through Rate or CTR, where the user came from (i.e. Facebook, Direct, a backlink, etc). These will all help you decipher what areas of your website need improvement and what areas are succeeding.
There it is. A very brief beginner guide to SEO. If you can learn to manage your keywords, backlinks, and data, you can quickly increase the ranking of your website.