Want to learn SEO in one hour? If you really want to learn SEO, read this entire guide and watch all the videos. Once you finish reading this beginners SEO guide, you will have a good understanding of what SEO is and how to do it right.
This is the ultimate beginners SEO Guide. It’s for the newbies and for people who don’t get SEO but want an easy way to learn it. This started out as a PDF guide that I gave my clients before starting any project. It helped my clients understand Search Engine Optimization and helped me because I didn’t have to completely educate them.
It has also helped me be completely transparent with my clients because I knew that after reading this guide, they could understand what I was talking about.
I have spent a lot of time researching, studying and testing the same techniques that I put together in this SEO guide. Everything in this article I learned from reading every book I could find, studying Google, studying how the pros do it and putting it into practice.
Although I have done my best to make this SEO guide as detailed as I can, keep in mind that this is a beginners SEO guide and I’m trying to keep the flow as simple as I can.
You can download a PDF copy of this SEO guide at the bottom of this post.
SEO today is not what it used to be. In order to get to the top of SERPS (search engine results pages), you have to be damn good! You have to be unique, you have to be relevant, you have to be trustworthy and you have to compete with the best.
There are many ways to reach your online goals and every successful website became successful in its own way. But even though the odds are against you, don’t lose hope because the internet is an endless space and success stories are born every day.
How search works
Just so we are on the same page, I want you to watch this short video on how Google’s search works.
Other search engines
Bing and Yahoo are the only big search engines left in the game but Google still holds the major share in the neighborhood of 90%.
Blekko and DuckDuckGO (ddg.gg) are both newer search engines for people that just want something different. Blekko relies less on link based authority and is open and transparent about their search algorithm while DuckDuckGO is focused on user privacy. Both are trying to provide results with less spam and less advertising.
But as you can see below, Google is still the king of search and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.
Click picture to enlarge – Courtesy of gs.statcounter.com
These are the only “real” search engines left. There are other search engines still in use but they are specific to certain categories. The question you need to ask is yourself is “When was the last time you used another search engine other than Google, Bing or Yahoo?”.
The answer is clear, Google optimization should be your priority. It just makes sense and that’s why this beginners seo guide will focus on Google optimization. The other search engines are secondary. Bing and Yahoo also look for similar optimization techniques so just make sure to submit your site to Bing Webmaster Tools. This will get you indexed with Bing and Yahoo.
What is Google’s algorithm?
Google’s algorithm is a procedure of calculations that Google uses to determine the importance and relevancy of your content and your website so they can decide where to rank your page in the SERPS.
Last february of 2011, Google launched a major algorithm update called Panda. This update was aimed to help people (users) find “higher-quality” sites by reducing the rankings of lower-quality content on search results pages.
Although Google claims this update affected only a small percentage of sites, that small percentage would equal millions. The main reason for this upgrade is to separate the quality sites from the junk.
The spammers have saturated the net and it’s hard to tell the good stuff from the bad. In order for Google to provide the best results they must get better at weeding out the crap. This crap is called web-spam, this is the junk you sometimes see in search engine results. These websites cheated their way into higher positions and have violated Google’s search engine quality guidelines and will eventually get caught and penalized.
It’s constantly evolving
The algorithm is always changing and nobody has the “exact” answers. That’s why there’s so much misconception when it comes to how to do SEO right. In the past year alone, Google has updated its algorithm over 500 times and will continue to make improvements to provide the best search results for its users. Google can’t leak its secret sauce recipe or people will find ways to cheat the system.
So what I’m sharing with you in this beginners SEO guide is what has worked in the past that still works in today’s search strategy. In order to have a long lasting online business, you have to do it right. More hard work, more patience and less cheating because Google will catch you sooner or later.
I also understand that all traffic doesn’t come from search engines and for some people search engine traffic is not that important. But this is a beginners SEO guide, so I will stick to the topic.
Step into Google’s mindset for a better understanding
As I said above, the Panda update will calculate the quality of your website and place you in SERPS accordingly. High quality sites will get bumped up and lower quality sites pushed down.
So let’s take a close look at what Google considers a high quality site so as you read this SEO guide, you take all these factors into consideration.
Cited by: Amit Singhal, Senior VP at Google: We aren’t disclosing the actual ranking signals used in our algorithms because we don’t want folks to game our search results; but if you want to step into Google’s mindset, the questions below provide some guidance on how we’ve been looking at the issue.
-Would you trust the information presented in this article?
-Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
-Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
-Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
-Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
-Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
-Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
-Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
-How much quality control is done on content?
-Does the article describe both sides of a story?
-Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
-Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
-Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
-For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
-Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
-Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
-Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
-Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
-Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
-Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
-Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
-Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
-Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
As you can see, it takes a lot of work to be qualified as a quality site. To date there are over 200 measurements in Google’s algorithm and I’m sure it will keep growing as technology grows.
Many people believe that these points above are impossible for an algorithm to compute and maybe that’s true today but Google is working with hundreds of “human search quality raters” to determine what kind of sites appear to be of higher quality. These raters don’t directly influence the algorithm but you never know when that might change. More on how Google uses human raters from Search engine watch.
Make sure to remember these points if you want to take your Google optimization seriously.
What is SEO?
Let’s get you started with the basics first, like what is SEO and what are meta tags, keywords, back-links and pagerank?
SEO or Search engine optimization is the way you process your website for search engines. This process uses techniques that maximize your potential to receive quality search engine traffic. These techniques make your website search engine friendly and help give your user the best experience possible while visiting you.
Search engine optimizers like myself have a broader scope of work as compared to before. Today, we have to look at the entire picture. It’s not just about keyword density and backlinks. It’s about design, content and the overall user experience. It’s about quality.
What are meta tags?
Meta tags are information tags about your website. These HTML tags are inserted in the Head section of your website page for search engines to read but are not displayed in the front end design of your site. They might be pertinent information about the page or instructions.
If you’re a blogger, you can insert these tags accordingly if you use the HTML tab in your blog editor.
These meta tags consist of:
-Page title: Main title of your content also shown as the title in your browser/tab.
-Description: Short description of your content. Also shown in Google’s rich snippet in search results page.
-Keywords: Today Google does not use the meta keywords tag in ranking so there’s no point in using this meta tag. Google will crawl your page to find keywords on its own.
-Noindex: Prevents the page from being indexed in Google. This could be a back-end page that you don’t want visitors to find in search results or a page that might be a duplicate but you use it for another purpose.
-Nofollow: Prevents Googlebot from following links from this page or a specific link. Use this when you link to untrusted sites, paid links and links to internal pages that are not indexed.
-Nosnippet: Prevents Google from showing rich snippets in search results.
-Noodp: Prevents the alternative description from DMOZ from being used.
-Noarchive: Prevents Google from showing the Cached link for a page.
-Noimageindex: lets you specify that you do not want your page to appear as the referring page for an image that appears in Google search results.
You obviously need to know HTML or have some programming knowledge to insert these meta tags. If you use WordPress they have a plugin for almost everything. I recommend using an SEO plugin to insert your Page title and Descriptions. WordPress SEO and All in One SEO pack are both excellent and free plugins.
If you just want a meta tag plugin without all the other SEO features, Add meta tags lets you add the page title, description, noindex, nofollow and noodp meta tag to any page or post.
More information on how Google reads these meta tags, visit Webmaster Tools.
As Matt Cutts, head of the Google webspam team explains. The most important tags are the Title and Description meta tag. These two tags are important because it gives a user the first impression of what your page is all about. Make sure it’s compelling and click worthy.
Brand your titles on every page of your site, example: <title>Joeal Manimtim: About me</title>. Every page title should start with your site name: Page title.
Make sure to clearly describe what the content of the page is about. Accurate meta descriptions can help improve your clickthrough because in many cases, this description is used in the search results rich snippet.
Rich snippets are the additional lines of information that appear in your Google search results. Spend some time creating compelling titles and awesome description meta tags. Google in most cases will use this as the rich snippet in your SERPS.
You can use Google’s rich snippets testing tool to see what your page will look like in search results.
It’s hard enough to rank high in SERPS but if you manage to get there, make sure to give them a reason to click on you!
The “Nofollow” meta tag provides a way for us to tell search engines not to follow a specific link or page.
Many people use this as a tool to prevent passing PageRank to external links. I don’t think we should be too concerned about micro managing every link we create just to conserve our own PageRank (more on this below).
Use the “Nofollow” meta tag for what it was meant for.
1. links to un-trusted content that you cannot vouch for.
2. Paid links – Google requires you to use “Nofollow” to prevent paid links from influencing search results.
3. Opt out – Some pages like a subscribe page, payment page, log-in page etc… don’t need to be found in search results. Any links to these types of pages should be “nofollowed”. Any links pointing to “Noindex” pages should also be “nofollowed”.
Here is the html code: <a href=”http link here“rel=”nofollow”>Title here</a>. If you use WordPress use the HTML tab in your editor, fill in your link and title. You can also use Nofollow WordPress plugins that have the feature built into the content management system. Just search the WordPress plugin database.
I use the Pretty Link Lite WordPress plugin, it’s free and has a Nofollow feature for all the links I want to track. And I use the HTML code above for all other links I want nofollow.
Robots.txt is a text file located on the root domain of your server. Website owners use the /robots.txt file to give instructions to web robots/spiders. In this file, you can disallow robots from crawling certain pages that you don’t want indexed in a search engine.
You don’t need one if you you want every page indexed. You might need one for login pages, secure payment processing pages and private pages you don’t want indexed.
This is one of the first things to check when trouble shooting why a page has not been indexed. Learn more about Robots.txt.
It’s simply a list of the pages on your website. Why is this important?
When search engine robots crawl your blog or website they might not visit every page, especially if some of your pages are not linked to internally or externally. Submitting a sitemap helps search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your complete site.
This is another tool that helps SEO’s diagnose the sites architecture and the if the content available on a website is structured properly with categories and sub-categories.
What are Keywords?
A keyword or keyword phrase is what you type into a search engines search box.
Why is this important? These words are what everyone is competing for.
Example: if you’re an insurance company, you want to rank on the 1st page of SERPS for the keywords “insurance”, “best insurance”, “cheap car insurance” etc…
Keyword research is a method used by SEO’s, writers, bloggers and developers to find out statistical data about what people are searching for within a search engines database.
You need to know what people are searching for, how they are searching and how many people are searching. You need to know these things or you may be writing something nobody at all is searching for. If no one is searching for your keywords, your search engine traffic will be minimal.
There are many keyword research tools available on the internet. At first, you should use the free Google Keyword Tool. This tool has improved through the years and works well. For Bing and Yahoo search, you can download the Microsoft Advertising Intelligence application.
I found this short and simple video that shows you the basics in action:
You can also pay to have your business listed at the very top of search rankings (above organic search results) or on the far right column and you will be listed on relevant SERPS via the keywords you have chosen. This is called CPC (Cost per click) or paid search advertising. You pay Google only when someone clicks on you.
The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is part of the Adword CPC – cost per click advertising system but it’s free to use by anyone and is the most popular keyword tool in use by SEO’s, developers, writers and bloggers.
Side note: The combination of gaining traffic from your SEO efforts and paid search advertising is referred to as SEM or Search Engine Marketing. There’s an excellent SEM guide over at Search Engine Land that explains all about SEM and paid search advertising.
How do I insert keywords into my website? Since Google doesn’t care about the keyword meta tag anymore, the spiders automatically pick up what Google thinks is an important keyword or phrase from your title, url, description and the text in your article or page body. More on this below in On Page Optimization.
Advanced keyword researchers want more options and more detail. Here are the top paid keyword tools you will find on the net.
All very good keyword tools but I highly recommend you use Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool before spending any money. It may be the only keyword tool you need.
If your brain has run dry and you need help finding more keywords, try this neat free keyword suggestion tool from ubersuggest. Just type in your main keyword and it will start computing other keyword phrases alphabetically.
What are long tail keywords?
Long tail keywords are specific keyword phrases usually 3-6+ words in length. It’s a non-generic keyword phrase that is specific to a certain product, service or piece of content.
Examples of long tail keywords:
-2005 like new blue Nissan Pathfinder
-Lord of the rings box set blu ray
-How to SEO your WordPress site
Examples of short tail keywords:
-Lord of the rings
There is a time and place for short and long tail keywords. Sometimes called “narrow” and “broad” keywords. Short tail keywords are generally more competitive but will likely get you more traffic.
Most beginners are more likely to focus on short tail keywords because they usually don’t have a focused goal in mind when they start a blog or website. They are more interested in getting as many visitors as possible. Most readers also search short tail because they just want to find general information and that’s why short tail gets more traffic.
Advanced internet marketers have a specific goal and are more interested in getting a targeted reader. Less people search long tail but the people who do are looking for something specific and are more likely to buy than a non targeted reader.
Take for example the long tail keywords above “Lord of the rings box set blu ray”. Anyone searching for this is probably price shopping. Anyone searching the short tail keyword “Lord of the rings” might just be researching and is probably less likely to buy at this moment.
Most likely, you will be using a combination of both short and long tail keywords. It really depends on the goal of your specific web page.
Pagerank was named after Larry Page (Co-founder of Google). It’s Google’s opinion of the reputation on your individual web pages. It’s a mathematical algorithm that rates an individual web page from 0-10 and 10 being the best possible score.
In its simplest form, it measures the amount of links and the quality of those individual links that point to your web page to give you a score.
Think of links as a form of endorsement. Each site that you link to is receiving your endorsement and vice-versa. It’s like a “Facebook like” or a “thumbs up”. The more links pointing to your page, the more reputation your individual page has.
Today Google is more interested in quality than quantity. Receiving a link (endorsement) from a highly reputable (higher PR) site is more important in Google’s eyes.
Be warned, Google’s algorithm looks for naturally built links. If they think you have purchased or attained links un-naturally for the purposes of passing pagerank, they will penalize your site. If your site was penalized because you were participating in Link Schemes, you can request reconsideration here: Webmaster Tools.
Many people today buy and sell links and there is nothing wrong with it as long as it’s for advertising purposes only and not to pass PageRank from one site to another. You can do this by using the rel=”nofollow” tag on those links. Read more about paid links in Webmaster Tools.
Is PageRank important?
Google says to focus on building a high quality site and don’t obsess over PR too much. It used to play a large role in determining your page’s search engine position. Today, it’s only a small factor in the overall search algorithm. I think they really don’t want people to focus on PageRank because it leads to un-natural link building techniques and the current algorithm still has a hard time differentiating natural and un-natural links.
So back to the question, is PageRank important?
For traffic: Just a little bit. Nothing to obsess over.
For SEO: Yes. PageRank helps Google prioritize which sites get crawled more frequently. Google crawls higher PR sites more often to look for new content because they want the most relevant fresh content available.
That’s why new content from high PR sites like news sites get indexed almost as soon as they publish it.
Here’s a video explanation from Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz. He explains what Google’s PageRank is good for and what its not good for.
Many people will argue that PageRank is no longer important in today’s search rank position and that may be true. Many sites with lower PR can beat higher PR sites in search ranking because there are so many factors in the search algorithm.
But if it helps a little, then to me it’s important. If it helps get your articles indexed quickly, then yes again. It’s important. If it’s Google’s opinion of your reputation, don’t you think it would be important? Yes again.
How do I know what my PageRank is? Well, only Google knows what your actual current PageRank is. The PageRank you see on any of the browser extensions and websites are always out of date and are only current on the day Google chooses to update its toolbar PR. Every day on-wards it becomes less and less accurate. To find out what your PR is, here are a couple of browser plugins I recommend you try out. SEO Quake, PageRank Status.
Back links and link building
Link building is a method used to get links (back links) from other websites. As I said above, back-links are like endorsements to your individual web pages. Anyone who links to you directly is endorsing you and you endorse anyone you link out to.
The more back links pointed to your site, the more popular you are in Google’s eyes. The more quality back links pointed to your site, the more relevant and important you are and your PageRank will reflect that.
If you want to know how many back links you have and who is linking to you, make sure you have a Google Webmaster Tools account. This account will show you who is linking to you and to what pages they are linking to within your site.
What are the benefits of link building?
1. Credibility: Reputable sites that link to you definitely give you more credibility.
2. Visibility: Imagine a link is a road. The more roads that lead to your website, the more opportunity for people to visit you. Especially if that link is from a busy site.
3. Quicker indexing of your page: Search engines love links so when they crawl sites and find them, they index the linked sites almost immediately.
4. Anchor text: It’s the clickable text in your hyper link. Example: SEO Guide which is linked to my main page. The anchor text is usually highlighted in blue and underlined. Depending on the quality of the site this anchor text comes from and the quantity of other sites that use the same anchor text. Google will rank the linked page higher than websites without the anchor text.
Always keep in mind that Google is finding better ways to fight web spam. If you are caught buying or selling links, spamming comment boxes and forums and other un-natural link building strategies. Google has the right to demote your site or even block you completely from search results.
Basic link building techniques
1. Build quality content that is useful to people: This is the best way to get consistent links. Every link on this page has good content and that’s why I link to it. I wouldn’t want to send you somewhere useless.
2. Public profile pages: Create profile pages like a Google+ page or a Twitter account and link to your website or internal pages.
3. Blog commenting: When you post a comment you are able to enter your website for a link. I recommend you use your real name and not anchor text or the blog administrator might tag you as spam.
4. Guest blogging: Writing a guest blog gives you more visibility and a link back to your website. Guest blogging on high quality sites gives you more direct traffic plus the opportunity to receive more PR in time. Example: I wrote this guest blog on How to think like a Gold Medalist on a high PR site and when this article increases it’s PageRank, it will pass some of that PR back to my back link.
Remember, this is a beginners SEO guide and these are just basic link building techniques. Jon Cooper from Point Blank SEO has a comprehensive link building strategies list that I recommend you read. It covers pretty much every type of link building you could imagine.
If you want to take link building to the next level, you need to keep track of all the places you have created, requested and earned links. Kristi Hines is a well known writer and blogger in the SEO industry and she has shared a link building spreadsheet that will help you or your team keep track of your efforts.
If spreadsheets are too cumbersome for you to use, try this new Link Building Toolbar I just found from Chris Gilchrist at Hitreach. I have tested it now for a few days and I think it will make any link building project much easier.
For more advanced link building strategies. Visit Jason Acidre’s link building blog. One of the most impressive link building blogs I follow.
What if my content sucks?
Let me ask you. Do you listen to crappy music? eat food that tastes bad? Do you enjoy smelling rotten eggs? Some people do I guess, but not many. So if given the choice, why would anyone want to read your crappy content?
I know this sounds harsh, but if you want someone to visit you and actually read, listen or watch your content. IT HAS TO BE GOOD! If not fantastic!
You could do everything right and get plenty of traffic but what happens when they get to your website and are sorely disappointed?
THEY LEAVE IMMEDIATELY
You have less than 3 seconds to give them an impression of what your site is about. 3 seconds and if they don’t feel you, they are gone.
In your analytics, it’s called a bounce rate. Imagine getting 1000 viewers / day and then getting a 100% bounce rate. That’s 1000 missed opportunities.
Your content is a major part of the user experience. The user experience is a factor in Google’s algorithm, whether it be your content, design, layout and the flow of your website. I have seen sites with nothing but text and it had plenty of good quality traffic. It’s because the article content was that good of a read.
So before all else, before SEO, before design. I would make sure you are prepared to produce quality shit.
If you are blogging for personal fun, it’s really no big deal. A blog is what every you want it to be and there are no real rules. But if you are trying to improve your exposure or start a real business, make sure you think hard about quality. For more, read my how to guide on writing quality articles.
The benefits of blogging
Blogging is not new and most companies have a business blog. There are 2 big benefits that stand out.
1. Fresh quality content: Many businesses fail when it comes to delivering enough quality content. Since your blog will share the same navigation as your business site, writing relevant articles related to your business can attract more visitors from search engines that will also be keen to know more about you and your company.
2. Social proof: Blogging can provide social proof that your company respects peoples opinions and takes customes feedback seriously. Blogging allows you to engage with your customers in a human way. Writing fresh content that benefits your customers will let your customers know that there are real people behind your company and that your business does not hide behind a corporate logo.
Blogging alone can be your primary internet marketing tool and if used wisely can produce a significant income for you.
If you are going to start a blog, WordPress hosted on your own server is your best blogging solution and Blogger is the best free blogging platform. I won’t get into which one is better because they’re both excellent platforms and I use them both. But if you want the absolute most flexibility, host your own WordPress site and make it search engine friendly.
Note for WordPress users: Joost de Valk, the maker of the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin I mentioned above wrote the best WordPress SEO guide on the net. Definitely a recommended read.
If you are a business, it makes sense that you get your business-name.com. Or you might choose the nature-of-your-business.com. It really depends on what type of business you have or are starting up.
Keywords in your domain name
Many people argue that having your keywords in your domain name is really important for SEO. Example www.flying-robot-technology.com vs www.whatever.com
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team says it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the importance and relevancy of your website in regards to your topic. Take for example Facebook, Twitter and Google. They are simply easy to remember names and better for branding purposes. Some people use their names like www.johnchow.com.
I personally think that keywords in your domain is an added benefit and it works well for many people but it really depends on what you’re trying to build.
If your niche is about “poison ivy”, then yes it would absolutely be beneficial to have that keyword phrase in your domain name but it doesn’t necessarily mean that site will rank better. In the end, it will still depend on the quality of your content.
Dot com vs:
You will have a choice between .com, .net, .org and so on but I highly recommend that you get a .com. This is the original top level domain and it’s still the most popular. If you get .net, that means someone else is using the .com and this can cause confusion when people are trying to reach your website and find someone else.
Free domain names like .co.cc have been abused by spammers and Google has de-indexed many of these domains. Read more about this story on the Google forum.
If you are starting a new business, why take chances? Invest the 10 dollars and get a top level domain. Get a dot com.
Is web hosting an SEO factor?
The location of your web host server is a significant ranking factor in SEO. If your business is localized to a specific country and you want to rank well for local search, it would be in your best interest to have your server located within the same country and a domain name with your country prefix like .au .fr .ca .ph etc…
But If you wan’t your reach to be international, then just make sure you use a good reputable host. You don’t want Google to crawl your website when your server is down. This will send a negative signal back to Google but it probably won’t have a noticeable effect unless your website is repeatedly down.
As with free domains, there are also free hosting services available. Just like the free domain names, free web hosting is riddled with spammers. In essence you will be sharing a server with other spammers. Don’t take any chances just so you could save a little money. For the price of a Big Mac meal, you can get hosting for a month.
I have used almost every kind of hosting, from shared to dedicated and cloud hosting. The only provider I never had a problem with is bluehost. This SEO Guide is hosted on a bluehost server. They have a good reputation, based in the USA and have a decent support team that you can call or chat with. I feel comfortable recommending them for hosting and domain name requirements.
Now that you understand the basic terminology from this beginners SEO guide. I want to show you how to optimize your on page content so that you’ll have the best opportunity to rank well in SERPS.
1. Make sure your primary keyword or keyword phrase is in your title. If possible, include your secondary keyword.
2. Insert your keyword phrase in your permalink: http://your-domain.com/your-keyword-phrase/ (use the trailing slash). If you have primary and secondary keyword phrases, you can use the primary keyword in the title and the secondary keyword in the permalink.
3. Your primary and secondary keywords should be in your meta description. Twice if you can make it sound natural.
4. Your primary keyword phrase should be in the first paragraph of your content. If it’s a long paragraph, make sure it’s near the beginning.
5. Your primary and secondary keywords should also be “nicely” and “evenly” placed throughout the body of your content. It has to sound natural so don’t over do it or you will get a slap from Google for keyword stuffing. Don’t focus on an exact keyword density, instead make sure its in the first paragraph once, body once and in the last paragraph close to the end.
6. link to another relevant page on your site if possible using your keywords as the anchor text.
7. Link out to an authority page using your keywords as the anchor text if possible.
8. Your images should have an “alt attribute” or “alt tag” with your keyword or phrase in it. Search engines cannot see pictures, it can only read your description. Many newbies don’t do this. Most blogging platforms let you easily put alternative text below the title of your image. Some even let you put an additional description. Again, use common sense and don’t over do it.
9. Insert a video if you can. This is a ranking factor. If you can’t make one, add a relevant video that’s related to your topic. Video’s help keep visitors on your site longer and thus helping to reduce your bounce rate.
10. Make your page a minimum of 750 words. These words should not be filler words. Part of creating good content is writing good copy, making every word count and explaining everything you can about your keyword phrase and topic. It makes sense that 750 words or more will be a more descriptive answer than a shallow 200 words and Google’s algorithm will account for this.
These are the basics of on page optimization. You will get different results for different topics and different keyword phrases. This will be something you have to try and test on your own to see what works best for you. Some topics and keywords will be impossible to rank well in SERPS because there is just too many people who have already done it.
These techniques will work best if your content is unique, well written and gives massive benefit to the reader. Google is always looking for fresh new content, so keep that in mind.
Site design and the user experience
Optimize for speed. Google has incorporated site speed or page load speed as a ranking signal in it’s algorithm. They say that it doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevancy of your page but it is a factor. Users don’t want to wait around when they can easily find something else. What you will find is that most people think they can easily find what they are looking for on their next click.
Design your site so that it’s fast loading, good site architecture (using pages and categories properly), easy to navigate, easy on they eyes, easy to read, looks good and not too busy. Create your site and your content for the user but keep Google optimization in mind.
Social media and SEO
Everyone has a Facebook and Twitter account so common sense would mean that it’s very important in today’s internet marketing strategies. This is very true for alternative traffic generation but in terms of the search engine optimization of your website, it means very little directly so I won’t talk about it much in this seo guide.
But indirectly, social media can be a match to light your fuel. SEO and social media aren’t at war, social media complements SEO and can help you get more visitors that in turn might link to you from their websites or blogs. Remember, PageRank is important.
Another small benefit is that Google does count links from social media sites but they don’t pass any PageRank. More on Social Media in a future post.
This is just the beginning
This is not the end, it’s just the end of my seo guide but it’s just the beginning of your Google optimization education. I hope you gained some knowledge from this guide and hope that it has given you some insight into the depth of the seo industry. The information I have provided in this beginners SEO Guide is enough to get any blogger or writer started off on the right foot.
Still want more? Peter Attia from Cucumber Nebula put together this huge list of articles together that will make SEO your bitch. There’s a lot of different SEO guides in this resource and all the links are from the professionals in the SEO industry.
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By Joeal Manimtim
Images by: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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