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What is SEO? A beginners Guide

Do you need Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

 

If your website relies on traffic from Search Engines; YES, you most definitely need to understand Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). At the very least you need to understand the basics of ‘On-Page SEO‘ and ‘Basic Keyword Research, both of which I’ll cover later in this article. If you intend driving traffic via PAID Traffic (Buying Traffic via ‘Paid Per Click’) then knowing a little SEO won’t hurt either. To start off; I’ll cover some basics and the terms used when discussing SEO.

Introduction to Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation is the process or techniques implemented to help improve a ‘websites rankings’ and ‘organic traffic’. Ok, so if you’re new to this I’ve probably lost you already 🙂 but stick with me…

Website Ranking: When you do a web search for a topic, product or service, you insert your keyword or phrase into a Search Box using your favourite Search Engine (eg. Google, Bing, Yahoo etc). After you’ve clicked the search button, you are redirected to a page containing the results of your search. This is called a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Where a website ranks on these Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), is what we refer to when discussing ‘Website Rankings’. A web-page can rank on Page-1 and say Position-3 on that page. A poorly ranked web-page might be on Page-22 and lets face it very few people browse past page-1 (stats indicate desperately seeking searchers may go as far as page-3, but for most Page-1 and maybe page-2).

Organic Traffic: This has nothing to do with driving a hybrid car, eating healthy or living a green lifestyle. Organic Traffic is visitors to your website that found your website via a SERP. In other words; the user typed a keyword or phrase into a Search Engine search field and found a link to your website on the results page. This is also often referred to as FREE Traffic (although it’s not necessarily free).

Organic Traffic = Free Traffic, but…

While it may be FREE Traffic on the day, getting your website or blog to rank well in the SERPS in the first place will either cost you time if you do it yourself or money if you outsource the SEO job.

Moving on; where a website ranks on a SERP (i.e. on Page-1, 2 or Page 30 etc) is determined by many factors calculated by the Search Engine using a complex algorithm, which you don’t need to know about at this stage. What you do need to know about is…

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the stuff you can do on your website that influences your rankings. This you have full control over and it doesn’t have to be difficult if you start off with the basics. WordPress is pretty good at SEO if you have set your permalinks correctly, but it could be better. The first thing you will need is a good WordPress SEO Plugin or SEO Optimised Theme.

IMPORTANT: Search Engine look at each page of a Website as a separate entity and base the rankings of each page individually. For this reason it is important to optimise each page of your website or blog separately.

There is too much info regarding on-page SEO to share in this article. It is a topic in it’s own right and there are many articles and videos online that can help you with your on-page SEO efforts. There are two plugins I recommend for on-page SEO and they are:

  1. All-In-One-SEO-Pack (by Michael Torbet)
  2. WordPress SEO (by Yoast) – preferred choice

Here is a great video for setting up the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin
http://www.quicksprout.com/university/how-to-setup-the-yoast-wordpress-seo-plugin/

What I like about WordPress SEO is the fact that it scores your SEO as you create and update you post or page content and gives tips as to what is required to improve your SEO Score for that post/page.

Basic Keyword Research

Again, this is another massive topic and as a beginner I wouldn’t worry about getting to carried away. To start off with, all you need to get going is to know what keywords people are using in Google (or other Search Engines) and create content around those keywords.

The easiest way to do this, is to use Google’s Auto Suggest Tool. The Auto Suggest Tool is a complex name for the recommended keywords Google suggests to you while you are typing something into the regular search field on Google’s Search Page.

Using Google Auto Suggest to find Keywords

In the image above, you will see that I typed in ‘basic keyword’ into the search field. The drop-down with all the other suggested keywords/phrases is Google’s Auto Suggest Tool at work. If you look in the list of suggested keywords, Google has recommend “basic keyword research” as an option. If the keywords are coming up in the Auto Suggest drop-down box you can rest assured that these are keywords or phrases that Google users are searching for and can be used for your content ideas.

Note: At the bottom of the Google Search Results Pages
you will also find more keyword suggestions…

More auto suggested keywords for content ideas

To conclude:

I hope this article gives you a basic understanding about what SEO is and what is required to get started using On-Page SEO for improved rankings and content ideas. This is NOT a lesson in SEO, but it should arm you with enough knowledge to start implementing SEO practices and give you some idea of what/where to find more information regarding SEO.

Please feel free to share your thoughts or views in the comments below…

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 Posted on : - Last updated on Sep 1, 2015

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