Search Engine Optimization (for dummies) is the process of optimizing your website with the purpose of ranking it high on Google search results.
It’s a free marketing technique as you don’t need to spend extra money on something else besides whatever you already pay for you website’s hosting.
How to use SEO
The way to start using SEO is to first do some research on what people are searching on Google. By doing that you will be able to find keywords related to your niche/business that people search.
The ideal is to find keywords that are not very competitive (i.e. not too many people are looking them up).
The way to find those keywords is to register a 7-day trial account on Ahrefs. Once you do that you can use a great tool called Keywords explorer.
In order to research keywords for an article I wanted to write, I went to Keywords explorer, selected a country (United States) and searched for 'writer's block' in order to get suggestions for a keyword.
My goal was to select a keyword with a medium to low keyword difficulty (KD in the screenshot below) and a relatively high number of average monthly searches (volume in the sreenshot below).
So, the keyword what causes writer's block was perfect.
Where you should include SEO keywords
Once you find a keyword your job now is to include it in your website so as when people search on Google (and other search engines) your website appears in the results.
OK, but where in my website should I include it? Here comes the fun part.
Your keyphrase should appear in a single page of your website. In my example, this page was a post page in my blog.
But in which parts of the web page exactly? My keyphrase for this article that you are reading right now is search engine optimization for dummies. In order to achieve a good SEO score my keyphrase should appear in my web page's:
- Introduction part
- Meta description (optional)
- As well as inside my images' alt attributes
Let me explain where these places are: Your page's title, meta description and slug are the 3 pieces that make a Google search result.
In other words, when someone manages to find one page of your website on Google, they are going to see your page's title (blue text), slug (green text) and meta description (black text).
So, as you can see my keyword search engine optimization for dummies appears in all 3 places.
Your page's introduction part is the first couple of sentences of your page.
Including Subheadings is a nice way of dividing your content into smaller more readable parts (see the big yellow letters in this page).
When you include images on your website you should always include the Alt attribute, which is basically a code text description of images that helps blind people read images.
Without the Alt attribute the Google algorithm doesn’t read anything from your image, because it can only read text.
Besides the where should my keyphrase appear part, there are also 2 other parameters that you should take into consideration regarding your keyphrase.
- Your keyword’s length
- And your keyword’s density
Regarding the first parameter the optimum length for a keyphrase is up to 5 words.
The second parameter counts how many times your keyphrase appears in your text in relation to the total number of words in the page.
A good density percentage would be between 0.5 and 3%. So, in a blog post of 1000 words your keyphrase should appear between 5 and 30 times in your text copy.
Google SEO on steroids
However, SEO is not only about keywords… there’s more than that. Let’s look at another 5 things you should do.
- Include internal links in your page
- Include outbound links in your page
- Make sure your SEO title width is not too short and not too long
- Ensure the right length of your meta description
- Have enough text in your web page
Let’s look at the above one by one.
Inside your website an internal link is a link that you put in one page of your website which links to other pages on your own website.
Why should I include internal links?
Because Google follows links to discover content on websites and to rank this content in the search results. If a post or page gets a lot of links this is a signal to Google that's it's an important or high-value article.
Outbound links are links from your website to other websites.
But why would I ever want to link to other websites?
Because the Internet exists by virtue of links and it’s a good practice to connect to other websites, whenever it makes sense.
Let's look at this image again:
My SEO title (blue letters) is neither too short nor too long. A good range is between 40 and 60 characters.
My meta description (black letters) is once again neither too short nor too long. A great range should be between 120 and 156 characters.
Including enough text in a web page makes it easier for search engines to determine what your text is about especially if it's well optimized for your keyphrases.
Google SEO looks tough...
Search Engine Optimization is a technique that seems a bit overwhelming for beginners. However, it's a marketing technique that doesn't require a budget to spend.
It's a also a technique that works long term, so don't expect results immediately. Give it some time and once you see people finding you on Google that means you did a great job.
Finally, there are many tools that can help you start up with SEO. I personally use a tool called Yoast SEO which is a WordPress plugin that can give you a SEO score for each page of your website.
And I have obviously used it for this blog post you're now reading too! Take a look!
Have you jumped on the SEO train yet? If yes, is it working for you? I would love to learn more. Drop me a comment below.
Until next time.