SEO 101: How to Get Started Optimizing Your Site to Show Up in Search Engines

Thursday, February 15, 2018
SEO 101
SEO Seem daunting? Here are a few quick tips:
If you're doing SEO it takes time, but you need to do research. I've had too many clients come to me and say, "I searched for myself on Google or had XYZ friend or family search for me and we're number one." OR "I want to be number one on Google." Being number one is arbitrary, especially if you are picking random words that your customers are not searching for.
Step 1. User research. Who is going to buy your product? Why do you know that? Who are your competitors and why are you different (better, fast, strong, longer etc.)? Know your demographics and make a persona. What motivates them? Why would they buy from you? Who are real people like that persona?
Step 2. Come up with a brand that would appeal to that person. Branding should be consistent. Be all over the web. Join social media with the same exact name, professional photos, consistent brands, solid descriptions, imagery that has a certain style to it.
Step 3. A solid website. Yes, you could setup a do-it-yourselfer and could do pretty well. You could get on a site that doesn't run very quickly because it can't handle hardly any bandwidth. If you add too many plugins you could open it up to vulnerabilities and slow it down (performance). Test your performance.
Ways to test your site:
  1. https://gtmetrix.com/
  2. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

This solid website should be built with good code. Some sites do not allow developers to access code or add meta data. Learn what meta data and micro data means. WIX is an example of a template content management system (CMS) that doesn't allow you to access much code. It's easy for beginners but sucks at SEO.
Wordpress is strong at SEO and often crappy at performance and security because beginners bog it down with plugins and don't update it.
Square space is another good option.
Research your options for checkout and payment processing. Don't lose customers at the last minute.
Step 4. RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH. Know what keywords your demographic, in your target areas search for to find your site, similar sites, and what you sell. Know how much competition you have. There are sites that will tell you that a certain keyword has X number of searches and X number of competition. If you have high searches and low competition then you should be able to rank for that keyword in 1-3 months. If it's high competition then you should rank in 6-18 months. If you do it right.
Make sure it's relevant and track it with analytics.
Step 5. Make sure you have analytics. If a certain word always leads to sales. Use more of that keyword. Find low hanging fruit. Find bottlenecks. Look for pages that you lose a lot of people, and improve those pages with better content. Where does most of your traffic come from?
Step 6. Update your content at least weekly if not multiple times a day. If you suck at writing, hire someone. Use Scribd, Freelancer, Upwork or other similar sites. Hire a good copywriter. Make sure to integrate keywords.
If you don't know how use a plugin like Yoast, it will get you started but isn't perfect so look at Google Standards for this.
Make sure your site has:
- analytics (a free version is google analytics)
- Robots.txt
- Security
- Up to date servers
- Up to date CMS, plugin and theme
- Sitemap and submit it to Google
- Register your site with Google Webmaster Tools https://www.google.com/webmasters/
7. Schedule posts. Start by monthly until you have one for each month. Try to do a content calendar with specific themes. Then weekly. Then daily. Then multiple times a day.
8. Coordinate efforts with social media. At first it might be ok to push your posts to and from social media, yes this can be easily automated. You can even use your RSS feed to automate an email newsletter with Feedburner or Mailchimp. Customers want interesting fresh, clickbait to draw them in. Flashy photos, interesting headers, good excerpts. Try to make each platform unique. Research hashtags.
Automation tools like hootsuite, IFTTT, hubspot.
9. You NEED PR and backlinks. You need other sites that have high SERPS aka high ranking in search results to link back to your website. You can do this by posting on sites that are directories like DMOZ, write for another blog as a guest, comments, social media, answer questions on an expert site like Quora or WebMD or eHow, or do an influencer outreach program. Find sites relevant to your field. Do not join pyramid linking schemes or you could be blacklisted. Avoid "Black hat" quick methods, like keyword stuffing.
10. Review old posts frequently as part of your content strategy. Review and update. Add new keywords. Lengthen your posts. Paginate long posts to improve time on page and lessen exit/bounce rates. Add photos. Make sure EVERY photo has an alt attribute. Describe the photo and include any text in the photo in the alt. You don't need a desc. or caption. You do need alt.
11. Learn what rich snippets are. Integrate them.
Marketing is never done. SEO is never done. It is time consuming. If you stop your ranking will go down. It will. It's like exercise. If you stop, you lose your results. If you're successful find ways to better service your consumer. Don't stop.
If you have extra money... invest in ads during your dry spells. This also takes effort and research or you will waste your money.
More help and advice... at...
http://facebook.com/agencycouture

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