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Simple Steps for Stellar SEO

Posted on May 8, 2024
Written by Ashley Nurczyk
Tags: SEO

A beginner’s guide to improving your search engine ranking.

SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is a tricky but effective tool for enhancing your website, driving sales, and boosting your business. This guide is tailored for beginners, aiming to simplify the basics so you can begin ranking now.

Search Engine Optimization revolves around the idea of ensuring your website appears on the first page of search engines like Google, Bing!, and others. To kickstart your journey in optimizing your website for search engines, you’ll need to tackle a few fundamental steps:

  1. Researching Keywords
  2. Crafting On-Page SEO Content
  3. Implementing Off-Page SEO Strategies

Let’s delve into each of these steps in simple terms to help your site gain visibility and grow your business.

1. Understanding Keywords and Their Significance

Keywords are specific terms or phrases that increase the likelihood of your website appearing on the first page of search engine results when users input them into the search bar. These keywords serve as the cornerstone of on-page SEO, seamlessly woven throughout your website content.

Finding suitable keywords can be a challenge as the landscape becomes more competitive. Here are some methods to discover keywords effectively:

  • Incorporate longer, more specific phrases made up of three or more words that accurately describe your content (these are referred to as long-tail keywords).
  • Regularly monitor keyword performance and relevance.

Google keyword search results showing average monthly searches and competition

You can do this by periodically reviewing your set keywords within the Google Keyword Planner. Take note of Average Monthly Searches and Competition of keywords each month. If a keyword is going down in searches, it may be time to change the keywords you’re using. However, if a keyword is declining in competition, it may be smart to incorporate that keyword or continue to use it.

To make your keywords more effective, consider:

  • Including location-specific terms if relevant to your business
  • Addressing customer needs and problems
  • Researching how your competitors utilize keywords
    • You can do this by typing in the keyword phrases you are trying to rank for in the Google Search Bar and seeing what websites show for those keywords. From there, view each site and see how they write their content to make those keywords rank.

For example, let’s say you run a marketing agency in Watertown NY, and you want to rank for “Marketing Watertown NY”. To see how my competitor, Coughlin Co., is using this keyword, I would use the Google Search Bar. When I searched this, I see that is #2 ranking for that search result.

search results for marketing in watertown NY, showing coughlin as #2

google listing for coughlin

I would begin noting how Coughlin’s content is written on the page, as well as their meta title (which includes marketing) and their meta description (which includes Watertown NY) and incorporate similar strategies for my website pages content to help boost my overall ranking for “Marketing Watertown NY”.

2. On-Page Search Engine Optimization: Crafting Content

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing web pages and their content for users and search engines. A crucial aspect is keyword integration, where your chosen keywords are strategically placed throughout your content. Aim for a keyword density of 3% to 7% within your content.

Key places to incorporate keywords include:

  • Headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
  • Paragraphs
  • Alt tags of images or titles of videos
  • Meta title and description (an SEO plugin will allow you to add this)

Additionally, ensure your content meets the following on-page SEO criteria:

  • Maintain readability and engagement by using inclusive language, numbers, percentages, and emotional appeal.
  • Include both internal links (pages on your own site) and external links (to other relevant websites).
  • Stick to the topic, write in conversational English, and use proper grammar.
  • Use header tags appropriately, limiting H1 tags to one per webpage and keeping the headings in sequential order (h1 -> h2 -> h3, etc)

3. Off-Page SEO: Establishing Authority

Off-page SEO involves activities outside your website that contribute to its authority and relevance in search engine rankings. This aspect is often overlooked but essential for overall SEO success.

One facet of off-page SEO that provides a powerful return on investment is linking and brand mentions by other websites. Building backlinks from external sources and gaining brand mentions enhance your website’s credibility. While acquiring these mentions organically can be challenging, you can initiate the process through various means:

  • Establish a business presence on social media platforms and link your website.
  • Participate in relevant online communities and groups.
  • Leverage professional networks like LinkedIn.
  • Create business listings on local and niche directories.

In conclusion, this SEO guide equips beginners with the foundational knowledge to optimize their websites for search engines. However, if you require expert assistance or further guidance, reach out to Coughlin for personalized support in elevating your business’ SEO efforts. It’s time to boost your online visibility and start climbing the rankings!