.Have you ever wondered why or how to get your content on the first few pages of Google? We all perform searches but how does Google decide how to show it? That process of helping Google show your content first or near the top of the results is known as Search Engine Optimization. Having a consistent Search Engine Optimization process, that focuses on building content around what people are looking for, through keywords relevant in your industry, will lead people to your website!
The Search Engine Optimization process can be a large task. It can be broken down into smaller steps. These steps can be thought of as :
- Keyword and Industry Research
- Write Articles and Content focusing on those Keywords
- Link Building
- Optimizing for Local Search
** Yes you have to do this on every page to be effective!
Keyword and Industry Research
The first step in the search engine optimization process is a very important one! At its core, its research and making sure you know your company very well. A keyword is a word or phrase that you think people search for when trying to find your website. For example, if you are a shoe store that sells men’s running shoes, a good keyword might be “men’s running shoes” or “Nike men’s running shoes”. Then you might build out a page or write a blog article about that keyword. Having a few keyword phrases that reflect your business or how you think people find you is the first step.
There are several tools to help aid in your research. Some of the tools are free like Google Adwords Keyword tool, and Keywords Everywhere. However, there are also SEO Tool Kit Suites like MOZ or SemRush that help with a lot more than just keywords and cost a little bit of money. In addition to keyword research, they even can do competitor keyword research too. This is very helpful to see who is ranking for specific keywords relevant to your industry. It also can look and see if specific keywords are popping up on your competitor sites! If they are ranking for a keyword you want to also be ranked for, you can study up and see how they’re doing it! Using SEO specific tools can help improve your keyword selection tremendously.
Once you have a good list of keywords that you would like to rank for, it’s time to move to the next part of the process!
Writing and Blogging Articles
After getting your keywords ready, it is time to start writing articles and content that will be relevant to those words. Some folks prefer a blog about these various keywords to start ranking. For example, going back to our “men’s running shoes” example, if you wrote an article about “Best Men’s Running Shoes for 2018”, you might have a good chance at ranking for when a person searches that key term. The article would appear and then draw a visitor to that page. From there, it might draw them to buy that shoe! The content of the article, and focusing on that keyword is what search engines use to rank.
As search engines have gotten more complex, you have to do more than just write articles and use keywords. The keywords should make sense to your brand and industry. There are also different ways to use the keyword. Common uses are in the article’s title, in a subheading, in the URL string, and if you can use it naturally, in a photo’s alt text. The natural use is great, and the more you can do is the best! If you can’t, and start just using the keyword at random or trying to hide it, that is where you can get your site in big trouble and not shown by search engines. The use of keywords in content and making it relevant is an art, but if you can do it, that is where you will start to notice your rankings start going up!
Once you have your keywords and content set, the next step is to start linking the pages. These links can be to other pages that are on your site or on an outside site!
The search engine sees link building as a very crucial step. The more links to that page both from within your site and from outside links, help search engines determine if that content is important. The more links, the better. This is called “Domain Authority”. However, as with keywords, it should be natural or else, your site could be penalized.
Strategically linking pages to build up the internal links is a real skill set! If we go back to our “Mens Running Shoe’s” keyword, and our article is called “Best Running Shoes of 2018”, one way to do internal links is have a link both to the shoe in the article, and a reference back that shoe’s page. This will help boost it’s “Domain Authority” and Google or other search engines will recognize this content as important content because there are a lot of links to it. There are several strategies for internal links and it’s a great way to help give your keywords a boost from within.
Outside link building is a bit more tricky. If you buy link backs that is a big no-no from Google. However, if your blog is referenced and linked back to, then that is great! The more outside links, the better the search engine views it. One of the best examples on the web, for both internal and external links, is Wikipedia. Every article has references to sources, or to other pages. Then, even some outside sources link back to that specific Wiki article! Building up links is a very important process that shouldn’t be overlooked.
After you have your content with your links in place, it is time to start making sure that you appear in local searches!
Local Search and Schema
Local search is very important. From brick and mortar storefronts to digital products. If you have a physical address, it is important! It is important due to that Google and Bing can now show extra localized data without the user leaving the search engine results page. A good example is a map of locations. For example, if you search “Starbucks” on your phone, the search engine can tell you where the closest one is without you having to go to the Starbucks website. If your service offers a physical location, you can now optimize for local search!
Optimizing for local search is not automatic. You have to reach out to Google and Bing and fill out their business credentials page. (Google My Business, and Bing Places for Business). After it is verified, you can start showing up in local searches. However, you can take it one step further! You can use Schema and Structured data to help Google and other search engines grab important pieces of information on your pages. These pieces of data is how search engines are able to show your phone number, hours, ratings and other various data on the search engine site vs having a user go to your site. Optimizing for local search is an extra step, but is well worth it for all types of businesses!
Once you have your business verified and your schema set up, it is time to celebrate! You just went through the process of how to do basic SEO!
A consistent Search Engine Optimization process, that focuses on building content around what people are looking for, through keywords relevant in your industry, will lead people to your website.