Too many people think SEO is a mythical unicorn that doesn’t exist. The typical marketing beginner sees it as far too complicated or data-driven to make sense of it all. The gist of Search Engine Optimization is improving the user’s experience when visiting your site. If you do nothing other than making sure that the people who visit your site enjoy their experience, then you’ve already done about 80% of SEO. Those last few sentences may sound like gibberish considering what people have said in the past. But it’s the truth. If the user receives quality information laid out in an easy to digest format, your site will succeed.
The building blocks of SEO is CONTENT!
The quality of your content will determine the rank your pages will receive in Google. Yes, it all boils down to content these days. No, it’s not as easy today as it was in years past to game the system. Google is much better at spotting cheaters and those who are trying to manipulate their results. You will get nowhere fast by trying to beat the system. Instead, the way you can become successful consistently is by providing the end-user with content that they find useful. That, in a nutshell, is the new SEO that works. The people who try to find shortcuts end up spending far more time and energy trying to manipulate Google than those who play by the rules. It’s a truth that most people only find out the hard way.
Perform keyword research long before creating content.
Ideally, you perform at least some keyword research before buying your domain name. Too often, people decide to jump headfirst into a niche only to find out when it’s too late that they can’t compete in it. There are multiple tools that you can use, but the best one is Google itself. Type in some related keywords and also take a look at the suggestions Google has. Click on those sites and see what they’re all about. If the content is of high quality and the domain has been around for a while, then it’s best to steer clear of these keywords. You’ll have to go the ultra-niche route to find keywords that you can rank for.
Don’t worry so much about keyword volume.
There are so many tools online that claim to know how many searches are performed on any given keyword. They don’t. The only people who know the exact number of monthly searches for a keyword work for Google. The two things that you want to pay attention to are the instant suggestions where Google tries to auto-fill your search query and also the related searches at the bottom. Those two things tell you that people are searching for something specific. Keep typing things in the search bar to see the suggestions and also look at the bottom for related searches. Pay close attention to the results on the first page and see if it’s possible to rank. You want to see weakness here in the form of newer sites or sites that have questionable content. Those two factors alone will tell you if it’s possible to rank a new site for the keywords.
Domain, Hosting, and Theme.
By now, you should already have your domain chosen. You already know if it’s possible to rank for the keywords. Now you’ve got to find yourself a good host. Google cares about how fast your site loads. You’ll need to choose a host that is fast and reliable. If your site is down often, then Google will penalize you. Your host needs to be both fast and stable. Today, hosting has come a long way, and you won’t have any problems finding a lightning-fast server that won’t break the bank.
Your theme needs to be mobile-friendly.
Almost all of you reading this will choose WordPress as your content management system. The theme you choose must be what is referred to as responsive. This means that the site loads properly for smartphones and tablets. Google will penalize your site if it doesn’t display correctly on mobile devices. It may be surprising to some, but Google can see what your website looks like when it’s displayed on a smartphone. It may surprise you even more that Google places higher importance on how your site displays on a smartphone compared to a computer. Luckily, almost all WordPress themes are responsive, and you shouldn’t have to do anything. Always visit your site using a smartphone to make sure it displays correctly.
Perform keyword research before writing every post.
We talked about doing basic keyword research before buying a domain to see how competitive the niche is. The next step is to do keyword research before the content creating process begins. Again, you’re going to want to go to Google and perform some searches. Check out the auto-fill and related searches. Keep clicking and see what keywords have the least amount of competition. The keywords you choose will determine the success of your site. You can’t be too careful when it comes to keyword selection. It is vital that you only choose keywords with the lowest amount of competition.
New domains can’t compete with authoritative sites.
If your site is brand new, it’s not going to rank right away. You won’t rank for keywords that aren’t competitive in the least for several months. The SEO mistake many beginners make is they look at search volume for a keyword, and their eyes get big. You will never rank a new site on the first page for a highly competitive keyword. No one does because it’s impossible. Google won’t rank a new website for competitive keywords. It never happens, and it’s something that every site owner has to accept.
There is no magic number when it comes to keyword density.
Google is much smarter today than what it was ten years ago. There was once a time where you had to make your pages keyword dense, so Google knew what you were talking about. That meant you had to repeat the same keywords over and over again to rank for them. That’s not the case today. Also, Google can associate words, and it groups them. For example, feline and cat are the same things in Google’s mind. You will rank for cat and feline keywords even if you only use one of them. That’s one of the many changes that Google has made over the years, and the significance of it can’t be overstated.
Content length is an essential factor when it comes to ranking.
How long should a piece of content be? There is no one answer to that question. The answer to that question depends on what the person typed in Google. This is one of those frustrating areas of SEO because everyone wants a simple answer. The length of the content should be no longer than necessary to address the question the person has. Some posts will be short because the words needed aren’t as many. It’s not unheard of for people to create content that’s 5,000 or more words long to help get the point across. The amount of words used is less critical that answering the question the user has.
Google can get confused by long rambling content.
There is a lure to create unnecessarily long content in hopes of stuffing it with keywords. The hope here is that Google will rank the pages for more keywords, and the result will be an increase in traffic. It doesn’t work that way anymore. Google will stop at the point where it becomes confused. The result of Google becoming confused will be that it no longer reads the page, and the text beyond that point is no longer relevant. Any text beyond the point Google becomes confused won’t rank. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re rambling on in an attempt to rank for more keywords.
Use headline tags to break up content.
Headings can be a surprising factor for some when doing SEO. The first headline needs to be <H1>, and the subheadings need to be <H2>. This is a little bit of code every site owner needs to be aware of. The codes tell Google that these are headings, and they slightly change the focus of the text. You don’t want your pages to be long blocks of text and nothing else. Google is afraid that such large amounts of text will bore readers by making the content harder to digest. Subheadings make the content easier to understand while also directing the reader’s attention to new areas. No matter if it makes sense to you or not, you’ve got to break up the text by using subheadings. Just do it.
Every post needs to have a meta description.
Here’s where things get a little tricky as some people like to create meta descriptions that are too much like clickbait. Yes, you do want to create a meta description that will get people to click. The problem here is, you cannot deliver what you promise. The meta description is the text that people will see when they perform a search, and your site is listed in the rankings. The risk of over-promising is that the searcher will hit the back button. The reason why you don’t want the visitor to leave your site right away is that it will increase your bounce rate. If your bounce rate is too high, then Google will see that as a sign your content isn’t very good. If Google sends people to your site and they leave quickly, then eventually your page will go down in the rankings. This is just one of the many ways Google uses data collected to see how their users are consuming your content and essential to SEO.
Thank you for reading this presentation. Click below for SEO is NOT Dead in 2019 – Part 2 to read the rest of the report. Thanks again.