Basics SEO for beginners: what you should know to understand it and to get started easily
SEO translated into human language...
Not so long ago, all these talks around and about SEO were a bit confused for me. As when you start learning a new language… You understand the basics, the logic behind it but when you want to talk about it, to explain it, you find out that you don’t really have it… Or people don’t get what you mean…
All starts with the name… SEO… It sounds like something very serious, out of our sphere that only very few can understand. SEO doesn’t really help to make itself understood by the majority and gives the impression to like building barriers between it and the commoners… That is to say you and… me too.
And it creates some kind of frustration. At least for me ><
SEO, what does it mean?
SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimisation. Or, to translate it into human language, how to make your website ranking good on search engines as Google or Yahoo when people are entering a request.
Yes, my definition is a bit longer but, hopefully, it’s clear.
How does it work?
See search engines as a big library storing millions and billions of data. Each time they receive a request, they will compare its keywords with the ones they have in their directories and offer you the best matches. All this in less than a second.
Keywords are any word or sentence you enter in the bar search and for which you are looking for more information.
In the SEO marketing jargon there are 2 types of keyword:
Short tail keywords (request including one or two keywords as “restaurant” or “black dress”)
Long tail keywords (request in form of sentences or questions as “the best fish restaurants in Istanbul” or “where to buy a Chanel like cocktail black dress”)
As you may have noticed, short tail keywords are general requests and the results the search engine will provide you with will be also general, maybe too vague.
Long tail keywords are closer to what people usually look on the Internet. Just look at how you do your researches.
Maybe you will start with a short tail keyword and, finding the results too vague, you will narrow your researches using more keywords and complex sentences.
I guess your ideal client will do the same…
That is the reason why working on your keywords, and not just “word” keywords is key.
Look at your habits as a potential client and apply it to your potential client. What kind of research he or she may enter on the bar search to land on your website?
And, in order to be ranked by Google, you have to tell it that your website, first, exists, and then is full of useful contents. That way, Google will know that it can offer your content when it receives a request including your keywords.
“Oh I understand now! are you going to tell me… It’s easy in fact. I just have to copy paste in all my website all the keywords I want people to use to find me and Google will rank me first!”
Alas it doesn’t work like that anymore… And doing this will have the opposite effect, meaning that Google, after scanning your website’s content, will decide to ban you because of bad contents and scams.
Search engines are becoming more and more sophisticated and intelligent with algorithms changing every few months.
An algorithm is a formula according to which a search engine will scan your website and decide whether or not it is relevant to the queries it receives.
So you have to be more intelligent than them and anticipate :)
How to prepare my website for search engines then?
Know your ideal client and what he looks for
First, you have to have a clear representation of your ideal client. Who he/she is? What is his/her issue? How you can help him/her to overcome this issue and achieve his/her objectives?
Then, knowing that, you will be able to know which kind of contents or queries he or she may enter or look for on Internet. Meaning, which kind of keywords he or she may use.
The next step will be to prepare your website ‘s content including these keywords. But not just some copy/paste, we agreed on that. These keywords should be “naturally” integrated in your content so that, when Google scans your website, it sees real content with texts, images and other graphic elements. In other words, a website done and thought for humans and not for robots.
Work on the quality and regularity of your content and backlinks
Preparing your website for search engine optimisation is not only writing contents and publishing it. It is also writing contents regularly via a blog for example. This step will show Google, or Yahoo, or Yandex or Bing, that you are active, regularly updating your website with new contents, and that you are not just a static website.
Use also links to refer some websites linked to your theme or activity sector for example. Try to be referred on other websites too. It is called “backlinks” and it will help search engine to measure your reputation and content level. When adding links on your website to other sources, always check their reputation and their quality of content. They also have to bring professional and useful information.
Also, when arriving on your website, this activity will show your visitors that you take your business seriously and you want to share information with others (and not just to sell). It will help to enhance your credibility and reputation. And the more people will visit your website, the more search engines will see you as a trusted source of information, and the higher they will rank you.
Remind yourself to be patient…
But, arriving at that stage takes some times and efforts. Don’t expect quick results or you will be disappointed. Quality results are the results of middle to long terms actions and will pay off not tomorrow but within 3 months or 6 months, on the condition that you are consistent in your content creation and ideal client’s situations and expectations.
Always remember that all the efforts you do today will pay off in the coming months. The same way when you sow a seed today: you don't expect to see the flower tomorrow, right?
Check your domain, pages’ titles and descriptions, images
Another point to pay special attention to are the names of your domain, of your pages and sections in the link section of your website. They should be clear too and include your main keywords. Don’t forget also about the images’ names, alt texts and the pages descriptions. These are very important to be indexed and recognised by search engines as they are the first things they will scan.
And they are things we tend to forget as these texts and descriptions don’t appear directly on our website. However, they appear on the search pages after you sent a request to Google for example.
How to know if my website is Search Engine Optimised?
Depending on the platform you use to create and update your website, you can use apps to scan your website. These apps will tell you if your website is optimised for search engine and will guide you on the parts you have to improve.
I use Wix for my website and they have a free service, Wix SEO Wiz, which help you to make your website SEO friendly.
It’s very easy to use and I really recommend to all Wix users to try it. It has been of great help for my own website.
If you are a Wix user, go on your Dashboard and select “Get found on Google”.
The program will ask you to give 5 main keywords summarising your activity. As a reminder, it can be short tail keywords or long tail keywords.
Then Wix SEO Wiz will scan your website, first checking if it is mobile optimised. If not, it will guide you on how to do it. Then, it will make a deep analysis of your homepage, check if social profiles links are active and good. Once that 1st step is done, and if your website is not indexed yet on Google, Wix SEo Wiz will give its go to have your website indexed on Google.
And, then, the program will go through your website, scanning it page by page, and points you out where to make amendments to optimise your website for SEO, using the keywords you chose in the first step.
It can take time but it really worth it and, at the end, you will see that all your website content, should it be images, graphic elements, alt texts and page descriptions, will be filled in and will work all together to make you found on Internet.
So, now that you have a website optimised for SEO and mobile optimised, you are ready to promote your beautiful and interesting content to all the world!
How? This will be the subject of a future blog at the Blog Box!
To go further…
If you feel interested in SEO and want to know more about the search engine “behind the scenes”, I highly recommend you to follow the courses provided by Google Digital Garage. Google offers a series of mini courses to better apprehend search engine optimisation, all well and simply explained.
PS: a question? Wanna share/exchange with me some experience or best practice? Let's discuss! :)