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Having troubles figuring out what SEO marketing is? Been there, done that. 5 years ago, I was just starting a career of a digital marketer, and I experience many ups and downs just like you. Today I created this easy-to-follow SEO Rules for beginners. They are here to help you optimise your website or blog and hit #1 on Google.
Are you new to the world of Search Engine Optimisation (and that’s what SEO stands for), terrified by all the complicated words you see online and got no clue where to start? I promise you will know exactly what to do when you finish reading this blog post.
But wait, you must be wondering why you should listen to me? I have a proven track record within my 4+ years experience in digital marketing, specialising in SEO and email marketing. And just like you, I learnt SEO from scratch, figured out what makes brilliant content, which satisfies both readers and Google.
My SEO knowledge helped to grow businesses from 0 to 6-figure numbers in a matter of 12 months. Just recently, I’ve finished a big project with a client, and we started ranking consistently for every new blog post we put out there. Do you want the same results? Then keep on reading.
Contact me if you want to improve your website performance and receive a FREE SEO website audit.
What is SEO and how it works?
Before we dive into the SEO world, let me quickly explain what SEO is and how it works. SEO is a bread and butter of millions of companies around the globe as search engines help to connect supply with demand. Regardless who is behind the website, either bloggers, solopreneurs or 6-figure businesses, they all use SEO practice to increase the quantity and quality of traffic driven by search engine results.
SEO is a complex process which involves hundreds of ranking signals to determine search results. Just to name a few, these signals include keywords, link structure, time on site, page speed etc. But SEO isn’t difficult once you understand how it works.
So, you have already launched a blog or website for your business, posted a few posts and now waiting for that sweet organic traffic to flood in. Weeks and months pass by, but the number of visitors finding you on Google is still low? Well, something is wrong. Besides learning SEO tricks, I wish more people knew these blogging tips for beginners before they embark on their blogging journey.
SEO rule #1: You need to understand and accept that SEO is not a quick fix scheme. It takes months before you start ranking, but once you get into the flow, your new posts can appear on Google’s 1st page just two weeks after publishing it (proven by me!). Thus, in a long-term perspective SEO brings the most significant results and the most convertible traffic. And it is all for free.
There are on-page and off-page SEO strategies and best practices. You must understand what the difference between them and where you need to start first is.
On-Page SEO refers to optimising individual pages so that they rank higher, and more users can visit your website. On-Page SEO includes working with content and HTML source code, two elements which you have full authority over. Thus the critical attributes of on-page SEO involve choosing keywords strategically, coming up with correct titles, placing internal links, adding ALT description for images and having optimised URL address.
Off-Page SEO includes actions that you take outside of your website, which help you rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). The most prominent off-page SEO strategy is gaining backlinks. It is essential for any website to have quality backlinks as they indicate the quality of the linked content and earn trust of search engines and relevance to your niche audience. Off-page SEO also refers to social media marketing, guest blogging, influencer marketing, brand mentions and local SEO.
Keywords and SEO: what, why and how
One of the biggest factors that attribute to SEO success is thorough keyword research. Nothing beats right keywords that are relevant to your niche, low in competition and have decent volume. But most importantly, you can cover that specific keyword topic on your website to satisfy the user’s search intent.
Keywords alone can help to up your SEO game in a matter of weeks once you nail which keywords to use and how to place them on your page or blog post.
Now to give you a better understanding of why keywords are important, let’s dive into search intent I mentioned earlier. We all have a goal whenever we go on Google or other search engines:
- Navigational, when we are looking for a specific website/brand;
- Informational, when we are searching for information, and it can include both short and long questions;
- Transactional, when we want to make a purchase;
- The commercial investigation, when we most likely looking for reviews and comparisons to finalise our decision on a specific product or service.
SEO rule #2: Keywords research is king. You CANNOT take random keywords out of your head because you like them and then spread them sporadically across your website. That’s not how successful bloggers and businesses work. To truly nail SEO marketing, you need to understand and follow SEO rules related to keywords.
Ugh, It’s so tempting to share with you all the SEO tips and tricks I know. Still, this post is designed to provide you with basic SEO knowledge, helpful for newbie bloggers and business owners. Thus let me explain in details why Keywords research is essential and how to proceed with it.
Speaking of Keywords metaphorically, try to think of them as threads that connect users, who are looking for content and your website, who have it. It’s not enough to just think of a blog post idea or landing page before you start drafting it. You need to understand what is the purpose of it, and what you want to discuss. Once you have the bigger picture of what your content is going to be about, you can start Keyword search.
There must be a sort of keywords hierarchy: primary – secondary – tertiary.
There are different types of keywords: short-, medium- and long-tail keywords. As the names suggest, they all vary from one another by a number of words in the search phrase.
SEO rule #3: You are free to choose keywords that are not limited to 1-2 words only! I personally recommend focusing on medium- to long-tail keywords, that usually consist of 3 to 5 words and often perform much better for SEO purposes.
SEO rule #4: Try to choose only 3 main keywords for each page and blog post. You only need to mention them 2 to 3 times each to avoid keyword overstuffing and being penalised by Google.
Depending on the page you want to optimise (homepage will have different keyword planning process than a specific blog post or landing page), you need to stick to chosen keywords throughout your content. But remember SEO Rule #4 and never abuse keywords!
How to Conduct Keyword research? There are free and paid tools available. The easiest option for a brainstorming session would be to type in the keywords you already have in mind in Google search bar. When you do so, Google automatically drops down suggestions. For example, this is a screenshot for “SEO for”.
Then there is a Keyword Planner by Google, which is a free tool as well. However, it’s way too broad to help your SEO game truly. These options are only useful to have a sneak-peek into keyword suggestions.
Keysearch: the best keywords tool for bloggers
Number of different paid SEO tools available, such as SEMRush (The Pro plan comes with a fee of $99.95 per month!), MOZPro (Standard. $99/mo. $79 /mo when you pay yearly), Ahrefs (Lite: $99/month; Standard: $179/month).
It’s quite a lot of money for someone who is just starting and is self-employed. However, there is a great alternative, which I personally use and love it! It’s Keysearch, and it has everything you need and even more for just $17/month. This is the most affordable Keyword search tool I found and tested. Yes, I used all the tools mentioned above when I worked for an agency and still prefer Keysearch. This tool ticks off all the boxes needed for a blogger and small businesses for a very adequate price.
I paid for Keysearch annual plan, which cost me 130ish USD instead of 169 USD as I used a discount code. Great news, I have one to share with you too: just click here and apply KSDISC coupon to get 20% off! It’s quite easy to understand how this tool works and shouldn’t cause you any troubles. My experience with clients proves that data is on top of the pyramid, and you can’t beat it! You must make a decision based on data evidence one can gather. Feel free to contact me if you need help.
And it is directly related to Keyword search as well. Keysearch has detailed crucial attributes needed for thorough keyword research: monthly volume (how many searches per months are related to this keyword), difficulty (you didn’t think it is easy to rank for anything, right?!), competition analysis etc.
SEO Rule #5: If you are on WordPress, you need to install Yoast Plugin asap. Oh, also you must get rid of JetPack immediately. it’s such a trash plugin. Yoast is a lightweight plugin, which helps to boost your SEO performance. It doesn’t replace what YOU and your content can do because after all, this is where the magic happens.
Are you still with me? Your head must be pumping from all the information I shared here. In case if you need SEO help, you can book a website/blog audit, and I will help to improve your results. It’s a limited time offer due to the current situation as I want to support smaller businesses: free consultations and recommendations based on SEO website audit! You can save money to purchase a Keysearch tool instead.
SEO Rule #6: Get a sitemap to submit your website to webmaster tools and Google Search Console on day 1. If you have Yoast Plugin, it will create a sitemap index, which will be updated automatically whenever you publish new posts or make changes to the page.
To find yours, go to Yoast SEO -> General -> Features -> XML sitemap. The toggle must be ON, and as you click the question mark, you will notice the hyperlink “See the XML sitemap” link. Click on it, copy the URL (it should look like (https://example.com/sitemap_index.xml). Once you got it, paste the URL on Google Search Console’s Sitemaps menu. And that’s how you submit a sitemap to the webmaster.
SEO Rule #7: Guest blogging and collaboration posts may seem time-consuming, but it’s the best organic way to gain quality links to your website. Check which sites have authority in your niche and see if they offer do-follow links for guest blogging.
Do-follow links are the ones that matter the most for SEO. And if you keep posting high-quality content, network within your niche, participate in collaboration posts or link swaps (be careful here!), pitch to Media, reply to HARO requests. Over time you will gain more and more organic links. MOZ free plan offers 10 searches per month, use them wisely to determine your progress and competitor’s performance.
One more thing about SEO rules for a successful SEO marketing
Well-executed SEO strategy is one of the best tools in terms of Return of Investment for your blog and business. If you already have great Pinterest or social media traffic but can’t tackle SEO, it’s time to start NOW.
Bonus tip: Make sure that search engines can index your website. It can be checked on the WordPress menu “Settings” -> Reading -> Search Engine Visibility. “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” must be UNCHECKED.
There is plenty more SEO rules, tips and tricks I want to share with you. And one last reminder that SEO is not an easy one-day fix nor even a week. It must be continuously tracked and improved when necessary. But you must jump on SEO train now if you want to attract a relevant audience, convert them and take your business or blog to new heights.
Limited time offer: Contact me if you want to improve your website performance and receive a FREE SEO website audit.