21 Oct, 2016

Getting Started With SEO

SEO is the holy grail of the Internet. It's the secret formula that Google uses to determine who gets ranked first. Of course, that should be YOU... but how do you make it happen? Read up right here!

So… you do a Thing. And you know there are humans out there who are happy to pay you to do the Thing. They’re hopping online to find businesses like yours – but can they find YOU? (That, in a nutshell, is SEO.)

Showing up in search engines is crucial to the success of your business. But showing up is easier said, than done. Tackling SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is intimidating. It’s complicated, and important. And Google changes the rules all the time. Wtf, Google! Give us a sec!

Just kidding. Google knows what’s up. They are trying to deliver the best possible user experience for all of the Googlers, aka YOU. You want to find stuff. And not just any stuff… but the good stuff.

Let’s turn that back around.

That means that as a business owner, there’s only one thing that you need to focus on: build your online presence for real, actual, specific humans.

Yep, that’s it.

Everything you do, do with your audience in mind. Google can smell it. If you are providing fresh, valuable content, you will rank higher. If your website is user-friendly, you will rank higher. If your website performs the way it should, you will rank higher.

Google delivers an amazing user experience by delivering the best possible search results.

When you’re searching for the perfect chicken pot pie recipe, Google will deliver something that hundreds of people have rated five stars. When you need someone to fix the brakes on your car, Google hooks you up with the mechanic that works within a dozen blocks of your house. It’s genius, right?

How do they know what you need?

Well, Google looks at the experience YOU are offering to your audience.

People will share, upvote, and like valuable content on social media… so if you are getting clicks and engagement on your stuff, Google will love you. They know that the quality of your content is top notch.

That does mean that if you’re serious about ranking, you need to get serious about creating content. I know, it’s intimidating. But it’ll do amazing, amazing things for SEO. (It’s a whole other post. Coming up real soon! I’m on Instagram. Stay in the loop over there.)

Content aside… let’s focus on the tech side of SEO for a sec.

Set aside some focused time and go through these steps to improve the SEO of your existing site. Every single one of these steps is 100% DIY-able, by the way.

1. Consider your hosting.

I know Bluehost is popular. They’re okay, for a little guy. But if you want a quicker server response, consider WPEngine (they’re fast but pricey) or SiteGround (affiliate link). I currently use SiteGround and I’m happy with that for now.

2. Run a quick website analysis.

Here’s how:

• Go to GTmetrix.com. It’s a site that gives you insight on how your site loads & performs (and you don’t have to be a geek to use it).
• Type in your URL and hit Analyze. Once your analysis loads it will give you lots to work with… and a shortcut for optimizing your images. No need to open Photoshop or Canva!
• Click the Optimize Images and you will receive properly sized images right in your browser. Download & re-upload to your site! Done!
• Hold up! That was way too easy. While you have your images in front of you, rename them with relevant keywords. Instead of IMG3729.jpg, you’ll be funny-coffee-mug-for-boss.jpg. That means when someone does a Google Image search for “funny coffee mug for my boss”… you’ll show up. Win!

3. Make sure that your site is mobile friendly.

Google will not rank you if you’re living in the dark ages. Update, update, update. It’s crucial to stay fresh and relevant!

4. No pop-ups allowed.

This one makes me so happy… I wrote an article about why it’s a bad idea to use pop-ups a few months back, and I’m pretty sure Google read it (hah!), because they’re now penalizing for pop-ups. So stop it.

5. Link back to your site.

If you are active on social media, link your profiles back to your site. More clicks = more credibility! (And if you’re NOT active on social media, but thinking about it… I’ve got a workbook for you. Get access right here!)

6. Submit a sitemap to Google.

Search engines crawl the internet collecting info to index millions of sites every day. They’ll find you eventually… but you can speed up the process by submitting your site to Google right here.

7. If you haven’t yet, install Google Analytics.

It’s not super complicated. There are about eleventy billion tutorials available if you… punch it into Google. (Oooooh.) Once you have that some stats under your belt, here’s what you need to look at.

How to Read Google Analytics

Click Through Rate

How many people are actually clicking on your site once it does show up in the search results?

How to improve: Make sure that your headlines are relevant and appealing. There’s no need to create click bait – in fact, please don’t! We’re over it! But… think of your audience. What are they typing in to search engines?

Bonus hint! Right-click on your browser & open an incognito window. Start typing a search query / keyword related to your content. What comes up in the auto-fill? That’s what people are searching for right now!

Bounce Rate

Is your audience scrolling through your content? How deep to they go? The last thing you want is for people to take a two-second peek at your website and then bounce away… and you have LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS to draw them in. (I know. No pressure.)

Quick tip: Make sure your “above the fold” content is inviting. Spark curiosity. Create a quick win or “aha!” It’ll keep your audience scrolling, which improves your bounce rate AND increases the Time on Page. (That’s the next thing we’re looking at.)

Time on Page

This is pretty self-explanatory. Encourage people to hang around a little longer with content that’s easy to absorb – write short, chunky paragraphs and use visuals as often as you can. Another great way to get folks to commit to a bit of extra time on your website is video content. Incorporate it where you can!

That wraps it up for the tech side. Download the checklist (it’s instant! zero strings attached!) and work your way down the list!

So… you do a Thing. And you know there are humans out there who are happy to pay you to do the Thing. They’re hopping online to find businesses like yours – but can they find YOU? Showing up in search engines is crucial to the success of your business. Click through to read this actionable, easy-to-understand guide - and get started!

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  • Arry April 28, 2017

    September 5, 2007 – 7:35 pm Thanks alot, Matt! I was sitting at my desk earlier today laughing out loud while my co-workers looked at me like I was nuts. I can relate to Ma&;8SEOl#a217ts comment.That was hilarious! Nice work!


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