When it comes to search engine optimization, or SEO, most digital marketers could blog for days and days and never say enough about the power and the complexity behind these three little words.
But you don’t need that. You need help.
You don’t care about all the advanced structures behind great search engine optimization, you just want to see your widget, or get appointments to your hair salon.
Just. Help. Me. Start.
These are the cries we hear all the time and this post is dedicated to you. Just the basics of search engine optimization. Simple, easy to accomplish tasks that will help you rank better today.
So you can get back to widget making, or hair cutting.
P.S. If I don’t talk about it, don’t touch it for now.
Skip the search engine optimization background completely
I’m not going to go into the history of search engine optimization. I’m not going to go into the math or show you the stats or convince you it’s something you need to do.
You’re here and that tells me two things: (1) You have heard of SEO or someone told you that you had to have it and (2) you’re willing to learn enough to get the basics in.
Use SEO tools and make your life easier
Professional marketers use the same tools you’re using. They work great and there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. If your website is on WordPress (and it probably is, statistically speaking), you’re either most likely using Yoast or RankMath. This tutorial uses RankMath, but they are very similar and you can take what is in this tutorial and easily find the correlating fields in Yoast.
Before you begin
It helps to know where these settings are located. The SEO section of a post or page is located directly under the post. So if you’re in the editor of a post or a page, scroll down a little and you’ll see the section directly below the post is dedicated to search engine optimization.
There is an indicator of how well you’re doing on the right rail of the page. It’s typically on a 1-100 scale and as you are writing your post or page, it will increase, but it will likely remain red (bad) until you finish the SEO section. Don’t worry about a bad score while you’re writing.
1. Pick a good title
A good post needs a good title and the first section in the search engine optimization panel is dedicated to the title. Click “Edit Snippet” to open the panel. The first field is the Title field an probably looks like this, “%title% %sep% %sitename%.” Don’t be afraid; it’ll be ok.
The % character is nothing more than a space holder. So, if we remove the character, you see it actually says, “title sep sitename” “Sep” just means the pipe character, so all this says is, “title |sitename” If our site is “Stuffedanimals.com” and our post is titled “101 Ways to Stuff a Bear,” it would show as 101 Ways to Stuff a Bear | stuffedanimals.com
Isn’t that easy? This is an easy guide to SEO. I promised and I meant it. Keep going. You’re doing great.
2. Edit the description (snippet)
Second to keywords, the snippet is one of the most important parts of SEO. If you search for a product online, you’ll be shown a list of results. The snippet is located under the title and is the second part you look at to determine if this site is worth clicking over to explore. This is easy. In 160 characters or less, what do you want people to read in order to get them to click on your site? This is likely a sentence already in the post or page, you just have to shorten it to fit in 160 characters or less.
3. Choose the right keyword(s)
Keywords. The alpha and omega of search engine optimization. This is where you will spend most of your time. Depending on what you enter here, will determine how much time you spend on #4 below. You should choose your keywords before you begin writing so you can weave the words or phrases into your copy thoughtfully.
This is not keyword stuffing. That’s wrong and Google will punish you for it. That’s not even a joke; they’ll ding you and you will have a hard time ranking for your keywords. There is no shortcut to SEO. It’s a long game based on good, relevant content combined with smart optimization. If you don’t want to do the work (and there’s nothing wrong with admitting that), consider hiring us to do search engine optimization for you.
Choose keywords or phrases and hit enter after each one to separate and submit. The system will tell you if you’ve chosen wisely and give you options in #4 below to increase your score.
4. Other search engine optimizations you CAN do (but are a little harder)
This section is harder but if you’ve come this far, I have faith that you can increase your score. below the keywords section are all the ways you can increase your SEO score. Read through each of the items that are red and the system will tell you exactly what you need to do to increase your score.
Is the keyword in the title of your post or page?
Is the keyword in the URL?
Is the keyword located at the beginning of your piece? If its buried in the 3rd paragraph, either it’s not the best keyword or consider moving paragraphs around.
Completing each red item will raise your score. Always shoot for 100, but be happy with anything higher than 75.
So, see, search engine optimization is not like brain surgery. It’s super important and it’s tedious, depending on how much content you have, but it is doable. If you’re too busy making widgets or cutting hair, we would love to take care of this for you. Reach out to us here and let’s talk about your needs.