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The Beginner's Guide to SEO

For the last few days SEO has taken over my entire work life (well nearly my entire work life) meaning that I have had to get to grips with it pretty quickly. We mainly use SEO at Workshop Marketing to help clients rank in Google. The main purpose of this is to help them be seen against their competition and ideally appear on the first page of Google for a number of terms. This means writing quality content with specific keywords that target audiences would search for.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s the process of increasing the visibility of a website or particular web page within a search engine’s results. This process is often referred to as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. Both of these terms refer to getting your site to the top of search results through engaging content and appropriate keywords instead of simply using paid-for advertising. The difference between natural SEO and paid-for advertising is that you get more long term results from natural SEO. This is because once the payment runs out for clicks, your website becomes invisible to the people searching for it, whereas posting quality content to your site can earn visitors from content posted months or even years ago when the right keyword is researched.

Improving SEO has a number of stages:

Keyword research

This is searching for terms that your target audience would be typing into search engines; using these keywords will make the website rank more highly. Keyword research tends to be based around terms that you want to rank for such as the products you sell or the services you offer. Keywords can be either short-tailed or long-tailed. Short-tailed keywords tend to be short and very generic (marketing services) whereas long-tailed keywords tend to be longer and more specific (marketing services in Altrincham).

Prioritise keywords

Keywords should be prioritised according to a number of different factors including, relevance and volume. You can check the estimated number of people searching for a term using Google’s keyword planner (Google it!). Test for relevance simply by Googling the term and checking which other businesses also rank for this keyword. Balance terms that are the most relevant with healthy search volumes to help you prioritise.

Matching keywords to content

Following from this is one of the more time consuming stages: matching the keywords to the content already on your website. When you match your chosen keyword it’s best to make sure it fits in a number of ways. For example, in WordPress, there is an SEO section in each page to show where to drop your keyword (Page title, content, Meta- description, URL link and SEO title). Matching your keyword to as many of these as possible means that your SEO value will increase, highlighting the quality in your content. Now this might sound like a lot of work for what it’s worth, but if you want to increase traffic to your website or increase the followers on your social media platforms then increasing your SEO is really worth the time and effort.

Obviously it’s time consuming and things need to be thought through carefully, in order for it to work successfully. Once you get to grips with it, SEO does become easier and building up your SEO is a sure-fire way of increasing quality traffic to your website. Over time the number of visits might even drop along with the bounce rate which suggests that the SEO is delivering better quality traffic to your site – not just quantity.

Another thing to keep in mind when creating keywords for your content is to integrate this with any social media channels you may use. This is because they are also a good way to boost your rankings if your posts contain the keywords/terms you are wanting to rank for. Doing this gives you an edge on your competitors, as it gives you another way to stand out from the crowd and rank highly.

Knowing how social media can have an impact on your rankings is something I’ve learnt from The Juice Academy. Juice has shown me how important it is to make sure social media is done right in order to build on your business and place yourself in a positive light. Learning this helped me to understand how important social media can be to boost you overall rankings, organically.

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