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Basics Of Search Engine Optimization – Part 1

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Basics Of Search Engine Optimization

Before we can talk about your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and what you can do to help get found on Google, we need to understand the basic parts of how a website is found.

You should understand upfront that while there are a large number of known best practices, SEO is not a science. The formula for how a search engine determines which of the many hair salon websites to rank first is not given out. The “algorithm” used is also changing, sometimes weekly. Usually, the changes are minor, and most are unaffected. Sometimes they can be large. My advice is to stick to best practices and you will not get lost in the shuffle. SEO is 30% brain 70% elbow grease.

To keep this simple I will break SEO into four parts:

  1. On-site SEO
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Off-site SEO
  4. Indirect SEO

1. On-site optimization.

On-site optimization today is akin to having a good practices badge, letting everyone know you know the basics in constructing a website. That doesn’t mean everyone has a site build with the best practices in mind, rather the vast majority do not. This is where a good content management system comes in. Like WordPress for example, many aspects of what goes into good onsite optimization can be taken care of by the platform you use. There is also number of plugins that go a long way to assisting you to solve these problems. A few of the items that encompass onsite SEO:

  • Title tag
  • Site speed
  • Canonical URLs
  • Code to content ratio
  • Sitemap
  • Alt tags

2. Content Marketing

At one time we would have just called this blogging. However, due to its own evolution, it is now being called content marketing. Content marketing is simply taking written text, audio, and/or video and embedding it onto your website in order to convey a solution, answer a problem, or a message that you want to convey to the potential reader that you’re trying to attract.

We could continue to talk about the importance of how and why to use content marketing to grow your audience, but for now, simply understand that it is important. Learning what to do, is unique to you and the type of business you run.

You need to be unique!

Google rewards original and unique content that helps its algorithm find a solution to their problems. There are a number of issues that can come up. When someone comes to Google to type in a query for “lawn care” they could be looking for one of two things. They could be

looking for products related to lawn care or someone to hire and cut their lawn, two very different issues. It’s important to Google that they provide relevant answers to each unique problem. We face a current problem with something known as content saturation. What this means is there is an overabundance of content inside of Google competing for the same problem. Every industry has people competing for the same thing.

So what do I need to do to be found?

The typical style of writing a blog to be found in Google is to go after home runs. Unfortunately, as I said before the home runs are far and few between, what we need to do is going after base hits. You will need to write consistently and often and work to target your clients as best you can.

This process can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to be optimized for a number of keywords your business offers. This will continue to be an ongoing process. There is a direct correlation between the frequency of writing and traffic. So if you can write 5 posts a week then great, we are going to advise you to create at least 1 a week.

By targeting smaller questions that are being asked inside of Google and having a large number of them over time will begin to bring you streams of traffic that will eventually snowball into one big stream. Over time if you target small keywords that generate 50 to 100 visits per month and you have 100 to 150 of those coming in every month that could represent anywhere from 5000 to 10,000 people coming in per month.

Each article needs to be highly targeted and answer a question that a searcher might be asking. When writing a blog post or creating a video as a blog, you will want to title it in such a way that answers the question of the person might be looking for.

For example, a decent way to title a blog post would be
“How much is lawn care service?”

A better way to title it would be
“How much is lawn care service in San Diego California?”

And the best way might be to title it
“How much is lawn care in California for a standard lot?“

As you can see there are obviously going to be fewer people asking this question overall, however, it is much easier to target. Do enough of these and you have a huge stream of targeted traffic.

How do I know what to write?

There is an abundance of tools that you can use, some of them are free and some of them are paid. I would like to simply start you out by going to Google itself. Simply go to Google Adwords or Google Trends, log in with your Gmail account if you have one, and enter basic keywords, into the keyword tool. Google will give you an estimation of traffic and competition. I recommend starting with a basic phrase, and Google will give you alternative phrases that you can turn into a question. These tools will allow you to sort out the popularity of a given phrase by low medium and high traffic.

An alternative to this is to simply write the article based on frequently asked questions inside of your own office. Chances are if you have questions that are being asked of you on a daily basis, there are many more people searching for this. Take a piece of paper or a whiteboard, and write down 50 questions that are frequently asked to you and your staff. Have your team write them down and use this as a template for your blog articles.

From this, if you have the time to optimize using a tool like Google Adwords or a paid one like Semrush then certainly go ahead and do so.

Continue reading the Basics of Search Engine Optimization – Part 2! Looking for an SEO Agency to help your small business? We at Anthem Software can be of help. Contact us now!

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