SEO is an acronym that many people find daunting. In my experience, it’s regarded this way because people often don’t know where to start. There are endless posts about what you can do, and they go into excruciating detail. That’s fine when you’re an SEO expert, but if you just want to optimize your own website, these can be a bit much. For those who are just looking for the first SEO steps to take, this list should help:
Step #1: Choose the right SEO keywords
Keywords are the most important element of SEO, and choosing them takes some thought. First off, you should take the perspective of a customer: what keywords would you use to look up the service or product you provide? That’s where you start.
Then, you dig a little deeper. Open an incognito browser and look for those keywords. You’ll soon figure out that you need to specify what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re a copywriter, you’ll find that the keyword “copywriter” lands you with job sites and dictionaries.
A good example I always use is the “black shoe”. If someone is searching for “black shoe”, chances are they are just browsing, looking for something they might like. But when someone is searching for a specific shoe, they’ll use specific keywords like “Reebok Crossfit black shoes” and they’re more likely to purchase. If you optimize your page with specific keywords like this, interested customers will find you much quicker than they would when you work with the keyword “black shoe”.
Step #2: Learn where to use your keywords
Headers and subheaders, also called title tags, are extremely important. You’ve got your keywords? Now put them in the header. Add them to the subheaders. And place them in the body of your text.
The trick here is that you don’t want to overdo it. When writing content for a website, your number one priority should be that the text is easy to read and not cluttered with keywords. Remember that you’re writing for people, people.
Step #3: Get to know a little thing called “meta”
Meta titles and meta descriptions—yes, that sounds technical. But it’s easy, I promise! Do you know the title and description of webpages that you see when you look for something in Google? That’s what meta titles and descriptions are, and that’s what you need to optimize.
A service such as Yoast on WordPress makes it easy for you to fill out the appropriate meta title and add a meta description. By not adding these, you run the risk of people seeing half-finished sentences or a cut-off title when they look for your product.
Step #4: Add new content frequently
Here’s something a little less technical: if you want to up your SEO game, you should make sure fresh content appears on your website. This way, Google always knows that your website is not outdated.
One way to do this is to write blog articles. These are great for SEO. Plus, writing these articles offers an extra benefit to your customer—they might learn more about you or your products and become more likely to purchase.
Step #5: Speed it up
This one is often overlooked, which is such a tremendous waste. New business owners create a website, add webpages, maybe even optimize these pages for SEO and then. . . they see almost no difference.
That may be because they need to adapt their website loading time. Google takes loading time into account, and you are penalized if it is too slow, which bumps your page down in the search results.
There are several reasons why your webpage might be slow. One of them is an abundance of images, especially high resolution ones. You may have to compress these images and consider how many you really want to keep.
Another reason can be plugins and widgets. If you have a lot of them and they all have to start up once someone visits your website, it takes time. Consider using fewer plugins and widgets and cleaning up your page. One specific plugin that I have noticed has a significant effect on your loading time is Jetpack, which is a tool for measuring your visitors. If you’re using this, uninstall it and use Google Analytics instead.