8 minute read.
A step by step guide to basic seo knowledge
Here are eleven of the most important steps I recommend
✔️ Mobile friendly and fast
✔️ Meta Data
✔️ Content and keywords
✔️ User experience (UX)
✔️ SLL certificate
✔️ Calls to action
1. Is your website mobile friendly and fast?
If your site isn’t mobile friendly, then it won’t rank as high as it should, and your visitors will most likely leave before making contact.
This applies to slow loading websites too.
- To test if your website is mobile-friendly click Google’s mobile-friendly test.
- To test your website speed, try Pingdom.
- Having images that are too large slows websites down if you use WordPress then these can be compressed by using the plug in WebP Converter for Media.
- If you are using WordPress, then installing WP Smush and WP Fastest Cache free plug-ins will speed things up.
- Also, consider investing in faster hosting.
2. Meta Data
This helps describe your page to search engines and without it you will struggle to compete.
It should be unique to every page and encourage searchers to click.
An HTML page title is the line of text which should summarise your page but also grab attention (see above).
Meta description is the text you see under a listing on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is your advert for your web page (see above).
If you have a WordPress website you can download a free plug-in called Yoast which will help.
Optimising your images will help too.
Use Alt text and describe the image but don’t stuff with lots of keywords (use a maximum of 5).
3. Content and keywords
Aim for around 250 words per page.
Include attractive images, use headings to split the text and bullet points to make it easier to read.
It is better to use your own photos (if you feel they are good enough).
Or you can use free stock images my favourite free image library is Unsplash.
I’ve written a more detailed post on how to write content visit website content writing guidelines.
Avoid duplicate content
Don’t replicate content on your pages or copy it from elsewhere.
You risk your website being penalised by Google.
To check if you have duplicate content visit siteliner.
Finding the right keywords can be tricky but well worth the effort.
I would recommend writing your text as you would normally speak to someone.
This will make it personal and appealing.
Once you’ve done this you can always go back and add or change keywords.
It doesn’t have to be perfect first time (you can edit later).
Answer questions within your website copy your customers want answers to.
This will also help increase your chances of your web page being displayed as a Google Featured Snippet.
I’ve written a blog post on this subject click Why are featured snippets important?
Free keyword suggestion tools
There are free keyword suggestion tools available and one of my favourites is Ubersuggest.
Once you’ve added all your text and images create a file of keywords using Excel (this will allow you to sort your data).
If you use Ubersuggest you can export your keywords in Excel format.
Select each keyword and then Google it.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and it will say Searches related to… add these phrases to your list and repeat the process.
Once you have your full list add them to Ubersuggest and analyse your keywords.
They may not exist, but you are looking for phrases with high search volume and low competition.
Or keywords which are relevant to what you do but with low competition.
Make your text easy to read
Include heading 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s (heading 1s should only be used once).
If possible, include your target phrases in these headings.
Try and make the headings attention-grabbing.
Concentrate more on the benefits to your customers than just providing information.
Focus on how you can make visitors’ lives easier and why they should choose you.
Take care not to make your headings longer than 70 characters.
If they are longer they can be truncated by Google and not make sense.
Create a Google account (if you don’t have one) and open a Google Analytics account.
Add the code to your website to start tracking it.
Open a Google Search Console account too (you can verify this with your Google Analytics account).
Both accounts are free.
After a few weeks log in to Google Search Console and visit the search analytics page.
Here you will see what phrases people searched for to find your site.
These are the phrases I would concentrate on and focus on the phrases with the most clicks.
Check your most clicked pages and see how you can improve them.
I’ve used many different ways of monitoring keywords, but I would recommend SE Ranking.
5. User experience (UX)
Put yourself in the mind of your website visitor or even better ask people to use your website and watch what they do.
Ask them to view your website on a mobile device too.
It should take seconds for people to find what they need and if they don’t, they may leave before getting in touch.
Position the important information at the top and make it easy for them to request a call back or make contact.
Your website menu should be logical and be easy to navigate.
You can add free software called Hotjar which records live videos of visitors interacting with your site.
This will highlight any problem areas like hesitation or confusion.
6. SSL Certificate
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) should be installed on your site.
SSLs have been around for a while now and were mainly used for sites which took payments online.
Google gives prominence to websites which have them.
It marks some websites as insecure (in its browser Chrome) which will put people off visiting.
Ask your hosting company to provide one and make sure that your old website URLs re-direct to the new secure ones.
Or if you are using WordPress there are free plug-ins which will do this.
7. Calls to action
What do you want your visitor to do?
How can you make it easier for them to do it?
Provide reasons for people to get in touch, buy, download or share your information.
Make sure your calls to action are prominent and not in small text at the bottom of the page.
Add one (or two) to every page.
Use a photo (as people buy from faces) and ask for phone calls.
Add buttons instead of text links as website visitors are more likely to press buttons.
Be creative with your button text, avoid submit and enter.
Provide a good reason to click.
A website link is code that allows you to visit another website or web page.
They are still a major factor in how a website ranks.
You can have a perfect website with brilliant content but without quality links it may not rank well.
You can link internally too but only add a link if it is relevant and only if you want your visitor to go there.
Include one of your target phrases if it reads properly.
Linking the phrase to the relevant internal page will help your SEO.
Linking out to other websites is a good idea but only link to quality websites.
Or sites which are relevant and are of benefit to your visitor (I’ve done that throughout this guide).
Start with customers and suppliers
Which ones sell a similar product or service?
Suggest a link swap and remember to link the phrase you are targeting to your specific page.
Avoid submitting to low-quality website directories as these will damage your search engine positions.
If you have had your website for some time or have submitted to directories in the past you can use Google’s disavow tool.
This will tell Google not to count these links but best practice (if possible) is to ask the website owner to remove it.
To check which websites are already linking to yours visit Neil Patel’s backlink checker.
Or if you want something more advanced download this free backlink checker.
If you belong to an association or group check your website is mentioned on theirs.
If you sell a particular brand or you are a re-seller check that they link to you.
If they do make sure it is not just to your home page but to the relevant page.
Checking your website is technically perfect is important.
Sites with lots of missing pages and broken links are penalised by Google.
To check if your website has any broken links visit broken link checker.
To check if you have pages which aren’t being found check your Google Search Console account.
For pages that can’t be found create 301 re-directs.
This can easily be done in WordPress using a free plug-in.
Re-direct your missing page to the most relevant existing one on your site.
If there aren’t any relevant pages use Google Search Console to remove the web page from its search results.
Not everyone wants to write but blogging is worthwhile.
It gives you the opportunity to attract search engine traffic for the latest trends.
Or you can provide in-depth information on a particular subject and attract more descriptive search enquiries.
Your blog can link to other relevant pages on your site (this blog post does).
If it provides useful information, then people may reference it and link to it.
Your blog posts can be used as a link bartering tool and in social media.
Re-visit your most popular blog posts and update (I update this post often).
Use your Google Search Console account to see which are your most popular posts.
Your most popular posts are the ones to update most often.
If your business relies on local enquiries, then reviews can really help.
Many searchers will search for something and be shown results based on Google Maps listings (especially on mobile devices).
If your business has positive reviews it will give the searcher confidence.
I’ve written a post about this which goes into more detail called How do I get Google reviews for my business?
This is free to do and well worth doing.
If you have a WordPress website you can download a plug in which allows people to leave reviews of your products or services.
Reviews often appear high in the search engine rankings and are regularly searched for.
Other places to ask for reviews include Facebook, LinkedIn, Trustpilot and Yell.
Once you’ve completed the eleven steps, go back to step 4. Analyse and repeat.