INSIGHTS | Digital Marketing, Email Marketing

SEO for Beginners: Getting Started

SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – is one of those buzzwords that everybody throws around and nobody is entirely sure what it means!

SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – is one of those buzzwords that everybody throws around and nobody is entirely sure what it means!

So here’s the first thing you need to know. Search Engine Optimization is a way to create your website and its content so that search engines – Google is the main player, but not the only one – will 

  • Find your website, out of the millions and millions out there in the Internet
  • Understand what the content on your website is all about, and
  • Push your website higher in search results, when a customer types in a string of words when he’s searching for something on the Web.

So, for example, if you are selling a product called ‘A Better Mousetrap,’ you want your website link to appear in the first two or three listings when a prospective customer types “mousetraps” into his Google search bar.  It is the magic of SEO that makes that happen.

How does this work?  When you publish your website, Google and the other search engines will quickly find it with their ‘bots’ or scanning software. And those bots will analyze your site, picking out content keywords and phrases that indicate you are trying to sell people your Better Mousetrap.

The bots will then analyze your website’s meta data, images, headings and subheads, internal and external links to other similar sites and much more. Each search engine will rank your website, numerically and through its proprietary algorithms, to develop a relevancy score for your website, which it will compare with other websites whenever a customer types some words into the search bar. If your site ranks higher than others, it will appear before others on that initial search page. And the data shows that websites listed high in a search result will get more clicks.

So the main purpose of your SEO efforts is to make your website relevant to its main purpose – in our example, selling better mousetraps.  To do this, you need to keep the focus of your website and its content on the central purpose. The language in your copy, the content of your blog posts, the subjects of your images … all should be selected because they reinforce and support your trying to sell better mousetraps. 

Now, the good news is you don’t have to spend hours contemplating every last word and picture in your website wondering if they are relevant or not. Software is your friend.

Most website building programs (and we at Fuel Media tend to use WordPress, one of the most-used and best web builders) have built-in SEO optimizers. WordPress also offers a special add-on app called Yoast which is designed to improve SEO relevancy, by prompting users to focus on keyword phrases and improve important elements like paragraph length, word usage, readability and more. 

But even the basic WordPress model has a built-in feature called Site Health that will monitor your website and tell you if you need to improve certain SEO elements.

If you have a Fuel-built website, give us a call. We can help you download and install Yoast or any other SEO app that will help you improve and monitor your SEO relevancy and boost your search engine results.

But even if you have your own website, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure your SEO program is working effectively.

If you have a WordPress site, go to Settings > Readings and look for the Search Engine Visibility setting. There is a box labeled “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” Obviously, you want to un-check this box. 

When creating new content for your site (such as blog posts), create categories for your subject matter. WordPress blogs will prompt for this. You can also add tags within each category.  Categories and tags are important to create meaningful and SEO-friendly permalinks, and having your content organized is a strong SEO signal. Plus, your visitors will appreciate a well-organized website and spend more time on it, which is another positive signal to the SEO bots to give your site a higher ranking.

Create and write content with SEO in mind: so keyword research and find the most relevant words for your target audience. But content has to be well-researched, original and engaging to get high SEO ranking. You can’t just sprinkle your site with the words “Better Mousetrap” and expect to show up in a Google search!

Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console tools to help your website perform better on searches. These tools provide real-time data on your visitors, your website performance, and a range of audience insights. Google Analytics is free, but if your enterprise has tons of traffic, you can opt for Analytics 360, which provides premium advanced analysis, support and data freshness. All for a price that begins at $150,000 a year!