Tip Of the Month: The beginner’s guide to SEO 

Let's speak friendly digital! Marie Nadal Sharma, Founder & Director of Them You & Me shares tips about demystifying digital marketing.

This month, her tips about SEO:

Let’s begin with a simple exercise: Google the name of your business.

Does your website appear on page 1 of the search results? If it does, your SEO is in the right place! If it doesn’t, then this article is for you.

SEO may sound confusing, but it’s really just a number of small things that combine powerfully to help your website rank well on Google. Diving right in...

 

What is SEO?

Let’s say you are in the business of scented candles. There are thousands of businesses that also offer scented candles. When someone searches for your product on Google by keying in ‘lavender scented candle’, there are numerous brands that will show up on the search engine results pages (SERPs). So what is it that makes some businesses appear on page 1 while others are nowhere to be found?

 

The answer is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. It includes all the efforts directed towards improving your website to increase its visibility in online searches for particular keywords. In other words, it raises your chances of being discovered by search engines and delivered as a search result on page 1. SEO also helps increase the quality as well as the amount of traffic to your website. 

 

Why is SEO important?

In order to:

  • Make your website discoverable
  • Rank on page 1 of Google’s SERPs
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Generate more leads
  • Create brand awareness
  • Build trust and credibility
  • Position you as an expert in your field
  • Retain your ranking over an extended period

 

How to SEO-optimize your content 

Optimizing your content for SEO involves a series of methodical steps:

1. Keyword research

Every page of your website should have a unique keyword, based on what that particular page is talking about. (Think - the topic of the page) You need to identify the words that you want your website to rank for. Now, you must wonder how to find these keywords:

  • Identifying search intent

This is what users are looking for when they enter certain words into the search engine’s search bar. Imagine yourself as your customer searching for your product online. You may type ‘buy scented candles online’ into Google’s search bar. ‘Scented candles online’ is then a potential keyword. Be very precise in the way you describe what you are looking for.

 

  • Using keyword research tools

There are many tools out there, but start with the Keyword Planner. It will give you an idea of the words or terms people are using to search for your product or service. These tools will also show you the search volume – the average number of people using a particular keyword, and in effect, the extent of your reach. It’s a no-brainer to use a keyword that has a high search volume.

 

  • Searching on Google

Run searches on Google for keywords identified through search intent and the Keyword Planner to see which companies and articles appear on Page 1 of the results. If you see your competitors’ websites appearing, or articles from trusted sources, then you’re on the right track. 

 

  • Viewing the ‘People Also Ask’ boxes

This will tell you what people type when searching for a similar product or service. 

 

  • Using Google Autosuggest

This shows what Google offers as options to relevant searches. Try typing one word and see the recommended keyword variations in the dropdown. 

 

2. Apply the keyword 

Also called on-page SEO, this involves incorporating the selected keyword into the:

  • URL

A well-constructed URL is essential for Google to understand what your page is all about. Keep the URL short and descriptive. 

For example - abc.com/lavender-scented-candles

 

  • Title tag

This is the text on the tab of your browser when you open a page. Make sure to add your keyword to the front end of your title tag. Keep your title under 60 characters. Also, add your company name to the title tag.

 

  • H1, H2 and H3 tags

H1 is the title of your page. H2 and H3 are the subheadings within your page’s content.

 

  • Meta description

This is the excerpt that appears when Google shows your page in response to a search. It has a current limit of up to 155 - 160 characters. Think of it as a teaser to invite users to click on the link to visit your website. 

 

  • Page content

Always remember that you are writing for your customer, not for Google. So, even though you need to spread your keyword across the content, it should appear natural to the reader. You can also use words that are semantically related to your keyword for some variety. Note that keyword stuffing is penalized by Google.

The content you write should be valuable, informative, and easy-to-read (simple words, short sentences, short paragraphs and bullet points). Google favors content that is unique, engaging and likely to be shared, so keep that in mind too, when you create content. You need to help the user and be the one answering their questions or finding solutions to their problems. 

 

Pro tip: Create a spreadsheet in which you record every page of your website. Alongside each page, enter the page’s keyword, URL, title tag, and meta description. 

3. Track and measure results

Once you have applied these techniques, how do you know whether your efforts are working? By following a few key metrics that can help you measure your website’s SEO performance. These include:

  •   Keyword ranking
  •    Organic traffic
  •    Actual conversions

 

You can use tools like Google Analytics to track and measure results. Be mindful that SEO does not offer immediate results. It requires continuous effort over an extended period of time. However, the results are completely worth the effort! 

 

Since Google’s algorithms are constantly updated, keep track of such changes and implement them into your SEO strategy. In fact, the latest Google algorithm update was on 3rd December, 2020.

 

Now that you know the essentials of SEO, you can begin optimizing your website in your effort to gain a favorable ranking on Google, and by extension, greater visibility and traffic. Remember, SEO is made up of several small steps that come together to make your website more effective for you. It can be fun and rewarding as well, to see your website coming closer and closer to page 1!

At Them You & Me, we help in the digital transformation of businesses. If you have any questions about SEO or would like an SEO strategy for your website, please get in touch with us. 

 

You can also visit our website to learn more about us and our services. 

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