Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide 2010- Plain Speak on SEO
Recently Google released a brand new, 32 page SEO Starter Guide. It’s incredibly detailed, very easy to read and thorough. Incredibly detailed. 32 jam packed pages of information, steps and strategies. And it has a handy page by page glossary footnote because there are about 6 words on each page that you may or may not understand if you are not a webmaster. Let’s just say that maybe you don’t really have time to read a 32 page Google Search Engine Optimization Guide. Or maybe you are not a webmaster. Or maybe you don’t even know what SEO is…. Fear not! It’s really not as hard as it sounds. With the right help, you could be on the way to ranking without costly pay per click campaigns. These steps below will break down SEO in a way that is accessible to those of us not fortunate enough to have a degree in computer science. Really don’t know what SEO is? Check out this introduction to SEO and maximizing your website.
Step 1: Hire a Web Designer to do On Page Optimization
Any tactic worth doing is worth doing right. Over half of Google’s guide is dedicated to on page optimization, those factors for SEO that live on your website which you can control. Things like meta tags, URL structure, site directory navigation, and anchor text. These are not simple concepts to implement in a web page design. People go to school and get degrees in computer science and engineering to be able to build websites. When it comes to the internal structure of your website, it will pay off to make the initial investment in building a solid base.
One complaint I hear over and over again from web designers is that people build a bad site, then bring in a web designer to “fix” the old site, which these web designers describe as layering new code over the existing “bad code”. This cycle repeats over and over again and the website becomes a mess of bad code (in plain speak: bad website development) layered on top of each other, which calls for a complete and costly overhaul (on top of the cost of each fix). Doing it right the first time saves you money, it saves you time and it prevents all your other search engine efforts (social media, outreach, pay per click) from going to waste on a poorly build site which Google can’t “crawl” effectively.
Step 2: Choose Good Keywords
Search Engine Optimization is about helping people find you when they search for you using a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Understanding how people are actually searching for you is essential to developing an effective search engine strategy.
Imagine you are a random person, looking for your business on the internet. What words would you type into that little white box to try to find you? Those are your keywords. Those are the terms you want to rank highly for. That is what you put in your website titles, and get people to link back to. Spend some time thinking about how people are searching for you, and remember that shorter is better, people are always in a rush and web searching is all about quick and easy access to information.
You can have more than one keyword, in fact the more you have (and the less competitive those are!) the better. You can check how competitive a keyword is here. The more searches, the more competitive they tend to be, but the ideal is to find a keyword that makes sense for your website, which is also high in searches and low in competition.
Even if a keyword has incredibly high search numbers and very low competition, if it’s not going to relate to your business in a real, relevant way then it is a waste of time to try to rank for it. SEO is about understanding how people search and making it as easy as possible for people to find you. Tricking people into visiting your site isn’t going to convert the way you want it to (into actual business, or repeat visits) so forget about trying to manipulate the system. The algorithm is smarter than you…
Step 3: Get inbound links
The heart of search engine optimization is understanding that Google wants to provide the searcher with the best results for their search query.
How do they decide who’s site is “the best”? If I write a graduate thesis and you write a graduate thesis, and in the next year mine get’s referenced 1,000 times and your get’s referenced 10,000 times, who’s is the best? Yours is. The one referenced the most is better, more relevant, higher quality etc. Google was created by two Stanford grad students. The foundation of their search engine is the idea that the one gets referenced more is “better” and should therefore rank higher for that search term.
Now that you have your keywords, you need to focus on getting inbound links which point from that keyword to your website. This is quite possibly the most important step people miss when they start looking for links. If possible you want that outreach to get you a link that looks like this: accounting software… not this: Workingpoint (you should hopefully already rank for your own name!).
It’s still a really good thing whenever someone else links back to your website but what terms they link to are almost as important as the link itself because your goal is to rank for those keywords. The good news is if they link to something else (like your name), if you have all the proper on page optimization stuff right for your keywords, that link should still count towards your rank.
That is SEO in a nutshell. Does it makes sense to you? Is it worth it to have a website if it you don’t “rank”? Let us know what you think!