How To Learn Search Engine Optimization – Free Guide And Checklist

How To Learn Search Engine OptimizationLearning the process of search engine optimization can make the all the difference between your website getting lots of free traffic or having your website lost in obscurity.

If you have been building a website and you can’t seem to get the rankings you need to be found, I’m going to share some tips that will help improve the rankings of some of your current articles and how you can improve your odds of achieving better results moving forward.

We’ve got a lot to cover here but trust me, search engine optimization is well worth learning.

Here are the topics I’ll be covering


 

  • What Is Search Engine Optimization?
  • Is Your Site Mobile Friendly?
  • Best SEO Practices
  • How To Optimize You Content
  • Optimizing Images
  • Videos
  • On Site SEO Strategies
  • Good SEO Linking
  • Backlinking Strategies To Avoid
  • How To Use Your Comment Section To Improve Your Rankings

 

What Is Search Engine Optimization?


Search engine optimization is a process that when followed correctly, will tell the search engines that you are an authority in your niche and that you provide quality content for their readers.

Since search engine don’t actually read your content, optimizing your articles for search engines is more “behind the scenes” type stuff. Once people begin to find you articles, search engines gauge visitor behavior which also plays a role in your rankings. I’ll discuss that in greater length shortly.

 

Is Your Site Mobile Friendly?


When I first heard about the concept of ensuring that your website is mobile friendly, I shrugged it off. I mean really…….. are people doing any kind of serious research on a mobile phone? It turns out that in fact, they are! It’s not unusual to have close to 50% of my traffic coming from mobile devices some days.

People surfing the net from tablets and mobile devises has become so popular that Google actually had to adjust their ranking algorithms for mobile searches. What does that mean? Well, if your website is not mobile friendly, your site may lose footing when people search on mobile devises.

Luckily, most WordPress themes are mobile friendly but if you’re not sure, you can test it here.

Here is my test result for this site.

 

mobile friendly test

This is what you want to see after entering your site url. If your site doesn’t pass the test, you have two options.

  1. Find A Responsive Theme
  2. Download And Install WPtouch Mobile Plugin

 

Best SEO Practices


The best SEO practices are sticking with methods that are “tried and true” while avoiding the noise and latest trends being promoted by “black hatters”. If you’re building your website on WordPress, optimizing your articles for search engines is pretty strait forward and easy.

  • Keywords In Your Title
  • Keywords In Your Permalink
  • Keywords In The First Paragraph Of Your Article
  • Keywords In Your Meta Description.

 

You can see what that looks like in my article Is Keyword Research Important?

 

How To Optimize Your Content


Optimizing you content is more about your visitors than search engines. Your articles should be informative and engaging while being subtle in your intentions. Here’s what I mean by that.

 

Content With Intent

Every post or page you create should be created with a goal of getting your reader to do something. It could be to:

  • Lead Them To An Affiliate Offer
  • Lead Them To Another Article On Your Site
  • Add Them To Your Subscriber List
  • Have Them Engage You In Your Comment Section

In other words, don’t create content just for the sake of creating content. Every article you publish should contribute to the “big picture” of what you’re trying to accomplish with your website.

 

Engage Your Audience

Your visitors should be entertained or they should learn something useful after reading your article whether they respond to a “call to action” or not. People can tell when an article is likely to be overly salesy or promotional. If people quickly hit the back button and continue their search, the search engines will take note of that and it will effect your rankings.

 

Create Value

You need to learn how to create value for your readers before your website creates income for you. Think about some of the reasons that you have for using the internet to look for information. Here are some of the more popular types of searches:

  • Product Reviews
  • Learning How To Fix Something
  • Learning How To Do Something
  • Learning How To Solve A Problem

Your end goal will often be to recommend (not sell, but recommend) the best resource according to their desire. By “resource” I am referring to the website that sells a product or program for which you will earn a commission for referring them there.

 

The more value you create, the more likable and trustworthy you will appear which will in turn make people more likely to trust your recommendations.

 

Optimizing Images


If you have not been using images on your site, you need to start NOW! Images not only make your articles more interesting and visually appealing, but search engine optimized images can actually improve your rankings!

This is something that I overlooked for 2 years until I stumbled across an article by a brilliant internet marketer named Neil Patel of quicksprout.com. He says that optimizing images on one of his sites caused a 25% increase in traffic to his site.

After optimizing some of my images, I did notice an increase in traffic to my site as well. You can literally optimize an image in 5 seconds so it’s definitely worth doing!

When you add an image to your site, you have an opportunity to optimize it it before publishing it.

Just be sure that you have permission to freely use images before uploading them to your site. A couple of places I go to get free images are

Pixabay.com

morguefile.com

There are many sites where you can find free images to use on your site for any purpose. Just make sure that you read the fine print on these sites. Illegally using images on your site can cost you a fortune in law suits. Even if your site doesn’t earn a dime.

 

Create Interest With Videos


Sharing Videos

We love to watch videos online. We can’t get enough of them. I know there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t stop by YouTube several times to watch videos. Let’s face it, most of us would rather watch videos than read articles. So why not learn to incorporate them into your website?

You may not be crazy about the idea of making videos but did you know you share most YouTube videos on your website? WordPress makes it easy to share YouTube videos.

When you click the Share icon (just below the subscribe button) you will be shown a link that you can use to embed that video onto your own site. You just copy and paste that link into your WordPress editor and it is automatically converted into a video that your visitors can watch without leaving your website.

 

Create Your Own Videos

If you want to take a shot at creating video’s I would recommend checking out Screencast-O-Matic. There is a free version and tons of video tutorials to show you how it works. If you decide to buy the full version, it’s only $15 per year and uploading your videos to YouTube is a snap.

 

If you’re camera shy or even audio shy, there is free video creation software that doesn’t require you to talk or be on camera. You can start experimenting for free at moovly.com 

There is a bit of a leaning curve with video creation software but there are tons of videos on YouTube to show you how to get the most out of these software’s. A friend of mine made one for demonstrational purposes. Here’s her video.

 

On Site SEO Strategies


One of the better on site SEO strategies is to link some of your better performing pages to some of your lesser performing pages. I will go back and look at my articles that are on the first page of Google from time to time and see if there are any relevant articles on my website that I can link to for a little boost.

 

When you have a high ranking article, search engines tend to give that article authority. When you link that article to another one of your articles, you are telling the search engines that the article you are linking to deserves some authority status as well. That doesn’t mean that the article you are linking to will automatically shoot way up in the rankings, but it does seem to help.

 

Silo Site Structure

Silo sites are designed to fully utilize the concept of linking one page to another. These can be very effective for websites that focus on a narrow niche.

 

 

In this illustration, every subtopic is a page or post that links back to the main website url.

Then, each subtopic will have subtopics of their own which all link back to the main subtopic and the main url.

These site structures create a sort of “SEO loop” that search engines have responded to favorably over the last few years. The “tighter” your niche, the more effective it is.

 

 Good SEO Linking


You probably think that I’m going to tell you that you need to develop a good backlinking strategy buy I’m not! Most backlinking strategies are obsolete and a waste of time at best.

 

There was a time when he or she with the most backlinks won. That lead to a lot of sub par content reaching the top rankings which sent people looking for alternatives for information. Google has no intention of handing over their traffic to their competitors so they needed to find a better way to gauge quality content.

 

I’m not suggesting that all backlinks are bad or a waste of time. It really depends on who links to you and the rate at which those links are created. Search engines know the difference between natural and unnatural backlinks and they will rank your site accordingly.

 

A website with quality content will naturally gain backlinks over time. As your site grows, the rate at which backlinks are accumulated may also increase over time.

 

If your website gains hundreds of backlinks one month but none the next, and so on, it raises a red flag with search engines. You could end up loosing the benefits that you may have otherwise received from quality backlinks.

 

Good Outbound Links

People often have an unjustified fear of linking to other websites. They may be afraid of passing some of their “link juice” along or even fear losing their reader all together. Yes, you may lose a few readers but that isn’t a good reason to hoard them.

When Google see’s that you’ve linked to an authority within your niche, it shows them that you are trying to provide the best content for your visitors. Remember, this is what Google aims to do so don’t be afraid to link to a great article if it will benefit your readers.

 

Backlinking Strategies To Avoid


 

There are some outdated backlinking strategies that are unfortunately still being taught. Some of them are a waste of time at best while some should be avoided like the plague!

For example, dropping meaningless comments on other people’s website in non-related niches with the hope of gaining backlinks is a complete waste of time. Even if your comment is published and a backlink is gained, it isn’t a quality backlink and therefore, it is useless.

 

Do Not Pay For Backlinks!

This is something you definitely do not want to do. These are not likely to be quality backlinks and they are not gained in a natural way. Google has created algorithms to specifically spot these shady backlinking strategies and they will penalize your site for it!

 

How To Use Your Comment Section To Improve Your Rankings


Yes, utilizing your comment section can actually improve the rankings of your individual posts. That doesn’t mean that you should approve all comments that your site receives. I probably end up deleting 99% of the comments I receive because they are low quality comments that are completely irrelevant to my articles. They are people simply looking for backlinks.

 

Encouraging and allowing quality comments on your articles has a couple of benefits.

  1. It shows search engines that your content is interesting
  2. Comments ad content to your article

 

Respond to your comments

It seems kind of pointless to encourage people to comment on your site if you’re not going to respond in some way. I recently read an interesting article and I left a relevant comment and asked the website owner 3 very specific questions about his article.

He approved my comment but didn’t bother to respond! So, I guess I won’t bother asking him any more questions or reading his blog for that mater!

The whole point of having a comment section is to create a dialogue whenever possible. Even if the person leaving the comment doesn’t agree with you. I have received comments from people who were not very happy about me shedding a negative light on their “pet” business opportunity.

Did I automatically delete those comments?

Of course not!

Here is how I agree to disagree with someone. The comment is on the bottom and my response on top.

It’s perfectly fine to disagree with someone without resorting to insults or personal attacks. It shows people that are a real person who is willing to have a real conversation.

 

I hope you found some useful idea’s in this article and if you have any comments or question, please leave them in the box below.

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