Think Entrepreneurship is excited to announce that we’ve completed our first Podcast and uploaded it to Itunes! We had the opportunity to sit down with Hilary St. Jonn of EndlessRangeMarketing.com and SwedishFreak.com. Hilary is extremely knowledgeable about SEO and traffic generation. We hope that our podcasts help you with your business. To listen or subscribe on iTunes click here
In addition to the Podcast, Hilary submitted a guest post sharing some of what she goes over in the podcast.
This article is going to go over the very basics of SEO. If you are already somewhat familiar with SEO, I recommend you scroll down for links to help you further educate yourself on the subject!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means optimizing your site so it gets high results in Google, Bing, and other search engines for specific keywords.
I break SEO down into 3 parts. The first part is keyword research, the second is on page optimization, and the third is off page optimization.
So you know you want to rank high in Google, but do you know for which terms? It may be fairly easy to rank high for terms that few people look for, while it may be very hard for terms that are common and people search all the time.
The first step is to look at what terminology people are using. If you have a website about fish, you want to know what people are searching for about fish. Then you can optimize your website for those keywords.
Google has a free Keyword research tool where you can find how what keywords people are searching for, as well as how competitive those keywords are. It is best to search the keyword yourself as well. If you see that the top sites ranking for your keyword aren’t very useful or look outdated, or haven’t been updated in awhile, chances may be that you can easily outrank them.
It is important to keep in mind relevancy as well. If you website is about fresh water fish, you do not want to rank for keywords dealing with salt water fish.
Long tail keywords are longer keywords that fewer people search for, but are easier to rank for. These may be something like “Where to fish in Montana”, “The best types of fish for dieting” and so forth. If you write articles answering these types of long tail questions, and do proper SEO, chances are you can rank for them relatively easy depending on the competition. More competition means it’s harder to rank for!
On Page Optimization
On Page optimization refers to how to structure your website so Google can better read your site and knows what the topic is. On Page SEO is relatively simple, and it is about using your keywords in various places on your site:
- Unique Content – Search Engines don’t like copy caters. Make sure all the content on your site is completely unique. If you steal it from another site, chances are search engines were on that site first. They will be able to tell that you copied their content.
- URL – Have your keyword in your url. If your keyword is “fishing for salmon”, include that in your url on you page targeting that keyword. For example: www.aboutfishing.com/fishing-for-salmon
- H1 and H2 Tags – Have your keyword in H1 and H2 Tags. These tags basically tell Google what the main topic is of the site.
- Bold keywords – bolding keywords tells search engines that these words are important on your page.
- Alt Tags for Images – Make sure you have alt tags for images. Search engines cannot read images, but they do read text. It is also good for users who can’t load images for whatever reason; it tells them what the image is of. Lastly, this helps you get into Google Image results.
- Linking across your site with your keyword as the url text – If you are trying to rank for “fishing for salmon”, link to this text on various relevant pages on your site using these keywords as the text for the link. This tells search engines that the page is about this topic.
- Meta Title, Description, and Keywords: While Google has admitted that they don’t look at these for rankings, they do look at how many people click to your site in the search results and how long they stay on your site (and if they hit the back button). Make sure your Meta Title and Description tags are relevant to your page, and make it enticing for people who are searching. Google doesn’t look at the Meta Keywords, but other search engines might so it is good to have.
Off Page SEO
Off page SEO refers to all the optimization you do that is not directly on your website, but helps your websites SEO. In a nut shell, this is link building.
Link building is getting other sites to link to your site, ideally with your keywords and variations of your keywords. When other sites link to yours using your keywords ,it tells search engines that your site is relevant for that specific term.
The key to good link building is having good content on your site. If you have good content, with a little work people will start to naturally share your site!
Here are common link building activities you can do to improve your link profile:
- Forums – Link to your site in relevant forums in your signature and profile. Participate in the forums. It will get you people to your site anyways if it is relevant!
- Social Bookmarking – Social book mark your pages to various sites such as stumbleupon, reddit, digg, delicious, etc.
- Social Networks – Put your pages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other relevant social networks.
- Guest Blog Posts – Writing guest blog posts are very useful when link building. You can leave various links in your article with your keywords linking to relevant pages on your site. For example, I’m link building for “Bozeman SEO”, so I will leave a link to my Bozeman SEO page right here. Also, make sure to leave your author tag, as rumor has it that this will be key in SEO in the future.
- Article Submission – There are various article submission sites where you can write an article about your keyword, and link back to page. Remember, make sure the content is unique!
- Press Releases – Writing press releases today for SEO means building more links to your site for your keywords.
- Link Bait – Link bait refers to content that people WANT to share. Or content that goes viral. Find something funny, outrageous, or try a top 10 list. Experiment with what gets your potential readers to click, read, and share!
These are the very basic SEO guidelines. Remember, this DOES change, so make sure to read up on the topic. You can check out various SEO resources on my Bozeman SEO page.
This post was written by Hilary St Jonn, owner of Endless Range Marketing, LLC, a Bozeman Internet Marketing company.