The Absolutely Beginners Guide To SEO With Not A Lot Of Tech Speak

seo beginners guide

 

Hey there! One of the services we like to provide is educating our clients so we figured why not start putting all this online for your reference? There’s so much to learn about SEO, it can get confusing quickly so to keep things easy we’re going to start at the beginning.
Over the next few months we’ll explore all the elements that go into a successful SEO marketing strategy and how you can become a lean, mean money making machine!

I know what SEO stands for but what is it?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the over-generalized term given to all the strategies and actions that someone can do to promote your site, improve your search rankings, and get you more traffic or conversions.

We feel that SEO has almost outgrown it’s definition and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) or Website Marketing is closer to explaining what we do. Putting up a bunch of 4×4’s doesn’t actually give you a house you can invite people over to. You used to be able to type a bunch of words on your site and watch the hits come pouring in. Not so much anymore! Now and even more so in the near future the focus needs to be providing a unique and helpful user experience.

I already knew that but what is it really?

Ok, if you’re still with us you’re a brave, inquisitive soul and we love that!

We should also mention that any word that has a dotted line under it can be hovered over for a definition!

We’re going to lay some heavy knowledge on you but don’t worry if you’re getting overwhelmed – we’ll be covering everything in more detail as we go along. There are a lot of different elements that go into SEO for your site (many of which don’t even happen on the site itself). The following list isn’t all of them but they are most of the more important ones:

  • Onsite – this one gets very technical but we don’t want to put the cart before the horse so we’ll say for now that it’s how well (from a search engine’s perspective) the structure and coding of your site is.
  • Social – even if you’ve not joined any of them you’ve still heard of social media and it’s many “channels” (ie, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, etc). Being active and optimized here is a double SEO whammy of sending more potential visitors to your site (via articles and so on) and having the ability to interact with your customers.
  • Marketing– we refer to this as a specific type of content on your site such as a “call to action”. In addition to your content, everything on your site from text to images should be helping to create action from a visitor. That action is unique to each business and can be whatever you decide is valuable (ie, someone buying a product, someone calling you from the website, vieweing a video, etc).
  • Content– There are many different kinds of content but you need to have a good amount and it should be original and well written. Content is a great passive way to earn customers trust and establishing your authority in an industry. Not having a lot of content is like going to the movies and watching a blank screen for two hours. Its not fun and you’re not going to recommend it to anyone. Consistently posting new content is also a way that search engines recognize that you have and active website (and not one that’s been sitting around since Geocities).
  • PPC– maybe you’ve heard of Adwords? That’s Google’s baby and a very large one at that! It’s paid advertising that shows up on a search page (SERPS) or in a search engine’s network (those ads on other sites that seem to know what you were just looking for). These are great to jump start a campaign or to do A/B testing but are usually not cost effective in the long run (the more successful they are the more they cost).
  • Citations– Hopefully I’m not the only one to remember getting a new Yellow Pages every 6 months! This is basically what citations are- online directories- they contain your NAP and expand the ability for visitors to reach you. IT also helps establish you as a legitimate business to the search engines by proof of your address.
  • Local SEO– this is a specific optimization strategy that focuses on establishing your site in the local area. It’s also becoming more and more important as the percentage of people searching on mobile devices overtakes traditional desktop searches. Remember, search engine goals are to provide the most relevant user exerience. By using your phone’s location it can and will focus your search to your immediate area.
  • Backlinks– simply put, a site that links to yours is essentially casting a “vote” in your favor telling search engines “this guy over here has some useful stuff”. Traditional methods of reciprocal links or buying links will get you penalized and drop your site rank or remove it from SERPS altogether!
  • Reviews-Just like word of mouth in real life, reviews are extremely important to a marketing strategy. Not only does it indicate trust and that you’re pretty awesome to potential visitors, it also lets search engines see that you are truly providing a helpful service. There are many different places to leave reviews and depending on which industry you’re in some are more valuable.

TL;DR?

whatisseo

Anyone can Google my web address and find it, what’s the point of all this?

Not everyone searches the same words or phrases to find something. If you were looking to buy a house you search; houses for sale, homes for sale, realtors, real estate agents, real estate for sale, first time homebuyers, how easy would it be for a site not optimized for those words to even show up at all? That’s part of what we do, research which words provide the best CTR (click through ratio) and focus on ranking your site for that.

-Also, my neighbor’s son’s brother’s friend is one of those “computer guys” I could just ask him to do this right?

SEO or SEM is really it’s own industry and has hundreds if not thousands of variables. To keep things interesting Google changes their search algorithm every few months if not sooner usually requiring immediate and in-depth research to make sure that any new factors are optimized. It really does take full time dedication to constantly decipher reports and metrics and continue an evolving strategy. It definitely is not “set it and forget it”, it’s a long term game and if you stop moving you will see your ranking and traffic plummet.

-Oh, totally forgot- I just found a company that can get me Page 1 rank in one month!

The SEO industry has gotten a bad rap a few years ago from mainly two reasons; SEO companies not taking the time to educate their clients or provide realistic expectations and the second reason being unethical black hat techniques that sought to exploit loopholes (which can get your site dropped from Google altogether) or provide services that did absolutely no good. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Any SEO company worth it’s salt will provide you with timely reports, be transparent, and take the time to educate and work with you towards your goals.

So why do I need to read this if I’m looking to hire someone?

Because you’re smart and want to stay ahead of your competitors! You know your business best and can provide unique insights into the core of your practices and visitors. We love working with clients that want to be involved and we truly see a much higher return with ROI when we can provide a laser focused SEO marketing strategy.

Is that it?

Hahahahahahahahaha..(whew), absolutely not! This is just the first step on a SEO long journey my friend, we plan to keep exploring SEO and SEM in all it’s facets and in more and more detail. Our goal is to create a great go-to resource for anyone who wants to learn about how much a strong marketing plan can contribute to your success.

If you’re eager to jump right in, here are two great resources to check out:
Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Search Engine Land’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO

Thanks!

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