How to Learn SEO
The first thing that should know about SEO is that it is an ongoing process. There is no such thing as set and forget when it comes to search engine optimization. What works today will most likely cease to work tomorrow and if you stop monitoring and continue on with your SEO campaign, you will definitely be outranked by your competition. That’s a fact!
Anyway, the best way to learn search engine optimization is by actually putting what you learn into practice and seeing the results as you work. The idea is to set aside about 30 minutes of work per day to put into practice each SEO technique you learn and see how much it impacts, if any, your results. If you do everything at the same time, you will never know which one worked and which ones did not. This is why monitoring your SEO progress is a crucial part of your campaign.
Best SEO Practices
SEO is traditionally a task that has been viewed as something complicated and mythical. The reality about SEO is that anyone can do it, provided you put in the time and effort to make it work for you. While there are many reasons why you would prefer to not DIY, you should know that adhering to white hat techniques and conducting a best-practice SEO campaign actually involves nothing more but the application of relatively simple set of ethical principles. There are essentially four key elements that you should be worried about when conducting your SEO campaign. These key elements (which should work together) should form an integral part of your thinking when optimizing your website.
1. Proper Keyword Research and Implementation – Conducting a proper and thorough keyword research is the only first step that makes sense. You are, after all, optimizing a website for search engines. The only way that “real humans” use to find whatever it is they are looking for is by means of using keywords or phrases. Perhaps this could change in the future, but for now, this is a key ingredient to a good SEO campaign. Learn as much as you can about conducting keyword research and remember to target for “less competitive” keywords, specially when you are just in the beginning.
2. Content Development – You may often seen a lot of times the phrase – “content is king”. It is indeed a fair assessment and is probably more relevant than the SEO campaign in itself. Your sites content is paramount to success and the way you structure and present your content can make or break your online marketing efforts in a lot of ways. It is without a doubt that search engines prefer quality over quantity and needless to say that delivering only great and high quality content will ultimately be responsible for your website having more traffic that is relevant for your small online business’s success. Learn how to write optimized content, without hampering the usability and users experience. Remember that you are first writing for your audience. You can then compliment your content by applying the best SEO practice for content optimization.
3. Web Development – Content may be “king” but a poorly structured and technically flawed theme or coding, can equally be damaging for your website. Plan ahead as to what theme and navigational structure will suit your needs bests and try to stick to it for the long run. Changing themes often can and may hurt your rankings.
In addition, ensure that your navigational flow and menu structure are using the keywords that you identified earlier during your initial keyword research. Avoid “bells and whistles” in your website as in most cases they only serve to distract your audience. Keep it clean and as logical as possible. If you are using Thesis theme, there are many ways that Thesis customizations can help too. Also, don't forget that page load time is something that you should seriously be looking at as well.
When developing your website, keep in mind the following, at least as far as SEO is concerned:
- navigation flow and menu structure
- sites copy, post or articles
- headings and sections (sub-heading)
- Page Speed Loading Time
4. Link Building – Having covered the core aspect of on-page SEO, it’s time to stir away from your site and apply off-site or off-page SEO. Building inbound links links is also very important and while there are several link building techniques, remember that again, it is quality that counts and not quantity. The key factor to remember is that the quality and relevance of your inbound links are what matter most. Focus on receiving fewer, higher-value links, rather than lots of low-quality or irrelevant links. The later, may even hurt your sites credibility and reputation, so I suggest to stay away from it.
Not so long ago, I provided some useful tips on how to build inbound links. That is a good place to start.
Deep Linking or Internal Linking Matters Too
While link building focuses primarily on external sites, you should also be aware that links within your own site helps to strengthen your overall relevance and authority. When appropriate, try to link from one matching keyword to another post or article within your site. You can see the example I have just done, by linking from this article to another (e.g. keyword research link above).
5 – Social Engagement – While this could be considered as part of a link building campaign, I preferred to keep this separate as it is important for you to know that social engagement is now a very important part of your SEO campaign. Many search engines are now using “signals” to determine trust and credibility of users and websites via this medium. Take the authorship markup verification, that has been recently introduced by Google. It might not be the most important ranking factor just yet, but I am convinced that in the very near future, it will play an important role on search results. Learn the ropes on how to build and establish your brand, and you will see that the effort will pay off. On a side note, don’t neglect the power of social media in your SEO campaign.
[box type=”note”]Google Authorship and Author Rank is becoming the New SEO! Click here to find out everything you need to know.[/box]
By understanding and educating yourself through the application of these principles, your SEO campaign will most likely thrive. Stay away from bad SEO techniques and those so called “quick” ranking schemes. They might get you good rankings quickly, but rest assured that they will eventually fade away. As I said before, SEO is an ongoing process and only with regular monitoring and adjustments can sustain your rankings for the long haul.