Simple Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide

Illustration showing various SEO icons.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of changing your website in order to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results. By following a few simple steps, you can seriously improve your website’s SEO and thus drive a lot more traffic to your site. That is what this free SEO guide does – it lays out the success steps for your SEO project.

If you consider these simple steps to be too basic then it is time to do deeper technical SEO dives. We recommend that you take our SEO training then follow our more technical multi-step SEO Guide. But first, read this and see if it works for you.

Please understand that SEO is a complex process, certainly not simple by any means. But so many need a basic guideline for how to get going that we are offering this help. For a free overview to SEO please view our YouTube training video.

Overview

It is important that you take a training course. The above links are good and the video is only an hour. Please start there.

You start your journey by researching important words and phrases that you think are relevant to your website and content. This includes identifying your target prospect (persona) and what they are searching for, using several SEO tools (listed later) to help find popular and useful keywords. You must also analyze your competitors’ websites to locate additional keywords, and then create a combined list of keywords for your website. IMO you should focus more on what are called long-tail keywords – phrases that are longer (more words) and that are thus more specific phrases – and add them in a natural speaking style on your website. This is not a once-and-done step and you will need to check and make adjustments to your keyword strategy as needed.

Next make sure your website is easy to use and to understand for both people and search engines. This often means you need to organize your content into different sections (Silos), using a simple and overtly clear hierarchy of pages with keyword-specific page titles and heading tags, using internal links to connect theme related pages, speeding up your website’s loading time (often requiring programming or server changes), and using special codes like structured data and schema markup. Yes, this is technical SEO work and not suitable for a novice.

It’s vital that the content on your website be high-quality, unique, and useful for your audience. This includes many things: understanding your target audience, becoming an expert on the topics you write about, planning for regular updates, using keywords naturally, avoiding copied content, incorporating multimedia elements, and sharing your content on social media and email. There are many SEO Best Practices as well that will need to be followed.

Yes, we do need to consider inbound links. Acquiring quality links from authoritative and relevant websites can also boost your website’s rankings and popularity. You should avoid buying links or participating in link trading schemes as that is the kiss of death. Only acquire links from reputable sources and mix up the anchor text if you can influence it. Be sure to share valuable content that others will want to link to. And by all means, be sure to monitor your links and remove any links that are not good (disavow file entries).

By performing research on keywords and phrases, making your website usable and understandable by all, creating high-quality and unique content, and acquiring links from reputable sites then you can improve your website’s SEO visibility in search engine results.

Note that our Search Engine Optimization Guide will not advise you to do things that are a bit on the dark side. We believe that given enough time that such practices will be detected by Google AI and punished. As such, we advise you to follow our guidelines and to not stray from the path.

SEO Guide Sections

SEO Guide: Do Keyword Research

Illustration showing keyword research.

  1. Figure out who your audience is and what they’re looking for.
  2. Use tools to find popular and useful keywords that aren’t too hard to rank for.
  3. Look at what words your competitors are using and you aren’t (content gap analysis).
  4. Make a list of targeted phrases you want to use on your website and in your page titles and descriptions.
  5. Find longer and more specific phrases that aren’t as popular (long tail keywords).
  6. Use keywords in a natural way and don’t stuff them in everywhere.
  7. Keep checking how well your words and phrases are doing and make changes if needed.
  8. Use keywords and long-tail phrases in your website’s address, headings, and links.
  9. Add words and phrases that are related to your main words and phrases to make your content more relevant.
  10. Use tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to find out what people are searching for and plan your keyword and phrases strategy.

SEO Guide: Make Your Website Easy To Use and Understand

  1. Organize your website’s content into different sections so search engines can understand what each page is about.
  2. Use simple and clear page titles, website addresses and headings so it’s easy for people and search engines to see the topic of each page.
  3. Make sure the way you organize your content and the layout of your website is consistent throughout all pages.
  4. Use internal links to connect related pages within your website to make clear the context of each page.
  5. Make your website look good and work well on different devices and screen sizes.
  6. Speed up your website’s loading time by making sure images are optimized, code is minified, and using a content delivery network.
  7. Make sure your website works well on mobile devices and passes Google’s mobile-friendly test.
  8. Use special codes called structured data and schema markup to help search engines process and classify the content and context of your website.
  9. Use alt tags to describe images and other media on your website, so it’s accessible for people who have trouble seeing and for search engines.
  10. Use tools like Google Analytics to track how people use your website and make decisions on how to improve your website’s design and structure.

SEO Guide: Make Sure the Content on Your Website Is High-Quality, Unique, and Useful

  1. Understand who your target audience is and what information they want to find.
  2. Learn all you can about the topics you want to write about so you can be an expert.
  3. Plan out when you will publish new content so you can keep your website updated.
  4. Include the keywords and long-tail phrases you researched in step 1 throughout your content, but don’t stuff them in too much.
  5. Make sure your content is not copied from other websites.
  6. Use different types of content like blog posts, videos, pictures with information, and real life examples.
  7. Add multimedia elements like images and videos to make your content more interesting.
  8. Add headings, bullet points and short paragraphs to make your content easy to read and skim through.
  9. Include links within your website to connect new content to other related pages on your website.
  10. Share your content on social media and email to get more people to visit your website.

Learn how to optimize content for SEO

SEO Guide: Get Links From Websites That Are Helpful and Respected

  1. Don’t buy links or be part of groups that trade links.
  2. Only get links from websites that are important in your field or from news places.
  3. Don’t use the same words in the link, mix it up.
  4. Don’t do anything that’s against the rules to make your website higher on search engines.
  5. Use your company name and let people know about it to get links.
  6. Check your links using special tools and get rid of any links that are not good.
  7. Make sure your website has cool and helpful stuff that people will want to share and link.
  8. Use social media and networking to promote your content and attract links.
  9. Create infographics, videos, and other multimedia content that can be embedded on other sites and attract links.
  10. Create a blog and consistently publish high-quality content that will attract links.
  11. Participate in online communities and forums related to your industry and provide helpful information, this can lead to links.
  12. Guest post on reputable industry websites and include a link back to your site.
  13. Add schema markup to enhance your website’s visibility and attract links from news and other publishers.
  14. Use tools like the SEOToolSet, Ahrefs, Majestic and Moz to monitor your backlink profile, and reach out to webmasters to request the removal of any low-quality or spammy links.
  15. Run a broken link checker tools to identify broken links on other sites and offer to replace them with links to your own content.
  16. Reach out to influencers and thought leaders in your industry and ask them to share or link to your content.

SEO Guide: Describe the Images and Other Objects on Your Website

Illustration showing optimizing images on a webpage.

  1. Use words that are good to describe images on your website (ALT text).
  2. Use words to describe pictures, videos and other things to make it easier for people who can’t see well or use special programs to understand.
  3. Use captions and written versions for videos to explain what’s happening.
  4. Use HTML tags to give more information about pictures and other things.
  5. Use tags to give a detailed description of pictures and other things.
  6. Use tags to give more information about links and other things on your website.
  7. Check your website using tools to see if there are any problems.
  8. Make sure the colors on your website are easy to see.
  9. Make a written text description for things that aren’t text, like pictures and videos to help people understand your website better.

Learn how to optimize images and other media

Use SEO Tags To Organize Your Content

  1. H1 tags for the main title of a page and only use one H1 tag per page.
  2. H2 tags for main sections or subheadings within the page and H3 tags for sub-sections within those sections.
  3. Use the tags in a logical order, like H2 before H3.
  4. Add important words in the tags but don’t use too many.
  5. Make it easy for people to understand the structure of your content.
  6. Make long blocks of text look better and be easier to read.
  7. Make important points stand out.
  8. Make it easy for people to find the information they need.

Learn about tags and why they are important to SEO

SEO Guide: Use a Clear SEO Silo Structure for Your Website

Sample SEO siloing structure for a website.

  1. Architect internal linking to connect related pages within your site and provide context for search engines.
  2. Implement structured data and schema markup to help search engines process the content and context of your site.
  3. Add XML sitemaps to help search engines find and index all the pages on your site.
  4. Configure breadcrumb navigation to help search engines see the relationship between different pages on your site.
  5. Have canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues and to indicate the preferred version of a page to search engines.
  6. Use Robots.txt file to control the crawling of search engine bots.
  7. Review tools like Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to monitor your site’s technical SEO and fix any issues that may be preventing search engines from understanding the structure of your pages.


Make Your Website Load Faster

  1. Use a special network (CDN) to make your content load faster.
  2. Make pictures smaller and use the right file format (WebP).
  3. Reduce the number of fields where the website has to gather information.
  4. Name your FORM fields the same as popular sites (case sensitive).
  5. Have the browser save (cache) some files so it doesn’t have to download them again.
  6. Refer to a tool or even a consultant to find problems with your website’s loading time and get tips on how to fix them.
  7. Reduce use of heavy scripts and limit the number of times the website has to redirect.
  8. Implement modern techniques of building websites to make it load faster.
  9. Load resources before they’re needed to make the website load faster.
  10. Check how long it takes your website to load using tools like Google Analytics and GTmetrix and make changes to make it better.

SEO Guide: Make an XML Sitemap of Your Website

  1. Use a tool to make an XML sitemap of all the pages on your website.
  2. Make sure your sitemap has all the important pages (home page, contact page, and product pages).
  3. Check that all the links in the sitemap are correct and directly go to real pages (no redirects, no “Page Not Found” errors).
  4. Add XML tags to indicate how important each page is.
  5. Submit your sitemap to Google and Bing to help them find and look at your website.
  6. Keep your sitemap updated by rebuilding it regularly and making changes.
  7. Check your sitemap using Google Search Console to find any problems and fix them.

Learn how to create a sitemap

SEO Guide: Track How Your Website Is Doing

  1. Sign up for free accounts with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  2. Add your website and prove that you own it.
  3. Add all the versions of your website like “http” and “https”, “www” and non-www, and any other versions.
  4. Give your map of the website to Google and Bing.
  5. Check how well your website is doing by looking at clicks, views and where it shows up in search results.
  6. Check for problems like crawl errors or security issues and fix them.
  7. Ask Google and Bing to look at your website and see which pages they have looked at.
  8. Check the links to your website and get rid of any bad links.
  9. Check if your website is easy to use on mobile devices and fix any problems.
  10. Check your website’s search performance regularly and make changes to make it do better.

SEO Guide: Then Use These Tools for Fine Tuning

  1. Use the SEOToolSet, Ahrefs, Majestic and Moz (SEO tools) to find out if there’s errors you can fix to make your website show up better in search results.
  2. Use the SEO tools to find out where your website is showing up in search results for keywords and phrases.
  3. Analyze the links to your website and disavow any bad links.
  4. Check how much traffic your website is getting from search engines and track changes over time.
  5. See how many people are converting on your website and if you can improve it.
  6. Determine how well your website is doing in local search results and find ways to improve it.
  7. Understand how your website is doing compared to your competitors.
  8. Report your website’s search performance regularly and make changes to make it do better.
  9. A great tool is SEOtraining.com – stay sharp through training.
  10. And of course… contact us to make sure.

This Simple Search Engine Optimization Guide is the first step. Once these are done it is time to do deeper dives. We recommend that you take our SEO training then follow our more technical multi-step SEO Guide.

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