How To SEO
Welcome to Part 2 of this SEO Series. Part 1 explains what SEO is, with Part 2 detailing How To SEO.
Happy SEO-ing you SEO of a b*tch.
And if understanding What SEO Is was complicated, How To SEO is entirely extra - though entirely possible. So pour yourself a tea/ whisky/ prosecco/ insert-favourite-beverage-here - because this is long and lengthy.
Just know, by doing your own SEO, you are in complete control of your online presence. Perhaps most importantly, doing your own SEO can save your business up to $8,000 across the 6 - 8 months it takes before SEO fully kicks in and churns out the results. Now that’s really SEO Awesome.
The Pleasing User Experience
Everything we do online is about the user experience - specifically, creating the Pleasing User Experience. This is the SEO online equivalent to the Boyfriend/ Girlfriend Experience: lots of kissing, PDAs, affection, even dates in addition to the pleasing hooking up part; just without all the weight that comes with being labelled as someone’s significant other. In SEO Speak, you can engage, get into it, enjoy your time there and then move on to the next fascinating online touchpoint that captures your attention.
Ultimately, if you can make the person who uses your products, services, social media or website - also known as the ‘end user’ - happy, entertained, engaged and staying engaged or online with you, you get all the google points.
You might recall, I pointed out SEO is the ultimate digital ménage à trois, because it involves
You, the online business and website
google, the search engine, and
Your visitor, the one searching
And for this three-way relationship to hit the SEO Pleasure Spot, you need to start on the path of SEO Success. This is to build and develop your online presence for a pleasing user experience to keep your visitors happy - so you’ll keep google happy.
We know google’s goal
to present relevant information to their users’ questions and searches.
If the information is presented in such a way that users want to stay to read or watch, this is a “pleasing user experience”, which can be recreated as any or all of the following
a responsive and https secure site that is visually pretty and easy to navigate with clear call to actions such as “Learn More” or “Sign Up”
easy-to-read, information-based and sales-focused website landing pages
a blog post focused on your clients
a blog post repurposed, rearranged, rewritten and pushed live 10 days later for a LinkedIn article (cos the googles doesn’t like duplicated posts, and LinkedIn wants to feel special by not featuring on google beside your website straight away)
engaging social media posts
posting a video to youtube, social media or your website
google totally gets off on this stuff. You’ll also find that SEO likes to repeat itself over and over - which, given how much is involved - can be reassuring, even if tedious.
So now, it’s time to Weapon Up.
The SEO Weaponry
First, we need to focus on our most important and valuable digital resources to boost our online presence: our digital assets.
Our greatest SEO Weapons involve one or more of the following:
• our website
• Google Analytics
• organic Google and Google My Business listings, and
• social media
Welcome to your digital arsenal. We’re ready for the war on SEO.
Plan, Recon, Action
Planning helps us reach our goals faster and more efficiently. Once we know our goals, then we plan how to reach them.
Sketch in key dates, sales periods, changes in seasons, events, conferences and anything else significant to your business operations and sales
Schedule time frames and key periods into your calendar, particularly around when you need to make sales
Allocate who looks after which areas, from creating blog posts to updating websites, curating enewsletters, setting up campaigns, emarketing automations and scheduling social media
Ready. Steady. SEO
Here’s the short of How To SEO.
Site Has A Fast Loading Speed
Research & Establish & Research Keywords
Have A Content Marketing Strategy
Use Relevant Images, Optimise, Then Label
Awesomely Unique Content
Standard Compliant HTML
Unique & Relevant Page Titles
Good Meta Descriptions
Social Media Matters
Keep It Local
HTTPS & SSL Security
SEO Tasks are large and in charge, but systematically complete these every time you update a page or build this into your web design, development and build, and you are an SEO winner.
Site Performance Speed Is Fast Loading
Page speed is super important to the user experience. In today’s ADHD digital world where everything has to happen now, a slow loading site will just annoy your website visitor and they’ll click away to somewhere else.
If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, find a way to fix it.
This usually means optimising your site which you can achieve by following the below tasks. Monitor your site performance often with tools like Pingdom.
Establish & Research Keywords
There is nothing sexy or pretty about Keyword Research in SEO - but it is super important. Straight up:
A keyword is a word or short phrase typed into search query.
For example, if you are a boutique real estate agent based on the Gold Coast, the keywords “boutique real estate agent Gold Coast” are going to be very important when it comes to people searching for you on google
But first, let’s get Keyword Research Weaponed Up.
First, establish the keywords which bring people to your site by checking your Google Search Console.
Then enter these keywords into your brand new and shiny Keyword Research tool.
When searching these keywords on your Keyword Research tool, other keywords will pop up as well.
Continuing with “boutique real estate agent Gold Coast”, other keywords such as
Best Real Estate Agent, Luxury Homes Gold Coast, Gold Coast Real Estate Market, Gold Coast Realty, Rentals Gold Coast and Holiday Rentals Gold Coast
will pop up in your Keyword Research. These extra keywords expand your options for how people search for you.
Once you understand just how many keywords apply to your business, the next step is to start applying them.
You can certainly use them across your website but you can’t go overboard, inserting them here, there, willy nilly. It makes the content on your site irrelevant and doesn’t make for a “pleasing user experience”.
The greatest opportunities to use and enforce your keywords are available through your Content Marketing with your website blog posts, social media posts, LinkedIn articles and Instagram hashtag strategy. Keep checking back with your Google Console and Keyword Research Tools to see if any other keywords pop up along the way.
Have A Content Marketing Strategy
If google’s ultimate goal is to make everything accessible, relevant and useable to their searchers, this needs to start with your content.
Content is information and experiences directed towards a user or an audience. It’s the text, pages, articles, images, video and sounds published to our website.
In geek speak, Content Marketing is the strategic approach to creating and pushing live content that is valuable, educational, relevant to connect to your audience, ultimately driving the customer to an action.
In normal speak, rather than doing the “hard sell” to your audience, customers and network about your products and services, present content that educates and solves their problems. Another nice by-product to Content Marketing is this establishes you as an industry expert and thought leader.
Content Marketing focuses on your audience and what they care about. From educational articles (like this one) to ebooks, videos, social media posts, case studies, testimonials, quotes, newsletters and email campaigns, guides, infographics, photos, podcasts, webinars, industry events, product launches, behind-the-scenes, flashbacks – and so much more, Content Marketing combines your brand message, industry, location, targeted and niche keywords, your website and social media to produce stuff your audience enjoys reading or watching. This also means you have to consistently reevaluate the keywords you research and the content you produce.
When your customers and business network enjoy your content, google considers this ‘relevant content’ - which makes google happy.
Use Relevant Images, Optimise, Then Label
Surprisingly, this is an effective tactic but always overlooked. And again, while it’s a tedious process, it puts you ahead of the game – because others fail to do so. Images are just as important in SEO as words.
google gives everyone the tick of approval when you select images relevant to the page and topic.
But where websites start to fall down is in “optimising” them (there’s that geek speak buzzword again) which means in normal speak to resize images for website efficiency.
Many a time, you will find images on blogs or websites at 4.5MEG, not web friendly and labelled as stock_image_45610101.jpeg. The image is not “optimised” and significantly slows your site’s speed down.
To optimise your image, the image needs to keep its high quality and be resized to an ideal size perfect for responsive with desktop, tablet and mobile. Easy right? It actually is – if you have Canva, ADOBE Photoshop or a handy onsite designer.
It all starts with resizing images for web at 300DPI.
For Wordpress, ideal resizes are
• Feature Banner
1920 pixels wide x 1080 pixels tall
• In Page Landscape Image
800 pixels wide x 600 pixels tall
• In Page Portrait Image
600 pixels wide x 800 pixels tall
• Site Icon Image
512 pixels wide x 512 pixels tall
For Squarespace, ideal resizes are
• 1500 pixels wide x 1001 pixels tall
Note: Squarespace always works to the height of your image, so as long as you keep it • 1500 pixels wide, you can adjust the image height to suit your sites visual needs EG
• 1500 pixels wide x 650 pixels tall
• 1500 pixels wide x 150 pixels tall
Where everyone else misses the mark is in labelling the images. Going that extra mile in naming your images is an extra boost to your SEO and website traffic. Let’s look at how I label the images for this article as an example:
The URL is blog/what-is-seo
The feature image then, is labelled what-is-seo-ladylexproductions-blog.jpg
I’ve already done the hard yards in researching the keywords for this blog. So it’s only logical I do the same for my images too.
I can then paste and copy the image name to the Description Field and Alt Text (both are applicable to Wordpress and Squarespace).
And there you go: a keyword-rich image name including description and alternate text. And so the google gods show us love and benevolence forever more.
Link Building – or Backlinks - is the fundamental strategy for Smart SEO.
Backlinks are hyperlinks on a website when clicked, takes the user to another site.
A LADY LEX HOT TIP: always make sure the hyperlink opens in a new tab so as not to take the user away from your site
Never forget, it’s always about keeping google happy, so keep backlinks relevant to the page it’s posted on and clicking through to. Link Build where and when possible - just keep it quality over quantity.
There are a number of ways to great Link Building:
From our website, the brands, affiliates, suppliers and partners we work with are excellent links to include - for us, and them especially. Take it further, and include their logo - with their permission of course.
We can also Link Build through our website blogs posts - this is actually a great way of Link Building.
But where google gives you all the points is when another website backlinks to you – this is an Inbound Link. This happens when the media, a blogger or another website links to your site from their site or blog post. While having someone link you is the ultimate aim in Link Building, as is with all things SEO, this can take time to develop.
Link building, backlinks and inbound links already slot nicely into our Content Marketing Strategy anyway: it’s about “optimising” - or “enhancing” - our content to keep google happy.
Complete Sentences, Great Spelling, Good Grammar, Awesomely Unique Content
Even though our ménage e trois has our website visitor towards the bottom layer of the triangle, at the end of the day: write for humans first and search engines second.
This means we need to focus on how people engage with the brand, the product and the service. google spiders might crawl through your website and dig into it the way a customer can’t, but a google spider doesn’t buy from you and become a returning customer, nor does it follow you on social media.
By all means, we start with pleasing google by focusing on industry, location and niche keywords for our brand message and taglines. But we need to expand on these for our audiences.
This means writing and producing content that is both aesthetically pleasing and educational to the reader. This starts with complete sentences, great spelling and good grammar so as not to distract their attention from the awesome content they’re reading and watching. Finally, we also have to produce fresh unique and engaging content – consistently.
A great Content Marketing Strategy could be
pushing a website blog post live each week, fortnight or month
a LinkedIn Article rewritten, edited and pushed live 7 days later (google doesn’t like duplicate posts, and LinkedIn wants to feel special as the “article of the week” without the competition of your other blog)
social media posts circulating around the themes of the blog and featuring quotes from the blog
a monthly or fortnightly newsletter showcasing these themes as blogs posts
a 15-30 second Facebook Live, Instagram Story and Youtube Video promoting your blog going live
a repurposed blog for Youtube
a repurposed blog available for download as an eBook
Another great tactic is keeping your content up to date. Given the never-ending changes to algorithms, google, the internet and digital information in general, updating your web pages and blog posts to keep up with these changes and keep them relevant is vital. While this might seem an obvious and simple tactic, when you go the extra mile in making sure your website copy and blog articles are current, read well, feature great looking images with well-edited video thanks to great copywriters, designers and producers, your site will be a pleasing user experience for happy site visitors.
Standard Compliant HTML
You can have all the great blogs with clever marketing strategy in the world, but if your site isn’t compliant to the W3C World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML standards, you’re playing checkers while everyone else is playing chess.
Web standards are a set of guidelines used to create web browsers and the sites that run on them.
Web standards are set when a great website makes for a pleasing user experience, allowing you to post all the awesome content you want to, when you want to.
are accessible to people with disabilities with colours, sight, sound and more
make it easier for Search Engine Spiders to crawl and index sites
are designed to load quickly and efficiently
have great architecture
are responsive in web design, allowing for your site to be viewed across all devices, from desktop to laptops, tablets and mobile
have title tags with H1 tags Heading 1
have subheadings with to H2 Heading 2 and H3 Heading 3 for easy reference points
are easy for google spiders to crawl and index to report back to google
have an XML sitemap
In 2018, Statista reported 52% of all website traffic was powered through mobile phones. This means all of our sites and content need to be “mobile optimised” – as in built, developed and designed especially for mobile. You can check if your site is optimised with google’s mobile friendly test >here.
Unique & Relevant Page Titles
The Page Title and Headline is your first impression and needs to draw your website visitor in to read.
Create pages with keyword-based titles to help establish your page or blog’s theme and direction.
Use keywords straight off the bat so everyone gets exactly what you’re talking about
Use strategic search phrases on pages and blog articles to help Search Engines
Make your Page Title and Headline catchy, clickable, relevant and unique.
For an idea on catchy headlines, Buzzsumo analysed 100 million headlines for their Most Shared Headlines Study. You can also check your headlines with The Hoth’s Headline Generator.
Another area to stand out is with the Meta Tags and Description of our web pages and blog posts.
The Meta Tag appears in our web page’s header code as snippets of text telling Search Engines what a webpage is about.
The Meta Description is the information displayed on google from your page.
Meta data is another aspect of going that extra mile, because each web page and blog post needs well written meta description to accompany it.
Yoast really helps as a great guiding program for Wordpress sites. They also have a more detailed blog article ”How To Create The Right Meta Description” >here. These ideal characteristics include
• up to 155 characters
• uses an active voice
• includes a call to action
• contains the focus keyword
• matches the content, and
• is unique (and not duplicated or plagiarised)
These same characteristics translate well to Squarespace too.
There really is nothing so sexy AF as a great URL.
A URL is the address of a World Wide Web page.
Here’s the URL of my previous blog article “Guide To Online Security” as an example> https://www.ladylex.com.au/blog/guide-to-online-security
google eats URLs for breakfast - so keep your URLs simple and straightforward. After all, as Leonardo da Vinci once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
• feature a keyword where possible
• uses strategic search phrases
• are easy to understand for users and search engines
• doesn’t feature numbers or characters
• always use hyphens
• are case sensitive
• don’t use capital letters to confuse readers and search engines
Once you understand your SEO directions and goals, you need to track if these work. This happens through Web Analytics.
Web analytics is the gathering, reporting, and analysis of website data
Social Media Matters
Your Social Media impacts Search Engine Rankings, because it’s a part of your Content Marketing Strategy. Creating and producing fresh, relevant content is integral to your digital presence, and nowhere is this easier than with social media.
Tips where Social Media Matters include
creating useful educational content to share across social media
clearly adding share buttons to your website pages and blog posts
when link building with other brands and businesses, tagging them across social media too - everyone loves being tagged (except for spam of course)
posting from your Facebook business page to share across your personal Facebook
Keep It Local
Unless you’re a digital nomad or exclusively remote and global, your local market is the area you are most likely to be searched. Be proud and promote you’re a local business! You can do this
with niche and location keywords that can also translate into your hashtag strategy
a Google My Business listing
HTTPS & SSL Security
An unsecure site is not a happy site, and doesn’t make for a happy google either. Browsers also warn when websites are not secure with a nice little notice.
Keep google and your users safe and happy with these two forms of security:
HTTPS Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure involves the data sent between your browser and the website you’re connected to. The 'S' at the end of HTTPS stands for 'Secure', indicating communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.
SSL Secure Sockets Layer is standard security for encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication.
Get them both - and don’t look back.
Other Teeny Handy Tips
List your business on online directories
When your site is as optimised and ideal as you can make it, start Indexing
Always use hyphens when labelling images and URLs - not underscores
Don’t duplicate content across pages, meta descriptions or repost a blog word for word to LinkedIn or another site.
Don’t stuff as many keywords as you can into the one area, page or description.
Because at the end of the day, we don’t want the World’s Worst Website Ever. We just want a great website working for us.
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