On a daily basis, I get asked questions about SEO, also known as search engine optimization. What is it? It’s the process of making sure that your site can be found for the keywords that people are using to search for products and services you offer. But if you Google SEO, you are going to see a LOT of information and it can be extremely overwhelming. So my advice to anyone trying to get started with SEO is to start with some simple, small steps that aren’t overwhelming to at least get your site on track.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about SEO, and how I answer them.
To answer this question, the first we do is look at the site and see where in the site that exact keyword is being used. And you’d be surprised at the number of people who are trying rank for a keyword they aren’t using on their site.
It is unlikely to rank a site for keywords you aren’t using on the site.
My very first recommendation for you in your SEO journey, look at your site and think about the keywords you want to be found for. Are you using that keyword on the site? If not, that’s a big problem. Google is pretty good about knowing related key phrases, but your competitors are probably using the keywords they want to be found for in their website, and if you want to compete, you need to use those terms too. If you aren’t using the keywords you want to be found for, figure out where in your site it belongs and start using it.
Where to use your keyword:
- In your page title
- In the content on the page (the more words you have, the more times you should use the keyword)
- In the page slug (URL)
- In the image ALT TEXT
- In the meta title and description
When I said start using the keyword on the page, you probably didn’t expect me to give you a list like this, but that’s just a start. When Google sees that page, and sees all the places that keyword is being used, it’s going to have a pretty good idea of what that page is about. (Note: all these keyword uses should be on the same page.)
This is an important question for a lot of reasons. I once had a person come to me interested in a new website, and stressed how important it was that the SEO they had performed be kept in place. I took a look at their keyword list and checked, and they were indeed ranking for all of their keywords, which was amazing. Until I researched those keywords and noticed that very few people were actually using those keywords to search.
It’s easy to rank for keywords that no one is using. But that won’t bring much extra traffic to your site. You need to know if people are actually using those keywords. I actually pay for a number of SEO tools that provide this kind of data for me, but if you are looking for a free resource, you can use UberSuggest. You can type in the keyword you are interested in ranking for, put in a location (if your business serves a certain geographical area) and then hit search and find some good information.
For this example, I popped in Kitchen Remodeling for my keyword and put in Indianapolis as my location and here are the results. This free version isn’t going to give you a ton of data, but it’ll probably give you enough to know if your keyword is useful or not.
The two things you really want to pay attention to when you are starting out are:
- Search Volume: How many people are searching for that keyword each month.
- Keyword Difficulty: How hard it would be to rank for this keyword.
What you are looking for is a keyword that has a good search volume but a lower difficulty. Imagine trying to compete with Amazon or Walmart for your keywords. Who are your competitors and how does your website measure up? You probably aren’t going to outrank the big guys who are spending thousands of dollars on their SEO every month, but you can find keywords that are relevant and attainable and work towards making those keywords work for you.
This one is an easy answer every time: work on your content.
Content is and will always be king when it comes to SEO
The truest answer that nobody wants to hear is to work harder on your content. But the truth is Google wants to serve users with the best results, and if someone else has a better answer for the query being searched for, then Google is going to serve up their website before yours. When it comes to ranking, the best websites will have really good, high-quality, keyword-rich content. Does the page you want to rank for only have 200 words? Then it’s time to rethink that content. There are plenty of other competitors who are going to write really strong content that’s longer than that and they will likely outrank you. One of the best things you can do for your website’s SEO is write really good content. It’s something that you can do on your own and won’t cost you anything but your time.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Why are people searching for this keyword and what do they want to know?
- What do I offer that’s different from what my competitors offer?
- How can I showcase my expertise about this topic?
Then strengthen that content with great photos, links, and other resources.
When it comes to SEO, those are the three things you can start looking at today to make a difference in how your site performs. Also remember that you won’t see changes overnight. A best case scenario would start to rank in a few weeks, so keep that in mind.
A few more getting started SEO tips
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. You can check it using Google’s mobile friendly testing tool.
- Make sure your site isn’t slow loading. You can test that on Google’s page speed testing tool.
- Make sure Google knows your site exists, by setting up Google Search Console and adding your sitemap.
- Don’t forget to set up a Google My Business Listing and filling out all the possible options for it including a link to your site.
- Ask your customers to leave reviews for you on Google.
SEO can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do everything at once and you don’t have to know it all. Making small, incremental changes can have a big impact on your SEO and get you start on a path to success.
Join our list!
Our blog, delivered to your inbox. Never miss a post!