SEO Guide 2019: Beginner To Advanced
Beginner To Advanced SEO Techniques
A keyword is SEO jargon for the search terms you want to associate with your website. Keyword research is the foundation and bedrock of SEO. For example, if you have a health website, perhaps the most valuable (and most competitive) keyword would simply be “health.” However, all of your competitors also want to rank for the word “health” too.
This is why you need to change it up a bit. Keyword research takes a lot of time, and you need to research plenty of potential words that would be relevant. Then it could take up to 12 months for your rank to go up per keyword, depending on the competitiveness of that keyword – in some instances, it could be longer. If you wanted to research for example, “Health” you would need to think of at least 30 associated or different words that can mean the same thing, so that no one else has used all of them and so your website can easily get up to the top of the search rankings for the less popular words.
You don’t need to be the best to get to the top of page 1 – you can cheat with paid adverts via Google Ads. Ads is Google’s paid search placement service and links your ads at the top or bottom of a page when a user searches keywords you have paid for. However, you can register for an account without spending any money on ads and use the information for keyword research, as it gives you the cost per click of each keyword meaning you get information on what keyword may be best for you.
Onpage SEO Essentials
The “Title” meta tag is perhaps the most important meta tag for SEO purposes. When you look at the of your browser about the URL box, the text you are seeing is the title tags. It is also what appears as the link on the search engine results pages. Note that Google only displays the first 60 characters (including spaces) of your title, so make your title count by strategically including keywords that are relevant to your content and which you would like to rank for.
The meta description is the few sentences below your title on the SERPs. The most important part of the meta description is to sell the value of your web page to the people searching for your keyword. By convincing people to click on your site you also convince the search engines that it is relevant and more people will be able to see and visit your site. If you have a low quality site and people hit the back button, the search engines will see this as your site not being relevant or not being popular enough and they may put your site lower than others.
Your description should be between 150 to 160 characters. Keep it to 150 characters at most to be safe. Treat these 150 characters as your “elevator pitch” to get people to want to click on your page even if it is not already ranked first in the SERPs. You should also consider including relevant keywords in the description so that users can find the information they want easily and be directed to you while doing it.
Need A Hand?
Google rarely directly announces what factors it uses to rank websites. However the loading speed of your site has been directly mentioned as one such factor by many noted and reputable online sources. Try to get your page loading speed down as much as possible to increase your SEO, and to make sure that any users don’t have to wait unnecessarily long which might cause them to go elsewhere.
If you use WordPress or another content management system, consider deleting all unnecessary plugins to help improve your speed. Also consider using Cloudflare, which you can use in conjunction with your normal web host. Cloudflare mirrors and caches data on your site, and transmits it to your users from its various servers across the world. It offers a very robust free plan that can make a huge difference to your site speed. In addition to being direct ranking factor, user experience is always king in on page SEO. If your page takes too long to load people will hit the back button which will send another negative message to the search engines that your site should have a lower ranking.
Be Mobile Friendly
Search engines are increasingly requiring websites that perform well for mobile users. That means pick a responsive theme that works well and looks good on mobile devices as well as desktop devices. Avoid difficult popup ads, especially on mobile devices such as the big phones and tablets, you will likely have a harder time ranking if this is the case. If you use WordPress or other website building sites or programs, make sure your theme is “responsive” which means it will adapt to your users device when rendering the page.
Sitemaps tell search engines where all of the content is on your website. Search engines are not magical, and without a sitemap they often miss out on important content that you submit. If you use WordPress, you can use the Yoast plugin to automatically update your sitemap. This is basically a directory with links to every page on your site.
History of search engines
When the internet first became mainstream, it was difficult to sort through or organize all of the available web pages. The first method was to use simple directories. Website owners would submit their websites to directories under a relevant topic and users would hope the directory did a good job of ranking these sites.
AltaVista popularized the concept of a true search engine. It was the most popular web search engine in 1998. However, it arranged its results based on “keyword density.” Algorithms encouraged many people to engage in what was then an extremely easy version of SEO. All someone had to do was count the number of keyword references on a competitor’s site and one up them by adding just a bit more.
Tricks were found such as writing the keywords in the same colour as the background so it’d be invisible to people but not to search engines. However, ultimately this type of SEO is never directly a benefit to the user. Google counts the number of links from other websites to your website and it measures the respectability of the linking websites. It uses this calculation as its primary way to rank websites on its search engine. This had the effect of encouraging all websites owners step up their games and do more to benefit their users.
An introduction to Modern backlinks
In the early days of google, every backlink counted. Using backlinks definitely helped the average person’s experience with the web. However, there were also problems with counting each backlink.
In the younger years search engines didn’t usually target people. They were simply amassing a gigantic collection of backlinks. They also had bots that went to thousands of sites and commented with nonsense and random links. This was to get people to click on the link and buy their stuff.
What are backlinks?
There are two types. Do-follow and no-follow.
No follow means I want this link on my website but I don’t endorse it.
Do follow backlinks are simply those backlinks which have not been labeled as “no follow.” These links are seen as endorsements by the linking website and contribute to the SEO of the linked website.
To check if a web page includes no follow links, right click on a blank spot on the page. That is, right click on a part of the web page without images or links. Then, click “view page source.” Windows users should then press the “control” key plus the “F” key on their keyboards. Mac users should substitute “control” for the “command” key. Finally, type “nofollow” and hit enter. Each time you hit enter it will take you to another instance of the word nofollow. If none exist, all links on the page are dofollow. There is no specific dofollow tag, links are assumed to be dofollow if there is not a “nofollow” tag.
Search engines are always measuring every aspect of your SEO and assessing whether it looks like you are amassing a lot of backlinks naturally. That is, whether people generally want to share your content as opposed to whether you are just an overzealous SEO professional. So, nofollow backlinks are not bad at all. In fact, having quite a few of them in your backlink profile is actually good. It suggests to search engines that you are not solely focusing on SEO.
Most good sites are actively shared on social networks, forums and blogs. So, it is expected that popular sites will have a large amount of nofollow backlinks. Search engines want to see this natural collection of dofollow and nofollow links, so don’t avoid all nofollow backlink sources just because they are nofollow.
Although social media links are mostly nofollow, search engines often give some weight to these links. Search engines are not obligated to treat nofollow links any particular way. When a site has a lot of social network sharing, it is a good sign that it is good content. It doesn’t matter that these links are technically nofollow. They still count.
Some of the the time, journalists simply know a source. Other times, they reach out to strangers to be their sources.
Sign up for HARO, which stands for Help a report out. HARO is used by more than 35,000 journalists so there is a good chance that you will have many opportunities to connect with the right ones to get your website featured in one of these publications.
To get the most out of HARO, email as many journalists as you reasonably can. This involves offering quotes as a potential source for things that might not seem 100% relevant. If a journalist is asking for people’s experiences at a particular fast food restaurant, your first instinct might be: that has nothing to with my business however, offering to be a source if you have any relevant experience is another opportunity to connect with a major media outlet.
It’s not strictly required, but it’s customary for journalists to give a backlink to their sources websites.
HARO is used by some amazing companies including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. One single backlink from a site such as the New York Times can do wonders for your SEO. That is why HARO is one of my favorite SEO members. You should keep your expectations reasonable! If you send out several HARO replies per day and get only one very high quality backlink per month, you should consider the HARO method a success. Links from the biggest publications in the world will not come each day or even each week!
Don’t waste money on PR professionals, all you have to do is reach out to journalists right at the minute they want to be contacted, and on the exact subject matter that they would like to be contacted about. The money you save on PR alone can be huge! Keep in mind that journalists are on very tight deadlines. Sometimes they need to publish mere hours after the HARO email comes out. So, make sure to check your email for new HARO inquiries right when the emails are sent. They come out at roughly the same time each day. Currently, sources receive the HARO emails three times every week day, at 5:35 am., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. EST. HARO says that most reporters pick their sources within an hour of the HARO email going out. So don’t delay!
Further, treat every email response like it’s your final quote. Journalists very rarely send follow up emails. So, include a quick introductory paragraph of a few sentences saying how you are qualified to answer the inquiry, and include a link to your website. Then, go straight into giving the journalists usable quotes. Most journalists will follow up if they use your quote, but sometimes they can forget. If you use google alerts you can keep track of the people who forget to mention they used your quote and you can remind them and if they don’t give you acknowledgement you can have the article taken down.
Sometimes the media outlet will be listed as “Anonymous.” Don’t ignore these inquiries! These can be some of the largest media outlets in the world. Sometimes these types of reporters do not include the name of their publications to prevent story poaching. Who wouldn’t want to beat The Wall Street Journal to the presses?
The free HARO plan is good enough for most people. However, HARO also offers three paid plans valued at £19, £49 and £149 per month. The £19 allows you to search for all active media opportunities on the website so you don’t have to wait for the emails. The £49 plan gives you a “head start” on the competition. This means you get alerts right when the HARO editorial team posts a media opportunity. The £149 plan lets you choose to filter opportunities by an unlimited amount of keywords.
When a reporter uses you as a source, remember to thank him or her. Further, say you are always available for a follow up. This person already trusted you once. That is a great signal that there is an opportunity for an ongoing relationship. You benefit from the backlinks and PR, while they benefit from free and reputable sources to quote. Everybody wins!
ProfNet sends thousands of story leads per month to its sources. While there may be some duplication between HARO and its competitors, many journalists will only send story inquiries to one service. So, signing up for popular alternatives like ProfNet can only help your chances. Unfortunately, ProfNet is not free for sources. ProfNet invites potential sources to contact its team for a price quote. This quote is then based on a “sliding scale” depending on your business and your goals for the service. ProfNet is free for journalists, so many of them actively use the service.
Some journalists prefer the relative exclusivity of ProfNet. It is not uncommon for a particularly popular HARO inquiry to solicit 30+ offers to be a source. Almost everybody jumps at the opportunity to be quoted in the most prestigious media outlets. So, ProfNet pricing acts as a filter that some media outlets prefer. Keep in mind that this exclusivity can also help you. If other potential sources are scared away by the pricing, it may mean fewer people vying for the attention of these prestigious media outlets. So go ahead and ask ProfNet for a price quote. It may be well worth it.
Plans on PRLeads.com
Starts at £99 per month. PR leads puts sources in touch with reporters at big publications such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Newsweek. The site receives thousands of leads every month, which are forwarded to sources. The company also says that it offers training on how to respond to press inquiries to increase your odds of getting interviewed. Its pricing, however, may make it prohibitive for most people especially given HARO’s highly competitive free offering.
Pitch Rate is particularly useful for people that want to view current requests from the website on demand instead of waiting for emails. While Pitch Rate does send out emails like HARO, Pitch Rate permits sources to view current requests on its website for free. HARO does not permit this feature on its free plan. However, Pitch Rate is less known in the industry so it will likely provide fewer leads.
Critique and Feedback Sites
Many web designers go through quite a few different iterations of their sites. Feedback from other people can often greatly benefit a designer. Further, feedback helps website owners with more than just aesthetics. People often critique how compelling the text is and how likely they would be to buy the underlying product. Okay, so what? How does this benefit your SEO?
They most likely will do a follow back link. These feedback sites are extremely common. Some good ones
Feedback sites seem to be popping up almost every day. To get a great list of them, use the “related:” search modifier in Google. Examples:
Many of these sites are very popular and respected by Google. However, submitting your site for feedback is one of the easier ways to get backlinks in SEO. This method is easy, efficient, and effective. So enjoy your feedback.
Google and other search engines automatically consider websites that end in .edu to be more authoritative. In order to obtain a .edu domain, the registrant has to be a qualified educational institution.
First, you need to create an amazing piece of content that would be relevant to a college or other educational organization. Anything that could benefit students or faculty is perfect. Many university website have “resource” pages that link to third party content. All you need to do is find these pages and connect with these organizations. Google lets you limits your search results to only .edu sites by including the search term: “site:.edu” (without the quotes).
site:.edu “your topic”
site:.edu “your topic” + inurl:links
site:.edu “your topic” + “other sites”
site:.edu “your topic” + “resources”
Create an excel spreadsheets or even a notepad file and write down each relevant .edu resource page. Then, contact each one and mention your own resource page. Then, contact each one and mention your own resource. This is another numbers game. If only 5% of these highly reputable sites link to you, it would still be a huge help. So keep reaching out.
Many people read testimonials. Testimonials are often very persuasive product reviews.
Companies know that testimonials have the power to significantly increase conversion rates. So, they often happy to add persuasive reviews to their corporate websites. These companies often include dofollow backlinks. Make a list of every product or service that you’ve used in the last few years. Add your favorite dentist and your favorite T-shirt. Add everything. Check each company’s site for links, and see if they are dofollow. Send every company on your list that offers dofollow backlinks testimonial and a link to your site. The biggest corporate sites are often the most respected by search engines such as Google.
You can easily your product into handfuls of high quality backlinks. People love getting things for free. You can use this to your advantage whether you sell an information product or a physical product. As long as you get it for a reasonably cheap price if you can give this product to bloggers they’re much more likely to write about you.
This works especially well for information products, but even if it costs around £20 it can still be worth doing if you have a list of the best bloggers in your niche.
Reach out to them. Send them an email. Don’t directly ask for a link in exchange for a free product. Casually say: I liked your site. I found a page on your blog that mentions (whatever it is that you’re selling). I thought you might like to try (your product) for free and give you opinion.
Refer to a relevant post they made. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match, but try to get close. They will be happy that you read a post on their site. Perhaps you’re a loyal reader! They will also be happy just for a read.
Favours Beget Favours
Often the bloggers will be so grateful that they will give you a backlink in return. This will increase your ranking and bring you one step closer to being at the top of google.
First you need to identify your niche. For example, if you write about nutrition related topics you can reach out to any sort of related nutrition blog that you find. One of the best ways to do this is to look for posts aggregating people’s different blogs for whatever your topic is in google. For example “top 10” nutrition blogs of 2018, “Best nutrition Blogs”, or “my favorite nutrition blogs 2018.” Try different combinations of search strings for the best results. Next get the email address or contact link of each of the top 10 “your niche here” Blogs.
Save this contact information and when you generate amazing content that you think these writers would want to read about send them a link. You’ll often receive backlinks. Bloggers reviews, the out of business method, infographics, and broken link building all work well with the contact list created with the “Top 10” Blogs method. (Yes)
Before Google changed the Internet forever, people typically found web content through directories. These directories, categories and subcategories, and site owners gained popularity by submitting their sites to the directories. While Google certainly made directories less useful, they are still around.
Several years ago, Google removed a large amount of directories from their index. This caused the SEO community to loudly proclaim directories are dead. Not so! You just need to use the right ones.
Directory submissions can be one of the easiest ways to get great backlinks for little work.
Branding into Linking
Always track mentions of your brand. If you’re like many business owners, you make regular use of Google alerts. Set an alert for variations on your brand name. You’ll receive an alert every time a new page mentions your site. Google alerts are a great free option however, if you’re looking for even better results and are willing to pay for them, check out: buzzsumo.com and mention.net.
Check each one of these references to make sure the author actually linked to your site. If the author didn’t actually link to you, send a friendly follow up asking them for a link.
Most audios sharing sites are hungry for user submitted content. These audio sites often give dofollow backlinks in exchange for user submitted sound files. For free professional sound editing software, use Audacity at www.audacityteam.org
Following all of these above points will undoubtedly boost your website’s rankings in your SERP listings – and you will have hours of fun tracking your individual results on Google analytics too!
As always, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide free advice so if you would like help with any of the above or even for us to do an audit after you have done the above yourself then simply contact us on 0330 088 0988.