SEO for beginners
First lets just clarify what this means. SEO is the abbreviated for of Search Engine Optimization (or Optimisation if you are from the UK or Canada). When you optimize something you are making the most effective use of something, and in this case you are making the most effective use of search engines by optimising your website to achieve the best possible results.
It isn’t an exact science because you are trying to get the best possible position within the search engine results for your particular web page, and your competitors are all trying to do the same, so it is an ongoing process otherwise you start to slip down those results pages as others rise above you.
The starting point for SEO is understanding the words and phrases that someone would type into the search engine if they were looking for a product or service like yours. SEO is done individually for each page of your website and theoretically the more pages and content that your website has, the more opportunities you have to optimise for different words and phrases. Of course each page will appear in the search engine results for more than one phrase or keyword but for the majority of them it will be way down in the listings and a page sitting on page 20 of the search results is unlikely to get seen by anybody. For this reason you need to optimise the page for a particular phrase.
Of course your competitors are going to be competing for the same words and phrases and there are other factors that come into play when the search engine ranks your page. Let’s say you are a double glazing company, You are very unlikely to get to the first page of Google for that two word phrase because there are just too many long established double glazing companies who have spent years getting their website on to the first page, and that two word phrase is in every double glazing company’s website all around the world. Google currently show almost 47 million results for that phrase and you are competing with them all, and it’s not just about words either, Google takes into account lots of other factors as well including how long your website has been around for and how many other websites have a link to it. You can’t do much about the age of your website but you can increase the number of links to it which over time will help to get your website higher positions, but I will cover link building elsewhere.
So yes you can optimise for the phrase double glazing but without a great deal of success but what you can do is optimize for longer phrases, how about your location? Because people searching for double glazing tend to specify their location in the search in order to find a double glazing supplier who is local to them. So a potential customer might type in ‘Double Glazing Huntsville Alabama’ as their search query. It is much easier to get a higher position for this longer phrase because now Google only show 227,000 results and all the first page results are directly relevant to that phrase and are companies in Huntsville Alabama that supply double glazing, so you would easily get on to the second page of Google and with a little SEO, the first page should be quite easy too, and the visitors you would get would be much more likely to be looking for your actual services rather than someone who just wants to know more about double glazing in general.
So you can see how targeting longer phrases can bring you much more relevant visitors than shorter phrases. You are looking for longer phrases that are very relevant to your business with as few other websites competing for that phrase as possible.
You can test this by searching for the phrase ‘purple ted loves macaroons’. This is such a ridiculous phrase that hardly anyone else would ever be searching for it. But because it is here on this web page, this will probably be on the first page, and probably in the first position, and it will probably only be readers of this page that would ever search for it.
So to recap. Come up with a list of words and phrases that are relevant to your business or service. Extend them into longer phrases to give you the opportunity to get much more targeted visitors, phrases that people will still search for. Group these words and phrases together so that words and phrases that are very similar can target the same webpage.
Next find a keyword suggestion tool, there are plenty about bust most require a monthly subscription to access but a great start is to use Google’s own tool because it is free, but you do have to have a Google ads account to use it. Google ads are the paid positions you see marked ‘ad’ at the top of Google search results pages. But don’t worry having an account doesn’t mean that you have to buy ads from Google, it just gives you access to their tools. You can find it here https://ads.google.com/
Once you have access to a keyword tool you can start to see the number of searches being done monthly for your chosen phrases.
So by putting double glazing into the tool Google gives us a list of related phrases which can then be sorted. The example above is sorted by average monthly searches. We can see that ‘double glazed windows is searched for from 10,000 to 100,000 times each month and that competition for this phrase is high. further down the list you can see the phrase double glazing installers has from 1,000 to 10,000 searches per month, but competition is Low. That ‘Low’ is in relative terms. The phrase is still in a huge number of web pages, but it would be easier to try to compete for that phrase than ‘double glazed windows’. The phrase also shows more intent. Someone searching the internet for ‘double glazed windows’ might just be looking for information relating to them but searching for ‘double glazing installers’ suggests that the searcher is looking for someone who fits windows, a much stronger buying phrase.
So what do you do with this information once you have completed your research?
For each individual page you want a short list of related words, each page should have a different list of words so that each page is targeting something slightly different to the others. One page might be double glazing, double glazing installers and double glazing huntsville alabama, another page might be double glazed windows, wooden double glazed windows and double glazed sash windows. You are grouping similar linked word groups together.
Next you write the content of that page to include these phrases. The page title and url should include the longest version. This should also appear in the firs paragraph and maybe the fourth and the last. Include the other phrases in the page. Don’t overdo it, it has to read naturally and keep the readers interest. Use the main longer phrase in bold toeards the upper half of the page and include it in the name and Alt tag for a photograph. Also link to another relevant page including the phrase in the link.
All this is doing is strengthening Google’s understanding of your page with clues about its most important phrase. As I said don’t overdo it, Don’t have paragraphs just stuffed with every variation you can think of, you want to be subtle not overpowering or Google will just ignore you.
In terms of page length and word count, you want enough content for the page to be considered worthy of being ranked highly. A page with just two short paragraphs will generally get you nowhere unless there is something unique about it’s content. Ideally you want to write as much as you can without it becoming boring and tedious. The absolute minimum word count should be 800-1000, but 1500 to 2000 is better if you can.
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