How To Learn SEO – 5 Steps For Beginners
Now is a great time to learn SEO. Why? Only because SEO has gone through several hundred vast changes in the past few years and it’s gotten a little confusing for those who learnt years ago, not to mention highly frustrating.
I know that most “gurus” make SEO out to be some kind of insanely complex science that only the gurus can ever comprehend. But the reality is SEO is extremely basic. It definitely involves more variables than other online marketing strategies; but once you learn the basics SEO becomes very easy to understand, learn and do.
Here are 5 steps to learning SEO:
1. Start With The Basics
When I got started I attempted to understand absolutely everything.
I went on information overload and it resulted in mind-boggling frustration.
As with learning anything in life; you should begin with the most basic of concepts, but most important. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of minuscule factors that make a website rank where it ranks. However, around 20% of those factors will account for 80% of the success.
Learn the most important 20% first…
…The fundamental 20% which happen to be the most basic and easy to understand. When learning SEO, all you should focus on is getting something to rank and understanding the mechanics of why it ranked. It really doesn’t matter what keyword you rank for.
All that matters is you implement the basics you learn to rank a page for an easy keyword and understand exactly why & how it ranked. Here are a few basic concepts to get you started:
- Search engine results are based on RELEVANCY and POPULARITY.
- One way search engines show listings is based on how relevant they are to the keyword being searched. This can be because the keyword being searched is in the title, description, header tags or content body of the listed result/s.
- The other way search engines show listings is based on how popular the RELEVANT results are. The search engines will always display relevant results. The way search engines order the relevant results is based on popularity.
- Popularity is based on 2 components; backlinks and social presence or social media.
- Social Media in the form of shares i.e. Facebook likes, Tweets, Re-Tweets, Bookmarks and Google +1′s
- Backlinks in the form of targeted anchor text linking back to your site from others.
- Anchor text is the text used to link from one site to another – VERY IMPORTANT – search engines boost you for the keywords you use as anchor text.
2. Question Everything
Always question what you learn in SEO. It’s critical that you understand why things work the way they do. For example I could tell you that backlinks increase your rankings; but without questioning why they do; you could make a stupid mistake of ordering 10,000 cheap links that would result in your site being penalized.
You can easily rank well by simply learning what increases rankings; but you can just as easily destroy your rankings by not understanding the principles, reasons and mechanics behind the what.
3. Setup Test Sites
This is crucial. Whatever you do; don’t start experimenting on your own site or worse; your company site.
Google penalties can last up to 2 years! That means if you screw up just once; it can be very difficult to resurrect your site from the depths of the search results.
Start by setting up 2 different websites in relation to yours. Attempt to rank for the same keywords you want to rank your money site for. Implement the different SEO strategies you learn and find out what works, and what doesn’t.
4. Content Marketing, On Site SEO And Social Media
Over the years as SEO has evolved; there’s been a constant focus on backlinks. Most SEO’s harp on about how “on-site SEO isn’t really that important”.
The truth is it’s very important, now more so than ever before. Ultimately Google want to provide the most relevant and highest quality results for its users. What does high quality translate into? Great content, that’s all.
There’s also 10 times more information to learn about off-site SEO, so before you jump into the complexities of link building, focus on content marketing, on site SEO and social media.
By content marketing I mean publish lots of content. This may be theory, but I honestly believe from past experience that Google will rank you higher the more active your site is. The more content you publish in the form of new pages or preferably blog posts; the more active your site becomes and the more authority it builds.
In the early stages of your SEO strategy; you should concentrate on publishing content every few days and doing everything you can to promote it via social media + basic on site SEO. For some guidance on basic on-site SEO, read my Ultimate On Site SEO Checklist.
Before publishing new content; make sure you optimize it to rank for a low competition phrase. All you want to do in the beginning is build up content momentum and sort of prep your site for the off-site link building. If you start building links to your content right away, it won’t rank very well.
It’s much easier to rank content or a site with established social activity. The more social activity a site has, the more backlinks it can “take” without raising any alarms with Google. Publish lots of content, encourage social sharing and syndicate it across your social profiles and networks. (Syndicating = sharing your content on your social profiles like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogspot & so on)
5. Off Site Promotion
Ideally you should focus on content marketing, on-site SEO and social media for 2-3 weeks before you employ any off site link building tactics. Off site SEO can be broken down into two categories: link building and social signals.
Social signals are things like Facebook likes, Tweets, Re-tweets, bookmarks and Google plus ones. Google looks at social signals the same way it looks at backlinks.
Getting social signals on a daily basis can be difficult if you’re in an anti-social niche, so it’s easier to outsource them via a service like SYNND. As long as you have a constant flow of social signals, you can start building a steady stream of backlinks..
- Submit Articles To Article Directories (Write articles about your niche, submit them to directories like EzineArticles.com and ArticleBase.com – they allow you to link back to your site with your desired anchor text in an author resource box)
- Write Guest Posts For Related Websites And Blogs (Find blogs and websites related to yours, ask them if you can write a guest blog post or article for their site, in return ask for a link back to your website in the content)
- Submit Your Site To High Quality Web Directories (Web directories are like online yellow pages, you simply submit your site’s title, description and URL to them in return for a backlink)
- Submit A Press Release Once A Month (Press releases are powerful for driving traffic, popularity and boosting rankings)
- Setup Public Profiles On Popular Sites Linking Back To Your Own (Big sites that allow user registrations will allow their members to link to their own sites in their public profiles)
- Build High Value Web2.0 Properties (Web2.0′s like blogger.com, hubpages.com, squidoo.com and others allow you to create sites on the end of theirs or on sub domains. Allowing you to link back to your own sites within the content you post
P.S. Leave me your thoughts, comments and questions below. Also opt-in to the email list on the right for more SEO tips, tricks and secrets.