SEO Beginner – Part 1
I get this question a lot from business owners. When it comes to SEO, I’m just a beginner and I don’t even understand it. Where do I start?
The first thing that I tell people is educate yourself with the basics. In the SEO business there are so many slimy people out there that you need to know what they are offering to do, how it will impact your business, and just as important is the cost.
Let’s give you a quick rundown of some basics for an SEO Beginner.
Q: What is SEO?
A: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The easiest way for me to describe it is that it’s the (old school) yellow pages advertisement for your business. It’s how the search engines (and then people, ultimately find your website).
Remember way back when people used to look in the phone book to find what they were looking for? Let’s use a Pizza restaurant as an example. You could look in the yellow pages under Restaurant, or Pizza to find out the name, address, and phone number of a pizzeria in your area.
SEO is kind of the same thing. Instead of the listings being in the yellow pages, it’s in a search engine on the internet (Google, Bing, etc.). People can type in pizza or restaurant into a search engine and if you do your SEO correctly. Your business could be found.
But what is it exactly you ask? Well, it’s the code behind your website (or webpage) that the search engines use to determine what your website or page is ultimately about. You don’t have to know any special language to write this code, you just have to know what you need to enter.
Search engines look for a number of things on a website or page to determine how to classify your site. It can look at the content, title on a page, relevant keywords (pizza, pepperoni, sausage, etc), related terms (dough, pan, crust, delivery, etc), images, image titles, and links not only that are pointing away from the site but links that are pointing to the site as well.
If the search engine identifies that your page is about Pizza, then obviously it would determine that you could be a pizzeria. But it’s not just about what’s on the page. It’s about how it’s put together.
Keywords are not only what your business is about, but maybe products that you sell, services that you offer, education that you’re trying to provide, commentary about a particular subject, etc, etc, etc.
Let’s stick with pizza as an example. Let’s say that I have a pizzeria called Mike’s Pizza and I’m located in Minneapolis. Some keywords for my pizzeria might be: Mike’s pizza, Mike’s Pizza Minneapolis, Minneapolis pizzeria, pizza Minneapolis, pizza, pizza delivery Minneapolis. And this is also how you write them; each keyword or set of keywords separated by a comma.
Now those might be keywords for the front page of the website, but you need keywords for every page on the site. If you have a menu on a page then the keywords may be: pizza menu, Mike’s pizza menu, menu.
If you have chicken wings like some pizza restaurants, then you may want to have a page about your chicken wings and use keywords like: chicken wings, wings, hot wings.
Now, unlike what used to be, try not to overdo it. When SEO was still new, people were stuffing all sorts of keywords into their websites to try and trap all of the web traffic. They might have 10 keywords or even more on a page. And over time the search engines have caught on to this (they are really quite smart). So I tell my clients to concentrate on NO more than 2 keywords. I’ve had some pages rank well with 3 keywords, but 99% of the time I stick to 1 or 2 keywords.
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