Imagine … generating hundred and thousands of hits to your website a day. Those hits turn into email subscribers, and people buying your products.
This consistent traffic gives you the financial freedom you need to spend time living a life that brings joy and abundance to the world. This is the reality for many business owners and entrepreneurs just like you.
It doesn’t happen over night, and it isn’t easy — but it can be a reality for you.
If you are a “do-it-yourself” kind of person, then this is the definitive guide to being an SEO expert.
Before I show you how to be the master DIY SEO expert, I want to lay some ground rules.
First, understand there are over 200 different “signals” that Google uses to determine ranking in the Google search engine.
It’s not necessary to pay attention keenly to all 200 (unless this is your 24/7 occupation). There are some key signals and criteria to focus on and that we can easily control.
Second, understand that you MUST write and produce content for humans (not the Google bots). If you focus on producing content that humans enjoy you will win in the “eyes” of Google.
Lastly, nothing beats hiring a “real” SEO expert: someone like a WordPress developer who is versed in SEO. He or she can help increase your ranking within your website for optimal results.
Before you start your website, the proper hosting service determines your website. Smaller hosting platforms that are niched may be more appropriate for you depending on your goals.
That being said I look at the hosting platform that the major players are using. One of them beats out the rest in the hosting world. Bluehost … It is the same hosting service Patt Flynn uses on most of his sites.
Bluehost has cheap hosting, great service, reliability, and awesome SEO components taken care of.
Obviously there are other hosting platforms to choose from. No matter the platform, you’ll need to secure a rock-solid host.
Finding a website theme for your business that has the design functionality you want (without a bunch of junk code) can be challenging.
There are many places to get themes for your website including Themeforest, MojoThemes, and Genesis.
For SEO purposes — Genesis is the winner. Their code is very clean (not a bunch of sloppy code). It is not image heavy, and it is maintained incredibly well.
The downside to Genesis is that it is a higher price point to customize. Plus you’ll need a coder to customize an themes. However if you can handle the out-of-the-box solution this may be great for you!
Otherwise, feel free to grab a clean looking template from Themeforest, and install the demo content onto your new domain name in WordPress (after installing WordPress.org of course!).
How fast your site loads is one of the key factors in determining your SEO ranking.
Plus for every second your website takes to load, your chance of a user abandoning your website increases.
The bottom line is faster = better.
Google has an amazing tool that is 100 percent free to test your site speed. Just go to Googles Site Speed Insights Page and type in your URL to test. It will let you know how fast it is on a ranking of 0-100 on mobile and desktop.
Plus it will also let you know what you need to fix and update to make the SEO rank higher.
The following plugins are geared to increase site speed as much as possible while minimizing unnecessary code.
Plugins for WordPress (to Increase Site Speed)
WorPress plugins are going to be the bread and butter of your DIY guide to being an SEO expert.
More plugins doesn’t mean better. Your site can slow down with too many plugins (so be selective).
Focus on the most productive plugins for your stellar SEO driven website.
First download the Yoast SEO plugin.
Yoast SEO takes care of most of the SEO things you need done and they have an amazing blog article to walk you step by step through the key components of their tool and SEO in general.
Yoast SEO integrates perfectly with website tools like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. And it has an amazing section for social SEO, where you can turn on “meta tags” for open graph searches and much more.
You’ll be pumped about the Yoast SEO plugin. Time saver, seriously.
These plugins are kind of complicated to explain but simply it goes like this … HTML code is less resource intensive than PHP code.
If a website has to repeatedly call PHP code for a user, it slows down the load speed.
Caching plugins like these “generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog.
“After an html file is generated, your web server will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expansive WordPress php scripts.” – WP super cache plugin description
If your technically savvy, use WOT Cache. It is superior and truly amazing.
Content Delivery Networks
A Content Delivery Network or (CDN) is a tool that saves all your “static” content across multiple servers around the world.
“Static content,” is content that rarely changes like images, videos, and blog articles. A CDN saves the static files on multiple servers all across the globe. This increases load time speed,because the information has to travel less literal distance.
Imagine your website is hosted in Austin Texas, and someone in New York City visits your website.
The information has to go from New York City to Austin, Texas and then back to New York City. This slows down the response time drastically.
Imagine though, if a server was set up with 90 percent of your content saved in Washington D.C. Instead of retrieving all the data from Austin, you can grab 90 percent it from D.C and the remaining 10 percent from Austin. This is what a “caching plugin” does (the plugins I recommended above).
It saves your content all around the world on a plethora of servers.
Bluehost has an automatic CDN built into it, and services like Squarespace do, too. That being said, if you don’t have a CDN check out MAXCDN, this is the recommend CDN used by the Yoast SEO plugin.
Images are the number one reason sites take so long to load. They are highly resource intensive and very rarely are optimized for web.
Most images can be optimize by 50 to 90 percent and still retain excellent quality. Here is the beautiful thing: there are tons of excellent plugins to use for image optimization.
I like to personally use the tools that have a bulk image optimization tool. That way my 1,000 images throughout my site can all be optimized in a matter of minutes.
This is why I recommend the tool Shortpixel. The user experience is top notch!
There is a free version that gives you 100 images for free (more than enough if you are just starting) or a small fee of $5 a month to process a 5,000 images at once. I have yet to see anyone need more than a few thousand images to optimize.
When creating image, there are 3 more SEO components to keep in mind.
The first thing is the file name. When you hit save does it save as xivasln32x.png? The generic file name gives you no SEO juice.
Instead save the file with the keywords you are looking to achieve. For example: DIY_Guide_SEO.png. That file will be crawled for the keywords DIY, Guide, and SEO by the Google bots.
Alt attributes: When an image can’t render properly or when you hover over an image, what pops up in the dialogue box? xivasln32x.png Again?
Alt attributes add associated keywords with your image. Don’t go spam crazy with a hundred keywords. Two or three will work perfectly.
Make sure your images are crawl-able by Google. Add a Google sitemap (covered later in the guide).
Headlines, Page Titles, and Meta Descriptions
These three component make up what you do every day to increase your SEO. Creating regular content for your readers and Google sends tons of signals to Google that your website is pertinent and important.
I have stated before how writing bad headlines is killing your business. It doesn’t matter if your writing headlines for email, articles, social media posts. On average 5x as many people read headlines as compared to the body.
There is a dilemma though … writing headlines for Google can be boring.
Huffington Post created the headline “What time is the Super Bowl” and rocked a ton of hits but the article was less than 100 words. Did it convey the message and information? Yes.
Yet does it bring personality and style into the article? Nope!
SEO is about being literally conveying the information for Google, while also remembering ground rule 2: “write for humans.”
Here is how you can write for humans and Google bots.
There are three options when it comes to headlines, titles, and meta descriptions
1. Write headlines that pack an SEO punch AND a creative catchy headline. Check out Jon Morrow’s headline hacks to create an effective headline. The DIY guide to SEO is a long tail keyword that will rank well in google, #humblebrag.
2. The next option is a two part process. Write a different article title and a page title. An article title is what you show your reader. A page title is what you show Google bots.
3. Take the two step process and add a meta description for heavily searched terms. Meta descriptions can help visitors determine which site is best to click on. a well written synopsis or description to bait readers can add to more clicks and better overall SEO.
A sitemap is a file that tells Google and other search engines like Bing where to go on a website. A sitemap is the GPS coordinates of your site.
If you are using the plugin Yoast SEO, creating and feeding Google is easy!
Click on the section that says XML sitemaps, follow the directions, and viola you are done. Now — Google, Bing, and any other search engines will crawl your site map.
Links are the bread and butter of Google’s algorithms.
Simply put, the more high quality links pointing into your site (from highly reputable sources) the better.
To achieve this, make great content, reach out to people and build the links over time. There is no quick fix to build massive amounts of links.
Outbound links are important too. Remember to link to high quality articles that pertain to your subject. This shows your readers and Google that you know quality content.
Overall SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. The more time you spend learning and optimizing your website, the better your business will do.
Remember the guideline to make content for humans and you should be on your way to massively successful online business!
Make great content, promote it, and SEO juice will be flooding in — on stop.
SEO Photo via Shutterstock
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There are really so many things to learn about SEO. Lately, I have been wondering if it is still that big of deal now that most people are on social networks because of mobile gadgets.
It’s absolutely a big deal, 1,000’s of people are searching for products and services online and cant find yours if you don’t have an internet presence.
The guide is certainly informational especially for those people who are just starting out in SEO. Although you need more than an article to learn SEO, this is definitely helpful.
Agree, this definitely gave me the ground-work to start.
Thanks for this article. I am looking for a guide where I can explain the definition of some basic SEO terms and it is hard finding a good resource. This has everything in one place which is pretty neat.
As personal experience , CDN (Content Delivery Networks) improve website speed and obviously fast speed impact on Google ranking.
A good guide for beginners to SEO. There is so much to learn, and new things every day. SEO changes literally every day, so it is important to keep up with what’s new, and what is changing to ensure your SEO strategy works well
Ultimate? Hardly. A 30,000 foot view would be more appropriate because as Ivan and Carolyn pointed out, there’s much more to it. SEO is the sum of all parts. Yes, there are some elements which have more weight within search algorithms than others but doing all the right things (100s) will give you the edge. I hate simplifying things (especially SEO) but this is good for the average newbie.
Great list for anyone beginning their website SEO. I think that anytime a website owner can get started and have at least some knowledge in SEO they are much better off. If you have the basics in place, it can actually rank you without needing the help of an SEO consultant.
This is an excellent article. I would also add to the linking section that there is considerable value, especially for larger sites that have been around a while, in making sure you are interconnected between relevant pages and content. Not only does this serve the user, so that they can find and discover even more information that may be of interest to them, it increases dwell time and gives the Google bot an excellent path to follow, which can lead to more of your site getting crawled.
One other linking area that was mentioned, but I wish to highlight, is the value of outbound links. Of course, you don’t want to be sending your visitors off to another site without good reason, but if you are connected (referencing) to high authority sites, this will provide excellent signals to Google about what your site is about and it will support your niche relevance.