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SEO Basics: A Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimisation

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In this beginners guide to SEO I’m going to take you through all the basic stuff you need to know.

This is fairly top level, so you’re not going to become an SEO guru just from reading this, but if you’re an internet marketing looking for a better understanding, this should be right up your street.

What is Search Engine Optimisation and how does it work? Simply, it’s about optimising and linking building to websites in such a way that they rank top in Google. So if you have a website, you need SEO.

Search Engine Optimisation is a broad term which involves a number of tasks which help to create a website that’s easy to Google Bot to read the code of, crawl the structure of the website and understand the relevancy of its web pages.

All of these things, right down to the loading speed have an impact on the Google search engine rankings.



Website Optimisation

Having a clean, fast loading, easy to navigate website is ideal for users and for search engines.

Clean Code
Because Google Bot has to read all the code on every web page, having less code is a benefit.
Your website should have a simple CSS (cascading style sheet) for all pages.

But if there are opportunities to clean up any code and create a general rule in the CSS, rather than have unique (and often lengthy) code for specific pages, it will make the page easier for Google Bot to read and index more often.

It will also help to reduce loading time for users, which is something Google Bot also measures the performance of your website on.

Html and Xml Site Maps
Google Bot doesn’t just crawl your website from the front end like a user, it also crawls websites through Html and Xml site maps. It’s worth having both if you can, otherwise an Html sitemap will suffice.

Site Structure
Once again, for Google Bot to be able to easily crawl your website, have a tidy site structure helps – and not just for Google, but for users to find their way about as well. Ideally, a user should never be more than 3 clicks away from the Home Page. The deeper your site structure goes beyond this, the less likely (or frequently) these deep pages will be crawled.

Friendly Urls
Short Urls are great for Google and great for users too and if they include the keywords that your pages are about, they’re even better.
Urls which don’t include the keywords that the page is about or are lengthy and full of random code have been found to have lower click through rates.

For example, here are two pages for Thomas The Tank Engine:

www.toysrus.co.uk/browse/product/thomas-the-tank-engine is a good Url
www.play.com/Toys/Toys/-/3653/2920/3-/Refine.html is a bad Url



On Page Optimisation

In order to get pages to rank in Google, they need to be optimised for search terms.

Title Tags
In order to get pages to rank in Google, they need to be optimised for search terms.
So if you have a page about walking boots, make sure the Title Tag reads “Walking Boots”
You can include other keywords in the Title Tag to make the page rank for similar terms.

For example, this title tag:
Walking Boots: Waterproof & Leather Walking Boots with Free UK Delivery

Will help your page to rank for:
walking boots
walking boots uk
waterproof waking boots
leather walking boots
waterproof leather walking boots

Meta Descriptions
Meta Descriptions don’t help with Google rankings, but you can get your brand message across and include the same keywords from the Title Tag so that they appear in Bold when someone searches for them.

For example:
Buy the best walking boots online and in store from outdoor shop UK. Waterproof and leather walking boots as well as lightweight walking boots in stock now.

This should help to increase the Click Through Rate of your rankings.

H Tags (semantic mark up)
Google loves pages with content. And if you can break up your on page content with sub headers, like H Tags that include your target keywords, you can increase the ‘relevancy’ of your page for Google even further – which can also help to improve your ranking.



Link Building

Optimisation is only the first step to getting Google rankings, because you need links (lots of links!) to make those pages rank higher than they initially appear in the search engine results.
Link Sources
The best places to get build links from are other websites relevant to your niche.
So for example, if you were link building for your Walking Boots Page, you would want links from websites about walking, hiking and outdoor pursuits.

Anchor Text
Raw link value from links on relevant websites is good. But Anchor Text Links are better.
So if you build lots of links which read “walking boots” and point to your Walking Boots Page, this tells Google that your page is about walking boots and as a result Google will rank your page higher in the search results for the search term Walking Boots.

You should mix up your Anchor Text to make your link building look as natural as possible.
So going back to our Title Tag example, you can create Anchor Text links for “walking boots”, “waterproof waking boots” and “leather walking boots” which will help your ranking for Walking Boots.

It will also help your Walking Boots Page to rank for those search terms too, so it’s always good to optimise your Title Tag for a number of closely related search terms.

Link Types
There are loads of different types of websites and web pages you can build links from on the internet. All of them have different values based on the type of site that they’re from. Meanwhile each website will have their own Domain Authority and niche which will further determined the value of a link.

You always need to think about HOW you’re going to get these links, because spamming forums or simply asking webmasters for a link to your website isn’t likely to end well.

Here are 10 types of places you can get links from:
• Bookmarks
• Directory Submissions
• Bookmarks
• Blog Comments
• Article Submissions
• Forum Posts
• Social Profiles
• Blog Posts
• Blogger Outreach
• Content Marketing
• Press Releases

It’s always best to get links from as many niche relevant places as possible as well.



Social Media

Social media has been around long before Facebook and contrary to what many people say, a website will not shoot straight to the top of Google just from social signals alone. Instead, ‘social signals’ are a nice thing to have.
Wherever possible, it’s best to use your social media channels as part of an integrated marketing campaign which combines SEO and Social to achieve the best results for your campaign.



Summary

Hopefully this has given you a helpful introduction to the world of Search Engine Optimisation.
There’s absolutely loads to learn and we’re constantly learning new things ourselves.

So welcome to the dark side of the internet where every link counts for something.
The web will never look the same again!


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