Table of Contents
Everybody Googles nowadays .. even your Grandma.
This guide explains how you can strategically and tactically optimize your business and website for search engines.
I will primarily be focusing on Google as the search engine we'll be optimizing for because this is the search engine I have experience with over the last decade.
Since 2012 I've been fascinated by technology and most importantly how to get your content, brand, service, or product in front of people that are searching online.
Just know that by reading this guide you're already ahead of millions of other people because you have interest in learning SEO in the first place.
Keep in mind though, SEO is an ongoing task that requires "Optimization" regularly to ensure you're measuring your assets with tools like Search Console, Google Analytics, and other 3rd party tools.
It's not just a "set it and forget it" one-time activity.
Also, let me be super clear and upfront with you right now: NOBODY REALLY KNOWS GOOGLE'S ALGORITHM.
Nor do I claim to know exactly how to optimize for Organic results... if anyone claims that they can do it.. then you better run. Far. Away.
Over the years though we have helped clients get results for their website which has given me the confidence to write this guide for you.
What we can do, however, is use data to monitor, test, and adjust accordingly as we compete with the billions of websites and pages online.
The primary word here is "TEST". Everything we do is test and optimize for our clients to see what's working, what's not, and adjust for the market accordingly. As a result, these things take time. Typically months and sometimes years for clients depending on the keywords they're targeting.
Although we don't know exactly how the algorithm works and probably never will.. our client results and success speak for themselves.
The challenge too is that every industry has different keywords, every local area has different keywords, and different levels of competition for keywords.
If there is a higher level of competition for specific keywords it is actually good news because people are searching for something in your area and you might as well get in front of them if your product or service aligns with what they're searching.
This is why I like to find the "sweet spot" of high volume, low-to-medium competition keywords.
Your website and page rankings depending on many factors including location, keywords targeted, and budget.
Before you go any deeper on SEO I want to make one thing clear: It takes time. It also takes consistency, measurements, and adjusting as Google makes changes.
Will you rank #1 or page 1 Google after you read this guide? Maybe. Maybe not. But hopefully it will give you education that optimizing for Google is no easy task.
SEO is like brushing your teeth.. if you stop focusing on it you could get cavities.. in this case cavities are competitors that ARE focusing on SEO.
In other words if you're not focusing on SEO for your website or assets in your local area or industry then your competitors probably are too.
Sure, there are certain tactics that I've found to be successful with clients that I'll be sharing but remember that Google can change drastically whenever they please.
My team and I stay on top of these changes, are constantly learning, and testing to be on top of this for our clients.
So let's get started..
Why do people search Google anyway?
I think it's important to start with the human psychology based on different reasons why we search.
6 Search Intent for your SEO
Some of these search intents overlap a bit but I wanted to break them down for you from a psychological perspective to help you think about the content to create for your audience.
To be entertained: watch videos, read something interesting/articles, catch up on sports
To show and tell others: More of an active learning goal here but it's typically something like, check the weather, news, etc. "you gotta see this" or to prove a point to someone else. This is mostly information or research with the intent to tell others about it. "Did you hear about X?".
To learn something: More of a passive learning goal here but it's typically for your own learning yourself or to prove to yourself that you know what you're talking about.
To research and compare products or services: X vs Y. Best X to buy, e.g., Best places to X, Best Phones to Buy on a Budget. Iphone vs Android, etc.
To find a solution to their problem: A more active approach to their search where people will search for things like "How do X", e.g., "How do I fix a leaking faucet".
To buy something right now: With the average Ecommerce conversion rate being 2.5-3% globally this means that 2.5-3% of people that search online will buy right now. They have done the research, scanned for social proof, are convinced the product is ready for them, they have their credit card ready, and they're ready to buy.
From my experience.. there are,
3 Ways to Rank on Google's first page..
Ask yourself do you have time or money?
If you have time, then you can try to do SEO yourself by learning from resources like this. Month after month if you're reading your data correctly and start creating content that aligns with the keywords you want to target then you'll start to see progress on your page rankings.
If you have money but little time then I'd suggest hiring an agency to do your SEO and PPC given your Marketing and Advertising budget.
1. Run Google Ads: If you have budget this is by far the best way to get on the front page. With proper Keyword research and planning you'll be placed on the front page for people to see as a sponsored ad. If you don't have budget, but you have time then listen to the next few tips.
2. Focus on your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO: With over 200 Google ranking factors this is by far the longest way to get on the first page. How do you do it? Follow Google's EEAT: Expertise, Experience, Authority, Trustworthy. This will take you a while to do but if you continue to create great content that people link.
3. Local SEO: Depending on your targeted keywords, Local SEO is the best way to rank on Google page one. This is also known as the Local 3-pack. They're the Google business profile listings. This is where the small mom and pop can compete with enterprise companies.
We'll primarily be talking about all the ways you can do SEO.
Let's go deeper..
What kinds of SEO are there?
On-Page SEO: Optimizing the tags on your page that the SERP likes to see. Page Title, Meta Description, H1 tags, image alt tags, etc to name the primary ones. Every page on your website should be optimized with the consumer in mind. Each page should be targeting specific keywords that are high volume and relevant so that when someone searches for those keywords you show up.
Page Title: 50-60 characters. Needs to include your targeted keywords.
Meta Description: 150-160 characters. Needs to include your targeted keywords.
H1 Tags: Ideally one of these tags on each page but should include your targeted keywords.
Off-Page SEO: Mostly this consists of backlinks. Are high domain authority sites pointing to you? Are you getting enough "votes" from reputable sites that are pointing to you? Domain authority is a great factor to look at. To do this I'd recommend asking for high domain authority websites that are relevant for your industry to link back to your guides or website. Another approach is to do a keyword search in your area and reverse engineer the domains that your competitors are using for backlinks and reach out to those websites to also be added.
Technical SEO: Sitemaps, robots.txt file, is your site mobile-friendly, is it fast, and Google Search Console configuration. We religiously use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to measure and manage our SEO performance as a baseline. Some things we do is ensure our sitemaps are being generated correctly, include the correct URLs to be crawled by google, and study the keywords that customers are searching for that give you a high number of impressions. Google Search Console is solid for giving you ideas for content that customers might be searching for.
Local SEO: This is the BEST way to rank on Google for your local area. Known as the "Google 3-pack" this is the listing of 3 businesses that show when you do a search for a business. It's super easy to create or claim your Google Business Listing profile and update it regularly. I treat mine basically like a Social Media profile and you should too! Here's our ultimate guide for Local SEO - includes 14 tactics to optimize your Google Business Profile Listing.
Social Media SEO: While most of the previous SEO relates to Google as a Search Engine to show up on the results page creating content on social media can also benefit you from an SEO perspective. When you post content always make sure your content has the keywords you're trying to target and so when someone searches for those keywords there's a chance your post will show up there! Every Social Media post usually has a caption. When you post ensure your targeted keywords are inside the caption. This one also really depends on the platform you're using but for the most part the goal should be to optimize the text so that when a user on the platform searches for those keyowrds then your content shows up. Personally, I prefer Google SEO over Social Media SEO because of the pure scale of Google users vs Social users.
So which flavor of SEO should you focus on? Honestly ALL OF THEM.
So ask yourself again, do I have more time or money? If time is abundant and you're willing to learn a little technical pieces about web then here's the process to get you started:
Keyword Research: Start researching the keywords you want your business to show up for. I discuss keyword research in detail here.
Website Optimization: Optimize each website page for these keywords. Including page title, meta description, and . remember to also leverage Google Search Console to identify any issues.
Google Business Profile for Local SEO: Optimize your Google Business Profile Listing for these keywords. Post at least weekly on this.
Measure regularly: As Google changes their algorithm you'll need to adjust accordingly. This is why it's critiacl to be checking Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other 3rd party SEO tools. For a free SEO snapshot of your website check out our tool RatSEO.
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