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|My First SEO Project: Where and How Do I Start? by Saocv(m): Thu Aug 2019 08:32am|
Starting your first SEO project is often a bit daunting, but don’t worry—you can learn SEO. The best way to start a successful SEO career as a beginner is to be open to new ideas and brave enough to try new things. Ready to get started? We’ll give you an SEO plan of action!
What SEO is not
First thing’s first: SEO is NOT magic. Claims such as "in just one week, you’ll be ranked number 1 on Google," is simply not true. Search engine optimization is a skill that must be learned and practiced over time.
Secondly, "search engine optimization" isn’t just for search engines, in fact, the goal is to optimize primarily for users and then for Google. The idea is that if your SEO project really does deliver added value to your users and the site is convenient and easy, Google will reward you with good rankings on search results pages (SERPs).
With that out of the way, let's get started!
Step 1: Where do I stand?
The first thing to do is to conduct an audit on your own knowledge and skills.
For example, are you familiar with free SEO tools such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console? Or are you already using the Ryte Suite?
To refresh your knowledge, you will find here suitable articles that will help you:
What is search engine optimization? A beginners guide to SEO Ryte
How to Run an SEO Audit
Wiki – Digital Marketing Encyclopedia
If you want to get deep insights into the performance of your SEO project, you can start here with a Ryte Free Account.
You now know how to find out about SEO basics and where to get useful input for your current SEO knowledge. Let's start with your project.
Step 2: Create unique content with added value for your target audience
The most important task of your website is to provide a good user experience for your target audience. That's why you should provide your users with quality content that gives them added value. At the same time, this content should be unique. Things like duplicate content, clichés and a bunch of filler words do not provide a good experience for users.
High-quality content is characterized by its benefits for visitors and ease of consumption. Why does that make sense? Search engines search the web with crawlers. These follow links and include content from websites in the search engine index. They don’t have very much time to perform this work. The easier they can capture your content, the better they can index it and share it with other users in the search engine results pages.
Internet users, on the other hand, are rather impatient when it comes to sifting through content. We have different reading habits online than offline. The easier your texts are to read online, the better.
In order for your content to be easily captured by search engines and users, it needs to have a logical structure.
Here's how you proceed when it comes to creating high-quality content.
Keyword research: Which keywords should I choose?
In order for your text to meet users' needs, it should contain important terms that outline or describe the content of the website. These keywords can be used by your visitors to search for your content in the search engine of their choice. Therefore, the question you want to ask is: Which terms might my target group use to search for what I have to offer in a search engine?
You don't have to ask yourself this question in a global sense for your entire domain, but rather for each individual website.
Next, you should ask yourself what your visitors' intentions are when they encounter the content of your website: Do they want to buy something or do they want to gather information?
Here you can distinguish between "transactional keywords" and "informational keywords."
Transactional keywords: When people use these terms in their search, they are very likely looking to buy something. Typical combinations are “order xy,” “buy xy.”
Informational keywords: If these search terms are entered, users want to find out more about a topic or they are looking for recommendations. Examples: “apple pie baking ideas,” “making your own Christmas decorations.”
Depending on the search intention, you can finally define “long tail keywords,” which should also be included in your content. The advantage of using long tail keywords is that fewer users search for it, as it’s a more specific search. However, when these search combinations are entered into a search engine, search users already have a much better idea of what they want. When a user clicks on a long tail keyword and lands on your website, there is a higher chance that they will find exactly what they were looking for and that their needs will be perfectly met.
As a general rule, the following applies:
Generic keywords (general terms, “single-word keywords”) have a higher search volume. However, they are usually more competitive and often fail to meet the exact needs of the user.
Long tail keywords are usually searched for by fewer people. However, these keywords typically more accurately describe what users are looking for. This insight is even more important if your first SEO project is an online shop. After all, the closer you come to meeting the search need, the higher the chance that a visitor will become a buyer and thus achieve what is known as a “conversion”.
This is how you can identify your relevant keywords:
For each URL, determine the keyword that is the most important. In most cases, this keyword matches the category name or a product category.
Perform a Google search and see which search terms are suggested in addition to your search term (Google Suggest). Google draws upon the search terms most frequently entered by users in combination with this keyword. You can find the suggestions from Google Suggest at the bottom of the search results page.
My-first-seo-project-example seo plan of action seo for beginners My first SEO project how to do SEO
Figure 1: Google Suggest for the topic "my first SEO project"
This example shows you that your content about "my first seo project" should also contain the terms "seo project example" or "how to do seo."
Bonus tip: You can also take a closer look at the URLs of your main search term that are best placed on Google for inspiration. You can see there how your competitors integrated keywords into their content.
This is quite a simple approach for identifying the most important terms when researching keywords. If you’d like to go a little further with your first SEO project, check out these tips:
The 3-minute keyword research by Eric Kubitz shows you how to get to your important keywords quickly.
In the Ryte Magazine, Prof. Dominik Große Holtforth delves even deeper into the matter.
Create text content: Focus on keywords with added value
Fundamentals: Even though we are talking about keywords, creating high-quality content is not about throwing important keywords into a paragraph in order to achieve good Google rankings. Rather, the focus keywords of a website stand for the thematic framework in which the text should fulfill a user need.
Of course, these terms should also appear in your website texts. This is the only way Google can find them, assign your website to the right topic, and index it properly.
You should also use the main keywords in other elements of your URL to reinforce the "focus keyword."
Insert the main keyword in the page title.
Use the main keyword in the meta description.
Include the main keyword in the main heading (H1 tag)
The process known as “TF*IDF analysis” also helps you ensure that your text is perfectly attuned to the intended purpose of the user. The highest-ranked web pages for a web search are analyzed in relation to an important search term. A tool determines which other words (terms) these pages may still use to cover the topic (in this case, the search term). The resulting curve shows the "term weighting" for a specific search term.
At first, this may sound incredibly complicated, but you won't have to do the weighing of the terms yourself. Ryte Content Success can help you. You can perform up to 10 TF*IDF analyses with a Ryte Free Account.
Screen-Shot-2019-06-28-at-15.56.56 seo plan of action seo for beginners My first SEO project how to do SEO
Figure 2: TF*IDF analysis with Ryte Content Success.
A TF*IDF analysis will give you suggestions for relevant terms that your content should contain.
Text structure helps users and Google find their way around more easily
Your content should be structured to help users and search engines easy ascertain the added value of your content.
H1 header: In the HTML code of your website, headings are marked with “H-tags.” The numbers 1-6 are used to determine, in chronological descending order, how important a heading is. The most important thing is your heading, which is marked with an H1 tag. It should only be present once per URL and contain your focus keyword. It also summarizes the topic of your page.
Paragraphs: Make sure that your texts have meaningful paragraphs to improve readability.
Subheadings: To structure the content even more, you can use subheadings. You can summarize individual paragraphs once again. They also help readers scan your website for information. As general rule of thumb: a user should immediately be able to understand what your text is all about and get the urge to read based only on the subheadlines alone.
Bold and italic: By highlighting individual words in bold or italic, you can emphasize important words or phrases.
Text Design and Style
How long should the copy on your page be? The following usually applies: as short as possible and as long as necessary. Long and complex combinations of the main clause and several subordinate clauses may perhaps be more pleasing to speech enthusiasts. However, simplicity matters on the web. That's exactly why your texts shouldn't be sub-standard. Everything you do has to be right to the point.
Don’t use unnecessary filler words like “apparently” or “so” in your texts.
Express yourself clearly and stick to the topic.
Use one subordinate clause with one main clause whenever possible.
Try to limit sentences to a maximum of two lines.
Step 3: Create a meaningful page structure and navigation
In order to ensure the Googlebot can crawl your website and your users can navigate around it, you should choose a page structure that is as flat as possible. What does that mean?
Try to create a maximum of three sub-directories on your website. In theory, a user can go from any single page to any other page of your website in a maximum of three clicks.
Also, use "breadcrumb navigation." It shows users where they are on your website using the link path. At the same time, users can switch to the higher-level directory even faster.
breadcrumb-navigation-example seo plan of action seo for beginners My first SEO project how to do SEO
Figure 3: Breadcrumb navigation in the Keller Sports online shop.
Step 4: Make your website crawlable and indexable for search engines
You have now created perfect content, organized it, and accounted for the page structure. You should now make sure that Google can crawl your content and add it to the index. After all, without indexing you cannot appear in Google search results.
With a simple Google search query, you can check whether individual URLs are already indexed. Add "info:" to the URL of your page and start the search. If your page is in the index, it will also be listed as a search result.
Screen-Shot-2019-06-28-at-16.00.33 seo plan of action seo for beginners My first SEO project how to do SEO
Figure 4: Info query on Google.
TIP: Besides "info:” you can also use other Google "search operators" to make day-to-day work easier. Here we have an article of our own with practical Google SEO search commands for you to use.
If the Googlebot visits your website to follow the links, crawl, and index the URLs, it has only a limited amount of time to do so. The "crawl budget" limits it. To make Googlebot's work easier, you can do the following:
Create a robots.txt file: This is a small text file that is stored in the root directory of your website. It gives the Googlebot instructions regarding which directories it may and may not crawl. We have compiled all the important details about creating and using robots.txt for you in this guide.
Create an XML sitemap: This file is a file with a list of all important URLs of your website. Search engines can use this file for crawling. This practical guide shows you how to create XML sitemaps and explains what is important.
Also important: Make sure that your website uses an SSL certificate. This makes your website more secure and allows you to benefit from Google search results. We will show you how to set up an SSL connection.
Don't forget: Make your website usable for mobile devices and desktops
Although mobile optimization should now be standard practice when creating websites, there are still exceptions. Are you unsure whether your first SEO project is mobile friendly? If so, you can run Google's free mobile-friendly test here and check the mobile optimization.
Mobile optimization is important because it can influence your Google search rankings. More importantly, you want to be able to provide visitors with an easy-to-use website. Since more than 50% of your users will be surfing the Internet on their mobile phones, your website should also be optimized for mobile devices.
If you want to know more about your mobile website optimization options, you can download the free mobile guide from Ryte.
In this article, we made an effort to describe the most important steps of your first SEO project as clearly as possible and hope that this will help you to get started. With it, your SEO journey has begun. Always keep in mind: SEO involves continuously working on the website with the intent to provide users with the best content on the subject and the best user experience. If you want, the Ryte Suite can assist you. Stay up-to-date on all important SEO topics with Ryte Magazine. Good luck to you with your optimization journey!
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