SEO can be very confusing – and that confusion leads to business owners taking NO action when it comes to improving their website rankings. Many SEO companies like to make SEO as complicated as possible – however what if you had an a, b, c and d checklist that you could follow to be found by Google? What if everything was as straightforward as following a recipe? If you’ve been putting off taking action on your website after reading this straightforward guide you will have no excuse!
The guide contains 5 steps (and a bonus 6th step if you’re feeling super motivated) – feel free to do one item per day if you like – if you have any questions let me know at kosta [at] headstudios.com.au.
Remember – in business taking action is more important then waiting to have all the facts – and it’s double as true in SEO – you don’t need to know EVERYTHING about SEO and Google Rankings to get started – but you do need to get started. This guide will put you ahead of 90% of your competition. So, not much more to say – let’s start with No. 1:
#1 Google Places
If you have a physical business (business at a physical location) – or even if you have a service type business that services an area – Google Places is absolutely essential. Google rolled out Google places in [year Google rolled it out] and as always – if you want to be at the top of Google’s search results – you have to play by their rules – and the cornerstone feature is Google Places.
Part of the reason – I think – why Google rolled out Google Places is that it allowed the user to stay in Google without navigating out. So if a user wants to find their local hairdresser they can use Google Places and stay within the Google ecosystem without navigating out of Google into your website – this means more ad revenue for Google. However let’s get away from why Google did this – at the end of the day for you – it doesn’t matter if users come to your website or not, if they pick up the phone and make that call that’s all that matters – and if you can make that happen more often then all power to you.
In order to setup a Google Places Account for your business you’ll need a Google account (I sure hope you have one all ready). Then all you’ll need to do is go here:
Once you sign up simply click on your business type (Storefront/Services Area or Brand) and then you’ll need to fill in a form similar to the one below:
In order for Google to verify that you are a real business and to avoid spam they will send you a physical letter which will contain a verification code. Once you receive this letter log back into Google and follow the prompts to enter the verification code. Then your Google Places is up and running! Done. Besides waiting for the letter the process is fairly straightforward.
#2 SEO Yoast Plugin
You can find the SEO Yoast plugin here – https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/. SEO Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress so because of that it should be installed as standard with your WordPress website.
Simply installing the SEO Yoast plugin will not improve your ratings – but it will give you a large number of tools at your disposal.
The option above is for a blog I published earlier. The SEO Yoast toolbar appears underneath your ‘Edit Posts’ section in WordPress and shows you how your blgo post will look like in Google search results and let you know if there are any issues that need to be addressed.
Going over all of SEO Yoast’s features is beyond the scope of this blog – but you can check out their website here for some useful tutorials and articles.
#3 Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is like being able to peer under the hood of the Google algorithm and see exactly how it relates to your website.
You can sign up for Google Webmaster Tools here:
After you do you’ll need to upload a small file to your webserver to prove that you are the owner of your website – and after that you are ready to go.
So what is so special about Google Webmaster Tools? Well how about these 3 bits of data – and this is just the beginning. Have you ever wanted to:
- See which keywords your website is showing for
- Find out keywords your website shows for but no one clicks on (why is that?)
- See the performance of your keywords over time (going back years and years – what went wrong.. what went right?)
Oh, and once you have Google Webmaster tools you can
#4 Create and submit a sitemap
This has helped some of my customers increase their traffic by 75% – and it takes less than an hour. Basically what you are doing is saying to Google “Hey, this is all the pages on my website – make sure you have all these in your directory.”
Google can sometimes find the pages for your website on its own – however if you have 500 pages on your website and Google has only indexed 50, a simple sitemap submission can make you show up on a lot more relevant search results – along with your competitors (instead of not being there at all).
#5 Install Google Analytics
You can sign up for Google Analytics here:
After you do you’ll need to add some code to the bottom of every page on your website. If you are running WordPress you can do this without any programming knowledge by downloading a plugin (SEO Yoast has this option by default)
Once you install Google Analytics you’ll be able to see the following information right off the bat:
- How many visitors come to your website
- Where they come from (e.g. organic keywords, linked from other websites, email campaigns, typed straight into browser)
- The locations of your visitors (if you are a national company you can see how many customers come from NSW/VIC etc.
Lots of these reports are useful but from an SEO perspective here is where Google Analytics shines, you can:
See which keywords are most popular for your website and which keywords generate the best results
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have 2 keywords for a pet shop website – ‘dog grooming tips’ and ‘dog grooming pricing sydney’ which are generating 100 visits and 10 visits a week respectively.
Dog grooming tips – 100 visitors
Dog grooming pricing sydney – 10 visitors
In Google Analytics you can setup how many of these visitors end up filling out your lead form. So if 1/100 visitors going from ‘dog grooming tips’ fill out your enquiry form but 1/10 visitors from dog grooming pricing sydney fill out your enquiry form – then it’s smarter to go after and work on increasing your rankings for ‘dog grooming pricing sydney’ right? This is a simple example but it’s very useful – in using Google Analytics – to see which keywords are generating the most results.
Bonus Tip #6: Get Some Backlinks
Backlinks are a big deal for Google – they tell it what websites are linking to you and help Google make a decision as to how important your website is compared to your competitors (if your website has more links pointing back to it then your competitors – you will be shown higher int he search results and will get more clicks).
Of course, you can spend months asking various websites to link to you or you can do a quick back linking campaign that won’t hurt your pocket and will get you on the right path. Since many of your competitors would have done NOTHING when it comes to buying backlinks, doing this simple process will put you miles ahead of a vast majority of your competition. Ready.
Go to fiverr.com and type in ‘backlinks’ into the Search box and search.
You’ll find a bunch of results – make sure to go for safe links that won’t hurt your reputation or are from bad sites.
Here is an example of a top rated seller you can trust:
Starting at only $5, if you can spend about $40-$50 with this guy you’ll be way ahead of your competition. But make sure you optmise the page that you want the backlinks to come through to using SEO Yoast!
Hopefully that gives you an idea of where to start with if you’re a beginner to SEO services. If you have any questions send me an email to kosta [at] headstudios.com.au.