SEO For Dummies (33 Tips I Wish I Would Have Known)

by | Nov 3, 2018

Let’s get something clear first, SEO is marketing. It’s not some magical unicorn that gets them to page one on Google for any keyword by sprinkling some mystical fairy dust onto their website.

SEO should be treated like any other type of marketing, NOT GUARENTEED TO WORK.

At the end of the day, you and your clients should be concerned about one thing: Return on investment.

Furthermore, Organic traffic alone is a major liability. You need to figure out other ways to market your brand on seperate platforms besides just Google.

With that being said, let’s dive in.

  1. Understand the basics.

 

Understanding the SEO Basics

SEO isn’t what is used to be where you could just build links to a page and rank it. These days you need to focus on creating content that people actually want (user intent optimization) and building authority in the niche you’re going for. Consistency is key to building authority.

 

 

  1. Learn the different SEO acronyms to get caught up on the lingo, this is something I wish I would have learned right away when I first got into SEO. I created a post of all of the acronyms you’ll want to know here: https://chasereiner.com/blog/seo/google-acronyms/

SEO acronyms

 

 

  1. Learn basic On Page SEO

 

On-Page SEO

 

Quick cheat sheet of important on-page factors you need to look at from greatest to least importance:

Page Speed
MC and SC
Word Count
Mobile UX
Title tags
Heading Tags
Internal Linking
Images With Alt Tags
External Linking
Video (depends on search)
Meta Description
Schema Markup
OG Data

Now let’s break down each of them into quick optimizations (this list is not extensively covered by any means)

 

 

  1. Page Speed Optimization

Page Speed Optimization

 

The two best things you can do for page speed is to compress your images with Tinypng.com or use a WordPress plugin like Smusher and get good hosting like Siteground.com Make sure to head over to GT Metrix and run a scan if your page speed is still terrible to follow the suggestions listed there

 

.

  1. MC (Main Content) and SC (Supplementary Content)

 

page contents

 

This one is straight out of Googles Page Raters guidelines. (https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//insidesearch/howsearchworks/assets/searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf)

Main content is the content that will not be included on multiple pages (is not for UX) This is the content Google weighs in the most into its algorithm.

Supplementary content is content such as “recent posts” or menu links which is used for UX purposes and is weighed in the least by Google.

 

 

  1. Word Count (based on averages)

 

wordcount

 

If the top pages ranking on Google have 1000 words and you only have 300, you might want to optimize for the average. I have a software called Bench Marketer that does these calculations for you if you don’t feel like eyeballing the results.

 

 

  1. Mobile UX

 

Mobile UX designs

This is easy enough¬†these days, if you’re using a content management system, just make sure the theme you go with is mobile friendly.

 

 

  1. Title Tag Optimization

 

Title Tag Optimization

 

Title tags are easy enough to optimize as long as you include your main keywords and some sort of qualifier to hook people in. For example, SEO For Dummies (I Wish I Would of Known This) Also, try to keep your titles under 75 characters and over 45 in length.

 

 

  1. Heading Tag Optimization

 

Heading Tag Optimization

 

The most important heading tag you need to always include is an H1. Your H1 should usually represent what is in your title tag otherwise your users may get confused with what they clicked into. Other heading tags should be structured so that people who want to skim through your copy can easily navigate to different sections. As far as different heading tags like h2’s, h3’s, etc. being more important, I would just try to match what others are doing on the front page.

 

 

  1. Internal Linking

 

Internal Linking

If you want to pass valuable page rank influence to the other pages on your site internal link 2-3 times per 500-1000 words. Remember not to over internal link, you will end up diluting all of your links the more links you put into your copy.

 

 

  1. Images With Alt Tags

 

Images With Alt Tag

 

Images can really help keep people on your pages and lower your bounce rates / boost your dwell times. Just make sure that if some of your visitors are blind, they can see what your image is about by using a screen reader to read alt tags. Don’t keyword stuff your alt tags, just say what the images are actually showing.

 

 

  1. External Linking

 

External Linking

 

External linking actually improves your relevancy, just make sure you’re not pointing to some spam site. I recommend 1-3 external links per page or post (this also depends on intent, some pages require more).

 

 

  1. Video Optimization (depends on search)

 

video optimization

Video isn’t always the best option but I have seen it improve rankings before and lower bounce rates. I’ve also seen it do vise versa, again it depends on the intent. There is something really cool my lead SEO at my agency figured out, how to load videos instantly without reducing page speed. If you want a tutorial for this, leave a comment and let me know.

 

  1. Meta Description Optimization

Meta Description Optimization

Just make sure you are including your keywords, this will help you boost your CTR’s from the bolding they will get in serps. Your meta description should be about 155 characters long.

 

 

  1. Schema Markup Optimization

 

Schema Markup Optimization

Schema Markup is a language created by Google, Bing, and Yahoo which they can interpret on a page to understand what it is about. I will need to create another tutorial for this section but Schema Markup can boost your CTR’s like crazy. If you want to begin experiment with Schema you can do so by getting a free plugin such as the WordPress Jason-LD Schema plugin. (Here is a little bit outdated tutorial I made a year ago going over advanced Schema Markup (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awejeglf3xQ)

 

 

  1. OG Data Optimization

 

OG Data Optimization

 

OG data is your social share data and is very important if you’re going to be aggregating your content to other platforms (which you should). To manipulate this data you can use a WordPress plugin called WPSSO, I highly recommend it.

Now that you know a bit about on page basics let’s get a little bit more technical.

 

 

  1. User Experience Optimization

 

User Experience Optimization

Google obviously wants it’s users to be happy, so it’s very likely that if you’re website isn’t providing a good UX for it’s users, you’re not going to rank well.

Here’s some things you need to pay attention to in greatest to least importance:

* Click Through Rates
* Bounce Rates
* Conversion Rates

Let’s break down some of the ways you can optimize for each of these:

 

 

  1. Click Through Rate Optimization

 

Click Through Rate Optimization

For CTR optimization, try to find ads that are ranking on Google for similar keywords, because advertisers are spending a ton to get a good quality score and low cost per click’s you can copy similar titles into your titles and meta descriptions. Alternatively, if your page has been ranking for about a month, go to Google Search Console, see what your page is getting the highest CTR’s for and include those into your title. Also, as mentioned previously, make sure you include qualifiers.

 

 

  1. Bounce Rate Optimization

 

Bounce Rate Optimization

To lower your bounce rates, The best thing you can do is:

  1. A) Increase page speed.
  2. B) Focus on creating a design that exactly represents what your target visitor is intending on finding.
  3. C) Video and images may also help reduce bounce rates.

Utilize the free tools offered by Google

 

 

  1. Conversion Rates

 

Conversion Rates

 

To boost conversion rates, make sure your page is clear with what you want your users to do. You may also put a call to action above the fold on your website which will probably help as well.

 

 

  1. Utilize Free Tools

Free Google SEO Tools

 

The top free tools are as follows:

Google Search Console
Google Analytics
Google Keyword Planner
Screaming Frog
Google Sheets
Yoast SEO plugin

There are plenty of other tools I could have listed here but these are the first I’d say you need to get right away.

Let’s go over each of them.

 

 

  1. Google Search Console

Google Search Console

 

GSC gives you the ability to see if there are any problems going on with your website, submit URL’s to get indexed, analyze incoming links, but most importantly, it’s the only tool which is going to show you how many clicks and what CTR’s you’re getting for the keywords you’re ranking for.

 

 

  1. Google Analytics.

Google Analytics.

 

GA is going to help you see what your UX is on your sites such as bounce rates, conversion rates, pages per session, traffic from different sources, unique user data, and a whole lot more.

 

 

  1. Google Keyword Planner

 

Google Keyword Planner

GWP enables you to find keyword data for what people are searching on for on Google and what their search rates are.

 

 

  1. Screaming Frog

 

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog helps you quickly identify on page issues with your website (up to 500 URLs for free).

 

 

  1. Google Sheets

google sheets

GS is just amazing for tracking your data and auditing websites.

 

 

  1. Yoast SEO Plugin

 

Yoast SEO Plugin

I honestly don’t care what SEO plugin you use, Yoast is great because it doesn’t only give you the ability to optimize your titles and metas but adds extra functionality such as utilizing canonical links and automatic redirects (if you get pro)

 

 

  1. . Utilize Paid Tools

 

Paid Tools

If you have the budget, get the following tools by order:

Ahrefs or Semrush
Screaming Frog Pro
Chase Reiner SEO Audit Template
Cognitive SEO Content Analyzer
Bench Marketer or Cora

 

 

  1. Ahrefs or Semrush

 

ahrefs-vs-semrush

Ahrefs and Semrush are great for a competitor and keyword analysis. If I could choose one over the other it would definitely be Ahrefs as their data seems to be a lot more accurate and I prefer their interface over the other.

 

 

  1. Screaming Frog Pro

 

Screaming Frog Pro

Screaming Frog Pro is important to get if you’re going to start auditing / optimizing sites with over 500 URLs (which you probably will)

 

 

  1. Chase Reiner SEO Audit Template

 

Chase Reiner SEO Audit Template

I’m only promoting one of my own products because I’ve spent countless hours creating an SEO template that tells you to want you to need to check for when auditing a website with something like screaming frog. https://chasereiner.com/products/seo-audit-service/

 

 

  1. Cognitive SEO Content Analyzer

 

Cognitive SEO Content Analyzer

 

Cognitive SEO Content Analyzer shows you what words you need to mention more of in your copy in real time. This is really nice when you’re doing on-page SEO for a niche you might not know a ton about.

 

 

  1. Bench Marketer or Cora

 

Rank Chaser

 

I initially created Bench Marketer because I only wanted to see word count, image count, etc. instead of the thousands of factors Cora shows you.

Here are the pros and cons of both:

Bench Marketer pros: (super fast crawl, a lot cheaper than Cora (only $49 a month opposed to $249 a month)

Bench Marketer cons: Still sort of in beta and occasionally crashes, doesn’t have nearly scan nearly as many factors as Cora.

Cora pros: (Gives you an insane amount of data (including link data if you have AHREF’s subscription)

Cora cons: (Super slow for crawls and having data such as (number of Pinterest shares) doesn’t seem to be helpful. Cora is also pretty expensive and sort of confusing to setup / understand).

 

So there you have it, a quick list for beginners, I hope this was helpful to some of you.

Until I see you all next time, happy SEOing!