This week I have teamed up with Leeds-based Deepblue Digital for a guest blog from Jason Cook the Co-Founder and CEO.
Set up in 1999 at the start of the internet revolution Deepblue Digital provide everything from design and SEO to content and social media marketing.
As a blogger I really struggle with SEO but in his blog Jason cuts out the jargon and helps to make the complicated easy.
And if you need any further help Deepblue Digital are currently offering a free SEO audit, just give them a call or email them, their website is here.
Well done – you have built your website, written your first blog article, or your 50th blog article and created some killer content. You believe the world should know about your thoughts. You post it on your website and wait for the accolades to come pouring in. An hour passes, a day passes, a tumbleweed passes. Nothing. What went wrong?
Well, it could be that it was just not an interesting article. But putting that aside, let’s presume you wrote a pretty decent article about an interesting topic, that should have been interesting to quite a few people.
The problem was, you just did not give it the help it needed. You have a great shop window, but it’s down a side street and nobody can see it. You need to get into the habit of tuning up your website and blog articles to give them the best chance to be found.
Here are seven SEO steps you can use each time you write something new to help you get found by Google and the world at large.
Step One – WordPress Plugins
If you have a website built in WordPress, as the majority of people do, you have access to an astounding amount of free plugins. Plugins can enhance and improve the ability of your site to rank well. Plugins can improve your site speed, content, mail lists and more.
The one plugin every WordPress user should immediately download is YOAST. Yoast will allow you to tweak and alter your page content to get the best out of them. It uses a simple traffic light system to guide you through the process and there is great satisfaction in getting the full set of green lights.
Step Two – Keyword Research
There is a way of showing how many times a keyword has been searched. So for example a phrase like ‘SEO Leeds’ attracts 880 searches per month but a search of ‘Antique pine furniture York’ attracts just 10 searches per month.
So choose your keywords carefully and sprinkle them liberally throughout your website or article. You can use a tool like SEMRUSH to check for keywords, volume and variants to use in your article.
Step Three – Title TAGS
The title of your article is important in many ways and should be given a lot of thought. Obviously the first aim of your title is to attract attention. As we know from the tabloid papers a good headline can go a long way (Freddy ate my Hamster, anyone?).
With websites, the title serves another important purpose, it is one of the first indicators to Google of what the article is about. It appears in your code at the top of the page and in the tab of your browser. Just hover your cursor over the tab for this page and it will display the full title including and often the name of your website. Again with keyword research, you can make effective use of the title tag. You have about 150 – 160 characters so don’t overdo it.
Step Four – Header Tags
You will notice this article is split into paragraphs. This is partially due to the format which is a list of seven items. But this format should be employed in any article you write. The reason being the title of each paragraph is what is called an H TAG, or header tag. They range from H1 through to H (whatever) but usually to H4. You will find this when you click on a block in WordPress, the paragraph symbol is on the far left. If you click on this you can change your block to a heading. You can then specify via the next drop down the H1 or H2. Using your previous keyword research you can apply H1 to the main header of the article and then moving down the article apply H2 and H3 to the subheadings. Google looks at these to determine the weight of what your article is about. Try and get into the habit of using header tags.
Step Five – Keyword Density
In the early days of SEO, a website or web page was ranked by how many occurrences of a keyword appeared on the page. This was abused to such an extent by early SEO companies that they would put the keyword in white on a white background, so the user did not see anything odd, but Google and Yahoo saw all the instances of the keyword through the code.
These days keyword density is not the massive ranking factor it once was. Google is getting more and more capable of understanding the intent of an article. But it does not hurt to make sure the keywords you have researched are used in the article. So for example instead of saying …, our products are great, you might change this to …our 2 seater leather sofas are great. Again do not go overboard doing this or you will be penalised for keyword stuffing.
Step Six – Content-Length
Google is constantly updating and improving how its search algorithm works. Every big upgrade in recent years has been given a name such as Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird. The Panda update, in particular, was aimed at what Google called ‘thin’ content; articles that were poorly written, maybe stolen or scraped from another site. As an SEO company, we used to advise clients to at least write 300 words on a topic. This was usually enough to get some ranking momentum. These days after Panda we are in the arena of long-form content. Articles at the very least these days need to be in the 600+ range and ideally, 1800 words or more would be better. This is not to say a poorly written article of 2000 words is going to get you any ranking, it still has to appeal to an audience and offer some quality to it.
Step Seven – Links & Backlinks
Ultimately, when all the above has been done you are going to have an article or web page fine-tuned for Google to find and rank more easily. But what if there are similar articles out there with all the same sort of SEO work done. What else can Google use to measure the quality of a page?
Well, this is where Google originally entered the search arena. In the beginning, Google was called Backrub, as it was a search engine that analysed the links pointing to your website and the quality of those links. Today Google still uses this metric as part of its ranking strategy. The more links pointing to a website the higher it will be ranked. But it is not just the amount of links, it is the quality and relevancy of those links.
Links can come from anywhere and everywhere. There are thousands of local directories, business sites, and listings, you can apply to for free. You can use tools like YEXT to help and control your listings. This is low-level linking but it all adds up.
The ideal, if we were to use the PR model, is that an article that appears in a local publication is picked up by a regional outlet and then becomes a national story. One backlink from the BBC is worth a thousand backlinks from your local village website. So start your link building, add a few a month and get your site found.
This is a quick overview of the basics you can apply to an article that will help it get found more easily on Google. There are a lot more facets to SEO that can be applied to give your website a chance at the elusive number one slot. If you would like to know more of want a FREE SEO Audit of your website call Jason on 0113 288 8522 or visit Deepblue at www.deepblue-digital.co.uk