Starting your own SEO (search engine optimization) campaign does not mean that you have to go out and hire an expensive search engine optimization expert. If you are new to building websites and want to try your own hand at SEO then this fine as long as you stick to some basic rules.
The first thing you need to do is understand what search engine optimization is?
The Basics of SEO
Search engine optimization is all about optimizing your website both on the page and off the page so the search engines can find your precious content. This is a basic explanation but many people like to over complicate SEO.
Onpage SEO involves having keywords in your content, meta tags, titles. It also goes deeper into category names and the way your navigation is set up. Then there is internal linking.
See one of my guest posts on Ana Hoffman’s blog: Why is internal linking crucial to SEO
Then there is Off page SEO which is all about people linking to your website, talking about it, sharing it. Inbound links from quality websites indicates to Google that your website contains valuable content.
The true and simple aim of the game is to get your website content listed in the search engines, preferably closer to the top of the search results, in order for your website to get the most exposure to the humans that type the search terms in . Therefore writing SEO content is not just to please the actual search engines, it is also there to please the humans, as you want them to click on your titles and visit your articles.
I have explained how SEO works under the hood of your website and how this is a great way to understand what you need to do to get listed in the search engines.
Here is a list of my best beginners SEO articles:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Explained for New WordPress Website Builders This article explains search engine optimization, hopefully in an easy to understand language and not too technical. You will see the difference between on page and off page search engine optimization.
Beginners’ Guide To SEO When I first started out building WordPress websites, I had no idea what is search engine optimization was, therefore I did not know what to do.
How SEO Works Under the Hood of your WordPress Website Why we need SEO and how it works? A deeper look at who and why.
10 Point SEO Checklist for New WordPress Webmasters In this 10 point SEO checklist I mention everything you need to have fantastic search engine optimization for your WordPress website. I even talk about the SEO maintenance you have to do in order to keep your rankings.
See more SEO articles.
Keep it Simple
If you are new to SEO then keep it simple. Write great content and then promote it naturally.
Sonia Simone wrote an article at Coppyblogger that pretty much says the same thing, stick to all natural SEO. It is a great article, you should check it out!
Also I think people should keep their website simple in the beginning as flashy designs and million dollar layouts are out nowdays. Don’t overcomplicate the process of building a website by worrying about stuff you don’t know. Just do what you can and be patient about learning the finer details as you go along. This includes SEO.
Choose a Niche
This is a hard task unless you are choosing your topic because you are passionate about something. I believe that it is easier to build a website around something you have a passion for because the passion will help you stay motivated.
I have many websites, but the ones that I am most passionate about are the most successful. I only work on the other ones when I have time and even when I do get to work on them; it is not a labor of love. Unfortunately it then becomes a job that I don’t want to perform.
Let’s talk about choosing a niche that you have passion for:
I am just going to give you an example here, because this is exactly how I got into building websites. I have passion for computers. I essentially was a computer freak and my best friends were also computer freaks. We used to literally create problems just so we could solve them. One day I decided to build a website and I did not have any idea about choosing a niche, choosing keywords, or anything like that.
I went out and bought a domain name (which I later changed to tips4pc) and started building the ugliest website you have ever seen. But I had a passion for computers and all I wanted to do was share my knowledge. I was already aware that people were interested in what I had to say, because in real life I was continually helping people fix their computers.
Now my website was totally unprofessional, and as I said, as ugly as sin. But this did not matter, as people were only interested in the information and showed great appreciation for my help. I could not believe that people wanted to know even the simplest things about computers.
I had no idea about keywords, and decided to go for “computer tips”, which in hindsight would have been better to go for “computer help”. But I stuck to my keyword and continued to provide content in that direction. I had no idea that the niche I was entering had huge competition, but this did not matter to me as I had a passion for what I was doing.
Choosing a niche by research
I still recommend having a passion as a base, but you can also choose your niche by researching the most sought-after keywords. Well in fact they do not have to be the most searched for keywords, but they need to have less competition for you, especially if you are new.
I explain in detail how to research for your niche in my free e-book about building a WordPress website which is available for free download in the sidebar.
What Keywords to Target
This is one of the biggest hurdles that a new website builder will hit. Deciding what keywords your website should be targeting is a daunting task at first.
I will use my computer tips website as an example.
I decided that my main keyword was going to be “computer tips”. I built links back to my home page using these keywords and a few variations.
- Computer tips
- computer tips and tricks
- easy to understand computer tips
- PC tips
- computer tips made easy
- free computer tips
As you can see I did not just make links that just targeted my main keyword only. If I did, this would be seen as spam.
Then I started writing articles about various computer tips. I decided that I would choose a few different types of software and write articles and tips about them. For example, most people use Windows operating system, so I wrote articles on how to use this software.
Later when I learned how to research keywords, I noticed that some articles on my website were far more popular than others. They receive the most traffic, the most comments, and the most sharing. The human visitors that came to my website gave me clues on what they liked and the traffic goldmine in Google Analytics was also a saviour. So I started to create more articles along the same lines.
When I created an article, I did not back link to it with my main keywords. Each article and each page had its own keyword, but they were all related to computer tips. Every piece of content on my computer tips website is in actual fact a computer tip. I do not write cooking articles, car articles and so on. I only have content that is related to using a computer.
I also have a saving money website, where all the articles are about saving money, but each page or post has its own keyword.
The Key to SEO
If I didn’t know anything at all about SEO, the first thing I would suggest is to always be natural in your SEO efforts. Hiring an expert in the SEO field will not guarantee that the work performed by them will be natural either, as a lot of companies still like to take shortcuts that are frowned upon by Google. They might do mass link building in the form of automated article distribution, or they might optimize your articles on your website with far too many keywords.
The best way for you to start your first SEO campaign is to create quality content (which will of course be easier if you have a passion) and then promote this content, without using automation methods at all.
It is also best to go easy on the keywords, but let’s not neglect keywords altogether, as the search engines and the humans need to know what your content is about. The thing is, if you are writing fantastic content, you should naturally be using keywords and related keywords within the content. If you are not doing this, then how the hell will your readers know what your content is about? The next question is, have you really got great content?
Get Known For Your Passion
Yes I am still on the passion topic! If you want to call yourself an expert in a particular niche, again having a passion for your topic will certainly take you to the top. When you have fantastic content and are being recognized as an expert in your niche, people naturally link back to your website. They use your content as a resource for their own readers and this in turn gives you great search engine optimization benefits.
Another way to get your name out there and get known for your passion is to guest post on other popular blogs. I still do this at least twice a week for each website, as I get to back link to my website and also get known for my passion at the same time, i kill tow birds with one stone.
Social Media and SEO
When people share your content, this is like proof that you really do have good content. The more people that share, the more chants you have of your content going viral through the social media outlets.
There are many ways that social media can benefit your website search engine optimization and one of those ways is to have a profile on each of the top social media websites. I have a social media checklist I use for each website I build and the content that I share on these profiles is highly targeted for my niche topic. I do not share anything that is off topic. This way I gain targeted followers who share my targeted content.
Social media is a great way of building back links, if not for direct SEO, this method also generates traffic to your website.
Your First SEO Campaign DIY Style
What do you think about my way for newbies to do SEO? I did not even know that search engine optimization existed when I first started out and I got by. Gradually I caught on to this amazing opportunity and quadrupled my traffic, but prior to that, my SEO was done naturally by others. I just supplied the content and people liked it, linked to it, and talked about it.