If you produce any content online you are probably familiar with SEO.
The importance of SEO in digital marketing cannot be underestimated. It is indeed, the lifeline of your business. It doesn’t matter how much content you produce. If you don’t follow SEO guidelines, you will simply not get the results you are after.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let me go down to the basics for the purpose of those who might not be well familiar with the topic.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Wikipedia describes SEO as the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines.
I would also say, that some SEO rules also apply to video and podcasts to a certain degree. We also have local SEO which applies to websites for businesses with a physical location. It is a lot different than the standard SEO for online businesses.
The process of setting up your SEO differs with the sort of website you are setting up but the ultimate goal is the same. Getting traffic to your business. Traffic equals customers which in turn translates to revenue.
What is worth noting is SEO as a strategy does not involve spending money. We are talking about free traffic that comes organically. People will do a google search, find what they are looking for, and go to your site.
It does however, involve sweat equity. You will need to put in a fair bit of work to succeed.
Paid traffic involves paying for visitors who come to your site. If you are just starting, you might be tempted to start paying for traffic. My advice would be to steer clear of it. You need to know what is working before you can start with paid campaigns. You could easily burn through a chunk of money and not get any results.
SEO is always your first port of call. Once you know where your visitors are going then you can think of running some ads.
How does SEO work?
Before I answer how long it takes, lets start with how the heck it works.
So, you have a brand new website and you ready to start laying down your content. Follow these steps to optimize your site.
1. Keyword research.
This is the first order of business. Keywords are a grouping of words that search engines use to target the information that people are looking for. In simple terms, keywords are what people type on the search bar when they are looking for particular information. They form the basic foundation of your content.
You basically want to target keywords that have high volume of traffic and less competing pages.
To read more about keywords check out this article.
2. Keyword in title.
Once you have identified what keyword you want to go with, you want that to appear on the content title. As an example the keyword for this particular post is “How Long Does it Take SEO to Work”
3. Keyword in body text.
Your keyword should appear at least once within the body of your text. Some people say it’s good to have it on the first paragraph but you don’t want it to appear like you are forcing it there. Remember, you are writing for people, not search engines.
4. Keyword in SEO title and meta discription.
To do this you will need to upload either All in One SEO or Yoast plugin. There are others but out there but I think those two are the most popular. This plugin enables you to enter your SEO title and meta description. This gives you the power to control how you want your post or page will appear in search results.
See the example below
I prefer to have my text in camel case. (partial caps on words) Helps it to stand out.
While you are at it, click on the social tab and copy the same information. You only get a choice to copy what will appear on Facebook or Twitter. You will also need to upload your featured image or any other image that you feel would be relevant for social media. When someone shares your post on either of the two platforms what you entered is what will show on the page.
5. Keyword in Alt-Tag.
Alt tags are used in images and the purpose is to help people who might be visually impaired to know what the image is all about. I usually put the “keyword” – “image description”.
6. Internal and external links.
As your content grows, you want to start linking your posts to older posts within your website. These are called internal links and search engines love them. It shows that your site has useful content. You also want to have at least one external link, meaning a link pointing to a different website, preferably an authority site like Wikipedia or Amazon as an example.
7. Fast loading website.
Nothing can be a turn-off like a slow loading site. People on the internet have very little patience and if your site is taking forever to load they will simply move on to another site. There could be numerous reasons why your site could be slow loading. You need to look into that and resolve it as soon as you can.
To know how fast your site is loading use Google PageSpeed Insights.
I use Generate Press on my site which it’s a pretty lightweight theme and has wonderful features. I would recommend it but again, go with what you know well.
How Long Does it Take SEO to Work?
The answer to that is relative. It seems over the years search engine algorithms have become a little skeptical of brand new sites. Your site could start ranking in a few weeks if you are actively working on it. By that, I mean updating it with new content regularly. If you are not active, give yourself up to 6 months for your site to marinate in search engines. You will need to show some lasting power for them to know that you mean business.
After that period you will receive an email from Google telling you that your site is now available to search. You don’t need to wait that long to start putting out content. Start from the word go. All your content will begin to rank fast. If follow the steps I have outlined above, then your website will thrive.
There are two sides to SEO. There is the technical side of it meaning publishing and all the SEO that goes with it and the human element meaning, it’s real people who will be consuming your content.
I would advise you to really think of the person on the other end reading this. That is the person you are writing for. Always make your content as humanly friendly as possible, if there is such a thing.
Do you see what I did there? I am just talking to you. Talk to your audience. Let your voice resonate with your keyboard.
To learn more about SEO and how you can build an online business check out this online education platform. It’s filled with resources that can help you set up.
Have fun with it.
Thanks for hanging out with with me. I will catch up with on my next post.
Hi folks. Thanks for dropping by. I am a graphic designer and also build websites for local businesses. I am also a member of Wealthy Affiliate. WA is a community-based training platform that truly delivers. It offers a variety of tools, training, and support, and best of all, it’s FREE to get started with. Check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you.