The Ultimate Guide to SEO
Welcome to your ultimate “Search Engine Optimisation Guide” a guide written for the entrepreneur in us all by the good folks at Bargainbrute.com. The best place on the internet to find amazing deals on over 3 million different products.
What is Search Engine Optimisation? The short and classic answer is the practice of increasing the value and quantity of website traffic while boosting the prominence of a website or a web page, in an effort to receive natural and organic visitors to a website, thus avoiding paid and direct visitors. We will be delving into much more of the mysteries of SEO later in this guide, but first, let's explore some of the website building companies who will help us in the construction of our business, our website.
Online website building companies
No more do we all have to pay a small fortune to hire an HTML coding expert to build our website. Today there are companies out in hyperspace who specialise in helping to develop websites of all kinds.
Yes, it has never been simpler to build a website with simple to use drag and drop capabilities, and what's more, some even offer their services for free, although when it comes time to optimise your websites for major search engines, like Google or Bing, you should be aware that they do penalise free website plans; basically, they want to see some commitment on your part, quite reasonable if you think about it.
So with the above in mind, I would advise that you first purchase a top .COM or .Net domain first, this will save you the trouble of changing the name of your website before entering into any paid website building plan. We will speak more about purchasing a domain later, but for now, you should know that Google Domains offer domain names starting off at $17 per year, and provides free support, second to none. Below are two of my favourite website, building companies, I have listed them in no particular order
Founded in 2006 Wix offers plenty for the small business and utilises a simple but exceedingly powerful drag and drop website building protocol, a must for those who do not want to get into time-consuming HTML coding and with top-notch customer help and service given out by their highly trained agents on call 24/7, they are hard to beat.
Of all the cloud-based platforms I have come across Wix offers so many different website templates, all of which are automatically optimised for mobile devices a must as it is estimated that 76% of all website traffic comes via a mobile device. Wix is perfect for any entrepreneur or small business including, online stores, restaurants, artists, musicians and photographers alike, bottom line if you have an idea for a business they have a template to suit you, plus their plans will suit everyone's purse strings, a must particularly if you are a blogger.
Other standout reasons for utilising WIX.Com is that they also have a straightforward but well thought out SEO plan to help you on your way.
Wix. Com website building plans
Apart from their second to none free plan which is free for as long as you want it to be, Wix.Com offers the above plans, my personal favourite is the pro plan.
Another cloud-based website builder utilised by over 19 million customers worldwide, they are a must not only for the bloggers of the world but also for anyone who wants to sell a product online, thus giving them an edge over other online drop and drag web building companies found anywhere in today's highly volatile and lucrative market. Their highly adaptive approach is probably why GoDaddy has become the choice for many of the topline online shopping malls of today.
Just like Wix, GoDaddy uses drop and drag website protocols, so building your website could not be any easier.
They, like Wix, also provide four different plans, plus a free program which you can keep using for as long as you wish, and unlike many other companies they do not ask you for a credit card upfront (one of the few), so there is no risk whatsoever for the user.
My personal choice both in terms of value and content is the Ecommerce plan, with this, you have everything you require to start selling and accepting payments from day one.
Authors note: We now have our product, our website, and it has been accomplished in just two days with relative ease and very little outlay, unlike in the bad old days when we would have sat hunched over a computer for days on end, only to end up with something we would not have even shown our own mothers.
Thank goodness for drag and drop website building, one of mans better inventions. However, now is the time when we get into the nitty-gritty of Search Engine Optimisation, (SEO) a necessity if we want our website and business to find its way to where everyone wants it to be, the first page of all the major search engines like Google, Bing, to name just two.
Part two of our ultimate SEO guide will show you how to implant the necessary keywords, which will help search engines to find you in the first place. We will also explain the power and importance of both internal and external links, which if implemented correctly, will help to launch your website into hyperdrive. We will also demonstrate the importance of proper titles and tags all required by the major search engines if you want them to find you. You will discover that good SEO is not really that hard, it has only been made to look difficult by companies attempting to take your well-earned money, and last but not least, you will be given what is probably the ultimate SEO toolbox, filled to the brim with every SEO tool the worldwide web has to offer, and better still, not one person will ever ask you for any money, it is our gift to you, read on if you please.
This section will show the importance of quality and well-optimised content, content which will engage not only your visitors but also other websites, websites which if they want to see more of your site will link back to you, via links we call backlinks, perhaps the most essential type of links, as they add importance to your site (sometimes called adding juice).
So important are these links that they have become one of, if not the most critical kind of connection which search engines like Google and Bing look for when deciding just how high you will show up in their search results. Bottom-line without them, forget coming anywhere close to the top pages in a search engines index.
SEO the Basics
Internal SEO and external SEO: If you thought they were both the same, then you would be wrong, both are required, but both require totally different approaches. Up first, the terminology of basic internal SEO, which you will need to optimise your website to increase organic searches, a must for climbing the ladder to success.
Meta tags: What are Meta Tags? Meta Tags or metadata basically describe the content of a web-page, thus helping search engines find relevant content. These tags will not show up on a page as they are added using HTML code to the root section of a website, customarily hidden in the “head” of a page, thus ensuring that they are only visible to search engines and can be found quickly by them. Basically, they can be described as little snippets of content descriptors and are essential for proper search engine optimisation.
Header Tags: Header Tags are utilised to separate the main titles or headers within a webpage with its most important commonly referred to as H1, the rest of the pages subtitles if any typically run through H2 – H6. Importantly they are usually placed into a webpages makeup in sequence, breaking this sequence will in most circumstances harm a webpages SEO so care should be given while adding header tags, once again these tags are added to the HTML code of your site within the header of each page.
These header tags should not be forgotten as they add structure to your page by dividing the page into individual sections making your webpage easier for search engines to read your website. A well-structured page also adds readability to a website's sitemap, something we will talk about a little later in this guide.
URL Structure: To understand the structure of your URL, we will split this section into four sub-sections for ease of clarity. Basically, the full URL of your website is similar to your house address it contains everything which a visitor requires to find your home. We will use the following URL as an example
The letters indicated in red informs web servers what type of protocol they have to apply to access your website. HTTPS or Hypertest Transfer Protocol Secure is today's norm and asks the web browser to encrypt all information on your page, (if you do not use this protocol your site will be penalised by all modern-day search engines affecting your index rankings enormously) Information like passwords, email addresses or credit cards will all be protected, thus ensuring all your visitors are safe. All websites using this protocol will have a little green padlock directly to the left of the primary URL indicating a websites, safety credentials.
The red letters in the above example indicate the subdomain of your website or one of the pages of your website, just imagine it as one of your rooms in your own home. This feature forms an essential part of your URL, without it search engines like Google when it crawls your site will think that you just have one page, typically your home page, so care should be given that this is set up correctly. Once again, this is important when you are ready to submit a sitemap (we will talk more about these later) to major search engines like Google.
The red letters in the above example is an indication of what sort of entity your company or organisation sees themself as. For example.COM or .Net in the United States is usually used for commercial type companies; hence why.COM and .Net have become universally known as top-level domains. (TLD) Academic institutions frequently use a high-level.EDU entity; basically, it is really a simple form of shorthand.
In the above URL, the red letters indicate a subdirectory of the website. Basically the name of the room within your home, (Bathroom, Bedroom, etc.) in the above URL it is showing the search engine where to go to find all the news articles on your site if the red letters said Blog the search engine would steer you to the page where the website has its main blog.
Is how you design your URL important for your websites SEO and design? Simply put, a mighty yes.
Optimising your images:
I have always been astounded that many people like I in the past, simply forget the importance of a well-optimised image. Of all things on your website which drastically affects your website performance and search engine indexing is a slow loading page, and this is what a poorly optimised picture will do to your website, search engines will simply just abandon your site if your site takes to long to load.
So what do I do to optimise an image ready for a website? The name of the image. Who would have thought that just by improving the name of your favourite image that it would help your SEO? In the past, I didn't, and could not understand just what was happening, but today after many years it came as a pleasant surprise that it was indeed not rocket science. In-fact for starters just by ensuring that you use relevant keywords about the story you are attempting to tell will go along way in boosting your profile. Also, ensure you do not over complicate the title. Look for words which are in the news and try to incorporate them into your image title, of course making sure that they fit your story, you will be amazed as to the difference this simple action makes.
Simply put search engines do not just crawl the words on your page; they also crawl the deep structure of your images, in other words, rich-file names, not just the camera automated names are crucial when you are attempting to optimise your images.
Image Size in SEO
It is a simple fact that by just reducing the size of your images will help to load your page faster, thus enticing search engines to crawl your website more quickly, thus improving the index position on a search engines ladder.
Should I use an image or just run with the text of the article? The simple answer is yes, you should always, when possible, use a well-optimised image. It not only adds character to your article but also helps to brighten it up, thus increasing your visitor dwell time on your website, an essential indicator for any top-grade search engine.
Yes, images are getting more and more critical so should not be forgotten in your grand global SEO plan, especially since visual search has lept into the forefront in recent years, Google has even discussed this phenomenon in their vision for the future narrative, so it makes sense to jump on board and use googles latest brand interface which is chock full of metadata, new filters and attributions.
Once again choosing the type and format of an image is critical for a site loading time and its SEO. Use a JPEG format if you have a large picture to display, it will give you the best colour and clarity while utilising a relatively small file size.
A PNG format will not destroy the transparency of your web page, enabling you to display not only an image but also display your page background, once again its file size is kept to a minimum size, thus not hindering the loading times of your website.
The importance of alt text (or alt tag) for your images
Even the most experienced website designers, bloggers or writers forget to include alt text (or alt tags) for all their online photos. Why this is so, is hard to understand, but we do, even though it is such an easy thing to do and is perhaps one of the most essential factors in a web pages SEO’s structure.
So what is alt text? First of all, do not mix up the image caption (the caption you can see within your article) with your alt text tag, they are entirely different, and serve two distinct functions. The first difference is that you cannot see the alt text tag within your article. It is placed their so that search engines when crawling your webpage knows precisely what the image is about.
How to add alt text to an image
Fortunately for us budding SEO experts, this is not a complicated thing to do. Most publishing or writing platforms have a facility for us to add both captions and alt text to an image at the same time. As I use Microsoft Word as my writing platform, I will use this to demonstrate, all others, including Grammarly, use the same principle.
As mentioned above, adding alt text to your image is simplicity in itself and can be accomplished by using just a few steps.
1: Right-click on the image and scroll down to edit alt text, click on that, and you will be presented with a picture similar to the above.
2: Type the text you wish to enter for your alt text in the box indicated.
3: Once you have typed in your alt text, it is now time to enter the description of your alt text. It is this text which will be read by the search engine crawling your site you will not actually see the text on your actual picture. It is as easy as that.
What to include in your alt text? This is important as it is used not only as a keyword indicator which in itself engages a search engine to not only to find your image when someone searches for a particular phrase, it will also cause your website to climb the index ladder with relative ease, thus improving your website's ranking which after all is what SEO is all about.
So, with the above in-mind make sure that you include a well thought out SEO keyphrase, try and pick a phrase which is in the news at the time of publishing your site, (of course, make sure that it is relevant for both your article text and image contents) I personally always take the opportunity to name my website within the alt text. So let's say my website is called “The Ultimate SEO Guide,” the alt text for the adjacent picture would read “Lion shows his teeth The Ultimate SEO Guide.” As mentioned above the placing of “Alt Text Tags,” is not a hard thing to do, but it is if you want to improve your search engine rankings perhaps one of the most crucial things you should be doing when compiling your Search Engine Optimisation marketing plan.
The importance of well thought out website content in your SEO plan
With over 40,000 search queries being made every second, that’s an incredible 3.5 billion searches each and every day (and that’s just the Google search engine) competition for that magical top tier page ranking is quite frankly enormous, so it goes without reason that if you want to get your website noticed then SEO enriched content is imperative if you wish your online business to be seen let alone appearing on the first page of any search engine index.
For proof of the above statement just take a look at the following link and see for yourself just how many people are searching using the Google search engine this very second, the result may astonish you.
So how do you write enriched keyword targeted content for your website?
Think of your content as the broth of your website, a broth so enriched by wonderfully-tasting spices of the world that it becomes irresistible to all. Basically, your broth contains so much goodness that people will return day after day just to taste its delicious wholeheartedness, while at the same time knowing that your top chef will, each and every day change its flavour to give all your restauranteurs a new experience, every time they visit.
Yes, new and relevant content is perhaps one of the most essential parts of your SEO plan if you want any search engine to visit you. You are completely wasting your time, even if you have designed one of the most beautiful websites found anywhere on the worldwide stage if you do not continually update your content with vibrant, relevant and up to date material.
Your content SEO recipe
By now you will have learnt that the object of proper search engine optimisation is to increase your rankings on all search engine result pages, (SERP) and to do this I would advise that when adding new content, you to do the following.
1: As a search engine only spends a few seconds on your site ensure that within the first 20 words of your article, you mention all your keywords, while ensuring that they do not appear as a simple list and of course are all relevant to your article.
An example of a relevant search a person makes can be seen to the left.
Note how precise it is: If you type in a search for “books” on google this is what appears as number one in the search results.
Note how specific it is and how it makes good use of relevant keywords.
So as per the example, you have, in just a few short words, informed a potential client exactly what he or she was looking for, and of course precisely what you have to offer.
2: Headings and subheadings are an essential part of your SEO: Search engines love short and equal paragraphs, nothing is worse for both the major search engines or a reader to be faced with a page of gumph with no full stops, paragraphs or even the standard but elusive comma. In essence, you have to breathe for your reader and for that matter, search engines.
So with the above in mind, use clear and structured headings and subheadings. Sounds simple but this little trick will entice the search engines to stay on your site longer, it will also enable search engines to treat your article as more than one topic, thus giving your article (depending on how many subheadings it has) more and more exposure.
Subheadings are also an excellent way to add both external and internal links to your article, a must for good SEO as it will add that magic SEO juice to your website something which unlike the old days when search engines just monitored the hits to a site to prove its powerfulness, today search engines, especially Google calculates a websites power and popularity by the amount of different incoming and internal links a site has.
3: Word of warning re-adding keywords and subheadings: Search Engines have significantly evolved over the past few years. They not only direct people to a defined product gleaned from the search query a person types in on his or her computer they now search out and destroy the pestilent of spam, including the tactic of “stacking,” so be careful of keyword density
Simply put stacking is when a person adds an excessive number of unessential keywords or subheadings all geared to entice a visitor to visit a site which he or she did not want to visit in the first place, so bottom line be careful as it does not take much to get yourself listed as a spammer and once registered there is no turning back. Remember, there is only one type of good SPAM, and it comes in a can, you will get caught so do not attempt.
4: The importance of structured data in your SEO Plan: You place structured Data into your article or website to help major search engines, like Google to understand the content of any of your website pages.
Contained within this structured data should be a standardised format of just what is on a webpage. IE, following Googles example, if you were visiting a recipe site, then your structured data would include the following: The ingredients, cooking time, cooking temperature, amount of calories etc.
Adjacent is an example from Google, which displays a snippet of structured data, it basically alerts the reader to the specific contact details of a ball-bearing factory. Do not be alarmed by the coding as you can utilise Googles Automated Structured detail APP without requiring any knowledge of HTML coding whatsoever. I have included a link to this free tool below
5: Correct website speed within your SEO plan: Can you remember in the early days of the internet, the days when we were amazed we could receive on our computer, a picture of our grandchildren sent to us from the other side of the planet. Then it did not matter how long we had to wait for the image to load, we were simply in awe that we could do it in the first place.
However, as we all know today, times have changed, and we have gotten to a stage where we demand instant download capabilities, and if we do not get it from one website then we simply move on and try another web address which offers what we are looking for, “Speed,” and instant results.
So what is the best speed for your business, your website? Today we are told both by Google and internet users that 50% of all people expect a website to finish rendering or loading within the first 2 seconds of clicking onto the site. Furthermore, 45% of all users say that they will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, so you can see, in a nutshell, site speed should be one of, if not the most important thing you should consider when actioning your website SEO.
So to round everything off, 47 per cent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40 per cent of users will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site.
Another reason for increasing the speed of your website loading times is that website users do not like scrolling, in fact, in 2006, a study confirmed this and stated that a massive 77% of all visitors simply refused to scroll.
What does this tell us? Simply put you must hook your visitors in by ensuring that all the essential stuff your website deals in is shown above the scroll (sometimes called above the crease. Where is this section on your website, the upper half of any of your pages a user can see before he or she has to scroll down?
How do I accomplish this? Merely keeping this area free from any unwanted gadgets, apps or any other cosmetic additives works well, try it out on the link below, you will be amazed as to the difference your site loads, once you remove these items. I have also included below a free google tool to help you resise your website images. The free tool will help you to gain extra loading speed.
Authors note: Please be aware that there is no set size for the area above the scroll or crease position, the layout for this area depends on the type of browser a person is using while surfing the web. However, by the rule of thumb, I would personally advise that you keep the area above the fold no larger than 768 – 1000 pixels. This is of prime importance if you are displaying Google Adsense adverts on your site.
Sitemaps and SEO
What is a sitemap and do I really need one? Just like a human being, major search engines appreciate a bit of help to find their way around. If you do not submit a sitemap a search engine such as Google will take longer to see what your website has to offer.
Furthermore, it is also essential to submit a new sitemap each, and every time you alter your website in any way. Think about it like attempting to use your GPS to get from one place to another, if you are still using the old setting because you have not updated it then you can get into all sorts of problems.
What does a sitemap contain? Simply put everything you have on your website and where that information is, information like, your important pages and where they link to when the site was last updated, what language is your website in, specific content you wish to notify the search engine about, like Videos and images etc.
Do I really need to submit a sitemap? There are two rules of thought on this topic. Whereas some people state that if your web pages are correctly linked, then a search engine will in time, find all your site information in time. However, I would not leave it to chance, I always ensure my site pages are correctly linked, and I will always, when I make any changes to my site, submit my website to the major search engines.
However, be careful as there are sites out there who will charge you an arm and a leg to submit your site to search engines, most are in it to just make money, while others are in it only to glean personal information from you. Bottom line do not give them a chance to, submit them yourselves, and as we have used Google in the previous examples, I will stick with them.
Below I have included a link to the Google indexing site where you will be able to submit your site manually and simply, with just a few clicks of your mouse. All you will require is your own Google account which most of us already have. If you want to add your site to the other search engines like Bing etc., just type in Bing search engine, and you will find the exact same easy to use interface.
Authors note: the following link will take you to the “Google Consul” which used to be called “Google Webmaster Tools.” Use this link to add your website to their search engine
External ways you can increase your site online presence while attending to your SEO
There are many ways to improve your online presence which in turn will add much potent juice to your SEO, I have added a few below
1: Guest Blogging, perhaps if you enjoy writing, one of the best.
2: Email all your contacts and friends, but be careful not to spam them.
3: Social Media, Facebook, Twitter etc. the list goes on and on
The above is just a partial list there are many more, seek them out they are free to use, so why not use them.
Customer loyalty and trust a must for your SEO plan. Your clients need to know that you have their security at heart. Your website must, on every single page, include the following:
1: You're up to date phone number
2: You're correct address for contact purposes
3: An up to date business email address
4: A contact form
5: An up to date privacy statement explaining your cookie policies and exactly how you will use their personal information. If you are selling anything to a European member state, this is of paramount importance.
Below is your personal ultimate SEO tool kit. It contains everything you require to build your site, and at the same time, prepare your website by using some of the most up to date Search Engine Optimisation tools found anywhere on the internet, and what's more, apart from buying a domain name and entering into a paid website building plan, which you can get for as little as $13.00 per month all are totally free.
Have a look and see how the pros do it, remembering that you do not require if you have used this ultimate SEO guide any previous experience.
My personal ultimate SEO toolbox.
My Personal Google Account Required if you are going to use the tools below, it is free
Google Domains Google domains use the above link to find your perfect domain name starts from $19 a year, ownership is automatically verified by Google a significant time-saving point.
www.wix.com One of the top line drag and drop website design and building companies on the Internet with plans starting from $13 a month. This company also provides you with its own built-in SEO plan and has many, many useful apps, plus an excellent hosting plan. Remember not to overload your website with unnecessary apps as it will slow down your sites loading times.
www. godaddy.Com Very similar to Wix. Com and once again have their own built-in SEO plan to get you going. If you are planning on selling a product, I would recommend you use this company as they do excel with their online store design. To get going with Godday.Com you can start with a free plan then, when you are ready pay as little as $12 per month, their well-known hosting plan starts for as low as $5.99 a month
Google Analytics Do not be fooled by companies who offer you an analytics program so to check how many visitors you are getting to your site, most charge the earth for this and make millions from your hard-earned money. Just link your website up to google analytics by using the above link (it is free) and monitor not only how many visitors you are getting in real-time to your site but also the following.
Active Users, their lifetime value, Cohort analysis, (a subset of behavioural analytics that takes the data from a given data set (an EMRS, an e-commerce platform, web application, or online game) rather than exploring all users as one unit. My thanks to Wikipedia for this explanation.
Your Audience, Who they are, where they live, their demographics, their interests, what type of technology they are using, are they using a desktop or mobile device,
The list goes on and on, so why pay for it in the first place.
Google Search Consul This was once named “Google Webmaster Tools,” but has now been rebranded as “Google Search Consul,” and once again we have to ask the question why pay a company to get access to good SEO tools when we can get them all for free? For me, it is a no brainer even when I know that Google for their part has strict policy regulations for all who use any of their products, for me that is a small price to pay.
So what can you do when you use “Google Search Consul”? Basically, everything you require to get your site noticed online, below are just a few examples.
Add Your Google Sitemap
See you sites website performance and Analytics
See your sites speed
See or correct your sites mobile visibility
See and fix the videos you have on your website
Check and repair any security issues you may have on your website
Check and add or your external, internal links and what are your top linking sites, i.e., what sites are linking to you
Check the ownership and name of your site
As you can see once you have added your site to Google, there is a multitude of things you can use to bring your website to where it should be the top of a search engines ladder that most coveted page 1.
We do hope you have enjoyed reading this “Ultimate SEO Guide” and we wish you every success for your future online business.
Many Kind Regards to you all and also to my hosts for giving me the platform to write upon “BargainBrute.Com voted America's top place to shop online in 2020.