Learn SEO Basics and Success Factors Free

Learn SEO Basics and Success Factors Free

When you want to learn SEO basics and the success factors for website optimization for search engines, finding a simple tutorial on search engine optimization can seem overwhelming.

In this post, I address this by providing links to resources that offer simple explanations to the somewhat-technical or person with some technical aptitude.

If you do not fall into one of these categories, don’t let the technical mumbo-jumbo stop you from reading and learning. You may find you know more than you realize about this technology — you do use it every day! Plus, we all have to start somewhere.

Learn SEO Basics from Google

The first resource you should skim to learn SEO basics is Google’s own Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. You may download this free PDF to read or skim as you have time.

Google’s guidebook covers:

  • SEO Basics
  • Improving Site Structure
  • Optimizing Content
  • Dealing with Crawlers
  • SEO for Mobile Phones
  • Promotions and Analysis

The guide is aimed primarily at webmasters. However, web developers and web designers, including DIYs, should find the material provides a high-level overview of the factors involved in ranking a website well online.

If Google’s 32-page guidebook is too complicated or time-consuming for you now, and you want to learn SEO basics as simplified as it is possible to do, another option is Search Engine Land’s The Periodic Table of Search Engine Success Factors.

Learn SEO Basics from Search Engine Land

My advice is to ignore the science-looking “elements” in the center of the image below, and instead, read the keywords and questions in the left and right columns at the edges. These keywords and questions will give you an idea of what to aim for when you optimize your site for search engines.

search engine land period table of seo success factors

The table covers the following sections: on-page factors, such as content, architecture, and HTML. It covers off-page factors such as trust, links, personal, and social.

How can you use this table to learn SEO basics?

When you look at your own website, think through each question and make sure that you have answered it on the website you are optimizing.

Learn SEO Basics from ForegroundWeb

Last but not least, ForegroundWeb has one of my favorite resources for DIYs. I wish I had written this post, SEO for Photographers.

If you are not a photographer, do not let the title turn you away.

The resources he has put together are true and right for most small businesses. You may not take the photos you put online on your site, but it helps to understand how to optimize your featured and/or product photos and caption them for greater sales and find-ability online.

The post provides doable tips that anyone with a determined and persevering mindset, plus basic website know-how, can carry out to add SEO themselves.

This article covers 50 (yes, fifty) SEO actions to go through:

  • on-site & off-site SEO factors
  • getting backlinks
  • website performance & mobile-friendliness
  • image optimization best practices
  • free SEO tools
  • examples & graphics
  • links to other relevant articles & resources

The article is long, but take your time and skim/read over it. It is a wealth of useful SEO information compiled with insight and clarity of purpose.

Next, when I am studying the SEO for my site or for a client, then I look at what keywords bring people to the site, how long they stay, and what posts or pages they read. The SEO dashboard provides that information. (Although Google does not always let you know what keywords bring someone to your site, for privacy reasons.)

Learn SEO Basics via Google Analytics

If you would like to understand your data, and you feel overwhelmed by Google Analytics, there is a simpler way to check your data.

  1. Login to Google Analytics (this assumes you have an account and that Google Analytics is set up on your website).
  2. Go to your main Google Analytics dashboard (not the “admin” one), and click on Customization, then Dashboards.
  3. Open a new tab in your browser, and go to eConsultancy’s 10 Useful Google Analytics Custom Dashboards.
  4. Click on the link underneath the image for the type of data you want to check or know, then assign it to your website in Google Analytics.
  5. Click on the link in your custom dashboard to review the data. Yes, you may add more than one custom dashboard.

Here is the list of my favorite custom dashboards that I review for Impact Zone Consultancy. You can also use this image to understand where you need to be on Google Analytics to add the custom dashboard(s) via the instructions, above.

Google Analytics Custom Dashboard examples

I could scroll through Google Analytics, but I find I like to know different types of information at different times, and for different reasons. Sometimes, I want to know the site load time for a post, so I check the Site Performance Dashboard.

Another time, I may want to know a bit about a client’s website or my own website’s visitors, such as where they live, what posts they are reading, what devices they use, or how long they stay on a page. When I need that information, I review the 70 Facts About Visitors or Blogging dashboards.

Learn Basic and Advanced SEO Free

Finally, if you want to continue your SEO studies, then you can read Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building, or The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media. Yoast provides a variety of SEO-related articles and tutorials related to WordPress.

Learn SEO Basics with Impact Zone Consultancy

I have written a series of articles with which DIY, small-business, and solopreneurs can learn SEO basics. I also have some (free) SEO webinar videos you can review that actually teach you and are not a one-hour infomercial.

Last, but not least, are my weekly SEO Thursdays Periscopes, that I have archived online. The Periscopes tend to match a weekly blog post, so you may want to search my SEO articles. I have the videos either on the blog post or linked to in the article.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, or leave your questions and comments below so others can learn from you.

If you have decided you cannot stand the thought of learning SEO basics, or simply want to save yourself some time, then contact me online or email me about implementing SEO on your website. I offer one-on-one or small group SEO coaching and training. You can review the small business SEO services we offer, along with ballpark pricing.

Learn SEO Basics and Success Factors Free

Understand the Five Types of SEO Services

SquareSpace SEO expert

When clients come to me for SEO services, very often their stories are the same. Does this sound like you?

You spent a lot of time and money on your website and yet, you have almost zero traffic. You look at your site, and you aren’t sure why.

The designer created professional graphics. Your images are on point; your copy reads well and describes your products. Yet…you wait. You built this site, and hardly anyone is coming.

You talk to your friends and business colleagues. They recommend you have your website optimized for search engines (SEO).

However, it is expensive. And you read or hear some bad things about SEO. It seems a bit “woo woo”.

In this post, I am going to tell you what SEO does for your site. I will describe what types of services to expect when you purchase SEO services.

Furthermore, I’m going to explain the primary SEO service areas an SEO firm and analyst identifies and implements.

Last, I’m going to explain why SEO has a reputation for being a bit woo-woo. Be sure to look around before you settle on an SEO firm.

Know What SEO Does for Your Website and Business

Optimizing your site for search engines means you are more likely to get found online by customers or clients. When applied properly, it means those same clients or customers will have a pleasant experience on your website.

Increased traffic to your site plus a better experience on your website means you sell more products and gain more clients. Thus, you increase your profits.

SEO is one of those services that are an expensive outlay initially, but when done properly you will receive a 100% return on your investment if you implement the recommendations and strategies consistently.

Understand the 5 SEO Service Areas and Tasks

When I apply SEO, I go through a checklist contained within five primary tasks: strategy and research; a technical site review; on-page SEO; off-site SEO; and maintenance and monthly reporting.

I’ll explain what each of these means below.

Tip: if you cannot afford anything else, at least go through a technical site review and on-page SEO, built on a foundation of strategy and research.

Strategy and Research SEO Services

This is the foundation upon which the rest of your SEO services will be built. These SEO tasks consist of keyword research and analysis, and competitive analysis.

During this portion of the process, your SEO provider will assess your current keyword usage and research your website’s current traffic and other website statistics.

The person will research new keywords for your website, products, or services. They will analyze your competitors’ keywords and website.

Then they identify link-building opportunities for your brand, business, and products; and, examine your website’s data to understand the current state of your site online.

Last, but not least, your SEO provider determines what they can do to improve your website’s search engine results rankings. They run tests on the site using software and a human being reviews the site page-by-page.

Technical Site Review and Implementation SEO Services

This set of tasks consists of an entire site review to ensure all technical aspects of the site have been honed as much as possible.

The technical portion is still the most important factor when search engines crawl your site. If you are not fast, you will have challenges ranking well in search engine results.

During this phase your SEO provider will review your website for broken links, load speed, page size, mobile-friendliness, crawl errors, and any other latent technical issues.

Most companies run these tests with software. When I implement this portion of my SEO services, I also examine the site and results to determine the accuracy of the software tests.

I want to find solutions to the problems, as sometimes the identified “problem” is the effect of another problem that is actually the one that must be solved.

That means, you have to examine the problem, and figure out the root cause. These tests review what search engine crawlers “see”.

They don’t always identify the true cause. That part can take a human being looking at the site.

On-site SEO Description

This portion is the front-end website work. The technical optimization is the “back-end” work.

This portion of your SEO services determines the current state of the website as viewed by humans, mostly, and somewhat, by crawlers.

Your provider will look at text, images, and the overall look and feel of the site.

That is, the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)), navigation, footers, the blog, brand look and feel, image optimization, and ALT tag descriptions, title tags, Meta descriptions, etc.

This portion of the service integrates the early keyword and competitive research, and applies it to your web page.

This ensures consistency of keyword usage within a page so that both a person and a human being seeing the page can understand the content and purpose of the page.

Off-page SEO Description

Once your SEO provider has your website in good order technically and visually, it is time to build up links from other websites to your site.

The goals involved with this service include checking backlinks and developing strategies to build links to the site, and then implement those strategies.

The best rankings in search engine results develop out of organic link building. What does that mean?

That means you want people to love your site/products/ services so much that they blog about them and link to you. Or else, you receive press coverage or other links to your site via prominent websites.

Think of this as the PR portion of your business marketing. Best of all, it’s free!

In addition, your SEO provider will examine which social media are the most relevant for your brand and business by researching and understanding your target demographic.

This ensures you have a presence where your clients spend time online. Off-page SEO services ensure your social media strategies integrate with your website to create a common identity for the business.

Maintenance and Monthly Reporting Description

Every website needs some kind of monthly maintenance. The first few months after a launch, and after initial on-site SEO, are crucial to the long-term success of the site.

You want to be able to gauge how your current keywords, products, copy, and other aspects of the website do and do not appeal to your target demographic.

While monthly maintenance is not a computer-generated report with no analysis, the most basic maintenance you want to do is to check your website stats once a month.

In addition, assessing what traffic is gaining traction can provide ideas on how to engage your target demographic further with additional blog posts, off-site SEO, and on-page products and offered services.

Another advantage to monthly maintenance is that it keeps your website up-to-date, not just with platform and plugin updates, but also search engine algorithm changes.

The type of monthly maintenance service you may require will vary according to your unique needs, but they may include creating an ad campaign and setting monthly goals for it.

You may also decide to set monthly goals for Google Analytics metrics and a strategy for how you will achieve them. You may include other goals as time and results determine your needs.

Be Careful: Buyer Beware with SEO Services

No legitimate SEO company can promise to rank a client above the fold. There are many reasons for this. First, SEO companies do not control the search engines or their algorithms.

Second, search companies like Google have made recent changes to the layout and design of their search results pages. The top of the fold not goes to paid advertisements or maps showing local businesses that offer that services.

Third, the top search engine results go to sites like Yelp, FindLaw, Angie’s List or other aggregated sites, but not to individual businesses. That is not to say you cannot rank in the top three.

It is not impossible, it is simply harder than it was a few years ago.

Last, people use mobile phones for about 50% of search now, and many times they are not using browsers to search for information. They are searching within apps.

This means that your business has to have an online presence beyond your website. You may have to list yourself within social media applications in order to increase your presence to your target demographic.

What a legitimate SEO business can guarantee you is that you will be happy with the results. If not, within a pre-established time frame, they will make those changes.

In addition, their recommendations and implementations will increase your traffic and improve your rankings (even if you do not get to the top three).

Last, their SEO work should mean search engines never penalize your site. That is, they do not implement “black hat” practices.

Find the Right SEO Company

You want to find the right combination of price point and experience. If you pay too little, then you will not have enough work done and your SEO work will be incomplete or shoddy.

Then your SEO services will fail you, and you will have wasted your money.

If you pay too much, then you may be paying for the name of a particular firm, and not just for the quality of services and results.

My advice is to do your research–as you are now by reading this post–and figure out what SEO work you do need to have done and how much that should cost you.

Shop around, and ask questions before you settle on a person or a firm.

If you would like to work with me to get found online, please review my SEO services.

I previously published this post on bounce rates as a guest blogger on AskYvi.com on 18 August 2016.

Understand the Five Types of SEO Services

SEO Checklist 100 Steps to Get Found Online

Squarespace SEO checklist

An SEO Checklist is a great way to keep track of what you have done and what you need to do. You can use one as you improve your search results, drive traffic to your website, and get found online.

We have taken our years of experience and put them into a 10 page document with a 100 step checklist that is yours to keep.

Our goal is to help you better understand the SEO process when you buy SEO services. Furthermore, we want to help you fully implement your DIY SEO on your website, social media, and digital marketing.

Download your free 100 step SEO checklist template here.

Every client has unique needs for their SEO project. Each SEO project is slightly different.

Yet we believe you will find our checklist useful as a guide to help you navigate what areas you should cover when evaluating your own SEO.

We have included definitions of the different types of search engine optimization: Keyword Strategy and Competitive Analysis; Technical Site Audit, On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Maintenance.

We have included the steps required before beginning the project. The tasks we do when we carry out a full site audit. And finally, our project wrap-up steps.

Good luck, and if you have any questions, please contact us. If you would like to learn more about SEO, please review Moz’s excellent beginner’s guide to SEO.

If the idea of implementing your own SEO makes you want to build a pillow fort and hide from the world, please review our in-depth SEO Services page.

We have a short PDF that describes our pricing and services, if you would like a “just the facts” page to skim over.

SEO checklist 100 simple steps to get found online

Bounce Rates High on Your Website? Check Four Things

Affordable SEO services firm

You put your heart and soul into designing a beautiful website. You have colorful images. Your text is perfect. The right tone, the right words, the right amount of description. You carefully perfect each blog post. But your analytics show your bounce rate is high and your user engagement is low.

Why? You wonder.

There are two possible reasons. Your site layout – your navigation – may not be intuitive. The second, could be your page load time. When people visit your site, they have to wait.

And they decide the wait isn’t worth it.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about one possible culprit for slow load times: image sizes. It is a simple problem that is easy to fix.

We have so many factors to consider when building a website. Content. Layout. Overall look and feel. Which images to use. The amount of time available to pull the site together. These are just a few.

It is tempting to cut corners. When it comes to image optimization, don’t cut that corner. Image optimization is so important if you wish to cut bounce rates.

Today, I’m going to walk you through the steps of what you need to do when you use an image and upload it to WordPress.

First, make sure you have a plugin that compresses images upon upload. TinyPNG and WPSmush are two great ones to use.

Second, let’s say you download a photo from Unsplash. The first thing you need to do is resize it.

If you are going to use it as a Featured Image, WordPress recommends 1038x630px for length and width. You can do this in any general image or photo software. Save it.

Change the file name to include keywords. Save it again.

So, from this:

  • photo-1429051883746-afd9d56fbdaf.jpg

to this:

  • negative-space-unsplash-photo-1429051883746-afd9d56fbdaf.jpg.

In the latter example, I added the author’s name, the name of the photo archive, and then left the file name and number. You can also add in keywords such as “surfing” or “beach” to the file name to aid in SEO.

Do not keyword stuff in the file title. Just don’t do it.

Third, upload that photo to TinyPNG.com and compress it. Yes, compress the photo before you upload it to WordPress, even when you have an image compression plugin.

Why? You want to make it as small as possible in terms of length, width, and file size before you upload it. This reduces any chance of the image creating drag on your web pages.

Next, download the photo from TinyPNG, and pload the image to WordPress. Let the plugin compress the file again, if needed.

Next, attach it to your post or page. Be sure to add descriptive information to the title and the ALT tag area when you upload it to the media area.

File compression is so simple to do, and it will make a huge difference in a user’s experience on your page.

I’ve seen load speeds reduced by ½ to 2/3 — that is, 9 seconds to load down to 3 seconds — simply by compressing the image by length, width, and file size before uploading.

Last, but not least, is the file extension type. Logos are great; those should be PNG files. But for most other files? Use JPEGS.

If you use PNG files, it will slow down your site and reduce the user experience. Use JPEGs as much as possible.

SEO matters. Get your bounce rates down.

Just do it. Build a great website.

Sometimes you will find large gains from making small changes.

When you pay attention to the little, simple details, like image size, you will see the results in reduced bounce rates and improved online organic rankings.

What small improvements can you make today to improve your website and the user’s experience on your site?

If you would like to work with me to get found online, please review my SEO services. I previously published this post on bounce rates as a guest blogger on AskYvi.com on 30 June 2016.

Bounce Rates High on Your Website? Check Four Things

SEO Bundle Limited Time Offer—Get Found Online

Small Business SEO package

Why would you want an SEO bundle?

  • Most of all, you want to have increased sales with higher profit levels.
  • Seems like you want someone who understands your needs as a small business owner, your customers’ and clients’ digital needs, and how best to organize your digital information, on and off-web.
  • Because you want to get your business found online so you can increase your website traffic.
  • Furthermore, your websites rankings need to improve, and you need to figure out a long-term online strategy.

You’ve come to the right place, because I can and will get you found online.

What’s Included in This Limited Time Offer SEO Bundle

small business SEO service

I created this SEO bundle for small business owners like you. I offer a clarity call, an SEO audit and implementation. In addition, I offer two hours of one-on-one coaching. The bundle is available for three different sizes of websites.

In addition, the implementation includes keyword strategy and research, technical SEO, on-page optimization, and off-site/digital strategy. We do not include maintenance in this package.

Because this very special promotion ends October 3rd, 2016 and has a limit of 5 spots, contact us today.

Does this sound like a package you’d love? You bet it is especially relevant to your small business. Go here to learn more about what’s included and pricing.

Take Advantage of My SEO Bundle and Get Found Online

Call (919) 265-3755 or contact me online today. If you would like to read more about my SEO consulting, please review my services page.

Small business SEO bundle for creatives