SEO at times can seem like black magic.. Most non-developers think that its hard work, confusing, and even intimidating. Some web developers won’t even go near it. But if you do it, and get it right, you will get found in areas of Google searches. And everybody wants to win at being on the first page of the Google search engine results page (SERP).
When you have finished reading this post, you will have a clearer understanding of what SEO is, and that you can do it! Because you can! If you have a site developed on WordPress, a simple free plugin called Yoast SEO is making this easier day by day.
If you use WordPress or another content management service (CMS) software, there will be an option to produce a sitemap (usually sitemap.xml) just for Google. Do this, and submit it to Google from within Google Webmaster Tools. It’s very, very easy, and doing so is like inviting Google into your home (your website) and giving them the floor plans, blueprints, and furniture arrangements. And Google loves this.
Google created tools to help you use Google. Google wants to index your content, so they show you how. GWT is very easy and gives you fantastic information about your site and how Google sees your site. You must use GWT for your website. Warning – this can be technical to set up if you are not one of those nerdy/techy types.
Last year Google announced “Mobilegeddon” – whereby they started penalising websites that were not optimised for mobile devices. Fortunately, Google also provides a very simple tool to tell you in very short order if your site is mobile friendly or not. Click here and check it out for yourself. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you should fix that immediately. In fact, I would have a chat with your web developer to find out why it is not!
Google has also recently announced that secure web browsing will be a high priority in its search engine rankings. Google has stated very clearly that this ranking signal will start slow and pick up speed as they do more and more research into web security. If your website is anything other than a blog, you should get an SSL certificate and implement https, ASAP. Make sure your web developer installs it on all pages, not just a shopping page if you have a store.
The highest ranking signal in Google’s algorithm is “quality content,” and there simply is no substitute. What does that content look like? The clearest type of content is your blog, but there’s also video, audio, images, and user-created content like forums, comments on blog posts, and curated content (via RSS or social widgets). Content is king with Google, and there’s no end to the types of content you can create, curate, and publish. But remember the other word that goes along with content, quality. Google knows high-quality content from junk, and they will rank accordingly.
You got this far, so don’t give up! The hardest part of ranking high in SEO is the time it takes for your website’s reputation within the Google algorithm to catch up to your amazing expectations (and hard work!). It can take months. So keep persisting. It will be worth it and your SEO efforts will be rewarded by people finding your website.