Everything you need to know to appear at the top of search results
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation – in simple terms it means optimising your content, so it appears higher in search results. There are two main “types” of SEO you may hear referred to:
Black Hat (Bad)
Black Hat refers to SEO that focuses entirely on optimising your content for the search engine, not your audience.
This usually means keyword stuffing, duplicate content, invisible text etc. While this may make your content appear higher in search results, this is not readable for your audience.
White Hat (Good)
This is the proper way to do SEO – relevant links, proper labelling, relevant metadata and well-written content.
Compile a list of topics and information surrounding your business and industry. Use tools like the Google keyword planner to create a list of keywords surrounding those topics. You can also simply search the first part of a keyword and see what the top results are. Keyword Surfer is a nice extension that shows you relevant keywords directly in the search results. Exploding topics is a site like google trends, but better, so use it to see how word usage changes over time. You can easily find surprising trends here to create content around. You can also find keywords by searching a basic topic in Wikipedia, then choosing keywords from the contents section.
Research related terms can be found in Google search, use these to inspire later content. Fit these in a way that reads naturally. Keyword stuffing may be good for SEO, but awful for readability and reputation. Choose the right keywords for the audience you want to attract. Using keywords like ‘free’ will attract audience not looking to spend, so will be useless to you if you provide an expensive service. Intent is everything. Make sure the words you use match up the intent of the user with the actual purpose of your content. Make sure your content gives the searcher what they are really looking for.
Content must be of high quality and value to your audience. Keep your content fresh. Your content should be ‘new’, this means either uploading new content regularly (every week) or updated your older content regularly. As I said before, make your content relevant without keyword stuffing.
Metadata is a few lines of code you can add to the header of your website code (Most web creation tools like Wix and WordPress make this more user friendly with text boxes). Metadata allows you to change the title of each page, as it appears in the tab, the description for each page, and change the details shown when you link to your site on social media.
Here's what this looks like on Wix for my site:
Here are some templates for different meta tags you should include on your site:
<meta name="keywords" content="Enter Keywords here."/>
View Port (Make the site scale with the device size)
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1"/>
Twitter card (the image link that shows up when you share on twitter)
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image"/>
Twitter Site (Handle)
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@yourhandle"/>
Twitter Site (Creators handle, so your personal handle)
<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@yourhandle"/>
Title of the page
<meta name="twitter:title" content="Your title | Summary of services"/>
Description of the page
<meta name="twitter:description" content="Your description."/>
Image for link
<meta name="twitter:image" content="Image url"/>
This is what a finished Twitter Card looks like, without this it will just appear as a link, which is less visual and harder to click for your audience.
Note: Your title meta tag should be the “name of your site | summary of services for SEO”. For example, mine is “Regal Marketing | Digital Marketing Services”
Also note: Your description should make use of some keywords while being easily readable and concise.
Once you have done all of these, put your site into woorank.com, it will give you a score and some fixes for anything you’ve missed, it’s free to use the first time, but you will need to sign up for a free 14 day trial to use it repeatedly.
Backlinks are links from other sites and sources to your site - the more the better, as your site will be more authoritative. However, the higher quality the site linking to yours is, the better. This is known as “Domain Authority”. Also, the more relevant the site linking to yours is to your industry and site, the better. For example, if I run a computer security firm, a link from Microsoft will be extremely valuable. A link from Coca Cola will be slightly less valuable, as they have high domain authority, but low relevance.
Use this to check the domain authority of any site.
Your own domain authority is determined by the age of your domain, the search volume, its social media mentions, link diversity and quality and number of links on your page. Get these up and your domain authority will rise.