SEO Basics: Where to Start
SEO can be confusing if you don’t understand how it works or why it’s important, and Kyle shares his tips for people who want to learn the basics so they can work on their websites, or start to optimize their posts.
Kyle gives tips on the best place to start when looking at SEO.
The most confusing thing that people come to us and ask us about when we’re talking to prospects is SEO.
Although, LinkedIn marketing, social media marketing, stuff like that, B2B businesses is coming to us and asking us what should they do because they’ve heard all these different things, that would be number two.
Number one, SEO. So in this video we’re just going to talk about the basics, high level. We’re not going to get into the weeds. We can do that on a separate video and talk the nerd talk for you. Talking about tags, and the coding that goes behind it, but strictly the basics, there’s two main sections of SEO. There’s on page or on site, and off page or off site. So what do those mean?
On page, on site is what’s on your website. That’s what a developer has to code into it. So it’s your meta title, your meta description, H tags, and all the stuff that goes into the website. A lot of times when people hire agencies to redo their website, they don’t actually perform and optimize the website with their on page SEO.
So the meta title and meta description, how do you know what yours is? Without coming to an agency like ours or going to an agency and asking for an audit, which sometimes you have to pay for, sometimes you get for free. Without looking, go to your website, and at the tab of your browser, if you hover over it, you’re going to see words there. That’s your meta title. Most companies will have things where it says home dash and then the company name or it will say something that they do, whether it’s a service or a product. It’ll use that phrase and then it’ll say dash, the company name. The ones that are doing it right, it will be a long phrase with multiple themes built into it.
So you can go to any page of your website, click on that page and then look in the tab, and you could do the same thing for your competitors, and we’ll get into that.
The meta title is basically you’re telling Google, “This is what the keyword phrases that you’re trying to go after for that page of your website.” You want your home page to be the highest level, theme or something more general and then each of your internal pages is ranking for a specific keyword, theme, or phrase that’s supporting it and relevant, but it’s more of a niche into that specific product or service. So you need to look at your meta titles to see if you want to just glance at it, you can know roughly, this is very rough, how is your on page SEO.
Another trick that we often tell people is, if you go into Google, go into the Google, and type in “SITE” and then colon and put your URL. So if your URL is ABCcompany.com you just put, SITE:ABCcompany.com and hit search.
What that’s going to do is it’s going to bring up all the results of all the pages that are indexed with Google and when you’re looking through those indexed pages, it’s roughly going to show you if somebody searched for that keyword theme and that page shows up in the results, this is roughly what it’s going to look like.
You’re going to see your meta title, right below that is going to be your description, you’re going to be able to see if it’s optimized, you’re going to be able to see if there’s a dot, dot, dot which means that there’s too much text there, and you’ll be able to go through your pages and you can quickly see is your “about us” page, does it say, “About us,” or does it say something like manufacturing services specialist, dash your company name, or manufacturing service specialist in the northeast, or whatever it is that you do. You don’t want things to be: who we are, about us, what we do, our company, contact us. You don’t want it to say that.
If it does say that, then you need to optimize your on page SEO. So that’s one aspect of it. Just to get a quick glance, you can go to our site. We’ve got a free audit tool that can give you a rough idea. It’s just done really quick, shows it on the screen. Or if you want to shoot us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, we can run an audit at a very high level, just to give you an idea. But doing it yourself, do that, check that out.
The off page or off site side of SEO is basically when you create content and you’re creating back-links from other companies that are linking back to your website, that is off of your site. So if you can find an influencer, or a publisher, or somebody that’s got a high domain authority site, ideally somebody like Forbes, which is very difficult to get onto, but think that type of level. If they’re linking back to you, they’re telling Google that they trust you, therefore Google’s going to look at your site and start ranking your pages higher.
Now back-linking has been something that back 10 years ago, people use to just back-link the hell out of their website to all of these different social channels, all these forums and blog posts, and all sorts of crazy stuff and you would get thousands of back-links and that was a way to hack SEO. Google got smart to it, now you get penalized for that stuff. So you don’t want to go back-link crazy. If you talk to an SEO company, or a freelancer, or anybody that does [inaudible 00:05:43] and they say they’re going to create thousands of back-links every year for you and that’s going to drive you up, it may temporarily push you in the right direction, but then you will be penalized once Google catches up to it. So don’t go into the crazy back-link direction. Try and get high quality back-links from people relevant in your industry, articles, publications, things like that.
So now we know what the SEO is, on page on site, off page off site. Now we’re going to look at: How do you also look at what is your current organic rankings and positions? One thing you can do, come to an agency like ours. We have tools that are at our disposal so we can look at: what is your current organic traffic, how much you get in a month, how are they getting there, what are the key words and themes. We can do that for you. If you wanted to look, if you know Google Analytics I’m sure most companies are going to have it set up on their site. Go into your Google Analytics account, do a YouTube search and try and figure out your organic traffic. There’s tons of videos out there that will show you exactly where you should go on Google Analytics, but that’s where you’re going to want to go. You want to see how much monthly traffic are you getting to your site. If it’s 200 people a month that are coming to your site out of 1000 total traffic, that means organic SEO is contributing 20% of your total monthly traffic.
Now if you want to look at your competitors, you’re not going to be able to do that on your own. You have to come to an agency like ours where we can have the tools to do that, and we can basically, with all of our clients, when we talk to them in the beginning, we ask them: Who are their top five competitors from two standpoints. Because there’s two types of competition. There’s one, the people that you compete with on a project, service, price, whatever. You come across them, you’re going after one customer, so are they. You hear their name. That’s one level of competition.
The other side of competition is with Google and search. So even though you may never compete with when somebody searches the service that you offer, or the product, you may never physically compete with them person that’s above you or right below you, but you are competing from a search standpoint. You may not hear their name, but in Google’s eyes you are competing. So you want to break out those two levels of competition, reverse-engineer your own service or product, and search for what you think it is that people would search for, look at those rankings of who’s coming up, go to those competitor’s websites, look at their meta title and description and hover on the tab, do a site colon URL search for them, see how they have their stuff set up, and you can start to see that if they’re in the top positions and it’s a highly sought after keyword or it’s more than a few hundred searches a month in the US, then they probably have their stuff together and it’s probably organized somewhat correctly. So it’s one way for you to look at the competition and then you don’t need to reinvent this wheel, just look at the way that they did it and start to think how you can do it similarly. Don’t directly copy them, but do it similarly because they’re probably onto something.
What we’re able to with competition is rip all the skeletons out of the closet. We can tell you: what percentage of their organic traffic goes into their site, what is the position, what is the phrase, what is the theme they’re going after. We can provide all that to you in an audit, and most agencies can do that. So if you want an in-depth look, go down that path, but if not just do the quick search.
Once you’ve figured out that competition, you start to see the phrases, the themes that they’re going after, now you’re going to want to try and figure out your own keyword themes and phrases. So what you think you might search and put into Google to search for may not be what somebody else is. So you can’t put your own mindset into it too strongly, and you can’t ask three people what they would search for and just take that as what everybody would be doing. So what you want to do is start typing into the search of what you think the phrase would be. Before you hit enter, look at what the suggested searches are. Google shows it, it’s going to be some sort of drop-down. Those are things that are frequently searched for. I’m not saying that those things are 10000 searches a month, but those are just things that are more frequently that whatever it is that you’re typing in where Google’s trying to say, “This is what I think that you’re doing.” That’s one way to look at some themes and phrases that you could be going after. Or after you do search, scroll all the way down to the bottom, below the bottom ads on every Google search you will see other suggested keyword phrases. Those are other things that Google knows people search for whatever you search for, here’s other things that they search for as well.
So you can start to develop this idea of: What should your keyword, themes, and phrases be? Don’t look at it from just a high-level overview of, “This is my service that I do.” You have to break down each service individually, you have to have a page for each of your services, and then search for those services individually and figure out your themes and phrases for each of those pages.
In yesterday’s video we talked about distributing out content, but let’s reverse that back and think about: How do you come up with those titles, or themes, or the ideas behind what is that piece of content that you’re going to write for? So there’s basically two areas that we break this into. Is that there’s high-value content that you’re going to deliver to your target demographic. These are things that they’re going to want to really engage on and read. On the flip side of it, there’s things that people search for that have a high SEO value that will give you rankings, and positions, and juice to push towards your site that may be that influencer, decision maker would think that that article or that piece of content is below them or is too low-level, or you may think that it’s not valuable to them. But from an SEO standpoint it is extremely valuable. So when you’re thinking about topics, think about the basics of what is this, how do you do that, and think very, very basic. That should be one category of content.
Then think, “What is the most value that I can give to this customer, to this potential customer, to my target demographic. What type of content would really … They can take it right now, do something right now,” and it’s at a very niche level. That’s another column of your content. What you want to do is blend those two together, and you want to play hop scotch with them to where it’s back and forth where you’re doing a piece that highly targeted and valuable and a piece that’s more focused on SEO. Do that back and forth throughout the months, and do the consistency like we talked about yesterday, and rinse and repeat. That’ll give you that well balanced plan to where you’re pushing on SEO, but then you’re also delivering good content. If you’ve done the first steps that we’ve talked about here and you’ve made those changes to your site and looked at it, then you can really start to push SEO further along and have it actually work for your to where you’ve got organic traffic, people are searching for what you do, and then they come to your site.
Now whether or not your site sucks once they get there, that’s a whole different other story. But the first step is identifying the traffic, making sure that you understand what it is that they’re trying to go after, and bringing them into your funnel.
So now I’ve given you the basics of how SEO works. So now you got to take this information and go do something with it instead of procrastinating. If you like the video, hit that like button. See you on the next one.
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Kyle Milan is a well accomplished sales and marketing professional with over 14 years in the B2B space. He is the CEO of 5 Fold Agency and a Sales and Marketing Strategy & Social Media Marketing expert. He has published several articles at major news media outlets on various topics of; Inbound Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing & Advertising, Industrial Marketing, Manufacturing Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.