If you have just discovered search engine optimisation and need a practical Step by Step SEO Process to boost your Google ranking, here is a detailed SEO guide for beginners.
Achieving the top rank on Google search can be difficult.
You have to use an effective SEO process.
Many businesses flounder in their attempt to achieve top rankings by following obsolete techniques and ignoring proper SEO processes.
The Google Search Algorithm Is Rapidly Becoming More Intelligent
Trying to keep up with Google is like trying to get hold of a greasy pig!
Yes it’s possible but it’s damned difficult! And you can get into a huge mess wrestling that pig!
SEO experts around the globe spend hours every day reading material online, following Facebook Groups, talking to colleagues and endlessly testing, just to keep up.
Because if they don’t, getting their sites ranked becomes more and more out of reach.
In the good old bad old days of say, five years ago, achieving top rankings for your site was a walk in the park.
Five plus years ago, it was all about quantity over quality.
Keyword stuffing, spun articles submitted to hundreds of dodgy directories, and a ton of spammy backlinks, was all it took to fool the search engines into believing you had a quality website.
However, change is the only constant!
Today these black-hat strategies don’t cut it.
You can get away with these tactics, which are against Google’s terms of service, for a short while, but rest assured Google will catch up with you and your page 1 rankings (and traffic to your website) will be gone, possibly never to return.
Google is continuously changing its algorithm – some say up to 500 times annually – with major updates occurring 3 to 4 times per year.
For more information on Google algorithm updates check out the Moz website.
Given all of thus, how does a business or a webmaster approach the task of getting more online visibility for their websites?
The Conventional Step By Step SEO Process
Step 1: Keyword Research
Step 2: Competitor Research
Step 3: SEO Audit
Step 4: On-Page SEO Optimisation
Step 5: Off-Page Optimisation
Step 6: Assess Results: Rankings and Traffic
Step 1: Start with Keyword Research
Keyword research is a critical piece of the SEO process.
You need to figure out what people are searching for online. Where are they at in their “buying cycle”? The buying cycle is generally broken down into the following steps…
- realising you have a problem/need;
- consider your options – researching several possible solutions;
- making a decision on the best solution
- purchasing that solution
- review the purchase and possibly purchase again
Any keyword research should start with a seed keyword or a root keyword. Look at the products and servies that you are proving and start there.
Currently, there is a variety of freemium and premium tools that assist in keyword research. A site that SEO agencies love to use these days is ahrefs.com – they have a 7 day trial for just $7 that you van take advantage of.
Once you’ve registered for your trial;
- Go to “Keywords Explorer” in the top navigation
- Enter your “seed” keyword into the search box. If your a plumber, your seed word might be plumber, plumbing, blocked drains or dome other service you provide
- Select the country your website is targeting
- Click enter
Be aware that this is only one way of doing keyword research and there are other tools out there for the more advanced among you. Some of these tools/methods are;
- Google auto complete
- “Stealing” your competitors keywords
- Google’s keyword planner
- Using tools such as SEMRush – KeywordTool.io
- Google Search Console
- Google Trends
Step 2: Website Audit and Competition Analysis
After completing your keyword research, proceed to conduct a website review and competition analysis.
A website audit is vital since it helps in formulating a catalogue of off-page and on-page activities.
Honestly, an in-depth website review and evaluation is a challenging task if you are not familiar with the core principles of SEO, the methods Google uses to rank pages and ranking determinants.
There are a ton of website auditing tools on the market.
A good free tool is My Site Auditor where you can get a free 10 day trial which is all the time you’ll need to put your website through its paces.
If you use Google Chrome there is a great extension called Woorank’s SEO & Website Analysis Tool, which will give you a heap of handy suggestions about site improvements you can make.
In the keyword research section above, we mentioned ahrefs.com – this is an excellent tool for seeing what your competitors are up to. You can find out a lot about your competitors – for instance;
- Backlinks and Referring Domains
- Top Pages
- Keywords they are ranking for
- Anchor text they are using on their backlinks
You can also learn a lot about your competitors website by just looking at them!
For instance, how many pages do they have, what topics are they covering, how many words are they using, do they blog regularly, etc, etc?
Step 3: Site Optimisation or On-Page Optimisation
The Google search algorithm is growing into a super intelligent tool as mentioned earlier. Many people still believe that adding their keywords everywhere will work.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
On-Page optimisation considerations and advice
- Write original and helpful content
- Do not use keywords aimlessly. Instead, focus on providing quality and insightful material.
- Use short URLs
- Add your keyword where possible to the URL, the page title, meta title and meta description
- Site architecture and URL structure play a significant role. The simpler the better. A rule of thumb is that your pages and posts should be reachable within 2 clicks.
- Load times on your site should be fast. This is now a significant part of the Google algorithm. At the very minimum aim for a load speed of less than 3 seconds.
- Your site must be mobile friendly on all devices. This too is baked into the current algorithm these days. Check your site here.
- Regularly add new content to your site and refresh your old content.
Step 4: Building links or Off Page Optimization
Backlinks are crucial in ranking websites and enhancing trust.
However, you must be selective on the links you use. Work towards having relevant links from authority websites with great content. Building links from low-quality websites with poor quality content will not lead to improved rankings.
Some easy back-linking ideas you can try;
- Local and niche business directories
- Posting on niche relevant forums
- Commenting on niche relevant blogs
- Responding with your content on question and answer sites like Quora.
- Set up a Youtube channel and add your videos.
- Set up Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram pages for your website and post regularly
- Set up a Google My Business account and post regularly.
Step 5: Track Ranking and Adding New Content.
SEO is an on-going process, not a one-time activity like many people think.
Every time you take a critical look at a website, you will see something that can be improved.
Some of the things you can work on include;
- Is the content up-to-date and relevant?
- Does the content cover the topic in detail?
- Is the spelling and grammar perfect.
- Does everything work? Test your links, contact forms and make sure all mentions of your phone number are clickable on mobile devices.
- Content gaps. When you compare your site to a competitor’s, are there any topics that you haven’t written about?
Failure to refresh your content regularly or monitor your ranking may lead to a loss of ranking over time.
Tracking your website’s ranking can be performed using free tools such as Google Search Console. Other options include SERPWatcher where you can get a free 10 day trial and we already mentioned ahrefs.com – they also offer a keyword tracking tool.
Step By Step SEO Process: Conclusion
SEO is sophisticated and needs ongoing application. To maintain the ranking of your site or your blog, you must improve and enhance your knowledge continuously.
If you haven’t got the time to implement this simple step by step SEO process please contact us – you can fill in our form here or call on 1300 885 487