How To Do Effective SEO For FREE In 2019

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  1. What Is SEO
  2. Optimizing Your Website For Speed
  3. Competition Analysis (Keyword Research)
  4. Driving SEO Through Content
  5. Backlinking
  6. Tracking

Introduction

Search engine optimization may seem like a complicated unknown world, but there are ways you can get ahead of the competition without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re writing blog posts to get into Google, trying to attract new customers and buyers, or interested in the technical element of your business website, below are some simple tips and tricks which cost nothing.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of analysing and correcting a website in order to make it rank higher on search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo). Google’s algorithms are constantly changing, looking to provide searchers with the best experience possible. Google has been for some time now describing this experience as one where the user stays for a while on your site, navigate, and click.

A myriad of different factors go into what order Google displays results on its search-page. They’re ever changing and that is one of the reasons why SEO is confusing in the first place. You might look up “how to increase my SEO” and get all results on the first-page saying a completely different thing. To simplify this, let us think about user-experience. In order to improve your search-engine ranking you must optimize your site to provide a good user experience. 

Before you start, add your website as a new property to Google Search Console. This tool will let you monitor first-hand information about your site’s visibility on Google. There is a variety of tools, such as the performance summary (below), which will help you understand how searching users interact with your site. For more information on how to use the Google Search Console, click here.

Google Search Console Screenshot

Optimizing Your Website for Speed

The absolute first thing any web developer has to concern themselves when tackling SEO is site-speed. Search engines want to provide the user with the most helpful results, and if a website takes more than five seconds to load three images, that is not considered a helpful result. It is one of the many ways you can get a bounce.

Bounces are when a user goes into a website through Google, and within seconds goes back to the search-engine. Bounce rate is a metric used by search-engines to determine whether users have a lasting experience on a website. If your site isn’t properly functional, if the pages take too long to load, or if the content is crammed with ads and spam, you’ll have a tough job ranking highly since you will probably have a high bounce rate. The analysis below was provided by the free MonsterInsights WordPress plugin, but you can also get similar results through Google Analytics

Monster Analytics Screenshot

Often, large load-times occur because of big images taking too long to download. If this is your case, we know how we can help you out! To fix these and learn more about how to use images for SEO, go to our article: Using Images In WordPress.

Now that we understand what the bounce rate is, we should attempt to minimize it. GTMetrix is a free but powerful tool which combines an assortment of performance-measuring tools to give you an excellent rundown of how fast your website is loading. It will give you recommendations with comprehensive guides to how you can carry these out.

GTMetrix Screenshot

Often, large load-times occur because of big images taking too long to download. If this is your case, we know how we can help you out! To fix these and learn more about how to use images for SEO, go to our article: Using Images In WordPress.

Mobile Optimization

If you got your website through SignalBoost, your website will already be optimized for mobile. However, if you did not, there are tips on how to optimize your website for mobile here.

Competition Analysis (Keyword Research)

By now, you have probably heard of the use of keywords for SEO. Even though they were the most popular factor for SEO not too long ago, Google has shifted away from putting too much weight on keywords in an attempt to disarm SEO malpractice, where a page gets filled with target keywords making the page harder to read for search-engines. However, getting to know how people find your competition on Google can help you understand how to write your content.

For this stage there is only one free resource we have been able to find. Neil Patel’s Keyword Analyzer lets you input a web address (URL), and it outputs the top keywords this site is ranking in Google [we have whited out branded keywords]. Additionally they show you how difficult (SD column on image) it would be to attempt to rank for these keyphrases.

Neil Patel Keyword Research Screenshot

Once you have selected keyphrases from your competition, free tools such as Google Keyword Planner are perfect to compare how often people search for particular keywords and the way they phrase it. If you’re setting up a flower-shop, you can compare customer searches for ‘cheap flowers’ against ‘cheap roses’ or ‘white roses’ against ‘red roses’. You can also search questions, such as ‘where is my nearest florist’ or ‘how to buy roses’ to see what the most popular search terms are.

You should end up with around 10-20 keywords which all represent topics which are relevant to your business or page. We will now use these keywords to generate content for your website, which will in turn increase your SEO.

Click here to secure 10 high-impact target keywords derived from your competition for just $20 $59

Driving SEO Through Content

At this stage, you should know what keywords and phrases people are searching for so that you can brainstorm ideas for content. You can do more research and take a look at your competitors’ sites. How often do they post new content, how long are their blog posts or videos, and how is their content structured? This can give you some insight into what the market wants to read or watch.

There are many different ways you can produce content. Simple product landing pages are a great way to build up authority on a keyword, while blog posts create an opportunity for regular, longer-form articles. Blog posts tend to be much more engaging, they are more shareable on social media, and you can link back to products and useful sources within them to maintain that search engine authority. Try to ensure your blog posts are a reasonable length, between 800-2,000 words, as a short blog post may be lacking in detail and, therefore, doesn’t carry much authority. 

Other types of content are more serious news articles, the type which might appear on a publisher’s website or newspaper, which can be re-written from other sources and help your website stay up-to-date with current trends. Make posts easy-to-read and format them for the web. A general rule of thumb is that shorter paragraphs are easier for the user to absorb. Longer-form writing should be broken into sections, bullet points or sub-headers otherwise it can feel overwhelming. 

Listicles, such as ‘10 flowers to get your loved one this Valentine’s Day’ or ‘10 hacks to avoid spending too much on flowers’ are all user-friendly ways to break down longer forms of writing.

Not every piece of content you write needs to include every keyword. Writing about topics your audience is interested in will give your website added Google authority. Try to produce a new piece of content at least once a week and remember, you are writing primarily for your audience, not the search engines.

Backlinking

Creating great content is great, but it is only half the battle. Many other pages do intense keywording/content strategies and see only very few results from them. This is because your website is still an island, disconnected from the rest of the world. What you now need is domain authority.

What is domain authority? Simply put, it is a measure of how important search-engines make out your site to be. The more domain authority your website has, the more strongly search-engines consider your site for better rankings.

Linking reputable websites in your articles shows Google that you too are a reputable source, but where true domain authority comes from is reputable sources linking back to you. This is what is known as backlinking, and it is by far one of the most effective strategies for SEO. It is so effective that doing it for the sole purpose of ranking higher is known as “black-hat SEO” and is recognized as an illegitimate practice. Many companies online offer black-hat SEO, and it is easy to spot the annoying competitors who carry these dodgy practices forward. On the flip-side, we have white-hat SEO, which contains everything else we have talked about so far.

So, how are we going to get good backlinks without paying someone to link to our site through half-rate blog-posts? Partner up and collaborate! Work with people and businesses which are in similar industries to you. Write up articles together or for each-other. In this way you build a community around your online space. Collaboration is a massive part of backlinking for free. Once you build up a larger portfolio of content on your website, you can start to link to your own original content too, which shows Google that you’re providing a good user experience and a platform of reputable information.

Tracking Results

You’ve taken all that time to research SEO, your competition, and a strategy for the content you produce, but if you don’t track its success, how can you continue to learn what works and improve? There are many metrics you can track on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to keep your SEO plan on track and measure your success.

Using Google Analytics, the metrics to keep an eye on are the number of visits a page gets, the bounce rate, dwell time (or time spent on site), and click through rate. Remember that Google’s crawlers are constantly frequenting your site so if it sees regular, original, new content, it will boost your ranking and authority.

Free SEO Tracking

You can follow this Jeffalytics guide which will help you create a dashboard.

Google Analytics Screenshot

Paid SEO Tracking

Or you can let us take care of all the SEO Tracking on your site. Get 30%-off this product today with the coupon code SEO-ME at checkout.

In Summary

SEO is rapidly changing from one year to the next, but it’s still possible to give your business website the edge on your competition without spending a small fortune. Remember to focus on your audience, solid content creation, linking between content and the SEO health of your website. Also, remember to take some time out to take a look at the analytics and reflect on your work. Observe the things that produced success and the opportunities missed, and soon you’ll be expertly running SEO for your website.