Friday, May 25, 2012

SEO - in Plain English

I have been trying to learn about search engine optimization (SEO) for longer than I care to admit. However, it seems like all of the mounds of information that I dig up online are always written in some foreign language that I can barely understand and the possiblity of applying it... well, there isn't one.

Until now!

At the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference I attended an amazing workshop with Megan Breedlove who's website in #1 on Google for her keywords, and I finally had SEO explained to me in a way that I understood and feel like I can put into action. So I wanted to take what I have learned and share it with you (after all, my mission is helping other authors!).

Drive 'Em to Your Site: 
(my notes from Megan Breedlove's workshop at CCWC)

The first thing that you need to make sure of is that your site is designed to meet peoples needs - otherwise, they simply won't care what you have to offer and will click away. You have roughly 5 seconds to meet their need before they decide to look elsewhere.

  • Men are more likely to stay on a site because of the information provided - so if your target audience is men, you will want to be as informative as possible as quickly as possible.
  • Women are more likely to stay on a site because they feel a connection - if your target audience is women, you will want to make sure that you connect with your audience as quickly as possible.
To put this into practice, you will want to identify your target audience and their needs. Then identify how they will want to connect with you - are they looking for an expert or a peer? 
  • Expert - someone with superior knowledge that can help them solve their problems or explain something to them.
  • Peer - someone who is going through, or has gone through, the same thing/s that they are going through. Someone open, honest, and real.
The Technical Side

There are two important techincal things that you will want to do to optimize your site. 
  1. Read Google SEO Guide - This guide won't give away any secrets, but it will give you a firmer grasp of SEO and the basic knowledge you need to get started.
  2. Submit Your XML Site Map - I'll blog more on this after I actually do it.
Identify Key Search Terms:
  1. If you haven't already, write down who your target audience is. Narrow it down as much as you can, and then make a list of the needs that they have that you will meet. - Please note that they won't be looking to find out what they need, they already know. You just have to identify the needs that they already have.
  2. Write down a list of possible search terms that they might use when looking to have those needs met.
  3. Use Google's Keyword Tool to identify which terms are searched for the most often, and will be the most effective to optimize your site for. - Keep this list small. You cannot effectively optimize your site for a dozen keywords. Start with one or two.
  4. Use Google Analytics to find out where your current traffic is coming from, what search terms have been used to find your site, and to analyse whether the majority of your visitors are unique or returning. This information should help you figure out where you are, give you a better idea of where you want to go, and let you know what you need to change.
  5. It's time to start adding in the keywords. You want your keywords to be in your website, page and post titles, subtitles and headings. The web-crawlers - or spiders - love repetition. The more you can use your keywords, the higher they will rank you. Just keep in mind that ultimately you are making this website for people, not robots, so don't get too carried away.
The Skinny on SEO:

When all is said and done, SEO isn't just one thing. Here is a list of things that all work together to optimize your site:
  • Whether or not you are meeting the needs of your websites visitors
  • Whether or not you continue to meet their needs
  • Keywords
  • How often your homepage is updated - keep it fresh changing links, content, etc. monthly
  • How often your website content is updated - updating content weekly gives you a boost
  • Linkbacks - having other people link to your site is the #1 way to raise your Google ranking
  • Website contents - be sure to include contact info and an about you section
  • Google SEO and XML site map

Do you feel better about SEO? I know I do!



-On a side note: I just finished writing a book about book marketing and I am looking for some people to review it for me. If you're interested let me know, and I'll get you a free PDF copy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The main reason I write is to help other authors. I would love your feedback or suggestions for future posts or devotions. You can leave a public comment here, or use my contact form to send me a private message.