My whole life I have been one of “those people”. You know who I’m talking about; the ones who prefer a physical day planner over a smartphone, the ones who still use pen and paper to take notes in school instead of laptop and who still uses a check book to balance their budget. Embarrassing, I know. Two important things happened in my life to help change my ways. First, I married a techie, a hardcore techie. Second, I got a job which consisted of throwing me headfirst into the amazing world of SEO.
About a year ago I applied for a writing position at a nearby company. All I knew before going into my interview was that they needed a writer. Lucky me, that’s what I had been pursuing in college. It wasn’t until I actually got the job that I heard the term SEO mentioned in a sentence. It was in that same sentence that I also learned it would be my responsibility and number one priority. I had no clue what it was or even what it dealt with. My husband is the computer techie, not me.
I figured it must be some kind of techie phrase only known to the “geek community”. My boss kindly led me to SEOmoz and other such blogs where I was able to do plenty of research about this mysterious SEO. Much to my surprise, it’s not as mysterious as I thought it was. (Honestly I was a little bummed, I was looking forward to learning a secret SEO handshake.)
Even after learning about SEO, I thought I would always have to go into an elaborate explanation about what SEO was whenever someone asked me what I did. The reality is that most people not only know exactly what I’m talking about but they have dabbled in it a little bit themselves. It’s everywhere. It influences everything. It helps determine where people shop, what people read, where people go and even why you buy something or go to that specific restaurant rather than the other one done the street. It affects everyone in some way whether they have heard of it or not.
Once I began to understand how important SEO is, I realized I needed to expand my knowledge even farther. The number one thing I have learned so far is that this line of work is very intimidating. There are people out there blogging that have been doing this from the beginning. There are even people out there who have started more recently and yet they took to it like a bird in flight. You know who I’m talking about, the gurus that redefine how it works and who are constantly figuring out new and improved techniques. They are the ones that are changing the industry while newbies like me are tripping over their own shoelaces trying to catch up. That said, you can’t quit. You eventually will catch up. You will have that moment when you read an article full of advanced SEO strategies and algorithms and you actually get it. Your time will come. Until it does, start off with the basics.
- Stay Informed about the major changes Google makes. Several hundred changes are made every year; as a beginner you can’t get lost in the mess that surrounds algorithms. You can however be aware of the major changes that come about. Those changes determine how SEO will evolve and move forward.
- Frequently Check your page rank. Boiled down to its basics, that’s what SEO is all about right, your website’s rankings. If you aren’t frequently checking on your progress you will miss out on important tendencies and information. If you are checking often you might be able to find trends and discover what things you have been doing that work and what things don’t.
- Link! Link! Link! Take advantage of everything that guest posting has to offer. Go at it from both sides, writing and as a blog owner. Get good content information out there and link back to your site. Link to others as well, you have to give a little to get a little in this business.
- Create Social Media Accounts and use them! Social media is an amazing tool that you have at your fingertips. There are tons of platforms out there that you can join: Facebook, Linked In, Google+ and Twitter, just to name a few. Set up accounts and start posting. Add links to your articles and outside articles. Inform customers or readers about upcoming events, pertinent news reports and website announcements. There are several ways you can use social media to your benefit.
- Add Images to your blog. You can take advantage of using alt tags here. You will also be more likely to have returning readers if you post images on your blog and website because it makes it more appealing. Just make sure you follow all copyright laws. You can’t just use any image you find on Google.
- Keyword Research is necessary. Notice how I didn’t say, “using” keywords is necessary. Many beginners make the mistake of just using any keyword, at any time, anywhere. Do your keyword research. Find out what is popular right now. Learn how to use keywords to your advantage. It’s a lot more involved than just typing 3 important words in a little box.
- Be Consistent and Reliable. Post when you say you are going to post, update as needed and keep in touch with your readers. Be the blog they want to go to when they hop on the internet for a few minutes. You readers should always know they can count on you to provide unique, useful, entertaining and important information.
While I have gained a lot of experience in SEO, I’m still in the learning stages when it comes to advanced methods. I’m not that guru I hope to be, but someday I’ll get there. I just have to remember these basics, continue expanding my knowledge and roll with the punches.
SEO is exciting and fun. It never gets boring because it’s always changing. Some people find that frustrating, I consider it a challenge. If you’re a newbie like I once was, you’re in the same boat as all those gurus out there. They had to start somewhere. So don’t give up. Don’t get intimidated. In the infamous words of Dory, “Just keep swimming!”