The Exact Search Engine Optimization Steps You Need From Beginning to End
(More Coming Soon)
Colt here. And I’m about to break down EXACTLY the steps to search engine optimization from beginning to end. While the engines and their spiders are constantly changing, updating, and evolving, the basics of how to rank high in the search engine results really has never changed. (Be sure to Bookmark this page to keep coming back to it)
In fact, what works today has always worked, with one sole key aspect remaining the same:
Focus on quality and content is king.
Look – search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing aren’t stupid. If you think you can just put up bunch of short posts made of crappy, fluffy text, and blast a billion cheap links to it still works… think again. It might get you indexed quick or rank high temporarily, but more than likely, it won’t last. Those days are long gone…
But enough of the gloomy talk, let’s get to the actual steps, alrighty?
So here’s the condensed version for skimmers:
- Pick a Niche
- Find Keywords
- Register a Domain
- Create a Blog
- Required Content, Optimize Layout and Plugins
- Submit to Google
- Create Great, Unique Content
- Get People to Link to Your Site
- Get people to Share your Content with Others
- Wash, Rinse, Repeat
That’s about it. If you can do this, you can win the SEO game.
Now let’s jump into the individual pieces. (Feel free to skip the sections you already understand how to do)
Step One: Niche Research
Look, you can find a lot of great information on niche research elsewhere, so I’ll keep it brief.
Basically you need to have a decent understanding of the niche you are going to compete in. There are a ton of niches out there (thousands, if not millions) and niches are simply a group of people with similar traits or interests. For example “affiliate marketing,” is a niche. So is “weight loss” and even “time management.”
I assume if you’re at this site, that you probably have an idea of the niche you want to attack. Good. I won’t waste your time. If not, this site isn’t really for niche finding. There are lots of ways to find a niche, but one easy way to go to Clickbank’s affiliate marketplace, and run down the side of the list.
Even if you’re not an affiliate for Clickbank, it may give you an idea for a niche. If not, you could also check out Wealthy Affiliate, which helps you set up Niche affiliate sites, and then you can come back here on tips to optimize it.
One last note: If you drill down into a sub-niche, a smaller section of a larger niche, then you will get more targeted visitors, although it could be less of them overall. An example in weight loss might be “atkins diet” or “lose weight with cardio.” Just a thought.
Once you have your niche, proceed.
Step Two: Find Keywords
Once you have your niche, then we’re gonna need to target some keywords with our content.
Now, we need these keywords for two things: the main keyword your site is about and sub keywords.
The main keyword is going to be the main keyword your site focuses on, and the sub keywords will be words that we will use in the content of the site to help it be relevant.
So for example, if we chose the niche “time management” then we would need keywords for that.
Now, there are many ways of getting keywords. There are free ways and paid. I’m going to show you both. Free means less money (obviously) but, paid usually means more power, more results, more features. I used free when I started but it may be worth looking into paid for the additional gusto it brings.
FREE Keyword Tools
I really like Ubersuggest. You simply plug in your keyword, and it gives you lots of suggested keywords for that initial term. Simply choose “google” tab and type in the keyword of your niche and submit. It will then give you a bunch of results for that keyword that you can then get ideas from. Here’s a picture of what it gave me for time management.
PIC OF UBER RESULTS
You can even save those results as a file for later. Pretty neat-o.
Now, there are plenty more tools like this, so here are a couple of similar sites that I recommend:
KEYWORD IO ( I use this one still)
KEYWORD TOOL IO
There are some really great paid tools out there. Even many of the aforementioned tools offer paid versions. But the most commonly used keyword software available right now is Long Tail Pro. LTp allows you to get hundreds of keywords really fast without having to use multiple keyword tools at once. It will give dozens and dozens of great keywords to use really fast.
PICKING YOUR MAIN KEYWORD
How do you know what keyword to optimize your site for? Well, the big thing here is simply picking a keyword that the site is overall about. So if your site/blog is about time management, then go with that. If your site is about time management for parents, go with that. Generally your niche/subniche determines what keywords you’ll research.
Once you know what your main keyword is, I’d suggest finding at least 12 other possible keywords to use on your site to go with it. More is great, but only if you have the time to do so.
These keywords should be relevant to your initial keyword. They should contain either part or all of your main keyword, so that the search engines know that your site is optimized for those particular things.
Step Three: Register Your Domain
Once you have your main keyword and some other keywords that you’ll create content about, you’ll then register a domain with your main keyword in it.
If you don’t already have a domain and/or hosting company, I recommend HostGator. They’ve got some of the lowest hosting costs around, with some deals as low as $4 a month for hosting, which is perfect for people just starting out.
Simply go to your registrar’s website, and create a URL with your main keywords in it. (PIC)
A couple of notes:
- You can use whatever extension you want (the part at the end), but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you stick with .Net, .Com, or .Org, and here’s why:
Google has already stated that they give these original extensions priority when ranking websites. Years ago, these were the only few around. Now there are HUNDREDS of extensions you can use. The three I mentioned have more weight, and according to Google, more importance.
- If the domain you’re looking to grab is taken [for this example, let’s say it was TIMEMANAGEMENT.COM] (which is probably likely) there are a few things you can do:
- You can add a number: Timemanagement1.com
- You add an action keyword before it: LEARNtimemanagement.com
- Add a low weight keyword at the end: e.g. TIPS, STEPS, TRICKS, TODAY etc.
- Add one of the phrases of your sub-keywords: TIMEMANAGEMENTFORPARENTS.com
Get creative if you have to. As long as its relevant and contains most of your keyword, if not all of it.
When you’ve registered your domain, you’ll then need to set up a WordPress blog.
Step Four: Setup your Blog
Once your domain is registered, you’re then going to install a WordPress blog on your domain. The way to do this is different for every hosting company, but most likely you’ll have to do it with Cpanel. Most likely, you can search Google for “your hosting company” + “install wordpress” and found an indepth tutorial on it.
I won’t go into detail on how to do this, I’ll simply relay the steps:
- Find your cPanel.
- Login and find the WordPress icon under blogs. (Blue icon with White “w”.)
- Install on root directory.
- Once installed, login to your new blog.
How Your Blog Should be Setup for the Search Engines
Headline/Title and Tagline
This is the Title of your site. Here, you can simply call your site whatever your main keyword is. Tagline can be whatever you want, but most of the time is supplemental like “Here are some great tips you can use right now!”
Under “settings” on the lefthand side of your Blog’s dashboard, there’ll be a link called Permalinks. Click that. There’ll be some options. Choose “post name” then hit save.
So, the theme doesn’t necessarily matter. Choose one that looks good to you. But I would like to offer a few suggestions on what to look for and why:
Clean Design. You want a design that doesn’t jar the eyes or scare people off. Usually, you want one with navigation near the top, a sidebar, and a large content section. Easy to read, easy to navigate will be your best friend. It’s also better to have something clean, than it is something flashy. Black text on white background is the standard.
Responsive. If you don’t know what responsive is, Responsive means that your site is mobile friendly. Basically what this equates to is that your site looks good on PC, phone and tablets. Google has also hinted at the fact that responsive sites tend to rank higher than their non-responsive competitors. (Food for thought)
Supports Widgets on the sidebar and in the footer. Widgets are various little pieces of code that offer additional functionality to the site (more on that in a second). The reason I suggest having a theme with widgets on the side and footer is because I’m going to suggest specific widgets in specific places below this.
So like I said above, widgets are little additional bits of functionality that you can add to your site like a search bar, or social icons and such. The widgets can be added under the “Customize” link of your WordPress blog, or under “Appearance.” Sometimes, they’re only called menus.
Really, the sky is the limit here on what you can add, but if we’re just going for straight up SEO, here are my suggestions:
FOR THE SIDEBAR
Search Bar. Some themes have one of these built in, so you don’t need to add this. If not, it’s always nice for the user to have one.
Text/HTML widget. Here you can add a little BIO about yourself, OR you can add some custom html. If you have links to affiliate programs or an optin or links to something else you want to link to, you can place that here.
Recent Posts. This widget shows what ‘posts’ you’ve published recently. I usually add this one at the top of the sidebar, with about 5 recent posts showing. This will give some content to your page and a little navigation around your site.
FOR THE FOOTER
Alternatively you can Create a Menu, and manually add the pages you want to the menu, then use that specific Menu for that location in the footer. I would probably go this route. Again, there are tons of tutorials out there, so I won’t cover it in depth here.
Custom TEXT/HTML. If your site doesn’t automatically add a copyright clause, be sure to add “Your Name” Copyright and the year to the bottom of your site.
Necessary Content for Your Site
You’ll want to create some very specific pages (not posts). Of course, what you add is up to you, but these pages are typical on the average site now:
About me. Here you can share a little bit about yourself. You can write a short story about why you created your site in the first place.
Contact Us. While technically not required, Google loves sites that have this type of page. Even if all you do is provide an email address, its better than nothing. However, if you can add a phone or address on top of that, it definitely looks more professional.
Disclaimers/Disclosures. If you have anything to disclaim or disclose, make sure you include a page that does exactly that. For example, if you’re an affiliate for something or have some beneficial relationship with a product or company, you have to state that. Or if you’re making statements about products and services, be sure to add them here.
You might come up with others, but these are the biggies. Let’s move onto the last portion.
Again, you can add what you want but here are some that I HIGHLY suggest:
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights. This is to connect your Google Analytics account (which we’ll cover in a bit) to your site. What this does is give you insight as to who is visiting your blog and what they’re doing while they’re there.
AddToAny share buttons. This doesn’t really affect SEO directly, but it kind of does and here’s why: Ever ylink you can get back to your site from social media is great. Especially right now. SM links used to not matter as much, but right now they’re HUGE. By getting people to share your content, you’re not only getting more views, but indirectly, more links.
WP Super Cache. This plugin basically forces the user’s computer to take a snapshot of your site and store a small file on their pc to help your site load faster the next time they see it. Unless your site is ultra light (as in bare minimum theme, plugins and add-ons), even still… you should probably pick this up. It’s free and it helps.
Yoast SEO. There are a ton of SEO plugins out there. Pick whatever one you want. Yoast, I feel, gives you the most control, although there are other viable easier to use options. What’s great about Yoast is it will tell you if your site is good to go or not when you create the content and tell it what words you want to target.
Those are the basics. If I think of anything else, I’ll post it here.
Now that we have all that stuff in place, we create our content.
So here is where you’ll create the actual guts of your site. There are a few major sections. I’m not going to go in depth into how to write posts because there are other resources out there. What I’ll do here is summarize how *I* do it. If you find other methods better than mine – go for it.
- POST LENGTH. Create posts that are BARE MINIMUM 300 words. Google and the SERPs have changed A LOT. You use to get away with this all the time. Now, I’d suggest at least 500 word or more for EVERY POST. 1k and up is ideal. Again, you can have someone write these for you.
- NUMBER OF KEYWORDS. Your keyword should be in the title, and mentioned once in the post per 500 words of content. You can also use variations of whatever the keyword is. Again, these are the sub-keywords we gleaned from our main one. For example: If mine was “search engine optimization steps,” then I could use “steps for SEO” or something like that.
- CATEGORY AND TAGS. I usually create one or two categories ONLY and put all of my posts in one or both of them. For tags, I simply use whatever the keyword of the post is for the tag. I dont like a lot of outbound links.
- FREQUENCY. I suggest posting at least once daily. You can schedule posts for the future under “PUBLISH IMMEDIATELY” at the top right of the page. Just edit it and put in some future date.
- LINKS. I only suggest using up to two links for per blog post to outbound sites. Of course, it depends on your site and the length of each post, but don’t do more than like four or so. (Again, suggestion only)
And that’s it! Your site is really coming along, isn’t it? Time for the fun stuff!