Yes, it’s another SEO guide.
I know you’re thinking “Do we really need another SEO guide?”
Yes, we do.
But this one is only for the sharp guys. The ones who don’t have time to read the whole internet just to understand SEO.
If that sounds like you, pop open a can of your favourite beverage, and keep reading cos this one’s for you.
With love from the 500 Naira Writer,
If you’ve been in this online hustle space long enough, you’ve undoubtedly heard about this 3-letter acronym that is both a pain in the ass and secret to success of online marketers.
I don’t quite feel super qualified to talk about SEO, seeing as I take a “Humans-first-then-do-what-I-can-for-search-engines” approach to SEO.
But we’re not here to talk about me.
Without any more “senrenre”, let’s begin.
The Sharp Guy Guide to SEO
What in the Name of the Internet is SEO?
Yes, SEO stands for search engine optimization. I’m not going to give you another boring but helpful lecture on SEO. If you want that, check here.
The Sharp Guy definition of SEO is this: Making pages of your site show up higher in a Google/Yahoo/ Bing Search result pages.
Plain and simple.
So how do you do it?
Well, to make a page rank higher in search engines, first you need to understand a bit about how search engines work and what they’re looking for.
How Search Engines Work
Search engines make use of little bots, known as crawlers or spiders.
Fitting name, by the way, considering the Internet is known as the World Wide Web.
These spiders have one job (which they do poorly) – crawl through different pages on the web, figure out what the page is about and determine their importance to web users.
Easy job? Not really, considering despite how much work has gone into creating these spiders, they’re still quite dumb.
Yeah, I said it. Sorry, Google.
The spiders only speak HTML, need a lot of help to figure out what a web page is about, and how important the page is to the user, when compared to other pages on the web.
Helping the spiders figure out what a page is about is known as On-page SEO while making it clear to the spiders how important the page is to web users, is known as Off page SEO.
Let’s Talk On Page SEO
On page SEO- making it obvious to the dumbass spider what your web page is about.
The dumbass spider (No offence, Google) needs signposts and guides to help it tell what your page is about.
Let’s say you’re a web designer and you want to write a post on “How to create a page using HTML”. That’s the topic you have in mind. Cool.
Unfortunately, not everybody is like you so when they go to Google, they’re most likely not typing those exact words.
Fortunately, there’s a way to find out what words they’re using.
For this next part, remember this definition:
Keyword- what people type into search engines.
In actual office-and-chair real life businesses, a great way to get customers quickly is to find out what people want to buy, create it, let them know about it and give it to them, just how they like it mehnnn.
Online, it’s the exact same thing except with small “senrenre”.
You need to:
- Find out what keywords your would-be customers are looking for online.
- Figure out how easy it will be to rank on the first page of Google for that keyword (how competitive the keyword is and whether it gets enough traffic)
- If the competition for the keyword is low, you have found the keyword for your blog post.
- If the competition for the keyword is high, look for a similar keyword with low competition and high traffic.
How do you do these?
Well, you use a keyword research tool.
There are a ton of these online, and usually, the ones with great features involve $$$, which as a sharp guy, you might not want to use, for now.
So, the next best thing is the Google Keyword Research tool. Play with that a little bit, and you’ll figure out how it works.
Getting the keyword is the first step. When you use this keyword in certain places on your web page, it will help the spider understand what your web page is about and show it what you want to rank for.
Some of those places are:
This is one of the most important places to put your keyword.
Way too many people just let WordPress or whatever CMS they’re using determine the URL of their page.
That’s a bad move.
You see URLs like www.trendyfashion.com/2017-09-09/123489900
And the spider reads that like www.trendyfashion.com/what the hell does this mean?
Very very wrong move.
In WordPress, you can set your permalinks to be the post name, and even at that, you can change the permalink to whatever you want.
Just go to your WordPress Dashboard, click on “Settings” and then “Permalinks”.
Then, you should see this:
Set it to post name, and you’ll have that set up. Easy Peasy.
By all means, make sure you have your keyword in your URLs like that.
That way, the dumbass spider starts to begins to get an idea what your site is about.
2. Your H1 tag
This H1 tag is a fancy web design term for your main heading. It’s called that because in your source code for your page, here’s what you’ll see:
<h1>How to create a homepage using HTML</h1>
Anyway, your SEO is an epic fail if you don’t have your keyword in your H1 tag.
That’s your main headline. Your keyword needs to be there. No stories.
If you’re using WordPress, you can simply select this option by clicking on the drop down menu with “Paragraph” and then select Heading 1.
Make sure you put your keyword here. Keep it below 65 characters, so the search engines don’t cut off your headlines.
Also, ensure you have only one H1 tag per post. Unless you’d like to confuse the dumbass spider.
3. Your Subheadings (H2, H3, H4, H5 tags)
I don’t follow this all the time, but it’s important to have your keyword in your subheadings, as well.
This keeps the dumbass spider on track, and tells it “Yo, don’t dull. This is what this page is about”.
4. Your image alt text.
As smart as it is, it’s still a dumbass spider. It can only read HTML. Images without alt text might show on your site, but they’ll do nothing for your rankings.
Why would you want that when you could use that as an opportunity to rank in image searches?
This is simple to do with most content management systems.
In WordPress, for example, all you have to do is enter your keyword into the alt text of your image like so:
5. Body Content
Think about it.
It would be awkward if you write about “creating a page in HTML” and never for once use that in the entire post.
But there’s also limits to the number of times you use the keyword before it starts to piss your visitors off.
So, no, filling your entire text with just the keyword (keyword stuffing) is not going to get you that SEO love from Big Daddy Google.
Why? Because Google (and I’m sure, other search engines) also monitor metrics like time on site, and bounce rate to determine how important your site is.
If you just fill your content with your keyword, regardless of whether it makes sense to have the keyword in those sentences or not, your visitors will get pissed off and bounce quickly. And by bounce, I mean click the “Back” button so fast, it would probably count as a non-visit.
You’re better off, thinking of your visitor first, then search engines second. Meaning, you should use the keyword in places where it would actually make sense in the content.
Use it as a spice, not the main dish.
6. Your Meta-description
Whether the page creator picks one or not, every page on the internet has a meta-description.
Think of it, like something that tells you what you’ll find when you get to that web page.
If you don’t consciously create one, the search engines will drag the first couple lines in your content and use that as your meta-description.
Nowadays, Google and the rest of ’em might say it’s not an important ranking factor. However, your meta-description is a good place to do some human optimization.
Entice the prospective visitor with an interesting line or two about your page’s content, and of course insert your keyword here in a natural way.
So we’ve talked about where to place your keyword.
Now, let me tell you about some other important points to note:
7. User Experience is King
It doesn’t matter how great your content is. If it’s a pain in the ass trying to read it, your visitors using your site will get pissed off, treat your site like a bouncy castle and bounce!
A high bounce rate = Not a lotta SEO love from Big Daddy Google
You don’t want that, now do you?
Create great content. But also look at your site design and make sure your site is “usable” i.e. your site is so easy to understand that even a user that has lost his damn mind can use it.
To see how to craft a great home page, click here.
Also, make sure to check your site speed and page load time on GT Metrix and do all you can to increase speed and decrease page load time.
That would stop annoyed visitors leaving because your page took forever to load.
8. Links to Reputable Sites
As much as you could try and be original, chances are whatever you’re writing about is not new, and someone else has probably written something similar.
In that case, you don’t have to create all the content yourself.
You can simply make reference to the site by using anchor text that tells your visitor what they’ll find at that site and then insert the hyperlink into the anchor text.
This way, when a visitor clicks on the link, they will get redirected to the site you linked to.
Keep in mind though- Not all links are created equal. We’ll talk more about this later but for now, all you need to know is that the sites you link to must be reputable and trustworthy.
That means for your content to be more SEO-friendly, the sites you link to need to be trustworthy to Google and them search engines. That way, your content seems more likely to be trusted.
That should do for On-page SEO. Let’s talk about the second part of the equation- Showing the dumbass spider that your content is important to web users.
What’s Up With Off Page SEO?
Ever watch a music video or listen to that new Drake song because your friends told you it was cool?
Or watched a funny cat video cos a friend shared it with you and was like “Yo, you need to see this”?
That right there is the foundation of Off Page SEO.
Confused? Don’t be.
Imagine your Page as a rapper
On Page SEO deals with prepping your page to look fly- like creating dope songs, mixtapes, albums and pictures. Off Page SEO deals with getting shout outs from the hip hop heads.
Basically, Off Page SEO works based on social proof.
There might be other metrics that matter, but the main two things to deal with in Off Page SEO as a sharp guy are:
Links To Your Site From Other Sites
Remember I wrote earlier, that “Not all links are created equal”.
Yeah, real talk.
Again, think of it in terms of your page being a rapper. A shout out from Jay Z is definitely worth more than a shout out each from Eldee, BlackFace and Faze .
See my point?
So when trying to get links to your site, focus on quality over quantity.
How to get quality links
- Identify the top sites in your industry.
- Cultivate relationships with these sites. Don’t make them your competition. Fine, they are. But you can do more by looking at them like the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) in rap, and you’re the upcoming rapper trying to learn from them, be them and beat them. Don’t hate, appreciate and then learn what it takes to be great. This means follow them, subscribe to their newsletters, build relationships with them and engage with them.
- Create content that would help their audience, let them know about it and ask if they’d like to know when it goes live. If you’ve done the previous step correctly, this won’t be too difficult. You might even get a chance to guest blog for them, just by doing this, and this way you can get backlinks to your site, helping your Off Page SEO further.
For more resources on Off Page SEO, check these out:
- QuickSprout’s “The Advanced Guide to SEO”
- Neil Patel’s “The Ultimate Guide to Off-Page SEO”
- Moz’s “8 Can’t-Miss-Off-Page-SEO-Strategies To Build Your Online Reputation”
2. And the second thing to focus on when talking Off Page SEO is Social Media.
A social media share or like is the equivalent of getting a shout out.
Fine, it’s not like the whole Jay Z giving you a shout out and all. Think of it more like how Justin Bieber went mainstream.
He kept posting his videos on Youtube, going to different studios and radios singing his ass off promoting his music.
He was practically everywhere, and more people began to see his songs, share with friends who shared with and told other friends who shared with and told other friends.
And before you know it, there was no stopping the movement. He had become known everywhere.
That’s how social sharing works.
One of the great things about social sharing is that, when you get a lot of shares on social networks, each of these is a link back to your site.
Another great thing is that search engines are trying to give the people what they come searching for, and social signals are one of the rawest forms of user feedback.
If a post is getting “liked”, “shared”, “plus-ed” a lot, search engines interpret that to mean the post is freaking important to web users.
They then index the site accordingly and help it rank better.
As a Sharp Guy, that’s all you need to know.
That’s a wrap right der.
Keeping it 500,
Author: Tomi Joshua
Tomi is a case.
A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).
Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.
He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.