What I learned this week:
The two primary ways for people to find you on the internet are paid ads and search engines. We discussed paid ads a few weeks ago, now let's talk about search engines.
"SEO" is Search Engine Optimization - it's how Google and Bing and other search engines can tell whether or not your website should come up when someone searches for something.
The two main pieces of SEO are:
- Keywords / Content
Keywords are just words and phrases you want to rank for - meaning you show up when someone googles them. For instance, I personally want to rank for words like "entrepreneurship" and phrases like "how to become an entrepreneur." So, if my website is full of articles and videos and information about those words and phrases, I'm more likely to pop up when someone types them into google.
So, how do you find keywords? I use a tool called ahrefs - it's not free, but it's close. They have "$7 for 7 Days" trial periods, and in order to assemble a solid list of keywords you can use for the next year, you'll really only need those 7 days. (Plus, you can always sign up for more trials using different emails in the future - just REMEMBER TO CANCEL your subscription)
After you sign up, go to "Keyword explorer" and start typing ideas in. Use each of the tabs on the left under "Keywords Ideas" - and create a list to add any keywords you find that make sense for your brand. Usually, I filter by "KD" (Keyword Difficulty) to anything lower than 25. Beyond 25, unless you're producing an incredible amount of content, you're going to have a lot of trouble.
After you compile a big fat list of keywords you like, go to the list page and export it to excel so you can use it after your trial period expires. Now you know what to target.
The next thing is content, and this is where things get to be a black box. Content is just articles and written posts on your website that contain the keywords we compiled. If a big keyword for me is "how to become an entrepreneur" then you bet I'm going to write an article with that title. However, I've talked to a good number of SEO professionals, and the best advice they can give is "Write well." It's tough to know what exactly you should put in your content that makes it rank higher, so the best thing you can do is use proper grammar, make it readable, and do what the title suggests the article will say.
A few tools I've seen that tend to help content get written well are Grammarly and Dashword. Grammarly just helps you use proper grammar - it's free and awesome. Dashword is a new tool I found on ProductHunt that seems to help you position keywords nicely in your content so it ranks higher - though I haven't tested it and it is quite expensive.
So now you're writing content with the right keywords - but there's more you can do. You can use "backlinks" - links from other successful websites - to boost how well your website overall ranks. Basically, if google sees Entrepreneur Magazine (which ranks well in terms of "entrepreneurship" keywords) has an article or two that link to my website, then google will think my website is more important, and rank me higher.
So, we want other websites to suggest our website as a resource. We can do that by looking up the keywords we want to rank for - just type them in google - and see if any blogs pop up. If you find blogs or websites that rank well, use a simple email finder like Hunter.io to find whoever is in charge and reach out to them to ask to write a guest blog post. They get free content, and in the article you get to put a backlink to your website. Some blogs will even have a form just to submit guest post requests.
Lastly, you can use question-answer websites like Quora to help push traffic in your direction. If, while you're googling your keywords, you find a few questions on Quora or WikiHow that you think you can answer, do it. For instance, if someone asks "what podcasts are great for learning entrepreneurship?" I might answer and reference my live stream content. That provides a backlink on a ranking question, and if people like that answer, they can also find you directly through it.
Beware, all of this sounds pretty great, but google takes anywhere between 4 to 6 months to actually see what you've created. If you post a bit of content now, you'll have to wait a while for the benefit to actually kick in, and for people to find your website through it. SEO is a long-term investment, so plan accordingly.
That's pretty much the basics. There are a lot more nuances like making sure your website is structured the right way and how to build your sitemap, but this should be all you need to know to get started!
If this was helpful at all, a retweet would be amazing. It really helps me spread the word - but of course, no pressure at all! :)