Along with social media, search engines are the best way to drive large amounts of organic traffic to your newly created website.
I have left search engines to last though, because unlike social media, putting concentrated effort into search engine traffic does not deliver immediate results.
Getting a respectable ranking in Google and other search engines take time. But it is possible, and highly rewarding, so let’s see how you do it.
How it Works
Let me start by explaining how ranking works, using Google as an example.
Google, and other search engines, have develop automatic algorithms to rank your site. They send out “spiders” to “crawl” your site, and give scores across over 100 different indicators, to determine where your site sits amongst other competing for keywords in your niche. These indicators include the amount of sites linking to you (backlinks), the age of your domain, content quality and amount, keyword count, among many others.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, is the art of making those spiders happy, by purposefully making your website and webpages score well as getting those indicators.
It is in an extremely complex field that is constantly changing, but fortunately the basics are easy and remain the same.
If you cover the basics and remain consistent, you can rank well and get a steady flow of traffic, especially if you go for less competitive keywords and target long-tail keywords, which we’ll describe later on.
So here are the basics principles of SEO.
1. You need your own domain and hosting
The first thing that beginners need to know is that you need your own domain and hosting. This is essential.
But why? You may ask.
Many people speculate that if you were really serious about your website, that you would have a professional domain name and be hosting it yourself. Google only wants to rank sites that its users will have faith in, and that they consider to be serious and trustworthy, so this is a very basic signal.
If you have not already, you can sign-up for your own domain name and hosting with Bluehost.
We currently have a deal with Bluehost that gives you a free domain name and 60% off hosting.
2. You need quality, original content
Google’s whole purpose is to provide its users with quality content, relevant to what they’re searching for.
This means, that to rank in it’s search engine, you have to provide quality content, that will be relevant to people interested in your niche.
This is by far the best thing you can do for your SEO efforts.
If you are providing the best solution for problems that people are searching for, Google will reward you for it and push you up the rankings.
3. Build organic backlinks
For starters, we should probably define what a backlink is. A backlink is what you receive when another website links back to your site from their own.
Not all backlinks are created equal though. The source matters.
Backlinks from authority websites, that rank high on search engines themselves, are worth more in Google’s eyes than backlinks from other websites that are just starting out.
And backlinks from sketchy sources, such as backlinks that you might try buy off Fiverr to cheat the system, can actually negatively affect your site’s rankings.
So backlinks are not simply a case of the more you have the better your search rankings. As with almost all things, quality is better than quantity.
So to earn backlinks, write amazing content that people are natural inclined to share, and communicate with other bloggers about linking to each others content and maybe even guest posting for each other.
Also link internally. If you are writing a blog post that is related to another of your blog posts, link to it. Internal backlinks also count.
4. Optimize your website for SEO
SEO is not just an external process of building social media clout and earning backlinks from other sites, there are things you can do to boost your SEO on your own site too.
The theme you use on your site also has a major impact on your rankings. Poorly designed themes are difficult for Google to analyze and rank clearly against its indicators, so you want to use an SEO optimized theme that Google can read clearly.
Beyond this, Google is also looking to make sure that your theme is mobile-friendly, loads fast, and has no broken bits (like navigation links that go nowhere).
To be safe, I always use professional designed premium themes on my blog, that I can be sure have been well designed, by only using the most well-known designers on sites like Themeforest, the largest creative marketplace on the web.
5. Build your social media profiles
Google may now be looking at social media as a metric in rankings. For instance, if thousands of people are tweeting or sharing one of your articles, it may be used as a signal of the articles authority and relevance.
So make sure you’re in on the social media game not just for its own benefits, but for the potential SEO benefits as well.
6. Go for long-tail keywords
7. Check where competitors are getting their backlinks
8. Comment on other blogs for link juice
Not only does commenting on other blogs with links to your site boost your traffic and exposure, doing so can also count as a backlink.
9. Use SEO plugins
There are lots of WordPress plugins out there for SEO, but YOAST SEO and All In One SEO Pack are by far the most popular.
Both are excellent plugins for assisting you with many of the finicky requirements of ranking well in search engines.
10. Fix your permalink structure
Permalinks are the links to particular webpages or posts on your blog. They are made up of your sites root domain and an extension.
For example, the permalink structure for this sites getting started page is:
A good permalink structure is very important for your SEO efforts. You can edit it in WordPress by going to SETTINGS > PERMALINKS and changing the options.
I recommend basing your link structure off of post and page names. You can do this by selecting CUSTOM STRUCURE and then adding /%postname%/
However even better than this is to manually change the URL for each post, based on the keywords you are ranking for. But be warned, if you do this for existing posts, you will break any existing backlinks to that post. So only do this for new ones.
11. Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools
One of the best things you can do is head over to Google Search Console and add your blog.
This service allows you to see your blog from Google’s perspective – How it appears in search results, what it’s ranking is, how many people click your links, etc
This information is extremely valuable, since it removes a lot of the guess work you may have about how Google treats different aspects of your blog.
There’s a lot of information in there, so it may take a while to wrap your head around. But its all gold, so you should have this service installed from the beginning.