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How to SEO your website in 2019 (10 steps)

Learn how to SEO your website in 10 steps and be on your way to higher rankings within minutes. This quick start guide includes links to my well known how to SEO your website guide which covers the process in much more detail should you need it.

Step 1 : How to SEO your domain name

What

Your domain name is something like www.nameyouchoose.com or nameyouchoose.com

Why & How
  • If you haven't registered a domain yet look for one that contains at least one of the keywords you want to rank for but is also unique so Google can see if you get brand mentions around the web.
  • In most cases go for a .com even if it costs a little more as most people assume .com and you could miss out on getting links if you choose something else.
  • Don't expect Exact match domain names to help.
  • If you already have a website established consider skipping this, it's only for an ideal world and has a minimal SEO effect.
Examples
  • Good examples: franksstore.com, bicyclesmytown.com
  • Good example: franksbicyclesmytown.com
More

For more detail skip to How to SEO your domain name.

Step 2 : How to SEO your URLs

What

A URL might be something like www.yoursite.com/thepageiwanttorank.html. The part we are talking about is thepageiwanttorank.html.

In Wordpress it is known as the 'permalink'.

Why & How
  • Your URL should match, or be a very close match to, your <title> tag contents and your h1 heading tag contents but you can strip 'dead words' out of it such as "and", "or", "the".
  • Search engines look at your url as one of many signals to confirm what the page is about. It confirms your content, it does not define it, so make sure you are sending this important signal.
  • When your URL shows in the search results it will inspire more confidence with Internet users and improve your Click Through Rate.
Examples
  • Good example: If your page title is 'bicycles for sale in mytown' your URL might be bicycles-for-sale-mytown.html.
  • Bad Example: bicycles.html (only partly descriptive).
  • Bad Example: page.php?product=bicycles&town=mytown&transaction=forsale (Dynamic noise, ugly).
More

For more detail skip to how to SEO your URLs.

Step 3 : How to SEO your page titles

What

Each page has one title and this can be found:

  • within your HTML code tags <title> and </title>
  • are usually the post title in WordPress but can be edited if you have a plugin such as SEO for WordPress by Yoast.
  • The content of the <title> is not visible on your page, you can see it in the source code or in the tab of the browser.
Why & How
  • Your page title tells search engines what your content is about (and they will believe you if the content matches) so you should be looking to get one or two of the keywords you want to rank for in here.
  • Your title tag should match, or closely match, your url and the contents of your h1 tag so that they all confirm back to Google and other search engines the main subject area of your page.
  • The page title is also the blue text users click on in the search results of Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. so it should be interesting and engaging to encourage visitors to click through.
  • Every page on your site should have a unique title of no more than 70 characters (or it won't show fully in the search results).
Examples
  • example: If you were trying to rank for "successful website" then the title 10 steps to a successful website would be better than Things to make your site more popular because the former a) contains your keywords and b) is more attractive to users when seen in the search results.
More

For more detail skip to how to SEO your meta tags.

Step 4 : How to SEO your meta description tag

What

Each page has one meta description tag.

  • In the HTML code it looks like this: <meta description="The description of the page" />.
  • In WordPress you can edit this if you use a plugin such as SEO for Wordpress by Yoast.
  • Your meta descriptions are important for SEO, if you have heard otherwise it is bad advice!
Why & How
  • Every page should have a unique meta description of up to 190 characters which provides an accurate summary of the page.
  • Meta descriptions often (but not always) shown as the black text in search engine search results so they should be attractive and motivate internet users to click through.
  • Meta descriptions are ignored by search engines but as they can appear in the search results optimizing them is essential.
  • If in doubt use the first 190 characters from the pages visible content (not including the title) because this should also be an attractive summary that will make visitor want to read more.
  • Do not list keywords or use entire paragraphs - keep it short, punchy and attractive if you want to have a strong Click Through Rate.
Examples
  • Sticking with our 'bicycle shop in mytown' example the home page meta description might be: "We stock a wide range of bicycles for sale and we're open 7am to 7pm daily. Find us on the High Street, mytown, call us on 0800-1975-765 or order online 24/7/365. Low prices guaranteed".
  • This contains the keywords 'bicycles for sale' and 'mytown' as well as pointing out benefits ('Low prices guaranteed') that will make an Internet user want to click through and visit your site.
More

For more detail skip to how to SEO your meta tags.

Step 5 : How to SEO (or not) your meta keyword tag

What

If you have these you will find them on each page:

  • within your Source code written as <meta name="keywords" content="keyword one, keyword two, keyword three" />.
  • in WordPress there is sometimes a field called "keywords" for each post or static page.
Why & How

If you have keyword meta tags get rid of them. They are ignored by search engines and only assist your competitors in telling them what you are trying to rank for.

Examples

None - don't do it!

More

For more detail on what really matters skip to how to SEO your meta tags.

Step 6 : How to SEO your keyword density

What

Your keyword density is the percentage of times the keyword (or phrase) that you are trying to rank for shows in each page.So if one of your keyword phrase is 'bicycles' and this appears twice in 100 words of content your density is 2%.

Keyword Density is not dead as some people suggest, it has just evolved due to how Google and other search engines can now handle Natural Language Processing and Latent Semantic Analysis.

Why & How
  • If your keyword density is over 4% your content will be difficult to read and may be considered spammy by search engines.
  • Use words that mean the same rather than the same phrase over and over.
  • Make sure you are using words which are related to the main keyword phrase you are trying to rank for.
  • Always ask yourself "What related words should be on this page?"
Examples
  • In a piece about 'New York' use both 'New York' and 'The Big Apple' - they are symantically related and will be treated as the same entity (thing).
  • Use words which are related to 'New York' like 'subway' (thing),'empire state building' (place), 'George Abbott' (person), 'American Stock Exchange' (company) in context and in full sentences.
  • This example is to demonstrate a point. Don't try and rank for 'New York'! - see Choosing keywords for SEO to find out why.
More

For more detail skip to How to SEO your keyword density.

Step 7 : How to SEO your internal links

What

Internal links are any links within your website that take the user to another page within your website.

The text within the link is known as anchor text. For example <a href="myotherpage.html">This is the anchor text</a>

Why & How
  • Whenever possible make sure your links are text (rather than graphics) and make that text descriptive (see examples below).
  • Where you have no choice but to use 'click here' or 'see more' consider changing them into graphics so their text is ignored and then use the title tag within the link code to be descriptive.
  • Use breadcrumbs with structured data markup.
Examples
  • If you are linking to a page about 'bicycle wheels' use 'bicycle wheels' as the text of the link, not for example, 'click here'.
  • If you look in the box below I have not used click here as the link, instead I've used the title of the page I'm linking to.
More

For more detail skip to How to SEO your Internal Links.

Step 8 : How to SEO your code

What

Websites with poorly written code undermine the confidence search engines have in them because they will not be sure your pages will display correctly in all the different browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.

Why & How
  • To check your HTML coding use the W3C HTML Validator service.
  • To check your CSS coding use the W3C CSS Validator service.
  • Note you may not be able to reduce your errors to zero (some additions such as Facebook can cause issues) but you should look to minimize any mistakes within your control.
Examples

Too many possibilities to list here but you will find them all when you carry out a validation.

More

For more detail skip to How to SEO your website code.

Step 9 : How to SEO your visitor behaviour

What

What your visitors do has a bearing on your organic rankings so you'll need to understand what makes them stay ... and what makes them leave.

Why & How
  • Make sure you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console set up correctly for your website.
  • Set up Goals and sub Goals in Google Analytics so you can see how many of your visitors are doing what you hope they will do (convert) and how many are getting close but not converting.
  • Learn to analyze the successful pages and the not so successful pages by considering the click through rates, bounce rates, time on site, exit pages, visitor flow, etc.
  • Experiment with calls to action and even small things like button colors.
Examples

Too many possibilities for this small space. See the link below to explore all your possibilities.

More

For more detail skip to User Behaviour and SEO.

Step 10 : How to SEO with link building

What

Links from other websites to yours tell the search engines you are popular so long as they are quality links from quality websites.

Ideally the content you create should persuade others naturally to link to you or share your content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. so always consider your content as your number one link building tool.

Why & How
  • Do not engage in any link building 'programmes' or software. These are the fastest way to getting you banned from Google.
  • Think quality, not quantity. One good backlink is worth 10,000 poor quality ones.
  • Remember links from social media such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc. bring traffic even if they don't directly affect your rankings so make it easy for your visitors to share your content.
  • Consider well tested link building methods like the Skyscraper technique or broken link searching.
More

For more detail skip to Link Earning and Link Building.

To learn the detail in these ten steps read my how to SEO your website guide.

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

Find me on Facebook or get in touch if you need help.

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