- SEO: The what, why, and what’s next
- The What: What is SEO, really?
- The Why: Why SEO is important for your online work
- The three pillars of trust
- Pillar 1: Authority
- What is Authority?
- How to build authority online
- Pillar 2: Age
- Google‘s sandbox
- Pillar 3: Content
- A list of places to find good freelances
- Writing tips for good content
SEO: The what, why, and what’s next:
The what: What is SEO, really?
Search Engine Optimisation or better known by its abbreviation (SEO) is the act of optimizing your website, business (or anything online to be frank) to be the best fit for building better relationships and publicity with customers and/or users. Work in SEO allows for increased publicity of your business and it creates opportunities for you to turn those visitors to your site into consumers. It is one of the most vital digital marketing tools out there, and we might even go as far as to call it a branch of marketing all on its own, due to its multi-faceted nature.
The why: Why SEO is important for your online work.
I call SEO work multi-faceted, because many factors such as keyword optimization, Search Engine Marketing (or SEM), creating brand awareness, off-page SEO, on-page SEO, and user experience all count as SEO work and factor in equally when it comes to the importance in an SEO professional’s work.
If you are new to working with online mediums, and you want to get people to start noticing you online, you need some kind of plan, which is why getting to know some SEO fundamentals is necessary.
Learning about the three pillars of trust would give you that bit of structure you need to get the ball rolling with an SEO Masterplan, so read on if you’re ready for a nudge in the right direction.
Here is a list of the three pillars I will be individually covering:
Seems like a pretty cool mantra to start off as new a webmaster, right?
Pillar 1: Authority
Your first pillar is just as important as the second and the third, but it may be the most challenging pillar to understand for those new to SEO.
Your work in building up website authority includes grind work, but before we get into that, I will first focus on what authority means for you and your work online.
What is authority?
Giving online authority a dictionary-book definition is quite the challenge since there are so many aspects involved in building your online authority. But we may define authority as building trust through popularity online. By “building trust” I mean establishing relevancy with your users and, importantly, with your search engine.
You can gain this trust through authority by following some concrete guidelines, but as a website owner, it would do you good to keep in mind that a lot of SEO work is subject to change in the future. This is because search engines update their algorithms often, which may or may not bring about change in your SEO workflow. With that said, here are some recommended guidelines to follow to build authority online.
1. Good content marketing
Emphasis on GOOD. Your content has to be good, applicable, and proper.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT copy and paste from elsewhere online. This may seem like an obvious thing to avoid, but you would be surprised how many new website owners make this mistake. If you do quote from another website, Youtube channel, social media page, or anywhere else on the web, be sure to link the author. If you’re feeling particularly friendly, it won’t hurt to write a little something about the author and why you chose to refer to their content. (Linking relevant and quality sources equal extra brownie points from Google and perhaps the author you mentioned in your post, too.)
Your content has to be structured, easy to read and it needs to flow. Topics should not be random, they should be productive. Headers should follow one another and make sense in terms of their progression. Your users should always be able to learn something new, find something out, or be entertained by your content.
Types of online content
Content can come in many shapes and forms, and you should be making content to fit all of them. Here is a list of platforms you should consider creating content on.
To begin with:
Before diving too deep into the internet, I recommend starting off with the basics. These being:
Your own blog
Write about your business. Make your users aware of everything you do, the tools you use, the staff you employ. Look into current issues and joys being discussed in your field of work. Give your users guidelines as to how to fix a problem. It is important that your content is useful and of the highest quality here, because this is what will be directly displayed on your website.
Social media for businesses include LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and perhaps even creative platforms like Pinterest.
The kind of posts you want to be making on these platforms is vital to gain an audience who follow your work and want to see your content. They may even be readers of your blog, through which they found your social media or vice versa.
The reason I picked out the above-mentioned social media platforms is that they are what we call authority sites.
A quick explanation of what an authority site is: Authority sites are the websites that are trusted the very most out of all by search engines. They have really high domain authority, which you can track with an SEO tool like Moz. Check out Moz’s article about domain authority here if you want to find out how to track domain authority.
I put Youtube in its own subheading since the kind of work you may do on YouTube requires some knowledge and skill in the field of video-making, editing, and even talking to a camera. Many businesses put tutorials or product reviews out on Youtube, and I would recommend doing this if you have a product or service to provide from your website.
2. Construct a meaningful online presence
You can do this by making your name known on applicable, authoritative, and active social media platforms like the ones mentioned previously. Be sure to start conversations online, with people in your industry. It also does amazing stuff to your publicity if you talk to those who are new to the industry since your name would plant the seed forward for possible online word-of-mouth to take place. This said I must add that the kind of conversations you want to be taking part in and starting on social media should be helpful and of the highest possible quality. You should see this as an extension of your work portfolio, out there for everyone to see. If you put significant work into being proactive on forums, direct messaging, or post-commenting, you would watch your network marginally grow.
Pillar 2: Age
This pillar will take the most amount of patience to acquire. The reason for this is that new websites always land in Google’s sandbox (more about that a bit later). You would have to work consistently in building the other two pillars, namely authority, and content until you start seeing your website turning up in more searches.
It will take time to grow your website since search engines do not trust new websites right away. As I mentioned, Google has something we call “the sandbox”. This is exactly what it sounds like- a sort of downtime in which web domains that are new or domains who have manipulated their way to success on their search rankings end up.
If you have a new domain, you end up in the sandbox automatically for a roughly estimated timeframe of between 1-2 years. Nobody can say how long Google keeps you there since you are in the sandbox until the search engine trusts you enough to start ranking you higher in authority.
Unfortunately, there are not many ways to overcome this sandbox period, since you really want your website to grow organically and gain trust that way. It really is the only highway to success. Some new web owners might come across the idea to buy an existing web domain since it might have gained some trust already and potentially has passed the sandbox period.
If you are thinking of doing the same, there are some things you should consider thoroughly before you go about buying an existing domain. We recommend researching the domains you are thinking about buying, by looking at their history on Way Back Machine and finding out more about its general traffic and authority with an online SEO tool.
If you would like to know more about things you should consider before buying a domain name, I recommend reading this well-informed article by Media Temple.
Pillar 3: Content
It may be cliché, but it's true when they say “CONTENT IS KING”.
The better your content, the more satisfied are with your readers, viewers, or users, and the more traffic you will gain. If you are smart about your digital marketing, gaining traffic on your website would lead to your users discover more of your content, products, or services that you offer.
Creating really good content is hard, though. As with anything SEO-related, it truly is grind work. It also requires skill since you would have to be able to write well or be good with words to have good articles on your website or blog. Your articles have to be well-researched and optimally structured for SEO, so people enjoy reading your posts. A great deal of web owners decides to hire a professional writer for this purpose, which often serves useful. There are many freelancers willing to write good and SEO-worthy content for blogs and websites, which is often worth the couple of dollars you spend on their work.
Here are some places you can hire trustworthy freelancers:
I know it sounds weird, but honestly give it try. There are some awesome copywriting groups on Facebook, with so many participants who are good writers.
One Facebook Community I would recommend hiring freelancers from is The CopyKooks Club. They are a community of freelancers who have all been trained by Tasmin Henderson’s Complete Copywriting Course on Udemy.
Find Freelancer here.
It goes without saying. You find experts here within a couple of clicks.
Advertise for wanted freelancers on your website
It may seem obvious, but it's easy to forget that as a website owner you could use your own website as a platform to get freelancers to find you. They could send you their portfolios and you might just end up with your dream copywriter (:
If you do not want to hire someone and you are interested in writing some good content yourself, here are some professional writing tips for you that won’t leave you staring at the cursor:
1. Make sure you write about a topic that interests you.
Writing a blog post that you are willing to research makes it worthwhile for you as well your readers. If you are motivated to write, it shows in your posts.
2. Research keywords.
Use a Latent Semantic Indexing tool to research relevant keywords/phrases you could use in your articles. This would get potential readers to find you on their search results because your article would be keyword-rich.
3. Fresh content!
Your content should be relevant and fresh. It does not always have to be an entirely new concept, but it has to be original to your website and to your brand.
Writing cool headlines for the internet is a kind of artistic operation. Your headlines should be creative, but still understandable and relevant to what people search for.
With regards to video content, you need some skills in this regard as well. Making good videos is not a child’s play. it requires effort, research, scriptwriting, and competence in good visual production or videography. You may be able to sidestep having to be savvy with filmmaking, depending on what kind of videos you would be posting online. If you would mainly make tutorials that require many things to happen on your computer screen, for example, the filmmaking part might not be so essential. What would be essential though, is being able to use editing software to cut out blabbering talk or nonsensical extras in your raw footage.
If you can’t get away with on-screen tutorials, you may have to get good at filmmaking or you’d have to hire a videographer. They know what to do to make the best quality films, so you can sit back and apply their work to your website (and vice versa, hopefully!)
I hope you’ve found this article useful to get started with optimizing your own website.
If you are interested in SEO, check our blog for regular updates on this topic. You may write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to provide feedback on our blog posts. We are always looking to improve our content for both our clients and readers who find us perchance while browsing the web.