Imagine…generating hundred and thousands of hits to your website a day. Those hits turn into email subscribers, and people buying your products.
This consistent traffic gives you the financial freedom you need, to spend time living a life that brings joy and abundance to the world. This is the reality for many business owners and entrepreneurs just like you.
It doesn’t happen over night, and it isn’t easy—but it can be a reality for you.
If you are a “do-it-yourself” kind of person, then this is the definitive guide to being an SEO expert.
Before I show you how to be the master DIY SEO expert, I want to lay some ground rules.
First, understand there are over 200 different “signals” that Google uses to determine ranking in the Google search engine.
It’s not necessary to pay attention keenly to all 200 (unless this is your 24/7 occupation). There are some key signals and criteria to focus on and that we can easily control.
Second, understand that you MUST write and produce content for humans (not the Google bots). If you focus on producing content that humans enjoy you will win in the “eyes” of Google.
Lastly, nothing beats hiring a “real” SEO expert: someone like a Wordpress developer who is versed in SEO. He or she can help increase your ranking within your website for optimal results.
Before you start your website, the proper hosting service determines your website. Smaller hosting platforms that are niched may be more appropriate for you depending on your goals.
That being said I look at the hosting platform that the major players are
using. One of them beats out the rest in the hosting world. Bluehost… It is the same hosting service Patt Flynn (Smartpassiveincome.com) uses on most of his sites.
Bluehost has cheap hosting, great service, reliability, and awesome SEO components taken care of.
Obviously there are other hosting platforms to choose from. No matter the platform, you’ll need to secure a rock-solid host.
Finding a website theme for your business that has the design functionality you want (without a bunch of junk code) can be challenging.
There are many places to get themes for your website including Themeforest, MojoThemes, and Genesis.
For SEO purposes—Genesis is the winner. Their code is very clean (not a bunch of sloppy code). It is not image heavy, and it is maintained incredibly well.
The downside to Genesis is that it is a higher price point to customize. Plus you’ll need a coder to customize any of themes. However if you can handle the out-of-the-box solution this may be great for you!
Otherwise, feel free to grab a clean looking template from Themeforest, and install the demo content onto your new domain name in WordPress (after installing WordPress.org of course!).
How fast your site loads is one of the key factors in determining your SEO ranking.
Plus for every second your website takes to load, your chance of a user abandoning your website increases.
The bottom line is faster = better.
Google has an amazing tool that is 100% free to test your site speed. Just go to Googles Site Speed Insights Page and type in your URL to test. It will let you know how fast it is on a ranking of 0-100 on mobile and desktop.
Plus it will also let you know what you need to fix and update to make the SEO rank higher.
The following plugins are geared to increase site speed as much as possible while minimizing unnecessary code.
Plugins for WordPress (to Increase Site Speed):
Worpress plugins are going to be the bread and butter of your DIY guide to being an SEO expert.
More plugins doesn’t mean better. Your site can slow down with too many plugins (so be selective).
Focus on the most productive plugins for your stellar SEO driven website.
First download YoastSEO plugin.
YoastSEO takes care of most of the SEO things you need done and they have an amazing blog article to walk you step by step through the key components of their tool and SEO in general.
YoastSEO integrates perfectly with website tools like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. And it has an amazing section for social SEO, where you can turn on “meta tags” for open graph searches and much more.
You’ll be pumped about the YoastSEO plugin. Time saver, seriously.
W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache:
These plugins are kind of complicated to explain but simply it goes like this…HTML code is less resource intensive than PHP code.
If a website has to repeatedly call PHP code for a user, it slows down the load speed.
Caching plugins like these “generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog.
After an html file is generated, your web server will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expansive Wordpress php scripts.” –WP super cache plugin description
If your technically savvy, use W3 Total Cache. It is slightly superior. If your a dumb dumb (or just code challenged) like me, check out WP super Cache. Just set and forget.
Content Delivery Networks:
A Content Delivery Network or (CDN) is a tool that saves all your “static” content across multiple servers around the world.
“Static content,” is content that rarely changes like images, videos, and blog articles. A CDN saves the static files on multiple servers all across the globe. This increases load time speed, because the information has to travel less literal distance.
Imagine your website is hosted in Austin Texas, and someone in New York City visits your website.
The information has to go from New York City to Austin, Texas and then back to New York City. This slows down the response time drastically.
Imagine though, if a server was set up with 90% of your content saved in Washington D.C. Instead of retrieving all the data from Austin, you can grab 90% of it from D.C and the remaining 10% from Austin. This is what a “caching plugin” does (the plugins I recommended above).
It saves your content all around the world on a plethora of servers.
Bluehost has an automatic CDN built into it, and services like Squarespace do too. That being said if you don’t have a CDN check out MAXCDN, this is the recommend CDN used by YoastSEO plugin.
Images are the number 1 reason sites take so long to load. They are highly resource intensive and very rarely are optimized for web.
Most images can be optimize by 50-90% and still retain excellent quality. Here is the beautiful thing: there are tons of excellent plugins to use for image optimization.
I like to personally use the tools that have a bulk image optimization tool. That way my 1,000 images throughout my site can all be optimized in a matter of minutes.
This is why I recommend the tool Shortpixel. The user experience is top notch!
There is a free version that gives you 100 images for free (more than enough if you are just starting) or a small fee of $5 a month to process a 5,000 images at once. I have yet to see anyone need more than a few thousand images to optimize.
When creating image, there are 3 more SEO components to keep in mind.
The first thing is the file name. When you hit save does it save as xivasln32x.png? The generic file name gives you no SEO juice.
Instead save the file with the keywords you are looking to achieve. For example: DIY_Guide_SEO.png. That file will be crawled for the keywords DIY, Guide, and SEO by the Google bots.
Alt attributes: When an image can’t render properly or when you hover over an image, what pops up in the dialogue box? xivasln32x.png Again?
Alt attributes add associated keywords with your image. Don’t go spam crazy with a hundred keywords. Two or three will work perfectly.
Make sure your images are crawl-able by Google. Add a Google sitemap (covered later in the guide).
Headlines, Page Titles, and Meta Descriptions:
These three component make up what you do every day to increase your SEO. Creating regular content for your readers and Google sends tons of signals to Google that your website is pertinent and important.
I have stated before how writing bad headlines is killing your business. It doesn’t matter if your writing headlines for email, articles, social media posts. On average 5x as many people read headlines as compared to the body.
There is a dilemma though…writing headlines for Google can be boring.
Huffington Post created the headline “What time is the Super Bowl” and rocked a ton of hits but the article was less than 100 words. Did it convey the message and information? Yes.
Yet does it bring personality and style into the article? Nope!
SEO is about being literal conveying the information for Google, while also remembering ground rule 2: “write for humans.”
Here is how you can write for humans and Google bots.
There are three options when it comes to headlines, titles, and meta descriptions
#1 Write headlines that pack an SEO punch, AND a creative catchy headline.
Check out Jon Morrow’s headline hacks to create an effective headline. The DIY guide to SEO is a long tail keyword that will rank well in google, #humblebrag.
#2 The next option is two part process. Write a different article title and a page title.
An article title is what you show your reader, a page title is what you show Google bots.
#3 Take the two step process and add a meta description for heavily searched terms. Meta descriptions can help visitors determine which site is best to click on. a well written synopsis or description to bait readers can add to more clicks and better overall SEO.
A sitemap is a file that tells Google and other search engines like bing where to go on a website. A sitemap is the GPS coordinates of your site.
If you are using the plugin YoastSEO, creating and feeding Google is easy!
Click on the section that says XML sitemaps, follow the directions, and viola you are done. Now—Google, Bing, and any other search engines will crawl your site map.
Links are the bread and butter of Google’s algorithms.
Simply put, the more high quality links pointing into your site (from highly reputable sources) the better.
To achieve this, make great content, reach out to people and build the links over time. There is no quick fix to build massive amounts of links.
Outbound links are important too. Remember to link to high quality articles that pertain to your subject. This shows your readers and Google that you know quality content.
Overall SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. The more time you spend learning and optimizing your website, the better your business will do.
Remember the guideline to make content for humans and you should be on your way to a massively successful online business!
Make great content, promote it, and SEO juice will be flooding in—non stop.
Update: The super awesome people at Visme created this infographic. If you need an infographic designed go check them out. In the meantime please pin this image.