Imagine setting up your website, posting a series of blog posts and then months go by before you learn that when people type your business name in Google your site is not coming up!
That would totally suck, right?
Well that’s exactly what happened to me, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’d been avoiding learning more about this “whole search engine optimisation (SEO) thing” because I’d mentally thrown it into the “just too hard” basket.
I’ve since become wiser!
Now I’m not claiming that I’m any kind of SEO expert (far from it), I just want to share what I’ve learnt as I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I’ve made.
[bctt tweet=”Ignoring SEO is a HUGE mistake for your business.” username=”anferneec”]
Let’s look at why you need to pay attention to SEO…
5 Reasons why you can no longer ignore SEO
- Google is winning the search engine game by a long shot, and it’s become second nature for us humans to go “Google” something when we’re looking for an answer to a question. The fact that we use the word as a verb now is very telling of how popular it’s become.
- It’s such a common behaviour now for us to jump on the browser our smartphone or computer, fire up Google.com and type in our search query.
- If your site does not appear in Google when people are searching for you then you might as well not exist. You’re literally invisible.
- Creating and publishing blog content that is not optimised for SEO is a futile exercise, and it will not give you the results you’re wanting i.e. generating shares (word of mouth), leads and sales for your business.
- SEO is a mid to long-term game, so you need to allow a good few months of consistently publishing SEO-optimised content to reap the benefits. What this means is that you need to be planting the seeds, and getting your SEO act together, NOW so that you can see the benefits later.
Save yourself some disappointment
Having recently interviewed several business owners and marketing managers that have been able to generate high quality leads and sales through their blog content for my upcoming book, it’s not uncommon to hear people report that it’s taken them anywhere from 6 months to a couple of years to rank well and have leads come their way after discovering their blog content in a Google search.
Now for the good news, whilst it may appear that SEO is a whole other world and it can certainly be complex and technical, to get started just requires a few simple steps and tools.
Here are 5 free tools that you can use right now to get your basic SEO working.
5 Free SEO Tools and how they can benefit you
Tool #1: Entireweb – search engine submission
Don’t make the rookie mistake that I made and assume that just because you have a registered domain name, website hosting, installed wordpress, chosen a theme, and posted some content that your site will magically appear on Google search.
You actually need to take an extra step to submit your website to search engines like Google, Excite, MSN, and others.
Whilst it’s been reported that almost 70% of the search engine market has been acquired by Google, it’s still worthwhile to submit your sites to the other search engines.
With this one tool you can easily submit your site to multiple search engines with one go, saving you time trying to do it one search engine at a time. The only search engine it doesn’t do is Bing, but that’s not a problem because I’ll show you how to submit your site to Bing with the next free tool.
Tool #2: Bing search engine submission
Bing is #2 when it comes to popular search engines and is the default search engine in Microsoft’s web browser on any Windows device. Use this tool to submit your site to Bing.
Tool #3: Moz Keyword Explorer
Now you’re going to need a tool to help you research keywords that your target audience are actually searching for.
This is the first and necessary step to ensuring that you’re creating blog content that people are actually searching for, and not wasting time on content that people aren’t interested in or are unlikely to share.
Always remember to ask yourself – what’s in it for them (your reader)?
The nice thing about this tool, and why I recommend in addition to using Google’s own free Keyword Planner Tool, is that it’s more user-friendly and doesn’t require you to sign up for anything (unlike Google forcing you to sign up for a free Adwords account in order to access the keyword tool).
Moz claims that their tool is “the most accurate search keyword database to discover and prioritize the best keywords for your site”, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide. My suggestion is to compare results you get on this tool and Google’s tool (or any other keyword research tools out there) and identify the patterns amongst your search results.
Another reason I like Moz is because they publish some great educational and fun video tutorials on their Youtube channel, such as Why We Can’t Do Keyword Research Like It’s 2010 and Know What Your Audience Wants Before Investing in Content Creation and Marketing.
Tool #4: Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress
If you’re using a self-hosted WordPress site then you’ll want to install this SEO plugin by Yoast. It’s one of the most popular SEO plugins, if not the most, and that’s because it’s simple to install, simple to use, and works for helping your content rank better on search engines.
To give you an idea of how easy it is to use Yoast plugin to optimise your onsite SEO here’s a video tutorial that you can follow along.
To learn how to install and set up the plugin, watch this tutorial.
Another cool benefit of using the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is that it comes with inbuilt XML sitemap functionality.
But wait, what’s an XML sitemap?
Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL… http://www.sitemaps.org
Simply put, a sitemap tells search engines that you’ve got pages on your site that you want to be found by others.
To turn it on in Yoast SEO plugin you simply need to hit the “enable” button in the XML sitemaps area.
Tool #5: Google Analytics Checker
What’s the point of doing all this SEO stuff if you’re not able to measure the results of all that work. Wouldn’t you want to know…
- How many people are visiting your site each month (commonly referred to as “traffic” in case you’re new to the term),
- Which blog posts are most popular,
- How long people are staying on your site, and
- Where the source of the majority of your traffic is coming from?
Well to do that you’ll need to make sure you’ve set up Google Analytics properly and that it’s actually installed on your website.
If your developer or someone on your team was meant to have done it for you, then you can use the Google Analytics Checker to see if in fact it’s been set up correctly.
We use this tool to check if our clients have got GA set up on their site or not, as it’s important that our clients are able to measure the performance of their blog content over time.
Recommended read: 5 Goals Every Blogger Should Set Up in Google Analytics
Now if you’re looking to improve your understanding of SEO you’re best to learn from a true expert, and I’ve heard from several credible sources in my circle that The Recipe for SEO Success eCourse is really good.
Disclaimer: the links to The Recipe For Success eCourse in this post are affiliate links – if you sign up using these links I earn a small amount as a commission. It does not impact what you earn from the course creator but rather is paid by the course creator. While these links are affiliate links I genuinely believe in the product and the person offering it.
Are there any other free SEO tools that you like? Do share in the comments below.