Do you want free traffic from Google and other search engines, but you’re not sure where to start? Most coaches and consultants list free traffic and search engine optimization (SEO) as a top priority for their business. But they are often confused about what makes a site “optimized” for the search engines, especially when it comes to WordPress blogs.
In this article, I’m going to give you some SEO basics for your coaching website that you can start using today. And don’t worry. I’ll keep the technical terms and “geek speak” to a minimum and give lots of examples to help you follow along.
Three Things You Need to Use SEO
- A Website – This includes traditional websites and blogs. For this article, I’ll skip discussing social media websites so we can keep this simple.
- Keywords – These are the words or phrases that people type into a search engine when looking for something.
- Backlinks – These are hyperlinks on someone else’s site that goes to your website. For example, if you have a video up at YouTube, then you probably also have a hyperlink in the video description that takes people to your website. That’s called a “backlink.”
The key to getting your site ranked well in the search engines is to use a combination of three strategies:
- choose the right keywords
- use them in the right places on your site
- get other sites to link back to your site with those same keywords
Strategy #1 – Choose the Right Keywords
You’ll need to choose keywords so the search engines know what your site is about. To get the best keywords, you’ll want to do keyword research. Don’t guess or pick your keywords out of a dictionary because there can be a huge difference in search volume and competition between two related keywords.
You want keywords that have a good number of people searching for the term in Google each month. That’s called search volume. But you also need to consider who you will be competing against to rank on page one in the search engine results. That’s called your competition.
For example, take the two keywords “traditional Italian recipes” and “authentic Italian recipes.” One gets 14,800 searches in Google a month and the other only 8,100. Which one do you think gets the most searches? How profitable do you think I might be to know the answer if this was your niche?
If you’re wondering why I keep referring to Google, it’s because they are the most used search engine in the world and everyone in SEO uses their information and tools as a foundation for keyword research.
A great place to start your keyword research is with a free tool called Google Keyword Tool. This is where I go to get started with all my keyword research. If you need any help while using it, look in the left sidebar for a box labeled “Help”.
By the way, Google Keyword Tool is where I got the search volume numbers in the above example and learned that “authentic Italian recipes” gets 14,800 searches a month. I also learned that “healthy Italian recipes” gets 2,400 searches a month, which is still a great search volume.
Strategy #2 – Use Keywords Strategically on Your Site
For most people, ranking in the search engines for certain keywords is a big mystery. What they don’t know is that you actually get to tell the search engines what words you want to rank for. And I’m going to take some of the mystery out and explain it.
Once you have chosen the right keywords for your website, there are seven main areas where you want to use those keywords on your webpages.
- Webpage title – This is the title of your webpage that appears in your browser. You want to create a unique title for each page and put it in the title tag for your page.
- Meta description tag – This is where you enter the description of your webpage that appears in the search engine results listing. You want to write something here that will entice prospects to visit your site.
- The meta keyword tag – This is a listing of keywords that tells the search engines what your site is about. Only the search engines see this list, not your website visitors.
- The H1 and H2 tag – Also known as the headline tag, it is often used to create large font text on your site, like the kind usually used in headlines. WordPress blogs often use the H2 tag for the title of the page or post.
- The URL – This is what appears in the browser address bar and looks something like this: “http://www.mysite.com/.”
- Hyperlinks on your webpage. If you create a hyperlink on your webpage, like “click here,” try using your keyword instead, like “authentic Italian recipes.”
- Webpage content. Make sure the words are within the content of that page in multiple places.
If you have a traditional HTML site, your webmaster will know where to insert the tags mentioned above into your HTML code. But for those of you using a WordPress blog, no programming is needed. Read below for a shortcut.
Tips for WordPress Sites
If you’re using a WordPress blog, then you’ll want to use a plugin called “All in One SEO Pack.” This will allow you to set the title, description, and keywords tags for each blog post and blog page – without any HTML programming.
The reason some WordPress blog themes claim to be SEO optimized is because they already include the All in One SEO Pack plugin (or one like it) with their theme. But you can do the same thing with any WordPress theme.
You’ll also want to set your permalinks to “custom structure” and include the title of your posts in the URL. The default permalink setting for a blog looks like this: http://www.mysite.com/?p=153. That doesn’t allow for any keywords in the URL other than your domain name. And I don’t think anyone is searching Google for “?p=153,” do you? On the other hand, a URL like “http://www.mysite.com/authentic-Italian-recipes” has a great keyword in it.
By including the keyword in the URL, post title, page title, description, keyword tag, and WordPress tag section, you’ll make it much easier for the search engines to rank your site for that keyword – making it easy for prospects to find your web page.
Keep in mind that a WordPress blog isn’t search engine optimized just because it has a particular plugin or permalink setting. You have to remember to use it and optimize your individual posts and pages in order to get the best results.
Strategy #3 – Create Buzz and Backlinks
So far you’ve read about finding keywords and how to use them on your own site. But Google looks for one more thing when deciding who to list in their top 10 search results. And for the most free traffic, that’s your goal – to get listed in the top 10 results, preferably at number 1, 2 or 3.
The search engines monitor the internet looking for what’s being talked about, which sites are linking to others, and how much attention any one site is getting. That’s buzz. Generally, the more sites that have links to your site, the better for you. We call those backlinks.
So how do you get the buzz and backlinks? There are entire courses and books on this topic alone. But the basics are that you just need to get a few other sites talking about you.
One of the easiest ways to get buzz is to make sure that all your published WordPress pages and posts are going out through RSS feeds.
Then get links back to your site from other sites. This would include social media pages, article or video directories, business directories, other sites and blogs, etc.
Things to keep in mind about backlinks:
- Whenever possible use an “anchor text link” for the backlink. That means use your keyword in the hyperlink. So instead of “click here” or “www.mysite.com” as the hyperlink, you might use “healthy Italian recipes”.
- The search engines won’t acknowledge every single backlink you create. So you’ll have to create a lot.
- It may take some search engines a few months before they find a backlink. Don’t expect them to work overnight. But they will help your ranking in the search engines for months to come.
- Never, ever, ever, ever buy backlinks. There are companies that offer this service. Don’t do it. It’s against Google’s rules to pay for backlinks and when you get caught, your site may be banned from Google.
Getting free traffic from Google and other search engines doesn’t have to be hard. There are some simple, easy to follow strategies that can get you ranked on page one search engine results. You don’t need to trick the search engines into noticing you. Rather, you just need to know what the search engines look for and give it to them.
Using these same strategies, my webpages get indexed and ranked in Google in less than one day – usually in just hours. And the sites I create typically get high rankings in Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Start using these easy SEO strategies on your own site today and see how they help improve your ranking in the search engines and get free traffic.