How to Learn SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to the success of your online business. Here at Sucker Free Online Business, we are devoted to your success. Today I want to show you how to learn SEO.

What is SEO?

how-to-learn-seoSEO is simply creating a webpage in a manner that search engines like google will want to rank them at or near the top of the search engine results page (SERP). The higher you are in a SERP the more traffic you are going to get. The more traffic you get, the more money you are capable of making. Traffic = money.

Practicing SEO is the art of learning what the search engines are looking for and putting it into practice. But be careful of tricks and schemes. Your primary concern should be helping your targeted audience.

Write for Humans

write-for-humansRemember that the number one reason you should be writing a webpage or blog post is to provide a human user with a solution to a problem (they want to buy something) or answer a question (how to learn SEO).

Years ago, a lot of marketers were employing techniques to trick the search engines into thinking their websites had more valuable content than they really did. Well, guess what happened. The search engines got smarter and began to rank the sites based on how helpful they really are to a user.

Old tricks like keyword stuffing, automated backlinks and shady traffic exchange programs are no longer useful for getting traffic to a website. In fact, those practices can now actually hurt your website’s rank.

Fortunately for me, I never relied on these types of behavior but a lot of people did. And unfortunately for someone who is newer in the trade, some products and programs such as Social Monkee and Google Sniper are still promoting these techniques.

Content Quality

quality-contentOne of the products that I use, support and promote is Wealthy Affiliate. Over there we have a saying, coined by one of the co-founders: Content is king.

A lot of poor products and training will promote the use of targeted “mini-sites”. Let’s say that I wanted to promote apples. What these other products would tell you to implement is:

  1. Find a product or service to promote (apples).
  2. Purchase a domain with the product in the domain name (whatisthebesttastingapple.com).
  3. Write a few pages of content about apples (green apples, red apples, tart apples, sweet apples).
  4. Have all of the content written in step 3 funnel to a sales page about the best apple I ever ate and sell them that apple.

After completing those four steps, you would leave that website out on the world wide web forever and it would funnel cash to you. This used to work quite well, but times have changed. Google (as well as other engines) now look for content that is updated regularly.

There is not much in the world that is static or unchanging. The search engines know this, and if your content is not evolving, they know that too and will consider your site obsolete and you will lose rank. That is why we 1) write for humans and 2) write regularly. A site with a lot of quality content, relevant to its keywords, is going to rank better than a “thin” site with just three or four pages, one of them being a sales page.

Website Trust

Website trust is just how much the search engines trust you. A brand new domain is typically not going to rank well until the search engines recognize that content is being created for it and updated regularly.

There is no magic number of days that this is. It just takes time, but if you consistently create content and update old content, the search engines will begin to trust you.

Keywords

Keywords, quite simply, are the subject that we are writing about. In the above example, my keywords would be apple. But if I search the term “apple” in google, I get 1.5 billion results back.

apple-google-search

Let’s assume that I already have a website which has gained some trust. Targeting a keyword with 1.5 billion results is likely not going to get me ranked very high for a long, long time. That’s where keyword research comes into play.

In order to do this we need to use a keyword research tool like Jaaxy or or the one included in a Wealthy Affiliate membership. Using the tool at Wealthy Affiliate I have come up with a good, longer keyword: “what is the best tasting apple”.

Keyword Research

Although this particular term is searched far less, there are only 21 pages targeted at it. That gives me a very good chance to get ranked on page 1 near the top of its SERP.

While you want to use good quality keywords and keep your content focused on them for SEO, you want to avoid engaging in practices like keyword stuffing. This is again something that used to work, but does not anymore.

keywords-for-seoYou want your keyword to be in the URL (not necessarily the domain) and you want to mention it in the first and last paragraph of your webpage. It is good, but not necessary, to bring it up naturally throughout your content. If it is used in an unnatural way, Google will likely spot it and not give you as good of a rank. You want to write the way you talk.

For example, if I was writing a page targeting my example above, “what is the best tasting apple”, I would not want to write like this:

What is the best tasting apple? What is the best tasting apple depends one what you think is the best tasting apple. What is the best tasting apple might be different to me than what is the best tasting apple to you. But when I think about what is the best tasting apple I like Gala apples.

That paragraph sounds forced and unnatural. Google would like consider it a keyword stuffed page.

One thing to note is that while it is important to target a specific keyword or phrase, don’t get too wrapped up about it. I use my keywords to drive a topic but rarely use them outside of the first and last paragraph. The search engines will find other keywords you never intended and get you rank that you didn’t even think of.

The bottom line is that you want traffic. SEO will help you get there and while keywords are an important aspect to that puzzle, I find a lot of people put too much emphasis on them.

Use of Images

images-for-seoThe use of images is another important aspect of search engine optimization. It’s also important for your readers because humans are usually visual animals and a well place image may help them engage and better understand the content you are writing.

One of the primary things you want to leverage on images, though, is the alt tag.

The alt tag used to be primarily used for readers who for some reason could not view the image, whether it was because of a disability or if the image would not load for some reason. It would give them context about what the image was trying to display.

Today the search engines spiders read that alt tag to determine what the image is about. Having a strong alt tag (and one that contains your keyword) will help you with rank. It also helps with things like a Google Image Search.

Backlinks

Backlinks are invaluable for SEO, but I cannot stress one point enough. Never, ever, and I mean never purchase a backlink. Usually purchased backlinks are going to be automated in some way shape or form. They will wind up being low quality and will hurt your website’s rank.

Instead, you want to engage your audience. You need to figure out a way to inspire them to want to write their own blog post referencing your webpage or post it to social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Natural backlinks can greatly improve your SEO.

SEO Checklist

  • Write about one specific topic (keyword)
  • Include the keyword in the page or post’s title
  • Include the keyword in the URL
  • Include the keyword in an image’s alt tag
  • Provide unique and quality content about a the subject (keyword)
  • Engage your audiance and encourage them to give you quality backlinks

I hope you have enjoyed this article on how to learn SEO. If you have questions or tips or tricks on this subject, please let me know in the comments.

18 Replies to “How to Learn SEO”

  1. When I first started out blogging several years ago I had no real concept on how hard SEO was and how powerful it was at the same time. It took me about 3 years of trial and error before I got anywhere with it ( no traffic is no fun! ). This is a great article on the importance of SEO – I hope a load of newcommers to blogging get to read it! 🙂

  2. Being a successful marketer does not always mean that you are skilled in everything.In WA, different marketers with different skills and if one cannot help with a certain problem there is another that can.Thanks for the article.

    1. You are correct. I can certainly not be an expert in everything it takes to be a successful affiliate marketer. I should, however, be able to find resources that can help me in areas I lack expertise in.

      With that said, the nature of affiliate marketing is driving traffic to your site. If you can’t get traffic to your site, then your not going to have a market to advertise to. Then you’re sunk. If you are interested in being an affiliate marketer, knowing SEO is crucial to your success. My article here is not comprehensive, but it is a good start.

      You are correct about the Wealthy Affiliate community. There are lots of people over there, with varying degrees of experience and expertise. It is a great place to get started with an online business.

  3. Hi Christian, You make a good point that the number one reason one should be writing a webpage or blog post is to provide a human user with a solution to a problem or answer a question. I am learning to do that now. Also can you explain what is a backlink? Thanks.

    1. Hi Rodney, a backlink is simply a link back to your website from another. It has become far more common that backlinks are actually provided via social media like Facebook and Twitter. When someone makes a facebook post or tweets with your link as its subject, that is a backlink.

      It is good when your audiance is doing this. That 1) helps the word get out about your content and 2) provide Google (and other search engines) as a metric with regards to how popular your site is.

      However, there are companies that promote backlinks as a service. That is bad. These programs are always automated and provide low quality (non human) backlinks and Google generally knows how to tell the difference. If you get caught up in that, Google can, and likely will, reduce your website’s rank.

  4. I didn’t know that there are plenty of things that I should consider if I want to do good in SEO. I though I just have to write a high quality content article and it will immediately rank in google. I am glad that you wrote information about this because I am just starting building my own website and I am trying to have a good one (who wouldn’t right?) By the way, where did you learned all of this things?

    1. Hi John, I’m mostly a self taught Affiliate Marketer. I had a few mentors along the way, but honestly, I did things the hard way. Today there are programs out there that will help you get going the right way. In my humble opinion, Wealthy Affiliate is the best one of them all.

  5. Hi there!
    First of all, what great site you have here! So informative and detailed, I enjoyed learning about it all (: I’m most fond of the fact that you provided an SEO checklist! People who want to start an online business needs to see this! Thanks for creating this(:

  6. Thanks great article you mentioned that traffic exchange can hurt your ranking how is that possible . If you have experience in traffic exchange. please explain further on the traffic exchange part .

    Content is king I Like that I kind of have my blog but sometimes I run out of ideas on what to write about , How do you get your ideas going ?

    1. Hi Kuda, what I was referring to is traffic exchange programs. Most traffic exchange programs are just people trying to drive traffic to their sites in a way that is not natural. They are either link exchanges or automated (robots) that will hit your site.

      On the robot front, Google will notice this. For starters, usually they all hit within an hour or two. So if your site normally has 100 visitors per month and then all of a sudden it is struck with 1000 visitors in an hour or two, it does not look natural. If this type of behavior becomes a pattern, I believe that Google will de-rank your site because it will appear that you’re trying to game them.

      In the case of link exchanges, let’s say you have a site about sports cars and I have a site about gardening. How would you logically link those two sites together? I’m not saying there is not a natural way, but it will be tough to put the two together in a cohesive way that is mutually beneficial.

      In addition to both of these factors, most people who are using them are looking for a quick fix to their traffic issues. This is not it. You may see an initial surge in traffic, but it will die off quickly, and to me it’s not worth it. The bottom line is, the best traffic you are going to get is via organic social media shares and organic search engine hits. The people searching for your product, service or know how are going to be engaged in your site.

      With regard to your content question, there are lots of ways to avoid and get past writer’s block. Here is a blog I wrote on Wealthy Affiliate that gives you some ways to get past it.

      Thanks for the note. I hope this helps you understand it better.

  7. Use of SEO is imperative to get one’s site viewed and thus succeed in it’s objective – whether it be to make money or provide a social service.
    For a newcomer the use of good SEO practices can be a bit overwhelming. I think that if we simply try to provide the very best and most helpful content as our first objective we can then go back and seek to optimize our SEO tactics. It seems like we would have a more natural and useful flow to our writing instead of trying to force an SEO practice where it mars our objective to provide great content. With experience does SEO just become easy and natural?.

    1. I think SEO always takes work, Chuck. But I think that you are correct in your assessment that when a site is first starting out the primary focus should be to provide a solution to a problem. If you work to get as much useful content on your site first, then circle back and employ SEO, I believe the dividends will pay well.

      If you follow my SEO checklist above, your content will be ready for the search engines and as your site gains trust, you will begin to rank better on the keywords you have researched and targeted. This is certainly not a comprehensive list. There is a lot more to SEO, but if you are just starting out, this list is a great place to start and fairly easy to execute.

  8. Another amazing quite extraordinary blog post you have written here on SEO.

    If it weren’t for SEO, I would have to say I wouldn’t know how easily I could have been smoothly sailing the waters by now.

    It is so simple, really, it is not that hard. Sure, it can be confusing to some, but you have went the extra distance and took something that was very complicating for me to learn back in the day to something that is more easy and simple.

    Brilliant I must say! It is not easy to understand how SEO works until you master the arts of it which you have done perfectly.

    You get full marks in my book for sure!

    Very well done, couldn’t have expressed saying all this better myself. 🙂

    Wishing you all the best with your online success above and beyond the horizon,

    ~Angel

  9. Another amazing quite extraordinary blog post you have written here on SEO.

    If it weren’t for SEO, I would have to say I wouldn’t know how easily I could have been smoothly sailing the waters by now.

    It is so simple, really, it is not that hard. Sure, it can be confusing to some, but you have went the extra distance and took something that was very complicating for me to learn back in the day to something that is more easy and simple.

    Brilliant I must say! It is not easy to understand how SEO works until you master the arts of it which you have done perfectly.

    You get full marks in my book for sure!

    Very well done, couldn’t have expressed saying all this better myself. 🙂

    Wishing you all the best with your online success above and beyond the horizon,

    ~Angel

  10. Hi Christian,
    This is a great post.
    Some really great tips here for strengthening your rankings on google.
    I appreciate the checklist at the end. It is interesting that you can’t just have an inactive website and hope it to funnel you cash without working on it anymore.
    Thanks for the insight.
    Kris

  11. I would like to add one comment to your discussion on keywords. While keyword stuffing is no longer a good idea as you indicated, using synonyms is a good idea. Search engines use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) when they rank sites for indexing. LSI is basically the use of synonyns as keyword. The search engine algorithms are intelligent enough to determine contextual relationships of words used to express ideas.

    1. Hey Glen, Thanks for your comment. My understanding of LSI is it is something that the search engine ranks on its own. Meaning that if you are following propper SEO, it’s something that is going to happen naturally. If I’m wrong about this, and synonyms are something that can be creatively exploited to generate traffic via a mechanism other than just good old SEO, I’d love to be enlightened.

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