I hesitantly picked up this book SEO Made Easy by Evan Bailyn. I had two fears: 1) There is NO WAY can you take a subject like SEO and simplify it. And 2) By the time a book on anything web related is published it will be outdated. But shame on me- I stand corrected twice!
Evan has not only simplified Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but he has made the topic fun to read about. (And this is no easy task!) You need to buy this book, absorb it and make it a reference!
Evan narrows SEO down to five semi-easy steps. (You DO need to concentrate however!)
We are providing screenshots of key areas to help identify the different elements. To see the full sample search page click here or the image to the right.
1. Keyword selection: You can do this the easy way by figuring what people type in when they are looking for your service. In the good old days the Google Keyword Tool was free and gave a lot more information. It is now the Google AdWords: Keyword Planner and you need an AdWords account. The signup is free but Google is leading you by the nose to paying for what used to be free. Also the keywords are no longer segmented between mobile, phone, or PC.
2. Meta Page Title: The blue underlined headings on the first line of a search result are copied from the meta page title. The term is frightening but isn’t that complicated.
a. This title needs to summarize what this page is about while at the same time containing your keywords.
b. This title needs to be kept under 100 characteristics.
c. Once you have selected it either you or your web designer will create the code.
d. Every page on your site should have a meta page title with keywords.
3. Links: A link is anything that when clicked takes you to another website. During a search Google looks at the meta page titles, then looks at how “trustworthy” your links are. Links are second in importance only to meta titles. Links are like SAT scores to a college admission officer. Link stuffing (circa 2004) is definitely going to get you relegated to page 82 on Google! (Sample: On this page you are reading right now we have links scattered both in the context of this post as well as in the sidebar and along the footer at the bottom.)
4. URL Structure: I know this sounds complicated but it stands for uniform resource locator. It is a way for words to replace numbers so computers can talk to servers. Use the keywords that you want to rank for in the URL of that page. And finally…
5. Time: After you have completed the first four steps above you have done everything Google could ever want to find and index your website. Congratulations! But you may not be heading to the tops of the charts with a bullet just yet. Google wants to make sure you are going to be around for awhile. Due to all the spammers of the last 10 years Google has been forced to let new sites hang out for a period of time. Nowadays as long as your links are trustworthy you should be doing well in about six months. The better your links the better you will rank.
The remainder of SEO Made Easy has chapters on how to acquire good links and all the many, many ways you can get into trouble (can you say “black hat”?) if you are buying links. Much of acquiring links keeps coming back to creating interesting content. (Which is hopefully what you are reading right now!) Blogs are very helpful in getting other websites to link to you.
The role of Social Media is discussed in length by Evan. At this point Google is accumulating data from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. They do not have enough information at this time about your relationships to affect searches. One issue is that the other sites (especially Facebook) does not want to share data with Google.
However, Google does give preference to YouTube, Gmail, and especially Google+. You definitely want to add the Google+ button to your website along with the others such as Facebook. As this content is picked up by other sites will definitely improve your website search ranking.
One chapter in SEO Made Easy focuses on the benefits and ease of use of Google Analytics. This tool can give you so much great information on what is working and what isn’t. And Google Analytics is free!
I cannot stress enough to read this book whether or not you have any interest in working on your site. Even if you hire your SEO work out you still need to have enough knowledge to a) consult with your SEO expert and b) hold their feet to the fire!
Remember, a properly optimized and constructed website has a wonderful ROI! (Please post in your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.)