The No BS SEO Guide for 2024

The no BS guide to SEO for beginners in 2024. A 9 minute read with actionable steps to increase organic traffic.

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Who should read this? This is for you if you have little to no understanding of what SEO is and want a straightforward recap.
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SEO Basics

At its core, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about propelling your website to the top of Google search results. The higher your website and its pages rank, the more clicks and organic traffic your site is likely to get.
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Is SEO for You?

While everyone can gain from more web traffic, here's a couple of things to assess before investing in SEO:
  1. SEO isn't a speedy solution. It often takes at least 3 months before you start seeing an uptick in organic traffic. If you need quicker results, Google Search Ads might be a better fit. However, while SEO demands more time, it's often a more cost-effective way to grow traffic organically than paid ad options.
  1. Is your business easy to find online? Simply put, do people usually search for your product or service? Services such as home maintenances, business consultancies, or health services generally see regular search traffic.

Upgrading Your SEO

In a nutshell:
  1. Create and publish valuable website content that caters to Google users' queries.
  1. Get other websites to link back to yours.
Breaking it down further, there are two prime categories of SEO:
On-site SEO: Improvements made on your own website
Content: Publishing quality, relevant content that users will want to read. Technical: Ensuring your website conforms to coding best practices so Google's algorithm can efficiently index your pages.
Off-site SEO: Enhancements made beyond your website
Backlinks: Having more reputable sites link back to yours bolsters your site's credibility. Online presence: Set up profiles for your business on large social platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and update them frequently to spur traffic to your site.

How Google Ranks Websites

Google's ranking protocol is twofold, corresponding with the two facets of SEO - on-site and off-site:
  1. Google scrutinizes your pages to ascertain whether your content is comprehensive, useful, and technically sound.
  1. Google evaluates your site’s credibility by checking how many other websites link back to your pages.
Note: Google doesn't lay out the specifics of their ranking algorithm and updates it periodically.

Ok, Give me Concrete Steps to Optimizing My SEO!

The ensuing steps are arranged in order of importance and complexity:
Steps 1 - 2: Content SEO - straightforward and typically requires around 10 hours/month Step 3: Technical SEO - can be intricate, but pivotal Steps 4 - 5: Off-site SEO - demands considerable time and resources for those serious about SEO
For illustrative purposes, we're using a fictional business (SLS Inc) - a family-owned semi-truck and trailer repair service in Oklahoma City.
Also, remember: an SEO tool like Linkactions or Semrush can be a massive time-saver.
Step 1: Keyword Research [Content SEO]
Finding worthwhile keywords is the foundation of writing good content. Keywords are the common words or phrases people search for on Google.
Start with a list of 100 keywords relevant to your business. Use an SEO tool to determine the monthly search traffic and competitiveness of these keywords. Finally, narrow down your keyword list (a good initial aim is 20 - 50) focusing on ones with high traffic and low competition.
Step 2: Consistent Content Creation [Content SEO]
Once you've identified your target keywords, it's time to craft and publish content based on them. Regular content updates are key to sustaining your online presence and SEO ranking.
Blogs are an effective vehicle for maintaining a continuous flow of content. Here are some blog post categories to consider:
  • Pillar posts: In-depth articles that thoroughly explore a subject
  • Definition posts: Posts that clarify a term, concept, or process
  • Listicles: Eg., “Top 5 Sunglasses Trends of 2022”
  • FAQ posts: Posts answering commonly asked questions like “Why Do Birds Fly South for Winter?”
Typically, creating an extensive pillar page for each target keyword, and then branching out to shorter blog posts focusing on related sub-topics (known as topic clustering) works well.
A handy tip for brainstorming content? Google the keyword you're targeting and see what high-ranking pages are writing about!
Aim to publish one well-written pillar post monthly and one blog post weekly.
Step 3: Website’s Code Check-up [Technical SEO]
The most crucial elements for technical SEO are:
  • Website structure: Ensure your website's pages branch out logically from your home page through easy-to-navigate links
  • Page speed: Faster page loading is always better.
  • Mobile-friendliness: Google primarily indexes the mobile version of your site when deciding rank.
Google's PageSpeed Insights is a handy tool to assess your site's technical SEO score.
Step 4: Get Your Business Online [Off-site SEO]
Time to tackle off-site SEO. One efficient method to drive backlinks to your site is listing your business on relevant online platforms and actively posting on them.
Consider these platforms:
  • Professional Social Networks: LinkedIn, AngelList (particularly for startups and tech companies)
  • Business Directories: Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages
  • Industry-Specific Directories: TripAdvisor (for hospitality), OpenTable (for eateries), Houzz (for home improvement), Healthgrades (for healthcare providers)
Registration usually only takes a few minutes. Plus, reputable platforms with links to your website enhance its authority.
Step 5: Backlink Outreach [Off-site SEO]
A backlink is a link from another website that leads to yours.
Having numerous high-quality backlinks boosts your site's ranking. The final step to up your page rank is reaching out to reputable websites and asking them for backlinks to your site.
This method is a scalable way of boosting your site's SEO, though it's typically paid. The average cost of a backlink is around $195, and it can increase to $2500 based on the website's quality and niche.
Steps to secure backlinks:
  • Research: Compile a list of high domain authority websites relevant to your niche
  • Email: Request these sites for a backlink to a relevant blog or article on your site
  • Negotiate: Settle on a price (Hint: Offering a backlink in return can be a smart move)

Conclusion

SEO can seem bewildering, especially since it's challenging to measure its impact on your website traffic. Hopefully, this guide has made SEO clearer, outlining what it is and how you can actually enhance...

Written by

Glenn Espinosa

Founder of Linkactions

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