A few weeks ago, Lauren and I had the pleasure of talking with Rebecca Gill at Web Savvy Marketing about SEO for beginners. Listen to it on StudioPress FM.
Web Savvy Marketing works alongside bloggers and business to help them use their website as a powerful marketing tool. Their primary goal is to deliver a beautiful, search engine friendly website, but their secondary goal is to educate you about design and SEO best practices. In short, they know a thing or two about SEO, which is why we invited her on the show.
On the podcast, we cover a number of great things — what it means to have a holistic approach to SEO, how to avoid risky black hat SEO tactics, and the 3 most important elements of SEO. All of which are great for beginners.
A Holistic Approach to SEO
There are a lot of stereotypes in the SEO world, so we asked Rebecca about that. On her website, she mentions that Web Savvy Marketing has a holistic approach when it comes to SEO. Rebecca explains what that means:
“For us, I’m not going to just do for you. We’re going to take you in the process from start to finish and you’re going to learn along the way. Holistic, to me, is we first start with your target market, we define who that is and who you are selling to, and what are their pain points and what solution you offer. That kind of information. We look at your competitors. You do research.
Unfortunately, a lot of old-school SEO consultants still focus on link building. You have to have the user, the website visitor at the forefront of your objectives and goals to make sure that they’re happy. Because if they’re happy, that makes search engines happy, and search engines will reward you with more traffic.
When I say holistic, it’s a full circle from start to finish. With, again, education along the way, because I want people empowered.”
How to Avoid Risky Black Hat Tactics
We also talked to Rebecca about the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. While these terms go back years in the SEO space, their practices are still around today. As a beginner in the space, it’s tough to understand what constitutes each one.
Rebecca explains white hat SEO in layman’s terms:
“If you break down white hat SEO to this: to be successful in search you have to make the search engines happy. Let’s take Google, for example. What is their goal? Their goal is to make money. They are a for-profit company. They sell ads, they have other products, but that’s their goal.
People come to the search engines, they search for something, they get good results that take them to a good website or blog that answers their question.
That’s white hat. It’s focusing on your visitor. Writing content for the visitor. Making sure that it’s fast, it got great performance, it’s designed well so it’s easier to read and the site flows. Keeping that visitor happy will make the search engines happy, because that visitor will come back to the search engines and use them again.”
The 3 Most Important Elements of SEO
SEO can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to publishing content. Many folks don’t know where to begin, so we asked Rebecca what she thought the 3 most important elements of SEO were.
Here’s what she says, and this is great for beginners:
“My three most important would be keyword research, sitemapping, and then high-quality content. Granted, there is a lot that falls underneath each of those, but those are the buckets. I’ve structured my online course to include them.
You start with basics, then you go to keyword research, the next segment is sitemapping, the next segment is content, and then you have the gravy that is the offsite stuff. If you skip those three blocks you are going to never succeed.”
We asked her to break a few things down for beginners.
“Keyword research is doing a full plan to say, “What is a phrase or multiple phrases that people might search to reach my site or my blog?” What are they searching for, whether it’s their pain points or it’s solutions or it’s people — going through analysis.
You start with a seed list. You generate your seed list. You come up with all of your potential possibilities that you think. Then you look at your competitors and you learn from them. You do things like you look at Google auto-suggest and related searches and you add that. Now you go to keyword tools to see what volumes and what other variations you can have.
Then you look at that and you compare that to your existing site and what your future content may hold. You start mapping one keyword or phrase to a particular piece of content. That’s the sitemapping part.
That part is not a quick process. It takes weeks to do it if you are doing it right, because it’s data, it’s analysis, and it’s research. That’s the part everybody skips. They just go and they jump to content, and they may or may not have a keyword for the content.”
There’s a whole lot more that we covered in our 40-minute conversation about SEO with Rebecca. Listen to the full episode over at StudioPress FM.
StudioPress FM is designed to help creative entrepreneurs build the foundation of a powerful digital business. Tune in weekly as Lauren Mancke and I share our expertise on web design, strategy, and building an online platform.