» SEO » SEO Starter Guide: Destroy Your New Website in 3 Actionable Steps

SEO Starter Guide: Destroy Your New Website in 3 Actionable Steps

You’ve just invested a few thousand pounds on a sparkly website for your new business.

It’s an exciting time! You’re looking forward to selling heaps of products or services and building a reputation for your brand with an attractive virtual shop window.

Now you have such a fresh website, everyone will instantly flock to you and spend lots of money…right?!

If only it was that simple.

The Journey to Doom

When you see no incoming traffic, you decide something needs to be done. So, you shop around for advice and people tell you to “do SEO, do SEO!” which will “improve your SEO on Google” and inevitably gain traffic which converts into sales.

Partially correct.

After researching SEO yourself, reading Google optimisation tips and identifying some agencies or freelancers, it becomes clear that you can get away with spending a few hundred pounds for ‘quality’ link building and blog creation. As your pockets are now empty from website development, this is a fantastic opportunity!

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

DON’T make these top SEO mistakes. Avoid them at all costs. You will sink your startup before it sails!

Destroy your website in 3 steps

Destruction Method #1

Pay Chump Change for SEO Services

It is common knowledge that you get what you pay for, in most cases.

This is especially true for SEO advice and servicing.

  • A good search engine optimiser can be compared to a business strategist. They will listen to your needs, analyse your business model and plan a comprehensive strategy around your macro goals and operational capabilities
  • A con SEO will not assess your website or care about your goals. Their first consideration will be a matter of how quick they can provide ‘Google rankings’, spending as little time as possible on a project for the most amount of money. They may use a not-so private blog network to disperse suspect links at the click of a button (more on that in a second) and pay for links on brazen guest post placement websites, among a host of other outdated techniques.

Tainted perceptions = The wrong results:

These antiquated tactics won’t get you anywhere, apart from wiped off the face of Google.

  • Private blog networks are large groups of websites owned by an individual or individuals, with the sole purpose of housing heaps of outbound links for a fee. Google has cottoned on to many of these hubs and deindexed them (mainly because the owners have been careless with public advertising).

    Not a good association to have. Unless you’re experienced in running a water-tight network yourself (with emphasis on the word ‘private’), don’t even consider it.
  • Exact-match anchor links are outbound links which use primary keywords as their clickable element. So, if I was placing multiple links for a diamond retailer and wanted to try and manipulate Google, I could use buy diamonds online as link anchor text.

    Websites have been penalised for holding large portions of exact-match anchors. Never create an artificial-looking link profile.
  • Followed links pass authority from one website to another. This authority is sometimes referred to as ‘link juice’. If your link applies the ‘nofollow’ attribute, it supposedly doesn’t pass any authority. It is for this reason that link builders typically only ever pursue followed links.

    Is an entirely followed link profile going to look natural to Google? Nope!

In reality, chasing the algorithm is not recommended. If a link is truly of value, it should send traffic to your website and heighten your brand’s exposure. A link which is solely placed for the passing of authority could be deemed worthless. You can bet your link that Google are taking this into account when ranking websites.

Let’s be frank. It’s an industry rife with shysters who will take your money and screw your website. Do not believe everyone who advertises on Google (I could pay to advertise as a banana specialist, but I’m not). Similarly, don’t slip up and loosen your purse strings just because someone is a Google Partner. After all, it’s just a badge. (And sometimes, falsely advertised.)

There aren’t any shortcuts in SEO now we have an ultra-modern Google to contend with. No shortcuts means more money and time spent on SEO services. But in the end, it’s all worth it if done properly.

If you are serious about your business, spend serious money and hire a reputable company or freelancer.

Experience = The right results:

It’s all well and good for someone to tell you to find a trustworthy SEO company. But how?

  • Conduct thorough searches online. If you have someone in mind, use advanced Google searches like:
    • “company name” “review”
    • “company name” “reviews”
    • “company name” “avoid”
    • “company name” “stay away”
    • -inurl:companydomain “company name”
    • -inurl:companydomain “director’s name”
    • inurl:linkedin “director’s name”
    • intext:”company name” -”http://www.companydomain” -”companydomain” -”www.companydomain” -”http://companydomain”
  • Scour review platforms such as TrustPilot and Glassdoor
  • Search local directories like Yelp and Yell
  • Join forums like Warrior Forum and SEO Chat, then search or ask the community

What sort of results appear? Has the SEO company or freelancer been mentioned in the press in a positive light? Have they been featured in lots of blog posts from popular websites? Are they active in their community? Do they frequently engage with people? Is this engagement recent?

Obviously, we all have to start somewhere and a few SEO experts may not have built a public reputation yet. BUT a LinkedIn profile is essential in this day and age, there’s no excuse for not having one. The director/freelancer should have solid experience in their industry which they are proud to share. Use this search to check:

  • inurl:linkedin “director’s/freelancers’ name”

Ask for case studies and presentable results which have brought monetary goals to their clients. They should be able to provide granular evidence of this, even achievements that were gained whilst working under previous guises. Be sure to ask of their direct involvement and responsibilities throughout SEO campaigns.

It’s your money, don’t be afraid to ask.

Destruction Method #2

Dismiss Technical SEO Checks

Just because your web design company or SEO freelancer built your website supposedly ‘SEO ready’ doesn’t mean it is. Don’t take anyone’s word for it.

Firstly, do you have Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (now called Search Console) installed? Bing Webmaster Tools is also worth acquiring. These free platforms allow you to track all your website visits and spot any technical issues.

Make sure your Google Analytics code is present on every page of your website. To do that, you can buy a great tool called ScreamingFrog and use this simple guide to learn how to run the checks.

If you have a smaller website with 20 or so pages, it is possible to check manually. While on a page, hit ‘Ctrl+U’ on your keyboard to view the page source code. Use ‘Ctrl+F’ then enter ‘UA-‘. If analytics is installed on that page, you’ll see a line of code which looks something like this:

How To Find Google Tracking Code On Your Website

Once you’re tracking diagnostics and visits correctly, here are the core performance checks your SEO specialist should conduct before even considering a strategy.

Don’t get scared off by their silly names…they can make or break your website.

.xml sitemap

A .xml sitemap directs search engines to crawl and index pages of your website. It’s an essential component and has been known to increase visibility on search engines.

  • Have you got a .xml sitemap? The standard doc is usually found at yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml
  • Are all your search engine indexed pages included within?
  • Does the sitemap contain any pages which are deliberately deindexed? If so, these should be removed.

.XML Sitemap

Robots .txt

        This is another file which directs search engines appropriately.

      • Is your robots text file directing search engines correctly? You can find your robots file at yourwebsite.com/robots.txt.
      • If your file displays Disallow: / this means that you’re directing search engines not to crawl your website! Get this line of code removed.
      • Is your file displaying Sitemap: http://yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml to direct search engines to your .xml sitemap?
      • Does your robots file look something like this?

Robots File

We are disallowing our WordPress admin section as we don’t want search engine crawl bots within this section.

The user-agent line says we want all search engines to follow these rules.

Page-level robots

      Robots directives can also be used within individual pages.

    • While on any page of your site, hit ‘Ctrl+U’ on your keyboard to view your source code. Use ‘Ctrl+F’ to find any instances of ‘noindex’. If there aren’t any, great! Your pages should be included in search engine results.
    • Do ‘thank-you’ pages apply the noindex tag? If not, they may appear in search engines and trigger fake goals in Google Analytics.

Page Level Robots

.htaccess file

This is the central controlling file of your website. One incorrect line of code or an extra invalid character can render your website unusable! Extra care should be taken with this file. Always create backups before any changes are made.

You will only be able to access this file via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) using popular client software such as FileZilla or your web hosting dashboard.

  • Does the file contain a line of code like this? If so, your website will be excluded from any search results. Get it removed!

htaccess file

URL parameters

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator – just a fancy name for web addresses of each page on the internet.

If you’re running an ecommerce website or a complicated news site, chances are you’ll have suffixes like ‘/=’ and ‘/?’ on the end of many URLs which provide the same content but in varied format to the visitor i.e. sorted page content and category variations. These are known as parameters.

  • These URL parameters should be declared in your Google Webmaster Tools by setting Google to ignore the content on these pages.
  • Your robots.txt file can also direct search engines not to crawl these pages. If your parameter includes /?sort=highestprice you would use this code to stop crawlers:

Disallow: /?&*
Disallow: /?sort=*highestprice*

Canonical tags

    Canonical tags tell search engines that certain pages are copies of others.

  • If you have no duplicate page copy and canonical tags are used on your website within the source code (Ctrl+U), are they only featuring the page itself? If not, you are incorrectly referencing and search engines may not index these pages as intended. These tags should be removed.
  • If you do have duplicated pages across your website, have you designated ‘master’ pages and correctly implemented canonical tags on their copied counterparts to reference these master pages? If not, get this line of code added to any duplicated pages, replacing the URL with your own master page URL.

SEO Canonical Tags

301 redirects / Canonical domain

It is important that your website isn’t duplicated. This can happen far more easily than some may expect. Here’s how:

www.yourwebsite.com is one example of a variation, in addition to:
yourwebsite.com
YourWebsite.com
and yourwebsite.com/index.html may be another!

Search engines will see these domains as separate websites, which can cause problems with appropriate indexation in search engines.

  • Firstly, ensure you have selected a preferred domain within Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Most modern Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress will 301 (permanent) redirect uppercase URLs to lowercase automatically. If this isn’t the case with your CMS, you can include the following code within your .htaccess file providing you are on Apache server (which the majority are).

    Tip: Use this Chrome add-on to find out which server you use. Just run it on your homepage, use ‘Ctrl+F’ and search ‘Server’.




There are plenty more tech SEO checks to perform, but you should now be ready to go as far as proper indexation and Google is concerned.

Destruction Method #3

Focus Entirely on ‘Money’ Keywords & Rankings

It’s the bane of a modern SEO’s life.

Client: “I wanted to rank #1 in Google for my main terms in three months. Why aren’t I there? You’re not doing a good job!”

What if I told you; defining the success of an SEO campaign needn’t take into account keyword rankings in Google?

Do Keyword Rankings Mean Success?

  • You may seemingly rank on the 1st page on Google for keywords you believe are going to bring traffic. What if there are keywords you aren’t optimising for which could collectively bring MORE traffic in much LESS time?
  • What if you seemingly aren’t anywhere on the 1st page for your ‘money’ keywords…but you’re gaining consistent organic (natural search) traffic which is doing a great job of converting into sales?
  • The word ‘seemingly’ was used above due to the fact that NOBODY sees the exact same search results. Did you know that Google (even Bing) now personalise every user’s search by location, search history, sign-in status, Google+ activity and much more?

For these reasons, focusing on “SEO keywords and rankings” is a dangerous (and inaccurate) game. Business decisions should never be made on these metrics alone.

That being said, let’s dive into some cheap and fast Google optimisation tips to ensure your website gets burned!

Burn your website

Tainted perceptions = The wrong results:

  • Keyword stuffed pages and nonsensical blocks of text mean great ranking signals to Google, right?
  • Main keywords across lots of pages means more positive indicators to Google?
  • Multiple, duplicate pages targeting geographic locations further solidifies rankings, even if you service nationwide?

Unfortunately, these are yet more sure-fire methods to achieve the complete self-destruction of your website.

Experience = The right results:

Doing ‘SEO the right way’ means considering the bigger picture.

Instead of solely looking at where you rank in Google and those ‘money’ keywords, let’s take a dive into the metrics which matter.

Landing page metrics

Once your website has been live a while, head over to your Google Analytics Landing Pages report and apply: Organic Traffic segment.
 Google Analytics landing page metrics
In this context, we’re discussing landing pages as those which are indexed in Google and accessible on the main hub of your website, not paid landing pages like these.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Which landing pages are attracting the most amount of traffic?
  • Which landing pages are attracting the most amount of traffic but have the highest bounce or highest exit rate?
  • Which landing pages are bringing the most conversions or goal completions?
  • Which landing pages are bringing the most amount of new users?

Are the trends consistent or do you notice an uplift since beginning an SEO campaign? Do your metrics correlate with pages that have recently been optimised or does it seem that positive results have appeared out of nowhere?

These are vital insights into the success of your SEO. You can hold all the rankings in the world but if you’re not converting that traffic, what’s the point?

Your hard earned money should be spent on thorough analysis of these metrics, and a reputable SEO will take this into account, not optimising for rankings alone but holistically optimising your website to perform.

It’s a concept which is unfortunately often forgotten in a world of vanity metrics.

Let’s go one step further and look at actionable tips for the above landing page observations:

  • Which landing pages are attracting the most amount of traffic?

Maximise the potential here. These pages are doing a great job of attracting traffic…why? Analyse their title tags and meta descriptions. Is there anything which stands out from the rest of your tag and meta data?

What keywords are being used, can you utilise these and search for longer-tail terms which contextually align?

Is the traffic converting visitors into custom? If not, why? Look at the design and language of the page. Is it up to scratch?

You can use great conversion optimisation tools such as Optimizely and Hotjar to spot weak points in your conversion funnel.

  • Which landing pages are attracting the most amount of traffic but have the highest bounce or highest exit rate?

Bounce rate is a slight grey area – under normal circumstances, a visit is classed as a bounce even if a visitor reads the whole page then leaves without engaging (i.e. clicking a link). It is for this reason that using bounce rate to make decisions is dangerous.

This is where exit rate comes in. If your organic landing page displays a high bounce AND a high exit rate, this could indicate a hole in your conversion funnel. And you don’t want to be losing custom through it!

  • Which landing pages are bringing the most conversions or goal completions?

Take heed of these pages because they are your winning strategy. What aspects single them out and ensure they perform better? Is there something you’re doing differently on these pages, have you included obvious call-to-actions and concise, persuasive language?

  • Which landing pages are bringing the most amount of new users?

Return visits are great, but new organic visits are a direct indicator of search engine performance. These landing pages are your prime time to get visitors into your lead nurturing funnel to ensure they don’t forget you.

Lead nurturing comes in many guises – email address collection for email marketing (newsletters, informative drip-feeds), personalised website messaging to those who sign up, persuasion to log in to your website (if this function is available) and marketing automation which sends tailored messages to those who are in various stages of your sales funnel.

Long tail keywords (and their dedicated page performance)

Everybody wants to rank #1 in Google – it’s the search queries you rank for which matter.

Realistically, in a saturated competitive industry it’s going to be near enough impossible to rank highly for head keywords, even after many years of optimisation.

It is for this reason that a good SEO will manage client expectations and discuss alternative options such as long tail optimisation.

Let’s say you’re optimising for a law firm in the UK.

Your obvious keyword targets (which would immediately spring to mind) will probably include ‘no win no fee lawyer’ and ‘UK law firm’.

Unless you’re already there on page one, or you’re not and something miraculous happens in the world of Google search results, you can kiss your hopes of ever ranking highly for these terms a sweet goodbye.

Okay. Back to reality…

Instead of aiming for unachievable heights, hone in on longer tail terms which are much easier to rank for due to less competition (because less people know how to use this technique).

This is the research you should be conducting:

Use Google Keyword Planner to get an idea of keyword search volumes.

NOTE: This keyword tool is predominantly used for AdWords data but also provides an adequate gauge of organic keywords to target in Google. SEO should always be used in conjunction with PPC for best results.

Enter some head terms into the keyword tool:
Google Keyword Planner
You will then be greeted with the search volume data. Be sure to select your country for targeted metrics.
Google Keyword Planner targeted metrics
Volumes are looking good!

Now we can use another great, free SEO tool like RankTank to discover some long tail variations of these keywords.

This clever gadget scrapes Google autosuggest so you don’t have to sit there manually scouring it yourself.

Download the tool and enter one of your high volume keywords into the top left hand field. Hit Get ‘em!
 Rank Tank Infinite Google Suggest
Hit ‘Stop’ when the tool has scraped a few hundred long tail keywords.
This will return lots of variations including location suggestions. Brace yourself for a lot of nonsense – it is a spray and pray tactic. But there will ALWAYS be some keyword gems within.

Once you’ve conducted the Google scrape for all your high volume keywords, collate everything into an Excel document by selecting all keywords, copying and pasting.

You should now have something like this:
Scrape Keywords
Let’s delve into the keyword volume for this list using Google’s Keyword Planner tool once more.
Googles Keyword Planner
Sort the keywords by descending volume and you will immediately see some opportunities.

Rinse and repeat.

The possibilities are endless – you can export the highest volume keywords from this list and re-input them into the RankTank SEO tool to find super-granular long tail Google keywords!

So, how do you use this data to gain organic traffic?

To rank for these terms, collect all contextual keywords into groups and create pages on your website dedicated to these groups.

For example:

Generic Long Tail Keyword Group
free legal advice
low cost legal advice
cheap legal advice
affordable legal advice

Localised Long Tail Keyword Group
free legal advice UK
low cost legal advice UK
cheap legal advice UK
affordable legal advice UK

Super Localised Long Tail Keyword Group
free legal advice in Nottingham
low cost legal advice in Nottingham
cheap legal advice in Nottingham
affordable legal advice in Nottingham

Be tasteful when optimising pages based on these groups – if they look like churned out garbage it’s not going to fool Google and it’s certainly not going to bring you new business.

Clever ways to create a feasible long tail ranking plan:

  • Use collective testimonials from a geographical location as your keyword group page.
    Add supporting content to the page which adds to its context.
  • Use an in-depth blog post to hone in on these keywords.
    Informative articles push your rankings, credibility and enforce trust in your website visitors.
  • Leverage press and news stories.
    Recency is a ranking factor in Google. If you can effectively jump on an industry related news event which people are actively discussing and sharing, your chances of organic visibility will increase (including social media attention).

The great thing is, pages focused on long tail keywords tend to gain organic traction much faster than those attempting to target ‘money’ head terms. You should begin to see rankings and traffic results in a matter of weeks, depending on your industry.

Conclusion

SEO isn’t a short game. Don’t try to make it one!

Plan ahead – never rush into an SEO campaign because it’s the last thing you’ve thought about. It should be on your calendar even before any web design begins.

Any SEO agency or individual whom you choose to work with should factor in your requirements from the start, then there’ll be no hiccups along the way.

Never focus on one or two metrics alone – business decisions should be made after consideration of multiple analytics.

Constantly check technical SEO aspects of your website – or it could cost you a lot of money in lost revenue.

I’d love to hear your experience with startup SEO, or any SEO for that matter! Have you made any past SEO mistakes which I’ve now helped you to avoid? Get in touch below and fire away any questions you may have. Looking forward to hearing your story! :)

Don’t forget to check out my latest guide for fresh, actionable SEO help and learn the most important SEO trends for 2016, jam packed with Google optimisation tips for beginners and veterans alike.

Sam Hurley

Author: Sam Hurley

Part of the new breed, Sam is Head of Search at Midas Media. A modern marketer who balances technical intricacies of SEO with deep knowledge and experience of broader Digital Marketing, he enjoys results. And fast cars.

  • Cindy Dalgleish

    Thanks Sam

    I spend hours trying to explain this to clients who want SEO magic.I have come up with explaining it, like leaving digital scent wherever they go. The more defined the scent, the easier it is to follow.

    I often get a sense the businesses who grew with old school HTML prior to the google slap when SEO was king, are the ones that struggle to embrace a more qualitative approach.

    A website that uses well written code, publishing content that is well written, with the appropriate use of keywords that provides value and has a certain level of expertise, will win out every time.

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Thanks for your comment Cindy :-)

      Love your analogy, that deserves a tweet – I’ll add to my Twitter schedule!

      Agree with you there, we find the more ‘traditional’ companies have a hard time understanding and aligning to the process, even with coaching. Cutting corners is not an option.

      It pains me when I see companies like Wix advertising on TV for a supposedly ‘SEO ready’ content management system and a website in 2 minutes flat. *FACE PALM*

      Many small businesses take the cheapest and easiest option, only to realise further down the line that it was the wrong one. It’s our job to educate anyone who is serious about their company’s success.

      • Cindy Dalgleish

        It’s a great time to work the industry if you can let go of everything your learned yesterday, the day before you learned it lol Still looking for that Client to work with you guys.

  • https://www.livechatinc.com/blog/author/justyna-polaczyk/ Justyna Polaczyk

    Good stuff, Sam!

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Glad you enjoyed it Justyna! :-)

  • Lisa

    thanks for the guide really helpful!

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Thanks Lisa, appreciate the feedback! =)

  • Rob

    Hi Sam, Nice post. I’ll check out RankTank, looks like a useful tool. Regarding your example Keywords, if you were to target ‘free legal advice’ for example, would you create one webpage targeting ‘free legal advice’, ‘free legal advice UK’ and ‘free legal advice in Nottingham’ OR 3 individual pages targeting each KW separately?

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Hi Rob, cheers for your comment and feedback! :-)

      RankTank is incredible and won’t get your IP blocked either, no matter how long you leave it running (from what I’ve witnessed!). Very clever tool.

      Typically, I’d suggest 3 separate pages which are very different in nature.

      For instance, the generic page could go into depth on the state of national legal advice, who to trust out of major companies (why you are different) and constant emphasis on widespread news in this field.

      The Nottingham variation would be laser-targeted to local law, any local tendencies (Nottingham courts + local loopholes), industry events, news and some community content (i.e. testimonials each referring to Nottingham in some way).

      Hope this helps! :-)

  • Ryan Baker

    Sam, I’m disappointed that you’re not a banana specialist. Great post though! It’s definitely scary to see how any businesses get taken when looking for a “quick fix” SEO tactic. I’m glad that you mentioned optimising for conversion. A lot of companies build for SEO, but not for UX and conversion. What’s the point of a #1 Google ranking if your site has an 80% bounce rate?
    Keep the great content flowing!

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Haha! I started reading this with anxiety after seeing the word ‘disappointed’ … But I’m glad your comment turned out to be the complete opposite 😀

      So true – That’s why we see $25 SEO packages floating around!! No quick fixes in this game.

      P.s. I have 3 months left until I’m a fully qualified banana specialist – I’ll post the badge on the website and let you know 😉

      • Ryan Baker

        Great to hear! I can now follow you with no inhibitions. :p

  • https://www.arkasoftwares.com/ ARKA Softwares

    Hi Sam, Nice post.

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Hey man, thank you! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  • http://www.arcadecrm.com Maurice Koks

    Wonderful advise, thank you Sam

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Cheers Maurice! A pleasure :)

  • elmo033057

    Sam,

    Thanks so much for all of your great SEO advice. Even though I’ve studied SEO in the past, I’m amazed by your cutting edge grip on this subject. ( I especially like the “clever ways” part of your post. Excellent. I’m sharing this. God Bless!

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Nice one Elmo!! 😀

      Really appreciate that bud, I’m glad it’s been helpful to you :) I tried to cram in lots of nifty tricks and tips here.

      Thanks so much for sharing, you rock!

      Sam

      • elmo033057

        It was a big help Sam. I only bookmark the best talent and writers I can, and so far I have Neil Patel, Jon Morrow and now you! You’re killing it my friend! Excellent posts!

        God Bless!
        Elmo

        • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

          Now THAT is a comment to treasure :-) Thanks Elmo, you’re the man!!!

          I’ll keep you updated!

          Take it easy,
          Sam

  • Bonnie David

    Hey Sam. I have SEO Yoast installed. Should the focus keyword be a long tail keyword? My first blog post is on reasons to use social media and the focus keyword is ‘social media’. Am I on the right track? Love to learn!

    • http://www.pvariel.com Philip Verghese Ariel

      Hey Sam,
      What an Epic post!
      A treasure indeed, it’s indeed an amazing guide!
      A lot of things to follow and practice or emulate!
      I am bookmarking it for my further reference.
      Have a great time of sharing and caring.
      Good Day.
      Best
      ~ Philip
      @PVAriel

      • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

        Hey Philip!

        Thank you very, very much my friend, really appreciate your feedback :)

        So glad it’s been of use to you!

        All the best with testing it out, let me know how you get on!

        See you on Twitter soon,
        Sam 😀

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Hey Bonnie! Thanks once again for your comment and great to see you around on Twitter! :)

      ‘Social Media’ is a very broad term and lacks target. So for example, this would be the same as me targeting ‘SEO’ for this piece – It’s not only highly competitive, but doesn’t really have any context surrounding it i.e. What is the search ‘SEO’ referring to? Are these people looking for a service? Definition? Or have they miss-spelt their search and actually looking for SEM?

      The focus keyword in Yoast should be used only as a guide – It’s important to conduct research on multiple tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, RankTank and Google Auto-Suggest (an example attached!)

      From the screen grab attached, you can see people are actively searching for ‘reasons to use social media’ – so definitely use this as your focus keyword :)

      On the Google results page after searching for this term, take a good look at the results that appear. In your article, use the keywords which are bolded on each result and also the ‘also searched for’ section at the very bottom of the page. These are key indicators of synonyms and contextual keywords which Google understand to be related to your topic.

      Your article should be bigger and better than any of these results on the first page of Google – that’s how to rank up there with the big boys :)

      Hope this helps Bonnie! Remember to use Yoast as a guide only and apply a viable focus keyword which really hones in on your topic. The real metrics will speak for themselves (visits, shares and conversions)!

      Speak soon,
      Sam 😀

      • Bonnie David

        Thanks Sam for giving me an in-depth answer. Will post it in Evernote as reference. LOVE it. 😀

        • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

          Anytime Bonnie! :-) 😀

  • Tom

    Found it. Read it. Loved it. Legend

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Nice one Tom!!!! 😀

  • Verena Ho

    They said: This is so epic.
    I say: Epic? No…this is…legendary.

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Wow!!! Thanks so much Verena!

      Put a big smile on my face that has! 😀 😀 😀

      THANK YOU

  • Chris

    Great article Sam, having been taken for £50k by two so called SEO agencies i cant stress enough the importance of having a basic understanding of SEO / Digital Marketing before even contemplating hiring someone. I’ve written an 8000 word blog that details my last horrendous experience that involved trading standards, the police and is on going. Almost broke me and my company. The worst part is that some of these small ‘agencies’ and freelancer SEO people can operate outside of the law as no one could ever take legal action. It costs too much and they would simply go bust and setup again under a different name. It’s a dangerous and unregulated industry that is destroying large number of small businesses in the UK.

    • https://www.facebook.com/edleake Ed Leake

      Thanks for taking the time to post on Sam’s article Chris, we hear you!

      The industry is like a minefield with shysters and cowboys. That’s what we go to great lengths to post factual articles and case studies to prove our knowledge. I know the cowboys can also do that, but it makes their life much harder.

      We’re also very selective on who we work with, if we don’t believe we can make someone money through what we do – we don’t take them on… it would be nice if the wider business community was so honest.

      Running a small business is tough enough at the best of times, so good luck with your battle!

    • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hurleysam/ Sam Hurley

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for the kind words, I’m so glad you like it :) :)

      Hopefully this article has given you some deeper understanding of SEO so you can identify future partners who will provide a good service, even if that is a fractional percent of the whole industry! 😀

      I hear this a lot through comments on blogs and the like, even new clients – it’s such a shame that SEO gained a bad rep because of its unregulated nature.

      Always do your homework on the people you select, take weeks or even months following their every move until you are certain they are right for you. THEN get in touch :)

      Good luck in business now and in future!

      Sam