The Secret to Learning SEO

free seo report

Do you want to learn SEO? As you probably know, my background is in SEO, which is why I blog about it every once in a while. But I didn’t learn SEO by just reading about it. I actually learned it by doing it.

I know what you are thinking. Where do you start, right? Well, I started with an SEO tool called Meta Tag Analyzer. All you had to do is enter your website URL, and it would tell you what’s wrong and how to fix it.

Sadly, that tool isn’t useful anymore since it isn’t up-to-date. Fortunately, a new one that’s similar and better just came out.

Here is how you can learn SEO through Free SEO Report.

Pick a keyword and URL

Before you can start using Free SEO Report, you need to sign up. Don’t worry though – it’s free. The sign-up process is simple: just enter your website URL and the keyword you want to rank for on Google.

Once you’re signed up, the app will crawl your website and then crawl the top ten competitors that rank for the same keyword you want to rank for.

Analyzing the report

My goal for Quick Sprout is to rank number 1 on Google for I’m kind of a big deal. So, if I want to improve my rankings, I need to look at the following factors:

Overall competition

overall comeptition

If you want to rank well on Google, first you need to know how you stack up against the competition. You need to look at how many links your competitors have, how old their websites are, and what their Google Pagerank is. This will let you know whether it’s even possible for you to compete or get anywhere close.

Some keywords like “poker” are so competitive that they probably aren’t worth going after.

According to Free SEO Report, I have a good chance of ranking for the term I’m kind of a big deal.

On average, my competition has a Pagerank of 3, while I have 6. They also have more links than I do, and their domain names are older by a few years, but I’m not that far off.

Now that I know I can compete, let’s start digging into the code.

Title tag

title tag

Everyone who ranks for the keyword phrase I’m kind of a big deal uses that phrase in the title tag, including me. So, there isn’t much I need to worry about there.

But if you need to work on your title tag, Free SEO Report will give you recommendations, e.g.:

  • Make sure that your title tag includes your keyword (a greater weighting is given to key phrases at the left of the title tag)
  • A compelling call to action might help you get a better click-through rate in Google search engine results pages.
  • Make title tag unique on each page (Google Webmaster Tools can help you detect problems with the title tags)
  • Avoid keyword stuffing in your page title.

You would then take those recommendations and make the necessary changes to your website.

Headings

headings

According to Free SEO Report, I use headings on my website, but I make bad use of them. The one thing I need to do that my competition is already doing is to use the phrase “I’m kind of a big deal” as an H1, H2 or an H3 heading.

Body text

body text

Just like with the heading tags, I am making mistakes with my body text. I know keyword density isn’t that important these days, but if you want to rank for a keyword, you need to include it at least once within your website copy.

One thing that I should look into is adding the keyword phrase within my text. I don’t have to do it a hundred times, but having it one or two times is better than none at all.

URL

url

Eight of the ten websites that rank for I’m kind of a big deal use that exact phrase in their URL. Sadly, I can’t add that phrase to my URL because I am trying to rank for that term on my home page.

But one suggestion that Free SEO Report gave me is to try to rank for I’m kind of a big deal on one of my internal pages. In addition to that, it also suggested that I shouldn’t use extraneous characters in my URLs as search engines hate them. This is good advice for me because I may have accidentally used the apostrophe – ‘ – in the URL as it’s part of I’m.

Robots.txt and sitemaps

Don’t forget about the small things because they can drastically affect your website’s ranking. A lot of times when you sign up for web hosting, you will have a robots.txt file included by default, and it could be blocking your website from being indexed by search engines.

In addition to that, you have to make sure all of the webpages on your site are getting indexed. By creating an XML sitemap and submitting it to Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll increase your likelihood of ranking on Google.

If you are not sure how to do either of the two things mentioned above, don’t worry as Free SEO Report will walk you through both of them.

Meta description tag

meta description

Luckily for me, Quick Sprout has a meta description tag that actually contains the keyword phrase I am trying to rank for. Most of my competitors, on the other hand, don’t.

But even so, my meta description tag needs some improvement. Here are the suggestions I was given:

  • Create unique meta description for every page
  • Put your keyword closer to the start of the meta description
  • A compelling call to action in meta description might help you get a better click-through rate in Google search engine results pages
  • Avoid keyword stuffing in meta description
  • Keep the length of meta description under 160 characters (20-25 words) to make sure that your message is not truncated in Google SERPs
  • Make meta description different from page title tag

Load time

load time
If you use Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll notice that the website’s load time is critical to Google. If your website loads too slowly, you may not rank that well.

Luckily, through this report, not only am I able to see my website’s load time stats, but I am also able to see my competitors’ stats.

And if you are not technical like me, you’ll be able to give your developer the notes from Free SEO Report to fix the issues.

Conclusion

If you want to learn SEO, the best way to do so is for you to optimize your website yourself. Start with Free SEO Report. All you have to do is enter in your URL and the keyword/keyword phrase you want to rank for, and it will tell you what to change and fix.

You’ll quickly get the hang of how SEO works. As you make the changes, you’ll notice that your rankings will increase. Once you get that part of your business down, you can move into advance SEO tactics.

Lastly, when you are using Free SEO Report or other SEO tools, don’t expect miracles. Not only will it take time before you start ranking higher, but you’ll have to put in a lot of time into learning SEO. The sites that typically rank the highest in the long run are the ones with really good content or sites that people love. So, don’t try to rank a shitty site really high as you are better off investing that time into building a better website first.

Do you think you can get good at learning SEO by using tools like Free SEO Report?

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Comments

  1. That is really interesting. I didn’t know that they would break it down that extensively. I also don’t think it will be easy to input the keyword phrase you want to rank for into all your posts.

  2. Understanding and learning SEO isn’t rocket science. Onsite factors are important as you stated above but offsite factors such as backlinks are the main key to ranking high in search engines plus time…

  3. Poker might be too competitive, but that won’t stop you, will it? ;-)

  4. I also notice that most of the competitors have the phrase in their URL too. That’s not easy to fix if you want the homepage to rank for a phrase, since if it’s not in the domain, it’ll probably be only in the URL of one interior page. I wonder how much having the phrase in the URL of even a single interior page helps the homepage rank, though?

  5. Nice website, i have checked it out couple of days back, they have accidentally launched it earlier while, read couple of articles regarding it.

  6. Hi Neil,

    I am a self-confessed SEO-addict. This article is pretty useful for the above-average SEO Players as well.

    Best,
    Vivek

  7. I had a secret — I had a good teacher, albeit he was just as young as I was at the time. :)

  8. This is actually a good service but the problem is that the limitation of just 1 report lifetime makes it a bad idea. It should have been like 1 report per month which would have made webmasters visit the service every month to check the progress and then proceed with the suggestions and implement the same.

  9. I tried shoemoney’s report and its great, the only bad think is that it will take time for google to index your page. For the changes to take effect.

  10. Page loading times also seem to be a ranking factor, as well as being good practice anyway.

    Things to think about include caching, parallel loading, CSS sprites, compression, etc.

  11. Wow, I haven’t heard of this tool but it looks like a great one. Will have to check it out.
    Also your description of the process is so detailed, I love it. I just hate when people say “I am using this, it’s cool”….really…. But you did it right :)

    What about linking to your home page using the keyword. For example, if you would comment on my blog by putting Neil – I’m kind of a big deal in the name field, I would not really mind. I bet there are more people like me, that would build a lot of links with anchor text for you, right?

    One last thing, I thought Google doesn’t care about stop words and punctuation….I guess I was wrong.

  12. Hey Neil, first off great post, as usual. I’m a Quick Sprout virgin, this is my first posting here ;) but I really love your content. It’s so clean and informative it’s great man thanks, I’ll be coming back often.

    But now, this posting in particular is awesome because I’ve been having trouble deciding what I wanted to do with my life – career wise. You’ve really showed me how cool SEO could really be. It may not seem all that glamorous, but a website looking all sexy and buttered up with SEO, the great results speaks for itself. It boils down to this… would you say going for full fledged career in SEO/SEM would be a good choice? I don’t know how the prospects for this career will hold in the future, say 5 or 10 years down the road. How relevant will SEO be in the future? And plus it seems like SEO is pretty easy to learn and do, which is great but other people could be just as qualified as me because of the same reason. These few things are really holding me back from going all out with SEO/SEM.. help? Anyways keep up the great posts, I <3 your site!

  13. This tool is riddled with SEO faux pas. Which at least is to the benefit of proper SEOs.

  14. That’s well explained Neil,
    There are tools aout there that can do that without any need to go manual which is time consuming. I use market samurai.

  15. Learning SEO isnt a rocket science. You need to work very hard and focus on backlinks which is outbound SEO and inbound SEO too.

  16. I tend to learn SEO on my own but your article is very informative Neil. Thanks for the great post.

  17. This is a great guide for SEO’s at any level. A lot of really learning SEO can be done by simply looking at the top results in the keywords you want to rank for like you did here. A major thing today in SEO is also link diversity because SEO really hasn’t changed much in the past few years for those who are doing it the right way but those who look for shortcuts with greyhat techniques keep loosing rankings each update.

  18. This well formatted quick SEO audit report which anyone can share with potential clients to sell SEO.

  19. I really appreciate this post, Neil. I’m overwhelmed by all the things I need to do to improve my site’s SEO rankings, but hopefully this will help. Hopefully it’s easy enough to understand and take action upon without taking up too much time. Is that a lot to ask for? lol

  20. I was always a big fan of making websites load faster and faster because of its importance to the search engines. Right now I’m building a website. I want there to be a short animation that appears on the home page just like the dog and trees in –> http://www.animantz.com/animation

    Any tips on how I can make the page load fast AND have there be NO loading time for the animation?

  21. Great article Neil!

    From an SEO standpoint I’m REALLY stymied by one thing.

    I’m starting a new website in a new area. Should I build the page rank from scratch on that site OR, should I take a website that I surrently have with a PR of 4 (and an age of 8 years) and redirect it to the new domain and remap the articles.

    Then….simply start writng articles for the new domain. (much like what you did when you decdided you didn’t want to talk abour personal barnding anymore….except I’ll point the old domain at the new domain and let the existing PR flow through.)

    Your thoughts?

    Thanks
    Patrick

  22. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for this. I’ll have to go and make sure my H tags are being used for maximum benefit.
    I’d really appreciate info on any other tools that you are using and would recommend.

    Thanks again!

  23. Well, your post is very informative! A good tool to be used especially for beginners like me.

  24. I have just started a new website.This information will be very helpful for me.Many many thanks for this article>

  25. Neil, great article (as usual). I think the meta description is very important. In addition to including keywords, it’s also important to write that copy in the same manner as you would for a PPC ad.

  26. Thanks Neil. That’s a really practical tool. Love your detailed breakdown of it too.

    This is a post I’m going to have to come back to and go through in detail!

  27. bissell proheat :

    hi neil.

    first of all i would like to thank you for your good information.

    I would like to ask you a question. this SEO report should be use before we create our website to find better keyword and domain or whether we can still use it after we create our website and after we choose our keyword to get better rank? i don’t really get it. can you explain about it?

    • You can use it before or after… This report allows you to understand how you compare against your competitors for certain keywords. It’ll tell you what changes you should make.

  28. Really neat little tool for onsite seo actually, great post.

    It is a shame that the presence of keywords in the URL is such a strong signal, but I guess it is going to wane in the next couple of years, especially with the increased focus on brands.

  29. Ok just did a report for what I want to rank for. Seems like some good stuff!

  30. Okay, so I signed up to get the report, but it seems to be stuck at 91% complete. What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks

  31. Hey Neil,

    Such great topic shared by you and after i was trying free seo report then comment your article … it’s really very useful

    Thanks Neil

  32. I have tried this tool and though it gives only one report for free but its a great tool that will definitely point out at least a few things that the experts might overlook.

  33. How can I email this article to my friend?

  34. Very nicely broken down Neil. There are lots of clients and SEOs who ignore the simple onsite factors, they play a big part in giving that little extra push to the key terms. In recent months I have notice the onsite issues have become more and more important yes offsite SEO does matter but we should not neglect the onsite.

    I am a big fan of “Simple Tingz” :)

  35. Its an interesting udates about seo but i need to know more about Onpage factors can you point some post about it Neil

  36. Thanks for sharing an post about seo its really an useful can you udpate more about SMM

  37. They really gave me an awesome report in like 20 minutes. Totally awesome.

    Hey Neil are you going to the affiliate summit in Jan?

  38. Awesome one for sure Neil, is there a way you can do the some analysis about my site and let me know if i am going in right direction ?

  39. My report was great – wish it gave more reports for free! It exposed a few flaws that I didn’t notice my site had. I’m not great at SEO anyway, so it showed me what to work on. Thanks for recommending it and I’m considering going with the subscription.

  40. I stumbled on this blog site a several days back nonetheless completely did not remember to bookmark it – I wont make the similar fault just as before – this will go right inside my personal favourites.

  41. SEO Well written and explained. On reading this post SEO seems to be so easy and this Free SEO Report indeed is very useful. But is it actually this easy?
    SEO has been one of the most difficult to do and it is not this easy when it comes to competing in niches that already have extreme competition. There are quite a lot of parameters that you see you are similar to the big boys in, yet your site will just not rank as high as these big boys. It is at this point that it becomes obvious that there are other things that just the title tags and the heading tags.
    But from a point of view of understanding SEO and evaluating your site, this post is very informative and useful. Thanks Neil.

  42. I picked up “SEO for Dummies” from the local library and it opened my eyes to a few things. I tried a keyword search and realized that what I thought and what the search engines thought were not the same!

    Thie looks like a great tool that I need to check out. Just wondering – can the “checking out the top 10 competitors” be held to a geographic area – zip code, county, so many miles from a certain city, etc? If not, is there one that does that?

    Ed

  43. I totally agree the best way to learn SEO is to do optimization by own hands because off page optimization can be learned easily but the main thing is On Page Optimization. Thanks for sharing detailed information regarding SEO learning.

    • I would say that offpage optimization too requires some knowledge and thought as to how you bring a balance between your backlinks that are a mixture of dofollow and nofollow links. SO you need to know what ratio is good and be careful that Google is not penalizing you in any way.

  44. Perfect tool to generate quick analysis report of a website. It’s true that if a person would like to learn SEO then he/she must be have try their own or take some advice from expert like you :)

    Thanks once more time for sharing this wonderful tool with us Patel :)

  45. Neil,

    This is a very good SEO article to start with. I was wondering if you have some time can you please blog on HOW TO PICK KEYWORDS for our websites. This will be a great help Neil…

  46. David Robert Hogg :

    A couple other ideas:

    – Use photos and other types of media in your posts. Both users and search engines love them. And it’s an easy — and effective — practice to associate keyword rich text with them through alt tags, title tags, and captions.
    – Focus articles on a narrow subject so you can target that phrase, idea or keyword. Throw too much into a post and Google (and readers) don’t have a good feeling on what it’s about.
    – Important posts should have a direct link from your homepage. Most sites have their highest pagerank on their homepage, so you want this link juice to flow to your most consequential posts.

  47. Come live life my way :

    Thanks for this great post. I haven’t started with doing keyword research yet, thought it would be boring. But now i will start doing it for my blogs. Thanks again.

  48. Keyword research takes considerable time but it really requires us to wait and see the results of our keyword that we have chosen to rank to find that we have really chosen a right keyword at the moment

  49. Hi,

    The keywords are the one which will find you in Google search. We do key word analysis so that we can bring our company which is a Virtual Assistant company so that we can get more clients and do better services.

    Lakshmi

  50. I wonder how critical load time of our site is to Google? Anyhow thanks for recommending Free SEO Report Neil. I have not yet found a tool to do an updated analysis until your recommendation, well one that’s free anyhow.

  51. Joan | Online Reputation :

    Do you happen to know what will be done in terms of links? I haven’t read through all the comments, but curious if you knew if this reporting will allow for some type of link intelligence or it’s not even planned?

  52. I’m pretty much like you and learn SEO by doing.

    While everyone knows the importance of backlinks, internal linking structure is something that one should look out for as well.

    Simply adding some internal links with the anchor kw you wanted to rank can easily bump you up a few positions in my experience. (Especially for sites like yours with good PR inner pages.)

  53. What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute aid other users like its aided me. Great job

  54. Thanks for that great article. Perhaps i will translate some parts and use them for friendworx. What kind of Tools can you recommend for wordpress optimization?

  55. I have an doubt with Dofollow and Nofollow Neil can you explain the difference between them will nofollow gives any credits

  56. Neil,

    I noticed you have Day and name for your permalinks.

    How do you choose which one to use?
    when to use it?
    and if I wanted to change it after for example 6 months, would that affect SEO negatively?

  57. wow I really feel ignorant about SEO marketing. Well Thank GOD I found your blog. Things are starting to look better already. I’m going to read every single post you have on SEO marketing and I’m also going to sigh up for the report. Thank you so much

  58. Excellent Reference Neil, But one thing, i just want to ask you, is the age prefix necessary for rankings? One of My competitor is from 11 years old, while i am just less than 2 months. So, is there any chance to rank more than him?

    I need your guidance on that. Normally, why new domains don’t rank on google.

  59. This is good piece of advice. I host my site on Tumblr, do you have any advice SEO advice for Tumblr? Thanks.

  60. As i m a web master i know about seo, but some times, i heard about angel pauline link, whats the meaning of this and uses.

  61. One question Neil, in case of comment backlinking do you do this ..? if yes then how to figure out which site would be better to comment on…??

  62. I used it.It’s really helpful.

  63. I think it’s important to respect these things. My question is: why not get backlinkuri the directories in which I scored my website?

  64. Neil do you create this tool ?

  65. I disagree about what you think the secret is to learning SEO – I think the secret is, if you want to master SEO, study the plethora of SEO tools and what they do. If you want master Twitter, study the plethora of Twitter tools, etc. Because the developers of these tools are usually experts in that field and have developed that tool to fill a need and offer a new angle. Usually if there’s something never thought of before, a developer will jump on that and offer it as a new tool or feature. Furthermore, study what they tell you to do with their tool to get the most out of it.

    • I agree that you need to practically submerge yourself with whatever it is you’re trying to learn. You also got to surround yourself with people like that as well.

  66. I have tried this Free SEO Report to few of my sites, really it’s a great tool to analyse the competitors, and also I have another question, these results shows for google.com right? But I have full of Indian based sites. Suppose if I want to rank in google.in alone what I should I do?

  67. Hi Neil,

    can you suggest some of the best tool to use for seo as like for building backlinks

  68. Any possibilities to find the best keywords ranking for our sites

  69. Having an link on PR link exchange page will its pass the PR juice for my site?

  70. Hello Neil, I think the tool is not functioning anymore because i go on entering my url, it says enter again

  71. Thanks for this article. Very helpful in getting me started. Will keep checking back for more insightful and helpful posts :)

  72. It’s about time for me to get a free SEO report.

  73. I have a ecommerce site and the cms is use is stopping my site from progressing, ( i will change the cms to probably magento when i have saved enough money to do so ). The coding within my current cms is so thick google cannot read all or even many of the product pages, so sales are reduced.Also Google won’t rank each page on it’s own merrit, it replaces the home page with another internal page from week to week. How strange!!
    All the titles, meta descriptions are correct and unique, the home page has a good few do follow links pointing to it with the correct anchor text and it has H1, H2 tags with keywords and UGC.

  74. Awesome tool… I defiantly will start utilizing this asap.

    Thanks!

  75. I am forever expanding my knowledge of SEO but I find more often than all i need to do is search your site. great post as always

  76. wow this is very helpful and very useful for me
    because now is learning SEO
    Thanks for knowledge

  77. http://www.freeseoreport.com great resource site and i first time hared it through your blog. thanks for really helpful post.

  78. hey neil,
    it’s really informative article.
    i really did not know too much. it’s good to read.

    Thanks.

    Matt

  79. While I don’t think that way but it is interesting to see it unfold. They believe that SEO guys release these ebooks with little to no information. I think these guys are reading the wrong ebooks.

  80. Well I truly liked studying it. This information offered by you is very constructive for accurate planning.

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