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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.