Chapter 1- Getting your website Running

While following this track, you’ll gain valuable SEO skills by creating and working on your personal website. This course is a guide made for beginners. Still we’ve made it flexible for more experienced SEO’ers. You can easily jump to different sections according to the stages you’re at. We should also emphasize that this track is a guide, not a checklist!

If you can, I recommend working with one or two friends on this track. It will allow you to share, discuss, learn and advance faster on the project.

SEO takes time and motivation is crucial! It’s always easier to keep up your motivation when you work in groups. You’ll also get different perspectives on stuff and improve your divergent thinking skills!

You should also join our Facebook SEO community  to learn, share ideas and resources, or to drop any questions related to this track.

SEO course

Step 1- Choose the topic of your website

At this step, you’ll have to make your first choice. Either you start by setting up your website or you attack SEO directly.

To start SEO directly, you have to find someone that has a website, and that need helps with their SEO (their’s a lot of people that need help). In this case, you can skip step 2.

If you create your website (which I recommend), start by finding a niche topic. Ideally, you should be passionate about the topic, it should be a topic that has a good traffic potential, and that you’ll be able to monetize on later.

If lack inspiration and want to find niches to monetize on, then popular niches include: Dog Training, muscle building, weight loss, dating and relationships, self-help, learn to sing, health, spirituality, travel, diet and nutrition… Trending topics such as virtual reality and Internet of things (IoT) can be interesting. You can even create a website where you sell your private labeled products. There are lots of opportunities. If you’re curious, check out how you can monetize your site.

Whatever you start, I recommend to be super focused on a niche topic (it took me months to understand).  Let’s say you want to write about dog training. For most people, it is tempting to start big and write about all types dogs and training for dogs. If you do this, you’ll probably struggle a lot. When you start out, first focus on something super specific. When you are successful with that, you can start to think bigger.

You’ll increase your chance of success if you choose a topic such as favorite games of American bulldogs, and as you grow, you expand to writing about French Bulldogs as well.

Rules:

  • The more specific your topic is, the higher are your chances of success.
  • If there is too much competition in your niche, find another topic.
  • If it isn’t a topic that interests people and you want to monetize later, better to focus on something else

To check if your topics are competitive and if your topics are demanded, use Google Keyword Planner to check for monthly searches. Then I recommend to do a Google search and to use the Mozbar to check if the it is a competitive topic. We’ve covered how to check your competition and how to use Google Keyword Planner and the Mozbar.  In the bottom of this page, you’ll also find all relevant tools for SEO.

Step 2- Buy domain name + set up website

Find a decent domain name quickly and start setting up your website. With services such as Squarespace, Strikingly, WordPress and Blogger, you’ll be able to set up your website quickly.

I recommend using WordPress. It is still the most popular content management system. And you’ll get started quickly, it’s cheap, it’s easy to use, and there’s thousands of themes to choose from.

In this post, I explain how to get started with WordPress quickly. You’ll also find an Excel sheet that will allow you to combine and find your domain name quickly!

Team Treehouse has a great tutorial on how to build your website using WordPress.

Create your own website

Using wordpress
Wordpress on Team Treehouse

Step 3- Add SEO Plugins to your website

How to become more productive
If you start with WordPress, there’s a couple of plugins that will help your SEO:

WordPress SEO by Yoast: helps your meta tags.
XML Sitemaps: When you provide sitemaps, you help search engines know how your site looks like
WP Super Cache: Makes website navigation faster for users
Bwp Minify: makes HTML, CSS and Javascript files smaller
Smush.it: Reduces image size

Web site loading speed is important for SEO. When a page uses too much time to load, people quickly exit your page. Number of images and image size as well as plugins affect loading time. You should consider compressing your images before uploading them. You can compress images with Tinyjpg, Photoshop or iphoto (of you have a Mac).

To check for stuff that affects loading time, try Pingdom and Google Developers.

Also make sure that people can sign up to your email list. People that want to sign up to your email list like your content and are likely to be good ambassadors!

Also, make sure to add:

  • Google Analytics. Without Analytics, you’ll have little information about how your website is doing. Chapter 2 will be difficult if you don’t add Google Analytics. I also recommend using Google Analytics a bit every day to get familiar…
  • Google Webmaster tools. Upload your XML sitemap file to Webmaster tools. It helps Google index and understand your page better.

Step 4- Create your first posts

When your website is running, you need content. Blogs are typically created to create traffic to a website. There are lots of ways to create content to drive traffic to your website such as Youtube videos, Infographics, Podcasts, Pinterest… But to get started, we’ll focus on blog posts!

Task: Create 5 posts about your topic

Go on Google Keyword Planner and find 5 keywords that you want to focus on. One keyword for each article. When you start posting, you’ll probably get very little traffic. To increase chances of people visiting your website, focus on keywords with 40-250 monthly searches.

Don’t spend much time on these articles. Very few people will probably ever read your first posts! Still make sure that the content is well written and informative. Don’t be a perfectionist, it will only slow you down.

If you need inspiration, there are billions of online posts. Do a Google search and get inspired to write good content. To get photos for your post’s featured images, check out sites such as Flickr (free) or Yayimages (not free). It avoids copyright issues. If you’re writing in English, I recommend using Grammarly to correct your English.

If you don’t know how, start learn to use Photoshop a bit every day as you go. It’s probably a skill you’ve always wanted and you can do lots of cool things, including creating your own logo. I found a great course, check it out.

A piece of advice for your featured Photos: Always use the same photo ratio. It saves you a lot of design problems. The featured photos on Elearnhero sticks to the 5:3 ratio.

Learn Photoshop

Create your own logos
Check out Jeremy’s Crash Course

Step 5- Optimize your content and pages

The most important is to get started and moving. Now that you have your 5 first posts make them better! Here’s a great post on how to structure a good post.  The title is what appeals readers, so get inspired to write great titles with Copyblogger.

It’s also time to learn how to check how you can make your page and content more SEO friendly: Enter your web page URL into Woorank, Quicksprout, SEO Site Checkup and get a full analysis of your website so you can see how to improve you on-page SEO.

On-page SEO refers to modifications on your website that improves your popularity with search engines. Using headlines (H1, H2, H3..) correctly and consistently is part of it..

Step 6- Start creating WOW content

Know it’s time to work on your first piece of WOW content. Writing WOW content is always easier after you’ve had some writing experience, as you now have. This post covers how to research and create great content that will become popular. To summarize a little, find out what people want to know. You can go to Reddit, Quora and other forums to find content people are interested in. The idea to have in mind is that it is annoying to write content that no one wants to read.

Tasks:

Once you’ve written your great post, it is time to start what will drive traffic to your website: Your Marketing and SEO

How many blog posts you per week is completely up to you! If you want a good amount of traffic, write few, but great pieces of content. Then spend most of your time getting links. When you get more popular, you can scale. As I said, it is annoying to spend lots of time writing content no one will read.

Step 7- Get your first links

I believe over 60% of your time should be focused on your SEO efforts. As an important ranking factor is the number of relevant links to your website, you want to get as many relevant links to your website as possible. To understand what you should focus on, understand how search engines rank websites. This is is from 2013, and this is from 2014. Also read how to get backlinks without guest posting

Daily tasks for your content:

  • Ask to be added to 5 resource lists (every day)
  • Ask to be linked by 5 websites (every day)
  • Contact 5 websites in your niche where you tell them you want to write guest posts for them.

Every time you contact someone, the message has to be short and appeal to the person you are contacting. It will improve your answer rate. Usually, you contact people by email. I strongly recommend contacting people by Twitter. Check more about how you can use Twitter here. To keep track of people you contact by email, I recommend using Boomerang. With Boomerang you’ll get a message when people haven’t answered you. This way you know you have to recontact them.

GO TO CHAPTER 2

SEO tools

Great resources to analyze your on-page SEO:———————————————————————

Checks your Keyword rankings

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Website Analytics

Checks all website analytics- Is used to check website’s analytics before establishing partnerships

Website Page Speed

SEO reporting Tools

Link checkers

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Finding great content

Creating great content

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Posts and SEO Blogs to follow

You won’t find many people more qualified in SEO than these guys (they live for SEO):

Ranking factors:

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WordPress SEO Plugins:

I recommend compressing images on Photoshop, Iphoto (on Mac) or Tinyjpg. Too many plugins slow your site down.

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Online course platforms

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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

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