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How to Start Ranking on Google: The Basics

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

The SEO 'basics' are items that are (or should be) set up during the design and launch of your website.

I consider this list to be must-haves for everyone:

• website headings

• page titles

• meta tag descriptions

• image alt text

• content formatting for H1 and H2, page-by-page.

Why are these basics so essential?

These are all pieces that the technology online will read and determine if you are relevant to the audience searching for your products or services.

Sometimes these are generalized by companies building a website on your behalf, or worse, it's auto-populated with general information from the platform your website is made on.

There's nothing like making a fantastic page promoting a new product or service, and your new page shows a description preview to the likes of an 'a landing page built with XYZ!'

How do you update these key pieces?

  1. Check the platform you've built your website on.

  2. Once logged in, you'll want to check the settings for your theme and pages.

  3. Check to make sure your site is connected to Google Source, and I also suggest you add Google Analytics to track ongoing SEO efforts.

These core settings are a foundation for your SEO.

If you're looking to start scratching the surface, begin working on your website headings, page titles, and descriptions.

Because these are the first words to describe your business, the first thing someone searching will see, you'll want to make sure you've got them personalized and optimized for your niche.

These action items are different in each building platform. I include some notes on three significant platforms below; Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.

When working on updating your core SEO pieces, remember that there is a strategy behind your actions; if you aren't sure how to properly speak about your business and get to the ranking you desire - consult with Christie for one-on-one strategy help.

As your website is living online, you should have an excellent Content Strategy to keep building your presence online, improving your Google ranking, and increasing your traffic and engagement.

It's important to know that SEO is like a marathon that never ends, and it's beneficial when you have a coach to help you succeed from start to finish.

Wix is by far the most user-friendly for SEO optimization and complete management. The platform does a great job of putting everything you need in a single area - fantastic!

A screenshot of the WIX sidebar menu with Marketing and SEO highlighted.

From the dashboard, when working in Wix, you can view the main menu on the left-hand side of the screen, pictured to the left.

To get to the core of your SEO settings, select Marketing, and SEO. There you'll see a screen like the one pictured below. Next, move through the prompts that I've highlighted with an arrow; Get Found on Google, SEO Patterns, and Site Verification.

A screenshot of the SEO Tools page on WIX with blue arrows pointing to "Get found on google", "SEO Patterns", and "Site Verification".

When you work through the Wix SEO Tools page prompts, you'll have prompts and easy-to-read instructions. On Wix, there are SEO settings within your theme per page; however, I would start with the action steps above before venturing further into SEO.

Squarespace, I haven't heard much positive or negative feedback. It isn't my favorite, but it isn't my least favorite either.

The settings have a few spots where you can collectively find the data you need to set up. From the menu icon, you'll see the options you have to edit. First, click 'Analytics' on the submenu, click 'Search Keywords,' and set up your Google Source and Analytics.

A screenshot of the Squarespace menu with Marketing and Analytics highlighted.

A screenshot of the Squarespace Analytics menu with "Search Keywords" Highlighted.

Once this is done, you can go back to the home menu and select the second step, Marketing.

The Squarespace marketing menu with SEO highlighted.

The marketing menu will look like this. Next, you'll select SEO. Here you'll see a preview of how your website will look when it is searched; from here, you can edit the search descriptions for your home, internal pages, and items.

The Squarespace SEO menu with the display sample highlighted for reference of what your SEO settings will look like when live online.

A more in-depth action for your SEO on your Squarespace account is to select Pages from the main menu. In the pages submenu, you'll see a list of your pages; choose the icon that will show next to the page name, open page settings, select SEO. This is where you can edit the website page titles and descriptions. (The title is an integral part of your SEO as it is the first thing someone searching will see.)

The Squarespace Pages menu highlighted.

The Squarespace SEO Page Settings menu pulled up with arrows pointing to important action items.

The final platform I'll be sharing is WordPress. WordPress is a well-known platform but is complex when working on SEO settings, especially for small organizations without a dedicated tech designer or team.

The Wordpress menu with Appearance highlighted.

The basics of updating your page descriptions are within the theme itself. From the main menu, you'll select Appearance > Theme.

Within your theme editor, you'll want to go page-by-page and select the settings icon in the upper right of the page. Here you'll be able to change the excerpt that is shared online. You'll edit this for each page within your editor.

Wordpress Theme Editor right side menu displayed with Excerpt highlighted.

As I mentioned, WordPress is the most challenging to self-diagnose SEO, the different pieces you'll want to optimize are spread throughout the platform and within the design itself. So be careful within WordPress as you can easily change something you don't intend to.

That's it, the basics to starting to rank on Google! Remember, ranking on Google is a practice of sharing the right content for your audience that educates and promotes your business.

Need help improving your ranking? Contact us today.

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