5 SEO Tips for Beginners: A Starter’s Guide to SEO
Are you new to the rapidly-changing world of search engine optimisation (SEO)? Whether you provide marketing support for an employer or run your own business, a strong web presence is crucial for visibility, lead generation, and sales.
Even with the prevalence of social media and PPC ads today, most website traffic still comes from organic search. Here are seven quick SEO tips for beginners to help you get the best possible results from your content marketing!
1. Write Content for People First, Search Engines Second
You’ve surely heard the phrase “content is king” before. It might sound like a cliche, but it continues to hold true, edging out even many of the more technical aspects of SEO in importance.
Well, for one thing, Google doesn’t buy your products or services – people do. Even if Google is happy with your page speed and site architecture, that won’t matter if your content isn’t engaging to the people you want as customers.
If you’ve ever used Google Analytics with a website before, you’ve seen that search engines are able to track a colossal amount of data, including metrics like bounce rate, time on page, and average sessions per user. If one of your webpages or blog posts happens to be served near the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), but nobody clicks or engages with the content, it won’t stay there for long.
Be deliberate in creating unique content that appeals to your target audiences and answers their questions – in the end, you can only grow your business with quality content that delivers what people are searching for.
2. Do Keyword Research Early and Often
Keyword research is a massive endeavor, but before you even worry about specific keywords, one of the best early exercises for your content strategy is brainstorming broad topics in your niche or industry. Once you’ve validated them with keyword research, these groups of topics can become your blog categories.
You should also consider the intent behind keywords. If you run an eCommerce site, your primary goal is to rank for “commercial intent” keywords, such as “prices on Ugg boots.” These types of keywords indicate that searchers are likely to make a purchase if they find what they’re looking for on your site.
Outside of eCommerce, your site may benefit from creating posts for “information intent” keywords to answer readers’ questions. Virtually every “how to” article falls into this category. Information posts are a great way to establish your brand as an authority, and are particularly useful in businesses where you need to establish a relationship with prospects and nurture them into customers over time.
Regardless, it’s important to vary post types. You’ll want to experiment to find the ideal balance for your website. As you go along, it can also help to peek at what your top 3 to 5 competitors are writing about for keyword and topic ideas. Don’t be afraid to try different topics to see what gets the most traction.
Just remember that keyword research is an ongoing process – an SEO’s work is never done!
3. Optimise Every Published Page
Every post or page you publish represents an opportunity for your company to get discovered online. So, whenever you publish a quality new piece of content on your website, you should take the time to fully optimise its on-page SEO.
How does this work? Start with the primary keyword you’re targeting and make sure it appears:
In the title (H1)
In the first paragraph of your post (the first 150 words or so)
In a few subheadings (H2s and H3s)
In the alt text for images
In the meta description
In the page’s URL (permalink)
These are just guidelines, but they’re definitely useful for getting the most out of each page and post.
Note: This doesn’t mean you should spam the same keyword over and over. It’s not 2002 anymore – Google is sophisticated enough to figure out the topic of your page when you use related or complementary keywords along with a primary keyword. These days, keyword density isn’t as important as good content.
4. Maintain Strong Technical SEO
From broken links to page speed to responsive design, technical SEO is all about making sure your website is accessible for both Google and humans.
There’s a lot that goes into technical SEO, including your website architecture, XML sitemaps, page speed, duplicate content, and security. Just like with the content you publish, maintaining strong technical SEO will make your website crawlable for Google and provide a better experience for users.
Much of technical SEO falls into the web developer’s wheelhouse, but no matter what position you hold, it’s important to know about these key factors in your SEO.
You should also use Google Search Console to monitor any errors on your site (such as 404s) and minimise duplicate content. To handle other technical issues, check out tools like Moz.
5. Stay on Top of Your Links
Backlinks are like votes on the internet that tell Google which content is most helpful. If you get a lot of links to your website from authoritative sources, this tells Google your website is valuable and trustworthy.
That’s where link building comes in. By conducting outreach campaigns, you can get mentions or guest posts from other blogs, websites, and social media pages to raise your website’s profile online.
Most people know about external links, but internal links are equally important! Quality internal linking will make it easy for readers to find other relevant content on your site, which can improve all kinds of metrics related to user engagement.
In addition, internal links are closely tied to your website architecture, a key part of technical SEO. The way you set up your internal links can reinforce the value of your high-priority pages and command more attention in the SERPs.
A combination of powerful internal and external links will dramatically improve your rankings in Google.
Bonus Tip: Work with an SEO Expert
I hope these SEO tips for beginners have pointed you in the right direction, but as you can tell, there’s definitely a lot to keep track of!
Not sure if you have the expertise or bandwidth to handle SEO on your own? It might be worth working with an expert to grow your business this year.
When you partner with an SEO agency, you can boost your brand in the search results and gain invaluable exposure online. Don’t let competitors get the upper hand by beating you in the SERPs!