SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, can be a difficult subject to wrap your mind around. A Google search for “SEO” returns almost 500 million search results. This is more information than any one person could attempt to read in their lifetime. Problem is, a lot of that information on SEO tips for beginners is out-of-date or just not relevant to the needs of a beginner trying to get some quick and easy wins.
I’m going to outline the absolute best SEO tips for beginners by focusing on SEO basics for 2018. This will give you actionable SEO strategies that you can use right now to improve, or even begin getting, precious website traffic by getting your site discovered and to rank higher in Google’s search results.
For those of you hungry after reading this we also have a more comprehensive set of SEO tips for small businesses along with a buyers guide to SEO packages to help you effectively outsource your SEO.
Here are six super simple SEO tips for beginners to help you optimize your site and drive more organic traffic:
Seo basics keyword research and keyword tools
- Research & Use Relevant Keywords
- Keywords are the backbone of all successful SEO strategies. When your potential customers use a search engine what are they searching for? For most small businesses this will be a combination of what your business provides as a product or service and where it is performed: (SEO company in Orlando or kitchen remodelers in Orange County).
There are some SEO tools and strategies we will use to make sure we get relevant selection of keywords together. These tools will help you take a lot of the guesswork out of trying to figure out what your ideal customer might be searching for.
So let’s start by brainstorming potential keywords that your ideal customer would use to find you. To start, you’re going to write down everything that describes your Business: what you do, the products/services you offer, and the locations in which you offer those products/services. Once you have written all of these descriptions about your product/service offerings, you will combine these with the locations of your offerings to form a basic SEO list of keywords.
With your foundational keyword list, we can use some keyword research tools to get suggestions on why users are searching for, how much is being searched per month, as well as how competitive the keyword phrase will be to rank in the SERPs. My personal SEO keyword research favorites for getting this job done are ubersuggest and keywordtool.io, and both come in free and paid versions. For now, stick to the free version until your skill sets demand more features and capabilities.
Take the foundational keyword list you started above and search for your keywords using either one of the keyword tools mentioned above (really boils down to personal preference, so try both to see which you like working with best).
Another way to find more keyword search phrases your users will use to look for businesses like yours is to use Google. The next time you Google something, take notice that you will often see suggestions in the search bar while you type and there will also be a list of suggested searches at the bottom of the page. Add any of these relevant variations to your list and search them again.
What you are really looking to do here is end up with groups of keywords that have the same basic meaning and intent behind them. As an example, let’s consider this article on SEO tips for beginners, we could group the keywords as such:
- Best SEO tips for beginners
- How to do SEO
- SEO basics 2018
- Beginners search engine optimisation tips
- Search Engine Optimization for Beginners
- Search engine optimisation tips for beginners
The intent driving those keywords is closely related so we will group them together. Any given piece of content can then be optimized for (i.e. feature) those terms. This then ranks our content piece for the widest range of possible keyword phrases and terms.
I would typically put these keywords into a spreadsheet with approximate search volumes and a score relating to how relevant they are. Don’t overcomplicate this though, we are just trying to give a loose priority to the language we are going to use through the article that’s written for the keyword grouping.
SEO Tip: Identify and prioritise the keywords that your prospective customers use when looking for the products and services you offer.
2. Optimize Page Titles & Meta Descriptions
Once you have your keyword list completed, you will first optimize your page title so that it contains the most important keywords you want to rank on. Note that this is the behind the scenes HTML <title> element and not what is shown on the page. This is usually editable in your website control panel (CMS) or in your SEO plugin. For WordPress users, it’ll be at the top of post page.
The goal is to get our keywords into the page title in a natural sounding way. You have to keep in mind that page titles are what is shown boldly in search results so we are aiming to clearly indicate what the blog post is about and entice a user to click on our page listing.
What I typically like to do in the title field is include the what, where, and who if possible. You’ll want to keep the page title under 70 characters long as that’s the viewable limit searchers are able to see, because the rest is truncated. The keywords are the what, the location is the where, along with your business name at the end for branding purposes. Ideally, you want the keyword your aiming to rank for at the beginning of the title which can help the click-through rate (CTR) and it can help with potential ranking improvements.
Here’s some examples:
Digital Marketing Agency in Orlando Florida | Marketing Media Wizard
Best Orlando SEO Agencies | Marketing Media Wizard
Page titles are important for getting the seo basics understood
If we look at service pages we can extend upon this:
Digital Marketing Agency | Free SEO Analysis — Marketing Media Wizard
Best Orlando SEO Agencies: SEO Beginner Packages | Marketing Media Wizard
In both page title examples, I have included an element that is more for marketing than actual SEO: Free SEO Analysis & SEO Packages. These are elements we put there to increase the likelihood that someone will click on the listing.
Remember that a search engine listing is still an advertisement, so we must get our marketing message dialed in along with our SEO strategies. And, as it so happens, engagement with your blog post listing can have a positive impact on your overall organic search rankings, meaning that using Google Adwords for paid ads is also beneficial for your SEO page rankings. This is because when you run traffic to your blog posts, via paid ads, you are giving both the website and that Blog post data and metrics Google is then able to use to further index and categorize the relevancy for future search results.
A word of caution here is not to over-optimise your page titles and just cram them full of keywords.
SEO Basics | SEO Tips for Beginners | SEO Agency | Search Engine OptimIzation | SEO Company
Your page title must include your keywords but never at the expense of making it sound and read funny to searchers. Google is adamant about a site’s wording and keyword use being natural and providing the best user experience as possible. So never risk trying to match a page title up with a search keyword phrase that’s not natural sounding just for the sake of trying to rank for it.
Once you’re happy with your page title, the next component to focus on is your meta description. Like the pages title, this too should be editable in your website’s CMS. WordPress users will find this near the bottom of the blog post’s page. Click on the “edit snippet” button and it’ll drop down a textarea for you to enter the meta description.
Page titles will have the biggest SEO impact, whereas the meta description provides the introduction of the content on your blog post. The Blog title needs to quickly grab people’s attention while the meta description helps set the hook and excites/convinces them to click in order to read further.
The page title and meta description used for this article is as follows:
SEO Tips for Beginners: 6 Quick, Easy and Basic Wins
Six Quick & Easy SEO tips for beginners. Easily optimise your website, improve rankings and drive more traffic from Google.
With the page title, I am detailing what the blog post is, while the meta description backups up the value the page title promised to deliver, which hopefully entices more people to click to read this.
Now, meta descriptions do not actually influence rankings, at least not directly. What do I mean? Google’s algorithms doesn’t use the meta description keywords as a relevancy or ranking value indicator. Google doesn’t examine the meta description and then add a value to help or hurt your search results. However, getting listed is only half the SEO battle, the other is getting clicks from interested people searching for answers they believe you can deliver on. And where a result is clicked more than another this can help improve your ranking through engagement metrics that Google does look at. Most troubling about this, is that a search result that is not clicked on or that’s clicked on less than its peers will lose its position by being dropped from the search results. The thing to focus on here is that though the SEO stuff we do on our website is important, it should never be at the expense of creating original high quality content.
SEO Tip: Write descriptive page titles and meta descriptions and thread in your marketing messages mixed with keywords to improve your organic traffic and search results rankings.
Seo basics optimize page content with keywords
3. Optimize Your Page Content to Fit Keywords
Now that your page titles and meta descriptions are optimized, we now need to optimize the page content to fit with the keyword groupings. Let’s now add in these keywords into our blog post copy, in a natural way. Natural means not keyword stuffing or repeating the exact same keyword phrase over and over again while not paying attention to it’s singular or plural connotations. The best thing to do here is to use synonyms of the keyword phrase so it’s not stuff and is human readable.
There are various components to a page with the main elements being:
- Header Tags –> H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6
- Body Content –> page content
- Images –> images help visualize the talking points
First, focus on the heading and subheadings on the page (H1 & H2). These should be optimized to include your keywords, given it’s done in a natural way.
Next, create the page content that will describe and promote your business and try to use all of your keywords, within a grouping, where it’s natural sounding. Don’t concern yourself with keyword volumes or specific uses of them, just write your article as you naturally would and try to use the keyword terms as best as you can throughout the article to specifically describe your business or its product or service offering.
Images must be optimized by naming the image file, the image alt text, and the image description with the relevant keywords matching the rest of the page. If the image is placed close to relevant keyword text that too can also help boost it up.
When this is done properly, your page will be visible for a wide range of relevant keyword terms and you will be communicating with a larger customer base which should boost engagement which leads to generating more quality leads and sales from your website.
SEO Tip: Optimizing headers, content, and images significantly boosts your pages visibility for a broader range of keyword search terms, thus giving you more opportunities.
Best seo tips for beginners update google my business listing and location information
4. Optimize Google My Business Listing
Your website is the central hub for all your SEO efforts, however, this is not the only place where your business is listed online. Social media and business directories like Yelp.com will also have information listings for your business. Search engines use this information along with information from your business to help build trust and an understanding of what you do and where you do it.
You will want to update all possible business listings, commonly referred to as citations, with your correct/current address and a summary of available business services. Add the most important keywords into these business listings along with a mention of any key service areas.
You can also take a similar approach with your social media profiles. Although you might not be able to add a business address or full business description, you can still generalize the business purpose and where it’s done.
SEO Tip: Update Google My Business (GMB) and other business listings and your businesses social media profiles with keyword descriptive content and the service locations.
Seo basics building backlinks
5. Building Links Back to Your Site
Link building is one of the most important SEO elements to having your website ranked. Link building is also important for driving the right type of search results rankings based on competitive keywords. However, link building has a bad reputation, because links can both help and hurt your search engine rankings. Because of their power to either help or hurt, you need to stay away from Fiverr and other sources offering cheap links. Look, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. There’s no shortcut to success, especially with something like links that can go either way.
To gain visibility will require having the right kind of links pointing to your site. These links help Google determine your relative importance and search results ranking by using these metrics.
Think about it this way, a relevant link from another website is like a vote. In this use case, votes indicate that you’re important to the search query which drives greater visibility in Google‘s SERPs. There’s a catch, they must be the right kind of votes. They have to come from other authority sites that are in the same niche as yours. It’s like having a country club member vouch for you to become a member as well.
It goes without saying that link building is the hardest part of SEO and is where beginners often get stuck in the learning curve. Fortunately, there’s a few simple and effective strategies you can use to obtain some quality backlinks that will improve your search results visibility.
Directory Sites that are Credible
Highly credible directory sites like Crunchbase.com, Yelp.com, Foursquare, Yell.com, Thompson, and big business directories that are Industry specific. Use Google to search for your keywords and locations, as well as any listings that rank on the first page of Google are worth looking into.
2. Competitor Link Analysis
Reviewing your competitor’s links will often identify link patterns and opportunities. Checkout your top 10 competitors with a tool like MajesticSEO, ahrefs, or OpenSiteExplorer. Using one of these tools will help you identify numerous link opportunities. You are not looking to copy every single link here but rather to identify the the best opportunities from the competition. Quality over quantity is what matters most here.
3. User Testimonials
Offer to write testimonials for companies you work with. Your website designer. Your social media or SEO company. These are all sites that do work for you, are likely local, and can generate a relevant link.
Likewise, if you have previous relationships with customers or suppliers, look into these sites to see if there’s a way a link could be added to these websites.
SEO Tip: Build relevant and quality links to your website and content.
Basics of seo use google search console
6. Google Search Console
Finally, register your site with Google Search Console. This tool analyses your website and provides diagnostic feedback you can use to improve how your site appears in search results. This is information coming directly from Google and will help you keep a vigilant eye on any issues or areas for actionable improvement. Also, it’s required to run effective remarketing campaigns with Google AdWords.
Here we have 6 basic SEO tips that even beginners can implement to improve your SEO rankings:
- Research & use relevant keywords
- Optimise page titles & meta descriptions
- Optimise page content
- Optimise your business around the web
- Build relevant links
- Register your site on Google Search Console
Now that you have plenty of actionable items to complete on your site so that it can become visible to those searching on Google for your services, I’ll end it here for today. Implement these basic SEO tips and you will see an improvement in your website rankings and traffic flow. And often with SEO, getting 20% dialed in will yield 80% of the results