SEO Tips for Beginners
If you’re new to the world of SEO, things can seem a little daunting. You want your website to stand out in the search engines, but where do you start?
Let’s have a quick look at some numbers first. While Google doesn’t give out official figures, it’s estimated that it processes about 5.6 billion searches every day! And if that’s not mind-boggling enough, consider this. Every day, there are around 500 million tweets, 290 billion emails, 4 million gigabytes of Facebook data, 65 billion WhatsApp messages and 720 000 hours of new content added on YouTube
That’s a serious amount of NEW data being added onto the internet every day which the search engines have to trawl.
And you want your website to stand out in this tsunami of data?
That’s where SEO comes in.
The trick is to understand Google’s ranking factors and what you can do to make your website visible where and when it counts. The search engine needs to be able to find you when people are searching for your business or searching for products or services like the ones you sell so that it can highlight your website at the top of its search pages.
Beginner SEO Tips
SEO is the best way of improving your chances of getting found online, boosting organic traffic to your site and increasing sales. If you’re new to SEO, this article provides you with SEO tips for beginners to get you started and gives you some insight into why this powerful tool is an essential element of your digital strategy.
13 Valuable SEO tips for beginners
1. Define your goals and objectives
SEO is like any other business strategy. The parameters need to be set before any work is done, and goals and objectives need to be defined. What do you want to achieve from your SEO? Each business is unique and some may want their SEO efforts to result in greater brand awareness, increased sales or more leads. Some may want to set targets for email subscribers, downloads or phone calls. The clearer your goals, the easier it will be to target the right audience.
2. Claim your Google My Business listing
Before you start with keyword research or any other aspect of SEO, you should set up your profile on Google My Business. This is a free public profile on Google and is the perfect opportunity to provide the search engine – and users – with accurate and updated information about your company. It includes things like NAP (name, address and phone number), operating hours, your website address, link to Google maps, a description about what your business is about, photos, events, reviews etc.
The trick is optimise your listing and stay active on it.
Get Started with our Beginners Guide To Google My Business
3. Evaluate your competitors
It’s always good to know what you’re up against. Athletes always study the opposition to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to identify opportunities, and you should too. Have a good look at what your competitors are up to online and what keywords they are ranking for.
4. Do your keyword research thoroughly
The secret to successful SEO is to find keywords that are highly relevant to your website and which are popular with users, but which aren’t too competitive. It’s a tough ask, but that’s where keyword research comes in.
As an SEO beginner, take a look at some of our blog posts to get you started such as Using Google Search for Keyword Research or Keyword Research Tips And Tricks or pay for a low cost tool such as Keywords Everywhere.
5. Focus on search intent
It’s not only about finding keywords that have high search volumes. It’s all about considering what the searcher’s intent is when they enter a search term. Do they want to buy something (transactional)? Do they want information about a product or service (informational) or are they looking for a specific website (navigational)?
You need to understand these different intents because they will influence your choice of keywords and where you target them. Have a read of our blog Why Search Intent Is So Important for SEO for more information.
6. Target long and short tail keywords
Search terms are divided into short-tail and long-tail keywords. Short-tail ones usually contain between 1 – 2 words and they have higher search volumes. They drive high traffic, but because they’re highly competitive, they can be hard to rank for. Long-tail keywords contain longer phrases ( 2 – 4 words) that are more specific and they have lower search volumes and less competition. Despite the fact that they attract less traffic however, they are highly targeted and make ranking your content easier. The likelihood of conversion is also greater from these because they attract a highly targeted audience who are looking for something specific.
7. Choose core keywords for each page of your website
Use keyword research tools to identify core keywords that are relevant for different pages of your website.
8. Create quality content
Yes, SEO is about the search engines and keywords, but it is also very much about the user experience. No-one wants to read content that is stuffed full of keywords and which doesn’t flow easily or read naturally. The trick is to write for humans. Keep things entertaining, engaging, easy to follow, helpful and original!
Remember to consider user intent, and publish both long (1200+ words) and short-form (500 – 800 words) depending on what your visitors are looking for. Your content should always meet the reader’s expectations and always write primarily for your audience, not SEO.
9. Use keywords in headings and paragraphs
Your focus should always be on quality content that’s aimed at the reader, but try and incorporate your core and related keywords into headings (eg H1, H2s, H3s etc) and in other sections of content like lists and tables. A good tip for SEO beginners to remember is to use the keyword within the first 100 words of the content.
10. Use Google Analytics
As mentioned earlier, your SEO strategy is a business strategy with objectives and goals. And like any other business strategy, performance needs to be measured and evaluated against those goals. Link your site to Google Search Console (it’s free!) and get instant insights into your site’s performance. It’s a great tool for showing how your campaign is tracking, how Google views your site, where improvements are needed etc.
You can read more about Google Analytics in our blog post Making Sense of Google Analytics
11. Make your website mobile-friendly
Mobile friendliness is a key ranking factor and for good reason. Over 60% of Google’s organic search traffic in the US originates from mobile devices – and that figure is growing every day. If you want your site to be seen, it has to be responsive and appropriate for mobile searches.
12. Set up a link-building strategy
Links are a key part of SEO and one of Google’s core ranking factors. Many SEO newbies are reluctant to link away from their website, but you need to remember that internal and external links are crucial. Remember though, if you link to external sites, make sure they are reputable ones otherwise you risk harming your brand reputation among both your audience and Google itself. Have a read of our blog post Why Backlinks Are So Important For SEO to find out more.
13. Is local SEO for you?
If your business serves customers in a specific geographical area, then you need to look at optimising your website for local search intent. Elements of local SEO include your Google My Business listing, accumulating Google Reviews, getting listed in local directories and business pages etc.
Where to now?
If you’ve found these SEO tips for beginners helpful, you may be interested in taking your skills to the next level with an easy-to-follow, self-guided online course to help Google and your customers find your business online, quickly and easily.
Go from SEO newbie to confident pro and implement your business’s SEO strategy as you progress through the eight modules of The SEO School, armed with plenty of insider secrets and tried and tested techniques. By the time you’ve completed the course, you should be generating more organic traffic to your website which will lead to more enquiries and sales.
The SEO School was designed by leading Perth digital marketing expert, Karen Dauncey. Find out more or book your course at The SEO School.
If you found this article useful then check out “Why I Launched The SEO School“
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