So you are just setting out with SEO and are not quite sure where you should start. Fear not! We’re here to get you on the right path to SEO success.
Once you have mastered these basic SEO tips, you can expect your ranking in the search engines to improve significantly.
We’ve got you covered with our top 10 beginners tips for basic SEO. So, if you’re ready to begin, let’s get started!
What Exactly is SEO & is it Important?
Before we get started with our top basic SEO tips, let’s first take a look at what SEO is. Search engine optimization helps you rank your website and content in the SERPs.
In its simplest form, it provides search engines such as Google and Bing with context about what your site and content offers.
In turn, this helps the search engines understand when and where to present your content when a user is searching for it.
Every single website that shows on the first page of Google has perfected their SEO techniques. They have mastered keywords, content and backlink gathering.
Ultimately, the higher your website ranks in the search engine results page, the more site visitors you can expect. And the more site visitors you have, the more likely you are to make sales and conversions.
Sounds awesome, right?!
Tip 1 – Keyword Research
This is the most important SEO step to take… aside from creating kick ass content! It is also the one that step that most beginners get confused with.
Keyword research lets you find high volume keywords to write into your content. The more keywords you use, the more likely you are to rank.
To begin with, you first need to find your seed keywords. These will be used in your title, URL, image alt, for around about 2% of your content text.
Once you have your seed keywords, also known as primary keywords, you then need to find semantically related keywords.
These are the keywords related to your content that users will most likely be searching for. (LSI Keywords)
As an example, if your seed keyword is flowers. Semantically related keywords would be how to grow, how to care for, what are the best types of, gardening tips, etc.
If you use WordPress, Yoast SEO will give you insights about how many keywords to use, etc.
Tip 2 – Internal Links
internal links are extremely useful for improving your websites CTR (click through rate).
They work by linking up to relevant pages and blog posts throughout your website. Much like a spider web, each link from one page to another helps build connections for search engines and your readers.
Think of them as being the perfect on page promotion tool that diverts readers to more content they will likely be interested in.
Of course, you want to make sure that your internal links are relevant to what your content is about.
As an example, if you have a beekeeping website, you could use internal links to any beekeeping products or services that you sell. Both are relevant to each other, thus more likely to encourage user click through.
And the longer a visitor spends on your website, the more likely it is to rank higher. The search engines noticed that your visitors weren’t bouncing, showing them that they are getting value out of your content.
Tip 3 – External Links
External links, also known as outbound links, are links on your content that point to an external website.
By linking to external websites, you help the search engines better understand what your content is about.
In fact, the more high-quality, related outbound links you have on your website, the more likely you are to increase your ranking.
This is because the search engines recognise your site as being high quality and trustworthy.
However, you can’t just go linking up to any old site. There is definitely something you want to be aware of.
- Only ever link to blogs that are relevant to your website or content.
- Limit your outbound links to a maximum of four per page.
- Before linking, check the websites domain authority. Anything less than 50 is not worth linking to.
- Never use a link farm.
- Never buy links… these can literally kill that your website in a matter of weeks!
- Message the website owner after you have created a link to let them know. If they ask you to remove it, you should.
Tip 4 – XML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps make everything easier for the search engines to crawl and index your content when you publish it.
A sitemap is basically a list of URLs that you currently have on your website. This let’s search engines such as Google know when they have missed a page or when changes have been made.
A sitemap is one of the basic SEO fundamentals that every website should have. By having one, you can ensure that your content is indexed and displayed in the search engine results page much faster than without one.
Talking about indexing. If you haven’t yet signed up with Google search console, you absolutely should. This free tool not only shows you analytics cover in your website. It also lets you submit URL to be indexed rather than waiting for crawling.
Tip 5 – Format Syntax
You might not know it, but using correct syntax is everything. Syntax is how you format and style your content. And it is an important part of SEO.
Not only does it make your content look more visually attractive. It also makes it easier for the search providers to understand your content.
But what exactly equates to good syntax?
- Always use an H1 header
- Use at least for H2 headers
- Paragraphs should never exceed 90 words
- Sentences should never exceed 20 words
- Aim to use a maximum of three sentences per paragraph
- Each subsection should be no more than 300 words
- Use sentence case for titles and headings
- Bold important text
And that’s pretty much it when it comes to syntax!
SEO Tip 6 – Optimise Images
You should always use images on all of your content. Images make content visually attractive and improve readability for the reader.
However, images can drastically slow down your website. And a slow website is often penalized by Google.
When possible, you should serve your images as a next-gen image using WEBP. If you use WordPress as your CMS (content management system) you can use the ShortPixel plugin to do this.
Avoid using PNG files as these are much larger than JPEG files. And JPG files are much larger than WEBP files.
Talking about images, you should also make sure that every image on your website has an image alt tag. This helps search engines understand what the image is about and shows it to those using image search.
Tip 7 – Use Robot.txt files
Robot.txt files, also known as robot tags the search engines which pages on your website their crawlers should index, and which they shouldn’t.
For example, if you have a page or blog post that you don’t want the search engines to index, you could use the ‘noindex’ tag.
Likewise, if you are linking to a website that you are not sure about, you can use the ‘nofollow’ tag. Perhaps it has a low domain authority or could be potentially spammy; whatever the reason, no follow prevents external sites from affecting your SEO efforts.
If you are using WordPress to build your website and publish content, you can use the plugin Meta Tag Manager to quickly and easily add and remove robot tags to your content.
Tip 8 – Optimise Your Meta Description
These little snippets of information are shown in the search engine results page. You will see them every time you do a Google search.
They provide both readers and search engine context to what the content is about.
Your meta description should be perfectly optimised to the correct character limit. This is currently averaging at around 140 characters. Anything over this will be cut off.
Try to use your main keywords in your meta description and answer the question instead of asking people to click to read more.
By answering the question in the meta description, you are already providing real value to the reader. In turn, they are much more likely to click through to your website.
Tip 9 – Write for Backlinks
If you seriously want to rank higher in the search results pages, you are going to need to get those all-important backlinks!
But unfortunately, finding backlinks is almost as hard as catching unicorns!
However, there are some easier ways to get backlinks that don’t involve black hat SEO techniques.
The best way is to produce content that provides real value! This means providing detailed and in-depth content with lots of data, statistics and shareable content.
You can also send out a message seeking guest writers to feature on your website. This method works really well as your guest writers are much more likely to link back to your website to show off their work to their followers.
Double bubble! You score that elusive backlink along with getting extra traffic.
Ultimately, if you want to get backlinks, you have to create content that people use to reference in their own content. Become an authority and watch as your DA starts to climb.
Tip 10 – Write Longer Content
When you take a look at the websites that perform best in the search engine results page, a common theme is clear.
Longer, more detailed content is a clear winner. That’s not to say that you need to start writing 5,000 word blog posts to rank, but every now and then, go longer than you normally would.
The average website on page 1 of Google has approximately 1,200 to 1,600 words. Why does longer content work better?
The answer is pretty simple.
The more words you use in your content, the easier it is to make use of more keywords. It is also much easier to write these naturally. The worst thing you can do is stuff short content with keywords. This can relegate you to the lost pages of Google… which you really want to avoid.
So when should you create blog posts over 1,600 words? If you are covering a particularly interesting topic that people are going to learn from, this is the time!
And one thing to remember when creating large posts is that you should aim to make them timeless. This is what is known as evergreen content and can drive traffic to your website over extended periods of time.
At the very least, you should be creating content of a minimum of 800 words. Anything less than this and you are going to find it difficult to get your content to rank.
That’s about it for this beginners guide to basic SEO tips. Try to implement as many of these 10 tips as you can into your everyday content production.
The more you use them, the more familiar you will become with them. And once you have them mastered, you can move on to more advanced SEO tips for improved rankings.
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