If you are new to search engine optimization AKA SEO, and you don’t know where to start, no worries, with basic SEO tips you can improve your ranking in a significant way! In this article, you will find all the basic tips you need to know as a beginner to improve your SEO.
What Is SEO And Why It’s Important?
First of all, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and from its name, it’s supposed to ensure that your blog or site has the best rankings on the search engine page. Simply, you have to optimize your content and website in ways that make Google understand what your website is actually about, to help to rank them high for particular keywords.
Why this is important? So, when you are searching for something on Google, do you usually go to the second or third page?
More people click on the higher website rank on Google, that’s why ranking it on top is important. So, more conversions and sales will most probably come.
Let’s then get into the basic tips that will help you ranking your SEO.
1. Write Longer Posts
Longer content means more powerful articles and more keywords placed in the right places. It will also make your article more important and beneficial which will improve your website’s reliability. However, the quality of your content is as important, long articles with weak content won’t give the results you wait for. So, if you want your audience to choose your site every time they search on something related to their interest, create quality posts, with long informative content.
Longer articles also will help increasing Dwell time. Dwell Time is the time that passes before the person gets back to the result page searching again. If they didn’t find what they are searching for in your page, they will return back to the search engine fast, but longer posts will linger the amount of time they spend reading your article which means that user is interested in your content and found what they were looking for.
2. Fresh Content
Besides long posts, you have to also be aware that Google prefers fresh content, it’s more relevant to users, and also makes Google know that you are active.
Creating new fresh content regularly is not easy. So, if you don’t have high-quality new posts to be shared all the time, you may use your already existing content.
Easy tip: you can update your popular posts that is already existing in your website. Just add some relevant and present information and re-post them with the new date. You can also use content that includes some tips of the year so you can change it the next year and update the content to share it again. For example, “Top 17 SEO tips of 2019” can be changed to “Top 17 SEO tips of 2020” but don’t forget to add the current date before re-publishing.
3. Use Keywords
The most important thing in SEO is to choose the right keywords. You need to use the keywords that will properly define what is your content about. Also, you need to think about what your audience is looking for.
Keywords you want to use have to be relevant to the topic of your content. So, search engines can index it correctly. You don’t want to confuse Google by concentrating on keywords that are totally different and irrelevant to your actual services or products, or the major topic of your website in general.
Thus, you want also to focus on keywords that will be searchable by your customers. You may get a high rank for particular words, but if no one is searching for them, you will have no one visiting your website. It’s like selling a product that no one wants to buy.
There are many keyword tools that will help you find what your users are looking for and what are the most words they search about.
Long-tail keywords are from the name ‘long’ such as “best yoga matts for women”. They usually include 4 or more words that obviously specify what the customer is searching about.
If your keywords are so particular and specific, you may get less traffic but your will get more visitors that are searching exactly for what your are offering, which will lead to more purchases. Quality over quantity. Moreover, it’s easier to rank for specific keywords as less websites are putting these keywords in their targets so your will be one of the firsts.
Latent semantic indexing or LSI means simply the keywords that are related to the subject that you are writing about. LSI keywords in your content will make Google understand your relevance to your topic better.
Adding LSI keywords is important because more search engines are searching for more topic match instead of a keyword match when looking for results. And how they get that by searching for LSI keywords.
The idea is that when you are writing a particular topic, you will include related words naturally. For example, if you have an SEO agency, you would naturally add these keywords to your website.
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These words are right and they help Google index information. With this information, Google can ensure that your content is actually a relevant topic that will rank on the top.
Although you would be using LSI keywords already by just writing your content, it doesn’t matter if you would have missed some good ones.
4. Optimize The Title, Meta, Heading And Sub-Heading Tags
If you already have accomplished having a long and high quality content, and you managed placing keywords, then you have to optimize your title, meta description, sub-headings and tags.
The title is the strongest tag indicator on the page that will carry some significant weight for your SEO ranking. If this is your first encounter with the title tag, this is an example of how people will see it on Google in the results page:
Refer to this brief checklist to optimize your title tags:
- All titles should be unique
- 60 character is the maximum length, including spaces
- Title tags should include your target keywords
If you created a title without placing your keywords, you are missing out on big opportunities for ranking. Title tags have to include keywords that are relevant to the website and the content. This tells Google what the page or the website is about and it will help it index your website considering these keywords.
Google identifies content from posts from title tags. So, make sure to describe your content accurately there. Just when you hit “enter” or “search”, you will probably come through the first 3 results taking a closer look at titles. The more thrilling and targeted the title is, the higher the opportunities for clicks.
Use modifiers in titles. Modifiers are words that describe your title and they are used with primary keywords. This will make Google and other search engines know to return the most relevant pages that include related content. Modifiers are titles that start with “solutions, how-to, review of, a guide to, best, and so on” you can also use tools that have pattern filters to get keywords suggestions quickly that follow these patterns.
Always keep in mind that you have to optimize your title that will be attractive for users and what they are searching for, and avoid stuffing it with a lot of unwanted keywords. You can also use tools to help you think about the most attractive titles.
Meta Tag Or Meta Description
A meta description is a short text under the URL that is used to describe what the article is about.
Meta description has to be put in the <head> tag of the HTML of the page and has to be not more than 160 characters for the best results.
It is important to have a proper meta description as it’s what users see when they choose to click on your website or not. Google may decide to use it or not as well. However, this is one of the places you need to pay good attention to because Google will probably use it to understand what your blog post is about.
Also, you need to add your keywords in the meta description so it can attract more readers who are skimming the search engine result page to open your article and read it.
Headings And Sub Headings (for example, this one)
Headings and subheadings aka H1, H2, and H3, HTML tags. These are the titles or that users view on the page.
There has to be only one “H1” tag on every web page, and this heading has to include the major keyword your article is concentrating on. Google is checking these tags as it also checks title tags. So, you have to optimize this part of your content. Usually, content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, it includes H1 automatically for you with titles of articles. Therefore, you don’t need to include another one.
H2 and H3 have to include your target keywords. But remember to write for the reader and use headings that make users to navigate your website.
5. Optimize Your URLs
Most users will pay attention to your URLs, they are very significant for your SEO. The better practice to do is to keep your URLs as easy as possible. You need to have readable and simple URLs to give a logical URL structure.
This means that you have to use text in your URLs instead of numbers, that the URL has to be descriptive for what the content is about, and to be as short as possible. It’s as simple as that. You have to just be logical and friendly with your URLs.
After that, you have to use your URLs as a place to put your keywords. Indeed, you don’t have to stop keyword stuffing. Keep in mind, as short as possible! However, put your main keyword in your URL.
For instance, if you decided to write about the best movies, your URL will be something like Something.com/best-movies
However, don’t start changing all of your URLs right now. Unless you are thinking your present URLs should navigate an influence on your website. It’s better not to change URLs, it may be confusing for Google too as for users. So, it’s better to start enhancing your URLs for your content.
But if you want to change you URLs to give a better URL structure, don’t forget to do a good 301 permanent redirect.
A very important part of SEO is backlinks. Backlinks are when a website mentions another website and linking to it.
Backlinks are the main deciding factor that will help your website to increase the rank, these backlinks have to come from quality sites that are related to the topic of your content.
For instance, if your post is about SEO marketing and you want to get backlinks from websites related to marketing. And the quality or if the ranking of the site that is giving you giving you backlinks shows how strong that backlink is. Google thinks that the more high quality and relevant you have, the more beneficial your website has to be for people.
Essentially, Google views backlinks as a voting from users that your content is helpful. The higher the ranking of a site, the more power the backlink or the ‘vote’ has as it has built itself as a reliable source.
Quality backlinks has to be one of your essential SEO priorities as it can skyrocket your ranking easily. With tools of backlinks, you can start easily and hunt some valuable backlinks.
7. Link To Others
Outbound links are links that refer to other website. For example, this is an example for the outbound links. When you link other websites to your own content, it will help Google understand more what is your page about. Having relevant and high quality outbound links will enhance your SEO by having your website trustworthy and high quality on search engines.
Here are some things you should consider while doing outbound linking:
You have to think about these point when your are making outbound linking.
- The blogs you link must be relevant to your content
- Avoid putting a lot of outbound links.
- No link farms (part of a private blog network)
When you add links to your website in your content, you also may try connect with these websites to let them know you back-linked them. When you do this, they might find means to add a link to your website on their content too. Linking other sites can be useful for both, your competitor, and you.
Does linking to other sites help SEO?
Linking to other websites definitely helps with SEO, as when you link relevant and high quality websites, it shows search engines that your content is useful and valuable for others. On the other hand, linking to other websites is useful for SEO if you are linking to page that are relevant and high in quality.
One more thing, is that the owners of these pages you link to may check your site out. So that it will generate more traffic for your content that will help with ranking your page. As we mentioned above, they may even get you the favor back by giving you a backlink in the future, it is usually happening.
When you are linking to other pages that are high quality and relevant, it’s useful for your SEO ranking but always keep in mind not to over do it in order not to get opposite results.
8. Link To Yourself
We mentioned that it is an important thing to receive backlinks and to give other sites backlinks, but do not forget to link yourself as well.
Internal links are the links that do from a webpage to another in the same website, these links are particularly helpful as they will allow users to read more articles from your website. For an example, internal link have to be linking your website or blog article. Just like what we did here.
Internal links will help you promoting your own articles and your other services or products. Therefore, do not skip this big opportunity!
9. Optimize Your Images
Images are a basic factor when it comes to content optimization. That’s why we included images in this article as well. People do recognize and process visual materials much faster and better than texts. They are more appealing than reading a lot of paragraphs endlessly.
Though images are good for the person who reads your blog, Google will have troubles understanding photos. So, you have to simplify this for it and put them correctly to make google able to index them the right way. Using alt text in HTML code describes what the image is about. So, every image has to have an accurate and detailed alt text that describes it.
Besides the benefits for Google, alt text is also very important for people who have trouble seeing that usually use special computers that read texts out loud, so they need to know what is the picture your are putting in your article. Also, if the image does not load in the article for any reason -e.g. bad connection to the internet- the alt text will help the reader know what is the image and keep going reading the article seamlessly.
Finally, when you optimize images, you enhance the chances to have high rankings on Google images that will generate more traffic for your website eventually.
HTML code that contains alt text for a photo has to look like this: <img src=”photos.png” alt=”camera pictures”>. In this example, the alt text is, “camera pictures”.
Though it is a good idea to write alt texts that are so descriptive, you have to be careful to add only real texts that describes the image correctly and never forget to avoid keyword stuffing.
10. Avoid Flash
Adobe Flash is an application in a web page that permits media streaming and users’ interactions. When you have it on your page, it can be good and bad thing at the same time. However, if your page is mostly made up of Flash, it will run much slower than usual and it will take more time to load. Moreover, Flash is not available on most mobile phones which will make Google and the user not very happy about it.
99% of website that uses Flash has slower loading and lower usability, Jakob Nielsen stated. Therefore, the ultimate solution for this is to avoid using Flash, as simple as that! There are a lot of other sites, plugins, and tools that may check if you use Flash or not.
11. Social Media
You most probably know how powerful social media is when it comes to sharing. Having social media pages on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and Twitter will be one of your basic tools in promoting your website.
While social media does not directly contribute to your ranking or to SEO, it will bring you more exposure and traffic to your site which indirectly improves your ranking on Google. In other words, while social media signals are not a direct ranking factor on Google, it certainly impacts the ranking indirectly.
Though social media is not contributing to your SEO ranking, but it will be very helpful when it comes to bringing people to your page. It will work as a great exposure tool to get you more traffic to your website that improves your Google’s ranking indirectly. So, social media signals are not ranking factor on Google in a direct way, yet it indirectly affects the ranking.
So, never skip social media when you are doing the basic SEO. it is better to optimize your social media platforms and to share your content there within your accounts. Here are some easy tips and guid that will help you use the full power of social media platforms to the maximum.
For instance, you can customize your links that people will share, and add a Twitter card to your site to help promoting your services or products.
Twitter cards or Facebook Open Graph Codes are included in your page to allow you have control on the images and texts that show up when people share a link of your site on social media. This will present your content in a professional way among all your channels, besides making your posts more appealing on social media.
cards have different types though, yet they all permit you to go over the limit of 140 characters and put images and screenshots when you share any post. Also, you can see how your Twitter card looks like by searching for your URL in a card validator tool.
In addition to that, keep in mind these keywords and hashtags! Above, we have talked about using keywords in titles, content, meta descriptions, and so on. However, do not make a fault by neglecting keywords in your content on social media as well. With applying the same rules, these keywords and hashtags have to be relevant and used correctly through your content. And the best thing to make that is when you choose keywords that have high search volume which indicates that people are really looking for these keywords.
Keyword tools can help you to find this search data, but be careful of keyword stuffing and just add natural keywords that make sense.
12. Site Speed
Website speed is a very important factor that Google look for when it comes to website ranking. Google stated that page loading speed is a signal for your SEO ranking. Also, it was found that 75% of users wouldn’t visit websites again if they took more than 4 seconds to load.
If you want to know the load speed of your website, you may use PageSpeed Insights by Google to check it out. This tool will provide you with great recommendations on how to speed up your websites as well.
What does ‘mobile friendly’ means? It is that the webpage or site is adaptive or responsive to mobile phones. Sometimes if the webpage is not responsive enough, it will be another mobile website, for example, m.mywebsite.com. In 2015 google launched a penalizing sites that weren’t mobile friendly. Therefore, make your website mobile friendly and don’t waste your time trying to create different websites for mobiles.
Besides Google’s penalty, one more important thing is to have a mobile friendly site as currently most users use their mobile phones only when browsing the internet. If your website is not optimized, users will have a very bad experience. Statics indicated that in 2018, more than 52% of websites traffic around the globe were from mobile phones.
Having a sitemap makes it more simple and easy for Google and other engines to rank your pages. Sitemaps allows Google to know when changes have been made and what are the pages that they may have skipped. Having a sitemap won’t hurt and it will help enhancing your SEO as well. So, with a sitemap, you may be sure that your pages get updated faster and that search engines are able to find all of your webpages.
Robots.txt file tell Google and other search engines which page to add in their index and which not. e.g. If you don’t want a specific image or page to be crawled by a bot, they you can limit or disallow the bot from having availability. This will keep test pages from being existed in any search results.
You may make robots.txt file from a to z yet there are a lot of tools that will help you making it easier for your and more time saving.
16. Measure Your Results
To know exactly if your SEO is helping in ranking your website or not, you have to start tracking your information. Google Analytics is the best tool you can use to save and analyze your data. It does not just track where users from, yet also how did they get here. This tool makes customized reports for your when you are analyzing your data.
Google Analytics permits you to measure your results on you website by real-time data. Data is displayed from various channels like direct traffic, social media, organic search, referrals, and paid search.
Having Google Analytics will help you make business decisions on where you should invest your resources and it can guide you on your SEO efforts.
17. Think About Your Users
Finally, the most important thing in basic SEO is thinking about your users properly.
As mentioned above, there are a lot of ways you can use to enhance your website’s traffic, like referrals, email campaigns and social media, and so on.
Though SEO is a totally different story with weaknesses and strengths, you may already get a lot by some essential SEO optimizations to your website. But the major idea of SEO is putting the user first.
Always think about what your user is searching for, needs, and wants. When you are writing content with the aim to achieve the need of your audience, or what do they ask for and want to have, you have the best opportunity that will make Google think your content is valuable.
Therefore, make sure that you create a helpful content for your customers and users, and apply the SEO tips correctly as we have mentioned above, and you will have the ultimate chance that google with rank you high.
Was That Too much Information?
There are some main topics for establishing SEO marketing. Start with improving your website and compare your results after that firstly. Then, see what will work better for your as all websites and businesses are different. SEO has been there for some time and it is the best way so far. So, make sure your websites are always updated.
Always remember that Google’s top target is to give the best experience for its users. So, this means that the most high quality and relevant content is the one that will rank high. The tips that have been listed above are signals that Google depends on SEO tactics to know if the page is relevant and worthy or not. So, help your website to rank as high as possible by following them.