Beginner’s Guide to SEO

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Looking for the best ways of getting your website ranked in search results? If you’re new to SEO and what that is, this Beginner’s Guide to SEO will answer some of your questions and show you how to appear in search results. 

A decade ago, SEO and Google’s ranking methods were not that advanced; you found yourself a domain name with the keywords included in it, and this would serve you well.

Google has come a long way since then.

The bottom line is, even if you’ve got the best content in the word, without optimising the points below you may find your content de-ranked in search results.

Beginner's Guide to SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine OptimizationSearch Engine Optimization is the process that online organizations go through to make sure that their site ranks high in search engines for the relevant keywords and phrases.

Actively increasing SEO simply means a skill, or process of increasing the quantity as well as quality of traffic to a site or web page through organic search engine results. 

3 important components affects your website’s SEO ranking:

1. Quality of Traffic

The value or worth of the information your site provides. A Google Search, for instance, is all about acquiring more information about a certain subject or keyword, and if your site provides rich information relating to such a keyword, then your site is certainly SEO optimized.

2. Quantity of Traffic

The number of people clicking on your ad or web page from a search result.

3. Organic Search Engine Results

Organic Traffic is free traffic which, in this case, you get from search engines such as Google or Yahoo. You do not have to pay for it.

Every search engine has a bot that goes all over the Internet in search of information and answers for every search keyword, actively looking to provide the best service in terms of quality information for its users, and information that is relevant to what a searcher is looking for. 

Example: Imagine you just published a blog post about ‘The Best Time To Visit Big Sur, California’. To get your content across to the relevant travelers seeking this information via search engines, you’ll want to optimize this blog post, so it shows up as a first-page result for anyone who searches for ‘Best Time To Visit Big Sur’.

Search Engine Optimization is beneficial for every site owner and blogger. Attention and improvement to SEO can increase your visibility across search engines, therefore helping you reach more customers and visitors and increasing your site’s credibility and organic traffic.

How to optimise your website

In this Beginners Guide to SEO we’re going to go over the 5 main things you can do to optimise your website.

1. Increase Page Loading Speed

Website loading speed is a factor when ranking pages:

“Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed – that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.” (Google)

But, it’s not a case of ‘fastest website gets top spot’. Google doesn’t ‘boost’ your page ranking, but if your website is not up to pace it will be demoted.

So, if your website is up to standard, Google will place you on par with other website that meet the criteria.

How do you boost page loading speed?

Go to Google’s ‘Page Speed Insights’ and type in your page URL, and it will give you instructions on how to optimise your code.  Bear in mind, this doesn’t actually measure your site speed, it only gives you recommendations base on reading your website code.

Another website that actually does measure your speed and gives you more information again is GTmetrix. Certainly worth a look.

2. Eliminate Technical Errors

You need to make sure that your website isn’t filled with technical errors. 

Although not completely suitable to run through this in detail in a this Beginner’s Guide to SEO, there are numerous tools available that can flag these errors up for you.

Again, Google gives you a handy tool in order to tick off a few key checks; Google Search Console.  Look for two things in particular:

1.) Check for Crawl Errors.

2.) Check for URL Errors.

Any errors will be flagged up in the Google Search Console for you to go ahead an fix.

3. Do Keyword Research

It’s super important that you fully optimise your keyword use, and to do this you need to do your research.

There are numerous tools and techniques to help you:

• Use Google suggestions

This isn’t an SEO tool, it’s basically the suggestions Google gives you as you enter a normal search.  Type your search in Google and wait for the drop down ‘suggestion’ list.  These are the #keywords’ associated with your search, and if Google are suggesting them, it means others are using those searches.  It would be a good idea to include them in your list as well.

‘Uber Suggest’ is also a handy tool that gives you hundreds of keyword suggestions.

• Find untapped keywords

Go to your Google Search Console and to you ‘Search Analytics’. Here you will find a list of all the keyword searches that brought traffic to your website.

All you need to do is go down to the bottom and find the keywords between positions 10 – 15.  These keywords are actual searches made by people that clicked through to your website, on the second page and beyond.  If you optimise this information with on page and off page SEO, you can get them on the first page in no time.

• Research competitor keywords

If there’s one sure way of finding what works; it’s looking at what’s working for other around you.

By using tools like SEMrush, you can gather data on all the keywords your competitors already rank for, giving you an easier ride when optamising your own.

4. Create Quality Content

Google wants to show the best content for a given search, and that content could be on a website that has only one post. 

Google has the measuring tools in place to be able to identify ‘great’ content.  So even if your website only has a few posts, as long as these posts are truly adding value to the user and that the user, it has the potential to do well.

But, what qualifies as quality content?

Practical content

Websites that included practical information can outrank pages without.

Longer content

Over the past few years, and conventionally on the web, shorter pieces of content has been the best way; not boring the user, quickly moving them on to another page, etc.

But today, having high quality content includes at least 1800 words will help your ranking on Google.

Infographics and images

This doesn’t directly affect your ranking.  But pages that includes infographics and images get more shares than text only pages, and engagement like this does affect your ranking on Google.

5. Optimise On Page SEO

Optimising on-page SEO is a very important step when adding content to your website. Everything has the potential to de-rank your search results if you’re not paying enough attention.

Use a short URL

Make sure that your page is published on a short URL that also includes your target keywords.

Use keywords at the beginning of sections

Make sure to include your target keywords in the first 100 words of your page, as Google puts more emphasis on the ones used here.

Use outbound links

Make sure that you use outbound links in your content, as these pages outrank pages that don’t use outbound links.

Use your meta description

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Write compelling headlines

The headlines you use helps guide the search engine through your page. It also likes when keywords of phrases are used in headlines.

Take Away

We hope this Beginner’s Guide to SEO has helped you. Once you’ve nailed the points above, you’re ready apply these to your blog or website.

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