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Once you’ve finished bringing your website to life, it’s crucial that you optimize it for the search engines. But how, exactly, are you supposed to do that? Well, you’re in luck 😉. I’ve made a really handy SEO for beginners guide, and I want to share it with you.
Unsurprisingly, optimizing your website for search engines is one of the most (if not, the most) important aspects of a successful online presence. And we all know how important that is for any business nowadays!
So, in this piece, I’ll go over the very basics any guide on search engine optimization for dummies should include. This way, you, too, will be able to implement it successfully even if you know nothing about it (yet!). But I think that’s enough talking for now, so let’s jump right in!
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Let’s kickstart this SEO for beginners guide with a short definition.
Basically, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of improving your website to organically increase the quantity and quality of traffic it gets. Thus, your ultimate goal with SEO is to make the search engine index your site at the top of the results pages, without needing to pay for advertising.
In the long run, good SEO is what’s going to ultimately make a difference in your digital marketing efforts. Ads can get you great results… as long as you keep paying for them! SEO, on the other hand, is all about organic traffic. That is, it helps you naturally build your company’s online visibility to stand out from competitors and attract prospective customers without having to depend on a budget.
The next step in your SEO for beginners journey is to understand how search engines work. We all know that they’re designed to provide the most useful and relevant content to a user’s query, right? Well, to do this, they send bots (usually called “spiders”) to crawl the web, gathering all data available, and placing the results in an index.
Then, dedicated algorithms analyze those pages to determine the order in which they will appear for a given query, taking into account hundreds of ever-evolving factors.
There are many elements you can take into account when optimizing your website, but SEO for dummies, as the name suggests, shouldn’t be too complex. So, in my opinion, you should start by producing keyword-rich content, and giving your customers a high-quality experience when they visit your page. But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let’s focus on keywords first, and I’ll go over user experience in a minute.
Keywords are paramount in any guide on SEO for beginners. These are the terms users enter into search engines to find content. They’re the bread and butter of SEO –the link between enquiring prospects and your business. So, above all, you’ll want your website to be rich with the keywords users are most likely to use when they search for your products or services.
Let me give you an example. If your business is dedicated to video production, your primary keyword would be exactly that —video production. Then, you’ll also have secondary keywords: explainer videos, corporate videos, whiteboard videos, and so on.
You can also have long-tail keywords, which are far-reaching and more specific, like corporate video production for business. By comparison, these tend to have lower competition and a lower search volume than the primary and secondary keywords I’ve mentioned above.
You can use keywords in your URL, titles, subheadings, meta description, and even on the alt text for any images you embed. But you should use them conscientiously! Keyword stuffing goes against good SEO practices, and your website might be penalized if the crawlers think you’re abusing your keyword usage.
I’ve decided to focus on Google’s algorithm because it’s the most used search engine in the world, so it’s a priority in any SEO for beginners guide. It works just like any other search engine, finding and indexing the most relevant and useful websites for a given query.
But what’s special about Google’s algorithm is that not only does it take into consideration hundreds of ranking factors, but it also changes and improves those factors all the time to show users the pages that best adapt to their query. So, every time a given factor changes, the positioning of the websites shown in the results pages can change as well.
Officially, Google lists five major areas that determine these results. They’re the ones that you can’t afford to ignore, even if you’re just looking for information regarding SEO for dummies. Let me show you why:
No guide on SEO for dummies would be complete without going over the five basic practices needed for good optimization.
Before setting up your website, I always recommend that you carry out some keyword research to get a better understanding of how your audience searches for content. Do this regularly to stay on top of trends, and make sure to match your keywords with the search intent I mentioned above.
Additionally, when you research keywords, you may find industry-relevant ones that you didn’t take into consideration, which in turn can be useful for planning future content.
All content you produce should be helpful and relevant for your users. This might sound a bit too advanced when it comes to SEO for beginners, but it’s as simple as keeping everything up to date, and only posting content that provides value to users and serves a clear purpose.
Before you upload any piece, ask yourself:
The answers to those questions will help you determine whether you’re on the right track or should keep on working on your content.
Internal links point from one page on your website to another. They help both the crawlers and your visitors navigate your site easily and in as little time as possible.
Apart from the usual internal links, like your menu or FAQs, you can implement these types of backlinks within your content. Adding to the video production example from earlier, within the page for a certain video, you can add a link to other similar pieces you’ve produced that your visitors may also like.
External backlinks direct users from a different website to your own. These links are a key factor for SEO because they work like a vote of confidence from other sites. The crawlers interpret external backlinks as proof of your legitimacy, making it more likely your website will appear at the top of the results pages.
Make sure you work on getting high-quality backlinks from reputable websites, since having lots of backlinks from pages with low authority can do more harm than good.
While you probably won’t find this as a recommendation for SEO for beginners, you could always give guest blogging a try. It’s the go-to strategy for building quality backlinks from other websites in your niche, and it’s not really that complex to do.
Once visitors click on your page, you need to keep them on it as long as possible, because Time Spent on Page is one of the most important metrics that let you know whether users are having a good experience. Good UX lets the search engine know that your content is valuable to users, so your chances of ranking higher increase.
But where can you start? Well, firstly, you can optimize your content for mobile so users can see it without issues on their smartphones, something that’s crucial nowadays. If the text is too small or any embedded image moves the text around, user experience, chances are visitors will click away fast.
The same goes for fast loading times, having a favicon, or using as few annoying pop-ups as possible.
Our team at Yum Yum Digital can be described in one word: passionate. We’re proud to say that our marketing and creative experts always give their all to ensure clients are happy with the results of our work, putting a special emphasis on creating a connection that goes beyond a simple business transaction.
Our SEO specialists have years of experience, and they take care of the whole process, from start to finish, so you don’t have to worry about anything. Additionally, our strategies are 100% white hat, so you can be sure your results are legitimate and won’t be penalized by the search engines.
I know learning how to optimize your site, and your content may feel overwhelming. So, if you want to save yourself the headache of implementing tactics you’re not sure will work, or need strategies that go beyond SEO for beginners, let us know, and we’ll be in touch in no time 😄.
Well, that’s the end of my SEO for dummies guide; I hope you found it helpful!
Maintaining good SEO practices offers a ton of benefits for businesses of any size and industry. Although it can be challenging to get started, doing so can help increase online visibility, drive more conversions, inspire brand trust… The list is almost never-ending, but in short: good SEO means good results!
Of course, it’s not the only digital marketing strategy you need to take your business to the next level, but it sure is one of the most important. So go out there and start optimizing that website because your customers will definitely appreciate it 😉.