As customers move online to find answers to their questions, webmasters need to make use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to truly harness all of the potential that search engines such as Google and Bing offer.
There are over 3.5 billion searches on Google every single day, from users wanting to find products and services to getting dating advice or learning something new, almost every website can benefit from SEO.
If you’re not sure what SEO is, we’ll help break it down simply.
SEO is the practice of improving the visibility of your website in search engines for keywords relevant to your industry, in order to help build organic traffic which generally translates to more revenue and higher brand loyalty.
When your website is live on the internet, it also gets indexed by search engines such as Google, Bing, Yandex and many other small-time search engines.
There are over 200 ranking signals that Google uses to determine where a website should sit in the search engine results pages (SERPS) when a user conducts a search query, and in order to get the best results, you need to understand and implement some very basic, but proven techniques designed to help Google better understand your website.
The most important thing to remember regarding SEO is that you need to help Google understand your website better and your content needs to be high-quality, user-focused, original and well-researched to ensure the greatest possibility for success.
In this SEO Kings article, you’ll discover some of the best SEO tips for beginners as well gaining a core understanding of the SEO fundamentals.
1. Know Which Keywords Are Important To Your Business
Before beginning any SEO campaign, you need to understand what your potential customers are looking for. What queries are they searching for in order to find products or services exactly like yours?
Keyword research is a vital part of any SEO strategy, given that it helps you gain an insight into how your users think and what they search for.
When conducting keyword research, it’s important to keep the buyers’ journey in mind, given that not every keyword will help bring high-commercial intent customers to your doorstep.
Depending on your industry, there may be some keywords that are simply too “difficult” to obtain straight away, so it’s important to also optimise for the low-hanging fruit keywords that have a great amount of volume, but low competition.
These are more commonly referred to as “long-tail keyphrases”, or simply, long queries that a user might type to find a specific service or product.
For example, “womens summer fitness apparel” would be considered a long-tail keyphrase, whereas “fitness apparel” wouldn’t be and would tend to have a higher competitive ceiling to obtain.
If you’re conducting a local SEO campaign (catering to users in your area only), then these keywords will still be relevant as Google aims to provide results within close proximity to the user depending on what they are looking for.
Choosing the keyword with the highest volume might not always bring the best results either. It tends to take a site longer to rank for and “fitness apparel” may not bring high-value customers to your website.
Are they looking for men’s fitness apparel? Are they looking for lifting gloves, wrist wraps, shorts, shoes or shirts? Their query doesn’t provide much context and there may be certain products you don’t stock that they’re looking for.
There’s a few great ways to conduct keyword research the right way, so you may want to consider looking into some of these industry-leading SEO tools.
If you’re wanting insights in what keywords your competitors are ranking for, what the search volume and keyword difficulty is for keywords related to your industry, SEMRush and Ahrefs are a great choice – but they can be a tad expensive if you’re not going to be using them all the time.
Each of these free tools offer their own unique insights, given that the Autosuggest feature will suggest related keywords to ones you may be interested in and trends will help you discover the popularity and volume of a keyword over a period of time.
Google use to provide more accurate monthly search volumes for tools such as the Keyword Planner, but has since restricted their amount of data provided so when calculating monthly averages of a keyword’s search volume, keep this in mind.
2. Write High-Quality & User-Focused Content
Now that you understand what the most vital keywords are to your business, you need to make sure that your content strategy is on-point in order to achieve the best SEO results.
A decade ago, stuffing keywords into your content and relying on heavily questionable backlinks was the key to any successful campaign, but with the introduction of machine learning and significant algorithmic changes to help understand what users are looking for, content is touted as the “king of SEO” in 2021.
The debate isn’t whether or not backlinks or great content is more important regarding SEO, as they both supplement each other very well.
Writing great content that people will want to link to helps you perform better, more successful outreach and can help build backlinks naturally over time.
Knowing that high-quality content is what Google and users are looking for is the first step, but how do you put this into motion?
Having a solid content strategy is one of the most important SEO tips for beginners, as your entire website revolves around content.
Your home-page has content, your products and service pages all have content, your blog posts all contain content – but the reality is, most of that content won’t rank for high volume keywords if you’re not employing the best strategies.
Google’s core “creed” of the last 10 years has been focused on providing users the best, most-relevant, high-quality and original information there is possible.
Google also rely heavily on a metric called “E-A-T“, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.
In order to achieve great rankings, you need to display all 3 of these virtues amongst your content writing. You need to establish yourself as an expert who provides trustworthy and accurate information – and given that your industry is your profession, this shouldn’t be a hard thing for most people.
The authority factor relates to backlinks and acquiring them naturally can be tricky for most website owners.
This brings us back to the original point however, being that high-quality content is the type of content webmasters want to link to and in 2021, it is possible to write a great piece of content that can rank without the need of a huge backlink profile.
Make sure your writing contains high volume, long-tail keyphrases, is lengthy enough that you can provide an in-depth experience without repeating yourself, showcases your expertise through research and isn’t stuffed full of keywords to a point that your content no longer sounds natural.
It is also equally vital to forget some SEO myths which don’t provide any basis to your content creation process.
Word count is not a great or vital metric to measure the “greatness” of your content.
The most important thing to remember is that your post can be 1,500 words if it gets your point across efficiently. On the flip-side, 3,000 words can also get the job done if you’re looking to out-do your competitors with a more immersive reading experience.
You will also want to forget fancy terms such as “latent semantic indexing” or “LSI keywords”.
We won’t go into it more, but they don’t exist and there is no proof that Google is using this technology in their algorithm.
Remember, pay attention to your “E-A-T” during your content creation process and write for humans – not search engines.
3. Find Any Technical Issues If They Exist
Technical SEO is touted as “advanced SEO” but in reality, plays a very important part into your SEO campaign and it is something that even SEO beginners should keep in mind.
When Google or any other search engine crawls your website, there are many things that come into play when they are determining where your website should rank for keywords.
Google uses crawlers or “spiders” to scour your website, reading all of the HTML on your webpages, which helps them gain an understanding of what these pages are about and what they should do with them.
When these spiders aren’t able to crawl your website efficiently, you may notice that results aren’t coming as quickly as you’d have hoped.
To help these crawlers get a better understanding of your website, you need to help them understand what they can and can’t crawl and what their core focus of their “crawling” should be.
Not every page on your website has value and there will be some obscure pages like categories, author pages and theme template pages that will eat up your crawl budget but serve no purpose to users and would make no sense for Google to continuously crawl them, but not your important pages.
You need to help them understand that these pages are not to be indexed given they serve no purpose to the user. In order to do so, you need to set these pages to “noindex”, but Google’s crawlers still need to crawl these pages in order to determine that they shouldn’t be indexed.
We won’t explain the technical steps of how to perform this given this is a beginner’s guide to SEO, but it’s still important to know. If you want to read more about these requirements, we recommend checking out Moz’ guide.
To simplify what errors you should be aware of, set your website up in Google Search Console (GSC) and let it gather some data. Things you should be looking for are:
- Does my website have a sitemap? A sitemap contains all of the internal content on your page, which is easily digestible for search crawlers. You can find this information in GSC.
- Do I get any errors in my “Coverage” or “Mobile Usability” report? The coverage report will tell you if there are issues with any of your pages, such as them being broken, not found at that specific URL or if they aren’t loading properly.
Mobile Usability is especially important given that Google now indexes every website at the mobile-level, so if you have any issues with your web pages loading on mobile, you could experience some issues with ranking.
- Do I have a robots.txt file? A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which pages they can crawl, and which ones they can’t. To test it yourself, just type in your domain into the URL, and add the suffix /robots.txt and if it loads, you should see something like the below:
Even if you aren’t an SEO expert, the technical aspect of your website is a core SEO principle that you and your SEO agency should be looking to adjust if any errors persist.
4. Understand Your On-Page SEO & Its Importance
By now, you’re seeing how each of these stages all tie in with each other. SEO should be viewed as a “holistic” approach, as every step has equal importance.
On-Page SEO is another integral part of any SEO campaign and is by far one of the fastest things any beginner SEO can learn with the amount of free resources out there.
Optimising your pages ultimately comes down to two things: accessibility and helpfulness.
Web pages that have great on-page SEO help search crawlers understand all of the content and images in a much more stream-lined and efficient way and helps provide users a better reading experience.
On-Page SEO are best practices you should include on each of your web pages and given how simple most of them are to implement, there’s no valid reason why you can’t do it!
We have covered this pretty extensively in this post so we recommend reading for a more in-depth understanding of these principles, but the most basic on-page SEO practices are:
- Make sure your images have ALT tags
- Make sure your image file names are readable, appropriate and describe the image.
- Include internal links between each pages as long as they are relevant
- Make sure you use your H1-6 tags appropriately, H1 being the most important and no more than one should be on the page.
- Write meta descriptions for your pages, so search engines can display this to users in the search results.
- Advanced Tip: Use structured data on web pages to provide Google with an even better understanding of your website.
Implementing these SEO principles is simple for beginners and doesn’t require too much technical knowledge to do so.
Each of these aspects helps users and crawlers with better accessibility and understanding of your pages and anything you can do to make Google’s time easier is extremely advantageous.
5. Track & Measure Your SEO Success
The point of being an SEO is to measure and track the success of your campaigns, otherwise, how do you know if things are working as intended?
The idea of this tip is so that SEO beginners can start monitoring their campaigns from the very get-go – allowing you to gather more data over a longer period of time which can help with future optimisation.
The most important thing to do as an SEO beginner is understand how you measure success in SEO.
Keyword rankings are undoubtedly important, but not all of them bring that intrinsic value that revenue and leads do.
There are several metrics you want to pay attention to, such as your organic traffic, keyword positions for high-commercial intent keywords and if these things are moving up or down depending on your changes.
Organic traffic is the purpose of trying to rank in search engines given that it’s a free alternative to pay-per-click advertising (PPC), and as you enhance your overall SEO campaign, write great content and provide an amazing user experience (UX), your organic traffic should increase over time.
Tracking keyword positions can also indicate whether or not your changes are leading to success, as the more visibility your website has for searches, the more organic traffic you’ll receive and have a great shot at moving these users to real, paying customers.
Performing SEO in your own time makes it hard to evaluate the return-on-investment (ROI) initially, given that SEO takes time to show any real results.
The important thing to note is that all of your time and effort invested into the right area will pay off immensely, so make sure you put these tips into action over time.
You can track your organic traffic through Google Analytics, so make sure you set up your website through this tracking tool as soon as possible.
In order to track your keyword positions, Google Search Console is a suitable, free tool to use, but you might also want to consider Ahrefs or SEMRush which can provide daily/weekly tracking.
The Wrap Up
SEO can help a business accomplish a number of goals and given the market share and the wide reaching effect of Google, it makes sense to invest your efforts into SEO.
These are some of the most proven tips for SEO beginners and should provide some quick wins if implemented correctly.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to view SEO holistically – knowing what users are looking for, great content, solid on-page SEO, scouring for technical issues and tracking your success are all extremely important SEO principles that you should absolutely be paying attention to.
If you’re an SEO beginner who needs help getting your campaign on track or are after some friendly advice, please feel free to contact us now for a free, no-obligation quote.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on 27th August 2019, but has been updated on 19th of January 2021 to reflect higher-quality information and transparency.