6 SEO Tips for Beginners
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be an intimidating subject. Believe me, I’ve been there. But grab a cup of your favorite iced coffee and check out these 6 SEO tips for marketers new to the game.
You’ll quickly see that there are a few SEO tactics that will produce big results - with less effort, and fewer f bombs, than you probably think!
To start, there are two types of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing a web page to rank higher in search engine results. This includes actual site content as well as the HTML source code of the page.
Off-page SEO refers to external links pointing back to your site and other external factors.
Still with me? Cool, let’s do this.
Here are four tips to help with your on-page SEO:
1. High-Quality Content
What is a page without high-quality content? Not a whole heck of a lot. It’s the content of a page that makes it worthy of reading, which is why it’s extremely important to search engines.
How do search engines recognize high-quality content? To start, search engines have begun focusing on pages that contain fresh, unique content. Search is a business with the product being search results.
Search engines, like all businesses, want to provide the best products possible for their customers. In Google’s exact words regarding their quality guidelines:
Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
Don't deceive your users.
Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"
Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
It pains me to say this but content really is king.
2. Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
When you’re optimizing your page it’s important to help search engines understand what your page is all about. An easy way to do this is with page titles and meta descriptions.
These little snippets are the first impression many people have of your page and provide an outline of what your content is actually about.
A page title is valuable real estate for incorporating relevant and frequently searched keywords. But don’t overdo it here. Keyword stuffing creates a bad experience for the user and can ultimately hurt your rankings.
Additionally, meta description tags are extremely important in gaining user click-throughs from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is your opportunity to tease content in the hope of searchers clicking your link to read more.
Higher click-throughs show search engines that your page is relevant to users, which can positively impact a page’s ability to rank. It’s very important to put some effort into page titles and meta descriptions.
3. Alt Text - Alternative Text
Alt attributes within <img> tags are used by search engines to understand the content of your images. They allow you to rank in image search results and also make your image accessible to the blind and visually impaired when screen readers read out this text.
If you neglect alt attributes, you may miss the opportunity to get a better placement in the search results and you also negatively affect the experience of visually impaired users (or website visitors if their browser doesn’t render the image for some reason).
Alt tags also provide contextual relevance to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly. It’s something that doesn’t take a lot of time to do but is worth the extra effort. Try creating alt text that describes the image and also includes a keyword that you’re targeting, if possible.
4. Keyword Research
Keywords play an important role in SEO with a caveat that they should only be used to assist in content creation. They should not be your main focus.
What do I mean by that?
Keyword research is not only helpful, but essential, in determining what topics your audience are searching for. The slight variation in keyword choice could mean that you’re missing out on big numbers in results.
For instance, “affordable running shoes” is searched around 590 times per month compared to “cheap running shoes,” which is searched over 8,000 times* per month.
Your goal is to use this research and target keywords to create high-quality content that people care about and will get discovered but NOT to overdo it with keyword inclusion, called keyword stuffing. You’ll risk sounding spamy and will create a poor user experience, which will ultimately hurt your rankings.
*It's important to note that a popular search term may come with more competition (meaning, lots of other sites are also trying to rank for that specific keyword). However, this may not always be the case so it's critical to do your research to determine which keywords are actually worth targeting.
Below are a few of my favorite FREE keyword research tools to help you get started.
Ubersuggest is an awesome tool by Neil Patel that offers keyword suggestions as well as basic backlink data, top competitor pages and content ideas. And if you haven’t heard of Neil Patel, please take the afternoon off and dive into Neil Patel's blog STAT. There is so much juicy info here you’ll wish you had started following him years ago.
If you’re looking to generate a massive list of potential search questions from a keyword set then this is your tool. This is also a great resource if you’re a visual person as it shows all of your “who, what, when, where, why” questions in a nice diagram format.
With a free community account, you’ll be able to access 10 queries/month to discover and prioritize the best keywords to target. With each query generating up to 1000 keyword suggestions (along with SERP analysis, which is super helpful!), you should have plenty of data to create a stellar list of keywords to get started.
Off-Page SEO Tips
Now that you’ve fully optimized your website - or at least added that to tomorrow’s to-do list - let’s finish up with some off-page SEO tips.
Keep in mind that off-page SEO can take some time and some work. Because you can’t simply implement these recommendations yourself, you’re going to need a little help from your closest friends, customers, influencers, bloggers, grandparents, you name it...if they’re active online, you need their help.
5. Website Collaboration
Consider collaborating with websites/organizations with a high domain authority score who link to your competitors but not yours for backlink opportunities.
According to Moz,
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the "ranking strength" of a website over time.
Although the DA score is not a metric used by Google in determining search rankings, it’s helpful to have reputable sources linking to your site.
6. Link Building
Link building is the process of obtaining links from other sites to your own. It’s a very important part of SEO and is crucial to the success of your site. There are many techniques for building links and most of them take time and lots of TLC.
This is notoriously one of the hardest jobs of SEOs, so it may take time to develop a creative strategy that works for you. Don’t get discouraged.
To get you started, some simple link building strategies may include:
Asking customers to link to your website
Asking influencers to share your content
Writing unique and creative keyword targeted blog content to increase web traffic and social shares
Just remember that you need to give people a reason to link to you so always create high-quality content that readers actually want to share.
If you have some time and would really like to understand link building, check out the Moz Beginner’s Guide to Link Building.
By prioritizing a few on-page and off-page SEO tactics, you’ll be one step closer to helping your content get the eyeballs it deserves. You’ve got this!
Interested in having us give you some personalized strategies? Contact us today for a complimentary mini-site audit.