13 Jun Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for Beginners
Over 2 million blog posts are published every day. This makes it really hard to stand out but if you are to have a successful blog or a website that attracts and converts, then stand out you must! Therefore, the time you spend optimizing your website/blog and each post that goes up on it is far more important than the time you take to design the site or even write that post. Scary yes? Fret not, you are in luck. In this post, you learn basic SEO tips to help you optimize your website/blog as a whole and then each post you publish.
Let’s Dive in.
First though, What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. In Simple terms, SEO is the processes, tweaks, and tricks involved in getting your web page (website or blog post) on the first page of SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) in response to a query (search).
‘’The best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google’’
When your website or blog is optimized for search, it becomes easier for search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) to crawl and index it, thus making it more visible to users. This way, when someone searches using a keyword that relates to you, your web page would show up on the first SERP.
Okay! That kind of makes Sense, but hey; How does Search Engine Work?
There’s a simple three (3) step process to how Search Engine Works:
- Crawling: Search Engines use automated programs called spiders to crawl the web. These spiders fetch new pages as they get on the web, follow the permalinks on each page to fetch and search them and so on and so on
- Indexing: As these spiders crawl (fetch, search, follow) each page, it indexes them based on keywords (you can call them categories) and stores these indexed pages for when a related query is made.
- Serving: When someone makes a query on a search engine, the automated programs goes back to the indexed pages and based on their relevance/quality score, serves the best results to the user in a fraction of a second.
See video below:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps to make your web pages have a higher relevance and quality score, and thus make it more eligible to show up on the first page of SERP when someone makes a related search.
Awesome stuff yea? Now the main reason you are here: Basic SEO Tips
If you pay attention to these three (3) tips the first page of Google would be your friend.
1. Site Aesthetics:
How your site looks is very important for SEO. For spiders to seamlessly crawl your website, you must ensure it is mobile responsive, easily navigable, content is legible and that your page loading time is not long. A responsive site is one which seamlessly adjusts its width to fit any screen size – desktop, tab, mobile etc and so responsive website is not important for only user experience but also for SEO (Search Engine favor responsive sites. Why? Well because the world is going mobile). Also, your site should be easily navigable, users should find it easy to find what they need. Your colors, font type, images et al must all be in sync. Ensure that you do not add too many big images or videos on a page so as to decrease your page loading time.
A responsive site is one which seamlessly adjusts its width to fit any screen size – desktop, tab, mobile etc. A responsive website is not important for only user experience but also for SEO (Search Engines favor responsive sites. Why? Well, because the world is mobile). Also, your site should be easily navigable; users should find it easy to find what they need. Your colors, font type, images et al must all be in sync and ensure that you do not add too many images or videos on a page so as to decrease your page loading time.
2. Content & Page Structure:
Once your site design is good to go, the next thing you should pay attention to is the structure of every page. Structuring each page right is very important because Google doesn’t rank websites, they rank pages. Factors that affect your page structure are:
- Keywords: It all about what words your target audience use as search terms. Ranking for the right keywords can make or mar your website. So, doing keyword research to know what words are been used actively in your industry is easily one of the most important, valuable and high return activities for SEO. Once you know the keywords you want to rank for, the next step is to create contents around those keywords. Keep in mind that Long tail keywords work better for posts and that your focus keyword for each post should be in your headline, page URL, meta tags, meta description, the first paragraph of the post and should appear 3-6 times in the post.
- Headings: To help with readability and SEO, your posts should be broken down into paragraphs and subheadings. Each subheading should be clearly spelled out by increasing their font size (h3 or h2). Your headline or page title should be within 65 characters so it can appear fully on search results and it should carry your focus keyword for that particular post/page. Ensure your posts are not less than 300 words.
- Images: Always add one or two images to your posts and each page of your website. Ensure that you use your focus keyword as the alt text for the images, so spiders can understand and crawl it. However, ensure the images are not too much or too heavy so as not to affect the page loading time.
- Links: Link building is highly important. There are three types of links you need to build-
- Outbound links: The links that come from your website and lead to another site
- Inbound links (backlinks): The links that come from other sites and lead to yours
- Internal Links: Links on a page on your website that leads to other pages on your website.
These three types of links are important and are considered the building blocks of SEO. Thus, it is important that you work on building your links. For every post, ensure you hyperlink to at least another post or page on your website. Also, work on building backlinks from credible sites. The relevance of your site backlinks is not in the number (quantity) but in the quality of the sites they are coming from. Lastly, every now and again, link to a credible resource.
There are a few tools that can help you in your SEO journey. Some Tools like:
- Google Keywords Planner that helps with Keyword research.
- Yoast SEO (a WordPress plugin) that helps you align your posts better with you focus keyword
- Alexa, a full suite of SEO and competitor analysis tools.
- SERPs Rank Checker helps you see where your site ranks for certain terms
- XML Sitemaps: To Build a sitemap. According to Google, a sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.