Last Updated in February 2021 by Lukasz Zelezny
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be very confusing for beginners. There is so much information on the topic that you could spend a lifetime trying to fathom it out.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be an SEO guru to get a website to rank on the search engines. What you need is some basic SEO knowledge to get you started. Here are the most important SEO tips that beginners need to know.
Beginner SEO Tips: Think About the Objectives of a Search Engine
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Before we get into the specifics, here’s a general tip to bear in mind. Whenever you set up a website or post content, think about the objectives of the search engines.
Search engines like Google aren’t trying to make it difficult to get a site ranked; they are trying to ensure that their users find high-quality sites that are relevant.
Beginner SEO Tips: SEO Keywords and Key Phrases
The main way that search engines decide what a web page is about is through keywords. Keywords are words that repeatedly appear on a webpage. This article is about search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO. So, those two terms will appear frequently in the body of the text.
They should also be used to describe images on the page, and they should appear in the title of the post and in the URL. This is what will tell search engines that the article is about search engine optimization.
Beginner SEO Tips: Think About Search Terms That People Will Use
When you are deciding on the keywords you want to use, think about what people will be searching for. You can research popular search terms on the Google keyword planner tool.
That will show you the average monthly searches for a search term. You can also use the Google keyword planner to find suggested keywords.
Beginner SEO Tips: Think About Your Competition
Another important consideration when choosing keywords is competition. There are millions of articles on the web about SEO, so ranking for that term alone will be difficult. There will be fewer articles about SEO for beginners, though. Even fewer for essential SEO tips for beginners.
Beginner SEO Tips: Use LSI Keywords
LSI stands for latent semantic indexing. It is the use of related keywords to strengthen the relevancy of your primary keywords. For example, the primary keyword in this article might be SEO for beginners. Related LSI keywords would include search engine optimization, Google, and Google ranking.
They are words and phrases that are related to the main keywords. You can also use pseudonyms and rephrasing. For example, this article could also be referred to as a guide to SEO for beginners.
Beginner SEO Tips: Don’t Over-optimize
Keywords are important, but you mustn’t go too far. Over-optimizing will get your website penalized by search engines. Opinions differ on what the optimum keyword density is, but the consensus is that it is the region of 3-5%.
Beginner SEO Tips: Humans First, Search Engines Second
When you are optimizing your content for search engines, don’t lose sight of the real target audience. It is real people who will interact with your website and real people who will buy products. Search engines are looking for quality as well as relevance. Always create content for people first and the search engines second.
Beginner SEO Tips: Get Straight to the Point
Make sure that the topic of your content is obvious from the very beginning of your posts. Your main keywords should appear in the title and in the first paragraph of your text. They should also be in the URL and in the meta description of the page.
Beginner SEO Tips: Optimize Images for SEO
Make sure that your keywords appear in your images as well. This includes the name of the image file, the image description, and the image ALT tags. Don’t over optimize images.
Repeating your keyword ten times in the ALT tags, for example, would be over-optimizing.
Beginner SEO Tips: Write Long Posts
The length of articles on a website will depend on the subject. However, a high-quality, long post is likely to rank higher than a short one. If you have a long post, you will have more opportunity to mention for your keywords. Visitors will also dwell longer on the post. Dwell time is an indicator to the search engines that the post is popular. The shortest that an article should ever be is 300 words. The average length of a blog post is 500-800 words. For a more detailed, technical article, you may need 1,000 to 2,000 words.
Beginner SEO Tips: Include Keywords in Headings and Subheadings
Breaking content up into subheadings makes it easier to read. It also provides another ranking opportunity. Use your keywords or derivatives of those words in your subheadings where you can. Don’t go overboard with this, though. Remember to put your readers first.
Beginner SEO Tips: Link to Other Websites
Beginners may think that linking to other websites would be counterproductive. It might tempt visitors away from their own site. However, links to reputable resources of information will help search engines decide what the content is about. It also adds authority to your own site. One or two links out to high authority domains will improve the value of the page. It will also increase the relevancy and usefulness of the content to readers.
Beginner SEO Tips: Link to Your Own Content
Link to your own internal pages as well. This helps the user navigate around your site, and it keeps users on your site for longer. The length of time users spend on pages on your site is a factor in search engine rankings.
Beginner SEO Tips: Encourage Backlinks
Links pointing to your site from other domains are an important factor in search engine optimization. They need to be links coming from relevant and trusted domains, though, if they are to have any real effect on rankings. Backlinks will come naturally if your content is informative and high-quality. People will share your content and refer to it in their own posts. You can buy backlinks, but this is frowned upon by Google and other search engines. Paid backlinks can work, but they can also get your website blacklisted.
Beginner SEO Tips: Keep Your Content Fresh
Posting fresh content has a positive effect on the ranking of a site. Updating and improving existing content can also be beneficial. Up to date content will attract new and return visitors to your site. It will also tell search engines that the site is still active.
Beginner SEO Tips: Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices
More and more people are viewing websites on mobile devices. That’s why the mobile-friendliness of a website is now an important search engine ranking factor. Make sure that your site is responsive. Responsive means that the site adapts to the device being used to view it. It makes the content easy to read on both small mobile devices as well as on full-size desktop computers.
Beginner SEO Tips: Think About the User Experience
The user experience is as important as keywords and other search engine optimization techniques. It is what will make users stay longer on your site and recommend the site to other people. User experience (UX) includes the use of images, the layout of the site, and how easy the site is to navigate. UX is becoming increasingly important in search engine ranking.
Beginner SEO Tips: Check Your Page Loading Speed
Google uses page load speed as a ranking factor. If a page takes more than 4 seconds to load, users are likely to move on to another site. They are also very unlikely to return to the site. You can check the speed of your site at gtmetrix.com.
Beginner SEO Tips: Don’t Neglect Social Signals
The sharing of your content on social media sites is a sign of the site’s popularity. Social signals are now a factor in search engine ranking. You can encourage the sharing of your content by adding share buttons to your pages. You can also get the ball rolling by sharing your content in your own social media profiles.
Beginner SEO Tips: Monitor Your Stats
The final SEO tip for beginners is to track the success of your site. Use Google Analytics to track the popularity of different types of pages. Set up Google Search Console for your site as well. That will show you which of your keywords are attracting people to your site. When you know what is working, you can build on that success with more content of the same kind.
Beginner SEO Tips: Conclusion
Search engine optimization is not an impenetrable black art. The basics of keywords, relevancy, and quality are easy concepts to understand. You need to tell search engines what your pages are about. You need to offer visitors engaging content that meets a need or answers a question. There are more aspects to SEO than those listed above, but these tips are a good starting point for beginners. They will help you get your website ranked on Google and other search engines.