Did you know that organic searches account for around 33% of all web traffic? That’s more traffic than from social or paid advertising. This is excellent news because it means that you can learn SEO (search engine optimization) and take advantage of it!
Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?
The problem with generating organic traffic is that you need to rank high on Google’s search pages to be visible. For that, you need a good SEO strategy, which requires extensive knowledge of how search engines function.
You’ll need to keep up with hundreds of algorithm changes every year and understand hundreds of ranking factors.
The good news is that you can use SEO tips—like those outlined below—to put yourself laps ahead of most people. You can worry about the more technical aspects later.
SEO for Beginners Tip #1: Focus on Links
Links are one of Google’s critical ranking factors, and this isn’t likely to change any time soon. They’ve been at the top of the list for years. Without the right links, your page will likely stay at the bottom.
Backlinks are what you want to focus on most. A backlink is created when another site links to your page. Each link is equivalent to someone vouching for your credibility to Google. The more backlinks, the better you’ll rank.
It’s not enough to have backlinks from anywhere, though. You need high-authority sites that Google trusts. But how would you go about link building?
Unless you’re versed in the latest tactics, these tips will help you as you learn SEO:
Publish Interesting, Original Research
Publishing independent research from your company is one of the easiest ways to get people to link to your site. The weightier the information is, the better.
You want people to feel compelled to mention your research on their blog posts and link to your source. Every time someone does this, Google receives a vote for your site’s credibility.
For those who don’t have the data for a full-blown research project, a case study will also attract valuable backlinks.
Write Testimonials for Organizations You’ve Worked With
How does writing testimonials help your SEO? Think about it: when you see testimonials featured on a site, many of them have information about—and a link to—the person who wrote it!
This instantly creates a backlink! And it’s easy. Just email the companies you’ve worked with over the past year or two, thank them for their services, and offer to write a featured testimonial for their site.
If they accept (and most will), don’t forget to politely request a link if they don’t set one up.
SEO for Beginners Tip #2: Content
Content is yet another crucial ranking factor that stays at the top of the list. Just like backlinks, it isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
That’s why one of the most popular SEO tips is to work on your content.
To rank well with Google, you need to produce current, high-quality content regularly. Sites without fresh content appear inactive and therefore rank farther down the list.
Content creation is also one of the best methods of keywording. Though Google changed how the web uses keywords, making tactics like keyword stuffing obsolete, they’re still vital for SEO success. And you can rank for hundreds of keywords.
These tips will help you improve your SEO with proper keyword use:
Publish Long-Form Content
Most posts that rank high on Google are at least 1,500, if not up to 2,000 words long. This length defines what’s known as long-form content, which Google has hinted that it favors several times.
Yes, writing long-form content is a lot of work, but posts need length to provide depth and information to the reader. And Google’s algorithms will judge accordingly.
The bonus for all the extra work? You have space to target several keywords, both intentionally and unintentionally.
Add Some Variety to Your Content
Different types of content serve different purposes to your readers. The more types of content you produce, the better. Here are some basic ideas:
- Long-Form Blog Content
- Video Content
- Infographic Content
- Research/Case Study Content
Video content is probably the most valuable addition, as it’s highly linkable and great for your SEO.
Re-purpose Your Old Content
There’s no rule against re-purposing content, but few businesses capitalize on this option. You might re-purpose content to update it for SEO, or to turn it into a different medium like a video or infographic.
Both are excellent moves to make, depending on the information. If it’s no longer relevant, it needs to be changed. If it’s highly relevant and useful in other mediums, it needs to be expanded upon. This is how you ensure you’re making the most of your resources.
When you repurpose old content, you get new eyes on it. And Google likes new, updated pages. It improves your credibility.
SEO for Beginners Tip #3: Use Headlines and Meta Descriptions
When you see search results on Google, the linked title of the post is the headline, and the snippet of text beneath it is the meta description.
This information is displayed whenever your pages show up in search results. It’s the first impression your webpage makes on a viewer. Most importantly, your audience decides whether or not to click through based on this first impression. In short, you want it to be good.
The click-through rate (CTR) represents the number of people who engage your page based on the front-page link as compared to the number of people who saw your link. If fewer people click through, Google notices your low CTR, which can impact your ranking.
If you ignore the headline and meta descriptions of your posts, you’re selling your web traffic short.
Your headline should contain your focus keyword because it tells Google and your audience what the article is about. Your meta description should include keywords while providing a glance at your page’s content so the reader can make an informed decision.
Keyword-based headlines aren’t always the most appealing, but tips like those below will help you find the sweet spot:
Keep Keywords Close to the Beginning
You want your headline to be natural, but your keywords should be as close to the beginning as possible.
Make it Catchy
Clickable, viral headlines are everywhere today. You’ve no doubt seen them, they usually include phrases like “will make you,” “this is why” or “X reasons why.”
While these types of headlines are a bit intense (and often cheesy), the formula they use makes it easy to put the keyword first while grabbing the reader’s attention. They provoke curiosity, play on emotions, and offer enticing information.
Keep it Real
This goes for your headlines and your meta descriptions, so pay attention. Your headline and meta description must accurately represent the content on your page.
If people click away from your site because it doesn’t contain what it promised, they’ll likely choose another link from the results. This action tells Google that your website doesn’t provide quality information, so it’ll probably lower the ranking while bolstering the other page.
SEO for Beginners Tip #4: Improve Your UX
Your UX (user experience) is valued highly by search engines. Google collects data on how users behave on your site, and if your UX is lacking, it’ll damage your ranking.
Pages that load too slowly are the biggest issue. Users are likely to click back to their results and pick a site with faster load times. And this doesn’t bode well for your site’s SEO.
Other UX metrics include mobile experience, page navigation, website security, and overall usability.
For those feeling overwhelmed by these SEO tips, improving your UX might sound outside of your abilities. While UX is a complex field, these straightforward steps can help you improve your site:
You know that pages should load quickly, but how do you fix slow load times? Without elaborate tech skills, you can still take simple measures—like cropping and compressing images to the correct size and deleting plugins that you don’t use—to improve load speeds.
Tools like GTmetrix allow you to test your load times to see if this is an issue for your site.
Make it Simple
Today’s audiences want simple websites that are easy to navigate. It’s not a hard concept. People want to find what they’re looking for as quickly and efficiently as possible.
While it’s tempting to add things to your webpages, from image sliders to advertisements for each of your services, less is more. You want a clear message, easy-to-navigate posts, and a user-friendly menu.
Don’t Overdo it With Ads
Yes, ads help generate revenue, but too many of them clutter your page irritates users. Keep them as minimal and out-of-the-way as possible.
Popups are particularly bad for UX, mainly because they can cause issues on a mobile viewer. They often don’t resize to fit the screen and can be near-impossible to close. This prevents the user from reading your page quickly, and they’ll often click away.
SEO for Beginners Tip #5: Be Mobile-Friendly
Speaking of issues on mobile devices, being mobile-friendly is more important than ever. Over half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
Google is looking at page speed on mobile devices as a ranking factor. This mobile-first indexing is here to stay, and sites without appropriate optimization will suffer. Whether you like it or not, more searches are being done on mobile devices every day, and SEO must change accordingly.
The easiest way to see if you need to optimize your site for mobile is to use Google’s mobile-friendly test. It’ll help you see if your website is mobile-friendly, so you know how much work you have ahead of you.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, Google will show you which problems you have and offer suggestions. You’ll need to change your website accordingly, preferably to incorporate Google’s recommended design.
The following tips will help you improve your site’s mobile SEO:
Using local SEO targets people in your area who are looking for new businesses. If you’re not targeting local keywords, you’ll miss most mobile traffic.
Voice Search Optimization
Mobile users often search via voice, and if your keywords aren’t optimized accordingly, you won’t rank. For example, “What’s the weather like in Denver right now?” will be more likely to succeed than “Denver weather.”
If you want to learn SEO, know that you’re trying to hit a moving target. You’ll need to spend considerable time looking at the latest SEO tips and following algorithm updates.
This constant research is very time-consuming. If you’re a business owner, it is much more time- and cost-efficient to hire a team of professionals like that at Marca Global® to do the work for you. Reach out for a consultation today.