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5 SEO tips for beginners

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If you have a website and you want people to find it through Google, you’ll want to consider search engine optimisation (SEO).

SEO is a form of online marketing which helps Google understand your website better. And if Google understands your website and believes it matches up with what people type into the Google search box, then it’ll show your website at the top of the search results.

Studies have shown, that the first position on Google gets 33% of the traffic for a given search – Search Engine Watch

The tricky thing with SEO, like all things digital and online, is that it’s constantly changing. Alongside this, there are so many resources out there, which make it confusing to know what to read and who to listen to.

This blog post is aimed at providing you with 5 beginner SEO tips to help you on the right path to understanding the world of SEO better.

1. A website which functions well and provides useful information

The first step to winning at SEO, is having a solid foundation to work with,” says Igor Kholkin, a Los Angeles-based SEO consultant. If your website is technically up to scratch and is full of useful information that people are looking for and want to read about, then you’ve ticked this box.

As Google evolves and consumers become savvier with technology, our websites in 2018 need to be as SEO friendly as possible. From having a website which loads quickly, to a website which works well on a mobile device. It’s important Google can find and understand your website as easily as possible (and your potential customers/readers too).

Bonus Tip: Type “site:yourdomain.com.au” into the Google search box to see which pages Google can find and has indexed. If any of your pages are missing, or if you’re not showing at all, then you have no chance of any visitors from Google finding those pages.

2. Knowing how your website is performing through analytics

Whether you’re investing time and/or money into SEO, it’s important to analyse whether its bringing you results. If it’s not, then you may need to change your strategy or get further advice.

Google Analytics is the best tool to help you with this. Through this tool, you can see how many people visit your website, what web pages they are looking at, through to if they are on a desktop or mobile device for example.

If you’re doing great SEO, then over time you should see organic traffic (aka people finding your website through search engines like Google) grow. You should also be alert for broken pages: click here to learn how to fix 404 problems on your site.

Bonus Tip: Start using Google Tag Manager (GTM). GTM is another free tool from Google which is essentially a container where your Google Analytics tag sits in. Through GTM you can also add all your other tracking codes (e.g. Facebook pixel, Pinterest verification code) alongside setting up event tracking (tracking clicks on your phone number or email address for example). It helps condense the amount of code on your website and for non-developers it makes doing the above a whole lot easier yourself.

3. Understanding what keywords work for your business

When people hear the word SEO, they usually think ‘keywords’. Keywords are important to SEO; however, they are one part of the puzzle.

In order to work out if SEO is feasible for your business and products/services, starting with keyword research is a must. During the keyword research stage, you can determine what types of keyword phrases relevant to your business people are typing in to Google and how often on average.

Through tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Moz and Ahrefs to a name a few, you can do keyword research.

Bonus Tip: SEMrush and Moz both offer non-obligation free trials, so you can explore the tools and the data they can provide. Both websites also offer introductory videos and webinars to learn how to use the tools.

Nearly all pages on SEO friendly websites will target some sort of keyword phrase or topic if the purpose of the page is to drive organic search traffic to it.

4. Adding and optimising metadata

When we talk about metadata we are talking about what shows up in the SERPs (search engine results pages) when your website is listed.

Metadata consists of:

  • A title: This is the blue clickable title on the SERPs. It should be around 60 characters or less.
  • A Description: This is the black description text. It should be around 300 characters or less.

Hot Tip: Using the site search you learnt about at the beginning of this article, you can check to make sure none of your titles or descriptions are being cut off. If they are, then you can make sure you take the time to edit them.

A lot of content management systems (aka WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace etc.) may also have ‘meta keywords’ however there’s no need to add these in. Google has confirmed many times that it doesn’t take notice of meta keywords at all.

The meta title is very important for SEO as Google uses it as 1 of the many ranking factors (there are over 200 ranking factors!). It’s advised to put your most important keyword as close to the front of the meta title as possible.

The meta description has no ranking weight, yet for potential customers, it can be a great avenue to entice people to click on your result. Adding your unique selling points will help persuade people to click on your result.

Bonus Tip: If you’re using WordPress, make sure you use the Yoast SEO plugin and learn how to use it via the Yoast website. Also watch out for the regular sales for the premium version of the plugin. 

5. Plenty of fresh, unique and well-written website content

Google understands words on your website. The more words and pages you have on your website, the higher the chance you have of people finding your website. This is simply because you have more touch points.

However, the big ‘but’ is that this content needs to be to do with topics people are searching for (this is where your keywords come in) and it needs to be well written so that people actually want to read.

Bonus Tip: If the content you are putting on your website has already been published somewhere else online then there’s no point in putting it on your website if you want search traffic from it. This is simply because Google will rank the original content and not your duplicated version.

The key to great SEO in 2018 is to be adding fresh, unique and well-written content to your website regularly. Having a blog or news section on your website is a great way to do this. Aim for a minimum of 1 blog post per month.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, if you want your website to be found via people using Google, you need SEO. Anyone can do SEO; however, it just takes time and knowledge.

SEO is an ongoing form of online marketing. Just like social media, you need to keep up with the latest best practises and be regularly working on improving how you do your SEO. If you have just recently heard of SEO and a business owner and want to get involved check out this digital agency in Manchester, they are one of the best around and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with the results.

About Casey Bryan

By day Casey Bryan is the owner and search marketing specialist at Grand Cru Digital. She specialises in SEO, website content and Google AdWords management to help small businesses be found online and turn more website visitors into customers. By night she writes the wine blog, Travelling Corkscrew, which has helped her hone her skills and develop her passion for the online marketing world since 2010.

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