More than 5 billion searches are performed on the internet every day, and your website is still not found by your readers. This guide on SEO for Beginners will help you learn how to optimize your site so Google will understand your website and start sending relevant visitors your way!
Do you know why?
Because you didn’t make the spiders happy!
Well, we are not talking about the creepy-looking, eight-legged air-breathing arthropods that haunt you in dreams. We’re talking about web crawlers aka internet bots that browse the World Wide Web to index and rank websites.
Since Google occupies the lion’s share of the search market, this guide will focus on it although the premise is same for others including Bing, Yahoo, Ask, etc.
The spiders crawl your pages and report back to Google, which ranks your website by considering several dozens of indicators such as fresh content, quality and number of backlinks, amount of traffic, and domain’s age.
Keeping track of dozens of these indicators alone can be a pain, but add to that the fact that most of these keep changing over time. However, there are some constants that have remained true until now, so we’ll be focusing on these.
Before we go any further, we assume that you have your own domain and hosting right from the beginning. Not only free domains look obnoxious and amateur, but they can hurt your SEO also.
Help Google Understand Your Website
Helping Google might sound ridiculous as the search engine giant helps everyone and doesn’t need your help. Under the hood, Google does so by bringing people with relevant and valuable search results. You can play your part by giving Google the content your customers are looking for.
This has to be a two-step approach. First is the keyword research, where you have to find the search terms people use. There are several great paid as well as free tools that can help you with this. Or you can simply use Google itself, here’s how.
Think of a word or phrase your readers will use to look you up, and enter these into the Google search bar. You’ll get autocomplete suggestions as well as frequently used relevant keywords (at the bottom of the page). This can be a good starting point but for more details about potent keywords, consider using a dedicated tool.
Secondly, you have to offer stellar content that gives a detailed yet concise answer to your reader’s problem. Your content has to be unique and valuable. And content doesn’t mean just text, you can and should also use photos, infographics, videos, and podcasts. People love media-rich content, and so do search engines.
This might be a little hard, but if you can offer an original, unique app, tool or a plugin on your website that makes your reader’s life easy, you can rest assured of top ranking for a long time. This alone can be a game-changer.
Backlinks are not dead… yet
A backlink is when another website links to any of your pages. Backlinks don’t get as much SEO juice as they used to in the recent past. Google realized that they were very easy to abuse and sketchy websites especially were making the most of it. Although they still have their value, quality of backlinks is now more important than quantity.
For instance, a backlink from an article from a credible webpage will give more juice than many backlinks in the comments on low ranked web pages. Here are some best practices for blacklining:
- You can get easy, free backlinks by linking to your own, relevant pages. However, too many backlinks or linking to irrelevant pages can frustrate your readers.
- Never buy backlinks – the chances are high that you’ll get busted and banned.
- Only try to get backlinks from high-quality You can do so by guest posting or offering content/tools that other people would want to link to.
- Write relevant and compelling anchor text. This tells the spider what the link and the target page would be about.
Everyone hates 404
HTTP 404 or Not Found error is one of the most annoying things about any web page. Make sure you clean up any broken links. This not only frustrates your readers but also makes a spider’s life hard.
Secure Domains Rank Better
Google has already hinted that they will rank SSL (secure sockets layer) and TLS (transport layer security) domains higher. These are the cryptographic protocols or standard security technology that ensure that communication between the browser and the server is encrypted and safe.
If your webpage has a blog, your permalink is the URL to your blog and posts. A better permalink structure can help improve your rankings as it tells the search engines what to expect from a page. It has two parts, root and extension. For example:
While some people use just the post title, others get rid of the articles and prepositions, etc. to make it simple. To automatically use the post title, you can choose the custom structure and add /%postname% variable.
However, you should not change permalinks of older posts as this can cause broken backlinks.
Get a responsive and optimized theme
While this might not have a huge impact on your ranking directly, but it can impact your page views, which can indirectly impact your rankings. If people view multiple pages on your site and spend more time on each page, it tells Google that your website offers value.
According to statistica, in 2017 nearly 40% of the entire web traffic in the U.S. generated from mobile. Make sure your web site is mobile friendly, cleanly coded, and loads fast. This has twofold benefits; your user experience improves and your rankings can go up.
Monitor and measure
There are many free and premium web analytic services which can help you monitor, measure, and tweak your website for better ranking. One of the popular, free tools is Google Analytics, which is very easy to set up and has a fairly user-friendly interface.
Fair enough, staying on top of the changing SEO trends, implementing them, monitoring the results, and tweaking your approach can be a daunting task. But the long-term return is well worth its weight in gold.
What’s My SEO Score?
Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.