SEO for Beginners
The basics of SEO to get you started
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has long been the hot topic on marketeers lips and with the increase in online media being the go to place for marketing the need for good SEO is not slowing down. If anything, it is gaining traction in a big way and good SEO is seen as a necessity for anyone wanting their business or product to be visible on the web.
Although SEO is so important, to some people it may still be a little elusive or confusing, so let’s dive in to the most simplistic way of getting to grips with SEO.
So, as the name suggests the purpose of SEO is to optimise how search engines (such as Google) view your content so that your website will appear higher in their rankings and, therefore, more likely to be seen by people who will then click on the link to your site.
The goal is to be on the first page of search results, ideally at the top of the first page. The further down you are the less likely the searcher is to click on your link and most people don’t look beyond the first page. There will usually be paid for links on a search engine results page which will push the non-paid for (AKA. organic) results down further on the page, making a higher ranking even more important.
The way that your content is ranked by a search engine is by relevance – how relevant the content is to the search query that has been inputted – and by authority – this is how trustworthy/authoritative your content is.
Authority is gained in a few ways. Firstly, by making your website visible and accessible to web crawlers or spiders. In a very simplistic way, you want your website to be well structured with no dead-ends (eg. Page Not Found) and content that is easily readable to bots. A good example of this is pictures. Bots cannot see images and this is where ‘Alt. Text’ comes in handy. Here you write a short description of what can be seen in the image, keeping it relevant to your content.
A good article on the basics of Alt. Text can be seen here.
You will also want to update your ‘Meta Description’. This is the short description that comes under the title and link in a search result. If you don’t update this yourself then the first line or two of the content will be shown instead.
And don’t forget your keywords! This is a word or short phrase that indicates what your content is about. You will want to specify your keyword for each post/page and use it as often as possible without it interfering with the quality of the content.
Next, you will want to be continually adding content to your site. This is why blogs are so popular! Adding content shows the site is still in use and the information is likely to be up to date and, consequently, more relevant. New content also gives you the chance to optimise on new topics. The more relevant topics you have on your site the more likely it is for someone to have a search query closely linked to what you have written about and you can then be found.
The final step in gaining authority is by having your content linked on other websites. This is called ‘Link Building‘. The reason why this is important is because it is essentially an endorsement by an external source saying your content is good enough and relevant enough for them to want to share it with their own viewers.
Often you will find that as a site becomes bigger and more well-known their content will be linked more often as it will be trusted content and easily found (due to their search ranking!). In the beginning stages of a site, if you want people to link your work you have to put in the effort. You will have to ask owners of other sites, network or find ways you can add your own link on a relevant topic into a comment section etc. without making it spammy. No one likes spam and it will likely be deleted by admin.
There are some other contributing factors to perfecting your Search Engine Optimisation as this page is just the basics of SEO to get you started. If you want to look into more on the technical details there is a good article that you can read here.
The most important thing to remember is you should be writing engaging content that would be interesting to your audience. The goal should be to captivate your audience and hopefully this will lead to them viewing more of your content or your business offering. If you are selling something you want to get people buying, for example. You want people who will continually refer back to your site as they like what you are producing and hopefully they will even spread the word. Get the content down first and optimise later.
And if you ever get stuck don’t forget there are people and tools out there that can help. You can easily find professional blog writers or champions at SEO. All you need to do is search…
What do you think? Do you have any tips for good SEO?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.