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SEO for beginners

When starting a business, opening a website is one of the ways to allow people reach you (and your products/services) in the digital space.

But it gets frustrating when you invest so much on your website, but whenever you search for keywords that relate to your product, services or niche, your website is nowhere to be found on Google’s top pages.

The truth is; there are a lot of websites on the interweb, and everyone is trying to make sure that theirs rank on google first’s page.

Why?

There’s a popular saying in the internet marketing world that the best way to hide a dead body is on Google’s second page.

Might sound extra, but what they mean in essence is…if your website cannot be found on Google’s first page for your ideal/desired keywords (search queries you compete for), then simply forget ever being found by your audience or potential customers/clients.

This is why you have to up your game.

How? Through Search Engine Optimization.

What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

In concise terms, SEO is the process of enhancing your website, so it can be ranked higher in organic search results (on Google and other popular search engines) for keywords related to your business.

As expected, this increases website traffic (the number of people that visit your website) and the exposure of your brand.

Why do you need SEO for your brand?

  1. Ranking

With a good SEO, your website begins to rank on search engines. That means that people see you first before they see your competitors.

  1. Increased sales over time

You begin to show up first on search engines when people who want to buy something you sell search for that thing.

  1. Brand awareness/recall

More people begin to know your brand. So, whenever they think about the product you are selling, they think about you first before other brands.

  1. Authority

It also helps to establish authority. People naturally tend to believe that for you to be on the first page, then you have got to be one of the best and trustworthy brands in your field.

  1. Free traffic

Also, unlike paid traffic, you do not have to pay for this (except when you buy tools).

Just imagine people finding your business online, without you having to pay for it.

If you have a website and you want people to visit it and buy what you are selling, then your SEO game needs to be on point.

What does SEO involve?

SEO is a very broad field and there are different aspects of it.

The main question, when it comes to SEO, is: how do I get my website ranking high?

Before we go too deep however, you first should know that you cannot optimize an empty website; you need content.

When search engine bots crawl though websites, they work with the content on the site.

Before anything, you need great content on your website. And to do that you need:

  1. Keyword research

It is unwise to create content that nobody is interested in, that is why you need keywords that your customers are actively searching for on search engines.

The first thing to do is think about topics your customers will be interested in. For example, if you are a skincare brand that sell skincare products.

Some topics to look out for will be: acne, skin problems, skin diseases, skincare products, home remedies for skin issues etc.

  1. Make use of Google Suggest

What you can do next is, type the topics one after another on the Google search bar.

Notice the items that google suggests to you when you start typing? Those are keywords that people are actively searching for.

And in essence, keywords you can compete on – that is, use (naturally) within your content.

  1. Related searches

Also, below every Google search result page, you find the “searches related to” section. You will also find some keywords/keyphrases there.

For Google to suggest a keyword, then people are actively searching for it. Create your topic surrounding those keywords.

  1. Use keyword tools

You can also try out keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc.

Some of these tools are paid but you can also get free keyword tools like Keywords Everywhere.

There are several factors you should consider when choosing your keywords:

Consider these factors when choosing your keywords

There are factors to consider when choosing your keyword:

How often are the keywords searched?

Keyword tools can help you figure out this. If a keyword has a very high search volume, this means that the competition for that keyword will also be high.

Ranking for such keywords require extra work because almost everyone in your industry will also want to rank for them.

As a beginner, it is better to rank for keywords that have lesser search volume. Be careful not to go too low though, so you don’t rank for a keyword that no one is searching for.

As you gain your grounds, you move to high-volume keywords.

Are your competitors ranking for the keywords?

Check out high-volume keywords that your competitors are ranking for and make a list.

Why?

If you want to take advantage of keyword opportunities that your competitors missed, you should prioritize high-volume keywords that your competitors are not ranking for yet.

However, if you want to compete and outrank keywords that your customers are already ranking for, then go with the list you already made.

What geographical regions are you targeting?

When searching for keywords, put in consideration the location you are targeting.

If your product or services are not restricted to a specific region, then there is no need to do this.

If not, you can target your search to a specific town, country, state or region. This helps to make your content more relevant to your target audience.

  1. Create your content

Immediately you have your keywords in place, you can move in to creating content. Here are some tips that should help:

Never create content with the sole purpose of ranking

Never create content just so you can rank on Google; your content should be able to give value to those who come across it.

Write long content

The usual 500-word blog post is not going to cut it this time around.

Longer content usually ranks higher than short content. According to Backlinko’s Google Ranking Signals study, the top 10 results for most keywords tend to be approximately 2,000 words in length.

You can decide to make yours longer.

When creating longer content, make sure it is useful. Longer content covers a lot more than short content. And if you create useful content, it answers your reader’s queries more than a short content would.

If you want to create a fully comprehensive article. You can write what is termed a skyscraper article.

You get the result of the top 20 SERPs, study them and create a content that includes all the useful information gotten from these pages. Usually, this kind of content is way longer than 2,000 words.

Make your long content easy to read

It is one thing to create content that is long and comprehensive. But all that is a waste of effort if your content is hard to understand.

Such content won’t rank.

Google uses User Experience signals as one of the criteria to decide which results rank. And one of the most important user experience signals is bounce rate (how much time people spend on your website).

So, if your bounce rate is high (people leave your site almost immediately they land on it), it’s a signal to Google that your site/content’s user experience is poor.

To make your content easy to read and understand, use simple word in writing it. Also, make use of short sentences.

Do not use long introductions; make them short.

Do not just limit your content to written words. Add videos, infographics, charts, diagrams, audio, etc., that are relevant to your topic.

This way, you satisfy a larger number of people: People who love videos will watch your videos. People who prefer reading, will read your article, those who like pictures will be more interested in infographics and so on.

Use a lot of subheadings. They make long content easier to read.

Backlinko advises that you include one sub-header for every 200 words of content.

Fix in your keywords

You remember the keyword with which you created your article? It’s time to include it in your write-up.

First of all, include your keyword in your title. Include the keyword in the first paragraph of your article.

Also randomly add keywords within your article.

This tells search engines that your content is based on that keyword. However, do not overload your content with too much keywords. 1-3% keyword density is ideal.

  1. On-page SEO

Now that you are done writing, it is time to publish your article. Here are some helpful SEO tips you should follow before publishing:

Include Header tags

Header tags are used to break down your headings and subheadings in a page.

The main header tag is H1 and it is usually used for title. For subheadings, you can make use of H2 to H6, depending on hierarchy.

Header tags have a descending order of importance. So, the next important header tag is H2.

Use URLs that are SEO friendly

Make sure to keep your URLs short.

Google says that the first three to five word in a URL are given more weight than the rest. So, it best to avoid long URLs.

Finally, include your keyword in your URL.

Include outbound links

You make an outbound link when you link to a related page.

Make sure to use informative and trustworthy website links. Also link to sites that are considered authorities in the field you are writing about.

This improves the credibility of your website. For every 500 words, you could make 2 outbound links.

Include internal links

It is easier for search engine bots to crawl through your site when you have internal links. It also makes visitors more engaged to your website and stay longer.

They also increase your web page authority as well as your site.

While you create your content, include internal links.

Increase your site speed

Google says that the page loading speed of your site is an SEO ranking signal.

If your pages take time to load, it discourages people from visiting your site. In fact, your site should take no more than 5 seconds to load.

To increase your site speed, you can switch to a swifter hosting, use compressed images, etc.

Optimize your images

Your images also matter when it comes to SEO. Make use of compressed images so it doesn’t slow down the loading speed of your site.

When you upload your images, you will see a column for alt text. You are to fill it by describing image. You definitely should include your keyword while describing your image in the alt text box.

This helps bots to understand your image and what keyword result it should be included in.

In conclusion…

When it comes to SEO, these are just the basics.

SEO is a very wide topic, but as a beginner, if you can do these, then you are on your way to search engines ranking your site very high.

Like we always preach, keep on learning and practicing, one day you will get the results you desire and you no longer have to worry about people not seeing your website through organic search.

Now over to you…

Have you ever tried SEO? How was your experience? Leave us a comment and let’s talk.


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