Many people stay away from SEO because of the big learning curve. But by not applying any of its principles to their business websites, they’re missing out on a lot of exposure, opportunities, and profits.
Here are 5 basic SEO tips to get you started on your journey to understanding search engine optimization:
1. Keyword research
Do your homework and pick your keywords wisely. By this, I mean that it’s not a good idea to choose keywords with high competition, especially if your site is new and you haven’t built any authority yet.
I use Ahrefs to check the competition for a particular keyword and see how many links I will have to build to that page in order to rank in the top 10 results in Google.
Even if you create the best content on a given topic, it may still take you time until your site grows its authority to start ranking among the top results. With proper keyword research every time you publish a piece of content, though, you are increasing your chances of success.
Make sure you also pick as many related long tail keywords as possible and find a way to include them in your content. I use KWFinder and LongTailPro for that.
Let me give you a quick example from my own practice. I started a blog at the beginning of 2017, and as you know new sites do not have authority which makes it difficult to rank for any keyword.
I found the keyword “SEOquake” does not have a lot of competition but at the same time can bring some good volume of traffic.
I wrote a mini guide about SEOquake which I still need to improve but it ranks on the first page even though my blog has only 25 DA.
2. Make your website as fast as possible
Let’s face it. No one likes a slow website. Whatever your niche is, your business will suffer from downtime, server errors or even a single page that’s too heavy and doesn’t load fast.
Visitors have a short attention span and you should always make a great first impression when they land on your website. If you have an online store, that’s even more important as you don’t want someone to abandon their shopping cart because of performance issues.
But the same goes for any standard blog that’s trying to gain traffic and authority. You shouldn’t just optimize the content but the platform it’s on. That provides the reader with a whole experience that he’ll remember next time he wants to read something on this topic.
Also, when you leave such a pleasant memory, they are more likely to engage by clicking internal links, signing up for your newsletter, getting in touch with you, following you on social media, or checking your products or services.
A fast-loading site depends on many things. But it all begins with your hosting provider. Choose a trusted company that’s been in business for some time now and which provides uptime 24/7.
Additionally, you can use a caching plugin, get a CDN so that distributed servers can deliver pages to visitors based on their location, fix any code errors in your website theme by hiring a designer or purchasing a premium product.
3. Make your URL user-friendly
Online readers don’t click anything they see anymore. There are specific elements that make them feel safe enough to visit a page and stay there.
One such element is using HTTPS. Without it, any data people share while on your site is insecure. To add the extra S to your domain (which is an extra security layer), you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate.
That’s a must if you’re accepting payments on your platform, but it’s a great idea even if you are simply collecting email addresses or using cookies. Even with new sites, though, Google is now looking for HTTPS in your URL in order to consider your domain safe and start crawling it and ranking it higher.
What about the rest of the URL? It should also look pretty and be optimized. Don’t forget to keep it short as Google doesn’t usually look at anything beyond the first 5 words.
However, some short URLs can still be bad for SEO. An example would be https://yoursite.com/?p=24.
When it should look more like this:
4. Internal linking
Link naturally to external quality sites whenever you see fit in your content as that shows search engines and people you share relevant resources that are authoritative. In return, it’s good for the rankings of your site.
However, most new marketers and bloggers neglect internal linking, when it’s just as important.
People often wonder how many internal links to add in a piece. While some experts suggest it should be 1 in every 100 words, others also say they grew their traffic pretty quickly organically by linking whenever it felt right.
You can go with the flow but don’t forget to do it at least a few times in every article. This shows search engines your posts are related and each gives an SEO boost to the rest when interlinking them.
5. Promote your website
I recommend you read these tips on how to promote your website.
The thing that will have the biggest effect on your site’s rankings is actually building high-quality backlinks. There are a few ways to do this.
One of the most effective ones is guest posting and I’m a big fan of it. It’s crucial to learn how to identify the good sites from the bad ones. You don’t have all the time in the world so you have to focus only on top blogs.
I recently wrote a guide on how to choose the best sites for guest blogging. You can check it out.
Also, I love using Quora for marketing purposes. First, it is important to find the Quora threads which rank well on Google for big volume keywords. Second, you should create the best answer among all other answers. And of course sneak a link to your website in your answer.
Another method that I love is using the power of communities. Why? Because again like with Quora, you do not need to wait to see the traffic coming to your website. It’s perfect for new sites which still need time to gain an authority in order to rank well in the search engines.
Find online communities where people are talking about your niche. These communities could be Facebook groups, Forums, Slack groups and etc. Join the conversations, try to be helpful and to answer people’s questions. Then, sneak a link to your blog in your answer.
Here is a screenshot from a client’s Analytics. Do you think I was able to bring them traffic so fast with SEO? No! First, few weeks we’re doing massive marketing on Q&A sites, and online communities. This brought traffic and built links until our other SEO actions brought results.
SEO is a big deal indeed and it can make or break your success online. But don’t stay away from it simply because it’s intimidating and the field seems to be filled with experts who are implementing advanced SEO techniques.
Start small and learn the basics first, like these 5 tips that will get you started. They should become a permanent part of your content creation and distribution process and you can easily bring some traffic and gain trust solely thanks to them.