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Become an SEO Pro: Beginners SEO Basics

Get More BusinessKristin RumianComment
SEO Basics for beginners

If you're a business owner you've probably heard the acronym SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization.  To further elaborate, the actual Wikipedia definition of SEO is:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

As you can see by the definition, optimizing your website and blog will help your site be found in organic search results.  Organic search results would be the results that come up when you use search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc...  The better you optimize your site, blog and back end, the higher you will rank in the search engines once they crawl and index your site.

What are the search engines looking for?

When crawling your site search engines look for a few things:

  • High-quality content - High-quality content is content that brings value to your reader, the titles, keywords, meta descriptions and everything else that is contained within your content. ( We will discuss these further down!)
  • The general look of your site - They will look for sites that are correctly coded, having easy to find navigation and a site that is organized and attractive.
  • Bounce rate - Do you have a high bounce rate?  If so, that probably won't work in your favor.  The bounce rate is a percentage calculated by the number of people who "bounce" on and off of your site quickly.  Do you have enough content to keep them engaged for a longer period of time?  Then your bounce rate will be lower.  Linking inside of your blog posts to other posts on your site will help to keep your bounce rate low.
  • Performance - Believe it or not if your site loads slowly search engines will rank you lower.  Your site should have no broken links when the search engine indexes it and your site should load as quickly as possible. (Tip: Compress your images or save them as PNGs to prevent image heavy loading times.)
  • Mobile Friendly - Google announced, a few years back, that it will rank sites that are mobile friendly higher than sites that aren't.  This means that your site has to have a mobile version in order to be ranked.  (If you're using Wordpress, most themes have a mobile version built in for you.  You can check if yours is mobile friendly by visiting your website from a smartphone.)

Keywords

Your website and blog should have a good number of relevant keywords within your text though there is no clear answer as to how many is best to use.  It's best to go with your instinct on that, however, don't overuse the keywords.  Overuse of keywords is called keyword stuffing and search engines really frown upon that.  Keyword stuffing is considered black hat SEO and can get you blacklisted from search engines. (Black hat SEO is using unfair means to "optimize" your site.)

When choosing the keywords for your site you need to think about what exactly you want to rank for.  This usually takes a little research!  You want to consider the following when choosing and researching keywords:

  • Search Volume - You want to know how many people are searching for the keyword that you are considering using.  You want to pick a keyword that is actively being searched for in the search engines.  If you pick a keyword that isn't being searched that much, you will greatly reduce your chances of being found in the search engines.  In order to find out this information, you can use a tool such as the Google Keyword Planner or (if you don't have a Google Adwords account) you can use SEO Book.
  • Keyword Competition - You need to figure out what your keyword competition is before choosing one.  You want to choose a keyword that has low to medium competition so you will have a better chance at ranking.  You can rank for high competition keywords but this may be slightly more difficult for a beginner.  (This information will also be contained within the Google Keyword Planner or SEO Book tools.)

On page optimization

The title of your site is extremely important.  This is the title that searchers will see in the search engines and also what they will see in the title bar of your site.  Your title should be less than 70 characters and include your keyword.  Using less than 70 characters will ensure that your title won't be cut off in the search engines.  

The meta description of your site is the description that will show under your title in the search engines.  This description will be implemented in the back end/code of your site.  If you're using Wordpress this can be done through Wordpress itself.  You can also use the Yoast plug-in for Wordpress to optimize the title and meta description of each blog post and page you create on your Wordpress site.  This plug-in is so incredibly useful!

When writing a meta description you should always use a description that is clear, describes the purpose of your site and also contains your keyword.  Think of this as a virtual version of your "elevator pitch" ...short and sweet!

Your URL

If you're using Wordpress or Squarespace it's very easy to modify your URL.  You should have a URL that uses your main keyword so you can further optimize.  You can find the option to edit your URL in Wordpress right here:

 Simply click "Edit" and edit your URL!

Simply click "Edit" and edit your URL!

and in Squarespace you can find it here:

 Edit Post > Options > Post URL

Edit Post > Options > Post URL

 

Internal links within your page

Internal links are links that are within the context of your site that link to other posts that are relevant to your topic.  Internal links will help to keep your audience on the site and will lower your bounce rate.  It will also provide your audience with further options in regards to the topic they are reading about at that time.  When linking to other relevant blog posts, you will basically be thought of as an authority when the bots crawl your site.  Those relevant links will be indexed as well as your post!

Tagged Images

When you add an image to your site you should describe the image the best you can. This will give your images a better chance at being found in Google Image Search!

i.e. If you have a photo of a beach you can tag it as "sunny beach with palm trees and sand bucket".  Your photo will then be able to come up in the search engines when anyone searches any related phrases or words.

These tags are considered alt tags or alt attributes for your images.  On Wordpress or Squarespace you will see an alt or image description when you upload an image.  This is where you would put that description!  If you are adding the alt attribute to the back end of your site you would have to add alt="your description"  between the brackets of your code.

Headers

These are the <h1>, <h2> and <h3> tags for your page.  Let's go through what each of them should be used for.

  • H1 - Should only be used for the title of your site and should include the main keyword that you're targeting for that piece of content.  Only ONE H1 tag should be used per page.
  • H2 - Can be used as bullet points or titles of the separate sections of your page. You should include the main keyword that you're targeting for that piece of content as well.  The keyword should also be used within the paragraphs or points under the H2 tag.  You can use as many H2 tags as you need to on your page.
  • H3 - These tags will be used as sub-categories under the H2 tags and should also be keyword rich for the main keyword that you're targeting.  

You won't always be able to use your target keyword within the H2 and H3 tags.  Only use your target keyword if applicable for the bullet points and context.

Do you need help with optimization of your site?  Infopoint Virtual Solutions can help you out!  We're SEO experts and we would love to assist you in getting your site indexed in those search results!  Schedule your FREE discovery call today so we can discuss how IPV can help your business get found! 

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beginners SEO basics