Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is a tricky business. Defining a list of relevant and useful tips is not the easiest of tasks, particularly with so-called “experts” luring you in with claims of insider knowledge on SEO tricks and promises of disclosure of “the secrets that Google doesn’t want you to know about.” It could take days, even weeks, to work through what is legitimate and what’s not, particularly if SEO is a relatively new concept to you.
So we thought we’d put together a proper beginners guide to SEO, in an attempt to condense the clutter and eliminate unnecessary confusion. We present to you, our Top 10 SEO tips and tricks.
And just to make things really clear from the outset, our list of ten is in no particular order. Tip #1 is just as important as tip #10 (and so on). The point of this post isn’t to say which tips are more or less valuable, but rather, to give beginners a starting point in their SEO efforts. Each point carries equal weight and crucially, all of our tips can be applied to any industry or organisation (of any size and in any sector).
So here we go SEO Tips and Tricks for Beginners…
- Free SEO is still SEO
There’s a misconception that SEO has to cost an arm and a leg. And whilst it’s true that the very best SEO services come at a cost (legitimately because they themselves invest in being the best), there are plenty of free SEO optimisation techniques you can easily apply yourself;
- Shore up your on-page SEO
- Analyse your competition with free SEO tools
- Research keywords with the Google Keyword Tool
- Contact other bloggers for guest blogging opportunities
- Write an epic, pillar article for your blog that will attract links and visitors for years and years.
- Start with local SEO
It can be tempting to shoot for the stars and set your goals by targeting high level keywords such as “Accountant” or “Auto Insurance.” But before you go after the blockbuster keywords, it makes a lot more sense to start at a lower level and apply local SEO keywords such as “Houston Accountant” or “Miami Auto Insurance” (depending on where your business is located),for example..
- Google SEO is a slooww process
This is one of the more easily understandable SEO tips, although easily one of the most frustrating. No matter how well you heed the Google SEO tips and tricks, the process is always going to be slow. No one is able to rank a site #1 overnight unless the keyword is completely useless. No one. And this makes sense in Google’s case too, as it prevents the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) from fluctuating too much. You have to prove yourself for more than just a week for Google to reward you with a top 10 ranking. And if we’re talking about superstar keywords, it might very well take you, or your SEO company, an entire year to smash this particular goal. The same applies to any mainstream search engine (Yahoo, Bing, etc.) and for any content management system (WordPress, Joomla and the like). No one is exempt from the trust-building phase.
- SEO copywriting is EVERYTHING
Link-building gets all the attention, but just remember that the only reliable information Google can glean from your site is the content you have put on it. Think of your blog posts as little spider webs, with each of them serving to “catch” another segment of your target audience. Let’s say your site is about cars. There are sports car fans, luxury car fans, convertible car fans, monster truck fans. It would be impossible to attract all of these different types of fans with a site just about “cars.” It’s too generic. But writing a blog post about sports cars, another post about monster trucks, etc. will help you to capture and maximise your audience numbers.
- SEO is always tough for beginners
It can be a rough few weeks and months when you’re first learning about SEO. There’s a lot of new terminology to memorise (what the heck is Joomla?!), lots of outdated information (do meta keywords still matter?) and as more and more of us are establishing an online presence, the competition is becoming fiercer by the day. But here’s the good news; every SEO expert today was a beginner at some point and they reached guru status by maintaining a constant focus on improving and upping their SEO game. No one is born with SEO knowledge; it doesn’t “come naturally” to anyone (since SEO became a thing years after more of us were born) but it can definitely be learned and conquered.
- SEO comes before Web Design
Web design is inherently sexy. SEO…not so much.
Although we’re the first to admit that web design is an extremely important factor in getting you noticed, it’s a good idea to take care of your SEO first, before you work on your web design. And if you’re outsourcing the work, know that your web designer should have an SEO professional at their side to act as a point of consultation throughout the design process.
This simple SEO tip will save you hours of headaches later down the line, as it’s an absolute pain to have to go back and change your core web design, to make it search-engine friendly. Much better to have taken care of this from the outset.
- Bing SEO = Google SEO
A common mistake SEO bloggers make is that they think they have to optimise their website for Google and Bing separately, somehow thinking that the two search engines will have drastically different ranking algorithms. The truth is that yes, their algorithms are different, but it’s no use trying to use two separate strategies to rank your sites on both. What works for one will more than likely work for the other and most of the differences in algorithms are things you can’t control anyway (keywords in your domain name, for example).
- Utilise SEO forums
This is probably the most simple SEO tip we can offer. It doesn’t take any special software or any expert knowledge. All you have to do is find the time to read.
Although top SEO experts tend to stay away from forums (they’re too busy running their own firms), there are still plenty of knowledgeable people out there who are more than happy to help others succeed in their SEO efforts. There is an absolute goldmine of free SEO tips and tricks available across a wide range of SEO forums. If you’re paying attention, you’ll be able to pick out the experts from the novices. And once you’ve established whose opinion and advice you most value, keep a regular eye on their posts, as they will have seen it all, and you can be sure they will do their best to support you in avoiding any commonly made mistakes.
- Do your keyword research
SEO optimisation relies heavily on keywords which are relevant to your website and popular with users. A good way to start is to find a keyword research tool online, such as Google AdWords’ own keyword planner, SEMrush, or Google Trends. Use the keyword research tools to source data on the keywords which are specifically relevant to your brand, and then ensure they are included within your on-page SEO strategy. You can easily incorporate the same keywords within your website content by creating blog posts or landing pages on the topic, and by including them in meta tags, such as title tags and meta descriptions.
- Don’t. Give. Up.
We know we said previously that our top ten SEO tricks and tips were in no particular order, but we take that back because our number one is of prime importance. We can’t count the number of times we’ve seen beautiful websites go to waste because their owners gave up on their SEO strategy. We hear time and again that it is too much work, takes too much time and costs too much money (and the list of reasons go on) but honestly, really, don’t give up. SEO is the bedrock to online visibility and establishing your presence. You deserve to be noticed and the only way to do that is by keeping on keeping on with your SEO strategy.