By Carly Ries
Before you continue reading further, you should first have a clear understanding of what search engine optimization (SEO) is before diving into the tactics to implement it. SEO can be described as “the practice of improving and promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines” (Moz). Make sense?
There is so much information that can be covered when discussing SEO.In fact, influencers say there are upwards of 200 factors Google considers when ranking for SEO…200! Chances are you don’t have time to read through all of those and then check them off the list one by one. So let’s start with the basics. Here are 4 beginner SEO tactics to get you started.
#1: Create Epic Content for your Audience First, and Search Engines Second Creating educational and engaging content is the most important tool you have for search engine optimization. Search engines are smart and only want to show their audiences the most relevant and helpful content out there. Creating exceptional content can:
- Increase traffic to your site
- Build trust with your audience and establish you as a thought leader
- Attract inbound links and social shares to help your content spread
Be sure to write the content for your audience first and search engines (like Google) second. Search engines are sneaky and can tell if you’re trying to just please them as opposed to being genuine. In fact, you’ll even get penalized for working the system and it can decrease your page rank. Plus, you don’t want to sound like a robot to your audience, do you?
#2 Focus on Keyword Placement
Be sure to have one keyword to focus your content around. Not only will this help with structure and thought consistency throughout the post, but it will also help SEO by making it easier for search engine crawlers to understand what your content is about. To help with this, be sure to place your keyword, verbatim, in the following 6 places:
- URL: If you are using a long-tail keyword, include hyphens between each individual word.
- Page Title: This is the copy that appears when you scroll over tabs in your browser.
- Page Headers: This is important to help with page consistency.
- Image Alt Tags: If you have an image in your post (which you should) including your keyword in the image alt tag can help tie it to the post.
- Within Your Page Content: Include your keyword in the body of your post, but remember to use it naturally. Don’t overload your page with the keyword just to try to get tracked. It can and will work against you.
- Meta description: This is the copy that shows up in the search engine results pages under the page title that describes what the page is about. Make it clear so that your page gets selected out of all the other results.
#3 Create Internal Links for Your Website
Internal linking is the act of positioning hyperlinks throughout your site that link to separate pages within the same domain (ie linking from SmartBug Media’s Inbound Marketing page to its About Us page). Why is this important? Let’s take a look:
- Increases time on site as people click from page to page
- Allows users to easily navigate the site
- From a search engine perspective, creating internal links is like voting for yourself and letting them know you’re voting. And as you know, whoever gets the most votes in a competition wins!
#4 Build relationships
Building relationships, either online or offline, can help grow inbound links to your site. Search engines recognize when other websites have links that direct to your site, and that tells them that your site is important, which in turn, increases your ranking. Building relationships with industry influencers and other well-respected sites can increase the odds of getting inbound links to your site and will ensure you get valuable visitation. This can set you apart as a thought leader and bring you more followers.
That’s it! Those are the 4 beginner SEO tactics you have to know to get going on your SEO journey. Be patient, it may take a bit of time to fully understand all of this and for the search engines to start picking up your awesome and newly improved website, but once that all falls into place, the rewards will be well worth the wait!