SEO, or search engine optimisation, refers to the way that search engines (like Google, or Bing) position your website in their listings. For marketers and business owners, it’s a dream to land on the top of the first page for search terms that are relevant to your business. But, how exactly do you achieve this? We’ve put together some SEO for beginners guidance to help you start getting your website in front of the customers that matter most.
Most people with an initial grasp of SEO will relate it to keywords, and they’re right. Choosing the right keywords will form the skeleton of your on-page optimisation strategy, and ensure that you start showing up for the right things. However, Google also puts emphasis on wider keyword themes and topics.
When creating your website, it’s best to start with a few short keywords for your main pages. These are short keywords that are relevant to your business, for example ‘florist in Brighton’. Following this, it’s key to create content and blogs around keyword clusters that relate to your business. Demonstrate to Google why you are the florist in Brighton that deserves their kudos, by generating powerful, keyword-focused content.
Blogs can also be used to answer any questions that your ideal customers may have. For example, if you discover that many of your target customers are searching for ‘what are the best flowers for hanging baskets’, then create a blog with this title. This is known as ‘content marketing’, and it works to support your SEO keyword strategy, as well as improve your relationship with customers.
Link building refers to the process of gaining links to your website from external sources. Every website is given a Domain Authority (DA) score in the eyes of Google, which is mostly dictated by the number of external links coming to your site. Your DA demonstrates your website’s trustworthiness in the eyes of Google, and will drive higher search engine rankings as a result. You can check your website’s Domain Authority by using a free tool like Moz.
Getting other websites to link to yours can seem like an impossible challenge, but there are many easy steps that can support your strategy. For example, featuring on external blogs as a guest writer or using Quora to answer questions, can help to drive traffic and promote links. Creating unique research-focused content can also receive links when other sites reference it. Supporting your SEO strategy with external link building is considered an 'off-page' optimisation strategy.
Along with links to your website, you should also reference your own content with links to other reputable websites (see what we did there?). This will support the trustworthiness of your own content and support your SEO strategy.
Leading search engines such as Google and Bing have a responsibility to serve the best websites to their users. If your website answers a user’s query perfectly, but takes 20 second to load in the process, then it won’t rank highly.
There is a multitude of free tools that can help you stay on top of your website speed, Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a good starting point. This will make a number of suggestions to help your website’s speediness.
When building pages, you also need to ensure that your page headings (H1, H2, H3 tags etc.) are properly structured. Your main page title should represent what the page’s content is about, and be labelled 'H1'. Your subheadings should support the overall theme of your webpage content, and be labelled as 'H2' and 'H3' tags (and so on) respectively. When Google crawls your website, it utilises these heading tags to understand the structure of your content.
I hope that this SEO for beginners guide has been beneficial for your strategy. These are on and off page optimisation steps that you should follow throughout your website and content journey. When creating content, think about how you can please your customers and Google in the process. When done correctly, SEO is a highly scalable marketing strategy with high returns on investment.
If you would like additional support with your SEO strategy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. Jooba is a creative agency based in Bristol, and we work with a range of growing clients all over the world.