You made your first website and now you are waiting for people to discover it. If this is all that you did, don’t be surprised if you don’t get any visitors. The art of pushing your site up to the top of search engines is called SEO and you need to master it if you want organic traffic you won’t have to pay a dime for.
This beginners SEO guide will get you started with the basic things you must do for your website to rank better in search engines. You should be aware that SEO is not about fast results. It may take months or even years until you get on the first page in Google for your best keywords.
Anyway, the first thing you should know is that there are two types of SEO, on-page and off-page. On-page SEO refers to things you do on your website in order to make it appear as relevant for your desired keywords. Off-page SEO refers to how other websites link to yours. The more authority websites in your niche link to a page of yours, the more authoritative your page will appear in Google’s eyes.
Basic On-Page Beginners SEO Guide:
– Each page of your website should have its main keyword. This keyword needs to appear in the title, so you have to use in inside your <title></title> tags.
– The Description meta-tag gives instructions to search engines regarding the snippet they should show users who find your site on SERPs. You should spend time and think it very well, in order to make it as attractive as possible for people to click on it and visit your website.
– Don’t bother with the Keywords meta-tag. All search engines disregard it since several years ago, so it’s totally useless.
– Make sure you have your main keyword and a few of its variations in the page content. Ideally, you don’t want to exceed a 2% keyword density, otherwise you may get penalized.
Regarding the off-page beginners SEO guide, you need to be aware that Google doesn’t agree with buying links or having others link to you artificially, solely for manipulating the rankings. You need to write excellent content that people would voluntarily link to. As this is not very probable, you need to find creative ways of getting those links to your pages. Write guest posts on other blogs and be active on social networks. With a little bit of luck, you may get some really good citations.
SEO is not rocket science. Although hiring a professional SEO agency may bring you brilliant results, if you’re just starting you can easily learn how to do it yourself, at least in the incipient stage.
This SEO for beginners guide aims at giving you a few basic guidelines, so you can setup your website correctly right from the beginning.
SEO has two components: on-site and off-site. Both are equally important, but while the on-site SEO can be completely covered in an SEO for beginners guide, off-site SEO is a more delicate skill to acquire and may need years of practice before somebody can say they master it.
On-site SEO refers to the structure of web pages and where the main keywords should be placed, in order to send the most compelling relevance signals to search engine robots. One of the most important on-page SEO elements is the title tag. It should contain your main keyword for each page. Pages of a website should be treated as separate entities. Each of them should have its own main keyword and its own title and description tags. Having the same title tag on all pages of a website is a mistake all SEO for beginner books and guides will tell you to stay away from.
Another element of importance is the description tag. The information you put there will be used by search engines to display an excerpt from your page when they show it in the SERPs. Although it doesn’t influence directly the rankings, the description plays an important role in improving the click rate. If it is compelling, you’ll get more visitors because more people will be enticed to click on that particular result when they see it in the SERPs.
One of the most common mistakes that should be pointed out in this SEO for beginners article is over-optimization. If you use your main keyword for too many times on a page, you may trigger a penalty that will do your page more harm than good. As a rule of the thumb, the main keyword shouldn’t be used in a degree bigger than 1% from the content of a page.
A properly designed web page should contain subheadings such as H1, H2 and H3. Each of them is a good place for putting relevant keywords. You can make use of synonyms of your main keyword, for instance.
Last but not least, the text should flow, it should be written for people and not for search engines.