15 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tips for Beginners
Are you a small business owner? Have you heard about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and wonder what all the fuss is about?
Well congratulations to you, you’ve stumbled upon the missing ingredient to your business’s marketing strategy. SEO is about growing organic (not paid) traffic to your website. If your site is set up properly, you will hopefully be able to convert leads into sales at scale.
Below we are going to explore 15 tips designed to put your site ahead of your competition and drive more organic traffic to your website.
1. Optimise your page titles and descriptions
Page titles are a crucial part of your SEO. Optimised page titles must be unique and accurately describe the content on the page. Short and to the point is a good direction to take.
Secondly, the page description meta tag needs to be unique in it’s description of page content. Don’t add too many keywords and keep the character count to between 140-150. Another good idea is a to add a flashy call to action like, “Find out more today!” or “Don’t miss out, read more now.”
2. Structure your URLs
Don’t let your URLs get too scruffy. Lots of random numbers and letters don’t look good from an SEO viewpoint. Try organising all your URLs so that it would make sense to a complete stranger.
For example, if you have a blog page that you post news regularly in, you might add the year and date as part of the URL (www.example.com/2015/11/social-media-news). Notice That the words are broken up by hyphens. Don’t let words run together in your URLs (ie. www.example.com/socialmedianews).
3. Add ‘Breadcrumbs’ to aid navigation
Breadcrumbs are navigation bars below the top menu bar. They list all the parent pages you’ve visited to get to the page you are on. There are WordPress plugins readily available online such as Breadcrumb NavXT.
4. Add more internal links
Internal linking is very important to your on-page SEO health. Make sure that each page has hyperlinks to other pages. The more interconnect your site is the better it will rank and the more likely you will get flow on traffic.
5. Format all your text using H1, H2 and H3 tags
As part of Google’s overall goal of rewarding positive user experience design (UX design), proper formatting will boost your Google search ranking.
H1, H2, and H3 tags should be employed on all pages where at all possible. Make sure to break up big chunks of text at the same time.
6. Configure your 404 Page
Your regular unaltered 404 page is not very attractive and does little keep audiences on your website if they happen upon a broken link. Customise your 404 page for better UX. Don’t be afraid to share a sense of humour – here are 24 website that do it well.
7. Optimise existing images on site
Are all your images optimised on your site? Add Alt text to your images to describe your image to search engines. Make sure to keep all images in one dedicated folder in your site. And, try to make the filenames of the images reflect the content.
Also, you don’t need images the size of Moby Dick. Keep your images small (a few KBs) in order to improve your site speed.
8. Improve the speed of your website
Did you know that search engines like Google factor in your site speed when prioritising your page on their search ranking system? For more in depth tips, try this article explaining how to improve site speed for SEO purposes.
9. Generate backlinks to your site
Backlinks are what most SEO experts spend their time working on behind the scenes. Having proper internal linking is important, but to really be noticed you must have external backlinks aimed at your website.
The more eyes on you, the better you look to Google. Backlinking can be a tedious process, however, chipping away at it everyday will see significant results. Try this guide to backlinks by Neil Patel.
10. Make your site mobile friendly
Is your site mobile friendly? If not you could be losing out. Having a site that is prepared for viewing on multiple devices is increasingly important in terms of SEO as well as from UX design standpoint. Luckily, platforms like WordPress do a lot of this work for you automatically with their given themes.
11. XML and HTML Sitemaps
Having sitemaps on your site is very important. Have an XML sitemap for search engines and a HTML sitemap for users. To find out more about these two different types of sitemaps look here.
12. Write good content
Good content is the bread and butter of SEO. Remember to focus on quality over quantity and post regularly. Consider launching a blog, or preparing materials that can be directly attributed and link back to your website.
13. Create fresh content
As well as content being good, it must also be unique! Keep your content fresh by reading regularly or hiring a professional copywriter. The more unique your content, the better your site will score – as Google does not reward duplicate content or overused keywords.
14. Review all your external links
Your external links must be quality. Make sure your links don’t lead to spam websites. Monitor all comments too. A lot of spammers will try to score free backlinks by leaving spam comments with a link to their own work. Make sure to remove these to avoid hurting your search engine ranking position.
15. Setup Webmaster tools and Google Analytics
Lastly, Google and Bing, the two major search engines, have what is called Webmaster tools. These tools allow you to measure insights about your website. Get notified about potential problems, monitor traffic through Analytics, and discover where your audience is and whom they are.