For many people getting started with SEO seems like a daunting task. SEO is not an exact science and there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so it’s understandable that many of us are reluctant when it comes to optimizing a website for search engines. But don’t worry. In this post, we’ll get you started with the absolute basics on SEO to help your website score higher in the search results.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing “organic” visits to your website. The term “organic” visits refer to the visitors that are referred to your website by a search engine like Google or Bing. It’s important to know that every SEO strategy is a collection of multiple techniques and that there’s no easy solution that will instantly make your website score higher. SEO takes time and effort.
That being said, SEO can be a very rewarding effort that on the long term can provide your website with a steady and sustainable stream of new visitors.
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All search engines are based on a very complex algorithm that use a large number of data points related to your website to calculate how high your site will rank for certain search terms (also known as keywords). Search engines never release the inner workings of their algorithm, they provide a number of general guidelines at best.
Given the limited information on the exact workings of the algorithm and the rate in which search engines update these algorithms, it can be challenging to come up with a complete SEO strategy. Still, there’s a number of basic tips that will always ring true, no matter how these algorithms evolve:
1. Write unique and relevant content
Search engines want to provide their users with the best possible results. So in order to score high, you need to provide valuable and relevant content. Valuable content is first and foremost content that is unique. If you just copy information from other websites it will be hard to score high and you might even be penalized for it. Make sure your pages contain at least 300 words, have a clear and descriptive title and that your copy contains the keywords you want to score for.
2. Inbound link building
An inbound link is a link coming from another website to your website. Other types are outbound links and internal links, but from an SEO standpoint, inbound links are most valuable. Having a lot of inbound links from well-respected websites tells the search engine algorithm that your website is an authority on a certain subject. Not all inbound links are treated equally though. An inbound link from a popular website that’s been around for a while will have a bigger impact than an inbound link from a gardening blog your cousin just started.
3. Usability and user experience
In the last years, user experience has become growing factor in SEO. Your site can be penalized by search engines for all kinds of stuff that negatively influence the user experience. We’re talking about obtrusive pop-ups, complex navigation, broken links, click bait, etc
Especially broken links are an indication that the website is not well maintained. Use on of these online tools to check if your website has broken links:
– Broken link checker
– Dead link checker
– W3C link checker
4. Provide trust
Trustworthiness is crucial for search engines, and it affects the SEO algorithm directly. It’s important to show that your website is not a scam. A contact page with a street address, email or phone number will go a long way. And if you don’t want to leave your contact details for grabs on the web, another strategy would be to add a contact form.
5. Optimize your website for mobile
We live in a mobile world. These days more and more people are using their phone or tablet as their primary device. To make sure your website ranks high on mobile search, your website needs to be optimized for mobile. A good way to find out if your website is mobile friendly enough is to use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
6. Social reputation
Shares, tweets, pins, likes, and mentions, they all influence your social ranking. The higher the amount, the better. Be sure to promote your website on as many social channels that are relevant to your brand and provide users with a way to share your content.
With these tips in mind, you can start optimizing your website today and improve your SEO rank. Keep in mind that these are just a start. There are many more factors that influence your position, but we’ll save those for another time.
If you want more information about this topic, subscribe to our upcoming training on best practices when using SEA and SEO.