Search engines crawl with content-it is estimated that 2.5 quintillion bits of data are created every day! (That’s 18 zeroes, in case you’re wondering)
If you are a content creator, how can you be competitive with other sites in order to reach the people you want to reach?
Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is the answer. Digital marketers must understand Google’s ranking factors and how they can help ensure that your website appears at the right places, to the right people.
SEO can be a powerful tool. When used correctly, it can make organic searches a profitable and viable part of your digital strategy. These are Tecmark’s top SEO tips for beginners.
1. Defining your clear goals
It is important to know the business goals of your website before you start working on your SEO strategy. Each site is unique, and targeting the right audience is crucial for SEO. It also helps to determine how to track conversions, success, benchmarks, and other metrics.
Do you want to increase brand awareness? To increase your lead generation? To increase revenue Based on these goals, define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These could include:
- Subscribe to Email
- Submit a Contact Form
- Telephone calls
Rankings and traffic are not included on this list. SEO should not be used for vanity metrics. What would you prefer to see?
- 5k website visits, 2 downloads
- 300 website visits and 25 downloaded
Understanding your business goals will help you plan your strategy.
2. Compare your competitors.
What are your competition’s strengths and weaknesses? Do a deep dive on the online activities of your competitors and determine who is ranking highest and for what.
This will give you a complete picture of where you are and what you should be focusing on.
Note: Your traditional competitors may not be who you compete with online, so start by searching for your product offering or “service-in-location” keywords to find them.
3. Do your keyword research.
SEO optimization is heavily based on keywords that are relevant and popular with users, but have low competition rates with other brands.
This is a good place to start. You can find a keyword research tool online such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMrush or Google Trends. These tools can be used to identify keywords relevant to your brand and to help you develop your on-page SEO strategy.
You can incorporate keywords in your content by creating blogs posts or landing pages about the topic and including them as meta tags such as title tags or meta descriptions.
4. Understanding the intent of users.
Keyword research doesn’t only involve finding high-volume keywords. To find the right keywords, you should take into account the intent of the searcher. These are the three search intents:
Transactional A user who wishes to purchase a product/service
Informational A user who needs information about a product/service
Navigational A user who wishes to visit a particular website.
These intents will help guide you in choosing the keywords to target. A blog post might require an informational keyword like “How to make the perfect cup” while a service page or product page would need a transactional keyword like “coffee makers”.
5. Short-tail and long-tail keywords should be targeted
It is important to be able to distinguish between short- and long-tail keywords once you have mastered the art of finding target keywords.
These are short-tail keywords also known as “head terms” and usually contain 1-3 words that have high search volumes and low competition. These keywords drive high traffic but are more difficult to rank for. However, if you have the right approach and patience they can be great for your site. Consider “coffee makers”.
Long-tail keyword is a longer, more specific term. These phrases have lower search volume and are less competitive. They are more popular with visitors if they are closer to the purchase point. Think “bean-to-cup coffee machines”.
These keywords will likely result in lower traffic but a higher return on investment. You’ll attract the exact audience you want.
6. Use your natural writing style.
Keywords are important but search engines have become more sophisticated in how they rank pages. They reward websites that provide valuable and engaging content. Google’s recent updates have a strong focus on user experience. So, it’s quality over quantity.
You won’t find thin content on the first page of your search results.
It is not a good idea to spam your keyword all over the place. In fact, Google will penalize you if it suspects you are keyword stuffing.
Write for people first. Search engines are users following you, not the other direction. If you are just reusing generic content, all the SEO techniques in the world won’t work for you.
7. Develop long-form content.
Longer content ranks consistently higher than shorter content and is more shared on social media. This is not a coincidence. In February 2012 Google Panda, an algorithm change that affected approximately 12% of all search results, negatively affected “thin” content sites. This is why long-form content should be a key component of your content strategy.
Content that is long-form is content with more than 1200 words. Short-form content tends to be between 500 and 800 words.
Although some might argue that audiences’ attention spans are decreasing so a news-type range between 500 and 800 is more effective to keep them focused, longer articles can be a great way for visitors to engage with your site and provide an informative, authentic experience.
Understanding user intent is key. Long-form content will be the key to your visitor’s information. Some topics, like product pages or news items, may not need a lot of text.
Consider the intent behind keywords and ensure you are offering content that provides the expected value.
8. Mobile-friendly content is essential.
The number of mobile searchers continues to rise. In the second quarter 2020, 51.53% (not including tablets) of all searches were made from mobile devices. Your website must be mobile-friendly and your content should be suitable for it.
Images and graphics are important, but they should not be too cluttered. Your site’s loading speed is important!
9. Google Analytics is available right from the beginning.
SEO strategy and analytics should be integrated. Analytics tools such as Google Search Console can provide you with valuable insight into your users and help you determine success for your next campaign.
Look at how users actually find you through search engines. What keywords are driving them to your website the most? Which landing pages do they come across? These landing pages should be taken into consideration and your content should reflect these.
1o. Get link building.
Although link building might seem confusing, it is a useful tool to increase traffic to your site. It’s an valuabletool that can help you improve your domain authority. This is a key ranking factor for Google as well as other search engines.
Google will consider your site an authority on the topic if you link to quality sites. Bad quality sites are less likely to be linked to trusted sites than sites that have high trust.
This can be achieved through guest blogging or internal linking.
11. Learn the difference between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO.
“White-hat” SEO refers only to Google-approved website optimisation techniques. These strategies focus on user experience and giving users the best search engine results.
White Hat SEO is:
- Follow the Quality guidelines of Google
- Quality content that can be shared
- Optimize for people, not search engines
SEO is also known as “Black-hat SEO”. SEO refers to strategies that are not in line with the rules. They often try to trick search engines or spam them. Although black-hat SEO techniques may get you results, your website is at great risk of being penalised or worse, and even removed from search results altogether.
Black-hat SEO could include:
- Respecting webmaster guidelines
- Prioritizing search engine rankings over user
- Search engines and users are tricked with doorway pages and link schemes.
Black-hat SEO techniques are technical and can help you get results. However, they are very risky. We wouldn’t recommend their use.
12. Local SEO
Businesses that have a local customer base are required to optimize for local SEO. Google My Business should list your business with as much detail as possible.
Get Google reviews from your customers and you’ll be rewarded by strong signals that your website is authoritative and trustworthy.
Local SEO incorporates location signals from websites. Therefore, ensure that your NAP citation (or name and address) is clearly listed and the same everywhere it is listed. If your business is affected by this, you should include location-related keywords or service in-location keywords.
Tecmark’s SEO team is highly skilled. We can help you develop highly engaging, user-friendly content to meet your needs and increase your website’s organic traffic.