The SEO guide for Beginners article is meant to help you understand clearly the following. First I will explain what SEO is, how SEO function and best practices to make it work perfectly for you. I will also cover why SEO is so important, and step by step guide how to implement the knowledge you learn here. Hence lets begin our discussion by first defining what SEO is.
What is SEO ?.
In simple term, SEO is an art of increasing your Website rank and visibility in search engine result pages. For example, currently Google and Yahoo are the major search engines in the web. How do you get your web page on the first page of any?… Search Engine optimization comes to the rescue. SEO will help you create a website that is user friendly, hence deliver a good user experience to your audience.
We have other factors that influence your site Rank and visibility. The most commonly known being Keywords, Back-links and site design. Furthermore, we have quite a number of elements about SEO that aren’t known. Hence its not possible to fully rely on SEO to improve our site ranking. Also remember that search engines use algorithms that change from time to time.
How SEO Works.
To better understand how SEO works, lets see what happens when you publish an article online.
- First a web master creates a website and decides what content will be visible to search engine.
- The search engine will send Web crawlers to crawl your your website and gather information.
- Armed with your information, search engine will use its algorithms to evaluate the quality of the content.
- Based on the evaluation results, your site will be given an initial Ranking.
Every you update your content or send new signals, the search engine re-crawl your site and update its database. Based on the quality of the new information, your ranking can either improve or decline.
Why is SEO Important.
To understand the importance of SEO, think of it in this perspective. The success of any website is determined by the amount of traffic it receive. Why would I want to be on the first page of google for the keyword SEO Guide for Beginners ?. That’s because anyone searching for that keyword will definitely land on my page. Hence more traffic and more success.
SEO knowledge will greatly help you figure out why your site lacks visibility, hence help in building your audience. Finally and most important, appearing on the first page of search engine doesn’t guarantee high ranking. That’s where content and design comes in. Creating high quality content, leads to happy and satisfied visitors. People will spend more time in your site and find reason to re-visit, which is a High ranking factor.
How to approach SEO.
If you have the necessary skills, I strongly advice on doing SEO for your website yourself. Reason being, you might be working with articles that require regular updates. Rule of the thumb, have a good website design, write high quality content, and optimize for all screen platforms. The good news is, with most platforms, tools have been developed for all this. If you don’t have the technical knowledge, just out source for SEO services.
Enough of the talk and introduction. I know your reading this SEO guide for beginners since you want to do it yourself. Lets dive in straight to SEO implementation on your Website. I will guide you on the most basic elements a good SEO campaign should include. Date stamp, its May 2018.
2018 SEO Ranking Factors.
The most important thing while working with SEO, is to be aware of the factors that influence your ranking. We have elements that influence your ranking in a positive and negative manner. In general, we have two main types of ranking factors. On-page and Off-page factors. Throughout the rest of our SEO guide for beginners discussion, I will go over these factors in detail. Some of them will require clarification, while others are self-explanatory.
On-Page SEO guide for beginners.
For WordPress lovers, I have good news. We have several plugins to perfectly optimize On-Page SEO quite easily. What are the best practices to pay attention to, when it comes to on-page SEO.
1. Website Page Optimization & Loading speed.
According to google, your web page should load in less than 2 seconds in order to be in their good books record. Practically, I recommend a Maximum of 5 seconds loading speed. Here is one confusing fact about website loading speed. Many webmasters think that google rewards fast loading websites. That’s a big NO. Actually google penalizes slow loading websites, since they want to offer the best user experience to their users. With a slow loading website, you experience a high bounce rate.
When optimizing your website pages and loading speed, we have two main factors to put into consideration. First make sure your pages are optimized for different types of devices. Second, make sure your theme has support for different types of devices, both mobile and desktop.
One of the main reason I love WordPress, is its flexibility, especially with plugins. As your traffic grows, adding a caching plugin will be a good Idea. One of the most recommended caching plugin, is WP Super Cache. For a step by step guide on how to install and optimize the plugin, follow this link.
2. A excellent User Friendly Layout.
A good user friendly layout guarantees 100% first impression. A good design and easy navigation, ensure users find what they are looking for with ease and fast. People will spend more time in a beautiful easy to navigate website, hence the bounce rates will be extremely low. Make sure you keenly browse through themes, checking for those with a high rating. Choose one that has options for editing and customizing to meet your needs.
3. Optimize Keywords in URLs.
Statistics have showed that sites with a keyword in the site name rank higher than those without. Its always best practice to put keywords in your page to the page URL. With WordPress, you can easily change this via settings. Settings >> Parmalink and by choosing ”Post Name” puts the keyword from title to URL.
4. Yoast SEO Plugin
This is one of the killer, must have WordPress plugin. It was developed by Yoast, and allows to optimize each post independently. This plugin make the XML site map creation easy. The XML site map communicates with search engines on which pages to index. After creating the XML site map, make sure to add them in google search console tool. Yoast SEO plugin also allows you to optimize each post with Meta Descriptions, SEO titles and slugs.
5. Keyword Prominence.
Lets list down the the best techniques to use in order to boost our rank for any keyword. Make sure you use the chosen keyword or Keyword phrase in the following.
- Use your keyword in the description Tag.
- Your Title Tag.
- In your H1 Tag.
- And in your first 100 words of the article.
6. Keyword Density.
Keyword density is also a major SEO ranking factor. Ensure your keyword is mentioned throughout the text in a natural and grammatically correct manner. Don’t force the keyword into sentences, since its going to sound awkward. Search engines are going to penalize you if you over use your keyword, commonly known as Keyword stuffing. With plugins like Yoast SEO, you will be able to determine the correct number of keywords to use. Follow my step by step guide on how to install and optimize Yoast SEO plugin here.
7. Excellent Content and Page Organization.
Quality content is a major factor to consider when it comes to a good SEO strategy. If you organize your content nicely with categories and subcategories, search engines will easily find and index your page. Another easily left out, but a high ranking factor is Tagging system. The combination of the above three helps you create a hierarchy friendly to search engine, and excellent user experience.
8. Your content length.
Yes you heard me right. Your content length is a ranking factor. There is no specific word count stated. But from my experience, make sure your content is between 1,500 to 2,500 words. You should give search engines enough content to crawl and rank.
9. Quality and original content.
Its against most search engine policies to copy someone else content. If search engine algorithms detect copied content, the site gets penalized immediately. Writing quality unique content, will also result to satisfied readers hence low bounce rates. Good and original content receive more share and like in other platforms.
10. Image Optimization.
When you optimize your Images with Names, Alt text, descriptions and Title, your site rank improves. Your traffic might also be more interested with your images than text. Hence, go ahead and be thorough with image optimization too.
10. Always Update your content.
Most search engines, for example google, will rank higher old pages with meaningful updates. Updating your old blog post with new content and images will increase your organic search traffic. When you update your content, revise enough content for ti to make an impact.
Always make sure your running the most current software version. Running an old version might signal negligence to search engines hence get penalized. This also applies to your content. Regularly update and publish new content for a better ranking.
11. Site Security.
This is how security will negatively impact your SEO. For example, if your site get hacked, it can be used to deploy malware. Search engines will penalize your site, and doesn’t care who is responsible. Actually your site will be deindexed from search engine results. Hence, always ensure your site is protected.
12. Outgoing link quality and relevancy.
All outbound links you associate with your page should contain content relevant to yours. Always link to pages that search engine trust. The sites you link to should be niche related, and not any other top ranking site. You should also add a maximum of 2 to 3 links in an article, to interlink with other related blog spot.
Avoid many links leading to lower level website. This creates an impression that the sole purpose is to get link juice.
13. Broken links.
Broken links will definitely affect your page rank in a negative way. Check your content regularly to ensure all the links are functioning properly. Fix any broken link or replace it if possible.
14. Grammar and spelling mistakes.
This is a obvious self explanatory point, but worth mentioning. Grammatical and spellings errors are going to affect your page ranking. Use all available tools to auto correct your spelling.
15. Bullets and Numbers.
Use of bullets and numbers helps in structuring your content, hence results to a good user experience. Readers will have easier time reading and comprehending your content. Like we earlier said, satisfied customers stick around your site for a while. Results being a good bounce rate.
16. URL Length.
Shorter URLs always perform better than long ones. Avoid the overuse of hyphens, as its seen spammy. Your URL should be 3 to 5 words separated by an hyphen. This doesn’t have to be always the case. If you already have a 50 character and below URL, it should work just fine. But if you have long URL, for example hitting 100 plus characters, consider rewriting them.
Don’t allow many pages to link to your home page, always link to other pages in your site that have great value. Overusing internal links can harm your site ranking.
That brings us to the end of our SEO guide for beginners discussion. If you implement all the above, your site will be armed with best SEO practices. Share your contributions and recommendations on the comment section below. Thanks for keeping locked.