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10 Tips For SEO Beginners: Cover Your Optimization Bases!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be intimidating for newcomers, and it’s not hard to see why. There are over 200 known factors that affect how a website ranks, with new ones being created every year while others rise and fall in importance. There’s a reason there’s an entire industry built specifically around this one special and specific skill.
The good news is that there are a small handful of SEO practices that are heads and shoulders more important than the others and by focusing on these 10 basic factors most of the time you will see strong success in ranking higher in Google and getting the traffic your website needs!
Is your website mobile friendly? If it’s not, you can expect to be penalized…and to lose every SEO tie breaker to websites that do have mobile friendly themes. While there’s some argument over how much of the promised punishment Google brought with their “Mobilegeddon” update, there’s no denying that having a website with a mobile version is very important when it comes to SEO.
2. Original, High-Quality Content
This is the number one ranking factor that Google and other search engines want to see. In fact, although Google and Bing are usually quiet about what factors go into ranking, they all talk about the importance of having really well-written and high-quality content. Google straight out says this is the most important factor.
3. Long Form Content
Keeping in mind the content needs to be very well written and original, longer is better. The more good content you have, the better. Long form content will generally beat out the other types.
4. Meta Tags
While these aren’t seen as a ranking factor anymore, not having them can cause penalties or issues, or having the same meta tag on every single page can result in duplicate content issues. Having original meta tags on each page is definitely a positive.
5. Picture Alt Tags
This is a common problem. The search engines can’t read photos, so alt tags allow the search engines to have worded descriptions of what a picture is about. This helps the posts rank better for important keywords as well as gets the pictures on your website/blog in search for image searches.
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6. Use Header Tags
Header tags are given more weight than common text. While you don’t want to overuse them, you do want the most important titles to use h1 and h2 header tags and make sure you have important keywords in these titles.
7. Avoid Keyword Percentage Traps
Keyword percentage does matter, but not in the ways it did 10 or even 5 years ago. Never spam your keywords, use natural long tail keywords and synonyms, and the only concern with your keyword percentage should be making sure you write naturally and aren’t way above 2%. Do this to avoid penalties designed to catch spammers and you’ll be in great shape!
8. Use Smart URL Structure
WordPress makes it easy to structure the URL of every post or page and at this point most good content management systems will give you control over how the URL reads. You don’t want random numbers, dates, or letters. Your URL should read http://yourdomainname.com/GOOD-KEYWORD-TITLE. That’s it – either your straight up title or a trimmed down variation to make it easy to read.
9. Have Social Media Presence
While there’s no current evidence that the size of a Facebook following or number of re-Tweets have anything to do with pushing one site over another, there’s no question that having a social media presence is an important trust factor that major search engines take into account when compiling their search results.
10. Get The Right Backlinks
Links from other websites still matter a lot, but the old days of spamming them are over. You want links from other blogs that are:
1) In your field or a related field
2) Your URL or brand name 90%+ of the time
3) Linking to a page that is related to the topic or issue being discussed
Look to guest posting as a great way to pull this off.
We will go into much greater detail in future posts, but if you concentrate on just these 10 tips for SEO beginners, you will be amazed how much difference it makes!