Today we’re going to talk about getting started with SEO for people who might not know where to begin. If you already know the fundamentals of SEO and are looking to step up your game, check out How to Rank in 2018.
In this article, we’re going to help the newbies out there, who may already be doing some great things already for SEO but not even know it! We’ll also quickly touch on some things that you should NOT be doing.
If you prefer watching video, the one above delivered by Matt Cutts from Google, will definitely bring you hope if you’re of the mindset that your small site can’t rank with the big boys. If you can’t tell, Matt Cutts and Maile Ohye are definitely the two people who taught me the most. Not only do they give you the inside scoop, but they deliver it in a way that inspires smaller sites to make the effort to be unique, to be share-worthy, to grow.
An SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website.
So, how does a small site start ranking high in Google? Well, as we know, there are over 200 different ranking factors that we want to pay attention to. However, since this just a beginner guide, we’re going to focus on only the most important ones.
Content is, and always will be, King
Content, content, content. Not quantity of content, but quality. Ensure your content is original, created with the purpose of being a great answer to a user’s query. Make your writing compelling for the user, use engaging imagery such as info-graphics, create reasons for a user to come back and read more. If you have great content, the universe of the internet works in mysterious ways!
When you’re just starting out, you definitely cannot compete with established brands that have been out there for years right off the hop. It takes time, so don’t get frustrated. When creating your content, be the expert in that specific area/niche, and then start branching off into broader topics and terms. For example, if you were starting off with a site about basketball – you just can’t compete with NBA.com. However, building out specific pages that target what a user could be searching for is what you want to focus on. A user could be looking to buy a basketball, in which case they wouldn’t want NBA.com, they’d want a retail store, or they’re looking for local leagues or perhaps they want to read some reviews about the different basketballs before they purchase. In this case, you could build specific content reviewing “the best basketballs”, like this website. As you begin to rank higher for these specific queries, you then gain more domain authority, and then you can start building out broader pages that target a wider audience.
Having a good domain name can go a long way. In a perfect world, you’d get a domain name that has your primary target inside of the domain. Take this small website that is now ranked highly for “best water purifier” . The Domain Name “iwaterpurification.com” is good for 2 reasons; it has the target keyword: water purification, and it also has the .com. Always try and get a .com domain, unless you’re targeting a specific language or location (i.e. France) in which case you may way to pick up a .fr domain for that one.
No Keyword Stuffing
Of course having your targeted keywords in your title, description and content itself is a must. However, some people do themselves a disservice by unnaturally jamming those keywords in their content. This all goes back to why we put content at the #1 spot. If you keyword stuff, your content can’t be great because it just sounds bad. Remember that Google Bots are trying to serve the user the best possible site as the solution to their query. Your content must have the answer, but it also has to be unique and natural.
Website Design & User Experience
Make a beautiful website, be sure that it can rendered nicely on all of the newest mobile devices. Use PageSpeed Insights to learn how to make your site load as fast as possible. Investing in an SSL certificate is a must as Google is now placing more importance on website security. Be sure your website is user-friendly, easy to navigate, easy to call you or email you with engaging, creative calls-to-action. Take a step back and look at your website as a journey, try and lead your user on the journey you’d want them to take.
There’s no easy answers or quick solutions to ranking higher on Google, it’s important to remember that. Focus on what’s in your control and if you do it properly, with passion – you will see the fruits of your labour. For more in-depth, more technical SEO tactics, check out SEO Best Practices in 2018.