search engine optimization for beginners
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
You may have already read a few things about SEO or search engine optimization. Or maybe this is even your first article. What exactly should you start with when it comes to SEO?
In this article, you will learn how to make your content search engine-proof and how to start using it.
Here at Beejonson Web Content Writers, our work is all about SEO marketing, Google Analytics, social media management and marketing. Search engine optimization is a huge part of online marketing in the Netherlands and as a company based in Haarlem, we offer a lot of services to companies in Haarlem, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht areas.
So What Exactly Does SEO Actually Mean?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is all about improving the visibility of a website. SEO focuses mainly on the improvement of unpaid results. Simply put: SEO is making your website rank high on the search engine result pages like Google, Yahoo and Bing. It's about making sure that your website is on the first result page and at least in the top 5 websites.
Search Engine Optimization Consists of Different Parts:
Content: "Content is King" is a phrase you're going to hear very often because there is no search engine optimization without content.
Technical optimization: If your website isn't technically sound, search engine bots may find it difficult or impossible to reach or roam your website. It is therefore of paramount importance to ensure that your website is technically in order. Technicality includes loading time and the alignment of your web pages. Is your website mobile friendly? Do your images take so much time to load? Those are very important factors to consider. Look for a web agencies that have deep knowledge of the technical part of search engine optimization so they can help you with that!
Off-site SEO (Inbound links): The more other websites have links to your website, the better or higher your website will rank on search engines. Shares, likes and exposure on social media can also influence your search engine optimization.
SEO Professional Jargon Explained:
It is very common for beginners to come upon an online article on SEO with words they do not understand. That professional jargon may discourage you from getting started with SEO. Here are some frequently used terms and their explanations.
Ranking: the position of a website or an article on a website in the search results pages of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. The positioning of a website may be due to factors like the content on the website, off-site SEO, internal links, page loading time or the topic when it's an article.
Alt-Text: the description of images on your website or article page. This is important because search engines read only the alt texts of images.
Search Term or Keyword: the word (or the word combination) that people type in the search engines to find a website.
SERP: SERP stands for Search Engine Result Page.
Backlinks: Backlinks are links to a website. By "the backlinks of your website" is meant links to your website.
Traffic: the visitors to your website.
Meta Tags: Meta tags are pieces of code that are added on a page. On the page, it is not visible to a visitor, but the search engines use those tags to display a description in the search results.
Long Tail Keyword: a phrase consisting of two or more words which are uncommon or infrequently searched.
Internal Link: a link from one page to another in your website.
Getting Started with Search Engine Optimization
Now that you are familiar with some technical terms, it is time for you to get started. In order to get started, it is important to have a target audience. Know who your customers are and what they want. If you understand what they want, then you can start researching the keywords they type into Google when they go in search of the kind of products and services you provide.
When you get started with the search engine optimization of your website, it is important that you know how you can research what people are looking for. You have to think like your customers and find the words they type into the Google search engine.
A very good tool in finding those keywords is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. You will need a Google AdWords to account for this, but you can create one for free. Another way of finding out what your customers are searching for is studying what your competitors are doing and the kind of words they use on their websites.
You can spend some time searching Google as a customer and taking note of the words that you type in. They can be very important in leading customers to your own website.
Tips for Choosing the Right Keywords
Do not look directly at keywords with high search volumes: these are often keywords with a lot of competition. For example, don't look for words like 'software.' It would be very hard to rank high on Google with a word like that. Try something that is not commonly searched for and use it on your website.
Before optimizing for a specific search term, first, enter it in Google. Did you get the results that you expected? Are the results about the same subject that you had in mind or are they about something completely different? If the results are about the subject(s) you had in mind, click on the websites in the result page and study the content.
Can you do better than those pages? If you feel that you can add more information to those pages and come up with the perfect page, then congratulations, you've found the correct keyword(s)!
Meta tags: The First Point of Contact with Your Customers
The first point of contact between you and your potential customers in the search engine result page is the title of the page and the description. When you type a search term in Google, the results you see usually have a top part (title) and a lower part (description).
The top part is the title of the page, which you can also find at the top of your browser bar. The lower part is the meta description which is usually around 155 characters. It is a short (and straight to the point) description of what the page or website is about. It's meant to convince your potential visitors to click on your link.
Please note that when you adjust the URL of your page, it is very important to have the old URL redirected to the new URL, otherwise you lose search engine rankings.
Tips for Writing Meta Tags
Make sure that the meta tags allow you to use the search term on which you want to optimize that page no less than once. The earlier the word appears in the text, the better.
Make sure that it remains legible for people and does not look like a spam story.
Make sure you include a call-to-action in the description that appeals to people. Be clear and concise and don't be afraid to get a little creative.
Symbols stand out in the description but do not use them too often because if you do, your potential customers might not take you seriously.
Internal links are also an important part of search engine optimization. They are extremely crucial for user-friendliness. It also helps search engines to better index your website and improve the ranking on those specific keywords. When linking one page with another on your website, always look for texts that are relevant to each other.
For example, if you're writing a blog on your website and you start by typing the name of your business, make sure you link the 'name of your business' to your homepage.
Improve the Content on Your Website
Content is king and if there is no content there can be no search engine optimization. One of the ways of increasing your ranking on any search engine result page is by having quality content on your website. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
Use one or more subheadings. The longer the text, the more headers you can use. Process your search term in the headers in a readable way.
Add links with relevant content that also includes those search terms.
Occasionally use differently striking texts such as bold texts and italic texts.
Make sure your content is unique. Do not copy and paste content from another website as it will not be considered at all by search engines.
If you can keep your texts short and straight to the point, that is always better than long texts. However, it all depends on what kind of website, target group and content you want to produce. As long as the information you're providing is valuable, well-formatted and adds something to content that is already online, you shouldn't bother about the number of words.
Search engine optimization isn't easy. It can sometimes be overwhelming for a beginner and it takes a lot of effort and patience to get there.
Don't forget to contact us if you have any questions. And also go through our website to see the services we provide and how Beejonson can be of help to you.