SEO Principles For Those Starting Out
Many business websites fail because owners opt to carry out their own SEO campaign, or fall for the now common internet scam, “We can get you to the top of Google.”
It is essential that you understand the only people who can get you to that number one spot on Google’s search page is Google; no one else can guarantee it, particularly for small to medium sized businesses.
The best option is to use professional agencies, resources, or individuals who understand the ins and outs of Search Engine Optimization, and only practice white hat SEO.
A Search Engine Optimization Guide for Beginners
Starts With Your Website
SEO involves a whole lot more than just optimizing content; it actually starts from the moment you choose to create a business website. Some of the most critical elements in SEO are site structure and performance.
A good site should have:
- Well thought out architecture coupled with good navigation
- Site maps for search engines and users
- Reliable URLs
- Meta description and titles that can accurately describe the content
- Internal linking
- Search facility
- A 404-page not found feature that easily directs users to where they need to go
- A practical user interface
- Quick loading capabilities
- Calls to actions and landing pages
A good developer can take care of all these elements and will be able to guide you through the entire process.
The Importance of Good Content
Content, regardless of whether it is contained on your site, or on one of your other blogs is a pivotal aspect of any effective SEO campaign. It must be properly written, contain keywords that are naturally scattered throughout the text, and free of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
Even though having a blog on your website used to be a minor component of SEO, it is now a critical part of it.
Fresh, topic-related, and useful content that is regularly updated will help to ensure your site is crawled a bit more often by some of the major search engines.
If you post content every few months, and never refresh your static pages, search bots will pick up on this trend and not return to your site as often.
New content, put up at least once a week, will help keep your site crawled, and therefore indexed on a regular basis.
For the best possible results, your content should include:
- A range of written content on your topic
You can also offer downloadable content to help create a comprehensive mailing list.
This can include eBooks, videos, podcasts, webcasts, or white papers.
A website that lacks social media platforms will most likely not garner a great deal of attention.
Nowadays, everything seems to revolve around such mediums and the signs show this trend is only going to increase.
As a result, social signals have become an important segment of search engine placement, and ideal for effective content distribution.
Some of the well-known social media signals include, but are not limited to:
- LinkedIn likes and shares
- Facebook likes and shares
- Google +1s
- Pinterest Pins
There are very many social networks out there, so make sure the one you pick will work best for your industry or topic.
Link building has become more of a precious occupation than it used to be, courtesy of black hat SEO techniques that abuse the system.
It involves getting links back to your site to make you appear more valuable to search bots.
These links can be obtained through guest posts, social media platforms, and various commenting systems just to mention a few.
However, the safest way to go about the process is organically; allow your content to serve as link bait, just make sure that all the links you get are good ones and don’t lead to other sites that are:
- Not related to your industry niche
Buying Likes, Followers and Links
This is a mistake that most business owners who are new to the web make.
The fact is buying links will get you penalized by Google, and purchasing social media followers will not only get your account banned, but they will also be of no use to you.
So don’t do it.
Even though the idea of buying 10,000 Twitter followers at a cost might sound like a smart thing to do, the truth is that it won’t help your cause, since the accounts will be rendered inactive, or any spam controlled by search bots.
In fact, there is even a greater risk of such accounts pointing to you as following other sites that contain malware.
Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
Google Analytics enables to you see the demographic stats of your visitors, the devices that your website is being viewed on, and allows you to set up goals to track conversions.
This does not particularly refer to monetary gains, it can also be about the people who complete a sign-up process, or fill in a contact form.
Even though this might sound like useless info to someone who is new to SEO, it’s not. Such information will provide you with critical stats regarding the percentage of visitors who have followed the path you wanted them to.
In addition, it also provides you with insight on the path taken by visitors, as well as the bounce rate which will show just how fluid your site is. A low bounce rate means things are good, since it reveals that once users land on your site, they stick around to take a look.
When compared with Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools does not have as many features, but it can be useful if properly applied, since it is where any website errors can be highlighted and fixed.
For instance, if you have renamed URLs, or moved pages around, then these changes should be addressed with 301 redirects.
Any business owner wishing to understand the basic concepts of effective SEO should realize beforehand that it is not a particularly easy undertaking, especially if you are not tech-savvy.
Getting professional help is usually the best way of ensuring that you don’t get overwhelmed if you have the resources.
If you want to do it yourself then take the time to research SEO techniques you can apply yourself.