7 Critical SEO Tips for Beginners

7 Critical SEO Tips for Beginners logo

Knowing SEO tips for beginners is critical given that, according to HubSpot, 64% of marketers actively invest time in SEO.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo use algorithms to ‘judge’ (or index) how helpful and how close a web page is to what a person searched for. The pages that are most helpful, close to the searcher’s keywords, and commonly clicked on are ranked higher.

There are 5 main SEO tips for beginners:

  • Make it fast,
  • Ensure mobile friendliness,
  • Certify Security,
  • Require reliability,
  • Use keywords,
  • Create interactive elements,
  • Fashion helpful visual elements.

What is SEO?

Overview

Search engines have algorithms that ‘crawl’ through a site and index the information and content it finds there. Indexing is the method that search engines use to organize and rank information and content. They do this by going through individual pages for keywords and topics (and alt text, more on that later) to identify relevant information. As such, websites that want to appear in search engine’s results must not only be ‘crawlable’ but also be optimized for indexing or search engine optimized (SEO).

Why focus on Google’s algorithms?

Google controls 83% of the search market share on the internet. (That’s desktop and mobile combined; Google’s search market share for purely mobile is even higher.) Even focusing on Google isn’t too helpful since 90% of all pages ranked Google are never seen by users, but aiming your SEO for Google is a good way to start.

Seo Tips for Beginners

1. Make it Fast

The first for SEO tips for beginners is to make the site speedy. People just don’t want to take long to get things done. If users have to click more than five times to find something, they will get frustrated. When something frustrates people, they won’t want to use it, so they won’t. 

Speed dial with high speed

Users expect speedy websites, and Google knows this; Google is designed to show users websites that they want, and websites that load and can be used fast are at the top of their lists. According to Google, a 1-3 seconds load time increases the bounce rate (the amount of users that leave the website after only seeing one page) probability by 32%, and a 1-5 seconds load time increases the bounce rate probability by 90%. Yikes! This is particularly bad on mobile, which can load slower by default, not good when more than half of people on the web are on mobile.

Users need to be able to find elements. A simple and easy-to-use sitemap helps users find the page with the info or other content they were looking for, along with supplemental pages. The consumers also need to be able to use the page and its elements easily. Consumers hate broken links and widgets/plugins that just don’t work. Make sure your site is user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing to them so that they keep using it and Google ranks it higher.

Basically, make sure that the main uses (also called red routes) are only 1-2 clicks away.

2. Mobile Friendly

The first for SEO tips for beginners is to make the site mobile friendly. Since more people surf the web on their phone or tablet than a desktop, a website must be mobile friendly. Google ranks these sites higher in search results so make your site mobile -friendly to improve your SEO for Google. Being mobile-friendly has a few parts to it:

Man looking worried at phone cartoon
  • Account for slower mobile speeds (including bad connections)
  • Make menus short and sweet with only a few items in them
  • Make sure links are far enough apart that users don’t click on a different one accidently
  • Use large and easy-to-ready fonts
  • Use fast and simple Themes
  • Make sure pop-ups are removed for mobile users (this just slows the site and irritates users)
  • Make sure images are the right size on mobile; many are too big and are cut off
  • Check formatting of everything on different mobile sizes; getting a site looking nice on everything from a large desktop to a small phone is difficult but well worth it

3. Security

Next for SEO tips for beginners, algorithms check if a site has HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), which encrypts data and prevents it from being intercepted by hackers on the way to its destination. This is particularly important for ecommerce sites since people will be entering their credit card information across the internet. To check if a site has HTTPS, look to the left of the URL; if there is a padlock logo, it is HTTPS secure. HTTPS will be at the start of the URL when double clicked on.

Padlock in front of web page

Also, make sure to use a type of security software or plugin to make your site further safe from Hacking. I recommend the free version of WordFence for websites.

4. Is it Reliable and User friendly?

Next for SEO tips for beginners, make sure it is easy to use, works the way it is intended, and easy for users to figure out and use. Make sure the site:

  • Has very little down time (either in maintenance or errors),
  • Is useful to it’s main audience,
  • Is easy for users to find content on,
  • Has links, both to your pages and others,
  • Is Intuitive to use,
  • Does not have spam or other annoyances that distract or irritate users,
  • Has been user tested! (Just because you think it works does not mean your users think so).

5. Remember your Keywords

Then for SEO tips for beginners is to include search keywords in your content. Most people type in a short phrase into Google when they are looking for something. ‘How to write in cursive’, ‘who was the president during WWII’, etc.  These short phrases are made up of keywords that users are looking for in the sites they see available to them. Google’s bots keep track of the most common keywords that users are looking for and make suggestions for users as they type.

The bots also look for sites that have these keywords and rank them higher in the search results for those keywords. Sites and pages can target multiple keywords in different ways to further get user’s and Google’s attention: they can put the keywords in the title, headings, and body of the content; they can put in in the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of the page; and they can put the keyword(s) in alt text in images in the content.

6. Create Interactive elements

The sixth tip for SEO tips for beginners is to add inactive elements to the website’s design and user interface. Users love seeing their inputs resulting in visual changes on web pages. This should at least include that links change color when hovered over or clicked on. This can also include cute animations like elements sliding in or folding out (like accordions) when the user clicks on or finishes filling something out.

7. Fashion visual elements

Finally for SEO tips for beginners, add visual elements to your content. Most people are visual learners so they like to have visual cues that indicate what to look at or where to go. Do this by reinforcing topics or ideas with images, infographics, and logos. This includes cartoons, graphics, and photographs (yes, stock images too). Since most people are visual learners, use beautiful yet relevant images to reinforce ideas of the text.

color wheel made from colored pencils

It is best to use/make your own to avoid copyright and make your site unique.  Whatever images you use should be large and clear without being garish or overwhelming. If possible images, particularly cartoons and graphics should be flatter rather than 3D; this makes the image smoother and more a part of the overall design.

Algorithms that ‘crawl’ through a site also look for alternative text when indexing a site. Alternative text tells the algorithms what a picture is of or what the topic is. As such, remember to put your alt text in when uploading photos to content!

Summary

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo use algorithms to index how helpful and how close a web page is to what a person searched for. The pages that are both helpful, close to the searcher’s keywords, and commonly clicked on are ranked higher. There are 5 main SEO tips for beginners:

  • Make it fast,
  • Ensure mobile friendliness,
  • Certify Security,
  • Require reliability,
  • Use keywords,
  • Create interactive elements,
  • Fashion helpful visual elements.

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