Search Engine Optimization can seem overwhelming when you first begin trying to launch and optimize your website. There are so many tools, so many aspects, and so much vocabulary that it can seem impossible to master.
As a company that specializes in SEO, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to SEO to help get you started. Each aspect has a different impact on your search engine optimization and website and some may weigh more importantly than others.
It’s always important to use at least some aspects of SEO basics when you launch a new website. While it’s possible to handle all optimization by yourself, for the best results, it’s always best to work with a digital marketing agency that can dedicate enough time to optimizing your site.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization refers to your visibility in search engine results. When you do SEO successfully, search engines can more easily index and understand your website, meaning you will rank better in the results. It results in improved rankings, new traffic to your site, and increased awareness of your website in search engines. Search engine optimization is organic, meaning it is not paid for and comes from natural growth on your website.
It includes your content, your links, your design, and your development. While search engine optimization centers around making your website more visible organically in search engines, it goes hand in hand with making your website better for your users. Keywords, design, development, content, and backlinks are some of the most important aspects of SEO that also help make your website easier for your users to navigate.
Search engines work by crawling and indexing pages on the web through text. They use links to crawl between pages and measure how users act on your website. This is why you have to ensure your content, design, and development are clear – search engines need to be able to understand your website and how it helps the user. Your text should be clear and easy to understand, both in the content, meta information, and URLs.
The most important rule of SEO basics: make sure your goals match the goals of your visitors and you can clearly communicate with them!
Design and Development
There are a few things you can do in terms of your website design, development, and backend to ensure that search engines can easily crawl your web pages. Firstly, don’t include text in Flash, Java, or on images, as this can’t be read by search engines. If you have video or audio files, make sure there are transcriptions of these.
Use crawlable link structures, meaning clear URLs with organization and levels, to help search engines crawl pages that are connected to each other and relevant. You can also use keywords throughout the back end on each page to connect with what users are searching.
Ensuring your tags are clear and readable are also important. Title tags, alt tags, URLs, meta descriptions, and meta tags can all contribute to your ranking and the user experience on your site. Including keywords in these tags that people are searching for will also help boost your online reputation. Which brings us to our next point….
…Keywords! Keywords are one of the most, if not the most, important aspects of SEO. The first step to this aspect is doing keyword research to find out what people are searching for. You can then find keywords that are most relevant to your business or website and begin to include them on your pages and rank for them.
However, the tricky part is finding the right keywords to ensure you’re attracting the right audience. If you’re an insurance broker, ranking first for ‘insurance’ may seem appealing, but not necessarily the audience you want to attract. You likely won’t convert well. You need more specific, or ‘long tail’, keywords that will allow you to target a smaller audience more likely to convert. Something like ‘life insurance Colorado’ or ‘car insurance quotes Vancouver’ may be better for you if you’re looking to target local areas, for example.
Once you’ve chosen keywords, it’s important to use these throughout your content, tags, meta information, and URLs. But make sure you don’t keyword stuff. You want your content to be enjoyable for users.
Good content is what keeps visitors coming back for more and what search engines will read when crawling your website. Your content needs to be clear, answer a question, and appeal to your audience. Offering high quality content, images, multimedia, creative ideas, industry examples, product information – all of this will help you reach the people searching for things that you provide.
When writing your content, focus on clarity and your keywords, but make sure to focus on people first. Although it can be tempting to write and design your content to rank well in search engines, you won’t improve your rankings if visitors bounce off your page quickly because your content is hard to understand and filled with keywords.
Backlinks refer to links to your various web pages from other web pages. This could be links to your site from other websites, or even links to pages from other pages on your own website. The more backlinks you build, the more trustworthy and reputable your website appears to search engines.
Backlinks can either be natural, outreach, or self-created. For more info, check out our blog post about backlinks.
SEO Basics Resources
For more information on SEO, check out some of our recent blog posts:
If you’re looking to get started with search engine optimization for your site, contact VivosWeb. We are experts in boosting your organic search engine rankings and can help you get more online visibility!
Contact us today.