Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Three words that can seem big and scary for most people, but SEO isn’t all the fire and brimstone it’s cracked up to be. There are a handful of easy-peasy SEO tips that everyone should know, especially when getting started, and luckily we’ve laid them down for you. The main over-arching theme here is not to overdo any “tactics” or “tricks,” but to make your site really awesome for your visitors. How? Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. First, you need to get into the right mindset and remember: Optimize for people NOT search engines. We know that sounds the opposite of what SEO stands for, but it’s what Google wants. Plus, if you think about it, if someone really enjoys your site, they’ll come back again and also share it with their friends. Oh boy, I see foreshadowing.
2. Quality content is king! This is a simple theory, but just keep in mind that it can take some time to get a backlog of quality content – Keep at it!
3. Have your “stuff” make sense. Here’s the deal; Meta data, URL structure and internal linking matter, so have them make sense to visitors. For meta data, when your site pops up into the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you want it to grab someone’s attention, much like a good email subject line. Make your title short and sweet (under 70 characters) and the description a brief summary of no more than 160 characters. Have URLS that make sense. If your page is about coffee mugs then a URL like: site.com/coffee-mugs makes the most sense. Something like, site.com/dhfg23-ee45 will confuse both the GoogleBot and the people searching. Neither is good. Have your internal linking make sense. If you’re talking about how to get started on Vine, the visitor would expect the link to lead to the Vine article, not your homepage or some unrelated page.
4. If a little of something on your site is great, then a ton must be amazing right? WRONG! This is the downfall of SEO. The SEO industry finds something that works, and then does it until Google has to step in. The newest culprit to be assaulted by Google is guest blogging. This was, and still is in some ways, a great way to earn a high quality link, but people have diluted the value of guest blogging by spinning articles, (taking an existing article and adding very little value to it, then reposting it), and allowing very low quality, keyword stuffed articles. Just keep optimization trends in moderation – Like everything!
5. Grab some free tools from this list of 100. Here’s a quick five: GetListed, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Majestic SEO and Moz Analytics.
6. Use WordPress plug-ins to make your life easier. We aren’t masters at HTML code and nobody expects you to be either. Luckily, WordPress offers tons of plug-ins to help make running your site easier. For us, Yoast SEO for WordPress is the winner here.
7. Don’t leave mobile users in the cold. Make sure they’re getting some love by having a responsive template for your website. Nothing frustrates both visitors and the Googlebot more than when a site redirects a mobile user to the homepage rather than the article they wanted to see. Get responsive and give mobile users a big hug!
8. Don’t forget about social! Make sure you have social sharing buttons set up on your web pages, so that when your amazing content rocks readers’ socks off, they’ll share the heck out of it. Social signals are becoming more powerful, so you don’t want to miss that boat.
Boom! Eight tips and done. If you’re hungry for more, there are mountains of information to dig into, if you so choose. Check out The Complete Guide by Google for all the “Google Approved” actions to take with your site. The cool cats over at Moz have a Beginner’s Guide to SEO, (and we do too) which is a great resource as well, so give them a look through!
Which tip did you find most useful? Share in the comments.
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