Basic SEO For The Beginner

Many website owners have questions about the visits they receive from search engines such as Google. Have you ever wondered why Google shows your competitors more prominently than you? Or what you can do to improve your website in the eyes of a search engine? There are many different reasons why Google may place you higher or lower in its results, from HTML tags to the speed at which your website loads. Following the tips listed below can have a big impact on the number of visitors from search engines, leading to a much more successful website.

When Google prepares a list of results for people using its search engine it scours the internet looking for relevant pages. The way Google determines if a web page is relevant is through keywords. For example, searching for "kittens" returns many pages with the word kittens in them. So far, so obvious. If you want to get more visitors from a particular search term, simply make more pages about it. The natural next step is to select a list of keywords that are popular with searchers, but not very competitive with results. This can result in a much larger amount of traffic from search engines. The most common way to find keywords uses Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool.

Now that you’re making relevant pages on your website for your visitors, let’s improve the quality of those pages. This is called "On-page SEO" where SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Making your pages more optimized for Search Engines will improve their rating of you, and you’ll rise in their rankings, attracting more visitors. The most basic step of On-page SEO is using the keyword of your page in the title of the web page. This lets visitors and search engines know exactly what the page is about.

Meta Descriptions
This one is a little more technical. Meta descriptions used to be a big way for search engines to identify good quality pages. After various updates to Google’s methods they matter a lot less, but are still worth considering. Adding a HTML tag to your web page and including a short description with a keyword will improve your page for Google.

Heading Tags
Use heading tags like <h1> and <h3>. This allows Google understand the structure of the page. It might seem like this could result in less visits for different search terms, but any little thing you can do to make it easier for Google’s automated website searching software (called crawlers) is an improvement for your website. This also a good place to use variations on your main keyword. So if your keyword is "puppies" try "cute puppies" or "puppies for sale". Be as creative and as varied as possible.

There’s a saying in the SEO world: Content is King. You can spend as time as you like making minor improvements for bots but if actual visitors don’t like your website, they won’t stick around. Google measures how long people spend on web pages, so make sure your content is as good as it can be. This means no spelling and grammatical errors and no fancy words to confuse visitors. Think about what your visitors want when they search for keywords – do they want to sold a product or informed on a news story?

URL Structure
Try to avoid making the folder layout of your website too confusing. Make sure your URLs are short and descriptive. This won’t just help search engine crawlers, but your website visitors too. Try to avoid numbers such as "" and aim instead for "". Use the title of your article in your URL wherever possible, to make it even more clear. Always make sure to use hyphens and not underscores. You may be worried that making changes to URLs will cause links to your website to be invalid. To solve this, make sure to implement a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new URL.

Page Speed
One of the most important factors in SEO is the load time of your website. Google knows that searchers like fast loading pages and so it will prioritize quick websites over slow ones. This can give you a key competitive advantage over existing websites. To improve load times, try to move to faster website hosting, make images smaller and try to solve any errors that your website has. You can check in the Google Webmaster Tools for any problems that search engine crawlers find.

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