Are you just starting out with your website and want some beginner SEO tips? Don’t even know the first thing about search engine marketing but want to optimize your pages so that Google can find you? Here are some beginner SEO tips just for you!
Site-Wide Beginner SEO Tips
Create a Site Map and Submit it
An XML sitemap is a text file that webmasters create to tell search engines like Google and Bing what a website contains. It is basically a list of all the URLs (essentially the page addresses) that you want indexed from your site — URLs of web pages, images, videos and other content files on the site — formatted with a few XML tags. In this lesson you learn how to set it up so that the search engines refer to your sitemap again and again.
- XML vs. HTML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps should not be confused with HTML sitemaps, which are regular web pages created to help human visitors get around a website. However, each has SEO benefits, so you should create both XML and HTML types for your site.
Web Analytics / Google Analtyics
There’s much you could say about web analytics in your SEO strategy. The important thing is to make sure you have it. Set up a free Google Analytics account and make sure that you are capturing the information about your website and how many visitors you have and where they have come from. Ensure your analytics are properly set up and monitor them regularly to find out of if the keywords that are generating traffic are in your keyword list, and that your site is optimized for them. You can do this on your own without much trouble, but contact us if you need assistance in getting this set up and the tracking code on your site.
Webmaster Tools accounts for Google and Bing give site owners insight into how search engines view their sites with reports on issues like crawl errors and penalties. This is also where you submit your site map and adjust your robots files. You can learn a lot about how search engines view you from these free tools.
Review any Mobile Issues
Is your site responsive? Does it work on mobile devices? This is definitely something worth investing in if you are interested in SEO because Google started favoring mobile-friendly sites in mobile search results beginning April 21, 2015. I wrote a blog post about this back in April: Google ranks mobile friendly sites.
Page-Level Beginner SEO Tips
In the body of your content, make sure your first heading tag always begins as an <h1>. Subsequent heading tags should be <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, etc., and be used as the page’s table of contents.
Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a webpage’s content; the meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the website code. If you want to find out whether a given page is using meta tags, just right-click anywhere on the page and select “View Page Source.”
- Meta Title Tag: This is the text you’ll see at the top of your browser. Search engines view this text as the “title” of your page. Title tags should be about nine words, plus or minus three (or 55-65 characters including spaces). You want to make sure the most important information, including top keywords, show up before the cutoff.
- Meta Keywords: Stay Away
My professional advice is to stay away from meta keywords. No search engines are using them for any real rankings because so many SEO gurus were abusing their purposes and loading websites with keywords that just did not belong. So, don’t waste your time with this field. This goes all the way back to 2009 and is not “new news” — if anyone is telling you differently you can refer them to this video.
- Meta Description Tag: The description tag is important as it explains to search engines and searchers themselves what your page is about. It should include important info and keywords about your page (in 156 characters including spaces or less).
- Meta Robots Attribute: With this attribute, you’re telling the search engines what to do with your pages:
- index/noindex - This tells the engines whether to show your page in search results or not.
- follow/nofollow - This tells the engines what to do with links on your pages: whether they should trust and “follow” your links to the next page or not.
Page Word Count
The amount of words you have on a web page will vary by topic, focus keyword (or phrase) and intent. But you should have at least 250 words per page – especially if you’re trying to optimize for SEO. Informational web pages will almost always warrant at least 450 words. Quality content is key. Since the Google Panda Update penalizing low-quality content, avoid duplicate content and thin content and focus on robust coverage of your website topics that prove your subject matter expertise.
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Our 15 page SEO Guide PDF will give you a step-by-step plan to:
- get listed on search results pages (SERPs)
- make your listing more prominent
- help you avoid “black hat” SEO techniques that will hurt your ranking
- track your website search and analytics data using free services that are available to you right now!
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Although we’ve covered a lot beginner seo tips in this post, we’ve really only scratched the surface on Search Engine Optimization for your website. The biggest thing to remember is to be prepared and get everything set up now. Then, take things in manageable chunks. The great thing about the WordPress CMS is that it automates most if not all of the things we’ve talked about today.
Leave it to the Geeks!
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