Are you ready to drive traffic to your website? You've put in the work to create a great site and have your sales funnel set up, but now it's time to focus on bringing visitors to your pages.
Paid advertising, is a popular method used nowadays for driving traffic to a small business website, but the best long-term strategy is often search engine optimization (SEO).
But why is SEO so important?
For starters, a staggering 68% of all web traffic comes from search engines. And these aren't just any old visitors – people who find your content, products, and services through organic search are actively looking for what you have to offer.
This makes them highly qualified leads. In fact, 60% of marketers say that SEO is their best source of quality leads.
SEO can seem like a daunting task, especially if you're new to the subject. But there are a number of simple tactics you can use to improve your organic traffic.
Keep reading for our top 18 SEO tips for beginners.
Focus on Publishing Valuable Content
Creating high-quality content that provides value to your readers should be the foundation of your SEO strategy. While it's important to be mindful of technical SEO elements like keywords, metadata, and backlinks, they mean nothing if your content isn't valuable to your audience.
When crafting new content, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you included all the necessary information?
- Are you answering the question your readers are asking?
- Are you solving a problem that your readers have?
- Are you publishing the best piece of content written on the topic?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you're already ahead of 99% of the content on the internet. Google has ways of measuring engagement with your pages, and this factors into its search algorithm.
So, your number one goal should be to produce high-quality content that you know your readers will enjoy and engage with.
Write naturally, do not write for search engines
When it comes to SEO, it's important to remember that you're writing for humans, not search engines.
It can be tempting to focus on stuffing what you believe to be relevant keywords all over the place, even if it doesn't make grammatical sense. But this approach is not effective.
Google doesn't rank pages based on who has included the most keywords. It looks for pages that have done the best job of answering the search query.
Search engines want to recommend high-quality pages, not those that are stuffed with keywords.
When you're creating content, write in a way that feels natural, as if you were having a conversation with the reader.
You'll find that if you cover the topic in full, your keywords will be included naturally within your text. Plus, you'll avoid sounding like a robot.
By writing for humans, you'll create content that is both SEO-friendly and easy to read.
Keep search intent in mind
When internet users perform a search, they usually have one of two primary intentions:
- They want to learn more about a subject, or
- They want to buy a product or service.
It's important to target the right keywords depending on the intent of your readers. Google can determine whether a search term is informational or transactional and will recommend the appropriate page type.
For instance, a blog post is generally about providing information, so you should target informational keywords such as “how to rank your content on Google”.
On the other hand, a landing page is meant to lead to sales, so you should target more transactional keywords like “SEO agency” with these pages.
By understanding the intent of your audience and targeting the right keywords, you'll be more likely to show up in relevant search results and drive the right kind of traffic to your website.
Conduct keyword research.
Google's algorithm includes various ranking factors, but keywords are still a crucial aspect of SEO.
Keywords provide search engines with information about the content of your pages, which helps them decide if your pages are relevant to specific queries.
To get the most out of your SEO strategy, it's a good idea to conduct keyword research before writing any new content.
Keyword research can help you identify relevant keywords to include in your content, and it can also help you discover new topics that people are searching for.
Each page on your website or blog should target a variety of keywords that are relevant to the topic at hand. This includes one primary keyword and several secondary keywords that are related.
There are many different tools available for keyword research. Ahrefs is a paid tool with many features such as competition levels, clicks, parent topic and more for each keyword.
If you're on a tight budget, Google Keyword Planner is a good free option. It will only show you the monthly traffic statistics but it's enough to get you started.
These tools allow you to enter a topic of interest and generate hundreds of related search terms. Use the metrics provided for each keyword to determine the best ones to include in your content.
When choosing keywords, these are the factors to consider:
- Relevance: Make sure the keywords are related to your topic. For example, if your article is about smartphones, ensure that your keywords are also related to smartphones.
- Specificity: Avoid general keywords, such as “laptops”, instead, target more specific terms like “best laptops for students”. These are known as ‘long-tail keywords' and are typically easier to rank for.
- Traffic: Look for keywords that get at least 100 searches per month or more.
- Competition: Choose keywords with low competition. If the pages currently ranking for a term are low-quality, it will be easier to overtake them and get on the first page of Google. Most paid tools have a “keyword difficulty” metric to tell you how easy a term is to rank for.
Once you have selected your keywords, it's time to incorporate them into your website.
Place your keywords in the right locations
To improve your chances of ranking in Google searches, it's important to include keywords in strategic locations on your website. These locations include:
- Page titles: Always include your primary keyword in the header of your page.
- Body copy: Try to include your keywords in the opening paragraph, your subheaders, and throughout the text of the page. Aim for a primary keyword density of around 1% (for every 100 words, try to use your primary keyword once, give or take).
- Metadata: Your metadata is the title and description that appears on search results pages. Be sure to include your keywords in your meta title and description. Most website builders provide an easy way for you to edit this text for each page of your site. By placing your keywords in these key areas, you'll signal to search engines what your content is about and increase your chances of ranking for relevant queries.
To optimize your website's metadata using the Leadpages Drag & Drop Website Builder, navigate to “Settings” and select the SEO tab.
Additionally, you can also optimize your images by including keywords in the image title and alternative (alt) text.
The alternative text is a written description of the image that is not visible to the readers but is visible to search engines, making it a great place to include keywords that you want to rank for.
When uploading images to Leadpages, take the opportunity to edit the title and alt text to include relevant keywords. It's also important to include your primary keyword in the URL of the page.
For example, if you're targeting the keyword “best crepe recipe”, the URL could be yoursite.com/best-crepe-recipe.
Including keywords in these various locations, it will make it clear to Google what your content is about and what terms you should rank for.
Optimize your content for featured snippets
Featured snippets are brief pieces of content that appear at the top of Google search results. They are usually short paragraph, selected by Google, from one of the top-ranking pages that provides an immediate and concise response to the user's query.
Securing a featured snippet can bring a significant amount of traffic to your website. Not only does it appear at the top of search results but also includes a link to the original page.
Here are some tips to increase your chances of getting featured:
- Target question keywords and provide a brief and direct answer to the question in a single paragraph within your content.
- Some featured snippets are lists, so consider using a list format and using subheading tags for each item in the list.
- Some featured snippets are tables, so summarizing important information in a table can also improve your chances of getting featured. By following these tips, you can increase the chances of getting your content featured in the snippet, which can drive more traffic to your website.
Add focus to long-form content
Many people believe that our attention spans are short, but that is not always the case. In fact, most of the content that ranks highly on Google is long-form content.
According to HubSpot, the ideal length for a blog post is 2,100 – 2,400 words. This does not mean that every piece of content needs to be over 2000 words, some topics do not require that length and you should not include unnecessary filler.
A good rule to follow is to cover the topic in as much detail as needed. It could be 700 words or 4000, depending on the topic.
The key is to provide in-depth and detailed information, without including unnecessary information.
Publish unique content
Duplicate content is one of the major issues that search engines face. Google will not charge you for plagiarism, but it will penalize your site if it finds that you have copied content from another source.
Creating all your own content from scratch is the best way to avoid this issue, but it is not uncommon to accidentally copy someone else's content without realizing it.
To prevent this, it's a good idea to check the uniqueness of your new pages before publishing them. There are several free tools available that can help you check for uniqueness, such as the one mentioned here.
For best results, aim to keep the uniqueness of each piece of content as high as possible, ideally 100% unique.
Ensure that your site is mobile-optimized Recent statistics indicate that more than half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
As a result, Google penalizes sites that are not mobile-friendly. Additionally, the poor mobile user experience may discourage mobile users from reading your content.
To ensure that your website can be accessed easily across all devices, it is important to make it mobile-friendly.
Most website builders have responsive templates that allow you to preview the mobile version of your site before publishing it.
To check how your Leadpages website appears on mobile devices, use the “Preview” feature and select either the smartphone or tablet icon.
Depending on the layout of your site, you may want to make adjustments to the mobile version, such as using mobile-specific versions of each section of a page that only appear on mobile devices.
This allows for complete control over the mobile version of your site using the Leadpages Drag & Drop Website Builder.
Include video content
Over the past decade, video has become the most popular form of content on the internet. It is more appealing for many people to watch a five-minute video than to read a 2,000-word article.
Google recognizes this trend, which is why it generally ranks pages with videos higher in search results. Adding a video to a page can increase traffic by 10-250%.
Here are some ways to include videos on your website:
- Include a welcome video on your homepage that introduces your brand and services.
- Add videos to your landing page that summarize your product or service.
- Include a complementary video along with your blog post that highlights the information with the help of visuals.
- If you are unable to produce your own videos, embed relevant YouTube videos within your content to provide additional value for your readers. Just try to avoid videos that include competing offers to your own.
Interlink your content
Backlinks (links to your site from other URLs) used to be the primary way Google decided which websites to rank at the top of its search results.
However, because some site owners used unethical tactics to gain links, Google has since reduced the importance of this metric.
However, it is still a significant part of the search algorithm. In fact, experts say link building remains one of the top two criteria Google uses to rank content. Therefore, it is important to try and build some links to your content.
It is important to use ethical methods, known as “white hat” tactics when building links. These are strategies that follow SEO best practices and will not result in penalties from Google.
Here are a few ways to build links to your content:
- The Skyscraper Technique: Analyze the top-ranking results for your keyword and create a better version. Use a tool like Ahrefs to see who is linking to the other articles, then reach out to them and ask if they will link to your content instead.
- Broken Link Building: Find a page you would like to get a link from, then use a tool like Check My Links to see if any of the URLs the page links to are broken. Contact the site owner to let them know the link is broken and suggest they link to one of your pages instead (if you have a page that is similar to the original link).
- Guest Posting: Contact other websites that are in your niche and offer to write a guest post for them if they allow you to link back to your own site within the article.
Avoid “black hat” link-building strategies, which are designed to trick Google into ranking content and can result in your site being delisted.
This includes buying links, using private link networks, and posting blog and YouTube comments that link to your content.
Link to high authority sites
When adding links to your content, it's important to link to high-authority sites. This not only helps to give context to your content but also helps in building credibility for your own site.
Before including a link to another site, ensure that the site is trustworthy and has a good reputation in order to avoid any negative impact on your SEO.
A good practice is to only link to sites with a higher authority rating than your own. This ensures that every link you add will be beneficial to your site.
Share your content on social media
When it comes to getting your content seen by as many people as possible, there's no denying the power of social media.
While social signals don't directly impact your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, there's no denying that sharing your content across multiple channels can significantly increase your traffic.
This, in turn, can help boost your visibility and make it more likely that people will find and share your content, which can ultimately lead to more backlinks and better SEO.
So, if you're looking to increase your visibility and drive more traffic to your site, don't underestimate the power of social media.
Whether it's a video, a new page on your website, or a blog post, make sure you're sharing your content as widely as possible to maximize your reach and visibility.
And remember, the more people who see and engage with your content, the better your chances of ranking higher in search engine results.
Implement local SEO
Optimize your Google My Business Profile: Once you've claimed or created your profile, make sure all the information is accurate and up-to-date.
Add photos, post updates, and encourage customers to leave reviews. Include Local Keywords: When creating content, include location-specific keywords like your city, neighborhood, or street name in your text and meta tags.
Get Local Backlinks: Reach out to other local businesses or organizations and ask if they would be willing to include a link to your website on their site.
Encourage customers to leave reviews: Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business Profile, Yelp, or other local review sites. Positive reviews can greatly increase your visibility in local search results.
Optimize for local search by including your location in your keywords, ensuring consistency in your business listing across all platforms, and getting listed in relevant local directories.
Claim and update your Google My Business profile, and make sure your address is listed the same way across all platforms.
This will help your business appear in local search results when people are searching for products and services in your area.
Create a sitemap
A sitemap is a tool that provides a comprehensive overview of the entire structure of a website, including all the pages and their location within the website.
Search engines, such as Google, use sitemaps to understand the organization of a website and to efficiently crawl and index its pages. While a sitemap is not strictly necessary for a website to be indexed, it can be useful in helping search engines to find and index all the pages on a website.
Once you have created your sitemap, it should be submitted to Google Search Console.
In today's fast-paced digital world, people's patience is at an all-time low. As a website owner, it's crucial to understand the importance of page speed and how it can affect your search engine rankings.
Google's algorithm takes into account the speed at which page loads, and if it takes too long, it can greatly impact your website's visibility.
To check your page speed, you can use a tool like Google's PageSpeed Insights. The ideal score to aim for is 90 or higher. If your page speed is not up to par, there are a few things you can do to improve it.
One solution is to upgrade your hosting plan. Virtual private server and dedicated server hosting plans are more expensive than shared hosting, but they can greatly improve your page speed.
Another option is to review and remove any unnecessary plugins, especially if you use WordPress. Additionally, it's important to keep your image files small, and you can use a plugin like Smush to compress them.
Moreover, using the right website builder can also make a difference. Some builders like Leadpages are known for creating faster sites, with pages that load 2.4 seconds faster on average compared to other builders
Stay current by regularly updating your website's content
Regularly updating your content is crucial to keeping it relevant and up-to-date. This means reviewing your content every few months and updating it with new information as needed.
Google tends to favor newer content when determining what should rank for a given keyword, so keeping your content updated is important for SEO.
While you may not have to completely rewrite all your content every year, it's important to make sure it's not outdated and address any changes in the industry.
When updating an article, make sure to update the publication date and include a note at the top of the page to let readers know the content has been updated.
This will also help Google understand that the content is recent and relevant.
By keeping your content updated on a regular basis, you can ensure that the information provided is current and relevant, which in turn will help maintain or improve your search engine rankings and prevent newer articles from surpassing yours
Track your progress with analytics
Search engine optimization is a continuous process that requires monitoring and adjustments. Keep track of the results of your efforts and use the insights to refine your approach.
One of the best ways to monitor your progress is by setting up Google Analytics on your website.
This tool provides you with valuable data, such as the number of visitors, the sources of traffic, and the popularity of your pages.
Additionally, setting up a Google Search Console account allows you to see the keywords your site is currently ranking for.
Monitor your website's performance regularly by implementing Google Analytics and tracking the metrics that are important to your SEO strategy.
Use the data to identify which pages are driving traffic and ranking for keywords, and which ones aren't. Use this information to improve underperforming pages and target more keywords related to successful pages.
Are you ready to improve your website's search engine rankings and increase visibility on Google?
With this comprehensive guide, you are now equipped with the knowledge and tools to optimize your website for search engine ranking.
Implementing a solid SEO strategy requires patience and persistence, but the effort will ultimately pay off.
Leadpages Drag & Drop Website Builder provides an easy and efficient solution for creating and publishing your content, while also ensuring your pages are optimized for search engine ranking. Take advantage of their 14-day free trial and see for yourself how Leadpages can help grow your online presence.