Beginner steps for SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a major part of building your website. Without it, potential customers will have a difficult time finding your business online.

Search engines are complex tools that build a connection between the searcher and the information. When a consumer uses Google or Bing, they want specific details about their search query. Implementing SEO ensures your website receives that targeted traffic.

Start increasing your unique visitors today. Here are five SEO strategies you should consider.

HostGator Website Builder1. Include Relevant Keywords

Keywords are the terms people use to find information online. When consumers type phrases in search engines, they expect to receive relevant content.

The goal of keyword research to connect the buyers’ intent with your brand. Tylor Hermanson, senior manager of search strategy at Intouch Solutions, explains:

“At its core, keyword research is a powerful market research tool that can be leveraged in many different ways, not just informing website content. To get the most out of keywords, you have to look beyond the explicit, literal translation and also pick up on the implicit clues to gain the true intent of each keyword.”

Kick off the process by listing general topics around your brand. If you’re an online jewelry store, those topics may be engagement rings, wedding bands, or gemstones.

Then, conduct research to learn how customers find your business and what they seek when shopping. For a jewelry retailer, those keyword phrases may be “how to find engagement ring size” or “jewelry birthday gifts for him.”

Keyword research takes patience. So, be strategic about your SEO process.


2. Create SEO-Friendly URLs

Your URL structure is the foundation of SEO. It pops up in Google searches. It’s remembered by consumers. And of course, it directs people to your valuable content.

To support your SEO goals, it’s vital for your URL to adhere to a specific structure. If not, your web pages might get buried on page 10 of the search results. (And no one wants that!)

In the image below, the four labeled parts make up the URL structure. The file name is where you will add relevant keywords to describe the page.

parts of a url

A good practice is to avoid including every single preposition in the file name. It will only complicate the URL structure and make it less readable.

Moreover, keep your file name between two to four words. You don’t need to use underscores or periods to separate the words. Stick to inserting a hyphen between each word.

URLs are case-sensitive. Therefore, mixed case URLs will represent different content. You can eliminate this issue by writing your file names in lowercase.

With these tactics, URL optimization becomes a manageable feat. You’ll climb up the search rankings in no time.


3. Optimize Images

When discussing SEO, image optimization gets overlooked. We post our nifty photos to the site and move on to another task. However, preparing your images plays a key role in your search results.

For starters, large image files can slow down your page load speed. Consumers don’t enjoy waiting for sites to pop up. Richard Lazazzera, an eCommerce entrepreneur, gives his perspective:

“Large, high definition images can have huge file sizes. Put a few of these on your site and that snappy experience of navigating your online store can end up feeling more like swimming through molasses. Not only will this cause visitors to bounce, but in time, Google will notice as well, and this can affect your SEO.”

You’ll want to limit your use of stock photos. To engage readers longer, source novel images that will illustrate your text better. The best images evoke emotions.

Adding captions to your images is beneficial, too. If you’re attempting to explain a complex graph or chart, captions will enhance the user experience. Plus, it’s an opportunity to maximize your SEO efforts.


4. Add Meta Tags

Let’s get a little technical for a second. Meta tags are HTML elements used to identify your web pages in search engines.

The title tag and the meta description are two critical meta tags. They make it easier for website visitors to locate the right information.

In the example below, the title tag is blue, and the meta description is black. Both offer a clear representation of what the content discusses.

example of search result with meta description

Your title tag should include the main keyword of your page. You’ll want to keep it short—aiming for less than 50 characters. For your meta description, give a compelling reason for the person to click and keep it between 135-150 characters.

When writing your meta tags, think from the consumer’s perspective. What are they searching for? What do they want to learn? How can you solve their problem? You want simple text without the heavy jargon.

Meta tags are your virtual business doors. Your words can either invite people or scare them away.


5. Write Helpful Content

Visitors finding your site is just the first step. It’s important for people to gain quality information when they visit.

So, what exactly is helpful content? It’s any content that shares useful information in a meaningful way. It tells a story, provides visuals, and prompts people to take action.

When a person lands on your page, they should immediately get an answer to their search query. After that, feel free to drop in a few GIFs and memes.

Check out the example below from Pinch of Yum. The food blogger offers helpful content coupled with eye-appealing imagery.

food blog photography

Originality is one secret ingredient to creating remarkable content. Try conducting your own research or obtaining quotes from industry experts. People enjoy reading content they can’t find anywhere else.

Also, you should experiment with different types of content. Your visitors might enjoy infographics, checklists, and photo essays. It’s an effective way to break up the monotony of weekly blog posts.

Put your SEO success to work by maintaining your audience’s attention. With helpful content, your business can start converting visitors into customers.


Learn the SEO Basics

SEO is a practical step to gain more website traffic. Understanding the basics will boost brand visibility and get the right people to your business.

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.