Quick Wins for SEO Novices
If you’re looking to make your website easier to find, but start feeling the world closing in on you when the words 'Search Engine Optimization’ are mentioned, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got some tips for SEO quick wins for content makers, even those who are novices in website technology.
1. Write with Specific Keyword Goals
This rule will always crop up when you’re looking for tips on SEO. 'Write with specific keyword goals' is the SEO equivalent of what we content marketers would describe as ‘write what your target group is expecting'.
Normally (well, hopefully), you base your text on buyer personas. The great thing about SEO, however, is that you can find out what your target group is expecting with much more precision. Use the Google keyword planner to find out the exact keywords people use to search for your products or services.
Choose one or two keywords to write your text around, then take this into account when writing your online content. This brings us to quick win number 2.
2. Optimize Your Writing for Certain Keywords
Once you know the exact keywords people are searching for, you can optimize your texts to include them. It’s best to be as specific as possible, since it’s better to score well on one very specific keyword than a general one.
As an example, imagine you make thick, non-permanent felt-tip markers. You could write your texts around the keyword ‘felt-tip markers', but there would be lots of competition, making it unlikely you’ll appear in the first page of search results. Besides, you don’t even know if the people searching for ‘felt-tip markers' are searching for your specific product, as they could be looking for thin, permanent felt-tip markers.
It’s a much better idea to write your text around the long-tail keywords 'thick non-permanent felt-tip markers'. The number of searches will be much lower, but there will also be a lot less competition. The other advantage is that people who search these keywords and end up on your website are much more relevant to your company, and probably looking for your product. So, optimize your writing as specifically as possible around the keywords relevant to you.
3. Refer to Other Pages
The Google Bot system searches your pages, allowing Google to include them in search results. A bot might be incredibly advanced, but it doesn’t do any harm to give it a helping hand. Internal links that link to other pages of your website make it easier for the bot to understand your website.
For example, if you refer to a page about 'blackbirds' on a page about 'great tits', it’s easier for Google to understand that your website is about birds. These internal links mimic a spider’s web, so the bot (or a visitor to your website) doesn’t get stuck in one place and can find its way around your website easily.
There are two important things that SEO novices have to take into account when creating links. Firstly: make sure your links lead to relevant content. If you have written a piece about 'great tits' on your bird food webpage, and you add a link to a page about smartphones, it will only lead to confusion.
Secondly: make substantive links. It’s easiest to explain this with an example:
Wrong: Do you want to read more about the blue tit? Then click here.
Right: The great tit is very similar to the blue tit.
By associating a link with 'blue tit' it’s easier for Google to understand that the page you’re referring to is about the blue tit.
4. Give Your Images Suitable Names
When you think of SEO, the first thing that comes to mind is website texts, but images also affect how easy it is to find your webpage. If you tend to upload images with file names such as IMG_1539.jpg or image1.jpg to your blog or product page, then you can immediately improve your findability
by giving your images names that match the associated text and keyword. If your image is described by several words, separate them with a '-’ symbol. The image at the top of this article would be called SEO-quick-wins-novices.jpg if we used this method.
It makes both your texts and images relevant, specific, and easy to search on Google.
5. Earn Links from Other Websites
We mentioned links in point 3, but only spoke about links within your own website. Your website is also easier to find if there are links to your pages on other websites. As far as Google is concerned, these links are a recommendation, basically saying ‘Hey, this site is also worth a look’.
This is called a backlink In SEO language. The more backlinks for your site, the better Google understands that your page is recommended by lots of other websites. However, not every backlink is of equal value. A recommendation by a page that is itself highly recommended will have a positive effect on your ranking.
Another important aspect here is relevance. If your bird food company gets a link from BirdLife International, it’s worth more than a link from a technology company.
The trouble with backlinks is that you can’t control them. Backlinks have to be earned, in a sense, by creating interesting content or web pages so that other web pages will eventually link to you by themselves. You can accelerate this process by offering to write an article with a link for another site, or simply asking them to include a link to your page.
6. Don't Go over the Top with Optimization
Even though this is just a foretaste of SEO, we’d like to warn you from the outset not to go over the top with optimization. Excess is harmful: if Google finds a piece that is perfectly written (in other words, you’ve used your keywords too often), and suspects there are too many great backlinks, you’ll be subject to a kind of 'punishment' and your pages will go right down in the search results.
That’s why we frequently hear ‘Write for your target audience, not for Google’. Google is smart enough to recognize texts that are relevant to the public, even if they aren’t perfectly optimized.
It all starts, content creators and online writers will be relieved to know, with a well-written, interesting text. The main reason for SEO is to give a text which is already good an extra boost.