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Actionable website SEO tips for beginners

Website SEO Tips for Beginners: 10 Actionable Tips to Help Increase Your Rankings

Looking for actionable and proven website search engine optimization (SEO) tips for beginners? The kind that will help you today? Here are 10 actionable SEO tips, tactics and reminders that deliver results. While this list is not exhaustive of all SEO best practices, focusing on these strategies will help drive more organic traffic to your site and improve your search rankings.

1. Take a Holistic SEO Approach

With a holistic SEO approach, your goal is to heighten engagement with your website audience. You want to fulfill their needs and maximize their experience. Rather than focusing on just one element, like keywords, it takes multiple techniques to create the best user experience – and improve your ranking over time.

Begin by creating a positive visitor experience with a quality website. Great design, web development and content are an essential part of the SEO process. Improve user experience with a site that is fast, easy to navigate and rich with clear, relevant content.

2. Create Quality Content Customized to Your Audience

One of the most actionable SEO tips for beginners – and sometimes one of the hardest – is to create quality content. It’s essential to increase your organic traffic, engage your visitors (have them stay longer) and bring them back.

So what is quality content? It’s content people want to digest because it brings them value. It informs them and provides solutions. Today’s web audience will decide whether your site does so in mere seconds.

Creatively speaking, quality content is unique, specific and credible. It uses original research, citations, links, reviews, and real customer or industry expert testimonials to further boost trustworthiness. Engaging imagery is a must.

Structure your content in a way that is attention-grabbing and easy to scan. Use subheads to divide content into clear sections that help readers navigate the page. Write short, simple sentences and pay attention to spelling and grammar.

Quality content is also an important ranking factor for search engines. It guides search engine crawlers and helps them understand – even pinpoint – your website.

Ultimately, SEO is about people. Most search engines favor user-friendly content that aligns with search intent. The bottom line: Keep your content easy to read, to the point and useful for your audience and search engines.

3. Focus on User Intent in Keyword Research

Conduct keyword research to understand how potential keywords are performing and what words users are keying when looking for the products or solutions you offer. Then integrate those words into your copy.

Your focus keyword (or keyphrase) is the search word/s in which you want your page to rank highest. A keyphrase usually consists of multiple words, which is less competitive and helps people find exactly what they’re looking for. However, keyphrases that are too long are harder to optimize because they need to appear multiple times in your copy. That can annoy readers.

Be sure to target a unique focus keyphrase on every page of your site. If you optimize for the same keyword on multiple pages of your site, Google will rank both pages lower.

Keyword Surfer is a free tool to analyze and compare popular search terms.

4. Include Keywords Where They Matter Most

Once you have identified the keyphrase for your page, use tools like the Yoast SEO plugin for keyword optimization. Include your keyphrase in the site title, domain name, description, tagline, blog categories, page titles and page content.

To rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from search engines, optimize on-page elements like page title, meta description URL and header tags with your keyphrase. Here are some helpful definitions and tips:

  • SEO Page Title – Your SEO page title (or title tag) should be clear, concise and catchy. Aim for between 50–70 characters and include your focus keyphrase and site name.
  • Meta Description – The meta description is the first section people see in their search results. It’s essentially “your pitch” to entice clicks. It should include your focus keyphrase and other relevant terms within about 120–155 characters and preferably end with a call-to-action. If you don’t write a meta description, Google will generate it for you, usually from the first paragraph of your page text.
  • URL – Your URL should be around 3–5 words long, yet descriptive. It should concisely explain the page using your keyphrase and be human-readable. Use hyphens to separate words.
  • Headers – You should properly tag subheads with the appropriate HTML header (H2, H3, etc.) tags. This will improve scanability of your content for readers and search engines.
  • Images – Google is moving to a more visual search. Include your page keyphrase in your image titles, descriptions and alt attributes (the alternate text for an image if a user cannot view it – and an important element for accessibility to all) to describe your images to search engines and screen readers. This includes retitling the file name if it doesn’t reflect your main keywords (e.g. “actionable-seo-tips.jpg” instead of “img1234.jpg”).

5. Take a Mobile-First Approach

Mobile device usage has skyrocketed in the past few years and is only expected to increase as smart devices become more accessible. Many companies don’t realize the importance of a mobile-friendly site. But when you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, it hurts your SEO and your audience’s perception of your business. An astonishingly 52% of users are less likely to engage with your company again due to a bad mobile experience.

As of September 2020, Google is switching to mobile-first indexing for all sites. Use Google Search Console’s URL Inspection Tool to see how Google’s mobile search agent views your site.

6. Add Internal Links in Logical Places

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to another page on the same website. These links help users navigate their way around your site. Crawlers will have an easier time understanding your site structure, too. They also help spread link equity (ranking power) around your site.

Be intentional about and cross-linking your pages. Use descriptive words in anchor text that give a sense of the topic or keywords the page will target. When used strategically, internal links can significantly boost a site’s performance in the search engines.

7. Build Valuable Connections Using Outbound Links

Using outbound links is an easy and actionable SEO tip that is important for your SEO strategy. Outbound links help guide your readers to relevant and credible sources for further reading. They also help improve your credibility with search engines, telling them you are a trusted authority on your particular topic.

This doesn’t mean excessively linking to other websites. Be selective. Users will get frustrated if links aren’t relevant to the topic you’re discussing.

8. Leverage Social Media

Social media continues to be a big part of daily life, so much so, that Google has started recognizing social search results as being of value. Moreover, social networks are increasingly being used as search engines themselves. In fact, more and more users are turning to these channels for answers.

As a result, social media is one of the best and most affordable places to promote your content and drive traffic to your website. Be present on social media, promote your content, and encourage your followers and readers to share it with their networks. This is a great way to engage with your audience, create buzz for your website and garner attention.

9. Remove Anything that Slows Down Your Site

Humans and search engines prioritize the loading speed of websites. Studies suggest that 40% of visitors leave sites that take longer than three seconds to load. A slow page can frustrate users and, ultimately, discourage people from buying your product or reading your content.

Page load times are important, so get rid of any non-essentials that bog down your website. User experience is a critical element of SEO, as it significantly impacts time spent on your site, which influences your search engine ranking. By improving your user experience, you will notice a significant improvement on site metrics, including conversion rates.

10. Stay Current and Give Visitors a Reason to Return

Sites with dynamic content often rank higher than those with static content. That’s why blogs and directories (like Wikipedia) do so well on search engines. They are constantly being updated with new and relevant content.

Keeping the content on your site current and informative helps build trust with your audience. Most likely, your audience relies on your site for useful information or products within your market.

Final Thoughts on Actionable Website SEO Tips to Help Increase Your Rankings

Search engines are getting smarter every day and will only continue improve. They want to ensure they display top-notch, highly relevant results. They also want to push out and remove “spammy” content that adds no value to users.

Incorporating the tips above can help ensure your website is accessible to search engines and humans. But remember, don’t sacrifice a positive visitor experience by trying to overly please the search bots.

If your website needs support with design, technical or content development, our team of experts is available to help. Learn more about Activated Growth’s services.