New to search engine optimation? Don’t know where to start? Here are some helpful expert SEO tips for beginners in 2020.
1. Think About Google’s Incentives As a Company
For SEO beginners, the best place to start is to think about Google’s incentives as a company. They want to serve the best search results so that users keep going back to them when they are looking for information. Otherwise, they don’t have a business.
So, they are constantly searching for signals about what is the best answer to a given query. This framework helps to understand why all of the many facets of SEO make sense, from the appropriate anchor text to use for internal links to the right H1 tags to use for your next article.
2. Do Better Keyword Research
So absolutely, the one piece of advice that I wish someone had given me originally, was that I would need to do better keyword research.
I spent over a year writing a ton of interesting, insightful blog entries that would be great for those within the industry. But, the number of consumers looking for those posts: zero. Or approaching it.
So I learned how to use Google’s keyword tool, as well as using other services like ahrefs to see how my competitors were driving traffic and which terms were most beneficial.
As it turns out, a simple search such as “how many ounces in a glass of wine?” yields almost 7,000 month searches. Plus, it was relatively easy to rank for.
While there is a ton of great link building advice, doing better keyword research makes the whole thing so much easier.
3. Establish Links in Localized Online Directories and Citation Sources
First, for any local company starting out with an SEO plan, establish links in localized online directories and citation sources. It’s a great local link building strategy and can quickly build up your backlink profile at a relatively low cost.
For instance, getting a backlink from your local Chamber of Commerce is a really high quality link (in the eyes of Google) and it comes with belonging to your chamber. Look for similar sources like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Manta and niche-specific directory sites.
4. Use Broken Link Building and Sources Like Haro to Create High Quality Links
Second, for larger or nationally promoted websites, start off using broken link building and sources like HARO to create high quality links.
With broken link building, you’ll find blogs and articles containing links to broken resources – broken because of a deleted URL or a domain that was completely lost. In any case, you can reach out to the blogger or article publisher with your content as a replacement link in their article. It works well and you’re helping out the article’s publisher. You’ll have to do some digging to discover the opportunities, but it will go a long way in your link building strategy.
And Help-A-Reporter-Out (HARO) allows you to submit your content and link in articles from various publications. It’s a great way to earn a link, you’re helping a journalist with content and you’re taking an active part in your online community. Be sure to sign up for HARO and keep an eye out for requests that are related to your content.
5. Start Day One With a Link Building Strategy
My best advice to beginners embarking on search engine optimization is to start day one with a link building strategy. Building links to your website is half the battle in SEO.
My favorite tactic for building up local domain authority is to host a local scholarship.
What we do is post the $500 or $1,000 dollar scholarship in the state that we are targeting and then reach out to local high schools and local universities to let them know about that scholarship and for them to link to the application page. They are usually willing to do this as it helps their students so it’s a win-win proposition.
This is a great way to build up local links and high authority local links boosting your domain’s authority and establishing local singles at the same time for a relatively low cost.
6. SEO Starts With Your Overall Marketing Strategy, Which Needs to Be Driven by the Overall Business Strategy
Small businesses ($2m to $75m in revenues) that need SEO to drive B2B lead generation and product sales first need to understand that SEO starts with your overall marketing strategy, which needs to be driven by the overall business strategy. Then they need to understand that 80% of SEO is strategic copywriting.
Here’s a summary of what needs to happen for SEO to be most effective from my 15 years of experience with it:
- Vision and 5-year business plan: using the Entrepreneurship Operating System (EOS) is a great process for establishing both and keeping on track
- Marketing strategy and plan: identifies the right mix of inbound and outbound marketing to achieve the company’s sales and other goals with clear target markets identified
- Keyword research: using the Google Ads Keyword Tool
- Optimize all current website content: page names/folders/URLs (even the domain), titles, meta descriptions, H1 headings (one per page/blog), other headings, and calls-to-action (ideally in the form of a button)
- Earning links from high Page Rank sites (at least 4/10 sites): PageRank for any site can be displayed using Page Rank checker.
Note: Page Rank checker is a free service to check Google™ page rank instantly via online PR checker.
7. Everything in SEO Boils Down to Content and Backlinks
Great content is built around the needs of your customers, and good content tends to get shared the most.
If you are trying to make high-quality content, think about the problems and pain points of your customers. People go to Google to ask questions, and SEO revolves around offering the best answers in search engines.
Backlinks are the other piece of SEO and you can earn backlinks by building great content. Creativity wins the day here and you should think about what your audience’s audience searches for and create content for their needs. This will ensure your audience shares your content since it is catered to their audience – this makes them look good and helps you rank.
8. Really Think About Your End User When You Are Writing Your Content
If I could give one piece of advice to someone trying to do SEO it would be to really think about your end user when you are writing your content. If you are simply writing content in order to try to please the Google gods, you will never succeed.
It is ultimately your readers that allow you to rank high by sticking to your pages when they land on them and genuinely being interested to click around your site.
Simple SEO Strategies in 2020 and Beyond
When it comes to increasing organic rankings, I recommend the following relatively simple strategies in 2020 and beyond:
9. Create and optimize relevant content.
Ensure your website has at least 250 words on every page and that deeper content pages have 2,000-3,000 words, as Google loves deep content. Ensure those pages each have customized, relevant title and META descriptions to maximize rankings and clicks from search results.
10. Create and optimize multimedia content.
Google loves multimedia, because humans love multimedia. Give them what they want, with video, audio/podcasts, animated gifs and images, embedded in as many pages on your website as is prudent. Utilize ALT tags and text surrounding the media to describe the content so Google has more context and will be more likely to rank it.
11. Add structure.
Used structured markup (schema) to ensure your classes and related product pages as well as business information (name, address, phone number), is properly formatted for Google and other engines to index properly. This is especially vital for emerging trends like voice search, not just local SEO. This is a minor aspect.
12. Optimize images.
Google images is the second largest search engine by volume (bigger than YouTube even). Optimizing your product and service images with ALT text is essential to ensuring they rank in product-related images searches. The images link to the product pages where interested parties can purchase easily. Additionally, images are a powerful revenue opportunity via shopping capabilities on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest.
13. Ensure Your Website Can Be Crawled and Indexed
One of the first things new SEO strategists should focus on is ensuring that their websites can be crawled and indexed by search engines.
14. Leverage Google and Bing Webmaster Tools
After ensuring that their website is valid and running, strategists should leverage webmaster tools offered by Google and Bing. These tools allow a website owner to submit a website’s sitemaps and RSS feeds directly to the search engines for greater visibility and indexing.
Webmaster tools also provide the opportunity for website owners to discover errors hindering the indexing of their pages, allowing a proactive and quick response to some of those issues. Finally, the tools also leverage analytics and engagement data to gauge a website’s performance.
Simply put, webmaster tools are one of the best things new professionals could use in the process of increasing their site’s SEO.
15. Target Keywords Where You Can Do The Best Job of Satisfying a Searchers QueryFor beginner SEOs and site owners, a great mindset to have is target keywords where you can do the best job of satisfying a searchers query. These will no question be longer-term keywords, which will have lower demand. However, the idea is to train Google that you’re a website that knows how to satisfy searcher intent. When your domain authority grows, this puts your site in a better position to start ranking for high-quality keywords. The other benefit this has is it trains you and your team to become better content marketers yourself. As it’s this user-first mindset that we’ve found it takes to win long-term in SEO. As far as finding these keywords, the most important thing you can do is look at the SERPs for the keyword you’re going after. Find keywords that have a lot of low-quality domains and don’t directly answer the user question. Then, look at the content itself, to make sure you can indeed creating something that’s much better.
16. Use HARO to Connect with Reporters Who Need Experts
Use HARO to connect with reporters who need experts to consult on topics they are writing about. This is as easy as signing up (free) and check your email twice a day. You have to respond quickly otherwise your email may get lost in the flood of emails the reporters receive.
I also spend more time writing informative blog posts that wind up generate incoming links from other blogs who are researching the topic I’ve already written about. The trick is to be thorough when writing your content and have a topic in mind.
17. Best Backlinks Come From Traditional PR
Here at ZooWho, a startup app, we’ve seen that our best backlinks come from traditional PR. We’ve been reaching out to press in order to get our name out there. When a news organization writes a story about us, they’ll link to our website. The lowest domain authority we’ve gotten a link from using this tactic was a 58. This tactic kills two birds with one stone: we get our app in front of the audience who is going to use it (which increases our downloads) AND we’re building up our website without having to write any kind of guest post.
18. Research Where Your Competitors Are Getting Their Backlinks
Another effective way to get backlinks is to research where your competitors or other companies in your industry are getting their backlinks. You can see this by examining their website with a tool like Ahrefs. You can filter their backlinks by those that are “dofollow” and those that have the highest domain rating. You can then reach out to those SAME blogs/websites/news outlets that linked to your competitors and see if they will link to you in a similar way.
On the importance of backlinks: Backlinks are one of the most important strategies to raise your domain authority. Without a high domain authority, it’ll be difficult for any content you write to reach an audience.
19. Broken link building is mutually beneficial to all parties involved
My favorite link building tactic and one that I think is mutually beneficial to all parties involved is broken link building. All you need is a good article or resource page available, access to a free backlink analyzing tool like Moz’s Link Explorer, and a broken link checker like the free Chrome extension Check My Links .
First, find a webpage where you want to get your link placed and run the broken link checker. If you notice any broken links on this page, copy down the broken URL for analysis later. Quickly draft an email to the webmaster informing them you found a broken link on the page, and offer your URL as a quick replacement for the broken resource. Send the email, and keep the draft as a template for bulk distribution later.
Now, take the broken resource you found and plug it into the Moz Link Explorer tool. Click analyze link and it will take you to an overview page. If the broken link exists on any other page, you can find the inbound sources by clicking “Inbound Links.” From this page, you can find the exact URLs on which the broken link lives. Go through each of these results and send outreach emails to the webmasters offering your link as a replacement.
There you go, easy link building tactics that will get you results and help keep everyone’s websites’ healthy, happy, and functional.
20. Update your content regularly
Update your content on a regular basis. Nobody wants to read outdated, inaccurate information and Google knows that.
Example: List of top 10 songs from 2015 isn’ accurate anymore. It’s almost 2020 now and many new great songs have been released in the meantime.
21. Be active on Quora to establish yourself as an authority
For the link building, I would suggest an unconventional way – Quora. Be active on Quora, show your expertise, establish yourself as an authority on subject matter and links will come naturally. Personally, I got dozens of links from bloggers that have read my Quora answers.
SEO Tips For Beginners To Jumpstart Your Website Traffic
Marketing with SEO is vital for websites today. If you have been directed to investigate SEO or have decided to quell your curiosity, you have found a great resource in this article. It is the most effective way to boost the traffic to your website and gain loyal visitors.
22. Changing from AP (Associated Press) style to SEO style can optimize your search engine results.
AP style is often associated with journalism. In SEO style, you want to use relevant keywords wherever and whenever they are a logical choice while keeping your article flow intact. As search engines work partly by locating keywords and evaluating their density, this should improve your search engine rankings.
23. Check out the competitions’ HTML code.
This gives you information about how they use SEO on their website, and which keywords they use. While you might not wish to imitate their methods, this bit of sleuthing can make you think of other keywords and things to try.
24. Find a name for your domain that relates perfectly to your product and is easily remembered.
Having a domain name that’s simple to say and easy to remember will cause people to be better able to trace your content from networking sites like Youtube directly to your specific website.
25. Ask reputable companies such as non-profits to provide links to your web site.
Any reputable site that links to your website will help you greatly when it comes to ranking with search engines. Provide high-quality information that will entice reliable websites to want to feature your site. Add content that these types of organizations find worthy and useful.
26. Optimizing your site for search engines is the best way to drive traffic to your site.
Any website, old or new, can benefit from the tips in this article. The tips stated above should help you learn how to being exploring the different marketing options available to you.
27. Offer expert blog content for free
My favourite strategy for link-building, is to find blog posts about a particular topic we are experts of (in DashThis’ case, reporting & digital marketing) that I might have an interesting take on. I write a little content, let’s say a short paragraph with a tip or new take on the topic that’s covered in the article and I send it to the author. I simply tell the author that I had an interesting new take on their article and that I’d be glad, if they add my content, that they link back to our website in order to credit us.
It usually works very well, since we offer content for free, that adds value to their article, and it doesn’t cost them too much to simply credit the new content they add to whoever wrote it.
28. Check for common on page SEO mistakes
My best SEO tip for beginners is to regularly do a mini blog audit in order to identify common on page SEO mistakes. To do so, simply search “site:yoursite.com” in Google and look at the results.
- .Do you notice any weird urls?
- Are there pages that contain HTTP even though your website uses HTTPS only?
- Are there pages that appear with WWW even though you don’t use WWW?
This simple check can help you quickly identify major problems and fix them before it’s too late. This is a check I run for all my blogs every month and it actually helped me identify malware on a client’s blog before Google had a chance to find it and blacklist her blog. You can find more detail on these checks here.
29. Use H2 headings and include related keywords
One SEO tip for beginners is to start using h2 headings to break out your article and include related keywords you want to rank for. Many beginners don’t know basic HTML, but simply learning just how to implement h2 tags can help them structure their articles much better for users and the SEO benefit of ranking for a few of the header keywords.
30. Link Building Strategy: Outdated resources = link opportunitiesThere are a lot of link building strategies out there. I’m going to focus on one I find exceptionally well designed for beginners; the “Moving Man Method.” This technique consists in finding potential backlink sources from outdated resources. The first step you must follow is to find websites on your specific niche that have outdated pages. Some examples may include sites that have stopped offering a service in particular or have moved to a new URL. Make sure you have an asset (blog post, infographic, tool, etc.) similar to this outdated resource in your site. Once you built your list, you can use your favorite link building tool to find sites that are still linking to each one of the outdated resources. We are using Ahrefs since the beginning; it’s an excellent tool for link building. You will find a lot of sites linking to these outdated results, each one of them is a great link opportunity. Start focusing on those with higher Domain Rating. For each opportunity, find an email or contact form and reach them. Make sure you don’t overly promote yourself and give them a heads up about their link to an outdated resource. Of course, you must kindly suggest linking to your site instead. You may find yourself overwhelmed, but don’t give up. Set some goals, like reaching 5 to 10 people each day. You will see the results very soon.
31. Broken Link Building
This is my personal favorite strategy as I treat it like a fun game of hide and seek! The purpose is to find broken links in articles, blogs, etc. During my daily SEO process, Iam always searching for potential content ideas for the creative team whichincludes standard Google & Moz Industry and Competitor research along withemails of content from keyword monitoring services such as Google Alerts,Talkwalker, etc. How it works:
Find broken links on webpages (Chrome Extension ‘Check MyLinks’), then retrieve the content that previously lived at the broken link(Chrome Extension ‘Wayback Machine’). Replicate the content that used to exist at that link and reach out to the website linking to the broken resource and suggest that they change the broken link to the working link with the replicated content on your website. As before, ensure you do not already haveoriginal content on your website that matches the topic from the broken link,submitting re-purposed content already created will save you time and effort.If not, you will need to create a new piece of content, publish it on yourwebsite, then reach out.
Pro Tip: A trick to possibly turn a single broken link into hundreds of link opportunities is to use Moz’s ‘Link Explorer’ (your SEO platform may have a similar tool such as Ahrefs ‘Site Explorer’) and paste in the broken link, then scroll down and (in Moz) click on ‘Top InboundFollowed Links to the Site’ which will retrieve a list of all the websites all linking to that broken link and now you can also reach out to those websites and suggest that they replace the broken link with the link to your website..
32. Understand your Audience
Understanding your audience is an essential foundation when learning SEO. Knowing their search intent, the reason behind every search, is important as it can be your guide for future site content and SEO choices. Optimizing for search intent can potentially bring more traffic to your site and increase conversion rate.
SEO tools, such as the Google Search Console, can help you do this. This free yet comprehensive tool can help you analyze your search traffic, such as where users first land on your site, what keywords they use to get there.
It will also show your site health and other important data such as improvements you need to do with your HTML, your site’s mobile usability and the site’s crawl errors, among other things
33. Understand Key Search Factors
Another foundation you could build is by understanding key factors assigned by Google that is essential on gauging your site’s performance in search and where ranks on search results pages or SERPs. These key factors, such as CTR, can help you assess your site’s relevance.
Google Search Console’s Search Analytics can help you with this as well. It’s a handy tool so I suggest learning how to use it.
34. Brand Mentions for Building Links
My top tip for building links is brand mentions. This is something I worked on recently and managed to gain 3-5 links from one hour’s worth of work from mentions that already existed about me or my business. Sometimes they leave the link out on accident and sometimes it might happen on purpose, but people will use your content or other assets and credit you by mentioning your name but they don’t include a link back to your site.
There are several different ways and tools to use to tackle this, but I prefer to good ol’ manual approach. The first thing you need to do is find where you are mentioned. There are a few different search commands that you can use, but a simple search for your brand name in quote marks with work fine. Example= “Bobs plumbing services”
You then need to manually work through each listing to check if they have linked back to your website. Depending on how old your business is, this could take some time. Once you have your list of sites that have mentioned you but not linked to you, you need to find their contact details and reach out to them and request the link.
35. Guest blogging to boost your website and author profile
Guest blogging is a great way to improve your writing skill, while boosting your website and authorship profile.
Find a website or blog that will publish your article and shares interests with what you’ve written. I’d also recommend investing in some domain-rank tracker so you can see which outlets are the most credible to work with. Although for those still struggling to get off the ground, this step isn’t crucial.
Keep in mind that they are a way of establishing a relationship between your outlet and another. So, don’t just think about what they can do for you. In your pitch to the editors of the site, state why your article is a good fit for them and how it fits alongside the others they have on their site. Adhere to the tone, style, themes and/or guestposting guidelines you see on the website. And of course, do this without sacrificing your own unique writing style.
While it’s customary to expect a backlink and an author profile/bio, be sure not to exploit the relationship by using their platform as an opportunity to sell to their audience. Including too many links to your page, or employing an overly salesy tone is bound to make the editors and the audience skeptical of your brand.” says Caio Bersot, digital content specialist fromEnergyRates.ca, a price comparison website that helps consumers find low-cost rates for electricity and gas.
36. Optimize for your audience first.
Many beginners make the mistake of stuffing their website with keywords they’re looking to rank for. Unfortunately, search engines flag this as spammy material that’s difficult to read. Optimize for your audience first, then focus on search engine crawlers. Making sure your content is clear, concise, and useful is crucial for successful SEO.
37. Don’t compete against yourself.
While it’s tempting to optimize every page on your website for one important, high-volume keyword, you have to mix it up. Target different keywords on each page so that you’re not fighting against yourself for prime SERP real estate.
38. Check your page load speed.
Page load speed is one of the most important factors for successful SEO. Google will dock your rankings if your page is taking over three seconds to appear to users. Easily speed up your load time by changing to a faster server and exporting all image files as web-ready JPGs.
39. Use the Fly Wheel method to gain back links
Focus on building tools, applications and programs that will allow you to gain back links due to your innovation. This is called the Flywheel method first coined by Moz founder Rand Fishkin. This has helped me rank websites even in the toughest of industries.
40. Generate high authority links for a low price via resource link building
In my opinion, the best and easiest way to generate high authority links for a low price is via resource link building. It’s beautiful because it’s simple, inexpensive, and reliably works (if you put in the work).
Basically, you create a best in class helpful resource on your website. The resource can be about anything. Ideally, you’ll choose a topic that is at least somewhat related to the overall theme of your website. Regardless of the topic, the content is not meant to appeal to your consumer traffic. You are simply creating a helpful guide that readers would benefit from.
The next step is to identify a targeted list of websites that have readers who would be interested in consuming the content you created. Primary via email, you reach out to websites whose readers would benefit from having access to the resources you created. You offer them your resource to their readers.Some of those websites will link to your resource(s) because doing so helps their readers which makes their website better.
My favorite thing about resource link building is that sweat equity is essentially the only requirement. If you put a lot of effort into creating amazingly helpful content and then work hard doing outreach, you will land a lot of links. It takes a lot of work, but rest assured it works.The other thing that is really nice about resource link building is you’ll land links from .edus, .govs, .k12s and .orgs These kinds of sites don’t typically link to consumer oriented content. But with a piece of content that is simply a helpful non promotional resource, they will link it