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9 SEO Tips for Beginners

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  1. Determine Your Website’s Objective
  2. Determine Your Unique Selling Point
  3. Know Your Competitors
  4. Regularly Update Current Topic Content
  5. Consider Adding the Year in the Page Title
  6. Optimize Pages with Featured Snippets
  7. Ensure Your Website is Built on a Solid Technical Foundation
  8. Use Links as Often as Appropriately Possible
  9. Be mindful of Google’s E.A.T. Indicators

1. What is your website’s objective? Is it to capture leads? Close sales? Get tons of visitors?  Knowing  this drives everything else.

2. What is your USP – Unique Selling Point? What sets you apart? What is your unique value proposition? Identifying this will help you pinpoint who you want or need to reach.  Knowing who you need or want to reach will guide the design and content of your website.

3. Knowing your competitors will help you understand what keywords and contents they rank for, then you can determine if you will compete within the same keyword/content space or if you’ll carve out a niche for yourself.

4. Keep your website regularly updated!  Even better, include timely and topical content as often as possible. Great content can also include topics that don’t go stale. For example, how to grow spinach vs an article on the iPhone X – the former is relevant today, tomorrow, next year and next decade, while the latter is relevant for only a period of time.

5. Including the year in your page title can really help get the clicks. Why? It identifies on the SERP whether or not the link is relevant to the search.  For example, if someone is searching for how to back up a smartphone, they’re most likely going to select the SERP item that has the current year vs a previous year.  It can also be true that if someone has an older model smartphone, they may choose a SERP item from an earlier year.

6. Featured Snippets can get you in “position zero” above organic search results. Featured Snippets provides Google with clear information about elements of your page or article.  Spend some time understanding this feature. You can go here to learn more.

7. A solid technical foundation means a properly indexed site, optimized page-load times, and a well-organized site.

8. Links-in. Links-out. When you can, add external links to your pages.  Even better, work on obtaining backlinks (external links TO your website/page). How? If you have shareable content or elements that would entice organic back linking, that is the best – podcasts, infographics, surveys, etc.

9. E.A.T. – Expertise. Authoritativeness. Trustworthiness. – These are important indicators to Google regarding the quality of a website, and they become more important with the perceived sensitivity of a topic. For example, an article on health or finances, might have Google assess the E.A.T. of the source, your article/page/website.

Another Similar Way of Addressing SEO

Before jumping into the mechanics of SEO, understand basic principles of SEO.  A big part of this is asking who would visit my site, why would they visit my site and what do I want visitors to do once on my site?​

First, identify your sales funnel and the buying funnel. How does your SEO support each step.

Be aware of consumer phases:

  • Awareness Phase: consumer learn about their problem or whatever is driving them to search.
  • Research Phase: consumers are generically aware of solutions and compare products and solutions.
  • Purchase Phase: consumers gathered their information, educated themselves and are redy to engage on a sales level.

Know what you want to track beyond search rankings, traffic and leads.  

​For example, tracking engagement activities like number of downloads, amount of content consumed, time on the website, returning visitors, bounce rate, new/returning visitors, and newslettter signups.

Home Page

This may not be the most relevant destination to send visitors, or it may not be properly designed to be an optimal landing page.  

​For example, if you sell pens, brushes sketch pads and school notebooks,  and your SEO or advertisement is targeted to artists, you would want artists to land right on your brushes product page.

Seach Terms

Let’s talk search terms and SEO.  There can be and should be a range of keywods and landing points.  A minimal grouping follows and consumer phases must be combined with these groupings when mapping out a search strategy.

  • Generic Terms: for catching the attention of consumers who are not as sure of what they want to buy and are not familiar with your company or brand. 
  • Service or Product Terms – phrases or words likely used by consumers who know what they want to purchase, but not from where.  These consumers are likely unfamiliar with your brand, especially if you’re new to market.
  • Brand Terms – if you have a strong and well-known brand, then you can use brand-specifc phrases and words to get in front of people looking for your brand.  For example, if you are the Coca Cola company, you can use tag lines from commercials, variations of your brand like, “Coke”, “Coca Cola”, “Diet Coke”, etc.

Consider your goals and objectives and plan your search strategy accordingly.

If most of your search terms are related to your brand, then you’re missing out on getting in front a good chunk of your market.  This is true whether you have a strong brand or are new to the market.

Consider the Coca Cola example.  If they focused primarily on their brand for search, they would miss opportunities in the general cola market.

If you are a new brand, then ask yourself, “If few people know my brand, why would I invest in a search strategy that relies on brand recognition?

Understand your business and brand, your sales and buying funnels, and your market.  Decide who in your market you want to send where.  Map it out and have this be crystal clear.  Once you have this completed, then applying a search strategy, advertising and SEO plan will be easier, clearer and more effective.

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