Basic SEO Knowledge: 19 Tips You Should Know
Just because SEO is one of the headier practices that has emerged in the modern era doesn’t mean it isn’t something you can’t use to improve your business. While many aspects of SEO can overwhelm beginners, its fundamentals are surprisingly straightforward.
Online businesses and SEO are inseparable. SEO – Search Engine Optimization is the process of generating quality traffic to your website which increases your visibility on search engines. It covers the generation of more traffic, the attraction of visitors, and an overall improvement in search engine ranking. In short, SEO puts you on the digital map.
As advertisement and promotion make your physical business known to the public, SEO makes your online business known to the web crawlers. It determines if your website will be found and where it will be placed in the results. SEO knowledge is an important skill you need for your online business because it talks about the health of your online business.
Optimizing for search shouldn’t be the forte of just a few members (in other words, SEO professionals) of your online content team. It should be known by all members that work on your online content.
With this in view, this article packs nineteen basic tips you should know. If you don’t have any knowledge of Search Engine Optimization or you just want to get more information about it, this is the right article for you.
Today, I’ll to talk about the basics of SEO and how you can start using them to give your company’s website a front-row seat to new customers.
1. Optimize your page titles
There are two main title parts that you must optimize first to get visibility and ensure you get clicks. These are the HTML title tag and the main heading. The HTML tag is the title that appears in the search results. This is the most important part of the two-page titles.
It is usually written boldly on the search result page and also appears on the browser tab. I said ‘most important’ because it is the first impression a user has about your webpage. The tag will determine if the user will click your link or another one.
The main heading is the title that will appear on the webpage itself. A good page title increases the click-through rate. Ensure you have a compelling and attractive keyword and title.
Integrate your keywords into your HTML tag and your main title so that they both send the message your page is about.
2. Insert keyword into your headings and contents
The keyword is an important element to the ranking algorithm. The keyword is used by search engines to define the relevance of your content to the user.
This is how matches are found when there is a search. You must ensure you insert your keywords not only into your titles but also in your headings and paragraphs. You can get the services of professional content writers to handle your SEO-friendly contents for you.
Ensure your keywords are optimized for headings (H1, H2, and so on). Having heading and subheadings in your content will make the user experience better and ensure easy navigation. You must also include your keywords in the paragraphs under the heading. Position the keywords in strategic positions (usually in the first 100 words) to keep your user engaged.
Opt for a long-tail keyword in favour of a short-tail keyword. A long-tail keyword has more than three words and has less competition. An example is 15 basic SEO knowledge you should know. A short-tail keyword, on the other hand, has less than three words which makes it less distinct in search results with a lot of competitions.
Using the same example, a short-tail version would be ‘SEO knowledge’. The longer the tail, the easier it is to locate.
3. Use a keyword to match search intent
There are basically three reasons why people search the internet. A user’s intent may be informational. This user wants to gather information about a thing or two. e.g. “how to make a pencil”. Some users search for transactional purposes to buy or sell a product.
An example of a transactional query would “what is the price of a pencil?”. Others use the search engine to navigate to a precise website. An example is “the official website of Toyota”.
Sometimes, there is no clear definition in the type of query. For instance, “where can I buy a card for $1?” Use your keyword to target your audience. If you are into sales, use transactional keywords.
Search for prospective keywords to gain insights into the search intents.
4. Optimize your website for speed
Speed is one of the yardsticks used by search engines to rank websites. The faster search engines can access your website, the better your ranking. Advance your loading time by using the tip about the multimedia above.
Other things you can do is to use browser caching to advance load time for returning users. Debug your site code and remove every unused and unnecessary code.
Avoid website design mistakes and use a content distribution network to alleviate the content delivery load. Use compress files to make your page load faster.
5. Optimize your multimedia
Multimedia adds effects to your online content. Images, audios, and videos must be optimized to complement your content.
- For images, name the image file to describe the image which should reflect your keyword. You should also add a description to the image. To speed up loading time, reduce the size without compromising the quality of the image.
- Audio files – Use high-quality audio in a common format like mp3. The name and tag of the audio should also have keywords.
- Videos – Name your videos correctly to include relevant keywords. Add transcription where applicable. Use formats like MPEG and WMV to make crawling easier for search engines. You should also embed your videos from hosting sites e.g. YouTube. This will ensure users can find them on search engines.
6. First-class content
Your content is one of the factors that determine your ranking. You can engage all other search engine optimization scheme but if your content is poor, you will record a lot of bounce and your rank will go down.
The quality of your content must be high. It must be relevant to the user and provide solutions to the user’s problem.
The content must be free of errors, helpful, entertaining, educational, and relevant to the target user. What this means is that you are adding value to your user. This will, in turn, ensure they stick around to consume your content. If your schedules are so tight, experienced writers could step in for you.
7. Have a well-structured site
The organization of your site will help both the user and the search engine to navigate your website. Site structure deals with the information architecture which is, in essence, your site map.
Develop a good site structure to organize your content and resources. The way you organize your site will determine how fast your website will load and how easy it is to navigate.
Have a structure that places your content in a hierarchy. This will be structured like a tree with root, stem and branches. Another way to structure your site is to group similar element.
Add a breadcrumb menu to your page to make it easier for site exploration. The breadcrumb menu can serve as structured data that improve your site’s appearance in search results.
8. Employ Latent Semantic Indexing keywords
There are words and phrases that are related but are not necessarily synonymous. These are words that are related to or complement the main word. Latent semantic indexing, also known as LSI, is a search engine algorithm that shows associations between words and phrases to precisely match content to query.
The LSI keyword can be synonyms, terminologies, and phrases that are related to your main keyword. If you are not all that crafty with words, you can use an LSI keyword generator. LSI keywords add perspective to boost the relevancy of your content.
9. Optimize Metadata
Meta title, Meta keyword, and Meta description are the three metadata elements that need to be optimized. I have talked about the Meta title which is the same as the title the user sees on the search engine. The Meta keyword is the principal keyword that appears both in the title and description.
The small description that accompanies the search result is the Meta description. This is the snippet that the search engines add to give brief information about the page. The content of the description helps the user to make the decision to click the link or just scroll by.
10. Link to other sites
Linking, either internal or external is one of the main ranking factors used by search engines. All healthy and genuine website links to other websites. Linking is a little bit tricky in the sense that you don’t have full influence on the content of the website you’re linking to.
This is why you should be careful to only link to credible and verified sites. You shouldn’t link to a competitor site or a site that delivers a similar service that will lure your user away. Link to a shady website will tarnish your image and ruin your reputation.
Nonetheless, when writing, links serve as references for more information. Make use of links to augment your content. Put links to study, statistics, supporting documents and references to back up your content.
11. Use Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that will show you the performance of your website in Google Search Result. This provides an idea of how Google views your website.
With GSL, you can check for crawl errors, page ranking, page index, mobile-friendly issues, page impression, and page speed rating.
The console allows you to submit your full website, a section of the website or a webpage. You can also discover ways you can improve your site.
12. Explore social media sharing
There are many reasons to embed social media share buttons on your website. One of which is that social media exposes your website. Sharing makes your content more credible.
Social media sharing increases your click-through, chances of people linking to content, and overall page impression. Search engines register these as visitor engagement which directly affects your ranking.
Your share buttons strategically placed to be easily accessible and must agree with your website design. They should not be obtrusive but should be obvious, easy to see, and pleasing to the user.
You should place the button on the landing pages, blog posts, job postings, and resources like infographics and eBooks.
13. Update your previous content
You stand to gain a lot when you update your older content. Just like book writers update their book from time to time to remain relevant, you also must update your content.
This makes your website rank better because search engines see your updated content as new and get re-index as one. When you update your content, it gives you the chance to correct errors and adds a touch of freshness.
There is a chance that statistics have changed since you first post that content, update it will ensure your content didn’t become obsolete.
Improved content based on the current standard and knowledge will reduce redundancy and increase visitor time on your webpage. The search engine will re-crawl your content after you update your older content. Your site will also have a higher click through.
14. Make human your priority
A common mistake I have seen some SEO beginners make is optimizing for search engines with little consideration for the reader. In the end, your end-user is not a search engine but humans.
Your first consideration should be the user. How would you help the user with the information you are providing. Will it be easy for the user to get the message you are trying to pass along? Will your approach make sense from your user’s perspective?
While your audience takes the priority, you must not forget that it is through SEO that your users could locate your content. Or what is the use of good content the user cannot find? Also, SEO is your hope to earn some income. To get the most value from SEO, your user should be the first and optimization the second.
15. Use SEO tools
There a number of tools that can help you to optimize for search engines. I have mentioned the google search console. I will name a couple more for you to try out. Most of these tools are free and easy to use.
The tools are SEMrush, BuzzStream, Ahrefs, Serpstat, Link-able, Ontolo, Screaming Frog, Yoast SEO, WooRank, Varvy SEO tool, Linkody, HubSpot’s Website Grader, and Moz Pro.
16. The hallowed algorithm
First, let’s break down what an algorithm is. In the SEO world, an algorithm is a formula that uses partial keywords to determine website rankings. Google’s algorithm, which is the algorithm almost all other search engines are modelled after, remains a secret to this day.
However, other search engines have been able to piece most of it together, and now you can too. These pieces are called ranking factors, or the key factors that help a website get to the highly sought-after first page.
17. On-page SEO factors
On-page SEO factors refer to different aspects of your website that set it apart from others. The term ‘on-page’ is pretty self-explanatory – it points to certain factors you can find on your website’s home page.
These factors can include website speed, code quality, copy quality, and website structure. What this means is that the more updated your website is, the better chances you have of pushing it to the top.
18. Off-page SEO factors
In contrast, off-page SEO factors refer to backlinking (i.e., links to your website found on other web pages), different marketing activities outside of your website, social media presence, and most decisively, your chosen market niche. Some niches are harder to rank than others, so you may have to put in a little more legwork depending on your industry.
Off-page SEO factors might be even more critical than their on-page cousins. The more other people talk about your website, the likelier it is you’ll pop up on the first page of a search engine. Just keep your fingers crossed that what they’re saying is good!
19. A word about holistic SEO
A growing trend is a holistic SEO. This concept means keeping the maintenance of your website as your number one goal. The higher quality your website is, the higher you’ll rank on search engines.
Even though off-page SEO factors might have more staying power in some cases, it’s hard to beat a well-designed, efficient website. Of course, search engines benefit from high-quality websites, too. They want to give people what they’re looking for, and what better way to satisfy people than by giving them the best of the best?
As you might have guessed, this is just the tip of the iceberg. For more information, check out our picks for the best books on SEO.
You have come across many three-letter acronyms in your daily life: OMG, BRB, WWW, and, most recently, SEO. For the uninitiated, it stands for search engine optimization. Basically, it’s the art of getting your webpage to the top of any prominent search engine’s first page of results. Sounds easy, right?
Laying the solid foundation of basic SEO knowledge is the surefire way to become proficient in SEO practices. I know you have gained much from this article. Use this knowledge to improve your website performance.
Thanks for reading 😉
Hope you learnt something new?