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These 13 SEO tips for beginners will hopefully help shine a light on this complex subject and give some of the best SEO advice that you can action today. Although it doesn’t cover every aspect of every SEO aspect available, it will provide you with the basic tips and tricks to get you started.
They will not only help you improve your website’s ranking on Google and other search engines but will help you stay ahead of your competition.
There is no sugar-coating it though, even SEO basics can be a complex subject and may not be something you may feel comfortable undertaking yourself.
We understand this!
So, whether you’re looking to boost your knowledge, undertake SEO yourself, or want to understand a bit more before employing an SEO company to do it for you, these SEO tips for beginners will offer a great starting point.
If you’re a startup business looking for a new website or currently have one and thinking about building a new website for your business then this is the perfect time to start planning SEO and your goals.
What is SEO and how does it impact your website on Google Search?
In the simplest of terms, it’s the process of improving the chances of your website getting found by its ideal or intended audience.
When someone does a search online, in the best-case scenario, your website will appear at the top of SERPs (search engine result pages) or the highest it can when someone searched for what you offer.
The reason is really critical is that if your website doesn’t appear high in the results the number of people getting to your website will be greatly reduced. Meaning fewer potential customers finding your site.
A 2023 study by FirstPageSage found that if you rank results in position one you will get a click-through rate (CTR) of 39.8%, position two at 18.7%, at and position three 10.2%
Using a quick example, let’s say you sell fishing gear through an online store.
If someone searched for “cheap fishing rods” in an ideal world your website would be top of the results. If your website is on page 5 of Google and all your competitors are above you, the chances of someone clicking on your website are slim to zero.
So in brief, SEO is a way of improving your site to help Google understand your website and for your audience to find you online.
It also doesn’t matter whether you have a product to sell, offer a service, are a blogger, etc. It doesn’t even matter about the industry, the country you’re in, or anything else for that matter. The reason you have a website is that you want it to get found by people who are lookingproductsr types of products or services.
What is on-page and off-page SEO?
These are two distinct types of SEO that you need to be aware of
On-page or on-site SEO refers to what you can actually improve on the website itself. Semrush, define it as “the process of optimising parts of your webpages so they rank higher on search engines”. These could be things such as optimising URLs, improving title tags or creating new website content.
Off-page SEO is slightly different, Moz describes it as “actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings”
Although this guide is mainly aimed at on-page SEO, be aware that both types play a huge role in your website’s ranking strength. However, here are a few examples of off-page SEO:
- Link building and backlinks
- Social media marketing
- Guest posting on other people’s blogs and sites
- Video marketing on places like YouTube and Vimeo
We will touch on link building, however, as it’s important both internally within your website and also externally.
Types of SEO, the Good the Bad, and the Ugly
It’s important to understand the distinction between good (white hat) and bad (black hat) techniques.
Whitehat SEO refers to ethical and legitimate strategies that comply with search engine guidelines, focusing on providing value to users and improving the overall user experience.
On the other hand, black hat SEO involves manipulative tactics that aim to deceive search engines and gain quick but unsustainable rankings.
Let’s explore examples of both and emphasise the importance of using white hat techniques.
Whitehat SEO techniques involve creating high-quality content, optimising website structure and navigation, and building genuine and relevant backlinks.
This includes conducting thorough keyword research, using keywords naturally in content and metadata, and ensuring proper on-page optimisation. White hat strategies prioritise user intent, semantic relevance, and delivering valuable information that satisfies search queries. These techniques focus on long-term results and aim to establish a solid foundation for organic growth.
Blackhat SEO, on the other hand, is bad news!
It will employ tactics that attempt to manipulate search engine algorithms for quick gains, often at the expense of user experience.
Examples of blackhat techniques include keyword stuffing (excessive and unnatural use of keywords), hidden text or links and cloaking (presenting different content to search engines and users). Blackhat tactics aim to fool search engine algorithms and can result in severe penalties, including being removed from search engines altogether.
Using white hat techniques is crucial for the long-term success of your website. Search engines continuously refine their algorithms to provide the best user experience and deliver relevant, high-quality content. By adhering to white hat SEO practices, you build trust and credibility with search engines, leading to improved rankings and sustained organic traffic. Whitehat techniques also foster positive user experiences, as they prioritise delivering valuable content that fulfils user intent and addresses their needs.
It’s essential to prioritise long-term growth and good practices over a quick fix.
By consistently providing high-quality content, following search engine guidelines, and delivering value to your audience, you build a strong foundation for sustainable organic visibility and user engagement. White hat SEO ensures that your website remains in good shape when compared with search engine algorithms.
How do you measure SEO?
It’s great to know what SEO tips for beginners will be helpful, but the other side of this is how you monitor and evaluate whether your efforts are actually working.
There are a few things you can do to do this including:
Your position in search engine results pages (SERPs)
This is when you undertake SEO and you can monitor that your website is moving up in the rankings.
For example, if your goal is to be found well for the search term “fishing rods” day one you’re in position 44 on Google.
After SEO work three months down the road you’re now in position 15, and you will know that what you’re doing is probably working.
Website impressions – Help Google drive more views
Using an analytical monitoring tool such as Google Analytics (link what is GA 4) you can track user activity and data around your website. Impressions are when a user has seen (or potentially seen a link to your site in search results). It doesn’t matter whether they have clicked through to your site or not, impressions are just if your website has been displayed when a search is performed.
Insert a screenshot of GA impressions.
If your impressions either for your website as a whole or a single webpage are increasing over time, this is another way of knowing if your SEO techniques are working. Again like all these SEO tips for beginners, there is a lot more to it, however, the takeaway is if more people are seeing your site month on month, basic SEO techniques are probably having an impact.
Organic search traffic vs paid search traffic vs referral traffic – Understand how people get to your URLs
Again using a tool like Google Analytics 4, you will need to identify where your website traffic is coming from to understand if your efforts are having an impact on SEO ranking.
It’s important to understand that there are mainly three types (there are others) of ways that people will find your site:
- Through paid-for ads on places like Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
- Via organic search, meaning people find your site by typing in something in a search engine that they are looking for and your site appears to them (an impression).
- Referral traffic such as posting content on social media and people clicking back to your site to see more.
The reason that this is important is so you have a clear understanding of what the data is saying.
For example, if today you had 1000 users on your website, you would need to understand where they are coming from. If 700 are coming through paid adverts and 200 through social media, that would mean 100 have reached your website through organic search.
In other words, 10% of your traffic is coming via organic search.
By splitting the sources of where users are coming from you will have a clear base of how your traffic is getting to you. SEO is all about driving organic traffic.
The jewel in the crown from a traffic perspective is to increase the organic numbers and percentage share of your site from this source.
A best practice technique is to focus on Domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA)
It’s important when new to SEO to understand what domain and page authority actually are as these can be indicators of how strong search engines see your website. This in turn can be a reflection of your SEO efforts.
DA and PA, are a metrics developed by Moz on how likely a website will appear in SERPs compared to competitors. It’s critical to note that Google doesn’t use domain authority as a ranking factor on where your website sits in search results. However, DA is an indicator of how your website is performing against other sites.
In simpler words, Google doesn’t use DA as part of how it ranks a website. It is more a reflection of how strong a website actually is. Think of it as a grading system, the better the DA score the more likely Google will look favourably on your website.
Here are some quick insights of what DA and PA are:
- DA refers to the strength of your entire website
- PA refers to the strength of each page on your site
- Domain authority is a grade from 0-100. 100 being the highest.
- DA is calculated mainly from the number and quality of backlinks (link what are backlinks) your website gets from other websites.
You may be asking right now, “How are backlinks from other websites an on-page SEO technique that I can control?”
The answer is, it all boils down to quality content (we’ll cover this later), and that’s why your content is important. The more links to your website from other high DA sites, the better your ranking can be. It’s an indirect way of knowing that your SEO efforts are working.
In a nutshell:
High-quality content on your website (an SEO technique) = more sites referring to your content = a higher DA score.
A higher domain score shows you’re a source that can be trusted by Google which can reward you with better rankings. So your DA score can be used as a way of also telling whether SEO is working for you. Understanding your DA is only one part of how to evaluate the strength of your website and SEO.
SEO tools to monitor and evaluate
Working on SEO is hard, which is even more challenging when you’re trying to understand the results. What’s working, what’s not and how can you up your SEO game?
Well, thankfully there is a load of free and paid-for SEO tools online that can help you along the way.
Below we have included some of the most popular SEO monitoring tools. However, to cover each of these in finite detail is for another post. These are purely meant as a guide to help you start researching which is best for you and how to use them.
13 Essential SEO Tips for Beginners
Now that we have covered the basics of what SEO actually is, the benefit to your business, and hopefully, now, you get an understanding of how important it is. We’ll now touch on some SEO tips for beginners that you can implement on your site’s pages to help search engines understand who you are and why they should offer your site in SERPs.
Keep your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistent across the web
Maintaining consistent and accurate Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) information across citation sources is crucial for improving your website’s SEO.
Citation sources are other websites that list your company, for example, Facebook, Yell, local business directories, and Apple Maps.
Search engines, like Google, rely on NAP information to verify the legitimacy and credibility of local businesses. Basically, Google likes to check from multiple sources that your details remain consistent.
If for example, you have recently moved to new premises and Facebook is showing your old address and so is Google Maps, but on your website, it has the new address, which is correct? Google wouldn’t be 100% confident about where you are based which could impact important SEO efforts.
Check online anywhere your business is mentioned and check that your contact information is correct, it’s a small way to improve your ranking.
Keyword research: Long Tail Keywords and Short Tail Keywords
Keyword research is a fundamental aspect of SEO and search ranking that involves identifying the right keywords to target in your website content.
Keywords are the words or phrases that users type into search engines when looking for information, products, or services. Search engines look for these words on your website and match them to the user’s search. Knowing what keyword to use will improve your search traffic.
When conducting keyword research though, it’s important to consider both long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords.
Short tail keywords
These are broad and generic terms that usually consist of one or two words, such as “fishing rods.” They typically have high search volumes but also high competition.
Short-tail keywords are more challenging to rank for because they attract a broader audience, which may not always be specifically looking for what you offer.
Long tail keywords
Are more specific and consist of three or more words, such as “affordable fishing rods for beginners.” These keywords have lower search volumes but tend to have lower competition as well.
Long tail keywords allow you to target a more focused audience that is more likely to convert into customers or take the desired action.
When looking to do keyword research you will need to look at both short and longtail keywords that you want to be found for. By knowing what keywords are relevant to your website and more importantly to your audience, you’ll have a better chance to improve your search ranking.
Latent Semantic Indexing and linked words
In addition to short and long-tail keywords, you should also consider utilising latent semantic indexing (LSI) and semantics as part of SEO.
LSI refers to the concept of search engines analysing the context and meaning of words to provide more relevant search results. It involves using related terms and synonyms to create more comprehensive and semantically rich content.
It sounds confusing, however, in its simplest form it’s mainly about having related language and wording that a search engine would expect to find in the content.
For example, let’s say your website is all about caring for animals.
If you wrote an article on how to train a puppy. You naturally would expect to find wording and topics within the article talking about rewarding good behaviour with treats, positive commands, tone of voice, and lead training.
These are all associated terms and wording used by search engines to look at. Search engines would anticipate that as the topic is about ‘puppy training’ it would believe that it should also include words and phrasing that ‘relate’ to the subject.
When producing content for your website, ensure you carefully think about the topic and use phrases that naturally you would expect to be included in such a piece of content.
Use user search intent to help content to rank
Keyword research goes beyond simply identifying high-search volume keywords, focusing on the user is one of the best SEO tips.
You must consider the intent of the searcher to determine the right keywords to target.
The basics of intent are to understand why someone is searching for something and for you to produce and optimise your content for that specific need. By doing this you will help people find your content and increase exposure and traffic.
When producing unique content on your site, don’t just try to help search engine crawlers focus on the user and the four main types of user intent:
Commercial Intent: This refers to users who are researching a brand or service. They may be in the early stages of the buying process, wanting more information about different options available.
Transactional Intent: These users are ready to make a purchase or engage in a specific transaction. They have a clear intention to buy a product or service and are looking for the best option.
Informational Intent: Users with informational intent are seeking general information or answers to specific questions. They are looking for informative content that provides them with the information they need.
Navigational Intent: Users with navigational intent have a specific website in mind that they want to visit. They want to use a search engine to find the direct URL or homepage of a particular website.
Understanding these different intents will help you determine which keywords to target based on your specific goals, and users, and what content for search engines will be best for SEO improvements.
For example, let’s use the above example of a blog post written on puppy training.
You would want to focus on informational keywords that align with the content, such as “how to reward a puppy when training.” On the other hand, if you have a service or product page, transactional keywords like “buy puppy training toys” would be more relevant.
When using tools like Ubersuggest for keyword research, you will come across the metric called “Keyword Difficulty.” This metric indicates the level of SEO effort required to rank in the top 10 results on Google for a particular keyword.
By identifying keywords with low difficulty scores and high search volume, you can find opportunities that are easier to rank for while attracting significant traffic. These keywords may have received less attention from other bloggers or website owners, making it more feasible for you to capture that traffic for yourself.
By considering user intent and using tools to assess keyword difficulty, you can refine your keyword strategy and focus on terms that have the potential to drive targeted traffic to your website. This approach allows you to optimise your content effectively and increase helping the website reach the top of the search results.
Structure of pages and content
When optimising your website content, incorporate keywords strategically throughout your headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.), body paragraphs, and meta descriptions.
However, it’s important to prioritise natural and organic usage of keywords that align with the meaning and context of your content. Search engines value high-quality and user-focused content, so aim to provide valuable information and answer the search intent effectively.
Competitor research is an essential part of every SEO strategy. By analysing your competitors, you gain valuable insights into their tactics, strengths, and weaknesses. Regardless of the type of website or industry you work in, competitor research is a must!
This information helps you make informed decisions and fine-tune your own approach.
Researching your competitors will allow you to gain a good understanding of what they are up to. You should evaluate their online presence, website structure, the content on their web pages, monitor their social media accounts, backlinks, and more.
Identifying opportunities: Analysing your competitors’ strategies will help you uncover opportunities that you may have overlooked. By examining their keywords, content gaps, and promotional tactics, you can identify areas where you can outperform them and capture additional market share.
Monitor your performance: By comparing your website’s performance with those of your competitors, you can assess your strengths and weaknesses. This benchmarking helps you set goals, track your progress, and measure the effectiveness of which is the right SEO for you.
Mimic successful strategies: Competitor research allows you to identify what is working well for your competitors. By examining their top-performing content, keywords that are ranking well for them, and what backlinks they have, you can gain insights into effective strategies that you can adapt for your own website.
Staying updated with industry trends: Monitoring your competitors helps you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in your industry. By analysing their content, social media presence, and overall online activities, you can identify emerging trends and adjust your strategy accordingly.
To conduct effective competitor research, follow these SEO basics:
- Identify your main competitors: Using online tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Search can help you identify competitors.
- Analyse their website structure and design: Look at their website structure, user experience, and design elements. If they do something better than your site, also do something similar
- Evaluate their content strategy: Analyse the type of content your competitors produce, the topics they cover, and the formats they use. Identify opportunities that you can use.
- Look at backlinks to their website: Investigate the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to your competitor’s websites. Again try and get similar links to your website from high domain authority sources.
- Monitor their social media presence: Check out their social accounts and look at what posts get the most likes, shares or traction. Introduce the successful ones into your social campaigns.
- Track their keyword rankings: Use SEO tools to track your competitors’ keyword rankings. Identify the keywords they are ranking well for and determine if there are any opportunities to improve your own rankings for those keywords.
- Stay updated with their promotions and campaigns: Keep an eye on your competitors’ promotional activities, special offers, and campaigns. Identify marketing strategies that are yielding positive results for them and consider implementing similar tactics.
Remember, the goal of competitor research is not to copy exactly what your competitors are doing. Look at their successful SEO tactics to help your website achieve better rankings by adopting a similar approach.
Long-form content or longer content is much better for SEO by attracting users through different searches
This type of content refers to comprehensive pieces on your website that provide a high value to its audience. This isn’t to be confused with long-tail keywords.
Long-form content on your website can be things such as detailed blog posts, Ebooks, Whitepapers, Case studies, Product guides, Brochures, and datasheets as examples. From an SEO perspective, long-form content has the following benefits:
Enhanced keyword targeting: Long-form content allows you to naturally be able to add in more relevant keywords as it should cover a topic in detail.
Improved user experience: Longer content pieces have the potential to engage readers for a longer duration. A blog post for instance that covers in detail a specific topic will probably offer more value to a reader.
Become an authority: Long-form content demonstrates your extensive knowledge of a particular subject. By delving deeply into a topic, offering unique content, and providing valuable information, you establish yourself as an authority in your industry. This can attract more backlinks from other websites, and also help Google and other search engines believe that you’re a credible source of knowledge.
Increased social sharing and engagement: Well-researched and high-quality content has a higher likelihood of being shared across social media platforms.
Time on your site: Long-form content has the potential to increase user time on your site. When visitors find valuable and engaging content, they are more likely to stay longer, exploring other pages and sections of your website. This, in turn, reduces people bouncing away from your site back to the search engine. Lowering these bounce rates indicates to search engines that your content is relevant and valuable, potentially boosting your rankings.
It’s important to note that long-form content should not be created solely for the purpose of word count and keyword stuffing.
The quality, relevance, and value of the content should always take precedence. However, by crafting comprehensive and informative pieces that address user intent, target specific keywords, and provide a positive user experience, you can leverage the power of long-form content to improve your SEO efforts and drive organic traffic to your website.
Write for humans, not for Google Search Console
As we’ve just spoken about long-form content and content in general, it’s important to understand that it’s really important you focus the content on the intended audience or end user. Don’t try and write content just for search engines to get to the top of the page!
Writing for humans in SEO is crucial for several reasons.
Firstly, it improves user experience by providing valuable and engaging content that aligns with search engines’ objectives. This leads to higher user satisfaction, longer time spent on your site, lower bounce rates, and improved conversions, all of which positively impact SEO.
Secondly, writing for humans builds trust and credibility as you address their needs and position yourself as a reliable source of information. This results in increased organic traffic, better search engine rankings, and higher-quality backlinks.
Additionally, by incorporating natural language and semantic search, you enhance the visibility of your content for relevant searches, driving more organic traffic.
Lastly, content that resonates with human readers encourages social sharing and engagement, expanding your content’s reach and improving its relevance and quality in the eyes of search engines. Overall, focusing on humans in your content creation ultimately supports your SEO efforts.
Keep your content for search engines and users up-to-date and relevant
Keeping the content on your website fresh and up-to-date is crucial for several reasons.
It helps search engines prioritise websites that consistently provide relevant and current information to their users. By updating your content, you signal to search engines that your website is active, reliable, and of great value.
As an example, if you produced a blog post back in 2019, perhaps the content or outbound links within it are out of date now, meaning it isn’t as relevant as when you first posted it. Like this article on SEO, “SEO tips for beginners”, at some point in the near future, we will recheck it and update it with new information that may have changed.
Internet users are constantly seeking new and valuable information. By offering them fresh content, you demonstrate your commitment to providing the most current and relevant insights, which encourages visitors to return to your site and stay engaged with your brand. This can lead to increased user satisfaction, longer browsing sessions, and higher conversion rates.
By updating your content, you can address emerging topics, incorporate new keywords and search queries, and provide the most accurate and comprehensive information to your audience.
Regularly refreshing your content also offers an opportunity to optimise it for improved SEO performance. As search engines change how they evaluate a website, new optimisation techniques emerge. By updating your content, you can adapt your actual SEO to what is currently best practice.
Start link building and getting your website noticed
Link building may seem a bit crazy – why would you want to direct people away from your own content?
However, SEO experts understand that it’s a powerful tactic!
When you link to other high-quality and authoritative websites from your own pages, and even better, when those websites link back to you, search engines perceive your site as an authoritative source on the given topic.
A great technique is to use any backlinking tool like SEMrush (link) and look at the links your competitors are getting. Try to get similar links to your website too.
Effective link-building can be accomplished in many ways including:
- Have links on your web pages to other relevant web pages on your website – internal linking
- Try to produce guest blogs for other websites to earn a link back to your website
- Identifying broken links on relevant websites and reaching out to the site owners, suggesting your content as a replacement
- Collaborating with influencers or industry experts to create valuable content and secure backlinks from their websites or social media profiles
- Actively promoting your content through social media, email marketing, and outreach to increase its visibility and likelihood of earning backlinks
- Creating comprehensive and informative resources (such as guides, tutorials, or tools) that other websites will naturally link to as a reference
- Creating visually appealing infographics and reaching out to relevant websites or blogs to offer them for use with proper attribution and a backlink.
- Engaging in relevant online forums and communities to provide helpful insights and resources, including a backlink when appropriate.
A few points worth mentioning though is that not all links are good. If you get a link from site that is deemed as bad, spammy or there just to get links, e.g link farms or buying links they could actually hurt your website! Gaining backlinks is one of those SEO issues that is hard to do correctly and takes a lot of time and effort.
Stay on top of Google algorithm changes to avoid SEO issues
Google is the king of all search engines.
You may not know but Google has a 92.66% market share of online searches whilst its nearest rival Bing has a share of 2.76%. You can probably see that Google does dominate.
With this in mind, you need to be in Google’s good books and stay up to date with its search algorithms.
What we mean by this is that, in a nutshell, Google changes and updates how it evaluates how good or bad a website is on a very regular basis. It’s known to average around 500-600 changes every year. What this means to you is that without SEO changes on your part and sticking to what you have always done and without knowledge of Google changes your SEO efforts could have little to no effect.
Enhance your SEO knowledge and stay up to date with Google Search Central Blog as it will detail any changes that it makes
Tell Google which pages to not index
This is a fairly straightforward one to understand.
Google crawls the web, meaning it scans each and every web page on every website to determine the content, and the topic and weighs up the value of the page.
You need to stop Google from ‘indexing’ (or crawling) pages on your website that have little or no value to an end-user or pages that you want to keep hidden.
Examples of such pages include thank you pages, landing pages for advertising campaigns, internal policy or compliance pages, or even your website’s search results page.
By adding a robots.txt file to these specific pages, you can instruct the crawling software to exclude them from being indexed, ensuring that they remain inaccessible to search engines.
Optimise images on your website
Large images or graphics will slow down your website.
This will lead to a negative user experience and lower search engine rankings.
To ensure your site performs well, it’s important to optimise your images.
You can do this by compressing through many online sites such as TinyPNG.
In addition to image optimisation, the names and alt tags of your images are also important. Search engines crawl and index visual content, including file names.
By giving your image files descriptive and keyword-rich names, you can improve your search engine rankings.
Alt tags, which provide textual descriptions of images, are important for accessibility and SEO. Including relevant keywords in alt tags helps search engines like Google understand your images and improves your website’s visibility in search results.
Meta descriptions, title tags and SEO basics
Meta descriptions may not directly impact search engine rankings but they do play an important role in the SEO arena.
Crafting optimised meta descriptions can greatly impact your site by encouraging click-throughs when people find your website in SERPs.
To optimise your meta descriptions for SEO, consider the following tips:
- Keep it Concise: Aim for a length of around 150-160 characters to ensure that the description displays fully in search results and avoids being cut off.
- Include Relevant Keywords: Incorporate targeted keywords naturally into your meta description to signal to search engines and users that your page is relevant to their search query.
- Be Compelling: Write persuasive, engaging meta descriptions that highlight the unique selling points of your content and provide a clear value proposition to entice users to click.
Remember that while meta descriptions may not directly impact rankings, they have a significant influence on click-through rates, user engagement, and ultimately the success of your SEO efforts. By optimising your meta descriptions, you can improve your chances of attracting more qualified traffic to your website and driving conversions.
If you’ve stuck around long enough you’ll now realise that SEO can be complex. There are general techniques that all website owners should adopt if they are serious about improving their online presence. However, to what degree they need to focus on each will be down to the type of business, the number and strength of your competitors and a host of other factors.
These SEO tips for beginners are meant to show an overview of some of the basic tactics that you can use. They don’t include every aspect of SEO, but for most businesses, they will provide a place of reference and a good starting point to learn more.
We would suggest that you research more into each area to get a much better understanding of why and how SEO affects a website and the best practices to do it right. For some, SEO may seem daunting and you may want to use a professional SEO service to undertake them, either way, SEO is important and shouldn’t be sidelined.
If you’re in any doubt or have any questions, pop a comment below or contact us, we’re more than happy to offer you free and helpful SEO advice when you need it.