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25 SEO Tips for Beginners That Matter

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Beginners note: SEO is not magic.

Google has a complex search algorithm made up of over 200 ranking factors – so you can’t expect to gain the top spots without doing the work.

And the key is to work smarter (not harder) by following our 25 SEO tips for beginners that matter!

Read on or use the table of contents to ‘jump’ to a specific section in the post.

Table of Contents

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1. Conduct a Website Audit

We spoke about the importance of ‘conducting a website audit’ in 15 SEO mistakes to avoid in 2021 (mistake number 15).

Because you can’t achieve SEO success before you determine what is working with your website and what is not.

So always start with a comprehensive website audit that has the goal of improving the:

  • Efficiency
  • Visibility of your website.

It’s critical to do this audit and establish a baseline for success because the online world is always evolving.

And if you don’t evolve there will be a ‘sameness’ about your brand that will leave customers purchasing from your competitors.

Additional learning: Neil Patel’s definitive guide to running an SEO website audit is awesome and be sure to avoid these 4 mistakes during a website audit, by Search Engine Land.

Takeaway: Conduct website audits once a quarter or once every six months (for smaller websites). And embrace them because they establish difference – as there is a stupidity of ‘sameness’ as discussed by Tom Roach in this post.

Two people formulating a strategy by drawing on whiteboard

2. Have a SEO Strategy with Clear Objectives

Having a SEO strategy (like a website audit) is fundamental to your success.

But before coming up with a SEO strategy, you need to consider:

Your business goals drive your SEO strategy and so it’s time to think big picture, like you want to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase leads by ‘x’ amount
  • Increase revenue by ‘y’ amount.

But then get specific by defining your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on these goals, like:

  • Sales
  • Emails
  • Phone calls.

And then closely study your competitors to:

  • Gain valuable insights
  • ‘Fine tune’ your business goals
  • Come up with a strategy that’s better than your competitors.

Additional learning: Become a pro at setting business goals with these 6 tips by Forbes. SpyFu’s competitor analysis tool is great for a comprehensive analysis of your competitors’ SEO strategy.

Takeaway: Templates help to speed up the process of executing a SEO strategy and this resource by HubSpot is perfect to get you started. But if you want comprehensive – check out Brian Dean’s how to create an effective SEO strategy in 2021.

Cartoon graphic of person conducting a search in Google by keyword

3. Do Your Keyword Research

The ‘money’ is in comprehensive keyword research, because doing it for a website:

  • Ascertains the keywords your audience is searching for
  • Determines what it will take to rank for these keywords
  • Enables ‘strategic’ decisioning on what keywords to go after.

So note beginners – Never rush or skip this step!

And while there are 18 types of keywords every marketer should know, you need to place a strong emphasis on dominating ‘longtail keywords’ in your market, because they are:

Longtail keywords are:

  • 3 keywords or more (typically)
  • Specific (and focused – giving search engines a clearer picture of user intent).

Example of a longtail keyword – “Small business copywriting.”

As opposed to a short tail keyword – “Copywriting.”

So in this example, it’s obvious that ‘copywriting’ will have more search volume, but also it will have more competition.

And more competition means dedicating more time, energy and resources to ranking organically: When the result may only be high traffic with low conversions (the disadvantage of short tail keywords).

This is as opposed to ranking for longtail keywords more easily and driving high-quality/targeted traffic that converts higher.

Additional learning: You can’t beat the Google Keyword Planner for doing keyword research – and this actionable guide from Ahrefs will help you get the most out of it. SEMrush’s keyword magic tool is also an awesome tool that semi-automates your keyword research (it was named best digital tool).

Takeaway: Start keyword research today by following this useful beginner’s guide by HubSpot, and to take the process one step further (with tools and examples), check out this resource by Neil Patel. And remember never to rely on one keyword research tool (that’s a single point of failure) and confirm your results with other tools – here’s 10 free keyword research tools besides Google keyword planner.

Cartoon graphic of man holding magnifying glass analysing user intent search

4. Understand User Intent

Before taking action on the results of your ‘keyword research’ it’s critical to understand user intent (explained here).

And as we explained in the post: “User intent (also known as ‘search intent’) is the main goal a person (the user) has when typing a query (keyword/s) into a search engine, like Google.”

The 3 types of user intent explained by the Daily Egg in this conversion optimisation guide to user intent are:

User intent broken down into navigational, informational and transactional

So understanding these ‘intents’ allows you to ‘isolate’ what keywords to target and move forward with your SEO.

For example, an informational keyword  “How to become a copywriter with no experience” would require a blog post like this.

Vs. someone searching transactionally (for example)  “Buy Logitech headset Amazon” wants to go straight to the Amazon site (in the headset section/with Logitech chosen as the brand).

Additional learning: Google has even written guidelines on ‘user intent’ (big hint to importance) and you can view them here (section 12).

Takeaway: Get inside the heads (critical) of your target market by getting a grasp of how people search (a great resource by Search Engine Journal) and optimise for user intent like a pro, using this great guide by Kevin Indig.

Basic white pendant lamp in blue interior room

5. Get These Basics of SEO Right

Avoid Flash – Inefficiency is one of the 5 main reasons not to use Flash on your website.

And as summarised by Stephanie Fisher in that resource: “Flash consumes a lot of power, slows down browsers and causes your computer to do a lot of unnecessary work.

Create a sitemap – Important to your website’s visibility. It assists search engines to better understand your site (knowing what is important and what is not) by:

  • Crawling
  • Navigating
  • Indexing pages.

Create a robots.txt file – A key communication tool between websites and search engine crawlers. It tells crawlers which URLs they can access on your website (and which they should not crawl).

Additional learning: You can read more about the importance of sitemaps for SEO in this resource by Merkle and SEO Site Checkup summarise the importance of a robots.txt file for your SEO here.

Takeaway: Take action today by following two awesome resources by Neil Patel: Creating a SEO-boosting XML sitemap in 20 minutes (or less) and how to create the perfect robots.txt file for SEO.

SEO title tags and meta data description elements

6. Optimise Your Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

Title tags

As outlined by Moz in this on-page ranking factors resource: “Title tags are the second most important on-page factor for SEO, after content.”

So they are critical to get right as they appear (with examples from the home page of my website) in:

  • SERPs
Kieran Duffey's home page title tag in SERPs
  • Web broswers
Kieran Duffey's title tag in SERPS
  • Social networks
social networks

With title tags ‘first impressions count’, therefore your title tag needs to:

  • Make it clear to search engines what your page is about (concisely, accurately and descriptively).
  • Impact users searching via organic search (enticing them to want to click through to your result).

Meta descriptions

Although meta descriptions are not a ranking factor (outlined here by Moz) they can still can ‘indirectly’ influence your page’s ability to rank.

How?

Having ‘compelling’ meta descriptions can have a positive impact on your page’s CTR (click-through rate) and this can help your rankings.

So don’t overlook meta descriptions and make sure (in addition to being compelling) they are:

  • Concise (ideally staying within the pixel width limit using this tool)
  • Accurate (to ensure when the user clicks-through to your page that their expectations are met)
  • Descriptive (allowing better understanding by users and search engines)
  • Inclusive of a call to action (as when you ask – a great call to action will entice the user to click-through).

 Here is an example of the ‘meta description’ of my home page in the SERPs which fulfills these criteria.

Kieran Duffey's meta description in the SERPs

Additional learning: Both title tags and meta descriptions help towards ranking, but you need to understand their benefit beyond that – and that’s brilliantly explained by Site Care in this resource.

Takeaway: Follow Moz’s best practices for title tags and also check its length (as it’s limited by pixel width in Google). And for meta description best practices you can also follow this guide by Moz (checking that you’re staying within the pixel width limit using this tool).

Note: You should understand that if you don’t specify a ‘meta description’ then Google will do it for you (by taking a summary from the page). And Google has the power to rewrite ‘title tags’ and ‘meta descriptions.’ So it’s fine to make them ‘pop’ but also ensure accuracy for best results.

Word URL on yellow background

7. Create SEO Friendly URLs

Don’t overlook URLs as both users and Google notice and benefit from them.

They improve ‘user experience’ and that’s an important Google ranking factor that does impact your Google rankings (as mentioned in 11.).

For users  It should ‘accurately’ describe the page they are on, about to click on and help them understand where they are on your website. 

For Google (and other search engines)  Allows web crawlers to better understand your page by applying ‘context’ to it and gives them a ‘roadmap’ to your website information architecture (to be discussed in 10.).

When creating URLs for your site, follow these tips:

  • Keep them short but descriptive (ideally less than 5 words)
  • Make them easy to understand (allowing a quick comprehension of what the page is about)
  • Use keywords if possible (but no keyword stuffing or forcing them in)
  • Lowercase your URL
  • Use hyphens (-) to separate words
  • Avoid apostrophes (‘) and hashtags (#).

For example, a good URL structure – This blog post URL fulfills all these criteria (tips): https://kieranduffey.com.au/definitive-seo-tips-for-beginners/

For example, a bad URL structure – Where the blog post URL is created with little thought and doesn’t fulfill the criteria (tips): https://kieranduffey.com.au/blog-post-seo-123/

Note: Get in the habit of establishing a great website URL structure from the beginning and maintaining this standard. Avoid changing URLs unless you must and if you have to, do a proper 301 (permanent) redirect.

Additional learning: Leberman Technologies summarise the importance of URL structure best here: “It is more usable to humans and likely to get more value by search engine crawlers.” And you can read their post if you want more clarity on the importance of URLs.

Takeaway: Follow Design Powers 12 SEO best practices for URLs, and if you still want more, Neil Patel’s the complete guide on structuring your URLs correctly has some great ‘visuals’ and ‘examples’ to reinforce everything.

Isometric flat vector concept of technical SEO audit

8. Fix Technical SEO Issues

Technical SEO is its own discipline.

And you can’t ignore it (even if you’re not technical) because it only takes one ‘major’ technical SEO issue to negatively ‘impact’ on the visibility of your site in Google and other search engines.

Technical SEO helps crawlers better understand your site and give it the position in SERPs it deserves.

It covers everything from:

  • Crawling and indexing
  • Sitemaps
  • Meta tags
  • Duplicate content
  • Linking
  • Much more.

Additional learning: Don’t underestimate the importance of technical SEO (even if you have little understanding) because as Search Engine Journal summarise in this great resource: It’s more important than ever to be technical.

Takeaway: If you want to have a ‘go’ yourself at technical SEO then understand the facts first – here’s 19 technical SEO facts for beginners according to Search Engine Journal. And then take action by following Ahrefs the beginner’s guide to technical SEO. But if you think it’s too tough, (and want to take the stress away) consider hiring a SEO professional to execute technical SEO, following these great tips by Word Stream.

Local SEO concept illustration

9. Employ Local SEO

Your brand needs to engage ‘local SEO’ if you are serving a customer base in a specific geographic area.

For example:

  • Roller Shutter People – Roller shutters Sydney
  • Mary Reiner – Career coach Melbourne
  • Kieran Duffey – Copywriter Brisbane.

Are examples of businesses targeting ‘keywords’ with users searching with ‘local search intent’ within Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane (a specific geographic area).

And your first step is to claim and list your brand on Google My Business (effectively the headquarters of local SEO) to:

  • Help customers find you (through better visibility)
  • Tell customers your story (by having a complete profile)
  • Maximise conversions (by doing what any brand does best – providing value).

For everything else – Be aware that local SEO has a unique set of ranking factors, as Google separates ‘organic’ and ‘local search’ to achieve its goal of giving the user exactly what they’re searching for.

Additional learning: Nearly half of all Google queries today are local searches. And if that still doesn’t convince you on the importance of local SEO, this resource by Hurrdat Marketing will.

Takeaway: The local SEO – the definitive guide to improve your local search engine rankings is a great resource for you to start your local SEO (as well as being actionable). But everyone loves a ‘cheat sheet’ and this local SEO one by Moz (with free PDF download) is awesome.

Information architecture concept trendy icon

10. Have Great Information Architecture

Information architecture (abbreviated ‘IA) is the ‘art’ and ‘science’ of how you organise information on your website to:

  • Provide better user understanding (by allowing them to navigate intuitively)
  • Combat information overload (by delivering the right content at the right time)
  • Improve user experience (now an important Google ranking factor).

So for simplicity purposes, start with a ‘pen’ and ‘paper’ (although there are tools like Realtime BoardLucid chart and Xmind if you prefer) brainstorming how you’ll organise your:

  • Website’s hierarchy – Think of it like a pyramid if you like. So your home page is in ‘tier 1’ and then you will have sub-pages (like about, contact and blog for example) in ‘tier 2.’ Then say if you have an eCommerce site you might have a ‘tier 3’ with product pages.
  • Header/footer pages – Critical to decide what is ‘important’ and ‘what’s not’ because these will be prominent ‘visuals’ for your users that get them around your site.
  • Internal pages with a breadcrumb menu – Make it easier for users to explore your site and it can serve as structured data (which can enhance your site’s look in search results – improving click-throughs.).

Additional learning: UX Matters summarise the important of IA here: “Information architecture is core to and forms the basis of a web site’s user experience.” And you can read their resource for more insights on IA.

Takeaway: Great ‘visualisation’ is key to executing IA but that can be tough if you don’t have any experience. But the complete beginner’s guide to Information architecture by UX Booth will help you execute.

People writing on white paper to improve user experience

11. Improve User Experience

Content is king and arguably ‘user experience is king’ when it comes to SEO.

It is:

And bounce rate (the dwell time on a page) is a statistic that can found inside your Google Analytics.

Because while you never look at any statistic (in isolation) a ‘high bounce rate’ can indicate underlying ‘user experience’ issues on a site, such as

  • A slow loading page (causing the user to exit the page)
  • Thin content (that lacks details to solve the user’s problems)
  • Poor design (first impressions count)
  • Complicated navigation (instead of intuitive)
  • Lack of trust (because ‘credibility’ is not established with trust symbols for e.g.).

Additional learning: Hopefully now you have some grasp on ‘user experience’ and you can solidify that by reading 10 examples of good user experience (used by some of the biggest brands worldwide).

Takeaway: Improving your website’s Information architecture (10.) is the first step to creating optimal user experiences. And conversions are always the primary goal of the process – so be sure to check out: A simple guide to improve user experience and boost conversion rates by the Daily Egg.

Man in white dress shirt holding phone near window

12. Ensure Your Website is Mobile Friendly

Any time. Any place. 24/7. We rely on our mobiles to ‘make a difference’ in our lives (by solving problems relevant to us).

So it’s critical that your website is ‘mobile friendly’ because:

So for increased visibility (through higher organic search rankings), more traffic and conversions – it’s essential to prioritise ‘mobile friendliness’, by ensuring your website will:

  • Load correctly
  • Display quickly on a mobile screen of any size.

Additional learning: If you still need further convincing on the importance of a mobile friendly website, check out these 3 easy-to-understand reasons according to Weblite.

Takeaway: Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if your web page is mobile friendly. And if you find your website has ‘mobile friendliness’ problems, hire a professional web developer to fix the problem/s by following these six steps (courtesy of The App Solutions). But if you want to know more and prefer to have a go yourself, Hostgator breaks down how to make your website mobile-friendly in 12 steps.

Loading text on black wall

13. Improve Your Page Speed

Critical.

Because along with ‘mobile friendliness’ (mentioned back in 12.it’s in the top 8 Google ranking factors according to Search Engine Journal.

Why?

Humans have a short attention span (heck, Time even reports here that it’s shorter than a goldfish!).

And Google (knowing this) not only wants to fulfill its goal of delivering the best possible results in the SERPs that fulfill user intent but do so in the fastest possible way.

The Facts – Fast websites (that load in under 2 seconds) improve user experience (11.), increasing the likelihood of:

  • Ranking better in search results
  • Securing more page visits per user
  • Getting more conversions.

Looking into the Future – With global attention span narrowing and trends not lasting as long, you can bet Google will only place increased importance on ‘page speed’ in years to come.

Additional learning: Forbes summarise the importance of page speed perfectly here: “If you would not wait around for a page to load, why would you expect your customers to do so?”

Takeaway: Addressing page speed is a ‘technical’ issue and you may want to hire a professional web developer to fix the problem/s by following these six steps.  But your starting point is to:

  • Go to Google Page Speed to analyse your website/get performance recommendations
  • Optimise the size of your images (a biggie)
  • Remove any unnecessary plug-ins (if using WordPress) or Javascript from your page.

And if it’s the perfect page score you seek, then check out Neil Patel’s definitive resource (that you can also send to a professional too): How to score a perfect 100% on Google PageSpeed Insights.

Computer keyboard with the script internal links on two adjacent buttons

14. Improve Internal Linking

Your ‘internal links’ help search engines with the ‘meaning’ of your pages.

And this ‘meaning’ is then delivered in search engine results (that’s why it’s a highly effective technique that improves your SEO).

So before you worry about ‘link building’ (getting external sites to point into yours) focus on improving your site’s internal linking (Ninja outreach did and it boosted their organic traffic by 40%.).

Because done right, it can:

  • Enhance user experience (where the link leads the user to more valuable information)
  • Heighten engagement (so the user is ready for the next step)
  • Keep them on the site longer (to make a purchase or the desired action).

Additional learning: Understand that ‘internal linking’ has many benefits. Internal links can get your site crawled faster and that’s just one of the SEO benefits outlined by Robert Walker (on LinkedIn) here.

Takeaway: Internal linking must not be overdone and done ‘naturally.’ Follow the seven commandments of internal linking by Neil Patel to execute this strategy.

Flat concept of link building

15. Embrace Link Building

Content is king but without ‘external sites’ pointing into your site (effectively vouching for the credibility of your site), it can be difficult to maximise your SEO impact.

Think of links from external sites as ‘votes’ to make things easier.

Because ‘votes’ (external links) from ‘authoritative’ sites are one of the top 8 Google ranking factors according to Search Engine Journal.

Links are the biggest off-page SEO optimisation factor but to maximise their SEO benefit, you need:

  • Great content (will always be king and the ‘value’ you provide through your content is what motivates the external site to link to you).
  • A ‘less is more’ quality approach (as a handful of ‘quality’ links easily beats hundreds of ‘low quality/even spammy’ links)
  • Natural links (explained here by Reliable Soft with a case study).

Additional learning: Before you get ‘excited’ about starting the link building process check out link building: the free SEO beginner’s guide by Moz to get a better grasp of the fundamentals.

Takeaway: If you already have an ‘existing backlink profile’ then here are 13 ways to improve backlinks that you already have. Once you have done that (or are ready to make start on link building) follow Ahrefs’s 9 easy link building strategies (that anyone can use). And for ‘everything’ link building/to go the next level you can’t beat Backlinko’s link building for SEO: the definitive guide.

Brown wooden blocks on white surface with do not fear text

16. Don't Be Afraid to Link to Other Sites

We just discussed the importance of link building (15.) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be afraid to link out!

Because remember – no matter what you think – you are not the ‘definitive’ resource on the web.

Therefore, you need to ‘embrace’ your competitors and enhance your content by linking to external sites that are:

  • ‘Helpful’ and ‘add value’ to the user
  • Reputable, trustworthy and high-quality
  • Authoritative (demonstrated though their expertise).

It helps make the web a ‘better place’ (what Google wants) but you need to be ‘smart’ when choosing to link to external sites.

For example  On a website home / product / service page it’s not best practice to link to an external site, as you want to keep your user ‘engaged’ on the page with no distractions (and ready for the next step).

Additional learning: Kim Kosaka (Alexa Blog) summarises the ‘value’ of effective linking to external sites perfectly, saying they are one of the most undervalued tactics in content marketing.

Takeaway: Understand that to maximise results from linking to external sites you need to follow best practices – this resource from MOZ is helpful in guiding you to move forward.

write-for-humans-first-then-search-engines

17. Write for Humans First, then Search Engines

Just because your site is ranked by ‘search engines’ don’t make the mistake of trying to please them ‘solely.’

Because search engines (like Google) have the number 1 goal of satisfying user intent, by providing them with a ‘search result’, that is the best solution to their problem.

That’s why you need to always write for humans first (as you are pleasing them and search engines at the same time).

And do this by getting your target audience to know, like and trust you by speaking directly to them.

You do this by writing in a calm, relaxed and personalised one-on-one conversational tone for best impact 

Additional learning: If you’re still not 100% clear on why you need to write for humans first, Stella Pop summarise it perfectly here: authentic is right so write for humans, not SEO.

Takeaway: Medium simplify the process of writing for humans with 4 great tips here. And to add to that (mentioned in this 60 second tip video) take these 3 steps. 1. Identify with your target audience. 2. Drop the jargon. 3. Carefully select your language.

Wireframe hand turning a quality level knob to the maximum position

18. Improve the Quality of Your Existing Content

‘Consistently’ producing new high quality, fresh and unique content (19.) can be tough.

And that’s why (before creating new content) you need to maximise the impact of your existing content, by (where possible):

‘Repurposing content’ is another great option for improving your content.

It’s a favourite amongst content marketer’s and involves recycling existing content using a different medium (for e.g., changing a blog post to a infographic) with the goal of:

  • Appealing to more audiences
  • Extending your reach.

You can learn 11 genius ways to repurpose content in this post by Word Stream.

Additional learning: Simplicity is key to success and so to reinforce the points mentioned here to improve quality – check out 12 ridiculously simple ways to make your content better by Search Engine Journal.

Takeaway: Don’t delay updating your old content as it can help with your rankings. Because in many cases (provided the right effort went into the initial content) it requires only a tiny effort for a big reward.

Gold high quality badge with red ribbon on white background

19. Update Your Website with High Quality, Fresh and Unique Content

‘Content will always be king (why that is – explained here by Forbes).

Therefore, you need to craft high quality, fresh and unique content to maximise SEO impact and not lag behind your competition.

High quality content – The big picture characteristics are:

  • High engagement (through readability)
  • Useful (fulfilling user intent of the searcher)
  • Overall value (by solving key/all problems)
  • Resourcefulness (demonstrated through expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness).
  • Shareability (ready to be easily shared on social media).

Fresh content – New or updated content. It’s just like you buy fruit/vegetables from your local grocery store – you want them to be fresh to be consumed – similarly your target audience wants content ‘relevant today’ (not yesterday).

Unique content – For best results always write content in your own words and don’t plagiarise (doing it intentionally is a sin). Because Google loves brands that are unique (what it wants you to be). Similarly, it loves unique content (to better serve its users – it’s primary goal).

Additional learning: Think ‘original’ content first and here’s 4 reasons why you should create that. Then understand the 10 benefits of consistent, high-quality content marketing here (great resource by HubSpot). And finally SEO Digital Group summarise why fresh content is critical for SEO.

Takeaway: So you know ‘content is ‘king.’ But now you need the ingredients to high quality content (that’s also ‘unique’ and ‘fresh’) – and Neil Patel’s: The 10 ingredients of great content writing will help you make your content king!

Green plants with evergreen content text

20. Craft Longer Blog Posts that are Evergreen

Evergreen content is the holy grail of content (explained why in this post).

The simplest way to define evergreen content is that it’s timeless.

For example, you may have a food recipe site.

And on that site, you have an amazing ‘beef casserole’ recipe that was crafted 10 years ago but will still be relevant 100 years from now – as people will still be hungry at this time (in the future) and crave to eat ‘beef casserole.’ 

Therefore, as a content marketer, it makes sense to put ‘maximum effort’ into blog posts that will be fresh, relevant and on-topic for the foreseeable future.

Rather than producing a ‘large volume’ of blog posts that will quickly outdate and require much time, effort and resources in the future to update.

This is the ‘working smarter’ (not harder) approach to content marketing, that focuses on:

  • The big picture (letting your competitors sweat the keywords/small stuff)
  • In-demand topics (the next evolution of SEO)
  • Longevity of the content (with minimal updates).

Additional learning: For elaboration on why evergreen content is so important to your content marketing strategy, read our post. We already mentioned this post at the start of this content (but evergreen content’s importance is paramount – and that’s why we’re mentioning again).

Takeaway: Make evergreen content a ‘priority’ to maximise your SEO impact and here’s how (a great resource from Neil Patel). And for inspiration (also with examples) check out 5 ideas for creating killer evergreen content according to HubSpot.

On page SEO concept with magnifying glass

21. Optimise for On-Page SEO

We already talked about some of the most important on-page SEO factors earlier:

  • Optimise your title tags & meta descriptions (6.)
  • Create SEO friendly URLs (7.)
  • Mobile friendliness (12.)
  • Page speed (13.).
  • Internal linking (14.)

But that’s just the start of on-page SEO, that also involves optimisation of:

You need a checklist to be ‘comprehensive’ and Brian Dean’s on-page SEO checklist is an awesome one (packed with examples) that you can follow.

And to reinforce your knowledge ‘visually’, be sure to check out Rand Fishkin’s: A visual guide to keyword targeting and on-page SEO.

Additional learning: Radd Interactive’s ‘why on-page SEO is important’ resource will leave you with no doubts in your mind on the importance of on-page SEO (if you’ve still got any).

Takeaway: Understand this is ‘on-page SEO’ and you are in control of changes on your website and not ‘off-page SEO’ (where it’s more ‘influencing’). More on the difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO here. And before taking action (using a checklist or visual for e.g.) you should read the 10 essential on-page SEO factors you need to know, according to Search Engine Journal (to move forward with confidence).

Social media icons displayed on black mobile phone

22. Leverage Social Media

Social media can’t be ignored in SEO – because of it’s amazing reach – with 4.48 billion active users worldwide in 2021 (and rapidly growing).

And with that ‘reach’ you can build your brand’s exposure/rankings – but only with ‘targeted’ traffic – and you can learn a lot by understanding 22 things you should never do on social media.

To simplify that content piece, before starting with social media, you need to:

Then, once you execute on social media (with the right engagement tactics), you should be aware of the most important social media metrics to track, before:

  • Assessing
  • Fine tuning
  • Moving forward.

Additional learning: This is not a post on ‘social media’ and so for more on its importance, check out 7 statistics that prove the importance of social media marketing in business according to Sprout Social.

Takeaway: To get started with your social media today Hootsuite’s how to create a social media strategy in 9 easy steps (free template) is awesome. And to automate social media (as much as possible), tools like Hootsuite and Buffer are useful.

Monitor screengrab of website analytics

23. Track & Measure Your SEO Results

With over 200 ranking factors SEO is ‘complex’ and a ‘moving target.’

You put in the hard work and then results come in weeks, months and years (in some cases).

That’s why you need to ‘measure your success’ so that you can:

  • Assess (using Google Analytics – a great free tool)
  • Fine tune (adjust your SEO strategy – spoken about in 2.)
  • Move forward with confidence (to build on/achieve even better results).

Don’t underestimate the power of Google Analytics just because it’s free.

Because if Google make a tool, it’s designed to help you.

And it does, through:

  • Better understanding customers (through key insights)
  • Making smarter business decisions (on where to invest key resources)
  • Guiding you on your SEO efforts (by better overall analysis).

Additional learning: Moz summarise the importance of tracking and measuring SEO results here: “They say if you can measure something, you can improve it.” And you can gain more valuable insights on the process by reading that resource.

Takeaway: Here are 15 ways to track your SEO efforts using Google Analytics. And how to measure SEO performance and results by SEMrush is a valuable resource that will have you itching to dive into your data and move forward (with key improvements).

Google search console menu on device screen pixelated close up view

24. Use Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another tool made by Google – so take the hint and use it to:

  • Monitor how Google views your site
  • Optimise its online presence.

Within Google Search Console, you can check for:

  • Mobile friendly issues
  • Crawl errors
  • Page indexing
  • Page rankings
  • Page speed ratings
  • Much more.

And you can speed up ‘indexation’ by submitting your:

  • URLs
  • Entire site
  • Sitemap/s.

Additional learning: Wordstream provides a clear distinction between Google Analytics and Search Console: “Analytics gives you traffic and conversion data; Search Console gives you a look at the casual search factors underlying the data.” Therefore, when you link the two: You have a powerful weapon to boosting conversions.

Takeaway: One of your primary goals in SEO is to boost conversions and how to do that using Google Search Console is explained in this great resource by Conversion Uplift. And the insider’s guide to using Google Search Console to fix your site by Neil Patel highlights key ‘tips’ and ‘tricks’ to get the most out of it.

Love to learn pencil signage on wall near man walking

25. Stay Updated & Continue Learning About SEO

SEO (like Google) is constantly evolving.

‘Change’ (not sameness) is the theme embraced by Google with changes to its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times each year.

Therefore, you need to take a ‘proactive’ approach to staying updated/continue learning about SEO or you will be left behind (and overtaken by your competitors).

So follow the news, keep up to date with top SEO blogs, sign up for useful newsletters, network with likeminded professionals, join industry associations and even buy a book on the topic (some of the best one’s are released yearly).

All with the goal of:

  • Keeping yourself informed on best practices
  • Following industry trends
  • Using the best SEO tools to help automate the process.

Additional learning: Figment summarise and add to everything we’ve just said: 5 reasons why SEO is a constant learning process (check it out to reinforce our  points – if interested).

Takeaway: There is a difference between staying updated/continue learning about SEO and information overload! So adopt a ‘less is more’ approach and follow the 3 thought leaders in the industry that will help you on any aspect of SEO:

Bonus sign letters 3d decor with confetti

Bonus SEO Tips

1. Optimise Your Anchor Text

 

The anchor text you use to link to other pages and domains has an impact on your website’s SEO.

And therefore, search engines will closely scrutinise anchor text to:

  • Better understand the purpose (of the page being linked to)
  • Assess the content quality (and if the link provides value to the user)
  • Ascertain whether it is relevant (to certain search terms).
Resources: If you’re looking to get a further ‘grasp’ on anchor text, familiarise yourself with the importance of it in SEO here, according to Edge Marketing.
 
Takeaway: Ensure your ‘anchor text’ helps readers by accurately describing what page (setting expectations) they’re about to land on, when they click on it. And for best practices on optimising anchor text, check out this helpful resource by MOZ.
 
 
 

2. Customise Your 404 Page

 

A 404 page is shown to a user when they:

  • Are looking for a page on your website that doesn’t exist
  • Mistype a URL
  • Follow a broken link.
Here is my custom 404 page:
 
Kieran Duffey's custom 404 page

Having a ‘helpful’ 404 page on your website improves user experience (11.) and this is fundamental to success in SEO.

And by ‘helpful’ it should give the user options to navigate to other pages of the site.

Additional learning: A custom 404 page is something ‘commonly overlooked’ but it shouldn’t be, as it’s beneficial to SEO and protects you from lost traffic.

Takeaway: Portent make it easier to create a great custom 404 error page today by breaking the process down with easy steps. And if you want to go the next level with your 404 page – you can’t beat this resource by Neil Patel (that includes examples).

3. Check for Broken Links

 

Cleaning up web links to websites or pages that no longer exist (broken links) is a ‘must’ because Google is always trying to provide the best possible experience for users.

Additional learning: Resolving broken links is a ‘quick win’ (and can give you an immediate boost in rankings) because you improve your SEO without creating anything.

Takeaway: Check for broken links using Xenu’s Link Sleuth (a free tool).

4. Try to Rank for Featured Snippets

 

Featured snippets (besides evergreen content – 20. are arguably the holy grail of SEO.

And that’s because they appear at the top of Google search results, increasing the likelihood of attracting large volumes of organic traffic (provided the search volume is high enough).

But there is both an ‘art’ and ‘science’ to ranking for a featured snippet, that consists of:

  • Having the right kind of content (that compels the user to click the link)
  • Content readability (how well your content can be digested by the user)
  • Optimising your content (in a certain way).

Additional learning: We are confined by ‘brevity’ in this post and so for elaboration on the importance of featured snippets – check out this resource by SEO Design Chicago.

Takeaway: Get your content ready today for ‘featured snippets’ by following the 8 steps on how to optimise for featured snippets and Neil Patel’s 9 tips for ranking in Google’s featured snippets is awesome (to reinforce everything and get the the best results).

5. Promote Your Website

 

The most successful websites take a ‘proactive’ approach to promoting their website, to ensure:

  • Visibility
  • More traffic
  • High rankings (in search engine results).

And you need to do the same.

Whether it be through:

Additional learning: Understand the 7 reasons why your website’s promotion is super important according to Brand 24.

Takeaway: For best results check out Webflow’s 10 effective ways to promote your website. And if you’re on a budget – 9 free ways to promote your website by Ahrefs will be useful.

Cartoon graphic of Muhammad Ali boxing

Conclusion

American professional boxer Muhammad Ali once said: “Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take the first step.”

So put all fear aside, take the first step and consistently take action on the 25 SEO tips for beginners that matter to get:

  • Quick SEO wins (sooner than you think)
  • Bigger SEO wins (as time progresses)
  • The biggest SEO wins (that motivates you for more success).

Over to You…

Do you agree with 25 SEO Tips for Beginners That Matter? Or is there something missing, or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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