Welcome to SEO For Beginners!
You may have heard that SEO is challenging, or too expensive, or just impossible.
SEO does not have to be that hard! SEO (Search Engine Optimization) basically consists of optimizing your website so that that Search Engines have a a better chance at ranking YOU above your competition! Our SEO for Beginners guide can help you understand how to target your audience, focus in on your specific market, and then capitalize on the traffic that you will generate!
So, what are some effective, IMMEDIATE STRATEGIES that you can implement to help improve your search engine rankings?
1) SEO For Beginners - Focus your TARGET AUDIENCE: Global, or Local.
Local Markets can be easier to focus on, and (generally), targeting Local Searches can be easier than targeting much broader Global Searches (when your intended customer does not specify a City, State, or Region/etc.
Global Markets, on the other hand, tend to command a much higher search volume (in other words, they get more searches per day/week/month), BUT, these can be highly competitive, and without targeting a specific geographical market, you are literally lost in a sea of competitors! Furthermore, a lack of geographic focus for some industries might cause any visitors to quickly lose interest in your site, when they find that there is nothing there about THEM (and therefore, nothing of interest to them)! This, of course, does not apply to information or media, where a broader, global range is more appropriate, but definitely more challenging to compete in.
2) Focus on your TARGET MARKET: Specific, or Broad.
Broad Markets are those very competitive keywords in the industry. Something such as 'Video Games' would be HIGHLY challenging to rank well for,
SPECIFIC markets can be less of a challenge, and can make it easier to get laser-focused visitors delivered RIGHT to your website, READY to buy exactly what you are targeting. 'fitness video games' would be slightly easier, or even something such as 'video game workouts'. (This type of marketing is often referred to as niche marketing). This can be easier to rank well for, and can have a much higher conversion rate (sales-per-visitor) for your target product, even though there may not be as much search volume.
Register the Right Domain Name! - You've picked a great keyword, market, and audience. A domain that is based around that selection can certainly help you rank well for that term, so register a domain that is as precise and targeted on your areas that you've selected above. Niche domain names can do very well for you on the search engines! BUT, you should then focus content and optimize around that niche as well, and not rely on a great domain name all by itself, but also great optimized content!! You need to build a website with optimization in mind, and a great domain name should be only part of that winning strategy!
3) SEO For Beginners - Focus on your CONTENT: write for your keywords!
When you have selected a proper audience, and a proper market, then the real work of SEO begins! There is much debate on what does or does not guarantee success on the Search Engines. This part of the SEO for beginners guide is intended to highlight basic strategy, and what is commonly considered "Best Practice" to do well on the Search Engines.
You must write well, and write with the intent to get FOUND for what you were focusing in on! Search Engines work by "reading" your WORDS, not by looking at your pictures! Also, keep in mind the "narrower" your focus, the easier it is to get ranked well! And you can actually become quite profitable by focusing on smaller, instead of focusing on bigger!
4) Writing content for the Search Engines
By now, you should have a good idea of what you want to be found for, and hopefully a good idea of what your "ideal visitor" would have searched for to find you. Whatever you think your visitor might be searching for, SHOULD be mentioned several times within the body of your pages, in a way that avoids being overly repetitive, yet still informative and illustrative of the concept.
5) Understanding on-page SEO (basic HTML markup)
On Page SEO are those things that are directly within your control, the pictures and text on your screen are just part of proper SEO. Even beginners to SEO realize that certain HTML elements (bold, italics, H1/H2/H3 tags, and so forth), make certain text "stand out".
Not only does that text "stand out" to your visitors, but it also tends to "stand out" to the Search Engines! When you use proper HTML markup strategically (and not over do it!), you are possibly making certain terms stand out to your visitors, but here's the idea: If it's important enough to bring your visitor's attention to it, then it must be an important part of the page. Therefore, it might be important enough to help your ranking.
For Example: If you see a big, bold newspaper headline that loudly proclaims "SEO for Beginners!", you would reasonably expect that newspaper article to be about: SEO for Beginners. Nothing more, nothing less! By using a "header" (the H1 tag in HTML), the newspaper makes that article "Rank Well". In other words, you know EXACTLY what that article is about. BUT you CANNOT over-use this tag!!! Commonly, you will only want a single H1 header per page. Used strategically, this (along with the other main headers (h2/h3) can help bolster your standing for the phrase that the tag wraps. Only VERY LONG articles can support multiple headers without overdoing it. Headers help newspaper readers quickly skim for importance; so too, do H1 and H2 headers help your website viewers skim for important topics; what is important to your reader is important for the search engines!
On-page SEO is actually a very broad topic, and there are many different ways to optimize your text and tags to help your rankings.
6) SEO For Beginners: Understanding off-page SEO
Off-Page SEO is a topic that many people have many different definitions for. Unfortunately, there is not a clear way to control what happens off of your own site, but there are many factors that influence your actual search ranking that have nothing to do with your actual website!
Typically, these off-page SEO factors consist primarily of the links on other people's websites that point to your own website, as well as the text that is contained inside of the actual "anchor" (the "clickable" part of the link, generally called "anchor text").
Link methodology and off-page SEO is not really a great subject for an "SEO For Beginners" guide (link building efforts can be tedious), but it is worth noting that off-site links that point back to your own website are worth seeking out; consider trying to contact other website owners in your industry and determine if they would like to trade links. Link Exchange can be a great way to boost your own page rank. You can also comment on other blogs (be courteous, be relevant!), leave your website link in your signature line of that forum where you chat every Thursday evening, or even by writing terrific, informative articles for one of the best article directories around!
Link Exchange can be a very effective way to have other websites link to your own, but you have to be willing to "return the favor", so to speak, by linking back to the exchange site in return.
By understanding some of these fundamental "best practices", even an SEO beginner can do well by understanding their "true" target and focusing on the absolute basics! Every market is reachable, and every goal is attainable!