SEO for Beginners

If you haven’t noticed yet, times are a-changin’. While Mad Men might have you believe that marketing is all about having a penchant for office drama and wearing incredibly stylish outfits, we’ve come a long way since then. In fact, the technological advancements of the 21st century have catapulted the marketing world into new, digital terrain — and that’s where SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, comes in.

More than a technological advancement, SEO is an absolute necessity for online businesses. If you want your online store to have any degree of visibility, then you need to invest in a first-class optimization strategy — no ifs, ands, or buts.

As with most ventures into uncharted territory, navigating SEO can take a little while to master. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your feet wet now! Call us a gondola, because we’ll be taking you on a pleasant boat ride along the canal of SEO basics.

What Is SEO?

Be honest: When you search for something on Google, do you typically go past the first page of results? If you’re like most people, the answer is no. In fact, a recent study done by Moz tells us that the first five results of a Google search account for 67.60% of organic clicks, while results 6 to 10 only account for 3.73%. If you’re not picking up what we’re putting down, that means that it’s in your best interest to snag these top spots.

So how do you get there? You guessed it — SEO! Put simply, SEO is the process of optimizing a website or web page so that it ranks higher in a search engine’s organic results. Note the use of the word “organic” here, which basically means 100% gratis, baby. Not only is SEO as free as the American bald eagle, but the increased visibility in search engines directly impacts conversion rates, brand awareness, user experience, and more. Pretty good deal, right?

How to Get Started with SEO

Find Your Keywords

When potential customers look for your products, what search terms are they using? Finding your keywords is as simple (and sometimes complex) as figuring out what those terms are and then incorporating them into your website as much as possible. 

… But wait, there’s more to it. If you sell jewelry, it makes sense to want to want to rank for, well, jewelry. Thing is, hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of online stores sell jewelry. The competition is fierce, and you won’t have a fighting chance if you automatically reach for the low-hanging fruit. 

That’s why you should strike a balance between long-tail keywords, which are less popular but less competitive, and short-tail keywords, which are more popular but more competitive. You can do this by highlighting the uniqueness of your products, or thinking about a specific feature that is enticing for your niche audience. For example, if your jewelry is fruit-themed, you can try ranking for “strawberry necklace” instead of just “necklace.” The trick is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and design your keywords around what they want to buy.

Platforms like SEMrush and Ubersuggest can give you a comprehensive analysis of trending keywords, hundreds of new ideas, and even insider peeks into what your competitors are doing. Another great benefit of knowing your keywords is that you can use them in future content marketing efforts as well, thereby creating a well-rounded and updated brand experience.

Get (a Little) Techy

If tech geeks aren’t born, they’re created through necessity. Now, you don’t have to go all Matrix on us, but it behooves you to know that Google is a demanding mistress, and any technical slip-ups will be judged harshly by the algorithm gods. 

When it’s time to roll up your sleeves and optimize your website, you should concentrate on:

  • Fast loading speeds
  • Mobile friendliness
  • No broken links or duplicate content
  • Neat and tidy URLs
  • Targeted keywords in HTML elements, such as the…
    • Title tag (the title of a web page)
    • Header tag (the headings within a web page)
    • Meta description (a brief summary or snippet of a web page)
    • Alt attribute (text that describes an image)

Keeping your website up to search engine standards is an ongoing process, typically requiring audits every three to six months. 

Incorporate Link Building

In order to define link building, we need to explain a couple of important terms:

  • Backlink: An incoming link from one website to another.
  • Rank: A website’s position in a search engine’s result page. A website’s rank is a result of its domain authority and relevance.
    • Domain authority: Also called domain score or domain rating, the domain authority is defined by both the quality and quantity of backlinks to your website.
    • Relevance: The content and keywords on your website as they relate to what is being searched.

Put it all together, and link building is the process of acquiring backlinks to increase your rank. 

When it comes to the link building methodology, here are some tried-and-true favorites:

  • Reaching out to media outlets and popular blogs to see if you can publish a guest post or be included in one of their existing articles
  • Establishing content sharing partnerships with relevant websites
  • Contributing expert quotes to platforms like HARO and SourceBottle
  • Partaking in sponsored content and paid reviews
  • Participating in interviews and podcasts
  • Applying to (and winning!) important awards in your field or industry

As you may have already noticed, link building isn’t just limited to boosting your digital popularity — it’s also a fantastic way to add credibility for your brand and get your name out there. 

Keep Up with Digital Marketing

Just because you’re kicking SEO butt doesn’t mean you should forgo other forms of digital marketing. Content marketing and SEO are a match made in heaven, but that doesn’t mean email, social media, and even influencer marketing can’t be awesome sidekicks in your plan for digital domination. Remember to stay consistent with your keywords and you’ll be golden!

SEO is no walk in the park, but we hope this brief introduction has helped you get at least a few steps in. After all, the important thing isn’t to be perfect — it’s to start in the first place!

Questions? Comments! We’d love to hear from ya! Just shoot us a line.

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