If you want people to find your content online then it is critical that is well optimised for SEO. You can use a plugin which will give you tips (Yoast is popular with Wordpress based bloggers), but it pays to have a basic understanding of SEO yourself. You can easily make some simple changes to your existing web content to make it more likely to be found when people search for topics you can help them with. How do you do this? There are a few tricks that help search engines understand what your content is about which are explained in this post.

Learning basic SEO for bloggers and why it is important
Understanding a little bit about SEO can really improve your success in search results

6 Ways To Get Started With SEO
(Search Engine Optimisation)

Understand What Search Engines Do

Whether your potential customers search for answers on Google or some less popular search engine they are all ultimately powered by computer algorithms. The algorithms that look at digital content to decide what it is about and who it is of interest to are very complex and are constantly developing. They use a lot of different measures, but there are 5 key areas you can focus on to optimise your content for SEO.

Website speed

When a potential customer or visitor to your site is looking for something they want to find it as quickly as possible. It doesn't matter whether it is a recipe for chocolate brownies, how to change a printer cartridge or the perfect present for their wife, they want the answers fast. Search results show snippets of what the content might be about, but it is often only by going to the webpage the customer can decide if you will help them. If they click on the link to your website and have to wait too long for the website to load they will probably get frustrated and find another site to help them. There are various tools you can use to check the speed of your website including the Google Developers tool PageSpeed Insights. The theme of your website, any widgets or plugins and the size of images are all worth looking at if you want to improve your site speed.

Mobile Friendly

Increasingly people are searching for information from their mobile devices which means it is essential websites are mobile friendly. What does that mean? Again PageSpeed Insights will give you various technical information, but as a starter to ensure your website is mobile friendly have a look at it on your phone or a mobile viewing simulator and check if the text is large enough, if links are easy to click on and if all the important content is visible. 

Make Sure The Keywords Are Clear

Keywords are really important for optimised content. If you don’t know what the keywords are for a post or page then think about a couple of words or a short sentence (known as a long tail keyword) which explains what your page is about. You need to use your keywords (and variations of it) numerous times in your post. 

As a minimum it is useful to have your keywords: in the page title, the URL, in the main header, in the page or meta description, in the page text, in an images alt text and in an image caption. Make sure your post is still readable though, if you are just repeating the same words throughout your post without providing useful content readers will quickly lose interest. Search engines are pretty clever, you need to give them a hint of what your post is about, but they don't need it in flashing lights.

As an aside if you have a blog or website it may be the focus of where you want to drive customers and readers, but it's not just your website and it's posts that you want to optimise. Images and video, especially YouTube, is shown on Google search results before a lot of the website results. You might find it easier to be visible on the first page of Google through these mediums, and once viewers are watching the video you can encourage them through to your website so ensure keywords are clear in image and video titles and descriptions too.

Choose The Right Keywords

Understanding what keywords you should be targeting is one of the areas people miss when relying on an SEO plugin for writing blog posts. If you sell jewellery then having “jewellery” as your keyword might seem like a great idea, but due to the number of other websites also selling jewellery it will mean your website is likely to be lost way down the search results. Instead you need to be more specific about which words people might type into a search engine if they were your perfect customer, this might be “ethically hand-made silver jewellery”, “bespoke wedding ring design” or even “cute cat earrings”. The number of people searching for these more specific keywords will be less, but it will also be less competitive so your post is more likely to be seen. 

There are tools (mostly paid for) which will give you an idea of how many people search for a particular keyword and how competitive it is, but you can begin to get an idea by performing a Google search yourself and seeing what websites show up. Remember the search results will be personalised to you to some extent if using your devices so seeing your website among the top results doesn't mean others will. 

Write Useful Content

You can have an amazing looking website which is easy to use and stuff your pages full of keywords, but if visitors can’t find the information they are looking for when they visit they will quickly leave. When a visitor quickly returns to search results and clicks on other answers it tells the search engines that your content wasn’t very useful so they will push your website down the search results. If you provide the answers they are looking for and they stop searching then the search engine is more likely to recommend you the next time someone asks the same question. Make sure your web content is written to be interesting to visitors, not just for the search engines. 

As part of providing useful content you will want to link to other content on your website and external websites that provide additional useful information. These links should generally be Do-Follow links if they are sites you are recommending.

Unlike many posts on SEO I haven't talked here about increasing links to your website. As discussed when talking about DA it is good if people have linked to your website from relevant posts and there are ways you can encourage this organically, but the bulk of ways people do it is by asking people to link and it risks you being penalised by Google. This could prevent you from getting search traffic so if you are looking at improving your SEO you need a deeper understanding of the issue of buying links before considering it.