10 SEO Basics You Can Accomplish in 10 Minutes
In the last few years you have probably heard the term SEO, or “search engine optimization,” thrown around a lot in the business world. Many small business owners are beginning to pay attention to the term and learn a little more about what they can do for their own website, digital marketing, and online presence to keep up with the competition. We really want to gear this article towards beginners that may not know a lot about SEO and who might be a bit overwhelmed by all of the information that is currently available on the subject. In this post, we cover 10 SEO basics that you can accomplish in just 10 minutes of your time—that will get you started on the track to fabulous SEO improvements in the coming weeks and months.
1. Start Using Appropriate Keywords
I like to explain keywords in the following way: how would you search for something on Google? You want to put yourself in the position of the customer you are targeting and think about how they would actually search for your business online. Take notes on how you would search for your business (and maybe ask a few additional people as well), and then write down what keywords are used. These search terms should be included all over your website in as many places as possible: including your home page, services pages, blog, case studies, about us, etc. You especially want to make sure that your keywords can be found on the title tag and page header, as Business Insider noted that they are the two most important places.
2. Know What Search Engines Look For
Since we are trying to make this digestible in a 10-minute sitting, I am going to list out some of the most important features that a search engine would look for. While not going into depth at this point, keep these features in mind, as they are going to be a central part of improving various aspects of your website for SEO purposes:
- Relevancy and location (Make sure all of your business listings are accurate and that your contact info is readily available on your site)
- Quality and quantity of content
- User experience (how does your site look aesthetically? Is it easy for people to navigate?)
- Website speed
- Mobile optimization (i.e., how does your website function on mobile compare to desktop?)
- Internal linking (more on that in #3)
- Authority (do other sites reference your content? Do others provide you external links?)
- Meta descriptions
- Title tags
- Schema markup
- Properly tagged images
3. Start Internally Linking on Your Blog
You may not have the authority or recognition to have external links or authoritative sites linking to your blog just yet, however, you can make a strong effort to optimize your internal linking. This means that any time you use a keyword that you have written about elsewhere on your blog or website, you hyperlink to it within the article. This does a couple of important things. For one, it provides your readers with further reading that they may be interested in relevant to those specific keywords. It also helps you further keyword optimize and helps bots crawl and index your site based on those keywords and phrases.
4. Don’t Overdo It
One of the most tempting things to do when you start working on SEO is overdoing it! I’ve seen so many small business owners attempt to overuse two keywords in an awkward and unnatural way—or overly link to their site in one post. Do not do this, in fact, Google has an over-optimization penalty that targets websites that have too many keywords and links stuffed onto one page. By overdoing it you could actually be hurting rather than helping your SEO.
5. What You Need to Know About Link Building
Link building has to be one of the most talked-about SEO terms—yet few really understand what it entails in the beginning. Ultimately link building is getting another website to link to you, either a blog post, service page, industry content, eBook, infographic, or some other valuable content. There are a few ways you can build up these external links—although know that they take time and a lot of effort to pay off in increasing your organic ranking:
- Organic Links. Organic links happen when sites link to your content without you asking for it. These are really the best kind of links to get, although it can take time without authority in your field and a lot of content to work with.
- Whitehat Vs. Blackhat Links. Whitehat links are basically links that were achieved in an appropriate manner and that are of high quality (you should always strive for this), while blackhat links are low-quality spam links that you should avoid. A lot of this has to do with anchor text, the quality of the content that links to you, and the authority that the linking site has—but you should always try to get quality links whenever possible.
While this may not be the first priority on your SEO list, over-time you can build up these links by:
- Guest blogging
- Asking non-competitor but industry relevant businesses to link to your content in their own
- Create link-worthy content, such as an infographic, that people will want to share
6. Include Your Website on Social Profiles
Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, Youtube, etc, you should ALWAYS include a link to your website on your social profile. This may not impact your organic ranking in the same way that link building does—but, it can certainly increase the traffic to your website, which will in turn improve SEO.
7. Always Monitor Your Results
On your marketing schedule, you should be checking your analytics at least every other day, if not once a day. There are several tools to get insights into your traffic and keyword performance such as Google Analytics or Authority Labs. While there are a lot of tools out there, these are the two best to start with and set your goals.
8. Paid Search (PPC) Does NOT Impact Organic SEO
You may already have a PPC Advertising campaign, or be considering establishing one—but let’s be clear, paying for search engine advertising does not bolster your organic traffic! This is not to say that Google AdWords is not important or that it does not drive targeted traffic to your website, but paid and organic traffic are discrete categories.
9. Provide a Transcript for Video or Audio Content
Remember that SEO is built on keywords and phrases. As such, if you have a website that utilizes a lot of videos or audio content (for example, a podcast dominant platform) you will want to provide a transcript to go alongside this content so that it can be indexed for relevant terms.
10. See Your Site Like a Search Engine
You may not realize how much of your website is actually invisible to a search engine. As you get started with your SEO efforts, you should take a little time to see your website like a search engine sees it, using a tool like Google’s Cache, SEO browser, or Moz Bar. This is a really good way to check and see how your navigations, keyword-infused content, and other aspects of your site actually look to search engines.