Search engine optimization, often referred to simply as SEO, is one of the most important aspects of modern marketing. It can, however, be difficult for beginners to get a handle on where to start with it. Here are five easy SEO techniques for complete beginners.
1. Place Keywords Properly
At one time, a page's Google rank was largely determined by its keyword density. Now, however, the world's largest search engine uses more advanced algorithms to avoid being tricked by keyword stuffing. One element that newer algorithms look for is the placement of keywords. Ideally, you should include your main focus keyword in both the first and last paragraphs of an article as well as several times throughout the body.
2. Link to Authoritative Sites
One of the easiest ways for new website owners to improve their search rankings is to create outbound links to more authoritative websites. Though some have disputed the benefits of linking to authority sites, case studies have shown that it does have a positive effect. Be sure to link only to relevant content, though, as search engines can punish you for irrelevant links.
3. Optimize Image Metadata
Using images in your articles is important to engage the reader, but it can also help your article rank higher in search results. All images can carry metadata, such as titles and descriptions, in which your focus keyword can be included for an SEO boost. Of the image attributes, alt text is perhaps the most important, as it describes the image in a text-based format that a search engine can understand. Be sure to put your main keyword in an image's alt text to enhance your page's ranking.
4. Stay Focused on the Most Relevant Keywords
Though it is less an SEO technique than a way of thinking about site optimization, it's still very important to pick and focus on a group of the most relevant keywords for your site. Optimizing for dozens or even hundreds of keywords can take years of content creation. By focusing on just a few main keywords, you can leverage your SEO efforts and improve your rankings for those search terms more quickly.
5. Take Advantage of Social Signals
Social signals, such as Facebook likes, Twitter retweets and Google +1s, are underused SEO tools. Search engines use social signals to determine what content viewers are engaging positively with. The effect of social signals varies by platform, but indications that your content is being shared will almost often help it rank higher. Although Google has denied that it includes social signals in its ranking algorithms, most SEO experts are convinced that they do play some role in how well a site ranks for specific search terms.