05 January 2022  ✦  4 min read
SEO for Beginners: A Quick Guide
If you're just starting out with your own website or blog, you might be wondering how to get your content seen by search engines and potential readers or buyers. This is where SEO or search engine optimisation comes in.
What is SEO and why is it important?
SEO is the practice of optimising your website and content to rank higher in search engine results (SERPs) on search engines like Google. The higher a website ranks, the more likely it is to be visited by users and attract more organic traffic. This is important because the traffic that a website receives from search engines can be an important source of leads, sales, and revenue. By following best practices and making strategic updates to your website, you can improve your chances of ranking well.

How does SEO work?
Search engines use algorithms to rank websites. These algorithms take into account a variety of factors, including the content of the website, the quality of the website, and the number of other websites that link to it. By optimising a website for these factors, it is possible to improve its ranking on search engines and increase its visibility to users.

How do I optimise my website for SEO?
There are many ways to optimise a website for SEO, but here are 7 key things to keep in mind:

1. Use relevant and high-quality content
The content on your website should be relevant to your business and written in a way that is easy to understand and useful to users. It's important to focus on creating high-quality content that satisfies the needs of your audience, while being well-written and free of errors. There are a number of free tools online to help you with written content and ideas such as GrammarlyQuillbot and HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator.

2. Use keywords
Keywords are the words and phrases that people use to search for products or services like yours. By including these keywords in your website content, you can help search engines understand what your website is about and improve its ranking for those keywords. 

But be careful not to overuse keywords as it can be seen as keyword stuffing, which can harm your SEO efforts. When Google's algorithm detects keyword stuffing, it can take several actions to penalise the website, such as lowering the rankings of your site in search results. 

3. Use title tags and meta descriptions
The title tag is the text that appears in the browser tab and as the link text in search results. Title tags should be concise and accurately describe the content of the webpage, typically between 50-60 characters long. 

A meta description is the text that appears in search engine results under the title tag. This should be a brief but accurate summary of the page content, and ideally between 130-160 characters long.

It is best practise to use unique title tags and meta descriptions for each of your webpages and include keywords that are relevant. Avoid keyword stuffing.

4. Use header tags
Header tags are used to organise the content on your website into sections. Using header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) is good for SEO because they help search engines understand the structure of the content on a webpage
Use H1 tags for the main title of the page. There should only be one H1 tag per page and it should be used for the most important heading on the page. H2 tags are for subheadings that are directly related to the main title and should be used for the second most important headings on the page. Use H3 tags for subheadings related to H2 headings. Repeat the process with H4, H5 and H6 tags as needed.

5. Use alt tags for images
Alt tags are alternative text descriptions that are used to describe the content of an image on your website. This helps search engines to understand the content of the image and the context in which it is used on a webpage. 
Alt tags should be added to all images and should accurately describe the content of the image, including any important information such as text or details. Keep the alt tag short and simple, generally around125 characters, avoiding keyword stuffing and irrelevant information.

6. Use internal and external links
Internal links point to pages within your website such as a service or product page. External links point to other websites on a different domain, such as links to credible sources in a blog post. By including both types of links in your website, you are providing a good user experience as well as giving credibility to the website.

7. Use a mobile-friendly design 
With more people using mobile devices to access the internet, it is important to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and responsive. This means that the layout and content of your website should adjust automatically to the screen size and resolution of any device. Mobile-friendly design often involves using larger text, touch-friendly buttons and it should be easy to navigate on a smartphone or tablet. 

How long will it take for SEO improvements to take effect?
The time it takes for the SEO of a website to take effect can vary greatly. In general, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. However, please note that SEO is an ongoing process and is not a one-time fix. While it can be complex and time-consuming, the benefits can be well worth the effort and patience.

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