Businesses of all sizes have been there – searching on Google to find out where their products or services rank, and possibly feeling a little disheartened about what they find. The truth is, we all have to start somewhere, and learning to crawl before you can walk is essential, so in this post, you’ll find 5 actionable SEO content tips for complete beginners.
You’ve most likely heard of SEO or search engine optimisation at some point, but put simply, it is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility in the search engine results pages (or SERPs). The better your visibility in the SERPs, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract new business. While there are large or tech-heavy tasks that can be done to improve your rankings, we’re going to start small today, giving you a bitesize intro to improving your organic searches.
Table of Contents
01. Consider Search Intent
In other words, think like your customers. When people use Google, they have a goal in mind, and it’s the search engine’s job to find the most relevant results to help them achieve that goal. There are four types of search intent:
- Informational intent – lots of searches are done by people simply looking for information. This could be about the weather, a delicious biscuit recipe, or the name of the actor from the movie they watched the night before that they just can’t quite remember the name of. People with informational intent have a specific question in mind or want to know more about a certain topic.
- Navigational intent – people with this intent want to visit a specific website. If someone searches for ‘Facebook’, they most likely want to visit the Facebook website.
- Transactional intent – the web is a haven for shopping, so people with this intent are looking for somewhere to spend their money. Many of them will include purchasing language in their searches, such as ‘buy’, ‘deal’, ‘discount’, or specific product names, so they are more likely to be shown transactional sites.
- Commercial investigation – this search intent is similar to transactional but refers more to the research that people do with the intention of buying in the future. For example, someone may search for the best washing machine or puppy-chew-proof furniture.
Depending on the type of website you have, you should align your content to match your target user’s search intent. For example, if you want to write a blog post about the best baking kits for children, you will find that the SERP for ‘baking kits’ is dominated by transactional sites, so your post may not rank very highly for that specific keyword.
Think about the way that people search to find what they are looking for and align your content to fit. One of the best ways to start this process is by doing a bit of keyword research.
02. Research Keywords With Beginner-Friendly Tools
Keyword research is the process of finding relevant keywords to include in content that will boost your chances of ranking higher, rather than typing blindly. This is technique used by SEO experts and content creators, and the best news is that there are plenty of beginner and budget-friendly tools available to help you get started. Here are just four of our favourites.
Answer The Public
Answer The Public is a fantastic online tool that helps you to find questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals, and related searches, all from entering one keyword. The data is regularly updated, so you can find current searches and trends to jump on with total ease. You’ll be able to see lists of questions that you could potentially answer, Google autocomplete suggestions that could relate to your content, and so much more. However, you are only able to search three times a day with the free version.
Ahrefs Keyword Generator
Ahrefs are a renowned provider of SEO tools and resources, used widely by SEO experts. With their free Keyword Generator, you can find up to 150 keyword ideas, including questions, for any seed keyword. You are also able to see keyword ideas from various countries and search engines, which is ideal if you needed to write something particular, like spots for the best bear sightings in Canada. The first 10 keywords display a difficulty score, and the higher the number, the more difficult it will be to rank. You can search as many times as you like with this tool but remember that you are limited to a certain number of results.
If you want something super handy and effortless, Keyword Surfer may be for you. This free Chrome extension shows estimated global and monthly search volumes for any query typed into Google. These figures will be displayed in the search bar for easy access, as well as displaying search volume estimates for the dropdown autocomplete results. The only downside is that it cannot show search volumes in bulk, however, it is perfect for assessing queries as you browse the web.
Google Search Console
There are a lot of elements to Google Search Console, but as an SEO beginner, you will want to focus on ‘Search results’ below ‘Performance. In this report, you will be able to see your average position for keywords across your website. It can be handy to see which keywords you rank best for on different URLs, as well as sorting your CTR from low to high to uncover keywords that you rank for, but have never tapped into. If any of these have high impressions and a low click through rate, it could be worth targeting with a new page.
These are a select few of the amazing tools that are available on the market, and you’ll be able to find many more with a simple search (ironically!). Once you have mastered the basic tools, you could move on to the more comprehensive resources, such as SEMrush or the Ahrefs suite.
03. Update Your Page Titles & Meta Descriptions
While your lovely new keywords can inform and impact the content that you write, you should also use some in your page titles and meta descriptions. You can usually access these within your CMS on the backend of your pages and articles. They are two basic HTML components where you can truly add some weight behind valuable keywords, and they are super easy technical edits for beginners. Plus, many users might decide whether to click your page or not on the SERP based on these components, so it’s key to make them impactful.
There are many tools online that you can use to make sure your page titles and meta descriptions are within the character or pixel limit. According to MOZ, Google typically displays the first 50 to 60 characters of a page title, however, as characters can vary in width, so it’s better to try and keep the title below 600 pixels. As for meta descriptions, they can be longer, and Google truncates snippets to around 155 to 160 characters. MOZ recommends that you make your meta as descriptive with a call to action as you whilst aiming to keep them below 155 characters.
The key to your page titles and meta descriptions is to keep them relevant to your content, and use your focus keywords without stuffing too many in. It is essential that each component is completely unique and written naturally for humans. You want to spark intrigue and interest in what you have to offer, so it is a great idea to go through your existing page titles and meta descriptions to give them a refresh.
04. Make Internal Linking Second Nature
Have you ever found yourself on a Google deep dive, just clicking through links and absorbing information until you’re in a content rabbit hole? That’s the sign of some effective linking architecture, particularly if you’ve managed to stay within one domain. Internal linking refers to adding links to various other pages of your site, which can help to keep readers on your site for longer, as well as boost the performance of your pages in organic search. It develops a contextual relationship between your new content and the rest of your site, and pass ‘link juice’ to other pages.
Make sure you link to pages and posts that are relevant. Let’s imagine you are writing a blog post about bathroom styling for a transactional homeware website. You could link to a specific bathroom product category, individual products that were mentioned, and maybe another existing, relevant blog post – possibly something about bathroom colour schemes, tile styles, or how to create a Pinterest-worthy bathroom. Once you get into the swing of adding internal links, it will become habit, creating a web of links across your site. However, it’s important to link to a page only once per piece of content and try not to include too many links to avoid looking spammy.
If you want to take this one step further, consider adding quality external links. You should take the time to vet your external links before adding them to ensure that you aren’t referencing anything low in value. Some good external linking resources are popular websites with high traffic that regularly produce authoritative content that is relevant to your brand. Try not to get too consumed with adding external links, maybe one or two per piece, as the ultimate goal is keeping users on site.
05. Refresh Your Old Content
Now that you’ve started to build your little SEO content toolbox, it’s time to think about your previous content, as well as future content. You can use Google Analytics to see how your pages and posts are performing and take the time to do a little bit of a site audit. Are there any pages that you would like to boost? Could you support some of your bestseller products with some relevant blog content? Do your competitors have pages in their sitemap that could work for your site?
Not every piece of content you create will rank on the first try. It’s usually a slow burn, but by going back over your old content and using the tips you’ve learned in this post, you can increase the chances of your previous pieces working up the SERPs. Look for internal linking opportunities, make sure your page titles and meta descriptions are fresh, and see if there are any suitable keywords you can add in.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg with SEO and creating content, and there are many more aspects to consider, both in writing and on the technical side. While it’s essential to remember that SEO is an ongoing process, these beginner tips can help you to dip your toe in the water, before diving head first to see some potentially incredible results.
For more information, get in touch with a member of our expert team here at Absolute Digital Media on 0800 088 6000, today.
Olivia is one of our Content Account Managers, working within the SEO team to write blog posts, optimise web pages and provide content that bolsters clients’ websites. She holds an read more.