If you're just starting with SEO, or even if you have been optimizing your website with SEO for a while, we came up with seven tips that will help you make sure you're heading in the right direction. There are a lot of things to consider in the race to the top of the search engine rankings, and we have identified the seven things that you need to make sure you're paying attention to. Watch today's video to find out seven essential tips for SEO beginners, and be sure to check out our infographic!


Hello, and welcome to our video where we’re going to be going back to basics and talking about seven tips for SEO beginners. I’m Chad Hill and I have Adam Stetzer with me.

Good afternoon, Chad. Trying to boil this down to seven tips for SEO beginners might be tough, but we’re going to try to do it. We’re going to try to cruise through these search engine optimization tips. If you’re just getting into this, here’s our list:

Do your keyword research

Number one: do your keyword research. Don’t take action before having a destination in mind. Everything on the internet is keyword based. That’s how the technology is today, that’s how search engines think, that’s how you need to start thinking, and that’s how searchers think. So, you need to do your keyword research first and foremost so that you don’t chase after terms that don’t work. SEO takes six, nine, ten, twelve months, sometimes years on a competitive term, and you don’t want to put that kind of time on a term that doesn’t bring you the kind of value that you’re looking for, whether that’s a conversion, a sale, or a new audience. The best way to do keyword research is actually then pile it with a small PPC budget and see what works, tune it up on your site, and then send it into a long term SEO strategy.

Build a high quality website

Right, and then the second thing that you want to think about is that you want to build a quality website, and there’s really two things that you want to be thinking about there. The first thing is that you want it to be a site that people are going to engage with and want to stay on, and ultimately want to contact you, so you want to build some trust. But then you always have that second audience of the search engine, and we’re talking about SEO tips for SEO beginners, so you want to make sure that your website is well structured, easily crawlable by the search engines, and usually you want to try to create some different pages to talk about the different products and services you offer, so that each of those can be a feature piece for each of the services that you’re going to be offering to your inclines.

Onsite optimization

Great, and that bleeds really nicely into the third tip for SEO beginners, which is onsite optimization. It’s related to building a great website, as Chad just mentioned, having the right pages and the right content, but it gets slightly more technical. Here’s where you’re tuning your code. You want to make sure that your site is really well crawlable. There are great tools out there to make sure that it is crawlable. Register for webmaster tools, because Google will actually tell you if they’re hitting errors, plus give you lots of other information. Don’t go crazy overthinking this step, because we know a lot of SEO beginners spend their whole life just in step three here, on onsite optimization. It is important, but it’s not the entirety of search engine optimization, so go read up.

We’ve got great videos at Semify.com about this, there are other tools that will give you checks on where things are good and bad, whether you have title tags, H1s, the density, you know all the things are tuned how you want it to be. Get it done, tune it up, but then move on to the other stuff. And also don’t overthink your site architecture. Flatter is better. The rule of thumb is Google wants three paths to every page. Wordpress is great for this, because they’ll give you a direct path, an archive, the calendar, a tag, a category, but you don’t need to make it seven miles deep. In fact, Matt Cutts has told you that’s actually bad for the search engine, so flatter is better. Tune it up and then move on.

Focus on the end user

Right. So, then, of course, you have this site that you built. You really want to make sure that you’re focusing the end user, not just the search engine. So we just told you some things to do with the search engine, but also remember real people are going to be on your website, real people like to see well structured quality content with nice headers, with bullets, they want to see images on every page. They want to see things like videos and infographics, so make sure that you really think about what can you do to communicate your service in the best way possible so that that person who is on your website and is giving you than ten second test of do I want to stick around, that you’re going to pass and they’re going to stay on your website and also might convert.

Syndicate your content

And again, the fourth SEO tip bleeds very well into number five, which is syndicate your content. And I think SEO beginners, Chad, have a really hard time with this. But if you do number four really well, which is you’ve focused on your end user and you’ve created great content, that they’re gonna love, you actually find number five, which is syndicating that content, is not particularly difficult. Now, a lot of beginners in SEO take a wrong turn here, and they think number five is just link building or link spamming, and they go out and do all the wrong things. And several years ago that may have worked, but particularly in 2013, with major algorithmic updates from Google, the way you syndicate your content, which if done right will earn you high quality backlinks as well as recognition and readers is really really important. These algorithms are tighter than they’ve ever been; they’re looking for web spam, they’re looking for link spam, and they’re chopping it down at the knees. So you really don’t want to take that kind of approach.

What you want to do is figure out where their conversations are happening that are in your topical area and then join those and share some of this great content, particularly that’s educational, that’s informative, that’s a how-to, that’s humorous, that’s political, that’s artwork, that people will really appreciate, and share and join in that conversation. Along the way, you’ll be leaving an excellent footprint for Google to see your site is real strong, you’ll earn some backlinks, and that will help your rankings.

Set up at least one social media platform

Right, absolutely. And of course, one way to help promote and syndicate that content is to use social media, so our sixth tip for SEO is to make sure that you set up at least one social media platform and use it. That’s the operative word, because all too often people say, “Well, I’ll go create every different profile I want. I’ll have Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, you name it. I’m going to have that profile.” But, they don’t actually update it, so in some ways it detracts from your website’s ability to convert, because I’ve been to too many websites where you go to see “Well, what are they saying on Twitter?” and they’ve only ever had one post and it was three years ago. So pick one, do it right, and that’s a great of promoting your content, syndicating it, and then hopefully earning links back to your website, so that you improve your rankings in the search engines.

Have patience

And the seventh tip for SEO, often one of the hardest for the SEO beginner is to have patience. Search engine optimization is a long term process. There are lots of studies that will show the return on investment is extremely high from this activity. Put another way, the cost per lead that you can acquire using search engine optimization as an inbound marketing approach is extremely attractive, but it does not happen quickly. So if you need traffic right away, if you don’t sell customers today or you’ll go out of business, you don’t want to do SEO. You want to do pay per click or something more aggressive that will get leads. But, if you’re in it for the long haul, this seven step approach is very successful, but you’ve got to wait it out. You’ve got to understand that rankings may take a year to achieve. It may take multi years on very competitive terms. But if you do achieve them using these kinds of tactics, the return on investment will be absolutely astounding.