Depending on your online business model, SEO may or may not be important to you. However, despite that reality, SEO is alive and well, and just as relevant as it’s always been. Over the years, there has been slight changes in implementation, but overall, SEO is the same. Keyword stuffing is no longer a legitimate method of tackling SEO. Google is much better at recognizing and prioritizing the highest equality of content for their search engine. 

However, there is a lot more to all of this. For those of you who are new to SEO, there are a number of basic tips that you should be hip to, if you want to improve your SEO game. Below you will find 8 tips that all SEO beginners should want to know:

1. Link Building

You want to develop working relationships with other webmasters. Add links to your site content, then encourage others to do the same on their website. This is one of the more effective ways to boost your site’s ranking. However, you don’t want links from any website, you want to ensure the website has authority and is related to your site content. 

There are a number of methods and approaches you can take to link building, especially when looking for quality links. One method you could use, entails contacting your clients and asking them to link to your site. This may involve you linking to them, in some form of mutual agreement. This way, you both benefit.

Another method you could use, is to search for mentions of your brand that are not linked. By using Google’s search engine, you could look for your brand name on specific sites where it has been used without featuring a link back to your site. What you want to do is convince them to add a link back to your site. Some may agree, while others may not. In truth, it’s a numbers game. 

2. Don’t Use Duplicate Content

Although it may seem like an easy solution, it’s not one you really want to go down. Never duplicate your content. In the past, it was fairly common for people to take someone else’s post, and simply publish it on their site. While this may seem like a quick and easy way to generate content and in turn traffic for your site, it does violate the guidelines of every major search engine. The end result is a penalised website. So, to avoid getting a duplicate content penalty, only use uniquely written content either by yourself or a ghost writer. 

3. Assess Your Competitors

Spend some time to look at your competitors. You want to know what things there are excelling at. You also want to analyses the kinds of things they are doing. Looking at which sites are ranking at the very top, and the keywords they’re ranking for, is also important. 

This way you will be able to determine your competition, which should help you decide what to focus on, which opportunities have the most long term benefits. In short:

•Identify the weaknesses of your competitors, and see which of them you can exploit. 

•Identify the things your competitors are doing right, and look at ways you can replicate them. 

•Look for gaps within the market.

•Have an action plan, which when implemented should see your site rank at the top of the search engines. 

Note: It’s likely your competition online will be very different from your traditional competitors. You can start by searching on keywords featured in your posts, then looking at the other sites ranking in your space. 

4. Make Mobile Friendly Websites

This is one of those new yet, vital ranking factors in the search engines today. You want a website that is mobile friendly. One thing to note is that, most web users, access the internet on their mobile devices, so you want a site that is either mobile friendly or mobile responsible, so that all your site viewers receive the best experience, irrespective of the platform they view your site on. In turn, this should help the site rank higher in the search engines. 

5. Carry out Keyword Research

Keywords is a big part of SEO. You want highly relevant keywords, ones that have minimal competition, while at the same time, drive traffic to your site. 

The best way to begin your keyword research is by using an online tool, such as Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner, Google Trends, or SEMrush. You can use these tools to find keywords that are relevant to your brand, and then use them in your articles. 

You can add keywords to already existing pages, or you can create posts around keywords you have discovered. For proper optimisation, you want to add the keyword to your titles, META tags, META descriptions etc. 

6. Keyword Placement

Place keywords on your site in a natural fashion. There was a time when, the more you added a keyword to a page, the better, but that time has come and gone. If you stuff your pages with the same keyword, over and over, it will negatively affect it in the search engines. Imagine reading a blog post like this, which featured the word “SEO” in every sentence. It’d read awfully to say the least. 

You want to include your keywords in all the most important areas, such as the heading, title tags, and slug and body text. All of this should be balanced out, with other keywords (if possible), of course you want the keywords to be related, and in turn, that should minimise the possibility of keyword stuffing. 

Additionally, adding semantic keywords that are closely and loosely related to your main keyword, makes your article come across as more relevant, which should aid it, when it comes to ranking in the major search engines.

7. Sitemap

Add a sitemap to your site. A sitemap is basically a page that lists all other pages on your site in one place. This page is designed specifically for internet bots or spiders, so they can more easily navigate your site. This way, the search engines will not miss any new content you add to your page. It’ll also make it easier for the search engines to find any changes you make to your page.  

8. Avoid Flash

Avoid using Flash. There’s no doubt that Flash can make your site look nice, but at the sake of your SEO efforts. The search engines are unable to draw data from Flash, so your site basically becomes an unreadable piece of data, lying on the web some place.