SEO for beginners

Search engine optimization is developing your website to have a better position on Google, Bing, and other search engines.

Search engine optimization is an ace card in the game of getting seen. Pretend you are a soap salesman in St. Louis and every time people in your area go on Google and type in “soap for sale”, your name comes up first. That’s the power of search engine optimization. It takes effort to put your brand at the top of any search list, but like any champion will say, the struggle can pay off.

For people with a newly created website, it is important to think about how you made your site. Use this SEO checklist and learn how to reach more people.

Webpage Checklist:

1. Using headline tags to explain your site (h1, h2, h3)

2. Webpage loading times

3. Mobile optimized

4. Image alt names

5. Post-Click rankings

6. Review competition

7. Metadata

8. Sitemap

9. Using conversational language

10. Backlinks and Social Signals

1. Using headline tags to explain your site:

There is a hierarchy to how Google and other search engines choose what is best. One way is by scanning the website’s code for headline tags. H1 being the most important, followed by h2, and then h3. Using code to your advantage by putting important keywords in the rights spot is how to help boost your chances of being first. (Horvath)

2. Webpage loading times:

How long does it take for your website to load text and images? Your site loading speed is checked by Google and anything over two seconds is slow. (Onibalusi) Making sure your pages file size is as small as possible is key. Optimizing your images, adding video appropriately, and then running your website through a speed test is key. Web pages like to go fast.

3. Mobile Optimization:

A majority of people use their phone for their online actives and Google is responding. (DeMers) Mobile-first is a Google’s cataloging software that indexing sites. The index will see how well

websites work on smartphones. If a website is not playing well with phones, the website’s SEO will be punished.

4. Image Alt Names:

Image alt names add keywords to your site. An alt name appears if your image doesn’t load and search engines read those. Use alt names to boost your keywords and help SEO. Create descriptive, keyword rich alt names that relate to the image. Search engines also check the image file name so alt names and file names go hand in hand. (Hayes)

5. Post-Click Ranking:

Today, when your site has a visitor, search engines also track if there are clicks in your site. If your site has rich information that people want to click through, your SEO will have a boost. If you have a high bounce rate, which means one click and done, your site will suffer. Greg Corrado, senior research scientist at Google, confirmed that Google RankBrain is the third most important factor for an organic search result. (Forbes Agency Council) Your site should have a credible and up to date source of information. People will notice.

6. Review Competition:

How does reviewing the competition help your SEO? Because your site doesn’t live in a vacuum. Google is a vacuum that filters quality content the best it can. Your website can grow by knowing how your competition is marketing theirs. Do they have a better headline with more specific keywords? Are they have a better search engine position? Are they getting more traffic? There are tools to spy on your competitors SEMrush, BuzzSumo, and Ahrefs are some programs that will give competitor insights. (Kasteler) You can see how keywords are being used by your competition. With some 007 work, your site will have better SEO.

7. Metadata titles and descriptions:

Metadata titles and descriptions are good ways to have keywords for your SEO. Some metadata descriptions show as a snippet in the search engine results. The metadata title is what appears as the title in the search engine results and works together with the description. (Google Webmasters) It’s a great way to boost SEO because search engines scan the titles and descriptions and people read the titles.

8. Site map:

A site map shows a quick overview of your website. It provides information for search engines to scan. (dummies) Your site map should provide links to each page on the site so search engines can find what they need. Originally, site maps were indexes for people to quickly navigate through a website. Now search engines do too.

9. Using conversational language:

With people talking to their phones to search online, it is important to talk like your audience. (Forbes Agency Council) Have natural dialogue on your website because that is how people will search for it. Write your website for what the people want and your website will thank you. That is one reason branding is so popular and important today. It takes research and a skilled copywriter to get it right.

10. Backlinks and social signals:

Backlinks are when another website links to your website and that is the same a social signals. Having a quality backlink and social media presence can drive people to your website and search engines scan for social signals. Having a strong social presence will get noticed by people and search engines. Create interesting content that people want see. You will have a better website and have more visitors. (Horvath)

SEO is how a business gets on the the front page of Google and other search engines. Website with good SEO will see more traffic. More people will see the website’s message. This could lead to more business for the website.


DeMers, Jason. “What Google’s Mobile-First Index Means For Your SEO Strategy.” Forbes. 26 Jan. 2017. Web.

Dummies. “USE A SITE MAP FOR BETTER SEO RESULTS.” Dummies. n.d. Web.

Google Webmasters. “How much time should I spend on meta tags, and which ones matter?” YouTube. Google, 19 Mar. 2012. Web.

Forbes Agency Council. “11 Recent Changes Impacting SEO.” Forbes. 28 Apr. 2017. Web.

Hayes, Mark. “10 Must Know Image Optimization Tips.” Shopify. n.d. Web.

Horvath, Tyler. “SEO for Beginners: What is SEO?” Business. 22 Feb. 2017. Web.

Kasteler, Jordan. “5 must-dos for SEO beginners.” Search Engine Land. 21 Apr. 2017. Web.

Onibalusi, Segun. “For Web Developers, Speed is the New SEO.” Entrepreneur. 28 Mar. 2017. Web.