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Swift Six: Six SEO tips for absolute beginners

By Nick Leech - May 7, 2014

Are you an absolute beginner in terms of SEO?

Nick Leech, Group Marketing Director at 123-reg, talks about six major SEO tips for absolute beginners in this Swift Six video presentation aimed at anybody taking their first steps into the world of understanding SEO.

Welcome to another 123-reg Swift 6! Today I am going to be talking to you about six SEO tips for absolute beginners. So we’re going to be discussing lots of SEO here within the Swift 6, but these tips are for the absolute beginners.

So the first thing that you must do is to add Google Webmaster Tools to your website. It’s just a matter of adding a simple line of code and it will give you great information about how Google sees your site. And it will give you information about any problems as well. So it will tell you things like how many pages Google thinks that your website has and that should match out the number of pages that your website actually has. It will tell you if there are any duplicate titles and descriptions, if the titles in the descriptions are the same on two different pages Google won’t know which one to make appear in the results and which one it shouldn’t. So it’s really important that they are always unique. It will tell you for what search queries your website is ranking in the results for. So that will help you understand what Google thinks that your website is all about. And maybe that’s right, maybe it’s wrong, but either way it’s something that you can address. And then, lastly, it will give you notifications if there are any problems with your website. So that might be that you have some downtime – that your website isn’t appearing – or if there are any security issues with your site, such as malware.

So the second thing that you can do if you’re an absolute beginner to SEO is – make sure that every page has a title and a description. So the title and the description – so that we’re clear on this – when you search on Google and you see the results page, the title is the main part of the link to the website and the description is the smaller black text that runs beneath it. It’s effectively your advert to people who are searching and so you need to make that as compelling as possible. And also make sure that it fits within the 65 character limit for the title. So make sure that every page has a title and description, otherwise Google is going to just guess what that should be and the chances are it won’t be as good as the one that you can write yourself.

So the third thing is to make sure your website has great content. And so what I mean by that is information (copy, images, video) that is both interesting to the visitors and relevant to your topic, but also is completely unique. Make sure that you’re not copying content from anywhere else. And the second area with regard to great content is that you need to make sure that you have enough content on every page so that Google can understand what that page is about. If you have a page with a couple of images and just a simple line of copy, Google is going to struggle to understand what you’re trying to do with that page. So make sure you have several hundred words of copy so that Google has some clear signals about the content of the page and will know for what sort of search queries it should rank you for. So what word is relevant?

The fourth part of our Swift 6 – don’t buy links. Links and buying links used to be the way that you got to number 1 on Google. Google has rumbled that trick and, if you’re buying links, Google will find out about that and it will penalise your website. And that penalty might mean that you stop appearing altogether or it might mean that you appear in a much lower position. So be clear on this – don’t buy any links to your website!

The fifth area – get local. You will have a real challenge on your hands if you’re trying to make your restaurant website, for example, appear the search ‘restaurants’ because there are hundreds of thousands of restaurants in the UK with hundreds of thousands of websites. You’re going to be competing with all of them if you’re trying to make yourself appear number 1. Much better is to be local. So try to focus on keywords that are local to your geographic area: restaurant in Slough, restaurant in Temple Way, for example. And then, even better than that, what type of restaurant are you? Italian, Indian? The more specific that you can get, the greater your chance at ranking higher because you will be competing with fewer other websites. And also your content will be a lot more relevant to those users. And – let’s face it – the more relevant you are to those users, the greater the chance that they are going to want to come along, visit your website and visit your business.

And the sixth thing, and think of SEO –it’s an ever developing discipline – so make sure that you keep learning. Keep track and keep up to date with the latest developments. And you can do that by coming here to the 123-reg blog, where we write about SEO a lot on here. But there are other places too. If you are more advanced, then there’s always moz.com – a great leading light with regard to SEO. And there are several other sites too, such as Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land and so on. So make sure that you keep up to date.

OK, that was the 123-reg Swift 6. I’ll see you soon.

Further reading:

If you want to learn more about the topic, check out this post on the basics of SEO and how it works.