Search engine optimization (SEO) is a priority for many businesses, as it allows them to show up in search engines with potential customers who are actively searching for brands, products, and services like theirs.
The reality is that if you aren’t showing up at the top of those search results, there’s a good chance that your competition will be the ones to get the sale. And since around 93% of buyer journeys first start on search engines, that’s a significant amount of money that could be left on the table.
All businesses understand the importance of SEO, but many clients have come to us after their sites, blog posts, and landing pages have failed to yield significant traffic from search. They do basic keyword research, find a term with high search volume, slap it into a few places in the text, and call it a day.
While SEO is a more involved process than what we’ve listed above, the good news is that the right strategies and tactics can help you create a stronger SEO profile that will benefit your business in the SERPs.
Ready to finally see the results you want? Let’s take a look at seven easy SEO tactics that even total beginners can do. We’re going to use content marketing as the primary example here, but the tactics all work for your site copy, too.
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Table of Contents
1. Check your page speed
Site loading speed may not be the first thing that you think of when “SEO” comes to mind, but it plays an important role in your performance in search engines.
Google itself has acknowledged that it takes page speed into consideration when ranking pages, especially since slow-loading pages are more likely to have higher bounce rates.
Because of this, you want to ensure that your site is loading fast enough or it could potentially sabotage your other SEO efforts.
There are a few things you’ll want to watch for in particular that could slow down your page loading speed:
- Having high-quality images that aren’t properly compressed
- Using URLs that redirect to a new page, which can delay loading speeds
- Relying on low-cost servers, which may result in slow speeds overall (speed is something worth paying for)
- Not taking advantage of browser caching
Make sure that you test your site’s loading speeds on both desktop and mobile devices. Both should load in two seconds or less for best performance. Google’s free PageSpeed Insight’s tool can help with this, even offering specific suggestions for what you can do to optimize your site.
2. Choose keywords you can realistically rank for
Keyword research is of course an important part of SEO, because you can’t rank for searches that you aren’t even optimized for.
Keyword research needs to be carefully executed, however, and conducted specifically for your business, your audience, and your website’s current domain authority level.
Your domain authority is a metric Moz will give you that essentially tells you how much “authority” you have in the search engines based on their knowledge of how Google’s algorithms work, and it’s a good guide.
You’ll get a score from 1-100, while a number of factors go into ranking potential, newer sites with fewer links from high-authority publishers will typically be on the lower end of the scale.
Here’s how that comes into play: You don’t want to simply choose a keyword because it has a high search volume, as that may not work for you. If your domain authority is a 20 and you’re trying to compete for the same high-volume keywords as sites with authority scores closer to 80, you likely won’t even rank on the first page of search results.
Choosing keywords that you can rank for now or in the near future is important to your success. Here are general rules of thumb that can help guide you:
- Sites with domain authority at 25 or under should look for low competition keywords, even if they only have 200 searches a month
- Sites with domain authority from 26-50 can shoot for mid-range keywords, especially if there’s currently a gap and higher-authority competitors are overlooking potential topics
- Sites with domain authority scores over 50 (especially 70 or over) can start targeting more high-competition keywords successfully but check to see who else is in your space
These are just general guidelines, however; if you can really knock a topic out of the water and it gets a ton of attention thanks to social shares, that can help kickstart more traffic to your site and a slew of backlinks.
You aren’t bound by these rules, especially without checking what’s happening in the market, but they can be helpful when you want to start generating more search traffic quickly.
3. Create keyword clusters
If you’ve been reading up on SEO strategies or tactics, you might have come across the term “keyword cluster.”
This is a strong SEO tactic that some content marketers use to dominate search results for not only a single keyword but for a more general topic.
While there are some variations to this strategy, the gist is that you’ll create “clusters” of related keywords, which all address different user problems or search intent with highly specific topics. You can link between the posts within a cluster, and even create a long-form “pillar post” that links out to the different keywords in the cluster.
If I want to write a keyword cluster around the primary keyword “content marketing,” for example, I’d pull up my keyword research tool to see what pops up.
“Content marketing” with a volume of 14,000 would be the target keyword at the center of the cluster, but the following keywords all have strong search volumes and lower competition, with specific niche topics:
- What is content marketing
- Content marketing strategy
- Content marketing plan
- Content marketing tips
- Types of content marketing
- B2B content marketing
- Content marketing tools
These could each make up their own unique post that’s 1000-2000 words long apiece to create a high-potential keyword cluster. This can also help with the content creation process when you’re looking for new ideas, too.
4. Optimize each post with the fast five
After you’ve selected your primary keyword, we need to put it to good use. All your other SEO tactics may fall flat if you neglect to optimize your content properly.
Remember that it’s not enough to have a keyword in mind and place it in the title once; you need to show Google that your post can address the user’s search intent. A quick and easy way to do that is to drop that primary keyword into key placements with what I call the fast five.
- Your meta description
- Alt image text (also sometimes called “alt text” or “image descriptions)
- The SEO Page title and slug
- Your post’s headline
- H2s and H3s of your post, if at all possible
You can see that the post below optimizes for the keyword “How to do Keyword Research” in both their headline and in their meta description, for example; they do such a good job, they’re the top organic result for a search that isn’t even an exact phrase match.
While you’ll also want to include the primary keyword and secondary keywords in the text itself every so often, dropping them in the placements above can make a big impact.
5. Include secondary keywords on all pages
One mistake a large number of new content marketers make is choosing a single keyword and optimizing only for that keyword.
I write all content with the goal of including at least three strong secondary keywords.
This post, for example, is optimized for the primary keyword of “SEO tactics.” You can search, and find the secondary keywords “SEO strategies,” “SEO tips,” and “SEO tactics for beginners.” These are all relevant to the content of post and can help Google better understand the overall context in the post.
You can look for secondary keywords while conducting your standard keyword research. They’ll be related to your primary keyword, and tools like SEMrush’s SEO Writing Assistant can help you identify additional keywords if needed.
6. Create content centered around your keyword’s search intent
As far as SEO tactics go, this is a great one for beginners because it doesn’t require a ton of extensive research; just common sense.
It’s so important to create content that your audience actually wants to read. That’s particularly important when you’re trying to attract search traffic because it means they’re actively looking for some solution or information. If you aren’t able to deliver what they’re looking for at that moment, they’ll leave.
If I search for “Facebook ad images,” there’s a lot of things I could mean. Maybe I want to see examples of Facebook Ads. Or maybe I want to know about their image guidelines or look for access to images and stock photos I could use for my ad campaigns. The reality is that even though this is a vague search, I as the user want something specific, and I’ll ignore (or quickly leave) any post that isn’t matching my intent.
When I look at “Facebook ad image sizes,” I’m much more specific about what I want; both Google and the brands trying to reach me will have an easier time presenting me with the solution I need.
Keep in mind that if your content isn’t aligned with search intent, people will leave quickly and your bounce rates will soar, hurting your SEO. For this reason, having plenty of content with long-tail, topic-specific keywords that leave little to guess about search intent is a reliable SEO strategy.
7. Take control of link building
Link building can take time, which is why we mention it last, but it’s one of those crucial building blocks of your long-term SEO strategy.
You need a strong, diverse backlink portfolio to increase your domain authority over time, because Google sees sites with great backlinks as more trustworthy and worth featuring high in the SERPs.
While you aren’t in full control of all elements of link building, there are a few concrete steps you can take to help your site get noticed by Google:
- Link to your own content. I always try to include a minimum of two inbound links on every post I write, keeping users bouncing around our own site. This forges links that Google can connect, too, to establish context, making it useful in the keyword cluster strategy.
- Link to high-quality content on other sites. If you link to reliable, high-authority sites, it’s not quite as good as them linking to you, but it’s a good start. Google will see that you’re citing strong, trustworthy resources, and that earns you some points.
- Submit guest posts to high-authority sites. Most businesses can submit guest posts to some publication in their industry. This typically can get you a backlink to one non-promotional post and potentially a second link to your site in the bio. These are invaluable for link building.
Make sure you’re tracking inbound links to your site from others, and remember that when you write and promote high-quality content, link building becomes much easier.
SEO can be complex, and it’s absolutely often a long-term process; for many brands, it may take several months to see significant results. The good news is that if you keep up with a strong SEO and content marketing campaign, the growth is often exponential and compounds over time.
Make sure you’re intentional about your SEO efforts, and test out these 7 easy SEO tactics for beginners and experts alike!
Need help scaling your content production to improve your SEO potential? Learn more about how Wordable can help here.