SEO Guide for Beginners

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There might have been a point in time where you were wondering why you see slump in sales, engagement, or growth. I totally feel you! I have been there myself where I wasn’t getting ANY traction in selling cards and hit a wall in gaining Instagram followers.

What if I told you there was a way to gain visibility without having to consistently show your face in front the camera, go live, or speak publicly? Yes, there is a way and that is using SEO!

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Optimization Engine and it is a process to help you optimize and gain visibility to your website from search results using relevant, searchable keywords. To put it simply, it is a way to boost your site’s ranking through organic search results and make your content more discoverable online. For the introverts who want to organically drive traffic to your content without putting your face out there, this is a great way to help push your site’s visibility.

This is a slow process and does takes a couple of months for your SEO to go into effect, but something that can help boost you and your content once you start and set SEO properly.

Why SEO?

I’ll tell you an intriguing story. Last year, I was approached by a project coordinator from a clothing company called SHEIN who was interested in licensing my art for their products. I had vaguely heard this company name before and decided to dig in a bit deeper about who they were and how they became one of the most recognized clothing brands so quickly….

In 2008, Chris Xu founded SHEIN, formerly known as SheInSide, and he was an SEO consultant for another online marketing company before making his own. At the time, he recognized the value of selling goods to the international market on an e-commerce platform and well, got to work using his expertise in SEO. In just 13 years, his company had overtaken H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 as the biggest fashion retailer in the United States. Currently, the company is worth roughly at $47 billion dollars, almost the valuation of Twitter.

Isn’t it remarkable how the guy behind this company had no background in fashion and still became one of the leading clothing brands in US and internationally? Back then, he originally wanted to help domestic firms sell products overseas. Even when Alibaba (kind of like the Amazon in China) entered as an IPO company in 2007, Xu’s SEO strategy was working behind the scenes where his brand was standing out on the Google Search page.

The company all started from SEO roots. And, my friend, your business can too.

Here’s how to get started.

SEO is really about strategically integrating key, searchable keywords to help optimize the position of website in search results and to help drive traffic to your website organically. Did you know that a whopping 93% of your customers won’t go further than the first page of Google? You can also think about your own search queries – do you mostly scroll through the first page too and almost never click on links passed the second or third page?

What’s exciting is that there are cool tools to help you start the SEO process, by searching top keywords out there using Ubersuggest and also using another tool called Google Search Console to measure your site’s performance. For your information, I’m not an affiliate with Google (I wish though!), but I believe using their tools will help enhance your site just because everybody uses Google and “Google” things nowadays.

What is Ubersuggest?

Ubersuggest is a powerful SEO keyword tool that provides you insight on top keyword searches, monthly search volume, and much more. And no, it has nothing to do with Uber. It’s a free Chrome browser extension you can download here and get your research started today.

For instance, let’s say you want to Google “cute cat art,” this will pop up:

You can see what the top related keywords are people type in – and sometimes it’s not at all what you imagine! This is meant to help you gain an understanding of current trends in your market or topic.

Once you have an idea of top keywords in your market or topic, you can strategically use the top keywords or phrases in your own content to gain leads and traction. Keep in mind that SEO is an ever-changing tool, so it is ideal to start implementing SEO strategy once you have done your latest research.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Consoleis a useful tool and resource to monitor your site’s performance, measure search traffic, fix issues, and help you optimize your site. Learn more and get started by entering your website here.

With Google Search Console, you can see top searchable queries from your content, impressions and the average CTR (the percentage of impressions that resulted in a click), and the average position of your website when people are searching similar type of content in Google.

Can a blog post be optimized for SEO?

Yes, absolutely! If you are a blogger or are interested in becoming one, there are several SEO-friendly strategies when developing a blog post and they are the following:

  • Make your statements conversational, use “You” and “I” often
  • Create long posts, ideally 2,200 words or more
  • Use images, videos, & audio in between your text
  • Use subheadings and short paragraphs
  • Summarize your content & ask a question in the end to help gather comments on your page to encourage engagement

Consistently creating blog posts for your ideal audience and market can really help drive organic traffic to your website, especially when provide value and are relatable.

Pinterest is more than just a social media platform, it is a search engine.

Pinterest is not just your average social media platform, it is also a powerful search engine. Relevant content can drive traffic to your Pinterest and help you gain visibility. Do you notice how some of your search queries has sites or images from Pinterest?

To help you maximize Pinterest, here’s how you can use pins to boost your visibility:

  • Maximize your pin size so your pin can take up more real estate on screen (1000 x 1500 px)
  • Use strong, descriptive keywords in your title and captions
  • Make your image title large & use your brand colors
  • Make your pin link to your shop, freebie, site, Instagram, etc.
  • Put this into a board (i.e. Ideas for Business Branding)

You’re probably wondering, so what’s the perks of pinning? Pins have a longer shelf-life (beyond the 24 hours on Instagram) so your work will show up months after you post your pins. Also, about 80% of pins are repins, which will help your pins be seen by a new audience. You don’t have to post everyday and can batch post your content. Your boards can include content that isn’t yours – which helps get more eyeballs to your own boards & content too. You can also join group boards as well as link other social media accounts to your Pinterest business account.

SEO in Website Platforms

Website SEOis an important feature when you’re deciding on the website platform you want to host your content on. I highly recommend choosing a website platform that allows for SEO capabilities. Here are two website platforms I use and their SEO features:

WordPress is a website platform that has SEO plug-ins and settings to help your website become more visible and searchable.

Squarespace has built-in, fully integrated SEO tools so you can freely publish content without too much setup beforehand. There are specific strategies to ensure you are using Squarespace’s SEO tools effectively and you can use guides from Squarespace to help optimize your content for SEO.

Tips to Avoid Low SEO Rankings

While there are many pros about setting your SEO properly, be aware of the downsides too. If there are misleading or irrelevant content tied to the terms and keywords you are using, your website ranking will go down. Also, it is important to remove broken or update links no longer used in order to ensure this won’t impact your SEO rankings. Your website traffic and ranking may be negatively affected if you have URL links that aren’t fixed. Use the free Broken Link Checker to see if you have any broken links on your website.

The idea behind good SEO is to ensure your website is legitimate, consistent, and allows room for engagement. As more people go to your website for relatable and valuable content that you provide regularly, the better your SEO rankings will be. Also, allowing an online exchange of communication, such as comments and replying to comments, is a great way to let search engines know that your website is being interacted regularly, which will help boost your rankings. Also, as mentioned previously, SEO is an ever-changing process that will continue to optimize its search results, so just because your website is on the first page of Google, it does not mean your website will stay there. Regularly research top, searchable keywords in your market and continue to optimize your site as a way to keep your SEO rankings high.

For the beginners wanting to learn about SEO for your content, use any of these tools or resources that you like to start to get familiar with or use one that you already are using. There are many ways to approach SEO and I find it is best to use one or a combination of tools you can easily work with to help get your website more discoverable organically. Continue to do expand your knowledge about SEO and you can seek expert help if you really want to promote your website.

This is part of an ongoing Grow Yourself Monthly series where every week I cover a topic and provide beginner’s level content to help you build knowledge and learn new skills. For the month of January 2022, I will be covering the following topics: books, SEO, self-care, and art. I also do a weekly recap of the topic to my email subscribers. If you like a recap on these topics straight in your inbox, sign up at here.

I know it’s a lot of technical information to take in, but does this get your juices flowing? With this, I hope you can gain a bit more traction when you’re trying to put your content out there and give you momentum to keep sharing gifts to the world. Let me know in the comments if you found any of these strategies helpful!