A Guide to Website SEO: Tips and Tricks for Beginners

 • 15 min read

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So you’ve just launched your new website. Congratulations! But if you’re anything like most new website owners, you might be asking: “How do I get people to actually see it?” Enter: Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

What is Website SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a strategy used to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It involves improving your website’s visibility in search engine rankings which makes it easier for potential customers to find you. Simply put, SEO is the process of making your website more “attractive” to Google or other search engines like Bing, or Yahoo.

Now, when we say “organic traffic,” this pertains to traffic that comes through search engine results without you having to pay for it. This is why SEO is so important: it helps your website reach its target audience free of charge.

How SEO Works

Modern SEO works by optimizing various elements of your website to make it easier for search engines to understand what your content is about. This involves using relevant keywords that your target audience might search for, creating high-quality content, and ensuring your website loads quickly and is easy to navigate.

In addition, search engines also consider the number of other reputable websites that link to yours, known as backlinks. By optimizing these areas, you can improve your website’s ranking in search engine results, thereby attracting more organic traffic.

There are many elements that make up SEO, and it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start. But don’t worry! Our guide will teach you the basics of SEO so you can get started on improving your website’s visibility.

Why Does SEO Matter for a New Website?

Imagine building a fabulous store in the middle of a desert. No matter how amazing it is, if no one knows it’s there, you won’t get customers. The same is true online. Your website may be a masterpiece, but without proper SEO, it’ll be hard to attract traffic.

In short, you need to know what people are actually searching for online so you can make sure that your own website fulfills these needs. The good news is that with a few SEO strategies, you can start driving targeted traffic and potential customers over to your website.

The Importance of Technical SEO

When we say “SEO for a new website,” many immediately think of target keywords and content. But before diving into content strategy, we need to ensure that the foundation, or the technical part of the SEO, is solid. Think of technical SEO as setting up the infrastructure to ensure search engines can easily crawl, understand, and index your site.

Here’s a quick technical SEO checklist for a new website:

  • Responsive Design: Ensure your site looks and works well on mobile devices. Google primarily uses the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking.
  • Fast Loading Speed: Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to check your site’s speed.
  • SSL Certificate: Secure sites (those starting with HTTPS) are a must. Google considers it a ranking factor.
  • Sitemap and Robots.txt: These help search engines understand and navigate your site.
  • Eliminate Duplicate Content: Ensure each page on your site is unique to avoid confusing search engines.

SEO tools like Screaming Frog and SEMrush can be useful for beginners to scan their websites for common technical SEO issues. These tools will also help you identify any errors and fix them quickly.

What Every New Website Should Have

Before diving deep into SEO specifics, ensure that you have these essential elements:

  • Clear Navigation: Make it simple for visitors to move around your website.
  • Contact Information: Display this prominently, preferably on every page.
  • Quality Content: Ensure your content is valuable, well-written, and original.
  • Optimized Images: Compress and optimize images for the web to improve site speed.
  • Social Media Links: Allow visitors to connect with you on various platforms. 

These five together help set up the foundation of your website. From here, you can start optimizing for SEO.

Understanding Google Search Console and Analytics

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. This means it’s important to track your progress, and that’s where Google Search Console and Analytics come in.

Google Search Console shows you how your website performs on Google. It helps you identify issues like broken links, crawl errors, and indexing problems. You can also use it to see which keywords are driving traffic to your site.

Google Analytics is a tool that helps you track your website’s performance. It provides information about your visitors, such as their location, device used, bounce rate, and time spent on each page. You can use this data to make informed decisions about how to improve your website and its SEO strategy.

To get started, sign up for these tools, verify ownership of your website, and start exploring the data they offer. 

How to Structure Your Website’s Content

Creating valuable content is one thing, but structuring it effectively is another. Now, what does “structuring” mean? It means deciding how your content is going to be organized. This should be based on the user experience and search engine optimization.

Here are a few tips for structuring your website’s content:

  1. Prioritize a Hierarchy: Main topics should be top-level pages. Subtopics or related information should be sub-pages or posts linked from the main pages.
  2. Use Header Tags: H1 for main titles, H2 for subheadings, H3 for sub-sub headings, and so on. H-tags are important because they help search engines understand the hierarchy of your content.
  3. Internal Linking: Link to other relevant content within your site. Internal links help spread “link juice” and keep users engaged longer.
  4. Keyword Optimization: While you don’t want to stuff keywords, ensure they’re naturally present where relevant. “Optimization” means making sure your content is easy for search engines to understand while still providing a great user experience; it does NOT mean putting in so many keywords to attract search bots.
  5. Include Metadata: These short snippets can boost click-through rates from search results. Metadata includes page titles, meta descriptions, and primary keywords.

Top Tips and Tricks for Beginners 

For beginners, entering the world of SEO can be overwhelming. Our SEO checklist for a new website can help you start your strategy:

1. Start with Keyword Research

Keyword research is the cornerstone of SEO. It helps to unveil the actual search terms people are using, guiding you to optimize your content accordingly. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush offer free keyword research features.

2. Create Quality Content

High-quality, original, and helpful content is king. Search engines reward sites that provide valuable information that matches the user’s intent. Ensure that your content does not only provide useful information but is also comprehensive and easy to read.

3. Optimize Your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

Page titles and meta descriptions can significantly impact your website’s click-through rates. Make sure they are engaging, relevant, and include your targeted keywords.

4. Work on Building Backlinks

Backlinks from reputable sites tell search engines that your website is trustworthy. Guest blogging, creating valuable content that others want to link to, and networking with other websites in your niche can help build backlinks.

5. Optimize Your Images

Optimizing your images can improve your site’s speed and user experience. Be sure to compress your images, use descriptive filenames, and include alt text with relevant keywords. The ideal speed for a website to load is under two seconds, so use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to track your progress. If your site takes much longer to show up, then you should investigate ways to reduce its loading time.

6. Improve Your Site’s Mobile Usability

As more users rely on mobile devices, optimizing for mobile-first has become an essential part of SEO. Ensure your site is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check your website’s performance on different devices.

7. Submit Sitemaps

Submit an XML site map to help search engines index your website faster. A site map should include all of the pages on your website, including a link to each page and its last modified date.

8. Utilize Social Media

Social media is an important tool for driving traffic to your website. Utilize platforms like Facebook, Twitter (X), Instagram, and TikTok to reach out to more people. Social media also helps boost SEO by increasing engagement and improving brand awareness.

9. Monitor Your Progress 

Monitor your results regularly using tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics. This will provide you with insights into what’s working and what isn’t. It also helps to identify areas that need more work in order to improve your website’s performance.

10. Keep Learning

SEO is a constantly evolving field, with search engines frequently updating their algorithms to deliver the most relevant and useful results. Staying up to date with the latest SEO news and techniques is crucial to ensure that your strategy remains effective in driving organic traffic and increasing visibility. By continuously adapting and implementing best practices, you can stay ahead of the competition and improve your website’s rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Remember, SEO is a long-term strategy. It may take some time to see results, but the effort is well worth it in the long run. By following these tips and continually learning, you’ll set your website up for SEO success.

The Difference Between SEO & SEM

You may be wondering what the differences are between SEO and SEM. We’ll explain below!

SEO: Organic Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) revolves around enhancing a website’s organic visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). This involves strategic keyword usage, on-page optimization, content creation, link building, and technical tweaks to improve relevance and user experience.

SEM: Paid Promotion

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) employs paid advertising strategies to secure visibility on search engines. It predominantly involves Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, where advertisers bid on keywords to display ads prominently on SERPs, paying when users click on their ads.

Key Differences

SEO focuses on organic methods, aiming to improve rankings through keyword optimization, content quality, and technical enhancements. In contrast, SEM offers immediate visibility through paid ads, providing precise targeting and control over placements and budgets.

Advantages of Each

SEO offers sustainable, long-term visibility, building authority and credibility over time. SEM delivers instant visibility, targeting users actively seeking specific products or services, with precise control over ad spend and targeting options.

On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO

On-page SEO revolves around optimizing individual web pages to enhance their relevance and visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). It encompasses various strategies implemented directly on the website itself, focusing on elements within the web page’s control.

Off-page SEO focuses on activities conducted outside the website to enhance its authority, relevance, and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines. It primarily involves acquiring backlinks from reputable and relevant external sources, signaling to search engines the website’s credibility and popularity.

Key Elements of On-Page SEO

  • Keyword Optimization: Strategic integration of relevant keywords into page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and content to align with user search intent.
  • Content Quality: Creation of high-quality, valuable content that engages users, addresses their queries, and establishes authority within the niche.
  • Meta Tags: Optimization of meta tags including title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags to provide search engines with context about the page’s content.
  • URL Structure: Optimization of URL structure to enhance readability and relevance, incorporating keywords where appropriate.
  • Internal Linking: Strategic linking within the website to facilitate navigation, distribute link equity, and reinforce topical relevance.

Key Elements of Off-Page SEO

  • Link Building: Acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites through strategies such as outreach, guest blogging, and content promotion.
  • Social Media Signals: Leveraging social media platforms to amplify content reach, engagement, and brand visibility, indirectly influencing search engine rankings.
  • Online Reputation Management: Monitoring and managing online reviews, mentions, and brand sentiment to cultivate a positive online reputation, which can impact search engine rankings.
  • Brand Mentions: Securing mentions and citations of the brand or website across the web, even without accompanied links, to enhance brand visibility and authority.

While on-page SEO focuses on optimizing individual web pages for relevance and user experience, off-page SEO extends beyond the website to build authority and credibility through external signals like backlinks and brand mentions. Both aspects are crucial for achieving higher search engine rankings and driving organic traffic to the website. 

5 Common SEO Strategies That Deliver Results

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a dynamic field, constantly evolving with search engine algorithms and user behavior. While the landscape may change, certain strategies have proven to be consistently effective in improving website visibility and driving organic traffic. Here are five common SEO strategies that continue to deliver results:

1. High-Quality Content Creation

Quality content lies at the core of any successful SEO strategy. Search engines prioritize content that is relevant, valuable, and engaging to users. By creating in-depth, informative, and well-researched content, websites can attract and retain visitors while establishing authority within their niche.

Key Aspects of High-Quality Content Creation

Keyword Research: Identifying relevant keywords and phrases that align with user intent and search queries.

Content Relevance: Crafting content that directly addresses user queries and provides comprehensive answers or solutions.

Engaging Formats: Diversifying content formats such as articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts to cater to different audience preferences.

Optimized Structure: Organizing content with clear headings, subheadings, bullet points, and multimedia elements to enhance readability and user experience.

Regular Updates: Keeping content fresh and up-to-date with the latest information, trends, and insights to maintain relevance and authority.

2. On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization involves optimizing individual web pages to improve their visibility and relevance on search engine results pages (SERPs). This includes optimizing meta tags, headings, URL structure, and internal linking to provide search engines with context about the page’s content and purpose.

Key Aspects of On-Page Optimization

Keyword Placement: Strategic placement of target keywords in page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and throughout the content.

Meta Tags Optimization: Crafting compelling and descriptive meta titles and meta descriptions to entice users to click through to the website.

URL Structure: Creating clean and descriptive URLs that incorporate target keywords and accurately reflect the page’s content.

Internal Linking: Establishing a logical and hierarchical link structure within the website to facilitate navigation and distribute link equity.

Mobile-Friendliness: Ensuring that web pages are optimized for mobile devices, providing a seamless user experience across all screen sizes.

3. Link Building

Link building remains a cornerstone of SEO, as backlinks are a crucial ranking factor for search engines. Acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites signals to search engines the trustworthiness and credibility of the linked website.

Key Aspects of Link Building:

Quality over Quantity: Prioritizing quality backlinks from reputable websites within the same industry or niche.

Natural Link Acquisition: Earning backlinks organically through the creation of compelling content, outreach, and relationship building.

Diversified Link Profile: Building a diverse portfolio of backlinks from various sources, including guest posts, resource pages, directories, and social media platforms.

Competitor Analysis: Identifying link opportunities by analyzing the backlink profiles of competitors and industry leaders.

Continuous Monitoring: Monitoring backlink quality and disavowing toxic or spammy links to maintain a healthy link profile.

4. Technical SEO Optimization

Technical SEO optimization involves addressing the backend aspects of a website to improve its crawlability, indexability, and overall performance in search engines. By optimizing technical elements, websites can ensure that search engines can access, interpret, and index their content effectively.

Key Aspects of Technical SEO Optimization

Site Speed Optimization: Improving page load speed through compression, minification, caching, and image optimization to enhance user experience and reduce bounce rates.

Crawlability and Indexability: Optimizing robots.txt, XML sitemaps, and canonical tags to control how search engines crawl and index website content.

Structured Data Markup: Implementing schema markup to provide search engines with additional context about the content and improve visibility in rich snippets and knowledge panels.

Mobile Optimization: Ensuring that websites are responsive and optimized for mobile devices to comply with Google’s mobile-first indexing and provide a seamless user experience.

Site Security: Implementing HTTPS encryption and security protocols to protect user data and improve trustworthiness in the eyes of both users and search engines.

5. User Experience Enhancement

User experience (UX) plays a significant role in SEO, as search engines prioritize websites that provide a seamless and intuitive browsing experience for users. By focusing on UX optimization, websites can improve engagement metrics, reduce bounce rates, and ultimately enhance their search engine rankings.

Key Aspects of User Experience Enhancement

Responsive Design: Ensuring that websites are responsive and accessible across all devices and screen sizes to accommodate the growing number of mobile users.

Intuitive Navigation: Designing clear and user-friendly navigation menus, breadcrumbs, and internal linking structures to help users find relevant content easily.

Page Layout and Readability: Organizing content with sufficient white space, clear headings, and readable fonts to improve readability and scanability.

Interactive Elements: Incorporating interactive elements such as videos, images, infographics, and interactive tools to engage users and enhance the overall browsing experience.

Reduced Page Abandonment: Minimizing intrusive pop-ups, interstitials, and other elements that disrupt user experience and lead to higher bounce rates.

These five SEO strategies form the foundation of a comprehensive and effective SEO strategy. By implementing these strategies in tandem and adapting to evolving trends and algorithms, websites can improve their visibility, attract organic traffic, and achieve sustainable growth in search engine rankings.

New Website SEO: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Beginners in SEO will understandably have plenty of questions on getting started and navigating the field. Let’s look at the most commonly asked ones:

1. What is a “crawl budget,” and why is it important?

A “crawl budget” refers to the number of pages search engine bots will crawl and index on your site within a specific timeframe. This is crucial as it influences how quickly new or updated content on your site gets indexed and shown in search results. You will come across a “crawl budget” when you analyze your website’s performance on tools like Google Search Console.

2. How does social media play a role in SEO?

Social media does not directly influence search rankings. However, it can boost brand visibility, lead to increased web traffic, and create opportunities for backlinks when your content is shared, indirectly supporting your SEO efforts.

3. What are long-tail keywords, and why should I target them?

Long-tail keywords are specific, often three to four-word phrases that visitors are likely to use when they’re closer to making a purchase or when they’re using voice search. They might have lower search volumes, but they often have a higher conversion rate due to their specificity. New website SEO strategies include long-tail keywords as they are more likely to drive organic traffic and increase conversions.

4. What is local SEO, and how is it different from regular SEO?

Local SEO is a strategy that focuses on optimizing a website to be found in local search results. This involves optimizing your website for the city or area you operate in, setting up a Google My Business account, and managing online reviews and ratings. Local SEO is crucial for brick-and-mortar businesses looking to attract customers within their vicinity.

5. How long does SEO take to work for a new website?

SEO is not an overnight process; it typically takes several months to see noticeable results. The time frame depends on various factors such as the competitiveness of your industry, the quality of your content, and the strategies you implement. For a new website, it can take anywhere from four to six months to start seeing improvements in organic search traffic. However, SEO is an ongoing process, and continuous optimization is necessary to maintain and improve your rankings.

6. How often should the website’s content be updated?

The frequency of content updates for a website largely depends on its nature and the industry it operates in. However, as a general rule, websites should aim to publish new content at least once a week to maintain their SEO ranking and keep their audience engaged. Remember, consistently adding fresh and relevant content is a positive signal to search engines and helps improve your website’s visibility.

7. As a business with a new website, do I really have to set up a Google Business Profile?

Yes, setting up a Google Business Profile is highly recommended for businesses, especially for those with new websites. This tool not only improves your local search visibility but also establishes credibility with customers. It provides an easy way for potential customers to find essential details about your business, such as hours of operation, contact information, and location.

8. How are search engine algorithms developed and adjusted? 

Search engine algorithms are developed and adjusted through a combination of machine learning, data analysis, and human intervention. Search engine companies like Google, Bing, and Yahoo continuously work to improve the relevance and quality of search results by refining their algorithms. Initially, algorithms are often developed based on foundational principles such as keyword relevance, website authority, and user experience. However, they evolve over time as search engines gather data on user behavior, engagement metrics, and content quality to fine-tune their algorithms for better performance.

In 2024, the algorithm has changed to adapt to Google’s new Search Generative Experience. Top ranking factors include content quality and relevance, backlinks, user experience, structured data, NLP, and more. 

9. How often do search engine algorithm updates occur?

Algorithm updates can occur frequently, with major search engines like Google rolling out hundreds of updates each year. While some updates may be minor tweaks to specific components of the algorithm, others can be significant changes that impact search engine rankings and visibility. Google, for example, regularly releases core algorithm updates, such as the broad core algorithm updates, which can have noticeable effects on website rankings and traffic.

10. How can I stay up-to-date on changing algorithms?

Staying up-to-date on algorithm changes is crucial for digital marketers, SEO professionals, and website owners to maintain and improve their search engine rankings. There are several strategies to stay informed about algorithm updates, including:

  • Official Announcements: Following official announcements and communications from search engine companies like Google through their official blogs, webmaster guidelines, and social media channels.
  • SEO News Websites: Monitoring reputable SEO news websites and forums where industry experts discuss and analyze algorithm updates, trends, and best practices.
  • Search Engine Webmaster Tools: Utilizing search engine webmaster tools such as Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, and Yahoo Site Explorer to monitor website performance, indexing issues, and algorithmic penalties.
  • SEO Communities and Forums: Participating in SEO communities, forums, and online groups where professionals share insights, experiences, and strategies related to algorithm updates and SEO tactics.
  • Continuous Learning: Investing in ongoing education and training programs to stay abreast of the latest SEO trends, algorithm changes, and best practices.
  • Testing and Experimentation: Conducting regular testing and experimentation to assess the impact of algorithm updates on website performance and refine SEO strategies accordingly.

By staying informed and proactive in monitoring algorithm changes and industry developments, digital marketers and website owners can adapt their strategies to maintain visibility, drive organic traffic, and achieve long-term success in search engine rankings.

11. What are some resources for learning website SEO?

Take advantage of online courses and guides offered by reputable platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, HubSpot, and LinkedIn Learning. Look for courses taught by experienced SEO professionals or industry experts.

Explore free resources provided by Google, such as the Google Search Central (formerly Google Webmasters) documentation and Google’s SEO Starter Guide.

The SEO Journey Ahead

Embarking on your SEO journey can mean a lot of work, especially when your website is new, and the competition is high. However, by following the mentioned practices, keeping your audience at the heart of your SEO strategy, and adapting to changes in the search landscape, you will be well on your way to achieving visibility and success in the digital domain.

Remember: patience and consistency are key. Over time, your efforts will pay off with improved search engine rankings, increased organic traffic, and, ultimately, more conversions. Here’s to your SEO journey and the success that lies ahead!

If you ever need professional help or feel overwhelmed with your new website’s SEO, don’t hesitate to reach out. The team at Markitors is the best in the search engine optimization field and is available to help you navigate the process.

Feel free to reach out to us — we’re a friendly and accommodating bunch, and we’re more than happy to help!

Contact the new website SEO experts at Markitors today. 

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