If you are an SEO newbie and want to become an SEO Jedi, you are in the right place.
The goal of this guide is to provide three powerful SEO tips that can be easily implemented by SEO practitioners who are new to the field and want to expand their current SEO strategy to include a more robust set of techniques.
Just the fact that you’re reading this article is the most important step you can take. Many SEO noobs become quickly overwhelmed by the vast array of SEO tactics and strategies and quickly shut down.
The key to advancing your SEO knowledge is a focus on the tactics that will provide the highest yield for your SEO campaign.
Luckily for you, we have compiled the three highest yield tactics that will work for nearly any SEO campaign.
We invite you to read and enjoy the treasure trove of knowledge below.
1st Tip: Make Understanding Searcher Intent a Priority
The most basic mistake of most SEO noobs is to focus on a disjointed set of tactics, believing that they will yield page one results.
In our experience, this approach will result in mixed output at best and months of wasted effort at worst.
Before spending valuable dollars on various SEO tools, writing pithy SEO blogs and searching for decent backlinks, we advise you take a step back and clearly understand the role of user intent as it relates to your website’s rankings.
It is critical to understand Google’s primary mission, which is to provide incredibly relevant search results for each and every user.
Should Google fail to provide search results, searchers would quickly switch to other search engines such as Google or Bing and possibly Amazon and Facebook.
Google has not only avoided losing users but has carved out a dominant position for their search engine by improving its search results via hundreds of minor algorithm updates per year and a smaller number of larger for updates.
Although each update tweaks Google search results in a slightly different way, they all share one thing in common as noted above, which is their goal of providing relevant search results.
If we wish to achieve page one results for commercially critical keywords related to our website’s products and services, we need to be in complete alignment with Google’s mission.
The primary way to create alignment is to understand how searchers reach our website and what they want.
Searchers reach your website primarily through keyboard search and voice search. We will explain how to optimize for each below.
For keyboard search, it is important to understand which keyword phrases users type in to reach websites who sell products and services like yours.
There is a number of web graders that will allow you to do free keyword research, like this free web grader, or you can use paid tools such as Google AdWords, ahrefs.com, and majestic.com.
If you use the web greater above, you will be able to add two or three of your closest competitors and find out which keywords they rank on. The most important keywords are typically a service you offer coupled with the city in which you are located.
For example, if you are an orthodontist in Boulder, searchers will typically type in, “orthodontist Boulder” or “Boulder orthodontist.”
Once you’ve identified keywords with decent search volume that are extremely relevant to your business, add those keywords to your site’s metadata.
We further recommend that you create blog posts that include these keywords or variations of these keywords.
Optimizing for voice search may sound super hi-tech. Many people who are new to SEO believe you need sophisticated software and technology to optimize for voice search.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. When optimizing for voice search, simply think about how you speak when trying to find something using Alexa, Siri, or Google Home.
You might say something like, “Find an orthodontist near me” or “Which orthodontists help adults?”
Because voice search is more conversational in nature, it is best to optimize your website in a few key areas.
Updating your FAQ page to include answers to those questions and others is a super-easy way to provide answers for users.
We also recommend that you write blog posts for more complex questions and, if appropriate to the nature of your business, an ebook or video.
2nd Tip: Create Content Like a Pro
I bet you’re thinking, okay, keyword research wasn’t that bad; maybe I’ll try to write content like a pro. Just the fact that you’ve continued reading is a sign that you are well on your way to search engine dominance.
The first step to writing pro-style content is to create an editorial calendar. Your editorial calendar should consist of the top problems facing your customer base.
What keeps them up at night? How products and services make their lives easier or save them money?
Don’t spend too much time, as you should already know your clients’ most common questions; after all, you speak to them every day.
With your topics selected, it’s time to write an advance blog post. The most important way to increase the number of readers is to write highly detailed content that explains in excruciating detail how you will help a reader overcome a problem they are facing.
Don’t skimp on details. If your client needs to do something basic like log into a software, show them the login screen then show them the next screen and what to do on that screen; do not leave any step out or assume any knowledge whatsoever.
Shoot for at least 2,000 words when writing a blog post of this nature. There’s a lot of research showing that a blog post needs to be a minimum of 2,000 words to achieve a page one ranking in Google’s search results.
If you nail this, I assure you that you will see increased time on page as readers will need to carefully read your post to follow instructions.
We have seen posts like this take 15 or 20 minutes to read, which is well above the average time on page for a blog post, which is 40 to 50 seconds.
As a bonus tip, we recommend that you create clearly defined sections using headers to allow users to find the section of your blog post they want to read with little effort.
People tend to skim blog posts to look for relevant information; if you can help them find the information quickly, they’ll stick with your post.
3rd Tip: Machine Learning
We know what you’re thinking: how can a newbie understand the role of artificial intelligence much less optimize for it?
If you have not run in terror already, that’s a good sign. The truth is optimizing for AI is not half as bad as it sounds.
Google uses machine learning to advance its core mission of providing relevant search results. Google dubbed its machine learning program “RankBrain.”
RankBrain is able to review endless amounts of data tirelessly and categorize it to improve the relevancy of Google search results.
Optimizing to help Google’s RankBrain find resources on your website is easy, we promise. Simply follow the three tips below and you should be fine.
Google’s RankBrain likes medium-length keywords as they are more specific, which gives RankBrain a little more to go on. Utilizing medium-length keywords has two additional benefits.
The first benefit is that medium-length keywords convert at a higher level due to their high specificity.
The second benefit is that medium-length keywords are typically less competitive than their shorter counterparts.
As mentioned above, creating user-oriented content that helps readers solve genuine problems will be rewarded as Google wants to provide the highest quality results for their users.
This is one area in which noobs may want to spend a little money and hire a trusted professional to provide high authority links that are relevant.
We recommend that you read reviews of agencies in your area and partner with them if you believe they are able to provide a steady stream of great links.
Your trial by fire is now over. You are now an SEO black belt capable of achieving page one results like a pro. The only thing that may prevent you from achieving search engine dominance is procrastination. That means you need to get started today.
Jump into that web grader and find some great keywords, create an editorial calendar, and crank out some awesome content.
You won’t be sorry. If you’re still reading this, that means you haven’t started yet. Go forth and fulfill your destiny one keyword at a time.
Adam Stetzer holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has published on the topics of Internet marketing, absenteeism, employee and customer satisfaction, productivity and safety, and culture.
He has founded several technology firms, and is currently CEO at HubShout, a white label SEO reseller firm. In his 25 year career he has worked with companies such as General Electric, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Verizon, AT&T, Ford, LendingTree, American Express and ChevronTexaco. Adam has advised over 1,000 small business owners and blogs frequently.