Beginners SEO Guide
This is a beginner’s search engine optimization (SEO) guide specifically made with indie creators in mind. Marketing artwork and content is difficult for many independent creators. I want to give you an overview of SEO marketing concepts to help get more traffic to your website!
Most search engines don’t come out and tell you everything that they look at on your website. It is important to keep some of this information hidden to keep people from gaming the system.
Also, the internet is a constantly moving and changing place. The criteria for being considered as a great website changes from time to time. That said, there are some standard practicing for making sure your website is up to par.
In this beginner’s SEO guide, I wanted to discuss six of the major areas of search engine optimization. I feel that focusing on these concepts will help you increase organic traffic and have higher rankings for more keywords.
What is domain authority?
Domain authority is kind of like your street cred for topics on the internet. Say you run a successful website reviewing indie films.
Search engines work to recognize that your website is about this specific topic. Further articles you write about indie films have a higher chance of ranking for search results.
Note: Domain authority is not a measured metric by search engines. This metric is typically created by SERP analysis companies. Each company has its own algorithm for determining authority and it varies from company to company.
How do I increase domain authority?
Domain authority is something that many website owners strive for. There isn’t really a set strategy for increasing domain authority. However, having good pieces of content and a good SEO strategy will put you on the right path. Here are a few things you can do to get you going::
- Claim your site on search engines – tell search engines that you are the owner of the website
- Set up Robots.txt – Having a robots.txt file on your site will assist search engines in crawling
- Set up Google Analytics – Get in-depth statistics about your website
Resources For Website growth – Use these websites to help you on your way:
- Google Search Console – Get advanced statistics about how your website is running and help Google web crawlers
- Bing Webmaster Tools – Claim your site with Bing and help with Bing’s web crawlers
- Google Analytics – Sign up to get organic traffic statistics about your site
What is page speed?
Do you ever hit the back button when a website is taking too long to load? Most people do. Search engines know this as well.
Your website’s page speed is an important ranking factor. If your website is too slow, it will hurt your chances of it being seen.
How can I improve page speed?
Increase page speed can be a fickle process. There are a lot of factors that determine page speed. It is crucial to make sure that your website is running like a well-oiled machine.
Since this is a beginner’s guide to SEO, I do have a few simple tips to get you started. You can work on increasing your page speed by:
- Optimized Images – Having images that are compressed, in the correct format, and produced at the right size
- Lazy Loading Images – Telling your website to not load an image until the user is about to scroll to it
- Minimizing code – Making sure that the elements of your website are running efficiently
- Good Hosting – Your server response time can make or break your site speed
- Using a CDN – Content delivery networks host your site on multiple servers and load the page from the server closest to the viewer
Page Speed Resources
You can use these sites to get more information about your page speed:
- Google Page Speed Insights – This will tell you how fast your site is for both mobile and desktop. You receive a score out of 100 and a breakdown of what is causing any slowness.
- Pingdom Tools – This website is cool because you can test your site from servers in different locations. This can give you an idea of user interaction around the world
- GTmetrix – This website gives an excellent breakdown of your site speed
What is link structure?
Think about all of the hyperlinks on your website. Some point to outside websites.
Others point to other pages on your site. From this perspective, your website is a network of interlinking pages.
Search engines use these links to crawl through pages for their index. The way your pages are linked together can affect how your pages rank in search engines.
How can I improve link structure?
Paying attention to what and how you link is probably the best advice to give here. Search engines are good at telling if your links are relevant or not. Here are a few things you can do to improve your link structure:
- Link to Outside Articles – If you reference popular articles and resources on your site, it tells web crawlers that you are doing your research. This is similar to citing other works in essay and papers
- Link to Your Own Work Where Appropriate – Internal link building is important for both page SEO and user interaction on your website. You show your viewers good related content and blog posts, and you tell search engines that your web pages are about similar topics
- Use Good Anchor Text
Resources For Improving Link Structure
Use these resources to help with link structures:
- Google Sheets/Excel – Keep a list of all of the pages on your website. Periodically review the list to look for internal link building opportunities
- Link Whisper – WordPress plugin that will scan your site for relevant linking opportunities
- Internal Link Juicer – Another WordPress plugin for finding internal links
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are links to your site from outside sources. Having other websites talking about you not only helps other people find your site, but it also tells web crawlers that your site has great information.
How can I get more backlinks?
Earning backlinks is a struggle for many website developers. However, there are many great methods for getting links from other sides, including:
- Guest Posting – Many websites accept posts from other creators. In turn, they will link to your website in the article. This is a great way to get a backlink if your website does not have its own blog.
- Get Interviewed – There are plenty of websites looking for indie creators to interview. Most of these interviews will allow you to plug your website.
- Just Ask – Do you know another creator that makes similar work? Ask them for a link on their site, and reciprocate with putting a link on yours.
- Find Broken Links – When you are on websites similar to your own, keep an eye out for links that no longer work. Contact the website and ask them to switch the link out with one of yours.
Resources For Backlinks
Use these resources to help you build backlinks:
- Backlinko – This is a great site that discusses a lot of backlinking techniques
- Moz – This is an awesome SEO company that provides a lot of insight into the SEO and keyword research process
What are keywords?
Keywords are what people type into search engines. These are the phrases that will help you show up in search results. You want the page on your website to focus around a certain set of keywords.
How do I rank for keywords?
A lot of this happens naturally. You put your work on a web page, and it is pretty obvious what it is about. There are also keyword research tools to help you with this. However, there are some additional strategies to help search engines identify the topic of your page:
- Set Meta Descriptions – The meta description is the little blurb that shows up under your page title in search engines. Not only do meta descriptions help your audience identify what the page is about, it also helps web crawlers identify your page’s relevant content.
- Alt Attributes in Images – If your website cannot load an image, it will instead show whatever text is set as the alt image. It is also a good opportunity to tell search engines what the picture is about. Make sure to tell out the meta attributes for images on your site.
- Use Relevant Words – As stated previously, this will happen naturally if your page is robust and on-point. Just keep an eye out for opportunities to use relevant keywords and descriptive language on your pages.
- Don’t Overuse Keywords – Search engines can tell if you are trying to trick them. If your content is too heavy with phrases, it may cause you to rank lower.
Resources For Keyword Research
Use these resources to help you with keywords:
- Hubspot’s Website Grader – This website will give you overall information about your site, including your SEO strategy
- SEMRush – This website is a bit pricey, but it gives in-depth information about keywords and your website’s SEO.
- Alexa – Alexa is Amazon’s SEO company. While it does cost money, it has a free tool that will give you basic information about your site.
- Ubersuggest – This is a free keyword tool with a lot of great features.
Bounce Rate and Dwell Time
What are bounce rate and dwell time?
Bounce rate is the percentage of viewers that click the back button after viewing only one page of your site. Dwell time is the average amount of time a viewer stays on your website. This may seem like a no-brainer.
You want people to have a great experience on your website. You want them to visit many pages on your site. At the same time, having a good bounce rate and dwell time also tells search engines that people love your website.
How can I improve bounce rate and dwell time?
If there was a great answer for this, we would all have successful websites. However, there are some good strategies for having a good bounce rate and dwell time:
- Do Great Work – It is really that simple. If you do great work, then people are more likely to spend time with it.
- Use Multimedia – Have relevant videos, images and audio on your web pages.
- Use Relevant Internal Links – Making it easier for users to navigate your site will help them visit multiple pages before leaving.
- All of the Above – Every SEO strategy in this article will help you in this area. It is all about user experience.
Resources To Improve Bounce Rate and Dwell Time
Use these resources to help with bounce rate and dwell time:
- You! – You do great work. Make sure that you are always doing your best to provide for your audience.
- YouTube – Make your own YouTube videos, or find relevant videos from others to embed into your webpages
- Canva – Canva is a great graphic design website for those with little-to-no graphic experience. You can easily create captive pictures and infographics for your site.
Let’s Make Our Websites Better!
At the end of the day, this is all about providing the best experience for your audience. As an indie creator, it is extremely important that we are putting our best face out to the world. That does not only apply to your art or content. The technical side of producing for the internet and content marketing cannot be overlooked.
An awesome creator with a lacking website is similar to An awesome creator with a lacking website is similar to opening a store in the middle of the woods. It doesn’t matter how awesome your goods are if people can’t get there. Technical SEO is just one of the many bridges that connect our work to the world.
I hope you enjoyed my Google SEO starter guide for indie creators. Keep up the great work, and put some work into your website this week.
How do you get traffic to your website? Hit me up on social media if you have any questions. Let me know what your best SEO efforts are.