What Is SEO? 25 Search Engine Optimization Tips for Beginners

The best SEO tips provide a better experience for site visitors and search engine crawlers, helping you generate more organic traffic to your website. What is SEO? Don’t be dissuaded by spammy emails to your inbox from dubious consultants: For Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike, search engine optimization is an affordable, dependable, and high-conversion source of web traffic. If you’re not already convinced that SEO tips are a valuable addition to your site, here are a few great reasons to implement them on any e-commerce platform:

Not only is digital advertizing becoming more expensive, but searchers trust organic search results more than their paid alternatives. Implementing SEO tips for beginners is the most affordable–and more effective–way to garner traffic in 2021.

First Thing’s First: What Is SEO?

What is SEO? It’s the process of increasing the visibility and quality of a website to search engine users. Specifically, it involves improving non-paid result visibility, meaning that it does not include paid advertizing, also known as SEM (Search Engine Management). SEO writing is a unique form of writing based on keywords: queries that your ideal customer types into Google to find the information she wants. Targetting keywords helps your content rank higher in SERPs, which helps you drive traffic to your website.

15 SEO Tips for Beginners in 2021

Like all new disciplines, search engine optimization is overwhelming at first. The key is to be patient with yourself (and always have a way to back up your site). Here are a few non-technical SEO tips for beginners who aren’t sure where to start.

1. Back Up Your Website

SEO is part-art, part-science. In other words, experimentation has been critical to my SEO success. If you’re thinking of implementing anything technical, make sure that you have a back up of your site in case you crash it. I’ve crashed this site twice today.

If you can’t back it up, at minimum, keep a record of everything you did so that you can delete/re-add it later.

2. Set Up Google Analytics & Google Search Console

You will never know whether or not your changes are having any impact if you do not have accurate data. The best way to get this data is (still) Google Analytics. Though platforms like Shopify can show you your daily traffic, their results will not separate increased traffic from your IP address or from social media campaigns.

Google Search Console is equally imporant. Want Google to discover your website? You’ll need to index it and submit your sitemap via Google Search Console. Google Search Console also gives you access to organic-only traffic and keywords you may be ranking for.

If someone has already set up your Google Search Console and/or Google Analytics, double-check the installation. Google Analytics setup errors are extremely common.

When these are set up, answer the following questions:

3. Do Your First Round of Keyword Research

You get a few free searches on SEO software platforms like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Moz. Use them wisely. Base your searches after your Google Search Results keywords, if there are any. If not, try with diverse keywords related to your industry that you think might be important and write them down, preferably in an excel doc.

Don’t just write down your highest volume keywords either. Chances are, a new store won’t rank for “baseball hat” right off the bat (no pun intended). When writing your content, make sure to include long tail keywords (ex: Red Sox baseball hat). No matter what keywords you include, make sure you write your content in a natural way. If you don’t, you’ll be demoted for “keyword stuffing,” according to Google.

Be creative in your keyword research, too. You aren’t going to rank for “baseball hat” if you write one piece of content on why your baseball hats are great. Instead, you’ll need to establish yourself as an authority in the space by targetting lots of releavant keywords.

SEO Tip for beginners: If you’ve run out of free searches, check out Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, and Ubersuggest.

4. SEO Tip for Beginners: Avoid Duplicate Content Like the Plague

Ranking for “vintage baseball hat”? Great for you, but don’t go writing more content on baseball hats. If a piece of content is targetting a keyword, go out of your way to avoid ranking for that keyword in other content. This is what SEO managers call duplicate content: By attempting to rank two pages for the same keyword, you will confuse search engines, meaning that neither page will rank. It is a classic mistake to make once you start experiencing some success with SEO tips for beginners.

Of course, it’s a great idea to add more baseball-hat related content on taht page.

Intead, focus your attention on creating content for relevant, but differnet keywords. In this case, write more on sports-related topics. Again, to be an authority on baseball hats, it helps to be an authority on American sports.

5. Check Your Website for 404s

404s are broken links. When a Google crawler finds a 404, it has reached a dead end. They are a major demerit against your website for that reason – and an essential SEO tip for beginners. You can find 404s by using free SEO tools like ScreamingFrog and Ahref’s Free Broken Link Checker.

As soon as possible, permanently redirect your 404s to their most relevant pages.

6. Often-Forgotten SEO Tip: Prioritize Speed Over Looking Pretty

To get an idea of how fast your website is, run it through Google PageSpeed Insights.

This will give you two results: Your mobile speed and your desktop speed (hint: your mobile speed is more imporant, but both matter a lot). You want it to be, at worst, average (yellow), though good (green) is best.

If you’ve never done this before, changes are, your results won’t be good. How do you solve this? For starters, it’s important to note that anything that you add to your website will slow it down, with the exception of content. Usually, lots of JavaScript (think: fun animations and things that make a webpage pretty), big non-compressed images, ads, popups, and plugins.

7. Triage Your Plugins

Not sure where to start? Get rid of plugins that you don’t absolutely need. In my opinion, you are better off losing a little functionality then losing site speed. The Shopify stores that I operate have three plugins each.

Not sure how much your plugins are affecting you? In Google PageSpeed Insights, go to Diagonistics > Reduce the Impact of Third-Party Code. Unfortunately, you may notice that Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Ads will all slow down your website. In my case, email marketing software is the biggest offender.

8. Get Rid of Your Popups

Popups are also extremeley bad for your website and a terrible user experience. When designing your website, ask, “Is this a feature that I like on other websites?” No one likes pop-ups–especially not robots. If you absolutley insist that you need a popup, give it a siginificant delay (8 seconds) and make sure that it doesn’t take up the whole screen.

9. Use Smaller, Compressed JPG Images

Stop with the oversized PNGs. Chances are, most people are looking at your website on their phone and don’t need to see a 4000x4000 PNG that takes up 1 MB of space. Images are a major offender when it comes to slowing your site down, which is why one of the easiest SEO tips for beginner is to get rid of or compress images.

  1. Start by reading your theme’s documentation. Though this is boring, they may have suggested image dimensions. Follow them.
  2. Delete images that you don’t really want on your website.
  3. Take those that you do want, and covert them to JPG format, which is smaller.
  4. Compress your images using a free image compressor.
  5. Give them a sensical name (ex: burgess-blog-logo.jpg), not a string of numbers. Avoid dots, capitals, and anything not intellible by humans.

10. Create Lots and Lots of Content (or Find Someone Who Will)

As we say in SEO, content is king. Though images and videos are great, written content is still the easiest for Google bots to crawl, meaning that your site is ranked based on the written content that appears on it. Here are some of SEO tips for beginners when it comes to content creation:



11 Built Your Website for Mobile

On my B2C websites, over 80% of our visitors are browsing on their phones.

Simply put: If something doesn’t look great on your phone, don’t do it. Some of the hardest and most expensive customization only looks good on desktop. Not only that, but it slows down your website significantly.

You’ll notice that this website is very plain but insanely fast. You’ll also notice that it’s easy to read on your phone. Do you care that it doesn’t have any fancy animations? Your visitors want real information in an easily accessible (ableit professsional) format.

All web designers build websites on desktop, so it’s easy to forget to put mobile first. If you’re having someone design your website, don’t let them talk you into doing anything fancy that will slow down your site or won’t translate to mobile. (Chances are, what they want to do is also more expensive).

One of the critical SEO tips for beginner in 2021 is knowing how to diversify for other types of search.

Not only do you want links to your website, but links from and within your website matter, too.

14 Structure Your Content

No one wants to read a big blob of text–especially not on a small phone screen. And, it turns out, breaking up with text with an H1, H2s, H3s, and lists is great for search, too. Here are a few SEO tips for beginners when it comes to website content:

  1. Only have 1 H1, no more, no less, no exceptions.
  2. Make sure headings go in decending order. Don’t go H1, body text, then H3.
  3. Break up your content in small paragraphs. When people see a block of text, they will leave, giving you a higher bounce rate.

15 Give Your SEO Time to Work

In my experience, SEO takes a minimum of 60 days to work. It may be longer if you have a brand new website. In other words, don’t change things, expect immediate results and, when disastisfied, change something else. One of the most important SEO tips for beginners is to give your efforts some time to work. You may be surprised.

What’s the Difference Between On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO

On-page search engine optimization is exactly what it sounds like: optimizing your website’s infastructure to make it easier for humans and Google crawlers to visit it. This includes literally any type of optimization or content strategy that you implement on your website.

Off-Page SEO

By contrast, Off-page optimization is everything that occurs around the web that gives your website authority in the eyes of search engines. Who is linking to you? What text are they linking? How often are you getting new links?

Social media marketing may also impact your off-page SEO.

On Page SEO Tips

Conquered the above SEO tips for beginners and looking for something a little more intense? Here are a few places where your website will undoubtedly need work.

  1. Ensure that your website has a “mobile-first” design, meaning that it’s designed for mobile.
  2. Organize your site structure through practices like removing duplicate content, internal linking. optimizing URLs, and putting speed first.
  3. Creating a content strategy for your website based on market research, then, regularly creating and updating search engine optimized content.
  4. Implementing schema markup to convey critical information about your website to crawlers.
  5. Optimizing HTML for Google crawlers by solving issues such article/page content structure, mizzing tags
  6. Improving site speed through AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and minimizing Javascript, plugins, images, and anything else that’s slowing your site down.

The list of SEO tips is never-ending, thanks to consistent Google algorithm updates and fierce competition. No matter what you do, remember that the easier it is for your user to use, the better off you’ll be.

Off-Page SEO Tips

Candidly, off-page optimization is much easier if you have a big marketing budget. A common practice is to pay for content placements on listicles, meaning publications that write X best (insert here). You know that article that inspired you to buy a certain type of razor? Yeah, someone paid for that.

Ethical questions aside, this is the #1 way that people build domain authority, which helps establish you as an expert in a certain field and increases your likelihood of ranking for terms.

What are some off-page SEO tips that you can implement without spending lots of money? I can’t officially recommend things, but here are a few things I have seen professionals do:

  1. Reach out to local media when you do something impressive or release a new product
  2. Contact bloggers for the chance to have a sponsored post on their article
  3. Post your content to your relevant social media channels after publishing it
  4. Develop an influencer network

I cannot stress enough that the best way to get links is to write something insanely helpful and engaging. Readers can tell when you are writing something without proper research.

Burgess Powell