SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a massive field where things change rapidly and frequently. Moreover, there is now so much to learn and cover that most beginners often feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
If you are an SEO beginner or starting a new online business in 2019, you will need some guidance to help you get started. Search engine optimisation does not have to be scary. And if you start following the wrong path, you may get lost.
In this blog post, we are going to highlight a few tips and top trends that beginners should learn first.
1. Understand how and why users search
A few years ago, beginners were told to learn as much as they can about keywords, keyword research, and keyword optimisation. Now, things are slightly different.
Don’t take us wrong: keywords are still extremely important. However, search intent is now more crucial to understand.
It is because Google may rank a web page on top of the search engine results page (SERP) even if it does not use the searched keyword as is. Keyword optimisation and search ranking algorithms have evolved, and Google focuses more on the intent behind a user’s search than the actual keyword phrases.
Following is a great example.
As you can notice, the #1 page in the SERP does not use the keyword ‘infant’ even once. It is still on the top, though. This proves that the user search intent is more important than the keyword itself.
Understand why people search. Identify their questions and the problems they are trying to solve. Then, with your content, answer those questions and try to solve those problems as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Google will reward you with better search engine rankings.
2. Take a mobile-first approach
The online world is rapidly shifting to mobile devices — smartphones, wearables, and tablets. Just like users, search engines now also prefer websites that are built with mobile users in mind.
Google’s latest mobile-first index is a prime example of that evolution.
Try to learn why mobile is so important for SEO and how you can provide a great user experience to mobile users on your website.
For example, identify how search habits differ for mobile users vs. desktop users, improve the loading speed of your website on mobile devices, make the website design mobile-friendly, and make content consumption easier even on smaller screen sies.
3. Understand the importance of UX in SEO
On the same note, don’t underestimate the importance of UX in SEO.
A good user experience is critical for higher search engine rankings. You may do everything right and yet fail if the site doesn’t have a good UI and UX.
4. Always write for humans — not for search engines
This is a common mistake that SEO newbies often make. Although it is not as common today as it was a few years ago, this is still an important point that we must highlight.
You may be optimising your website and content for search engine crawlers. But you must still create content for human readers — not for search engines.
Your content should be of the highest quality. It has to be useful, interesting, engaging, and relevant to your target audience. If it means sacrificing a few keywords, so be it.
In short, don’t go out of your way to strategically place keywords to appeal to search engines. Your #1 priority should be to make your content as useful and engaging to your readers.
5. Start learning about voice search
Voice search is a rising trend that will continue to make a massive impact in the SEO world for the foreseeable future. Now is the perfect time to start learning about it and implementing it to gain a competitive advantage over others in your niche.
According to a comScore study, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. If you are not ready for it, theoretically, you will lose half of your organic traffic in just about two years.
The good news is that learning about voice search isn’t all that difficult. You just have to be a little strategic about it.
Approximately 16% of all voice search queries are triggered by just 3 words, i.e., how, what, and best.
Learn more about voice search.
6. Learn about website speed optimisation
Seriously. Learn how to increase the loading speed of your website. This is turning out to be a very important search engine ranking factor.
There are several ways you can improve the loading speed of your website, e.g., minifying JS and CSS files, minimising HTTP requests, compressing images, cleaning code, reducing plugins, etc.
But this is something you should learn in detail and keep an eye out as much as possible.
SEO in 2019 is going to be exciting. Of course, there is much to learn, but the above-mentioned 6 things are absolutely critical if you want to excel and help your site rank on the first search engine result page.