A Beginner's Guide to SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of increasing your website's visibility and search engine rankings. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing determine the relevancy of a website by checking to see if the keywords used in the website are relevant to its topic. A beginner's guide to SEO will tell you that the primary key to SEO is choosing the right keywords for your target audience. Choosing the right keywords, therefore, will directly impact your rankings.
One of the most common mistakes made by beginners is using common misspellings of words, acronyms, or brand names. This technique forgets the basic principle of conversion rates. Search engines will index the visible content on your site, and if it contains misspellings, your actual visitors will be put off by this. Moreover, search engines will notice these misspellings too, and it can look like you're either doing them on purpose (what we're talking about here), or you're just careless with your proofreading - both are not good "signals of trust" for search engines.
Another technique to avoid is to rely on the META keyword tag. For over twelve years now, Google have stopped counting this tag as a metric.
Many people who use popular misspellings or brand names as keywords also try to stuff their sites with a lot of keywords. Again, this can be seen as a low-quality content signal to search engines, and it's not going to help your conversion rates when people see you're constantly using a particular phrase over and over - it just isn't good copy.
So far, this article has only highlighted what NOT to do...I thought I'd get these out of the way since they're common mistakes, and SEO is as much about what NOT to do as what TO do.
So, what are the things we should be doing to practice good SEO?
An important consideration is to dedicate each page to a particular keyword/topic. These are often known as "landing pages". They solely focus on a particular keyword/phrase topic. It doesn't mean you need to spam a keyword/phrase on these pages, but that it focuses on a very particular subject. If you have a health site, maybe this landing page will focus on work-related back injuries and how to avoid them. However, if your entire website was only about back injuries, maybe "work-related back injuries" is too broad a topic for a single page. You might dedicate a page to "warehouse work-related back injuries". The key thing is you narrow down a subject and dedicate the content to that subject. You should then provide detailed content for this narrow topic. In other words, you're getting closer to satisfying the end-searcher than if you created some thin-content site that never goes into detail about anything.
Another good tip is to use a website template, like WordPress. They should already be on-page optimized so you basically only have to worry about your content. Of course, you can always add SEO plugins to these templates if they're missing something specific you need. It's a more robust way to handle on-page SEO than developing your own site.
Keyword research is very important. You provide an excellent service or product, but you may not know how your prospective target market are searching for your service/product. They will use all kinds of keywords - many that may surprise you. Installing Google Analytics is one way to know which keywords are bringing in the most traffic. This will enable you to create content around these terms and improve your website's chances of appearing on the first page of search results. A good SEO tutorial should also give you tips on how to keep your website fresh and relevant to visitors by removing outdated and useless information.
All of these things should make your website not only more visible, but more useful to the visitor, and therefore increase your conversion rates.