SEO basics for new websites

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SEO, search engine optimization, is an entire industry. Google makes and breaks entire companies with their algorithms and ranking systems. Larger companies have entire SEO teams who work full time on keeping their site at the top of the search. So what about us little guys and gals and nonbinary pals? Does that mean we can’t rank and get traffic? Of course we can, it just takes consistency and time and effort. But it’s do-able, for sure.

Here are the SEO basics for new websites, so you can start getting more traffic to your site. Just keep in mind that this takes calendar time, especially for a new site. You might put in hours and hours and see no results, until one day… your traffic starts picking up and you get more and more traffic without doing a ton more work.

>Pick good keywords.

Your keywords are where it all starts. You have to know what search words you want to rank for before you can start optimizing your content to rank for those words. If you’re just starting out, choose longer, more specific phrases. Those will have less competition and that will help you stand out more when people search for your keywords.

>Images are important.

I think this is one that non-web developers don’t really know about. The names that your images have when you upload them to your website are actually super important for seo. If you have a bunch of ‘screenshot 392434u83298’ on your site, that’s not doing anything for you. Rename all your images with your keywords, and then upload them.

The other important thing for images is to decribe them clearly in the alt text. Alt text is for screen readers and people with visual impairments, so it’s super important on its own. But it also helps with seo to give Google more info about the image. You can add alt text in the media section of your WordPress dashboard.

>Adding content always helps.

The general rule is more is more here. Keep adding blog posts, adding content to your category pages, to the pages of your website. Build it out, and build it well. Write quality content and make it as engaging and helpful as possible.

If your content is AI generated, you’re not likely to be able to sustain much traffic for a long time. It might work in the short term, but people will come to your site and leave quickly because AI content is not quality content. Once you have a high ‘bounce’ rate of people leaving, it will be hard to recover from that.

Quality hosting matters.

If you have super cheap/ bad hosting, your site will be slower and less reliable, and that will affect your rankings. This is the one and only place where you can buy better seo. I use and recommend SiteGround, and I’ve had great success with seo on sites built on that platform.

>Use the Yoast plugin and follow their advice.

Yes, everyone else is doing it. But everyone else is doing it because it works. The Yoast plugin is free to install and use. There’s a premium version, but I haven’t ever really used it. Once you install & activate it, it appears on all of your blog posts. You can enter your keywords for each post and it will give you advice on how to improve both your seo and your readability for that post. Plus, it’s super fun to play around with it and get all the red lights (bad seo) to change to green (good seo).

SEO definitely feels overwhelming, even the SEO basics for new websites can be overwhelming! And it can be frustrating if you’re working and working and not yet seeing results. Just keep plugging away at it and making progress, and you’ll eventually see the fruits of your labor. In my experience, it takes about 6 months to start getting any traffic to a new site, and then another 6 to start getting regular, solid traffic numbers.

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