• Jennifer Hickerson

SEO: A Simple Guide for Beginners

7 Impactful Steps to Boost Your Ranking




You’ve poured your heart and soul into your website.


An arm and a leg have been spent on the cost of hosting services, professional email addresses, template making, and even graphic designing.


Each and every word you typed out was thought about and labored over–wanting it to be just right.


So, why aren’t you getting traffic to your website?


Don’t beat yourself up.


Earning a good ranking within search engines is no easy feat. In fact, there’s a science behind it.


There are several things that contribute to how strong or weak your website’s SEO is—many of which you can do on your own without a trained professional!


But first, you need a basic understanding of what SEO actually is.


What is SEO?


Search engine results pages (SERPs) are made up of two different kinds of results:


  1. Paid advertisements

  2. Organic search results


SEO, or search engine optimization, is the increase of traffic to your website through organic search results.



Organic search results are the results of typing in keywords to a search engine and finding the best websites with the most relevance.


SEO keywords are oftentimes thought of as being too complicated, leaving people to ignore the process. In reality, most people are over-thinking this. In fact, in most cases, SEO keyword research is relatively simple and easy to implement.


If you are interested in learning more about adding the right keywords to your website, click here.


Backend Fixes for SEO


What most business owners don’t know or understand is that the backend of their website is incredibly important to finding SEO success.


The average person is more than capable of fixing these tasks and most web hosting providers explain, in simple terms, how to complete them by visiting their help sections.


I have compiled a list of 7 easy-to-do items that can have your website boasting a better Google ranking with little effort.


1. SSL Certificate – High Impact


If your SSL certificate is expired, the visitors to your website will be greeted by a warning message when they enter. This typically results in a rushed action to the X button.


The padlock in the locked position indicates that your SSL certificate is in good standing.



If you see that the padlock on your website is in an unlocked position, most hosting services allow you to renew this certificate yourself. If you are unsure how to do it, contact your website administrator.


The SEO impact of a SSL certificate that is close to expiring is extremely low. However, a SSL certificate that has already expired has a high impact.


2. Title Tags – Medium to High Impact


After content, your title tag may be the most important part of your SEO game. In just a few short words, your title tag will tell potential visitors to your website what they’re about to experience.


A title tag that is at least 30 characters long will also communicate loosely to Google what your website is about–increasing the likelihood of ranking!



Each page of your website should have unique title tags. Duplication can cause ranking complications.


3. Meta Descriptions – High Impact


Meta descriptions are the short blurbs you see under a site’s title tag.


This helps both potential visitors and search engine bots to understand what your page is about and what they can expect by clicking on your corresponding title tag.



Like with title tags, make sure the meta descriptions for each page are different.


4. Site Map – High Impact


Site maps communicate with search engine bots by indexing the links on your website, making it easier to rank.


Some web host providers automatically generate this.


You can add /sitemap.xml to the end of your domain name to check if this has already been set up or contact your site administrator.


5. H1 Headings – Medium Impact


H1 headings are your page’s titles within your website.


Each page of your website should have only one H1 heading.


It should be relevant to the content on your page and contain SEO keywords.



6. H2 Headings – Low to Medium Impact


H2 headings can be used throughout your page–typically as a section title.


And, like H1 headings, you want to be sure to use SEO keywords.



7. Word Count – High Impact


When you’re adding more text to each page, you are telling search engine bots (and visitors) what your page is about.


If the engine bot is unable to determine what your page is about, you will be virtually unable to rank for any of the SEO keywords that you’ve used.


Anything less than a few hundred words per page is considered to be thin content. If able, aim for 1200 words per page.


One easy way to accomplish this is by adding a blog section to your website.


A Few Things to Keep in Mind...


The key to anyone's SEO success is based on their website authority.


3 important elements include:


1. Website age

This can't be helped–and it's okay! Give your website its best chance by fixing the 7 items we discussed above.


2. Frequent updates

One element search engines look at when ranking websites is how frequently you are updating. Idle sites indicate a lack of activity and interest. Try to update at least twice a week.


3. Backlinks

Backlinks are vital to a website's success and can carry its SEO. This shows engine bots that your content is interesting and what people want to see.


The best way to obtain backlinks is by creating sharable content–like blogs–and spreading them across social platforms.