SEO for Beginners: Get More out of Google | Captain Coder

SEO for Beginners: Get More Power out of Google

Marisa VanSkiver / August 1, 2023

Google SEO improves Traffic

You have a website and you know that you want to get leads from that website. But how do you get people to visit it? You need to optimize it for SEO.

Getting high-quality leads from your website can feel like a wasted effort. Most B2B websites experience an average conversion rate of just 2.23%.

But your website can be the best lead-generator for your business when it’s not only built correctly but built to bring in traffic from Google. And you can bust right through those averages when you’re bringing the right people to your site, too.

If you’re looking to get more clicks, attract high-quality leads, and grow your business, then you need to unlock the power of SEO to boost your website.

Keep reading if you want to know what to do to make that possible.

What is SEO?

Before we dive in further, let’s clarify what SEO actually is. SEO, or search engine optimization, is simply the process of improving your website’s performance and experience to get a higher ranking in various search engines.

Of course, most of us care about Google since it has 94% of the market share currently, but we have to think about other options like Bing and Yahoo, too.

With SEO, we want to increase our ranking in organic search results, meaning the ones we don’t pay for. SEO is separate from Google Ads and is based 100% on the quality of the result itself.

One thing to keep in mind – Google cares about helping their customer – the searcher. They want to provide the best possible result for the question being asked, so when you focus on what the customer needs, you’re really just helping Google do a good job.

Why Does SEO Matter to Your Business?

SEO is the best way to bring new people to your website. Those people (or traffic) become leads, customers, and revenue for your business.

Running Google Ads can help you shortcut some SEO basics, but 81% of all Google searchers click on the organic (free) results over the ads.

You can get 5 times more traffic by ranking in organic search versus when you pay for an ad.

SEO is an ongoing process and something that can truly build over time. It doesn’t happen overnight (in fact, it can take 6 months to a year for SEO to pay off in your business), but once the momentum is going it steadily builds over time.

That’s way better than that Instagram Reel that “disappears” after about 72 hours.

Beginner SEO Steps to Take Now

There’s a lot you can do on your own to improve your SEO, but first Google has to be able to crawl your website.

If you built your website yourself, are using SquareSpace, Wix, ShowIt, or even if you paid someone to create it for you, you have to be sure that the steps we’re about to get into will actually work.

To check that it can and that Google has already indexed your site, you’ll want to head to Google and do a “” search.

This allows you to see what Google has captured and if nothing is returning, shows you that there’s something wrong.

If there’s something wrong or if your site is brand new, what we do in the first step will help.

Step 1: Set-Up Google Search Console

Even if you never want to learn how to read your SEO data, it’s important that you set up a free Google Search Console account.

Search Console is your middleman with Google and allows you to supply correct information about your website (and even correct inaccurate data).

You can verify that you own your website (and thus have permission to register it to Google Search Console) through a few different ways, but the easiest is to connect it through your existing Google Analytics account.

To submit your information to Google, you’ll need something called an XML sitemap which you can create with a variety of plugins like Yoast or SquareSpace or other platforms do for you.

To learn more about Search Console and how to use it, you’ll want to check out my Google Search Console guide.

Step 2: Optimize Your Images for Search

The biggest search engine that many people forget to take advantage of is Google Images. Image Search alone controls something like 20% of the overall search engine traffic. That means people can and do find you based on your images.

There are two components to improving your images for SEO.

The first is to use a descriptive filename when you upload the image to your website. These should be plain English words with dashes between each word so Google can actually read and understand the individual words.

Think bookkeeping-solutions.jpg instead of IMG_9781.jpg.

The next step is to add something called ALT text or alternative text to the image. Most platforms, including WordPress make this easy to do. You just might want to Google how to do it on your specific website platform.

The ALT text should be a literal description of what’s in the image, but you’ll want to include some of your keywords when you can.

For instance, the photo we uploaded called bookkeeping-solutions.jpg was a stock photo of Quickbooks on a laptop.

Your ALT text, therefore, could be “Quickbooks shown on a laptop to provide bookkeeping solutions.”

The great side benefit of optimizing your images for search is that you’re making them more accessible, too, to those with vision impairments.

Step 3: Write Like Your Customer Talks

I want you to take 30 minutes and read through your entire website.

Is how you describe everything in your technical jargon, or could your grandma who barely understands what you do for a living tell you what you do?

The absolute biggest SEO mistake I see many businesses make is to focus on keywords that they think their customers are using when their customers would never actually talk that way.

Think about it. When that human on the other side of Google goes and searches for your services, what are they calling it? What problem are they looking to solve that your service is a solution for?

Instead of writing in your technical jargon, your website should be written how your ideal customer would speak.

This can be a bit difficult to get your head around when you admittedly spend hours upon hours buried in your own business.

The best thing you can do is to get a few of your favorite customers on the phone and ask them questions or you can jump into Facebook Groups, Discord channels, Reddit threads, or other places your ideal customer is hanging out and just see how they’re talking about their problems and even services like yours.

Step 4: Blog

I say this every time, but I’m not sure any of my clients want to do this. Blogging is really just the process of creating consistent, long-form content that speaks to your ideal customer and is a step in the process you might cover.

This blog, for instance, talks about SEO and on-page SEO is a solution we provide, but it’s also something I want my customers to understand the value of if they’re going to work with us.

Before you tell me your clients “don’t read” blogs, let me hit you with some impressive stats. Businesses with a blog experience 126% higher lead growth, 55% more page visits, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages.

In other words, blogging is simply the most powerful thing you can do for your SEO.

Your blog articles don’t have to be as long as mine. In fact, they can be as short as 300 words. Long posts, just because they have more information, can rank even higher though. That starts at around 1,000 words.

Your key, however, is to focus on creating blog content that you can maintain consistently over time.

Step 5: Link to Pages in Your Website

Once your copy is correct and you’ve started blogging, you’ll want to go back through your website and link relevant pages to each other.

These links should largely be within the text. If you scroll back up and look at this article, I’ve got several places where I’ve linked to other blog posts within my own website.

Go back through and read your content. Is there a mention in a paragraph about one of your services? Link to that page!

Do you ask people to get in touch with you in another page? Link to your contact page!

The key here is to add relevant links within your site. This not only helps your customers get around to the parts of your website that best pertain to them, but it also helps Google understand what fits with each other and ensures it crawls every page on your website.

Step 6: Get Links Back to Your Website

When your website is all optimized with what you can do on it, you have to then focus on getting outside trust from the rest of the internet.

Google recognizes this trust in the form of links from other websites to your own.

Also called backlinks, these links give your site “authority” because others are finding it contains valuable information.

Not all links are created equal though. I’ve seen a lot of SEO companies try to get backlinks by creating junk directory listings and get your links placed in comments or on sites that have nothing to do with you.

Ideally, you want your backlinks to come from websites that make sense for your industry. It needs to feel natural and organic because it should be.

The best way to go about this? Ask to guest blog for someone in your industry! Find someone that provides a complementary service to you or has the same kind of audience and then ask if you can provide some valuable content for their audience.

This could also look like being a guest on someone’s podcast, or video vlog, or creating a joint bundle with them.

It takes more work to build your backlinks this way, but it’ll have far more lasting value for you.

Tackle SEO as a Beginner

There’s a lot of fear-mongering in the market that SEO is this incredibly complex thing.

While you can dive into so many different aspects of it and certainly get lost, the best thing you can do for your business and its SEO performance is to take key, foundational steps to improve your Google search rankings.

And if you’re not sure what your website needs to rank higher or what you might be missing, then let my team perform a full website audit! We’ll not only make SEO recommendations, but help you find gaps in your digital accessibility, problems with your UX, and so much more.

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