How do you make your website rank higher on Google? Website SEO for beginners.


If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Technically, yes. According to science, the tree falling will produce soundwaves regardless of whether anyone hears it. The question goes deeper than that, though. To me, the question asks: does the sound matter to anyone if they are not there to hear it?

You can apply a similar question to websites. If no one knows your website exists, does it matter that you have one? If you have a product to sell or a message to share, a website is an effective way to achieve that. So, in that case, it should matter.

Despite what many people think, SEO is not essential for every website. It is not the only way to drive traffic to your site. I've had many clients who use their website as a hub of information more than a lead generation tool. Building good SEO requires a lot of time and commitment. Before anything else, consider how important it is to you and your business.

If generating website traffic from search engines doesn't matter for your website, stop reading. This article isn't for you. If you want to know more about how to develop your website SEO, read on.

Make sure search engines can see your website

It may seem rudimentary, but many people do not have their websites set up for search engines to find them. 

You may have heard of a sitemap. Search engines use this file to navigate your site. It contains all the links to your pages. Every website should have one. When you have your sitemap, it's time to tell Google about it. Go to the Google Search Console and enter the URL of your sitemap (usually This process prompts Google to read the sitemap and start indexing and ranking the pages of your website.

When you scroll through any search engine results, they contain a title, description and URL. These are your site's metadata. Every page on your site must have an HTML title tag, meta description tag and canonical URL tag. Don't worry about adding the code yourself. Most CMSs will include or have plugins to help implement these SEO tags during content creation.

Use keywords for better SEO

The first step to optimising your website content for search engines is to know what the search engine is looking for. When people Google a topic, what are they typing into the search bar? If you like, you can try and guess. It may be more efficient to be told. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Answer The Public and Semrush do just that. They collate search data and tell you what people are searching for around your subject area.

Now you have your keywords, what next? You want to incorporate those keywords into your website content. The most effective way to include keywords in your website is through blog posts. Include keywords in your blog post title and have relevant content in the post. Google will reward you for having helpful, informative website content with a higher ranking.

A backlink is a link to your site on someone else's. When search engines crawl another site and find a link to yours, it will see you as an authority on the subject and reward you with a higher ranking. So, how do you get backlinks?

Firstly, make content worth linking to. If people don't think your content is worth sharing, neither will search engines. You can put your content in front of people by sharing it through your social channels. Posting it on LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other platform will create at least one backlink. You can also collaborate with other people in your space. Guest blogging offers a chance to grow through exposure to other people's audiences. Their audience will trust you by association. They can guest post on your blog and profit in the same way. Many people may not have the audience to entice someone into guest blogging. There are still ways you can profit from exposure to other people's audiences. Read blogs in your niche and find broken links. Reach out to the author to consider using one of your posts as a replacement link.

Keep your website fast and easy to use

The success of any website often comes down to user experience. The court of public opinion will decide your fate. If users have a good experience on your website, you will be rewarded both by word of mouth and search engines. Every website should aim to provide a great user experience. But what constitutes a good user experience?

Before anything else, users want to be on the right site. When they go to a website from a search engine, they expect an answer to their question. First and foremost, make sure your content is relevant and up-to-date.

If you have good content on your website, users need to be able to find it easily. Make every user journey as easy as possible. By all means, have a beautiful, slick design. But, never leave a user guessing where to find the information they need. Ensure your website is accessible to all users as well. Not everyone uses a website in the same way. We all have an equal right to access your content. Make sure your website is usable by everyone, regardless of ability or disability.

Don't expect your users to be patient. 40% of users will abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. Keep your website fast and performant. You can read my blog post to understand more about optimising website speed and performance.

Think how a search engine thinks

Consider the world at present. Information is cheap. Everyone has a hot take. Everyone has an opinion. Google and every other search engine has to filter through everything on the internet and rank it. Think about how you filter good information from bad. Search engine algorithms essentially mimic that process. Start by creating a high-quality website with relevant and informative content. From there, you can start trying to develop the "social proof" necessary for search engines to trust and rank your content.

Remember, SEO is an ongoing process. It requires regular new content but also managing and updating content. Keeping old content relevant is as much part of it as generating new content. It can take time for your content to take off. Be patient and trust the process. I hope to see your content on Google soon.