Search engine optimization (SEO) is something you may have heard a lot about already. However, it can be daunting when you are completely new to it.

If you want to start enjoying the benefits of SEO by getting your web pages ranked in the search engines, here are a few essentials that you need to know.

Get an Optimized Web Design

Your site should be SEO optimized from the start, even before you have created the content for it, and that’s why it’s so important to use a designer who knows about SEO.

They will work with you to create a site that will help you rather than hinder you when you start optimizing it. A good website on its own won’t automatically appear in the search engines, but it is an essential starting point.

Make sure it has the right structure. Your designer will work with you to find out about your products and services so you can create the pages in such a way that you can optimize each page for a keyword.

Research Your Keywords

As soon as you are in a position to start creating content for your website, you will need to carry out some keyword research.

Keywords are the words and phrases that your target customers use to search for your goods and services in the search engines. The ideal scenario is that when someone types in one of your keywords, your website shows up in the search engines.

To optimize your web pages for specific keywords, you first have to know what these are, and this involves careful keyword research.

As well as brainstorming keywords that you think your customers will use, you should also use keyword tools to go deeper. The AdWords Keyword Planner tool is a good free tool that will give you some ideas along with the search volume of the keywords, and there are other more advanced tools that you can pay for to provide you with further insights.

Create Your Main Content Pages

Once you have your keywords, you should use these to optimize the main pages of your website, including your home page, about page, product pages, service pages, and more.

Use the keywords in the title, headline, and meta description, but never cram them in unnaturally and always make sure they read naturally. Just make sure that you use your keywords on the pages so that the search engine spiders can find them and boost your chances of ranking.

It’s also good practice to create internal links between these pages where it makes sense to do so. And later, when you start publishing blog posts, you will want to make sure you include at least one internal link in each post.

It All Comes Down to Creating Valuable Content

SEO can become very technical. (And if you’re still asking “what is SEO?” you’ll find a good introduction here.) But at its heart, it involves creating content that provides value.

Google wants its users to find the best resources when they make searches, which means high-quality content that answers problems and provides valuable information.

You need to create that content so that it can stand a chance of ranking. It’s no use writing a few blog posts and hoping they get found-you need to create high-quality content on a regular basis.

That is not all there is to it, but it is one of the essential elements of good SEO. If you don’t create content regularly, you are going to find it a lot harder to rank.

Build Backlinks

Backlinks are an essential element of SEO. These are links pointing back from other websites to your site, and they suggest to the search engines that your site has information of value.

The more links you get from authority websites, the better.

One way to get backlinks is to create valuable content, as already mentioned, and to then promote this. You can do this by reaching out to influencers in your industry and encouraging them to link to your content.

You should also be active on social media. As you build your follower numbers, they will start to share your content across their own networks. This will create social links, and it will also get your content before new audiences, increasing the chances that they will link to it too.

Improve Your SEO and Start Ranking

SEO may seem daunting when you are first starting out, and it can seem like there is a lot to learn. But start slowly, focus on the basics, and you can move onto more advanced tactics at a later date.

For now, the focus should be on setting up your website so it is in a good position to start ranking, choosing the right keywords, and creating and promoting your content. Once you get into the habit of this, your chances of ranking will start to go up.

Declan Patterson works in small business marketing. He likes to write about his experiences on various business websites in an effort to inform and assist other entrepreneurs.