SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving the ranking of a website on search engines. The higher the ranking, the more likely people are to find it. And when people find your website, they are more likely to become customers. That’s why SEO is so vital for businesses, especially those just starting. But SEO can be tricky., and that is why I created this beginners guide to SEO to give you some handholding along the way.
You see, it’s not enough to create a website and hope for the best. You must optimize your site for search engines to get the best ranking possible. And you have to do it all without violating Google’s terms of service, because if you do, it can lead to penalties that will hurt your ranking even further.
That’s where this beginners guide to SEO comes in. I will teach you everything you need to know about SEO so that you can start optimizing your site from day one and get the most out of your online presence. Let’s get started!
1: Do Your Research
The first step in any SEO campaign is research. You need to understand what you’re up against and what you need to do to improve your ranking. That means looking at your competition and their SEO strategies. It also means understanding the principles of search engine optimization so that you can apply them to your site.
There’s a lot to learn, but the good news is that plenty of resources are available to help you. Start by reading some articles or watching videos about SEO. Then, take some time to experiment with different techniques on your site. And when you’re ready, if you still need help, you can always hire an SEO consultant to help you take your efforts to the next level.
2: Choose the Right Keywords
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to choose the right keywords. Keywords are important because people will use these words and phrases to search for your business on Google. And if you want to rank well, you must ensure that you’ve optimized your site for those keywords.
Keep in mind a few things when choosing keywords. First, you want to select keywords that are relevant to your business. That means choosing keywords that people are searching for that will help them find your site. You can use a quality tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find which keywords are most searched for that are relevant to your business.
You also want to choose keywords that are specific enough. You don’t want to pick too broad keywords if you’re a small business. For example, if you sell shoes, you don’t want to target the keyword “shoes”. Too many other companies compete for that keyword, and you’re unlikely to rank well. Instead, you want to choose more specific keywords, like “women’s running shoes” or “men’s dress shoes.”
Finally, you want to select keywords relevant to the different stages of the buyer’s journey. That means targeting keywords people use at different points in the decision-making process. For example, someone just beginning their search for a new pair of shoes will use different keywords than someone ready to make a purchase.
By keeping these things in mind, you can choose keywords that will help you rank higher in search engines and attract more visitors to your site.
3: Create Quality Content
Once you’ve chosen the right keywords, it’s time to start creating content. This is one of the most important aspects of SEO, and it’s one that you can’t afford to ignore.
The key to creating quality content is to focus on creating helpful, informative, and engaging articles that are relevant to your business. That means writing articles that people will want to read. It also means ensuring that your articles are well-written and free of errors.
Another essential thing to remember is that your content needs to be keyword-rich. That means using your keywords throughout your articles in a way that sounds natural. If you stuff your articles full of keywords, it will not only turn off readers but also get you penalized by Google.
Finally, you need to make sure that your content is updated regularly. Google loves fresh content, so the more often you update your site, the better. You don’t need to publish new articles daily, but you should aim to add new content to your site regularly. I find that adding new quality content once per week seems to be a good schedule.
By following these tips, you can create quality content that will help you rank higher in search engines and attract more visitors to your site.
4: Optimize Your Site for SEO
Once you’ve created quality content, it’s time to start optimizing your site for SEO. This ensures that your site is designed to help you rank higher in search engines.
There are a few things to keep in mind when optimizing your site for SEO. First, you must ensure that your site is fast and responsive. Google penalizes sites that take too long to load, so it’s essential to ensure your site is as fast as possible. You can use a variety of SEO tools to test your site speed and find ways to improve it.
Second, you need to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. More and more people are using their mobile devices to search the web, so make sure you’ve designed your site for mobile. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if your site is mobile-friendly and get tips on improving it.
Third, your site should be easily navigable. Google wants to send visitors to sites that are easy to use. You can use a tool like UserTesting to test your site navigation and find ways to improve it.
Finally, you need to make sure that your site is secure. Google favors secure sites, so you must make sure your site uses HTTPS. This protocol ensures that data is encrypted when it’s transferred between your site and visitors’ browsers.
Further Reading: How to Do SEO Yourself in 2023: 9 DIY Tips for Success
5: Build Quality Links to Your Site
Building quality links to your site is also an important aspect of SEO. Links are essentially votes from other websites saying that your content is relevant. These links are a critical factor in how search engines rank websites.
Building links to your site can be challenging, but there are a few ways to do it. First, you must ensure you’re linking from high-quality websites. Google wants to see links from websites that are relevant to your business and have a high level of trust.
Second, you need to make sure that your links are natural. Google wants to see links that are earned, not built. So you should avoid link-building schemes and focus on earning links through great content and outreach. You can do this by emailing potential websites, asking if they are willing to link to your site.
Finally, make sure that your links are relevant. Google wants to see links from websites that are relevant to your business. That means you should focus on building links from websites in your industry. If you have a pet store website, for example, getting a link from a sports website won’t do much for your ranking.
Further Reading: 11 Actionable Link Building Strategies For 2023 and Beyond
6: Monitor Your SEO Progress Regularly
Once you’ve optimized your site for SEO and built links to it, monitoring your SEO progress is the next step. This will help you see how your efforts are paying off and find ways to improve your results.
Monitoring your SEO progress is relatively easy. There are a few key metrics that you should track, including your organic traffic, your search engine rankings, and the number of links to your site. Let’s look at each of these individually.
Organic traffic is the number of visitors who come to your site from search engines. This is a good metric to track because it shows you how much traffic you get from search engines, as opposed to other traffic sources, such as social media or paid advertising.
You can use a tool like Google Analytics to track your organic traffic. Create a Google Analytics account and add your website. Then, you’ll be able to see how much traffic you get from search engines.
Search Engine Rankings
Search engine rankings are your website’s positions on search engine results pages. This is a good metric to track because it shows your website’s visibility in search engines. Your goal is to make it to the first page on the Google search results.
You can use a tool like Google Search Console to track your search engine rankings. First, create a Google Search Console account and add your website. Then, you’ll see where your website ranks in search engine results pages.
Links to Your Site
Links from other websites are critical factors in how search engines rank websites. So, it’s essential to track the number of links that your website has.
You can use a tool like Moz’s Link Explorer to track the number of links to your site. Create a free Moz account and enter your website. Moz will then show you the number of links to your site.
7: Don’t Forget About Other Forms of Content
Images, podcasts, and videos are all necessary forms of content that you shouldn’t forget when optimizing your site for SEO. All three forms of content can help you improve your SEO results.
Images are a great way to improve your SEO results. They help you rank better in search engines, and they also help you get more traffic from social media.
To use images to improve your SEO results, you need to ensure that you’re using high-quality images. You also need to ensure that your images are optimized for SEO. You can use a tool like Image Optimizer to optimize your images for SEO.
Finally, you must ensure that you use the correct file formats. Google prefers images in the JPEG format, so make sure your images are saved in this format.
Podcasts can be another great way to improve your SEO results. They are relatively new so not all websites have them. If you can include a podcast (or podcast notes) on your site, you’ll be ahead of the competition.
With podcasts, make sure that you’re using the correct file formats. For example, Google prefers podcasts in MP3 format, so make sure your podcasts are saved in this format. As I mentioned previously, you can either upload the podcast itself to your site, include just the notes, or put both on there.
And last but certainly not least, videos are a great way to improve your SEO results. They help you rank better in search engines, and they also help you get more traffic from social media.
Probably the easiest way to include videos on your site is to include the direct link from YouTube. With WordPress sites, as long as you put the link into your website, the video will show up.
If you have the time and ability, it makes sense to record your video, upload it to YouTube, and then link to that video from a relevant page on your website. By doing this, you’ll have more opportunities to connect with your audience, since some people prefer YouTube while others will prefer blogs.
Further Reading: Video Marketing SEO: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Video for Search
Beginners Guide to SEO Conclusion
Getting SEO right the first time is crucial because it can be difficult and time-consuming to correct mistakes. If you make errors while optimizing your website for SEO, you might not notice until you’ve already spent time doing other fixes. So, getting started with SEO the right way and avoiding common mistakes is essential. By following the tips in this beginners guide to SEO, you can get started with optimizing your website correctly so that you don’t have to worry about making those mistakes.
Not only that, but these tips will help you create both search engine and user-friendly content. This will go a long way in helping you improve your SEO results with both Google and your readers, which is the ultimate goal for any website.
Further Reading: SEO Basics: A Beginners Guide on How to Do SEO
Rachel Melegrito left her career as a university instructor to become a full-fledged content writer. She loves anything Apple —from iPhones, to Apple Watches, to MacBooks. She is also a licensed occupational therapist and a budding SEO strategist.
Hero photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash
Beginners Guide To SEO FAQs
Starting SEO as a beginner can be a daunting task, but by understanding the basics and taking it step-by-step you can become an SEO master! Here are tips on how to start SEO as a beginner:
1. It’s essential to know and utilize search engine algorithms. By researching these rules, you’ll learn useful keywords that will help your desired content show up in searches.
2. Implementing keyword optimization into your web pages is key to having a successful SEO ranking. 3. Creating backlinks to other pages is another great way to boost your own rankings in searches since high-authority websites tend to rank higher on search engines.
When starting out in SEO, it’s important to first understand and familiarize yourself with the basics of search engine optimization. Knowing the fundamentals behind SEO is key to understanding how to optimize your website for higher ranking in search engine results pages. Familiarity with topics such as keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and content optimization will give you a strong foundation from which to build your SEO strategy.
Yes! SEO can be learned by anyone with dedication and willingness to learn. Many of the foundational SEO principles are not complex but instead, require consistent effort. Understanding keyword research, on-page optimization, and content strategy are just a few of the basics that can be learned through research and practice. Additionally, tools such as Moz and SEMRush offer courses and resources to help even the novice become an SEO pro.
These are the 5 important concepts of SEO:
1. Content optimization – involves making sure all text on the site contains relevant information that search engines will be able to pick up and process correctly.
2. Technical optimization – includes ensuring code on the site is tidy and up to standards set out by Google.
3. Backlinks – links from other websites which refer back to your own with relevant context.
4. User experience – centers around giving users the most efficient journey possible through your website
5. Keyword research – focuses on finding the right terms related to your product or services and using them consistently throughout your pages.
Absolutely! Learning the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) does not require any coding skills. While having knowledge of HTML and CSS can be helpful in understanding more complex levels of SEO, an understanding of theory and techniques is by far the most important element. For anyone wanting to get started, there are a wealth of tutorials, courses, and books available to bring you up to speed. You can also find videos or blogs offering sharp how-to advice.