"You'll learn all the fundamentals of SEO in this new guide. In addition to a tonne of significantly useful advice, suggestions, and techniques. This SEO beginner's guide is for you if you want to rank your website higher in Google searches."
What is SEO?
SEO is the process of enhancing your website's functionality and user experience to increase its visibility in search engines. Ranking in organic search results is the main focus of SEO. Ads and organic results are the two categories into which Google's search results are divided.
As the name implies, ads are outcomes that consumers purchase through Google Ads. The organic results have no connection to this system at all. The organic results are solely determined by quality. are not "pay to play," etc. SEO becomes significant when organic results start to appear.
Why is SEO important?
Increasing your company's traffic, leads, customers, and revenue is easy to do with SEO. In actuality, 70-80% of Google searchers choose to click on organic results. Thus, only 20-30% of people chose to click on ads. In other words, ranking in the organic search results will likely bring you 5 times as many visitors as purchasing an advertisement.
And when SEO is done correctly, the benefits can accrue quickly.
Just to be clear, SEO is a continuous process that requires effort. However, once you get a ranking for a group of keywords, your positions frequently hold steady over time.
In a nutshell, SEO's key advantages are as follows:
- Make sure Google can find your brand when prospective customers perform a search.
- Drive targeted traffic from users who are interested in your product or service to your website.
- result in more organic income.
- provide you with a strong competitive advantage.
SEO basics (Things to do immediately)
Before we discuss the precise actions you must do to improve your Google ranking, let's go over some fundamental SEO procedures. By doing these actions, you'll make sure Google can correctly crawl and index your website. And that you'll be successful using the following tactics. First, examine whether Google has already indexed your website.
Do a Google search for "site:yoursite.com" in particular. This will demonstrate whether Google has already indexed and crawled your website. If yes, how many pages have they now indexed?
Great if your website appears in the results! You are prepared.If not, it may just be that your website is brand-new. And Google hasn't yet located it. It may also imply that you accidentally prevented search engines from indexing your website, which is surprisingly common! In any case, you need to solve this right now. (You can determine what's wrong using our guide to addressing crawlability concerns. and have it fixed.)
Second, integrate Google Search Console with your website. A free Google tool called Search Console acts as a kind of middleman between you and Google.
It specifically informs you of information like:
- How frequently your site shows up in searches
- what search terms do you rank for
- the number of pages on your site The Google index
- problems with your pages being crawled, indexed, or rendered
- So yes, Google Search Console is kind of important if you want to succeed with SEO.
You may learn how to use it from this manual.
Create a sitemap, then submit it.
A sitemap is exactly what its name implies: a "map" of your website. Sitemaps are used by Google and other search engines to discover every page on your website. Which makes it possible to make sure that all of your critical pages are being crawled and indexed.
The platform that your site uses will determine exactly how you construct a sitemap (WordPress, Shopify, etc.). It is worthwhile to create an XML sitemap in any case.
Also sending that sitemap through the Search Console to Google.
After you've covered the fundamentals of SEO, it's time to dig into the core of our SEO beginner's tutorial.
Let's start with one of the most important aspects of SEO: keyword research.
Learning the fundamentals of SEO entails developing a firm understanding of how to do proper keyword research. Let's have a look at how.
Primary keywords, sometimes known as "money" keywords, are terms that clients search for when they are looking for exactly what you sell.
For example, some primary keywords for a Digital marketing firm would be:
- Target ad.
- Digital marketing.
- Affiliate marketing.
- social media marketing.
- Marketing strategy.
- Email marketing. Etc.
The problem is that major keywords are generally highly competitive. This implies that it will take time for a new site to rank for these searches. As a result, you should include these as long-term goals in your SEO approach.
Here's how to identify the essential keywords for your website:
First, make a list of the different terms you'd expect a customer or client to use when searching for a company like yours on Google.
Assume you operate an eCommerce website that sells bicycles. Your primary keywords for your website would be:
- Buy bicycle online
- Mountain bike
- Bicycle store online
There are no correct or incorrect terms here. This is more of a brainstorming method. The idea is to include as many keywords as possible.
Once you've compiled a list of prospective keywords, go to your preferred keyword research tool.
Monthly search volume is exactly what it sounds like: the number of Google searches the term receives each month. Obviously, the greater the search volume, the greater the prospective traffic.
On the other hand, increased search volume indicates more keyword difficulty. The keyword difficulty indicates how tough it will be to rank on Google's first page for that query. Naturally, the smaller this number, the better.
2. Look for long tail keywords and keyword variants.
The list of core keywords you just created may be sufficient. However, it is also worthwhile to generate long-tail views of those terms.
Long-tail keywords are search queries that are lengthier in length yet have a greater level of intent.
This implies they can convert at a higher rate than major keywords. Furthermore, they have less first-page competition. It's a win-win situation!
3. Finalise your first 8-10 keywords
So your keyword list now contains a large number of keywords
It's time to decide the keywords you'll use as the basis for your pages.
When choosing a keyword, monthly search volume and competitiveness are the two important considerations.
It is undeniably more art than science to choose keywords. In general, even if they don't have a lot of search volume, you want to focus on low-competition phrases first.
As the SEO of your website gets better, you may always move up to more difficult keywords.
"Content is king," is a well-known SEO adage. So let's talk about how to make content that is SEO-friendly in detail. Recognize What Users Are Looking for in a Query
Determine the search intent for that keyword as the first step in producing SEO-friendly content.
What does search intent mean?
The main motivation behind someone searching for a certain term is known as search intent. Google can determine whether or not your website satisfies search intent.
You will see an increase in ranks if so. If not, getting a ranking on Google's first page will be difficult. Therefore, before writing a single word, you must ascertain whether a user wants to see commercial (products, categories, or service) sites or instructive and instructional material.
You may accomplish this in a few different ways:
The first step takes the longest: visit the SERPs and examine the pages that appear in the top 10.
Additionally, doing this enables you to comprehend the genuine needs of those who are looking for that phrase. Your rapid understanding of the type of terms you are working with comes from intent.
In this article, you can find out more about how to recognise search intent.
Make content that reflects user intentions
The next thing you should do is post content that corresponds to the search intent you just determined.
Therefore, you should develop a landing page if you discovered that your term has a business intent. You should start writing a blog article if the searcher's goal was informative.
This will guarantee that your content satisfies at least the fundamental requirements of search intent.
If you want to go a little deeper, you may look through Google's top 10 results to discover exactly what people are looking for when they type in that phrase.
Look out for the following, in particular:
- How many words are on the first page of the content?
- How has the content been organised?
- Do pages for products and categories predominate? Perhaps product reviews?
- Are the blog postings written professionally or are they done casually?
- What related subjects do the pages often cover?
For instance, you'll see that many of the top-ranking pages for "mountain bikes" are review pages when you go through the first page of search results. Though only a small number are e-commerce category pages:
(This is "mixed purpose," if you will.) This is typical. It's not always the case that everyone looking for a particular term wants the same thing.
But given that product review sites make up the majority of the results, this is the kind of page you should make.
I would also read the actual text to get a sense of the word count, readability, formatting, and other factors.
In any case, it's beneficial to go through the available information. And make every effort to resemble the outcomes on page one.
Improve You're Above the Fold Section
The first thing a user sees after clicking on your website is referred to as the "Above the Fold" portion. This area is crucial since it serves as the "initial impression" of your website.
Users are more inclined to scroll down if they find material that tells them they are in the proper place. An excellent above-the-fold portion might look like this: Alternatively, they will return to the search results to read the numerous other articles on the subject.
User experience (UX) describes how a searcher or user feels when using your website. SEO is impacted by UX both directly and indirectly. UX may have a direct influence on your SEO since poor UX may cause Google users to leave your site sooner. And promptly leave your website.
Both of these factors indicate to Google that your site isn't deserve of being on the top page.
The inverse is also true: a well-designed user interface provides signals to Google that you're pleasing searchers.
UX has an indirect impact on SEO since a good UX informs people that your site is a useful resource, which leads to more backlinks. For example, one of the reasons that personal financial behemoth NerdWallet attracted so many backlinks in its early days was due to its dependable design and outstanding user experience.
Make Use of Attractive CTAs
Excellent Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons captivate the user's attention without being obtrusive or flashy. For instance, this CTA may be seen towards the conclusion of one of our articles.
As you can see, this CTA integrates well with the page and offers value to users who are unsure of what to do next.
Stay away from long texts
The white space on your web pages should be taken into account while developing and optimising your content.
Regular paragraph breaks provide readers with a visual break from text walls, making it simpler for them to read and scan your material.
For instance, the paragraphs in this article are brief. It is therefore quite "skimmable."
Use Listicles, Bullet Points, and Numbered Lists.
You can divide content into numbered and bulleted lists in addition to using white space to give users a visual break.
Here's an illustration from our blog:
List helps users
Lists do not directly affect ranking. However, lists with numbers and bullets typically have a higher likelihood of being featured in a snippet like the one below.
As a result, you now have a piece of user-friendly, high-quality content.
Now that page has to be optimised around a keyword (sometimes referred to as "on-page SEO").
You should execute the following vital on-page SEO strategies on each page of your website:
Optimizing Your Title Tags
The title of your SERP listing is determined by title tags. and a significant ranking factor.
You should, at the very least, ensure that the primary goal term for each page appears in the title tags of your site's pages (and variants where possible).
However, improving these involves more than just adding keywords. Other pointers to bear in mind while you create your title tags are outlined in our article on how to write title tags:
- Keep titles between 55 and 60 characters long.
- Use phrases like HOW, WHY, WHAT, and WHERE to assist readers to grasp what's on the page.
- To attract people to click, utilise phrases like BEST, REVIEW, and ULTIMATE.
- Create distinct titles for each page.
- Maintain simplicity
Optimizing Your Meta Descriptions
On SERPs, meta descriptions are the text that appears beneath the page title.
These are wonderful opportunities to persuade people to choose your listing over those of your rivals.
Meta descriptions are no longer a ranking factor in and of themselves. However, a fascinating description can have a favourable influence on CTR (click-through rate), which is critical. In our guide to meta descriptions, we advised the following techniques for effective optimization:
- 1-2 sentences (140–160 characters) should be the maximum length.
- Do not neglect to add your keyword.
- Include a call to action if it is appropriate.
- Keep your meta descriptions unique.
- Make sure they are relevant, detailed, and align with your content.
- Aim for an emotion.
Optimizing Your Heading Tags
The use of header tags, commonly known as H1 to H6 tags, is another important on-page SEO component.
These are employed to divide your material into sections such as the following:
You should use subheadings to break up your content, and you should also put your target keywords and related terms inside each one.
Optimizing Your Page URL
Your page's content should be succinctly described in your URL. Consider it in this manner:
Suppose you have two page URLs:
Which one do you believe has superior optimization?
The second is preferred since it is more detailed. You can tell that the website is about red shoes by glancing at the URL.
As a general guideline, URLs:
- should be thorough and contain the page's main keyword.
- Instead of using underscores to separate words, use hyphens.
- Use lowercase instead of combining it with capital letters.
- Be as succinct as you can be while still adequately describing the page's content.
Optimizing Your Images
'Optimizing your images' might mean two distinct things:
- Making them SEO-friendly
- ensuring that they are designed for rapid loading on all platforms
To get you started, here are a few suggestions from our guide to picture optimization:
- Make sure to give your images appropriate names.
- Images should be resized to the final dimensions.
- Compress images and reduce file sizes.
- Enhance alt tags with informative content
Linking to other pages on your website -
A primer on SEO fundamentals wouldn't be complete without discussing internal linking in some detail. Links on your website's pages will:
- Make your site's structure more understandable to search engines
- Transfer power between pages
- assist users in switching between pages
You can learn more about this process in our guide to internal links.
Building your site's authority in Google's eyes is another essential component of SEO success.
How do you go about that? Backlinks.
In a nutshell, a backlink is one website that links "back" to your website, thereby endorsing and supporting you. It can help your site rank higher on Google if the website referring back to yours is relevant.
There are more than 20 different tactics you can use, which are covered in our post "Link Building for SEO: The Beginner's Guide." But let's go through some of the easiest link-building strategies for SEO newcomers.
1. Create Links from Organizations, Vendors, and Related Businesses
Reaching out to the real-world relationships your company has is one of the fastest ways to develop links.
These links comprise:
- vendors you use
- Websites of associations to which you belong Your office building
- Your community's chamber of commerce
Often, all you need to do is get in touch with your contact there. And they'll be delighted to include your link.
2. Submit Your Site to Quality Directories-
You'll probably discover that there are directories in your area if you run a local business or specialise in a particular field. If you utilise local citation software to automate and expedite the process, this might be a quick approach to acquiring a few high-quality connections for your website.
Keep in mind that they are not traditional directories like DMOZ. As an alternative, consider these specialist directories:
3. Earn links from the press with Haro.
HARO is a platform that links journalists with people like you who are business owners and marketers.
From Monday through Friday, HARO sends out an email with requests from journalists three times per day.
Go ahead and fulfil the request if it is pertinent and beneficial to your company. This is a great introduction to obtaining authoritative connections from news websites, and most businesses should see chances emerge once a week by regularly checking their emails. It's pretty hit or misses with HARO.
However, even one link from a pertinent website might have an impact on your Google rankings (especially if your site is brand new).
The main goal of technical SEO is to make sure that search engines can crawl and index your website. Your website will struggle to rank if search engines cannot crawl or index it.
How to start is as follows:
Setup Google search console
Connect your website to Google Search Console if you haven't already. You can use this free tool to find any issues Google could have indexing or crawling your website.
Make sure your website can be indexed and look for problems-
Double-checking that no issues are preventing important pages from being crawled and indexed should be your first step with Search Console. The "coverage" report lets you do this. Choose the report from the menu in the left sidebar:
Advice: Pay close attention to the "excluded" pages here. You can find particular problems affecting the state of the pages on your site here.
More information about comprehending the coverage report can be found here.
Additionally, you may check the index status of any URL on the website by utilising the URL bar at the top of the page.
Look Into Your Robot.txt Files-
You might have a robots.txt file set up depending on the CMS for your website. The usual location is https://www.yourdomain.com/robots.txt.
And it ought to resemble something like this:
If you don't already have one, you should make one.
But what exactly does Robots.txt serve?
The robots.txt file gives Googlebot (and other bots) instructions on how to crawl your website. Address the issues as soon as possible because crawling issues on important web pages can affect indexation.
Additionally, if pages that search engine bots shouldn't crawl aren't restricted, this may lead to an excessive number of pages (either duplicates or low-value pages) being indexed.
More information on robots.txt files is available here.
Optimize Your Site Speed
Nobody likes to visit a website that loads slowly. Both search engines and users are included in that.
A slow site speed can have a detrimental effect on your SEO success by increasing bounce rates, decreasing dwell times, and decreasing conversion rates.
Additionally, Google's algorithm directly considers site speed when determining rankings. Benchmarking the speed of your website is your first step. You will then be aware of exactly what has to be fixed (if anything).
It is essential to comprehend the specific problems that contribute to sluggish page speed as well as the opportunities for improvement.
You can start by running Google's PageSpeed Insights tool on your website to receive suggestions on how to speed up loading.
Here are more details on how to improve your PageSpeed Insights score.
Since 2014, HTTPS has been a ranking element.
However, there are still websites that use an HTTP domain and are not secure. Check to see if https:// rather than http:// may be used to visit your website.
If so, that's fantastic! No additional action is required. Consult your developer and carefully plan a migration to HTTPS if you discover that your site is still using HTTP, or use this guide.
Mobile page speed is a crucial ranking metric used by Google. In other words, Google views the mobile version of your site as the "primary" version because they use mobile-first indexing.
So it's safe to conclude that technical SEO includes a crucial component called mobile optimization.
To check how well your website works on mobile devices, use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test. Likewise, if mobile consumers have any problems while using your website.
Here are some fundamental recommendations for optimising your website for mobile devices:
- Use a mobile-friendly website architecture, such as a responsive website (which offers the same user experience on all platforms) or a dynamic website (meaning that the experience is tailored specifically to the platform being used for browsing)
- Avoid making your navigation bar overly long or busy, as this will make it more difficult for mobile users to navigate.
- Avoid overusing animations because they can cause mobile page speed to suffer.
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR SEO
It's time to monitor your progress now that you're putting our SEO beginner's guide into action.
But how can you gauge the success of SEO? It only requires routinely tracking a few important metrics.
Organic traffic is the number of users who arrive at your website via Google's organic results. Using Google Analytics is the most effective technique to gauge organic traffic. (Have you not yet configured Google Analytics? No worries, we have a 5-step setup instruction to help you out.)
Your content is likely to be popular, your keywords aren't too competitive, and the links you're constructing are effective if your organic traffic statistics are increasing. If your visitor numbers are declining, your website may be having technical SEO problems, using too many competitive keywords, or just requiring more time to begin seeing SEO results.
Average Session Duration and Bounce Rate
Two measures that help assess whether your content is engaging with your audience are average session time and bounce rate. Both of these metrics are available in Google Analytics.
The time between a user's initial click, which brought them to your website, and their second click, which sends them somewhere else, is known as the average session duration. The phrase "elsewhere" can refer to a different page on your website or the SERPs. any other page, etc. You can learn a lot about the effectiveness of your content from the average session length.
The likelihood is that a user will click away to another site if they can't find the answers to their questions or if your content is boring. The number of single-page sessions, or visitors who came to one page on your site and left right away, is what is referred to as a bounce rate.
If your bounce rate is high, it may be because your content doesn't match users' search queries well. To better serve your website visitors, you might need to conduct additional keyword research or streamline your content.
The quantity (or percentage) of visitors who do the intended action on your website is known as a conversion. In this case, desired actions can include buying a product page or providing their email address and other contact information.
Divide the total number of conversions by the total number of site visitors to determine your conversion rate. Once you know it, multiply it by 100. You'll get a % as a result.
Your business objectives will determine what action or conversion you want. It may be anything as basic as developing a strategy for a specific number of clicks on your contact page, or it could be something bigger like making a purchase.
Hopefully, more organic visitors will come your way if your SEO strategy is effective. If you're discovering that users aren't becoming leads or customers, you should check to see if:
- Your intended conversion is a realistic goal (like a new visitor signing up for a newsletter).
- You're aiming for the Google search terms that your target audience uses to find information.
- Your website has a user experience that motivates visitors to stick around.
First of all, congrats on entering the realm of SEO for the first time!
One of the most effective digital marketing channels available is SEO. Where else can you find a consistent flow of relevant visitors to your website?