Beginners Guide To SEO
It’s my humble attempt in trying to explain the fundamental aspects of SEO to newbies who are very much interested in learning how to correctly implement its discipline in an easy simple way.
I will try my level best to give the topic of beginner’s guide to SEO some justice.
It is a subject that deserves to be well understood and implemented in the right way especially if you are a new
We just can’t keep brushing SEO under the carpet and hope our sites’ performance and traffic will get better by themselves
Hence the need, to equip our selves with the essential correct knowledge and proven SEO Strategies to help us improve our rankings and drive much-needed free organic traffic to our sites.
Now let us dive in to our topic of Beginners Guide to SEO, step by step without further ado.
#1: What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing discipline focused on increasing visibility of content in the search engine results.
SEO contains both creative and technical elements necessary for driving traffic, improving rankings, and grow awareness in the search engines.
SEO is simply a matter of making sure your website or blog is structured in an understandable way by the search engines.
SEO is not just only about creating a search engine friendly site, but essentially it is also about making sure your online content is better, useful and relevant for your target audience.
#2: A Brief History On SEO
It is said that the journey of SEO began around 1991 when the very first world wide web website was born.
Contributed to its birth by a number of personalities who played a major role in its inception.
Few years later down the line in 1993, the likes of Yahoo and Alta Vista joined the bandwagon.
Around 1996 onwards, things really began to take off when the founders of BackRub later renamed as Google came into the scene.
The founders are famously known as Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Larry and Sergey revolutionized SEO and overtime began to introduce a number of Google algorithm updates.
We will discuss these algorithms toward the end of the article.
Other players eventually caught up on the SEO scene as we know them.
Bing from Microsoft, Baidu from China, Yandex from Yahoo, AOL.com, and DuckDuckGo, etc.
- The History of SEO: People by The History of SEO
- History of Search Engines: From 1945 to Google Today by Search Engine History
#3: Why Is It So Important To Implement SEO?
Although social networking and other forms of traffic may promote visits to your site, search engines will be the main means of navigation for many users.
Search engines are exceptional because they supply free targeted organic traffic to people searching for everything you provide.
The traffic you will get from search engines is more likely to be sustainable long term in comparison to social media traffic.
Search engines will be the determinant which makes this happen.
If search engines cannot locate your site or put your articles to your own databases, you miss out on amazing opportunities to drive free visitors to your website or blog.
Just know that SEO is a long term game plan.
You will reap the rewards of your hard labor later on in the process.
Don’t feel discouraged when you see your rankings and site performance are not great at
#4: Factors That Could Affect Your SEO Rankings
There are many factors that could affect your site from ranking on the SERPs – (Search Engine Results Pages). These include:
a) Age of Domain
If your domain is relatively new, less than a year old. You are more likely to experience delays in the rankings.
It takes time for the search engines to recognize your content and establish authority.
There is not much you can do to change this, as your blog matures overtime, your rankings will hopefully improve.
b) Domain Authority (DA)
“Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).
A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank”.
To find out your what your DA is and valuable metrics for your site, install MozBar extension.
You will be able to see key metrics for your site as well as your competitors.
Aim to improve your Domain Authority over time. It is one of the most important metrics for ranking your site.
c) Length of Your Article
Gone are the days when you could get away with writing 300 words per post.
Google has smartened up and wants to make sure the content you generate on the search engines is relevant, helpful and is of high quality.
According to the SEO gurus, depending on which blog you read, the recommended length of your post should be around 2000 words.
You should make sure at least one main article you publish on a monthly basis is about 2000 words or higher.
For example, a possible SEO strategy could be, you publish one long article over 3000+ words a month and the rest of the articles you publish weekly could be less than that amount.
The more and longer quality content you produce, the greater chances you have of increasing the odds of your content been ranked and found in the search engines.
Another advantage of writing longer high-quality articles is that it allows you to rank for many keywords naturally, as you tend to have a broader range of topics to cover in one sitting.
I recently looked at my analytics and was surprised to see I was naturally ranking for keywords that I did not expect to rank at all nor was I intentionally targeting them,
The keywords that I expected to rank did not rank at all yet the unplanned ones did.
Just make sure to focus on using long tail keywords as part of your overall Keywords Research strategy.
d) Quality, Consistency & Relevancy
If like me you tend to publish one long article once a month or in some cases once in a blue moon as I have done in the past due to some unavoidable
To succeed with SEO, try your level best to adopt the following formula when you write and publish your articles.
Search Engine Traffic = Original Unique Quality Article + Consistency + Relevancy
I am working on improving how often I publish my articles on a
e) Site Speed
I have recently learned and discovered that site speed can massively affect your rankings, especially for mobile devices.
According to SEJ – (Search Engine Journal), Google has recently announced that site speed is one of the determining ranking factors for mobile searchers.
If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, then you need to fix it.
This could be due to:
- Images being large in which case you need to optimize them by shrinking their size
- Not doing browser caching
- Videos being hosted locally on your site. You could consider hosting them on an external server or linking them directly from Youtube
- Using a heavy theme
- Having too many plugins
A slow page speed means the search engines can only crawl few of your pages which could badly
To check your site speed:
Go to Google Page Speed Insight and run your website there as shown below.
Once a report is generated for your site, inspect the errors and follow the recommendations reported.
Take appropriate action to remedy the issues.
To learn how to improve your site speed refer to Neil Patel’s article on How to Score a Perfect 100% on Google PageSpeed Insights
f) Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate is a metric that refers to a percentage of visitors entering your site without doing anything such as clicking on a menu, read your article or move to the next page then leave straight away.
The lower the bounce
If the bounce rate is very high, then this means you need to do more work to improve your ratings.
To check your bounce rate, go to Google Analytics -> Behaviour -> Site Content -> Landing Pages.
Followed by filtering the highest bounce rate first.
Double Click on the top of the bounce rate column to see all the metrics in ascending or descending order based on your preference.
See below example by MonsterInsights.
- 80%+ is very bad
- 70 – 80% is poor
- 50 – 70% is average
- 30 – 50% is excellent
- 20% or below is likely a tracking error
g) Lack of Good Quality Authority Links
Backlinks refer to inbound and outbound external links from one website to another.
To link to high authority links simply means linking to websites that are considered by the search engines to have high-quality domain authority rankings and are trustworthy.
Such as Wikipedia and other well known big reputable websites.
We will cover a bit more on backlinking when we will touch on how to implement offsite SEO, later on in the article.
h) Other Related Factors
- User Experience
- Over Optimization
- Trust, Credibility & Reputation
- Social Signlas
#5: Important SEO Concepts To Understand
SEO, is a very broad complex subject to understand.
It uses a number of complex algorithms which have evolved over time.
The algorithms are designed to prevent un-orthodox usage of SEO by people who are prepared to cheat and violate SEO rules and policies.
Every now and then we keep hearing Google has released a new algorithm which you must be aware of, if you really want to survive in the land of SEO.
SEO covers a wide section of areas that can be confusing and perplexing to an average layman or woman like you and me.
The following are a few important concepts you should try to be aware when dealing with SEO.
The more useful knowledge you equip yourself with, the quicker and the easiest it will be to improve your rankings and let the search engines aware of your good work.
This way, the search engines can hopefully reward you with much-needed juice aka lovely organic free traffic.
It is hoped by arming yourself with the correct knowledge, you will know exactly what you must avoid at all costs and what
I will mention these Google algorithms updates at the end of the article.
What Is White-Hat SEO?
It is a term used to describe legitimate ethical SEO techniques, strategies, and tactics which focus on a human level as opposed to the search engines or software bots only.
Its’ basically involves human interaction and completely follows SEO rules and policies as outlined and approved by the search engines.
Qualities of White-Hat SEO Techniques
- Writing unique quality content for humans readability not used by machines or robots
- Easy site navigation
- Great user experience
- Keyword research
- Keyword analysis
- Fast site loading speed
- Natural backlinking
- Site relevancy
- Mobile friendly site
What Is Black-Hat SEO?
It involves using forbidden un-ethical underground SEO techniques and strategies used
Black Hat SEO also uses short cuts mostly carried out by software bots to trick the search engines.
#6: On-Site SEO
On-site SEO refers to the process of optimizing your site individual posts/pages to ensure the search engines can find and crawl your content with ease.
It is basically a way to make sure your site is user-friendly, accessible, crawable and relevant to your users.
To ensure your site content stand a chance of ranking high on the search engines, do your best to adopt the following practices:
- Do proper keyword research for your articles
- Choose low search volume long tail keywords
- Install SEO Plugin on your WordPress site. I recommend you choose the Yoast plugin if you can, otherwise, any other one will also do
- Write unique original quality content, the longer the better
- Ensure your chosen main focus keyword appears in your Title, Url, Meta Description, first paragraph, and other places
- Avoid putting numbers in your Url. You can include numbers in your title such as 2019 but it is better not to include it in your permalink Url, just in case you wish to update the title later on. This will help you avoid unwanted issues or losing social shares associated with the original Url
- Ensure your related keywords are sprinkled in several places in your article
- Keep your Url (permalink) shorter
- Ensure the length of your article is at least 2000 words or more
- Avoid large paragraphs. Make it is easy for your readers to read and skim your content especially on mobile phones.
- Ensure your sentences flow and read naturally
- Optimize your Title and Meta Description
- Optimize your Alt tags in Images
- Do internal linking for your posts
- Use Google Search Console/ Inspect Url to crawl your site and inform the engine of your changes
- Submit your site to other search engines such as Bing crawler, etc
- Don’t delete your links
- Optimize your 404 error pages
- Optimize your Site Speed
Watch below video that demonstrates how to imlement Onsite SEO for your pages from the Deep End channel.
- Keyword Research For Beginners – A crush Guide To SEO
- 13 Super Cost-Effective Ways To Advertise Your Business On a Low Budget
- Keyword Research, SEO Tools & Plugins
#7: Off-Site SEO
Off-site SEO is a process of ensuring your site links to
These sites tend to have high DA (Domain Authority) and are deemed to be trust worthy by the search engines.
Off-Site SEO is also relating to gaining social signals from the social media giants.
Do your best to share your content on preferred social media channels as much as you can on a consistent basis.
Another thing to be aware of is the ability to naturally gain back links to your site from a number of high authority websites or blogs.
This can be achieved by reaching out to your fellow bloggers and influencers in your industry and related niches.
Simply share each other’s content by guest blogging as well as offering comments.
#8: SEO Best Practises
This section is simply here to remind you to take care of your SEO and to do the right things in the right away.
- Do Keyword Research before you start to optimize your articles
- Don’t do keywords stuffing
- Use a spell checker such as Grammarly to correct your spellings and grammar
- Avoid duplicate content
- Avoid automated content
- Avoid low-quality content – the search engines will always favor high-quality content vs. lower ones
- Avoid thin content – Aim to write longer content, this will help you rank for many keywords as you have more of it to cover in one post
- Publish frequently
- Ensure your focus main keyword appears in your title tags, image alt tags, permalinks, and meta descriptions
- Don’t forget to do link exchanges naturally
- Don’t target the wrong keywords
- Share your content on social media and online forums
- Don’t overload your pages with too many affiliate links
- Ensure to update your old content frequently
- Ensure your site structure is set properly
- Increase your CTR (Click Through Rates) by ensuring your titles are appealing, enticing, interesting and have high emotional keyword market value. Use power words (such as Top 10, Ultimate, Effective, Best, Super, Easy, Complete, Outstanding, Strong, How To, etc)
- Break your text into smaller paragraphs
- Ensure your site is easy to navigate
- Take care of your Technical SEO
- Embed videos in your posts – use the ones you have created yourself or those created by other people relating to the topic you are writing about. This will help increase the dwell time and lower your bounce rate by keeping your visitors a bit longer on the site.
- Compress your image sizes
- Include social share buttons
- Include Table of content – H1, H2, H3 matters
- Make sure your site theme is mobile friendly, lightweight and load fast
#9: Google Algorithm Updates
As explained in the above sections, Google has been very busy introducing a number of algorithms over a period of time.
Every time you think you just got the hang of one algorithm, their another one coming your way.
It is a never ending cycle, but I guess necessary to keep our content relevant for our audience and to make sure it deserves to appear on the SERPs.
The following infographic by Miller Media Management beautifully illustrates and explains the Google algorithms updates in detailed.
I wonder whats coming next?
Take Home Message
It took me a while to fully grasp many of the concepts when I started my blogging’s journey.
I find that the more I embrace it, the easier it has become to implement it in my content.
I encourage you, my dear fellow entrepreneur and blogger, to take your time to learn the basics of SEO.
By ensuring you implement its discipline correctly by default, paying particular attention to your Keywords Research from the onset.
Trust me, you don’t want to get this wrong.
I paid a hefty price for messing this one up on my site.
The other thing to note, you need to be very patient with SEO.
Iterating what I already mentioned at the beginning of the article, that you need to view SEO as a long term investment.
Don’t feel discouraged at all, when you see your pages are not ranked or appearing on the first page of the search engines.
Keep doing your thing…
Follow the SEO tips and tricks covered in this article and elsewhere.
Keep your eyes and ears open to what is happening out there on the land of SEO.
I recommend a few sites for you to keep your self informed, educated and up-to date with all the latest developments on SEO
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide by Google
- SEO Strategy to get to 100K Organic Visits Per Month (With Action Plan) by ReliableSoft.net – Alex Chris explains his topics very well.
- SEO 101: Learn the Basics of Search Engine Optimization by Search Engine Journal
- The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by MOZ
- The Definitive Guide to Running an SEO Website Audit by Neil Patel
- Backlinks: Definitive Guide by Brian Dean
- Keyword Research For Beginners: A Crush Guide To SEO
- Quick Guide On How To Start a Blog For Beginners Step by Step
- 13 Super Cost-Effective Ways To Advertise Your Business On a Low Budget
- Keyword Research, SEO Tools & Plugins
Tip: To determine any faults that might be affecting your rankings and traffic do not forget to occasionally perform an SEO audit
What do you think of our essential beginners guide to SEO? What SEO issues have you faced since starting your blogging’s journey?
Please do not forget to share the article with your friends. Thank you.