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SEO Basics: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO

By Matt Edward

December 27, 2022


The act of improving your website so that it appears higher on search engine results pages is called search engine optimization, or SEO. A search engine like Google looks through billions of internet pages in response to a user’s query and presents the most pertinent results. It is more probable that visitors will find and visit your website if you utilize SEO to raise its ranking in these search results. 

Why is this important to businesses? Higher-ranked websites often receive more organic traffic, which may improve leads, sales, and revenue. People don’t scroll past the first page too often anymore. And most often, they will click on the top 3 results presented in the Google Search results page. 

However, SEO doesn’t just aim to improve rankings in search results. It also seeks to make it easier for search engines to understand the goal of your website and to improve the user experience. By making your website easy for people to use and for search engines to find, you may be able to improve its visibility, credibility, and overall online presence.

How can you then optimize your website for search engines? A few of the many components that make up SEO include keyword research, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, technical SEO, and local SEO. By taking an all-encompassing approach to SEO and regularly assessing and refining your strategy, you may improve the positioning and exposure of your website in search results.

So, why is SEO important for businesses? 

There are several causes:

  • Local SEO may be a key element of your overall SEO strategy if your company has a physical presence or targets a specific area. By optimizing your website for local search results, you may increase your visibility to local clients who are seeking for your products or services.
  • User experience: In addition to helping your website rank better in search results, SEO also improves user experience. By optimizing your website for both users and search engines, you can make it easier for visitors to locate what they’re searching for and navigate your site.
  • Advantage over rival businesses: To stay on top, it’s imperative to have a strong SEO plan in place given the number of businesses contending for the same keywords. By ranking better in search results, you may outperform competitive businesses in your sector.
  • Brand recognition: You may increase your brand recognition and make more connections by doing well in search results. If people notice that your website is doing well for relevant keywords, they may be more inclined to remember your brand and visit it in the future.
  • Return on investment (ROI) over the long term: SEO is a long-term investment with the potential for a significant ROI. When your website is well-positioned in search results, it will keep bringing in customers and leads for your business, generating a steady stream of revenue.

Basics of Keyword Research

Finding and examining the terms consumers use to find goods and services similar to yours is known as keyword research. Your website’s content and meta data may be adjusted to better match the search intent of your target audience by identifying which keywords are being used and how frequently they are searched.

You may conduct keyword research using a variety of methods and tools, including:

  1. The Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that lets you enter a keyword or phrase to find out how frequently people are searching for it as well as similar keywords and their search volumes.
  1. Google Autocomplete: As you type a search query, Google will offer additional words and phrases based on what other users are looking for. You may get a sense of the most common terms in your business from this.
  1. You may use Google Trends, a free tool, to examine how popular a keyword or phrase has been over time. It may be used to determine a keyword’s popularity and how it stacks up against other keywords.
  1. The premium tool SEMrush offers a variety of keyword metrics, such as search volume, competitiveness, and cost per click (CPC). I tend to use this is my tool of choice, but it does cost some money. 

Focusing on long-tail keywords is crucial when conducting keyword research since they are more precise and less competitive than short-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword may be “red sneakers,” but a short-tail keyword might be “sneakers.” You may improve your chances of appearing well in search results and attracting relevant visitors to your website by concentrating on long-tail keywords.

However, with that being said, you should start with a plan in mind to rank for short-tail keywords. And very often these days it’s more important that you have topical authority in Google’s eyes rather than one really long form article on a topic. 

This means writing about all of the topics that surround the main keyword you want to rank for. So for example, maybe you want to rank for “SEO tools”, you would need to write articles about the different kinds of SEO tools available, free SEO tools, paid SEO tools, Chrome extensions for SEO, audit tools for SEO, etc. Once you have written all of the potential articles around that topic, you might have a better chance of ranking for the main short-tail keyword. 

This is, essentially, called a topic cluster or a silo. But we cover that in more advanced SEO posts. 

How do I research keywords?

Any SEO plan must include keyword research since it enables you to comprehend the language and search terms used by your target audience and to modify the content and meta information on your website to better serve their needs.

Any SEO plan must include keyword research since it enables you to understand the language and search terms used by your target audience and to modify the content and meta information on your website to better serve their needs. Here is a step-by-step tutorial for finding keywords for SEO:

Determine who your target market is: Start by determining your target market’s characteristics and potential search terms. Take into account variables like geography, interests, and demography.

Next, make a list of appropriate keywords and phrases that your target market is likely to use when looking for goods and services similar to yours. To come up with ideas, you may use resources like SEMRush, Ubersuggest, Keywords Anywhere, Ahrefs, Google Trends, Google Autocomplete, and the Keyword Planner on Google.

Make a list of competitors and research the keywords that they are ranking for using toos like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest. 

Analyze search volume and competition: To determine the search volume and level of competition for each of the terms on your list, use a keyword research tool like SEMrush. This will enable you to determine the most well-liked terms with the least amount of competition.

Pay attention to long-tail keywords because they are more specialized and less competitive than short-tail ones. A long-tail keyword may be “red sneakers,” but a short-tail keyword might be “sneakers.” You may improve your chances of appearing well in search results and attracting relevant visitors to your website by concentrating on long-tail keywords.

Use a combination of short-tail and long-tail keywords: While long-tail keywords are crucial, your SEO plan should also contain a variety of short-tail and long-tail keywords. Your chances of ranking highly in search results will grow as a consequence of being able to target a larger variety of search queries.

Once you have determined your target keywords, utilize them wisely in the content and meta data of your website. This entails utilizing them in your title tags, headers, and body copy in addition to your picture alt text and meta descriptions.

On-Page SEO: The Basics

On-page SEO is the practice of improving individual web pages to improve search engine rankings and attract more relevant visitors. On-page SEO entails improving a page’s content and HTML source code so that search engines can read and index it more quickly.

For on-page SEO, a number of criteria are crucial, including:

  1. Title tags: The title tag is the title of a web page and is shown in search engine results as well as the title bar of a browser. It should be evocative, pertinent to the page’s content, and include your target keywords. (this is not the header 1) This is the title that shows up in the tab that you have open on Chrome or Safari. 
  1. The meta description, which is displayed in search engine results, is a succinct overview of a web page’s content. It should be engaging, pertinent to the page’s content, and include your target keywords.
  1. Headings: Headings, or H1 tags, are used to organize the information on a web page and assist search engines in determining the hierarchy of the information. They ought to include your target keywords, be evocative, and be pertinent to the page’s content.
  1. Content: A web page’s content should be educational, interesting, and pertinent to the target keywords. Additionally, it must be well-written and error-free.
  1. Images: Images should be pertinent to the page’s content, be correctly structured, and include an alt attribute that includes your target keywords and explains the image.

You may increase your website’s rating and visibility in search results as well as attract more relevant visitors by improving these and other on-page SEO elements.

These are the most basic of optimizations possible, and because this is an SEO basics guide for beginners, we will leave it there. Read some of our other posts to go deeper. 

On-Page Content Optimization

Many people focus on the technical aspects of on-page SEO optimization, but one of the most crucial things to think about is how your content responds to the search query.

Some content is better than other content. But, why? I call this ARCADE for on page optimization.

A-R-C-A-D-E for on page optimization should be utilized as a way to edit the article before it’s published to ensure you maximize the chances your content will be read by your audience. I firmly believe that Google considers user behaviour, so keep this in mind before hitting the publish button. 

The following are some important elements that might affect the content’s quality and effectiveness:

  • Authentic – The material shouldn’t just be a rehash of other stuff; it should have some originality to it.
  • Relevant – The material should be valuable to and relevant to the intended audience.
  • Clear – Clarity is important. With a logical structure and flow, the text should be expressed clearly and be simple to grasp.
  • Actionable – content offers the reader information or instructions they may use to accomplish their objectives or find a solution to a problem.
  • Dependable – Reliable sources should be referenced where necessary, and the information should be accurate and well-researched.
  • Engaging – The information should be interesting and hold the reader’s interest, with the right use of pictures, multimedia, and other formatting components.

In general, the secret to producing high-quality content is to concentrate on giving the reader value and addressing their needs and interests in a straightforward and captivating manner.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO, often known as “link building”, is the practice of improving a website’s position in search engine results. Backlinks are links from other websites to a website, and they are very important for search engines like Google’s ranking algorithms.

There are several more off-page SEO aspects to take into account, such as social media interactions, customer reviews, how you respond to customer reviews, forum conversations, and more. But the most important element is acquiring links from authoritative websites in your niche or industry. 

For off-page SEO, a number of things are crucial, including:

  1. Quantity of backlinks: A website’s rating may be influenced by the number of backlinks it has. It’s vital to remember, though, that the quality of the backlinks matters more than the number.
  2. Backlink quality: A website’s rating may be influenced by the calibre of its backlinks. Links from websites that consistently produce high-quality content and have a high domain authority are more useful than links from websites that don’t.
  3. The text that links to a website is known as the “anchor text” of a backlink. The target keywords should be included in the anchor text, which should also be pertinent to the connected website’s content.
  4. Link diversity: For off-page SEO, it might be helpful to have a variety of backlinks coming from various domains and different kinds of content.

You may raise the position and visibility of your website in search results and increase relevant traffic to your website by creating high-quality backlinks and improving these and other off-page SEO parameters.

Here are some other off-page SEO fundamentals:

  • Engagement on social media: Creating a strong social media presence and interacting with users there can help a website rank better in search results.
  • Mentions of a brand or website in pertinent material on other websites can raise their position in search results.
  • Reviews and ratings: A website’s placement in search results can be enhanced by receiving favourable reviews and ratings from people on sites like Google My Business and Yelp.
  • Local SEO: A website’s ranking in local search results may be enhanced by optimizing it for local search results, especially by establishing backlinks from regional websites and directories.
  • Link building: A crucial component of off-page SEO is obtaining high-quality backlinks from reliable and pertinent websites. This may be accomplished using strategies like guest blogging, creating broken links, and creating links from resource pages.

You may increase your website’s position and visibility in search results as well as attract more relevant visitors by concentrating on these and other off-page SEO aspects.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the practice of improving a website’s technical elements so that search engines can more easily crawl and index its content and give it a higher ranking in search engine results.

The following are some technical SEO fundamentals:

Website structure: A website’s structure may have an effect on how highly it ranks in search results. Websites with an organized hierarchy and simple navigation typically perform better in search engine results than those with a disorganized or unclear layout.

Page speed: A website’s ranking in search results may be impacted by how quickly it loads. Websites that load more quickly typically do higher in search engine results.

Mobile optimization: Internet users are increasingly using mobile devices to access the internet, hence it is critical that websites are mobile-friendly. This includes having a mobile-friendly design and quick loading times.

XML sitemap:  is a file that identifies every page on a website to assist search engines in crawling and indexing it.

Metadata: Meta data, such as the title tag and meta description, is crucial for technical SEO since it aids search engines in comprehending a website’s content and determining its suitability for particular search queries.

You may increase your website’s position and visibility in search results as well as attract more relevant visitors by improving these and other technical SEO elements.

Because it ensures that search engines can simply crawl and index a website’s content, technical SEO is a crucial component of search engine optimization (SEO). This is critical because search engines utilize algorithms to assess the quality and relevancy of material on websites, and they base their assessments on the data they receive throughout the crawling and indexing process.

A website’s position in search results may suffer if it has technological problems that stop search engines from scanning and indexing its material. The website’s exposure and traffic may suffer as a result of the website not appearing in search results for pertinent inquiries.

Technical SEO can not only make it easier for search engines to crawl and index a website’s content, but it can also enhance the user experience for website visitors. This comprises elements that can facilitate users’ access to and navigation of a website, such as page speed and mobile optimization.

The following technical SEO improvements can help website visitors have a better overall experience:

  1. Mobile optimization: Making sure a website is mobile-friendly can make it simpler for people to access and browse the website on their mobile devices. This includes having a responsive design and a quick loading time.
  2. Page speed: Increasing a website’s loading speed may make it more user-friendly and make it simpler for visitors to get the information they need.
  3. Website structure: Users may find it simpler to locate the material they are searching for and comprehend the goal of the website if there is a clear hierarchy and simple to use navigation.
  4. XML sitemaps: Having an XML sitemap on a website can help people discover the information they need and comprehend how the website is organized.
  5. Metadata: Users may better comprehend a website’s content and evaluate whether it is relevant to their search query by using properly written and detailed meta data, such as the title tag and meta description.

Local SEO

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of enhancing a company’s online visibility in order to rank higher in search engine results for queries pertaining to that company’s area. This is crucial for companies that cater to a particular region, such neighbourhood retailers or service providers.

The fundamentals of local SEO are as follows:

  1. Google My Business listing: Having a thorough and accurate Google My Business listing is one of the most crucial elements of Local SEO. Giving details about the company’s name, address, phone number, operating hours, and kinds of goods or services supplied is part of this.
  2. On-page optimization: For local SEO, it might be crucial to optimize on-page elements like the company website’s content. The website should have the company’s name, location, and phone number (NAP), and the content should contain pertinent local keywords.
  3. Customer reviews posted online have the potential to be a big role in local SEO. Promoting client evaluations on social media platforms like Facebook, Google, and Yelp may help a company rank higher in search results.
  4. Backlinks: For local SEO, creating backlinks from other regional websites might be crucial. Links from regional directories, media sources, and other pertinent websites are included in this.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Businesses may enhance their position in search results for local queries and raise their visibility to prospective clients in their region by improving these and other local SEO parameters.

Local SEO is crucial for companies that cater to a particular region since it raises their position in search engine results for queries pertaining to their area. This is crucial for small firms, who might not have a sizable marketing budget or a strong web presence.

Businesses may boost their exposure to potential consumers in their region and make it simpler for them to discover them online by optimizing their web presence for local SEO. Increased foot traffic and sales for the company may result from this.

The accuracy and completeness of a company’s Google My Business listing, the presence of its name, address, and phone number (NAP) on its website and other online profiles, and the quantity and calibre of customer online reviews are just a few variables that can affect how well a business performs in local SEO.

Local SEO may help businesses build their brand and reputation in their local community in addition to boosting exposure and bringing in more customers. Businesses may demonstrate their knowledge and professionalism to potential clients by developing a strong online presence, which can enhance trust and loyalty.

Overall, Local SEO is a crucial component of digital marketing for companies that cater to a particular region since it can help them become more visible, boost foot traffic, and build their brands and reputations in the neighbourhood.

Tracking SEO Performance

Understanding the efficacy of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and deciding where to focus your efforts moving ahead require tracking SEO performance and assessing SEO success. You can assess SEO performance and evaluate SEO success using a number of critical measures.

  • Tracking the position of the pages on your website for specific keywords might help you determine how effectively your SEO efforts are working. You may watch your position for particular keywords using tools like Google Search Console or a third-party rank tracking tool.
  • Measure the volume of organic search traffic coming to your website to get a sense of how effective your SEO is in bringing visitors to your site. You may monitor organic website traffic using tools like Google Analytics.
  • Conversions: Keeping track of the amount of website conversions, such as form submissions or purchases, may help you determine how well your SEO efforts are generating revenue for your company.
  • User behaviour: Examining user behaviour on your website, such as the pages they visit and the time they spend there, may help you determine the calibre of the material on your website and the success of your SEO initiatives.

You may have a better knowledge of your SEO performance and spot opportunities for development by monitoring these and other indicators. This might aid in the optimization of your SEO campaigns and improve the outcomes for your company.

Great SEO Resources

In the field of SEO, the following websites are regarded as some of the best:

  1. Moz: A prominent supplier of SEO tools and services, Moz’s blog offers extensive coverage of a variety of search marketing-related issues.
  2. The newest information and developments in SEO and online marketing are covered by Search Engine Journal.
  3. Search Engine Land: A news and information website that focuses on the search marketing sector, including social media, sponsored search, and search engine optimization.
  4. The Google Webmaster Central Blog is the company’s official online publication that offers advice on how to make websites more visible in Google search results.
  5. Search Engine Watch: A news and information website that focuses on the search engine market, including social media, paid search, and search engine optimization.
  6. Technical SEO is the main topic of the blog SEO by the Sea, which covers the most recent news and developments in the search marketing sector.
  7. Backlinko: A blog that discusses SEO and digital marketing issues with an emphasis on practical advice and methods.
  8. SERoundtable: A blog that focuses on search engine algorithms and ranking variables and covers the most recent news and developments in the search marketing sector.

Matt Edward

About the author

Hi, my name is Matt Edward. As an SEO expert, I help businesses like yours increase their online traffic and revenue by bringing qualified leads to your website.

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