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What is SEO: A Comprehensive SEO Guide for Newbies

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So, do you want to learn SEO but are so confused about what to do and how to start as a beginner? This complete guide to SEO for newbies is what you need to learn everything you need to know.

In this guide to SEO, we will cover every significant aspect of SEO, from identifying the terms and phrases (keywords research) that can drive targeted traffic to your website, to optimizing your website for search engines, to constructing links and promoting the distinctive value of your website. Do enjoy an informative read!

Introduction to SEO

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of enhancing website traffic in both quality and quantity as well as brand exposure through unpaid (also known as "organic") search engine results.

SEO is simply optimizing your website for search engines to raise your placement in search results and gain more natural (unpaid) traffic.

SEO is a crucial marketing tactic today and an industry that is constantly expanding since search engines first appeared in the 1990s. When looking for something on the internet, users use search engines to give that something the response.

SEO is necessary for your website whether you sell goods or services, run a blog, or do anything else to boost your traffic.

Therefore, SEO is just everything you do to influence Google to view your website as a reliable source and rank it higher for the search terms you want it to appear for.

With the current dominance of Google search engines, SEO could also be referred to as Google optimization or Google SEO.

Importance of SEO

Importance Of SEO

SEO is important in helping Google see that you deserve the ranking most. You can draw clients by ranking for the terms that people are probably searching for when they need what you provide.

SEO will help your site provide better information to search engines for your content to be correctly indexed and displayed in search results,

SEO is one of the few online marketing strategies that, when executed properly, can yield results and dividends over time.

Your traffic can grow over time if you write high-quality content that deserves to be found for the right keywords instead of advertising, which requires ongoing funding to drive traffic to your website.

Key aspects of SEO to be successful

There are three components of SEO that are determining factors that Google uses to rank your website. Here are the three key components of SEO to be successful.

1. Technical matters

This is for all the necessary technical considerations (often called technical or on-page SEO).

2. Excellent content

The most crucial component of your website that is a key aspect of SEO is the content. Simply put, low-quality content will not rank well.

3. Backlinks of high-quality

This is the final key component that will complete your SEO journey. It stands in for the links that give your website more authority.

You can have excellent content and a perfectly optimized website, but in the end, you need to gain authority by obtaining quality backlinks.

Categories of SEO activities

The actions you take to elevate your position in organic (non-paid) search engine results fall into one of three main categories of SEO activities. They are:

·        Technical SEO: This ensures that search engine spiders can access your website and index your content.

·        On-page SEO: This focuses on the content of each webpage.

·        Off-Page SEO: This focuses on marketing initiatives made outside of a website that will improve search rankings.

Basics of SEO

Basics Of SEO

A good SEO is essential for rankings and to improve the competitiveness of your site.

There are seven fundamentals of search engine optimization that serve as a foundation to explain the way you should go about SEO. Here are the seven basics of SEO.

1.     Make your website crawlable so that search engines understand it and can read it.

2.     Use engaging content that responds to the searcher's question

3.     Use keyword optimization to draw in searchers and engines

4.     Enable excellent user experience with quick load times and engaging UX for both users of PC and on a mobile version

5.     Create content that is worthy of sharing and generates links, citations, and amplification

6.     Use the title, URL, and description that will increase clickthrough rates.

7.     Markup for snippets and schema to stand out in the search result of SERPs

Overview of search engines

What are search engines?

Search engines are online tools that facilitate online information discovery. Google is a typical example of a search engine although there are other sites.

Generally, in this guide when we talk about SEO for search engines, we are talking about the optimization of your website for Google search engine. 

How do search engines work?

Search engines work through three main functional steps. These functions are Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking.

Search engine crawling

Crawling is a discovery process that search engines use to send out a group of robots, also referred to as search engine crawlers or spiders, to look for new and updated content.

Simply searching the Internet for content, crawlers examine the code and content of each URL they come across.

This is done so that users can find the content on a webpage, whether an image, a video, a PDF, links, etc., no matter what format the content is in a webpage.

Search engine indexing

Search Engine Indexing

After the crawling process, we have the indexing. Once search engines crawl your website, the information is indexed.

The indexing step function in storing and organizing the information gathered during the crawling process.

The search engine index is essentially a massive library of all the websites that have been crawled for the sole purpose of understanding them and making them accessible for use as search results.

In an index, which is a sizable database of all the content search engines have found and deem suitable for serving to users, they process and store the information they have discovered.

Once a page is indexed, it has a chance of being returned as a response to pertinent queries.

Search engine ranking

Search engines mine their index for content that is extremely relevant to a user's search, order that content, and then try to answer the user's question.

The search engine searches the index after receiving a search query from a web user and returns the most relevant pages.

This is simply a ranking where the search engine picks the best results and comes with a SERP.

Ranking refers to the process of ranking search results according to relevance. In general, you can assume that a website's ranking indicates how relevant the search engine considers it to the user's query.

A SERP is the acronym for Search Engines Results Page and is simply a term for the results list for the ranking of search results.

In fact, you can see this as Google's search results that takes users to your landing pages.

How To Carry Out SEO?

To functionally carry out SEO, you need to get involved with the following five main steps of SEO.

1.    Keyword research

This simply involves finding what people search for and understanding what your audience wants to find. The main elements of keyword research are search volume, rivalry, and relevance.

The goal of SEO to grow your business is for your site and content to show up in search results. This implies that strategic and competitive keywords should be targeted in your website content to get unpaid traffic.

Keyword research helps you understand your target audience's search behavior, including what they search for, how many of them are searching, and in what format.

The downside of keyword research is that it takes time and requires enormous effort.

However, the use of keyword research is very lucrative in helping you produce tremendous and relevant content that will boost the ranking of your website.

Steps to take during keyword research

Steps To Do Keyword Research

·        Ask questions about your target audience. What terms are they searching for?

This step helps you to discover the relevant keywords and uncover the search volume for those keywords to achieve organic ranking success.

Learning more about search volume can help you prioritize keywords and choose the ones that will give your website the biggest strategic advantage since both high- and low-competition keywords can be beneficial for your website.

·        Uncover the format in which your audience wants this information

Finding out the format will enable you to comprehend the information-consumption preferences of searchers for a specific keyword.

The format in which an audience wants information is observed by the searcher’s query intent.

For instance, Google displays search results in a particular format depending on the query's intent.

It categorizes these intents as:

  • informational queries (to know and find information)
  • navigational queries (to find a specific website or local business)
  • transactional queries (to do something, such as buy a plane ticket or listen to a song) 
  • commercial queries (to investigate about a product and compare with other brands to pick the best).

·        Survey the SERP landscape for that keyword difficulty

Examining the SERP landscape for the keyword you want to target to better understand searcher intent is a crucial step in the keyword research process.

Look to the SERPs to find out what kind of content your target audience prefers. This helps you understand what type of content you need to create depending on the search engines and query types.

Tools used in keyword research

The following are tools that can be used in keyword research.

·        Google Keyword Planner

·        Google Trends

·        Ahrefs

·        AnswerThePublic

·        SpyFu Keyword Research Tool, and many more.

2.    Content creation

Producing the highest-quality content is necessary if you want to improve your chances of appearing higher in search results for each topic you cover. There is a popular saying in SEO that says “Content is king”.

Steps to take for good content creation in SEO tools

Steps To Do Content Creation

·        Recognize what intent searchers want to see

The main motivation behind a search is known as the search intent. Are searchers interested in making a purchase (commercial intent)?

Or do they have an informational intent to search for information? Or perhaps they want to visit (navigational intent).

Recognizing and figuring out the search intent is the first step in content creation as it helps you to write and develop enticing content.

·        Create content to satisfy this intent

When you have figured out the search intent for a particular keyword, the next step to take is to publish content that satisfies the intent and gives adequate resources and information.

For instance, if the search intent is informational, then your content creation should tend towards blog posts and articles.

·        Use enticing Call-to-actions (CTAs)

Incorporating great call-to-actions buttons into your content provides users with the best experience on your site page. This helps customers figure out what to do for those still wondering what next.

·       Use frequent paragraph breaks

Writing walls of text when writing contents make the content boring. Therefore, to avoid this, you must frequently use paragraph breaks while writing.

This helps give readers a visual break from text walls and will make it simpler for them to read and skim your content.

·        Break content out into bulleted and numbered lists

To avoid boring content and having walls of text in your content, you should break your content into bullets and listicles.

·        Let your page headings give the first impression of being in the right place to searchers

Ensure that your content always indicates to users that they’re in the right place. With this, they are likely to scroll down to check for more information on your page.

3.    On-page SEO knowledge

On-Page SEO Knowledge

The on-page SEO is all about optimizing your page to a particular keyword. When all has been done with keyword research and content creation, the next is to optimize your page to that content and keyword.

Critical on-page SEO techniques to implement

·        Optimize your page URL

Your page's content should be briefly described in your URL. Your URLs must be informative and contain the page's main keyword.

Hyphens should be used between words instead of using underscores. It should be as short as possible and still describe the page's content.

·        Optimize your title tags

Title tags are a key ranking factor in SEO. Therefore, it is important to optimize your title tags to include the main keywords for your page.

Let your title tags be short (about 50-55 characters long), simple, and unique. Use question-based words like How, what, Who, etc., for your title tags for your users to easily find content on your page.

·        Optimize your meta descriptions

A meta description is a text that appears in SERPs beneath the page title. You should keep it at 1-2 sentences (140–160 characters) maximum length and remember to use your target keyword in the description.

Your meta description should be unique, descriptive, and consistent with your content.

·        Optimize your headings

Headings are used in breaking content into sections. In SEO, you should ensure that you include the target keyword and other related terms to the keyword in all your headings and subheadings.

·        Optimize your images

To improve user experience on your page on your site, you need to optimize your images to catch the audience with the main keywords of the content for search engines.

You should make your images the right size for your web pages and reduce an image to the search engine’s correct dimensions and file size.

·        Add links from one page to another

Adding links between pages is another important way to optimize your page and site.

Links on your website's pages will make your site's structure more understandable to search engines, transfer power between pages, and assist users in switching between pages

4.    Link building

Link Building

Another central pillar of doing SEO and being successful with it is link building which is important to build trust and authority from other websites.

The way to go about link building is by backlinks. A backlink is a website that links "back" to your website, effectively endorsing you and showing your support.

A backlink from a relevant website to yours can raise the position of your website in Google's search engine results pages.

Reaching out to the real-world connections your company has is one of the fastest ways to build links.

These connections could be from associations, suppliers, office sites you are a member of, or connected businesses.

Link building is a great way to improve your website's SEO and rank higher on Google. Did you know that link building includes more than just external links? Internal linking is also an important part of link building and can be done using the right tools, such as RankMath.

RankMath is an excellent tool for both internal and external link building, making it easy to create high-quality backlinks that will help boost your website's ranking.

With RankMath, you can easily keep track of all your links and receive notifications when something needs to be updated or fixed.

You can also use the tool to quickly identify any broken or dead links, allowing you to fix them quickly so they don't harm your website's reputation.

This powerful tool offers an array of features that can help optimize both external and internal links. Learn more about RankMath and find out if it's right for you by reading our in-depth RankMath review. Visit our article and start optimizing your links for maximum SEO impact!

5.    Technical SEO strategy

Technical SEO Strategy

Technical SEO is all about helping search engines find, crawl, and index your content efficiently.

Steps to getting started with technical SEO tools

·        Connect your site to Google Search Console

It is important to set up Google Search Console for your site. This will help you identify any problems associated with indexing or crawling on your site.

·        Double-check that your site's pages can be indexed

You should check your site page and its URL with the Google Search Console to check for the index status of your site. This will help you know the coverage of your site and double-check if your page is crawled and indexed.

·        Create a Robots.txt file for your site if not already available

A Robots.txt file gives Googlebot (and other search engine bots) instructions on how to crawl your website. This addresses the issues as soon as possible because crawling issues on important site pages can affect indexation.

·        Ensure your site sits on HTTPs

An HTTPs domain is important for your site to gain higher access and greater coverage resulting in larger search volumes. This is a great ranking factor.

·        Benchmark your site’s speed to optimize it

A slow site speed can hurt your SEO performance. Site speed is important when determining rankings in search engine algorithms.

Therefore, optimizing your site speed by benchmarking will help you to see any pages that would have been flagged for slow site speed.

Basic Fundamental Practices for a Successful SEO Journey as a Beginner

Fundamental Practices SEO

As a newbie to SEO, there are basic practices you can take to cover the basics of SEO. These practices are fundamental to raising your SEO traffic levels.

Following these simple practices will help you avoid common SEO pitfalls, and set you on the path to a successful SEO journey.

1. Gather your SEO data

For a successful SEO, you need to make sure you have the right data for your website. Data is very important in SEO as it represents your website itself.

Therefore, you need to make sure to gather the right data sources for the setup of your site. You can get data from keyword research, link building, and visitor analytics. 

To gather your SEO data, you must install web analytics such as Google Analytics that gives you information about the traffic on and visiting your site.

You can also use search engine analytics such as Google Search Console to get a handful of information about your website.

You can also register with search engines but this doesn’t necessarily translate to a larger traffic volume.

2. Check how your website page is indexed

You need to regularly check how your site is indexed by search engines to be successful with SEO. You can do this by performing a site: search or individual pages search on search engines such as Google.

This will give you information about the number of the pages on your site that have been indexed. An indexed site page is guaranteed to draw more traffic.

3. Target specific and relevant keywords

Target Relevant Keywords

Keyword research is an important aspect of SEO. This is because SEO aims to ensure that people find exactly the content, they can get the answers (keywords) they are searching for from a search engine.

It takes time and effort to master how keyword research works and how to go about it.

However, you can achieve mastery by first knowing what keyword (main topic) your site or page is already ranking for and your content targets.

Then, you begin to find and target keywords related to this main topic and incorporate these keywords and topics onto your page.

4. Create search-engine-optimized content like a pro

Sometimes, many newbies to SEO miss the whole idea of SEO by believing that it is just all about putting keywords on your page and that is all for ranking. Well, that is a terrible mentality.

Aside from getting and putting relevant keywords into your content on your age, you need to have well-structured content that will gain relevance to search queries.

So, you need to learn how to create SEO content like a boss to help you rank and attract visitors to your site.

Good SEO practice to create good content includes:

·        Writing with the user intent to give them what they are looking for.

·        Using headers and sub-headers to break your content for readers and even the search engines to be able to understand your content.

·        Updating your content regularly to keep it fresh and relevant.

·        Using images and alt text wisely.

·        Satisfy the users both mobile users and PC users.

5. Work on your search appearance optimization

Search Appearance Optimization

An essential component of SEO is improving your search visibility. Title tags, meta descriptions, structured data, and favicons are a few of the key components you can take into account in optimizing your search appearance.

Google and other search engines use elements from your page when you rank in search to display in organic search results.

Optimizing your search appearance will not only affect how many people click on your result but in some cases, how highly you rank as well.

6. Use site architecture and internal links for strong hints to crawl, index, and rank your pages on your site

Links from your site or internal links help to build your site in terms of crawling, indexing, and ranking of your pages.

With good site architecture and internal links of a page to other pages, other search engines can discover and rank your web pages.

Therefore, you must include clear navigation links to most of your pages and all-important pages on your site for good SEO.

However, in doing this, you must avoid the use of manipulative link building such as external links like paid links, self-placed links, and affiliate links placed without disclosure. These types of links can get penalized.

Google encourages the use of editorial links that are freely given by human editors without manipulation.

How To Measure and Track Your SEO Performance?

Track Your SEO Performance

Here are 8 ways to measure your SEO performance.

1. Review impressions and clicks for your site by logging into your Google Search Console account to compare the last 28 days year-over-year (YoY).

2. Regularly inspect your site pages for an increase or decrease in impressions and clicks through data by queries, devices, page, etc.

3. Search to discover the keywords for which your page is ranking to know your strengths.

4. Investigate those keywords of yours that have dropped out of SERP and lost rankings and why.

5. Use Google Analytics to compare the traffic quality of your page.

6. Build an SEO monthly reporting dashboard to easily review your SEO performance.

7. Track and optimize SERP features to track your SEO success.

8. Create a keyword trending report for the main keywords on your page to check for the trend performance of such keywords.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SEO as an explanation for beginners?

The process of increasing organic search engine results page traffic is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

You must use SEO to improve your rank if you want to be the top result for all keywords.

Can I do SEO by myself?

Definitely! You can do SEO by yourself. This article provides you with some beginner SEO advice to increase your SEO so you don't need to work with a third-party company.

Why is SEO important in simple words?

In simple words, SEO is essential because it increases the visibility of your website, which results in more traffic and opportunities to convert visitors into paying customers.

Can I learn SEO on my own?

Yes, you can learn SEO on your own. You don't need to be an SEO specialist or expert to learn how to do SEO on your own. All that is required is the desire to learn and the passage of time.

You just need to persuade yourself that SEO is not difficult and that you can accomplish anything if others can.

Final Thoughts

One of the most effective digital marketing platforms available is SEO. You can find a consistent flow of relevant visitors to your website with SEO.

Therefore, taking a step into the field of SEO is a huge feat for you that deserves congratulations.

As a newbie to the field, it might look difficult and overwhelming, but with the right knowledge on how to go about SEO, success is inevitable.

This comprehensive SEO guide for newbies shows just how to go about attaining SEO success as a beginner. Do well to check it out, study it, and follow the guide meticulously.

This guide discusses all aspects of SEO - what it is, its importance, categories, basics, search engines, how to do it successfully and fundamental practices for success.

So do yourself well to check it out, take time to study and digest what you have learned in this post, and follow the guide meticulously for SEO efforts. After doing this, ensure to implement what you have learned.