Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies for business owners. It helps create more awareness for your brand and attract new business opportunities. When implemented correctly, SEO gets you organic leads and grows your business faster. This SEO guide for beginners will teach you all you need to know about SEO and how you can optimize your website better.
But you can only get the best from this guide if you implement and test all the concepts and strategies discussed.
It covers every aspect of SEO, including Keywords research, On-page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO.
We aren’t just teaching you the right way to do keyword research. But also how to find the right terms that will make your website visible on search engines, attract more links, and make it more attractive to searchers.
Like most other niches, the SEO niche is ever-changing. And you need to update yourself with the most recent techniques at all times. Otherwise, your website will fall into the bottomless pit of Google search result pages.
I know you may have read several articles on search engine optimization. But this SEO guide for beginners is comprehensive, so take a look!
The knowledge you will gain from this guide can make a huge difference in your website ranking if implemented correctly.
SEO Guide for Beginners – What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization refers to any activity that’s tailored towards ranking your website high on the search engine’s result pages.
It’s any tactic you implement to increase your website visibility on search engine result pages organically.
Search Engine Optimization is both an art and a science. SEO is an art because it requires you to use your creativity and initiative to come up with valuable content that meets searchers’ intent.
Furthermore, search engine optimization (SEO) is a science because it has laid down procedures that must be followed before search engine bots will crawl your website and make it visible on search results.
Surprisingly, the whole idea of search engine optimization is to create high-quality articles and content that users of search engines will find valuable.
If you read through Google’s mission statement, you will realize that SEO is more about people than it is about search engines.
It’s about giving exceptional experiences to users of search engines. And this experience includes user-friendly websites, easy-to-read content, etc.
In this SEO guide for beginners, you will learn how to understand what your audience is searching for, the answers they are expecting, the search terms they are using, and the content format they are interested in.
All of these things will help you create high-quality content that will resonate with people who are searching for answers online.
One of the greatest misconceptions people have about SEO is that SEO is all about keyword research.
That explains why most of your articles aren’t visible in search results. The truth is, keyword research and understanding your audience’s intent is just one side of the SEO coin.
And delivering content in a way that is appealing to both search engines and humans is the other side of the coin.
Basic Understanding of Search Engines
In my opinion, search engines are gradually making libraries irrelevant these days. With answering machines like search engines readily available to provide answers to your query, you may not have any reason to visit the library for query or research purposes.
When you search for a keyword on search engines, the crawlers scour billions of articles and analyze them to know which one is more relevant to your intent.
Generally, search engines discover and catalog every piece of content on the internet through crawling and indexing.
And when someone searches for a particular term, the search engines they are using will order every article on that term according to how they match the query.
The more your article matches your audience’s query, the higher your page will rank on the search result pages.
Don’t worry, this SEO guide for beginners covers crawling, indexing, and ranking. We will talk more about them later in this guide.
SEO Guide for Beginners – Why is SEO Important
SEO remains the most effective inbound marketing strategy for businesses with a limited budget. It drives the majority of online traffic. And every lead you get through organic search results is a high-quality lead that you can easily convert.
Funnily, search engine users are more likely to click on organic search links than paid advertisements. In fact, SEO has 20 times more traffic opportunities than PPC on both mobile and desktop.
The good thing about implementing your SEO strategy correctly is that it’s sustainable in the long run. Once you set up your SEO the right way, it continues to drive organic traffic to your website.
However, ranking on search engines (especially Google) is not easy these days.
The Google algorithms are getting smarter and they want to deliver a better experience to their audience.
However, if you implement the techniques in this SEO guide for beginners very well, your website may resonate well with Google and other search engines.
But it starts with making your website user-friendly. That means visitors can easily navigate through your website.
Should I Hire an SEO Expert or Do it Myself?
If you can learn very fast and have enough time to learn, it’s possible to do basic SEO yourself.
However, if your schedule is tight and you need flawless optimization to help you rank your website on search engines, you need to hire an SEO expert.
Luckily for you, the Tycoono SEO Team can help you optimize your website to be more visible in search engine results and create awareness for your brand.
SEO Guide for Beginners – What Are the Types of SEO?
As a beginner in the SEO world, it’s important to know the types of SEO and their roles in Google ranking.
There are three types of SEO which are; On-page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO. These three aspects of SEO work together interdependently to make your website more visible on search result pages.
On-page SEO refers to any content on your website that helps you rank on search engine result pages. It includes your website content, title tags, image alt-tags, internal links, etc.
In one of Google’s Whitepaper’s titled – How Search Works, the search engine giant revealed that its algorithm still searches for keywords on your website pages to match users’ search queries.
To improve your on-page SEO, you need to carry out a monthly content plan. Your content plan should focus on the frequently searched keywords in your niche.
After which, you start creating articles on the researched keywords. When you publish your articles, ensure that you include title tags, image alt tags, internal links, etc. This will make your content more appealing to search engine algorithms.
Off-page SEO is any search engine optimization action you take outside your website. And backlinks are one of the major elements of off-page SEO.
Backlinks are created when a website is linked to a page on your website. It gives search engines the impression that people find your content valuable and insightful.
Backlinks are also called inbound links. They are important in SEO because algorithms consider them as ranking signals.
When a bigger website in your niche puts a link from your web page on theirs, it leads back to you. And your Page Authority will increase, thus, improving your ranking in search results.
Outside backlinks, other components of off-page SEO are social media marketing, guest blogging, brand building, etc.
Technical SEO refers to any technical action you take on your website to help you improve its ranking in search results. It focuses on the optimization of your website’s infrastructure.
The more you optimize your website technically, the easier it is for search engines to crawl and index it.
Your website technical elements include sitemaps, page speed, URL structure, schema, site navigation, etc.
Technical SEO helps you to adhere to Google’s best practices for website optimization. And it makes your website friendly enough for users to easily navigate.
SEO Guide for Beginners – Google Webmaster Guidelines
Google Webmaster is one of the tools you can use to improve your website’s performance. It helps you to understand how your website interacts with Google.
The tool also gives you an insight into your website performance, reports technical issues like crawl errors, mobile optimization problems, security concerns, etc.
Interestingly, it’s completely free to use Google webmaster. With Google Webmaster, you can monitor your website’s performance, check out for indexing errors, submit a sitemap, carry out inspections on your URL, etc.
But here are a few tips to help you use Google Webmaster Effectively;
- Optimize your pages for users, not search engines.
- Resist the urge to deceive your users.
- Stay away from any trick that’s tailored towards improving your ranking. In other words, avoid implementing any strategy that doesn’t give value to your audience.
- Try to make your website unique, valuable, and engaging.
Things That Could Affect Your Ranking on Google
The next thing we will discuss in this SEO guide for beginners is some of the things that can affect your Google ranking.
Unfortunately, website owners frequently make these mistakes, which affect their Google ranking in the long run.
If you are currently doing any of the following, it could be one of the reasons why your Google ranking drops.
- Using AI software to generate content.
- Being involved in link schemes.
- Duplicating content from other platforms on your websites.
- Showing crawlers and visitors to your website different content on the same topic. This is a black hat SEO technique called cloaking. It could severely hurt your website SEO.
- Using Doorway pages.
Bing Webmaster Guidelines
Like I mentioned earlier, this SEO guide for beginners contains what you need to know about SEO. And that includes Bing Webmaster.
Most times, people only focus on Google when optimizing their website for SEO. I know Google is THE search engine giant.
But there are several search engines out there that can still get you organic traffic. We are going to talk about Bing Webmaster in this section.
Just like Google, Bing is also a web search engine owned and operated by Microsoft. The search engine platform has unique features that can make your search easier.
And one of such features is the Advanced Filters. The feature allows searchers to narrow their search results to image and video searches.
Interestingly, you can leverage Bing to get more search visibility and create awareness for your brand.
But here are some basic principles for using Bing Webmaster.
Basic Principles for Using Bing Webmaster – SEO Guide for Beginners
- Ensure that every piece of content you post on your website is clear, easy to understand, engaging, and insightful.
- Make your page titles clear and relevant to searchers’ intent.
- Try to get more backlinks to your website. Like Google, Bing considers links as a popularity signal for your website. And the more backlinks you have on your website, the better your chances of ranking on Bing search result pages.
- Make your content engaging enough to get you social shares. Bing considers social shares as positive signals and can help you rank better.
- Optimize your page speed. It’s an important ranking signal, as Bing takes user experience seriously.
- It’s important to have alt descriptions for images on your web page. It helps Bing algorithms to understand your content and better match it with users’ intent.
There are certain SEO mistakes to avoid when using Bing. Otherwise, it may affect your ranking on the web search engine.
So, here are things to avoid when optimizing your website for Bing SEO;
Things to Avoid When Optimizing Your Website for Bing SEO
- Focusing more on ads and affiliate links than producing content that provides value to your audience. Once Bing notices that you are always redirecting people to other websites or you create more thin content, your website won’t rank well on the search engine.
- Engaging in black hat SEO like increasing the number and nature of inbound links to your website through link buying or engaging in link schemes. Bing seriously frowns at these acts and could lead to de-indexing your website.
- Always have a concise keyword-inclusive URL structure in place. Avoid using dynamic parameters that could make your URL look untidy and may lead to duplicate content.
- Ensure your URLs are descriptive, short, and contain the keywords of your content.
- Avoid keyword stuffing and cloaking.
How to Optimize Your Business for Local SEO
If your business focuses on a local audience, it’s important to list it on Google My Business.
But there are certain guidelines you need to follow when creating and managing your business on Google My Business Listings.
Some of these guidelines are;
- Before you list your business on Google My Business Page, ensure that the business is eligible and meets all the requirements. These requirements include; having a physical business address and your business must be serving your customers physically either in your location or your audience’s location.
- Be honest when presenting your local business data, this includes; your business name, phone number, website address, business categories, hours of operation, and other important features.
Again, when you are creating your Google My Business page, there are certain things you need to avoid. Some of these things are;
What to Avoid When Creating a Google My Business Page for Your Local Business
- Don’t create a Google My Business page if your business doesn’t meet the requirements. It may do more harm than good to your business.
- Avoid misrepresenting any of your main business information or creating listings for fake addresses. Google can penalize your business for that.
- The only address you can use for a Google My Business Listing is a verifiable street address. Avoid using PO Boxes or other unverifiable mailboxes.
- Using the review section of Google My Business Listing abusively. Avoid using fake positive reviews for your business or trying to bring down your competitors with negative reviews.
Search Engine Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking
The entire activities of search engines are centered around three main functions – crawling, indexing, and ranking.
Before your content becomes visible to search engines, bots and algorithms will crawl and index your website. After which, it will start ranking.
So, in this section of our SEO guide for beginners, you will learn more about crawling, indexing, and how search engines rank your content.
Let’s start with crawling…
What is Search Engine Crawling and How Does it Work?
Crawling is the first stage in the SEO ranking process. During this stage, search engines send out spiders or crawlers, to find the most recent and updated content.
Content in this context could be articles, web pages, images, videos, or PDF documents. The format doesn’t matter, what’s important is that the content is uploaded online.
Every second, Google crawlers crawl web pages and follow the links on those webpages to find new and updated URLs.
And whenever the crawler finds new content, the content is added to their index. This index is called Caffeine.
Caffeine is a Google web indexing system. It’s a database of every URL that crawlers discover.
And Google will retrieve these URLs later when search engine users search for information that is related to any of the URL’s content.
What is a Search Engine Index?
An index is a database that houses all the content that a search engine discovers and finds worthy to serve web searchers.
Search Engine Ranking
Search engine ranking is your website’s position in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Several factors influence your website ranking on search results. These factors include; the quality of your content, backlinks pointing to your page, and your website design.
However, different search engines use different factors to rank website pages in their search results. That explains why some websites may rank in the top 3 for a particular keyword on Bing or Yahoo, but not even on Google’s first page for the same keywords.
We explain Bing and Google webmasters earlier on in this SEO guide for beginners.
And when optimizing your website for SEO, it’s important to consider the various search engine ranking factors.
That way, you will give more exposure to your brands and organically attract a wide range of audiences to your website.
SEO Guide for Beginners – The Importance of Links in SEO
Links play an important role in Search Engine Optimization. In this context, links could either be backlinks (inbound links) or internal links from your website.
Any link pointing to your website from other websites is called inbound or backlinks. It’s like giving a word-of-mouth referral about the quality of your website content.
That is why Google and other search engines consider them as signs of authority to your website.
However, internal links are within your website and they point to other pages on your website. While these links reduce the bounce rate on your website, They are not considered a good sign of authority in the SEO community.
But it still plays an important role in search engine ranking. It reduces your website’s bounce rate which is an important SEO ranking factor.
Since its inception, backlinks have always played an important role in SEO. And the higher the authority of the website pointing to your webpage, the higher your page will rank in search engine result pages.
For instance, Google may not consider links from irrelevant or low-quality sources as a good sign of authority. It could even affect your website ranking.
The Importance of Content in SEO
Content is an important variable in the SEO equation. In the end, your effort to rank in the top spot of any search engine result page is to get more people to read your content.
The more valuable your content is, the higher your chances of ranking in search engine result pages.
Search engines favor websites that always produce high-quality content. That is because content is the fuel that powers the search engine’s operation.
Whenever users search for keywords, thousands of results come up. And search engines will always choose the content that is most relevant to the searcher’s intent.
Google’s concern is to satisfy searchers and help them accomplish their tasks. And once your content is relevant to the search intent, you rank high for that particular query. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new website or not.
But before then, your website must have fulfilled the technical and on-page SEO requirements.
Generally, Google has consistently considered three signals for ranking websites in search results. These signals are; third-party credibility signal to your website (backlinks), the extent to which your content matches search intent (on-page SEO), and the technical aspect of your website.
SEO Guide for Beginners – Keyword Research Methods and Best Practices
Keyword research is one of the most essential pillars of search engine optimization. It’s the SEO technique of finding and researching frequently searched terms that users enter into search engines when looking for information, product, or services.
Keyword research helps you to discover queries or search terms to target, how often people search for these terms, their ranking difficulties, etc.
If you do keyword research before creating content, your content will be valuable and relevant to search intent.
As a rule, don’t just research keywords. Try to understand the intent behind the keywords and create content that matches that intent.
Types of Keywords
Generally, there are three types of keywords. And you need to learn these different types of keywords to have a deeper understanding of the intent behind every keyword you target.
Surprisingly, your website will perform better in search engine result pages if you always create intent-based content.
But you need to understand the different types of keywords before you can start creating content around intent.
There are three types of keywords according to searchers’ intent. These keywords are; Informational, Navigational, and Transactional keywords.
Informational keywords are terms search engine users use to look for more information about something. It could be a product, service, or anything else.
But the intent of informational keywords is to learn more about a particular topic they are searching for.
For instance, the keyword for this content is “SEO guide for beginners.”
The intent of whoever is searching for this keyword is to learn more about SEO and how it works.
Informational keywords usually contain phrases like beginner’s guide, what is, how-to, etc. And search engine result pages for informational searches contain carousels, infoboxes for quick answers, and knowledge panels.
Targeting informational keywords in your niche gives more exposure to your brand. And if your content or articles are valuable, people will consider your website as an authority.
The navigational keywords are among the types of keywords you should know. These keywords help searchers to locate the webpage of a particular company, brand, or software.
For instance, if you want to visit Tycoono’s website, you can just type the company’s name on Google search. And different pages of the website will come up in search results.
Examples of navigational keywords are;
YouTube, Facebook Login, Grammarly Signup, Copyscape sign up, where is Tycoono’s Office located in Boston?
People searching for navigational keywords already know what they are looking for. All they need is the URL to the website or software they are searching for.
Transactional keywords are search terms that indicate the searcher’s intent to buy a product, service, or take a particular action.
More often than not, transactional keywords always have a sense of urgency or the searchers’ desire to buy.
Brands with low domain authority sometimes target transactional keywords with paid ads and highly optimized purchase pages.
Examples of transactional keywords are: buy, purchase, deal, discount, cheapest, for sale, etc.
Things to Keep in Mind When Researching Keywords for Your Website
Keyword research is more complicated than it seems. Before you start researching keywords for your website, here are a few things you need to consider;
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
It’s crucial to give priority to quality whenever you are researching keywords. Sometimes, website owners get carried away by keywords volume and forget to check other metrics.
It doesn’t make any sense to target a keyword with one million search volume and 100% difficulty; especially, if your website is relatively new in your niche.
You won’t get the expected organic traffic if you aren’t ranking on the first page of search engine results. That is why you need to consider the quality of the keyword rather than quantity.
As a new website, it’s cool to target keywords with 5,000 to 10,000 search volume with difficulty less than 5%.
But try to balance your strategy. Don’t focus your content on low-volume keywords. it may affect your ranking in the long run.
Once in a while, create lengthy articles around high-volume keywords and try to include related keywords throughout your content.
Avoid Broad Single Word Terms
It’s almost impossible to rank for single keywords. They are highly competitive. And if you manage to rank for such keywords, it will be challenging to convert your traffic.
Let us ask you this – when was the last time you click a URL with a single term on Google? The answer is probably “never”. Even if you click on those keywords, you won’t get the exact results you are looking for.
Create Content Around Long Tail Keywords
It’s easy to get your audience’s attention in search results if you are targeting long-tail keywords. These keywords are niche-specific and can make your articles relevant to searchers’ intent.
However, if you are targeting long-tail keywords; you need to update your content once in a while. Otherwise, the content’s popularity will reduce over time and affect your organic traffic.
SEO Guide for Beginners – Frequently Used Terms in SEO and Their Meanings
Basically, this guide has explained everything a beginner needs to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
However, some frequently used SEO terms may be confusing to a beginner like you.
In this section, we explain them in simple terms. Without further ado, here are some of the frequently used terms in SEO and their meaning in alphabetical order.
10 Blue Links
‘10 blue links’ is an expression that refers to how search results are presented in search engines.
In the past, when you search for a particular keyword on Google or any other search engine, the search engines come up with 10 blue link entries as results.
Black hat is any attempt to rank your website in search engine results using the back door. It violates search engine quality guidelines. And your website could be penalized for it.
Crawling is a buzzword in the SEO world. It’s the process through which search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., discover your web page. The easier it is for search engines to find your web pages, the higher your chances of ranking high in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
De-indexing is the process through which search engines remove your web page from their index.
Featured snippets are summaries of search queries. They appear at the top of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Your web page is more likely to be picked for featured snippets on a particular query if you optimize your page’s meta description.
Google My Business Listing
Google My Business Listing is a free tool from Google that helps you to manage and optimize your business profile. It gives you more exposure and creates more awareness for your brand.
Indexing is the process of adding website pages into Google search or other search engines.
Intent is one of the most important ranking signals in SEO. It means what searchers are looking for, from the keywords they type into the Google search bar.
Organic traffic refers to the visitors to your website as a result of earned placement in search results.
Query are keywords that users typed into a search engines search bar.
Ranking refers to the ordering of search results according to their relevance to the searchers’ intent.
Search engines are programs that search for and identify items in a database relevant to queries specified by users. Examples of search engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
SERP is an acronym for Search Engine Result Page. It refers to the page that displays after you type a query in the search bar.
Every visitor to your website is regarded as traffic.
URL is an abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locators. They are the addresses or locations of every piece of content on the internet.
White hat refers to SEO techniques that comply with Google’s quality guidelines.
In this SEO guide for beginners, I tried to give you a foundational knowledge of SEO. If you take your time to study and understand this guide, you should be able to perform basic SEO techniques on your website.
However, if you feel that optimizing your website for SEO is too complicated for you, outsourcing it will be a great option.
The Tycoono SEO Team will help you optimize your website for better exposure and brand awareness.