Beginner’s guide for how to learn SEO you can start using this strategy to promote your website.
You can do SEO yourself, but to do it properly, you need up-to-date knowledge. That’s what this knowledge page is for. To get started, you can read here what SEO is and what it exactly means. A lot is changing within the field!
1. Follow forums, communities, and Facebook groups about SEO
One of the best ways to learn the basics of SEO: confront those who have more skills than you and don’t be afraid to ask. To get valid answers, you can attend the best online groups dedicated to the topic.
2. Learn SEO on YouTube: Search for Beginner
An essential point for the optimization and improvement of websites: here is the video course organized by Google to address the topic of search engine optimization. The interesting aspect: it is a basic path for those who are starting.
In fact, the videos deal with simple topics, which perhaps a webmaster does not need to deepen. Instead, they can be important for those who want to know the importance of the work done by the agency. A business owner investing in a website, for example, may need to know its importance.
You can learn about it at Google Search Central.
3. Finding knowledge about On-page SEO
I imagine you already have a slight notion of what On-Page SEO is … or maybe not.
There are certain SEO factors that make search engines (Google) and users love the results of a particular website.
All people trying to learn SEO want their websites to perform great in the SERPs or Google search results.
If I have a website about crocodiles and I have done an article on “What do crocodiles eat?” what I want is that as soon as it is published, it appears first in Google when a user searches for those words.
Unfortunately (and luckily), Google does not work like that, and it is not easy to be in the first positions.
Before your article, there are already several websites that try to give the Google user an answer to their search or query.
For that, there is SEO, and for that, there are occasional SEO On-Page strategies to position yourself more quickly.
With these strategies, we seek that the positioning in the first places is as fast as possible.
Then it will be quite a journey to be able to make that page effectively reach the first places: getting links, publishing and promoting it in different places, etc.
SEO On Page, therefore, is a fundamental leg of SEO positioning, and in turn, it is just one of the several aspects that we must take into account to get organic traffic.
4. Finding knowledge about Off-page SEO
Basically, SEO Off Page includes all external positioning factors, that is to say, those that do not belong “to your page,” and theoretically, you cannot control directly through SEO On Page.
Although On-page SEO is essential to create a good positioning base, most of the factors that influence the ranking of a page are based on Off-Page Optimization.
And especially in the quantity and quality of the links that point to your pages.
If two or more similar web pages within the same niche have good SEO optimization (SEO on-page), which of these two will appear first in web search engines? That will be decided by the off-page SEO!
This type of SEO speaks to the search engine and tells it that your website has higher quality content, as it is endorsed and recommended by all those third-party pages that link you, by the mentions in social networks, by the forums where you participate, etc. In response to this, search engines will elevate your website’s position in their results list above your competition.
The secret is to do it well, and for this, you must consider the following aspects.
Quality and quantity of links:
The most important characteristic of your backlinks is their quality: it is better to have a few high-quality backlinks coming from authoritative domains or pages than to have a lot of low-quality backlinks coming from blog networks or link farms. But, of course, the best equation is to have a lot of high-quality backlinks added little by little over time.
The second important point to consider in your strategy link building is the frequency with which the links appear. This is the reason why it is not a good idea that overnight there are hundreds of links pointing to your site: because there is no one who believes that this is natural, and Google less than anyone else.
The secret of good link building is that adding external links will gradually and naturally, at a reasonable pace, and from sites whose authority corresponds to your level of notoriety.
5. Keyword research for SEO
A keyword is an articulated search formula that is used by a person to describe their problem, look for a solution, identify a product or service that can help them solve their problem.
Google search, therefore, is something that people do when they have to satisfy their own need, supply a need, or take a whim or curiosity. In reality, the term keyword refers to the single lemma, while what we are used to calling keywords are actually search queries.
A keyword is what a person asks to remedy a problem that they cannot solve.
You will have guessed that if your company wants to sell online, it must solve these problems with both the sales pages and the blog.
How do people express these moments on Google? Exactly, with keywords. Good keyword research for SEO, therefore, will not only make you discover the keywords to use in the texts but also and above all, the problems, the needs, and requirements of your future consumers.
6. Web structure for SEO
Users expect your website to have a well-organized structure, so they stay browsing and click from page to page. Google also uses the structure and layout of your site to determine what content is relevant and what is not.
Why is the structure of a website so important?
The structure of a website is essential to facilitate navigation and its location. Many websites lack an organized structure to guide visitors to the information they are looking for.
You should create a clear structure for the site that will help Google understand your website.
7. Learn about UX/UI
User experience (UX)
The UX user experience has a direct connection with the overall performance of your website. Users who are not happy with how a website is structured are less likely to stay, engage or shop on the site. The User Experience is the first factor of positioning and SEO ranking of a website on search engines.
The website also represents your business. And the experience of your website visitors has a direct impact on how they view your business. Knowing what’s wrong with the UX is like knowing why no one comes in to buy your store. Websites not only need to look good, but they also need to be effective.
user interface (UI)
The appearance of a website is one of the first things to work on. A website should create a great first impression through a theme, style, color scheme, content presentation, and visual elements. You need to use both static and dynamic design elements and, of course, make sure that the aesthetics of your website are consistent and work across different screen sizes with a responsive web design.
The navigation can make or break the user experience of a website. Use a simple but intuitive navigation structure to select according to your needs or preferences. It is a must to use breadcrumb navigation (users can keep track of their location), mega menus (expandable menus), or hamburger menus for mobile devices.
Images and Graphics: Keep visitors on the website and keep them moving with the help of intuitive directional cues, eye-catching visuals, calls to action, and offers.
8. Learn to configure your website for SEO
You have a blog or a website, and you need to get the attention of the public, generate more visits and traffic. You have probably considered that one of the best strategies is to get positioned organically in the search engines of the web like Google, and in this way, when people search on the subject you are talking about, they arrive at your site. If you don’t know how to achieve this, here are some basic principles.
The current algorithms used to search for keywords in Google and other search engines take into account several criteria to define the position of websites in search results, including keyword matching, indexing, hierarchy, content, and relevance. Let’s see how these variables are measured to find out what to do.
Obviously, there must be a match or agreement between what the user is looking for and the result obtained. For this, Google uses algorithms that check if the keyword matches the content of the website. This correspondence is sought in several elements of the HTML code of the page (it should be noted that flash content is not indexed by Google and does not help positioning): In the title of the page tab, the title of the article, in the headings (H1, H2, H3,… tags of the HTML code), in the content or body, in the URL of the page, in the URL and the alternative text of the images and in the meta description (a description that appears in the result of Google). Make sure that the keywords are in these elements.
Naturally, within a web page, there are some ideas that are more important than others, to which more emphasis is placed, and Google to recognize what is the main theme of a web page uses this hierarchy that is evidenced in the HTML code of the page. For example, it is assumed that the content in H1 tags (Title 1) is the one that mainly describes what this page is about, the texts between H2 tags are the subtopics that are covered, and the H3 and H4 are breakdowns of those topics. For this reason, it is convenient before structuring the page to clearly define what is the main topic that you want to deal with and for which I want to position myself, and how this topic is developed in subtopics.
The vast majority of websites are made up of multiple pages, each of which represents an opportunity to be found and obtain visits and traffic from the general public. However, this is only possible if these pages are indexed by search engines. The fact that a page is indexed means that the search engine is accessing its content and can read what is there to show it within the search results; in short, the page is “findable.” From there, the question arises, How to make all the pages of my site are indexed and appear in the search? A very useful tool for this is to create an XML Sitemap for your site. This is basically a map of your site that different search engines can crawl to know what pages there are and how they are organized.
Content and relevance:
The current trend of search engines is to reward the pages with the best content, the most relevant pages that actually contain what the user wants to find. For this, they are based on some measures that are more or less precise indicators that the content is good and useful.
- There is enough content: there is enough text on the page to create relevant content, it does not have to be too much, but there must be a good amount (300 words minimum)
- Other sources cite this content: if other pages have links to your content, it is assumed that your content is of good quality, and that is why they cite it; the more external links arrive, the better.
These are the basic principles of positioning; taking them into account, you can design a website much easier to read and rank for search engines, and as a result, you will achieve more visitors.
How Google Search Works
When you use your smartphone, tablet, or PC to find out how to make sourdough, you are not looking on the internet: you are asking a search engine (Google is the most important) to find you the recipe for yeast.
It’s not a subtlety: Google functions as a huge database of web pages, which it collects, classifies, and distributes to users around the world when they request it.
And since it is Google that suggests the best resources by putting them in a list, called SERP (Search Engine Result Page), you will have to show the content and qualities of your web pages to the search engine. This is where SEO comes in.
As we will see, the work of an SEO Specialist will cover these 3 steps:
- Scanning: the “capture” of new pages that Google performs through its spider (or crawler ) called Googlebot. The operation can take place following the network of links or through Google Search Console.
- Indexing: the procedure by which Google collects pages on its server and creates an index, just like that of a book.
- Positioning: the process that the search engine algorithm performs when a user asks a question. Google collects all its results by making a ranking (ranking) based on many factors.
How does SEO work?
Now that you know how Google works, we can go back to SEO and understand how search engine optimization works.
In general, Search Engine Optimization work consists of a series of small-to-large improvements to your website. These changes can take place within site or outside, dividing SEO into two major branches:
SEO on-page (or SEO on-site): includes all interventions made directly to the site, such as the creation of SEO oriented content, optimization of heading tags or speed improvement;
SEO off-page (or SEO off-site): is the construction of an online reputation through the acquisition of backlinks, mentions, reviews, and more.
SEO, SEM, and SEA
A detail you need to know about SEO is that optimization mainly impacts on organic search, that is, on the list of sites (queries) that are shown to us by Google because they are deemed more relevant to our needs.
In reality, many SERPs are also populated with pages and sponsored content, the source of income for search engines (they are recognizable by the Ad label). This paid placement follows its rules and is indicated by the acronym SEA (search engine advertising).
SEO and SEA form a larger set of activities that aim to improve the visibility of a site by generating more traffic and, therefore, more income (you don’t want to rank on Google for pleasure, right?).
This large group is indicated by the acronym SEM or Search Engine Marketing. Those who do web marketing, in theory, know both positioning techniques and conversion strategies to bring more traffic to the pages and generate a return of money.
Good. Now you know almost everything about almost nothing about SEO. It’s time to start practicing and give yourself some tips to learn the ranking of sites on Google.
SEO: How to get started
A good SEO job begins by analyzing the site from a technical point of view ( SEO audit ) and the company (or the natural person) to which it belongs.
It is very important to remember that positioning serves to make a site readable to Google, not to scale the SERPs. Long-term results will come with the
Those who do optimization start by setting goals:
- what results should it lead to?
- what is the value of the website, and who is behind it?
If you already have a website, this guide will provide you with precise instructions to get started. The list of things to optimize is very long, but you can start with these:
- keyword analysis;
- analysis of title tags and heading tags;
- Creation of SEO friendly URL
- image optimization.
Let’s go through these SEO steps for beginners in order.
SEO: How to choose keywords
The keyword has always been very important for SEO. As we have seen, search engines crawl web pages word by word, trying to guess what the main topic is and to provide users with the best results.
For this reason, inserting the right keywords on a page is essential to be found by your users. The keywords must also be chosen carefully and used wisely: the pages of the site must contain the keyword and its synonyms, but without forcing (this would be an SEO over-optimization, which is frowned upon by Google).
How can you choose the keyword? These are the steps an emerging SEO should ask themselves:
- what is the main topic of my site?
- what do I offer to my users, and how?
- what is the target of people I am addressing?
- what are my potential visitors looking for?
In other words, to find the keywords to set up an SEO strategy, you need to analyze your business and think about what your customers are looking for.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to go randomly in keyword research. There are some simple techniques to do this, and then they are tools like Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, Semrush, and the like.
Improve Title Tag and Heading
A simple but decisive aspect of starting SEO is to take care of the fundamental meta tags. Tags are the HTML markers of your web page, which Google’s crawlers will read very carefully to index it.
In crawling, Googlebot follows a certain hierarchy giving precedence to some page elements to frame the topic well. Therefore, the tags you need to consider first are:
- <title> tag
- heading tags, specifically <h1>, <h2> and <h3>.
Meta tag Title
The Meta Title is an attribute of the HTML code used to provide information about the content of a page to search engines and users.
Meta titles appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) as a clickable Title for a given result and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing.
The title of a web page must be an accurate and concise description of the content of a page.
It communicates the main topic of a page to the search engine, helps us to attract users’ attention during a search, and at the same time, the meta title is a very important factor in making Google understand the search intent we want to respond to.
If you are using WordPress and have installed the popular Yoast SEO Plugin, you can enter the Meta Title in the space labeled “SEO Title.”
Often this field is automatically filled in by copying Heading Tag 1 (H1). Nonetheless, we recommend that you try to differentiate these two attributes.
Both, in fact, constitute a precious opportunity to communicate useful information about a particular page to Google and users.
As you edit the Meta Title with Yoast, the bar below the field will turn red, orange, or green.
The famous “SEO traffic light” will help you understand if your title is well optimized or if it needs further changes.
In fact, the Meta Tag Title plays a significant role in the optimization of a web page, and it is considered one of the most important elements of on-page SEO together with Headings Tags.
Meta header tags are the HTML markers inside your web page. They are also called titles and subtitles and are a key element to start improving SEO.
If you are a beginner, start adding and improving these elements. Within your web pages, divide your content carefully, prefacing each paragraph with its subtitle that best represents it.
Follow this basic rule:
- H1: applies only once, as an internal title of the page;
- H2: identifies the main paragraphs of the web page;
- H3: these are the sub-paragraphs to be inserted (possibly) within one or more paragraphs for further information.
Note that title and H1 tags are not the same. They are similar, but they have two different nuances: the first has the function of explaining the topic and capturing the user’s click (the so-called click-through rate, or CTR, is a precious SEO factor), the second explains better what will treat the page on which the user has landed.
URL and SEO
The URL address is another easy element to make SEO friendly immediately, even if you are a beginner. When you create a web page, each of them has its own Uniform Resource Locator, which is an identification code that defines its position. In practice, it is the link that refers to that content.
URLs are essential: you can’t upload a file without having an address for it (images, videos, and online .pdf files also have one). So often, when you create a page, for example, on a WordPress site, the URL is automatically generated or contains the exact text of the H1 in question.
Leaving the URL random or not optimized is a bad habit for SEO. Google also values the content of the link, so make sure it contains the keyword being talked about on the page. For example, if you create a guide on how to clean the cat’s fur, these solutions are valid:
Better to replace any automatic URL like yoursite.com/?p=9829 or similar. Take advantage of the ability to modify the URL to enter the keyword intelligently and immediately optimize your page on the SEO side.
SEO image optimizations
The last of the simplest steps to start SEO is image curation. Multimedia resources (video, audio, photos) have an important value for users, and for this reason, they are also important for search engines.
If you run an online flower shop and upload your flower arrangements, you are certainly offering the user the opportunity to understand how you work and what you have in the shop. This is well regarded by Google, which will reward your effort by improving the ranking of your website.
What you need, however, is to work on the images following three rules:
- renaming the files correctly;
- inserting the alt tag;
- making them light and quick to load.
Rename the image
Each image has an identifying name followed by its extension (.png, .jpg, .svg and so on). Sometimes the files are named automatically by the camera or by the author who made the image public, and this is not good.
Remember the website of your flower shop? Uploading the rose bouquet photo named “567257.jpg” is a beginner’s mistake. It is difficult for Google to show the user looking for rose images on your page. Better to rename it, giving it a more SEO name: how about “red-roses.jpg”? The search engine will scan the page and will already have the first information.
Insert Alt Tag
When you upload an image you insert an HTML code like this on your web page:
<img src = “/ location / image-name.jpg” />
Even if you renamed the file correctly, this image is not yet 100% optimized for search engines. In order for it to become one, it is necessary to add another detail in the string of your code, a tag that allows the crawl to understand what is depicted: the alt (alternative) attribute.
<img src = “/ image-address.jpg” alt = “” />
Within this tag, you should explain in a nutshell what that image contains and why it is relevant. It is not necessary to write an entire sentence: a few characters are enough, perhaps including the keyword.
If you have a WordPress site, you can optimize the images for SEO by inserting the alt tag in the Media section or when you upload the file to the site (as you can see in the image).
Lightweight images, faster site
The speed of a site is a key element for SEO. Many users leave a page that takes a long time to load before reading its contents. As you know by now, Google is a friend of the user, and the sites that make users escape must be removed. How to avoid the risk?
In this SEO guide for beginners, we won’t talk about how to speed up a website, but by paying attention to a few details, you can already help make pages lighter and load faster.
One of these is the library of your images. Uploaded photos can be very heavy, especially large, or taken in high quality.
Load a very large media file, e.g., larger than 500 kb, it can slow down the loading of the web page. There are so many ways to fix it, but the simplest of all is to pay attention to the images you upload.
Remember to resize the files correctly, avoiding uploading photos larger than 1400-1800px in width (they would still be made smaller by the screens).
To do a good SEO job, you can also try to compress images with online programs or with WordPress plugins. Compression lightens the file without losing too much quality, helping the page to earn precious tenths in loading.
SEO course to get started
In this guide, we have introduced in a simple way what SEO is and how it works, without pretending to exhaust the whole topic in one page.
Search engine optimization is an industry, a world of nuances (writing, marketing, programming, social media, etc.). To understand it more deeply, you will have to choose a particular area and specialize in the study of that area.
Do you think you are writing on the web? Then find out what SEO copywriting is. Do you want to learn the techniques to make money online? You should deepen the field of SEM.
To be able to do this, an excellent solution is to attend a serious and complete SEO course. There are a lot of them online, but to help you choose here, we have compiled the best SEO courses to get you started.