SEO For Beginners
I’m often asked about SEO for begginers. Where someone should start if they want to learn about SEO? My answer is always the same. Start by understanding the basics. What is SEO? How does search engine optimization work in a broad sense, and how can you influence search engine rankings using SEO strategies and tactics? In this short post, I’ll breakdown the basic framework beginners should consider.
Any successful search engine optimization (SEO) program begins with a goal. And your goal is simple – to get a website or blog to rank on page one of search results, preferrably in the first 3 postions. This may include a variety of formats, but at the end of the day, you want to appear on top.
To do so, you must first begin with a target keyword. Do you want to show up in search results when someone searches on your company name? A particular service you offer? Maybe, “hardware stores near me”?
Doing keyword research is essential to discover how users search for companies in your niche or the products/services you offer. In my top-selling book, SEO Made Simple, I share my favorite tools for doing keyword reserch the right way.
After you’ve identified your target keyword, the next step is to do a site audit. There are a number of great resources available to do comprehensive site audits and provide feedback on areas you can improve based on SEO best practices and technical enhancements.
The site audit serves as your roadmap for work that must be done to get your website in compliance with the latest Google Algorithm updates. Through the lense of specific keywords, your site audit provides specific “to do’s” that can improve the visibility of your website.
Depending on the size of your website, the site audit could be a few page long or hundreds of pages long. Work with a qualified SEO to determine which on page improvements should be implemented first and if there are any other structural issues that should be address (Domain structure, navigation, etc.). When thinking about SEO for beginners, don’t expect to know everything right out of the gate. Even experienced SEO’s still rely on developers for technical help.
On Page Optimization
The majority of recommendations from your site audit will be for on-page optimization purposes. Factors like meta data, keyword usage, and page load speed are all considered “on-page” factors. The great thing about on-page SEO is that it’s in your control. Some on-page factors can be easily changed and other may require a developer who works with code.
Sites like WordPress, Wix, etc. have made the implementation of on page SEO best practices much easier than in the past. Each platform provides support or training to guide you with making on page changes to your website or blog.
In addition to the basic on page factors, items like site load speed, indexing, etc. also fall into this category. Even though items like those mentioned aren’t necessarily considered “on-page”, they should be addressed as they are critical to improving your website visibility.
Off Page Optimization
Once your site has gone through a site audit and on-page factors have been addressed, it’s time to turn your attention to “off page” optimization. Off-page refers to anything done outside your website to improve rankings. Now, you might be asking, “What can I do outside my website to influence rankings?” The good news is quite a bit. Although off-page optimization is in someways more difficult simply because you don’t have direct control.
At the heart of off-page optimization is link building. When you generate links to your website from a third party website, you’re making an impact on your website’s authority. As your site authority improves, so do rankings.
Generating inbound links is as much an art as it is science. In SEO Made Simple I share a number of link building techniques helping SEO for beginners like using press releases, guest blog posts, and profiles on authority websites to build inbound links. Link building is one of those topics you could write a book about (that’s why I wrote SEO Made Simple) because it is essential to your SEO strategy and is continually evolving.
Understanding the basic framework of SEO for beginners isn’t difficult, but implementing the strategies effectively can be. Be patient. It takes time to learn SEO – it’s almost like learning a new language. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. SEO has been very rewarding for me and our clients and continues to be an essential part of marketing any business online.