Step by step SEO tutorial for beginners
There are hundreds of websites competing for a top place in the search results. But only those websites that follows SEO win the race. SEO is a set of rules that should be followed if you want to optimize your website for search engines and improve your search engine rankings.
Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide, according to Google search statistics.
Just imagine what this number means and how it can change your business if you manage to get your tiny share of traffic from the billions of monthly searches. Search engine traffic is the most valuable source of traffic for any website and this can lead to more conversions. SEO is highly important for your online success.
Here are the two terms that you need to understand in SEO world.
- On page SEO
- Off page SEO
Part I – Learn SEO Basics
#1. On-page SEO
Whether it is the on-page SEO or off-page SEO, the goal is to optimize individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page SEO takes care of optimizing content and HTML source code of a page, user-friendliness of your site.
Simply to say, it takes care of all the things that you can do ON your website such as page titles, internal linking, meta tags & descriptions etc. On-page SEO consists of all the elements of SEO that you can control best.
Here are the three main things that you should take care of, if you are serious about online business.
Create a solid content strategy
Content is king. Why people should visit your site? If your site contains information that they are looking for then yes they do visit. A user feels happy when he finds the result that serves his needs in the best way. So, you should write excellent content.
Google decides whether to rank your site higher or not based on your content. Google always want to give the best to its users so, provide that best through your content
Here are the factors that make up a great content:
- Brainstorm for a while and then come up with a great compelling headline before writing content.
- Make writing a daily habit and you will reach to the awesome very soon.
- Once you start writing, make sure you include all the statistics and helpful information in your content.
- Without keyword research, even the great content fails. Include your targeted keyword in your post’s headline and throughout the article. Choose your keyword before starting to write.
- Keyword stuffing won’t work anymore so carefully use your keywords in a meaningful way.
- Google loves fresh content which is nothing but posting new content or updating your older posts.
- If you write a clear cut answer then Google recognize it as an answer to a particular question.
Look at those 4 parts of HTML
Now, you are set with the content. The next big thing that you need to take care is HTML. Obviously you don’t need any programming knowledge. Make sure you optimize these 4 parts of HTML for each and every single piece of content you produce.
- Meta description: Don’t forget to include meta descriptions for your pages. These descriptions are an important place to include relevant keywords for your content, as these are used within the search results when your page is listed.
- Heading tags: Format and structure your content. Give your readers easy reference points as they also affect SEO. Break up your content into smaller sections and paragraphs to make it easier for people to read. H1 tags are reserved for your main page title. So, use h2 and h3 tags for subheadings as search engines use these to determine what is important within your content.
- Title tags: The title is what users see in the search engines for both organic results and paid ads. The title tag outlines what the page is about. When ranking web pages for particular queries, Google looks at the title tag and compares that to the rest of the content on the page.
- URL structure: Including search engine friendly URLs for each of your pages as it brings better crawling. Shorter URLs that includes right keywords tend to rank better.
Quick note: Fortunately, if you are a WordPress user, I’ve a simple tip for you in this SEO tutorial for beginners: start using WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. It’s free and you can do all the above things (on page optimization) easily even if you’re not a SEO master.
Provide great experience to user through site architecture
A good website architecture provides a great experience to the user when he navigates your page. You need to optimize a few things in order for a great search engine experience.
- Make your website easy to crawl: Crawlability is the ability of search engine robots to crawl and index the pages on a website. If the links on your site are formatted in a way that is not search-engine friendly, then your site’s crawlability would be considered extremely poor. One of the best tools that you can use to estimate how a search engine robot will crawl your site is using Xenu’s Link Sleuth.
- Myths around duplicate content: Reposting your content on other websites or publishing your guest posts again on your own site doesn’t hurt your SEO. The best way to combat duplicate content is to set up a 301 redirect from the duplicate page to the original content page.
- Make your site mobile-friendly: Over 500 million Facebook users only use facebook through their mobile phone on a daily basis. You can check your mobile friendliness of your site using this Google’s tool.
- Page speed: Time is more than anything and long loading times can absolutely kill your conversions. Use pagespeed insights to check it.
- Change the structure of permalinks: Change your WordPress permalink structure. Go to Settings, under that click on Permalinks and select Post name. Include your targeted keywords in the URLs of your blog posts instead of dates or random things.
#2. Off-page SEO
In the above step, we just learned the very basics of on-page SEO. Now, let’s dive into off-page SEO. Usually most of the people think off page SEO is all about links. No, it’s not just links, it’s even more.
What is off-page SEO?
Even though there is no proper definition for this, what I can say is, it’s an act of optimizing your brand’s presence both in online and offline by using content, relationships and link. Simply to say, it refers to the techniques that can be used to improve the position of a web site in the search engine results page (SERPs).
Benefits of off-page SEO:
- Increases website rank: The website will rank higher in the SERPs which also means more traffic.
- Increases PageRank: Google measures the importance of a website through Pagerank which is a number between 0 and 10.
- Your website gets more exposure: When your website is ranked high, it automatically gets more exposure, gets more links, more visits and more social media mentions.
Here are the four main things that you should take care of, if you are serious about getting more traffic to your website
While ranking pages in the top 10 search results, Google considers PageRank. Trustrank is a way for Google to see whether your site is legit or not.
Here are the four ways that you can build up trust:
- Improve authority: The overall authority of your site is determined by 2 kinds of authority. One is Domain Authority that deals with how well known your domain name is and the other one is Page Authority that relates to how authoritative the content of a single page is.
- Bounce rate: It is the measure of how many people view only one page on your site, before immediately leaving again. Content, loading times, usability and attracting the right readers are all part of decreasing your bounce rate.
- Domain age matters: If you haven’t got your site up and running yet, then find an affordable, expired domain and start using it.
- Enhance your personal identity: Having a brand or personal identity online is a huge trust signal for search engines. However, it takes time to build.
Links are very important to Google. If there are no links pointing to your website then In fact, it’s almost impossible for Google to determine the value of your web page no matter how useful, fresh or in-depth content you have.
It is the most popular and effective off-Page SEO method. If you want to bypass your competitors and rank higher then you need to build external links to your website. Don’t just wait for people to link to you, take initiative and ask for them.
Make sure you follow these three factors while acquiring backlinks:
- Quality is everything: The quality of your links matters much more than the amount of links you have. Reaching out to the right sources and offer value in exchange for a solid link.
- Anchor text: The anchor text is the text used when other sites link to you
- Number of links: Build high quality backlinks at scale.
When google recognizes your participation more on social networks, it’s more likely to show you results from those brands, or even personal contacts you have. Being active on social media helps you rank better.
Here are the two main factors of how you can influence on social media:
- Who shares matters to Google: If any influencer in your niche shares your content then that share has more value in the eyes of Google. How to make them share your content? Before you even publish, include them by quoting or interviewing them. You can find a similar article with the help of tools like Buzzsumo and find influencers who shared it. Then let them know you published a new piece on the same topic.
- Number of shares: If your content goes viral, then it automatically gets more shares. See that you publish great content that which is trending.
If you want to get noticed by your desired audience and the influencers then visit the most popular blogs in your niche and leave thoughtful comments. Engage more on Quora and Reddit related to your niche questions and topics.
The relationships built on these platforms have a way of paying huge dividends and can be invaluable for off-page SEO.
If anyone notices your comments on one of these platforms, and starts following you either on Google or LinkedIn to learn about you or your brand, then it ultimately leads them to your website which will end up either in sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog.
Both on-page SEO and off-page SEO are highly important for the success of an online business. If you are doing an online business, then you need to understand the relevance of these two processes in order to get organic traffic from search engines.
These are the ones that helps your websites get found by the search engines whenever somebody searches for particular keywords relevant to your site.
If you want to gain more authority and achieve higher rankings in the search engines, then obtaining high quality, relevant backlinks to your site is one of the most important things you should do.
Apart from the content, links are the #1 ranking factor. Yes, Google cares more about links. But wait, not all links are equal, you need to be very careful when you start a link building campaign. Make sure that the links you build are natural so that Google won’t penalize your site.
Here is how you can build quality backlinks:
- Build relationships with influencers in your niche: Find your niche-related communities like forums, blogs or social groups and make the first step. Start contributing with interesting and relevant comments and posts..
- Write guest posts frequently: There are many sites and blogs that will accept guest article. Before you write an article make sure that blog is related to your niche. Just because you are writing for others, never give poor quality articles. Give really great content that they should ask you again to write one.
- Broken link building: Find broken links on a website related to your niche and email the content owner and notify them about broken link. Suggest with the similar link from your website and ask them to update their post. Download and install the Google Chrome plugin called Check my Links to discover broken links. When reaching out, be friendly and introduce yourself.
- Use infographics: It is one of the most popular methods for bringing traffic to your website and gaining valuable backlinks. Follow the current trending topics and see what people are looking for, then create your infographic using statistical data. Then submit your infographic to the directories like visual.ly, Reddit, submit infographics.
- Interview top bloggers: Make a list of influential bloggers in your niche and interview them. Ask them to help you share on their favorite social networks and their fans will link to your interview.
- Find wikipedia’s dead links: Google finds Wikipedia to be as a very trustworthy site. You can find dead or broken links there and forward or replace them. You can use Wikigrabber to get the pages that require a citation on Wikipedia or have a dead link on them.
Also build internal links: These are very important for running a successful blog. With a good internal linking structure, you can help users easily navigate through your website and increase the overall user experience.
You can spy on your competitors’ backlinks using Monitor Backlinks. You can use SEMrush tool to analyze from where your competitors getting authoritative backlinks. If you want to build backlinks to your website, you have to do it with caution and knowledge. Never ask any webmaster for a link directly. By doing so, you will damage your relationship with them.
Now, you know the basics of SEO. Create a beautiful content and promote it. Do email outreach to promote your best articles.
Part II: Start mastering at SEO
#4. Build a list of profitable keywords
You need to figure out the RIGHT keywords to your blog. If you can make a list of all profitable keywords then it is so easy to drive massive traffic. Once you have the pretty good list of keywords then you can start writing content around it.
Before going to build the list, you need to know about long tail keywords.
If you are not using long tail keywords in your content, then it means you are missing out a lot of search traffic. These are the keywords that are profitable to target. Do you know that Amazon makes 57 percent of their sales from long-tail keywords?
If you consistently publish in-depth content around long tail keywords, you will see an increase in search traffic and will attract paying customers.
What are long tail keywords?
Long tail keywords are four or more keywords that are more specific that get less search traffic but will usually have a higher conversion value.
Here are the tools that will help you can find long tail keywords for your niche:
- Google keyword planner: You can get information directly from Google which is the search engine you are most likely to target when optimizing your website. iT generates plenty of long tail keywords.
- Ubersuggest: This tool provides you with all of the keywords and data that you need to make informed decisions. It also provides you with keywords that are not available through the Google Keyword Planner.
- Soovle: This free keyword research tool provides autocomplete suggestions from a variety of sources to help you boost your search volume.
- Bulk keyword generator: If you are searching for local keywords for your business then this tool serves your purpose. Just enter your service location and click “Generate keywords”. You will be given a list of keywords.
- 7search: Visit 7search and click on Advertisers tab then click the “enter your keywords” tab to continue. Enter your keywords, for example “Marketing tips” then click the green button. You will be given a list of long tail keywords.
Always start with your seed keyword to find long tail variations. You can add commercial intent to the keywords Commercial keywords are the ones that modify or qualify the long tail keywords. It has words like Buy, Review, Coupon, Discount, Deal, Order etc.
By using any one of the tools above, you will have a list of long tail keywords. Using Google keyword planner, you can get the rough idea of traffic levels for those keywords.
Now, you have the long tail keywords. Let’s analyze how difficult it will be to rank for a certain keyword. For this purpose, download SEOQuake Chrome extension . It turns the relevant SEO data of each site that is displayed below each search result.
You can choose what parameters to be displayed.
Based on age and traffic for the list of keywords you made, optimize your content around those profitable keywords.
#5. Spy on your competitors and reap the benefits
If you want to grow your business, then spy on your competitors. In order to dominate your competition, you have to know what your competitors are doing from every angle like for what keywords they are ranking? How are they engaging in social media? From where they are getting quality backlinks? What strategy they are using for marketing?
Competitor analysis is a vital part of marketing. A successful marketing strategy is based on analyzing the customer behavior and doing extensive competitor analysis.
You may be wondering how to get more shares and ultimately grow the audience. You can get all this information by analyzing what your competitors are doing. This you can do with SEMrush.
With this tool, you can easily analyze which are the best performing keywords of your competitors. It also enables you to analyze competitors display ads and get the right keywords for both your SEO and PPC campaigns.
This is how you can use SEMrush for doing competitor analysis.
Login to the dashboard and enter your competitor’s site URL. You can also choose the country you wish to analyze. Here I entered “amazon.in”
Clicking on “positions” under “Organic Research” will display the keywords where your competitor is ranking organically. To know about their paid search positions, click on “positions” under “Advertising Research”.
This is how you can use SEMrush data:
- Enter your top keywords in SEMrush search bar and it will list several websites.
- Make a note of these and check your top 5 competitors.
- Click on each of these in turn and note the same information. It’s useful to find out the top 5 keywords they are using and also their top 5 competitors.
- Compare their keywords with yours.
- Now, click on “Positions” in the left hand menu and examine the more detailed information on your own site and that of each competitor. This will give a more detailed understanding of the performance of the various keywords each is using.
You can compare your competitor traffic with yours and any paid traffic they have. From this, you will know how well your competitors’ sites are performing relative to yours and what keywords they are making best use of.
SEMrush offers a unique suite of tools to carry out effective analysis of the keywords that your competitors are using to achieve Google ranking.
Apart from keyword research and competitor research, this tool also helps you to accomplish two other important things: one is site audit and the other one is backlink analysis. Through its site audit tool, you can do a thorough audit of your current on-site SEO and ensure your pages are optimized properly for your most important keywords.
With SEMrush’s Backlink tools, you can see where they are getting links and try to get some of those same links for your website.
You will be able to see the following information about your competitor’s links like total number of backlinks, number of referring domains, number of referring IPs, number of follow and no-follow links, type of link (text, image, etc.), a list of the backlinks for any given domain, anchor text for each link, number of external links and internal links.
With the backlinks comparison tool, you can compare the links of up to 5 different domains and this is a great tool for monitoring your progress against your competitors as well as another avenue to see their link profiles.
SEMrush shows you the search engine results pages (SERPs) and keywords all updated in real time. As it gives real-time keyword and competitive insights, you can create content that will interest your readers.
#6. Track your SEO progress
Once you are done with practicing both on-page SEO, building backlinks and off-page SEO, it’s time to monitor your results by tracking your SEO progress.
Here are the two main tools you can use for this purpose:
- Google Analytics: Wanna learn more about your visitors? Then monitor your organic search traffic sources to see what keywords people are using to find your website in search results. So that you will understand what keywords you should be targeting with your SEO campaign.
- Authority Labs: You can use this tool to track keyword rankings for your website so that you can see if they are moving up in search results. Create a free account which you can get after using the 30 day trial of the pro account.