Complete 2023 SEO Guide for Beginners to Improve Rankings
When people need information, they mostly search for it online on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines. These search engines maintain massive databases of websites. They provide a collection of results based on people's queries, showcasing sites that fit the search parameters in a certain order so that users can quickly and accurately find what they're looking for online.
Without SEO, neither search engines nor people will come to know about your website. You may have one of the best websites out there about your niche, but if people don’t know about it, they will never visit it, and you will never be able to make some money with it, or even you will not get any visitors. See the image below:
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, tells search engines such as Google and Bing what your website is about and how it may be helpful for users. If done well, it gets you closer to the top on the result page displayed by a search engine, and you get high traffic volumes for your website.
What are Search Engines?
A search engine is a software system designed to carry out web searches. It means to search the World Wide Web in a systematic way for detailed Information. The search results are generally presented in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The information in the Search Engine could be a mixture of hyperlinks to web pages. It includes images, videos, infographics, articles, research documents, and other files. Search engines maintain real-time data by running an algorithm on a web crawler. Which content a web search engine cannot search for is usually called the deep web.
A search engine is an online tool that lets users find information on the World Wide Web. Google, Yahoo, and Bing Search are famous examples of search engines. Search engines use automated software programs (known as bots or spiders). It travels along with the net, following links from page to page, site to site. The data gathered by the spiders get used to make a searchable net index. This SEO guide for beginners will also help determine how the search engine works.
A search engine is an Internet tool that looks for websites based on the consumer's search query.SEO Guide for Beginners
It seems that the outcomes in its document form them. It creates an organized list of these results utilizing unique search algorithms. This list gets called a search engine results page (SERP).
A search engine helps people find information on the internet. A typical example? Google. And the truth is, Google is also probably the only example you need to know. Just look at the chart of the worldwide search engine market share.
Although there are various search engines on the Internet (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), the general principles of searching and providing answers are the same.
So when we talk about search engines in this guide, we primarily mean Google. Other search engines work on similar principles, and as long as your website is optimized for Google, you should be set up for others too.
How do Search Engines work?
Search engines are fancy computer programs that help people find web pages on the Internet by entering specific words or phrases, which is how search engines help people find them.
1. A search engine takes all the web pages on the World Wide Web (WWW) and sends them to the scheduler.
2. Scheduler decides which webpages get to be crawled by the “crawlers” or “spiders,” which are programmed to follow all the links they find on a webpage.
3. After the pages are crawled, the search engine uses parsing to index, or record, the essential information on each page.
4. That recorded information gets stored in the search engine’s database.
5. When someone uses a search engine to look for something, the search engine uses an algorithm to figure out which web pages are the closest or most relevant to the person looking.
An Overview of Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is all about getting traffic from a search engine. It systematically structures each page on your website so that search engines will find them valuable and direct toward users. Along with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, SEO is the most widely used method of bringing people to a website.
There are many aspects of SEO:
What is technical SEO?
Technical SEO is optimizing a website to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index. Generally, it also includes any technical aspects of SEO. Not only does technical SEO guarantee your website appears on search engine results, but it also highly affects your rankings.
When implemented successfully, technical SEO will help your website outrank all other websites and boost the traffic you receive from search engines.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO refers to the practices that violate the search engine's terms of service. It will likely increase a page's ranking in a search engine result page (SERP) for some time but can result in getting banned from search engines or affiliate sites since it's against the search engine's terms of service. Some of the black hat SEO techniques or practices include:
- Keyword Stuffing
- Link Manipulation
- Creating articles, pages, or site landing pages with duplicate content
What is White Hat SEO?
White Hat SEO typically refers to SEO tactics that are in tandem and in agreement with the terms and conditions of the search engines. And just like the name suggests, white hat SEO contrasts with black hat SEO. A white hat SEO practice like:
- Creating original quality content and services
- Mobile-friendly website
- Use of clear and keyword-rich meta tags
It will improve your search rankings on a SERP and maintain your website's integrity.
How Does Search Engine Optimization Work For You?
SEO is the best method of obtaining free traffic from a search engine. When people search for something, they are typically served with two sets of results, paid and free.
You need to spend money to secure a spot in the paid results. However, you do not need to spend money to appear in the free or organic results. A search engine considers these results the most relevant for the search term and displays them automatically.
To get free traffic from a search engine, you should appear in the free results and the first three pages of the results because users do not bother to check beyond these pages. Therefore, you must optimize your website pages, covering your most important keywords.
SEO helps you appear closer to the top on a search engine results page (SERP). Nobody can stop you from making money as an affiliate if you can achieve top spots for your most important keywords. Obtaining high rankings on a results page gets you more traffic, which in turn gets you more money.
However, you must remember that no magic wand can get high rankings on a search engine. Instead, you need to work hard and smart to raise the rankings. You need to structure and format each page on your website to make a search engine believe it is crucial and will be helpful for a user. Only then will you be able to get high rankings.
The Good and Bad of SEO
SEO is a blessing as it offers unbeatable benefits over other methods of getting website traffic. However, there are some inevitable disadvantages as well that are hard to ignore.
Good points include:
- SEO provides free traffic. You do not need to spend money to get visitors from a search engine.
- The size of your wallet does not matter when driving traffic to your website. It all boils down to your skills and ability.
- You get “low-risk” traffic with SEO. Unlike PPC, you do not spend money to get traffic. Therefore, you can ignore it if it does not start getting you results immediately. With PPC, it will bother you when you are concerned about conversions as you spend a lot of money buying traffic. With SEO, such pressurizing situations rarely occur.
Bad points include:
- SEO takes time and effort, sometimes a lot of time and effort. Most people turn to other methods of getting website traffic simply because of the time and effort it takes to obtain a reputable ranking in search results.
- Rankings are not permanent. People behind search engines do their best to improve user experience. They regularly update their algorithms, which can affect your rankings without prior notice.
How to Optimize the Complete Webpage?
Headings- Optimize the heading tags by making sure not to use more than one h1 tag and make sure the titles are relevant to the sections they represent.
Images and Alt Tags- Search engine bots cannot see the images, so adding an alt tag for each image is essential. Make the alternate text descriptive so that the algorithm can understand the purpose of the image and what the image represents.
Interlinking- Interlinking means linking certain phrases or words with specific web pages to describe them in detail. It is usually done while explaining a process that consists of different concepts. In short, linking relevant resources to specific phrases and words is called interlinking. Interlinking is an effective way to engage the audience so that they can understand a concept in which they are interested.
But don’t overlink, don’t link words too frequently on the webpage, and only link if required and relevant. And always make sure to check for broken links. If you find any links broken, make them right so they are functional.
Why are Short, Descriptive URLs Important?
Let’s start this with a little show and tell us of the two; which URL do you prefer?
We will go ahead and assume you chose the first. You picked this one for all the obvious reasons: it’s shorter, cleaner, easier to read, and to the point.
Those are all the reasons Google will like that one better as well. Google’s own Matt Cutts confirmed that Google’s algorithm prefers URLs with 3-5 words.
Granted, that’s a long time ago, and you can certainly get away with a few more words, but as a rule of thumb: the shorter, the better.
Ensure your URL contains the primary keyword and effectively represents the page's content. If Google doesn’t know what your page is about, it won’t be able to crawl it effectively.
Website Security Factor
In line with their HTTPS everywhere initiative, Google is now flagging URLs that are not secure.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.
SSL certificates are simple to purchase from your hosting company, and they can walk you through the installation process.
After installing the certificate on your site, make sure you do a find and replace on your site to replace any instance of HTTP to HTTPS. If you want to buy an SSL certificate at a low price, you can buy from our recommendation below:
Secure Your Website Today Best Value
Do Keyword Research
Many free keyword tools can give you hundreds of ideas based on a single seed keyword. The problem is that they are constrained regarding other features.
So if you make money with your website in any way, a quality paid keyword tool is a significant investment that will pay off sooner or later.
Knowing what keywords and phrases you already rank for is often a good starting point before you begin optimizing for new keywords.SEO Guide for Beginners
Keyword research is one of the essential components of SEO. If the content you create is targeting the wrong keywords, one of two things will happen:
- Your articles won’t rank or drive any organic traffic.
- Your articles will drive unqualified traffic that won’t convert.
To avoid these problems, you first need to come up with a framework that:
- Targets keywords you can compete and rank.
- Always targets keywords that align with your business objectives.
Regardless of the strategy or tools, you decide to use for your keyword research, respecting the two statements above is essential.
Ideally, you should have one main keyword in mind for every product or piece of content you create. There are two main types of keywords you’ll come across:
- Head keywords: Short, general keywords that are high volume and high competition (i.e., black shoes, cake)
- Long-tail keywords: Specific phrases that are 3+ words and have a lower search volume but also lower competition (i.e., how to clean scuffed black shoes, easy chocolate cake recipe)
Using a head keyword as your main keyword can be difficult. Usually, these phrases aren’t precise, and the competition is fierce. We recommend that you should do your research for good long-tail keywords. According to studies, 73% of search queries are four words or longer.
By targeting more specific phrases, you have a better chance of being found by the right people. So, where do you find these unicorn long-tail keywords?
Start by brainstorming all the overarching themes in your business. These topics are your head keywords.
Let’s say that you have an online course about Affiliate marketing. Your head keywords could be “affiliate marketing,” “affiliate marketing classes,” or “affiliate marketing courses.”
With your head keywords in mind, open up Google. Type your head keyword into the search bar, and a box pops up with suggested results. These are common queries related to that phrase. See the details below:
For the phrase “affiliate marketing,” we can already see that incorporating words like “jobs” or “beginner” could be a good idea.
Next, scroll down to the section called “Related searches.” Here you’ll see examples of long-tail keywords related to your main topic.
Make a note of any phrases that could work for your business. Next, you can use keyword research tools to see which ones have high search volume and low competition.
Competition refers to how hard it is to rank for that particular keyword. If there are a lot of large, well-established websites targeting the same term, it will have a higher competition score.
- Google Keyword Planner: This free tool shows keywords' monthly search volume and competitiveness score.
- Ahrefs Keyword Generator: This free tool shows keyword volume and difficulty for up to ten phrases.
- Moz Keyword Explorer: This free tool shows the keyword volume, difficulty, and related suggestions for up to ten phrases per month.
- Keysearch: This paid tool is an excellent option for anyone who wants to dive deeper into SEO, and they have a free trial so you can test it out before purchasing.
- Ubersuggest: This is a popular user-friendly keyword research tool, and they offer a limited free version.
Check Your Images and Videos
You should optimize your images and videos by inserting the keyword on their alt text and URL. It will make it easier for Google to match the searches with your webpage. Remember that images should be compressed in size, use vector formats, utilize high quality, and have a unique display.
Of course, do not forget to rename the images by the keywords. On the other hand, the videos should be valuable, relevant, high quality, and engaging. Using videos can attract your audience’s interest since they show a live emotion and depict a more subjective point of view. It works well than images.
Optimize Meta Descriptions
Another important SEO factor to consider is meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are short pieces of text describing a page's content. Its objective is to inform search engines about the content of a page.
You’ll sometimes see these descriptions in Google, though not always. Sometimes, Google will select a piece of text from within the page instead if it deems it more relevant.
Either way, your meta description can still affect your SEO and click-through rate (CTR).
It’s ideal for keeping meta descriptions concise but long enough that they’re adequately descriptive. The optimal length for a meta description is typically between 100-160 characters. Google often cuts off meta descriptions that exceed the 160-character limit.
Google is relatively unpredictable with how it displays meta descriptions, with the same SERP having short and long meta descriptions. Today, the length it cuts off descriptions can vary considerably from result to result. Much of it depends on how relevant Google interprets the description of the query. If it’s deemed irrelevant, Google may choose not to use it.
So if you weren’t paying attention to your meta descriptions, it’s time to start.
Optimizing the Links
Internal and external links help build your site’s authority and improve indexability and crawling status. Inserting internal links can enhance your webpage but make sure not to overuse them. Otherwise, Google will not be able to detect them since your website becomes spammy and may affect your rankings.
On the other hand, the external links help make your webpage visible to the public. External links act as referrals, and the people who share your webpage will increase your reputation in the crowd. Hence, Google will notice your webpage, and later, it will rank it by SEO, relevance, and popularity. Set the external link as a new open tab for an efficient viewing experience.
Aside from these links, it is crucial to use the breadcrumbs. These features serve as the pathway in navigating the different categories under your website.
Analyzing Your Competitors
The more we study SEO, the more we realize it’s all about understanding the person on the other side of the screen. Even though some of this has previously been discussed, let's take a closer look at user searches before moving on to content creation.
There are four different stages that they will typically either be at or go through:
Informational: You should be writing a blog post or FAQ page if you see that your consumers are at this stage. They’re not ready to buy yet, so the next best thing is to educate them on your product.
Comparison: These searchers are deeper in the funnel and trying to figure out which solution they want. Slightly part of informational but user-generated content such as reviews, comments, and guest blog posts on your products are helpful to have on your site for this stage.
Transactional: Your searcher is close to the bottom of the funnel and ready to buy. You want to try to rank your home page for this one.
Navigational: Already know the brand or are already a customer.
Knowing where most of your searchers are is crucial before writing content. To do this, we will search for one of our main keywords. We are going to go with “pet insurance.”
When we type in that keyword, Google shows me, for the most part, several home pages of different leading names in pet insurance. A couple of comparison posts are also included in the first couple of results.
Therefore we are in both the comparison and transactional phases. So for our site, we want to work on creating some more reviews for our product and continue to work on ranking our home page.
Developing Your Content Strategy
To create content that stands out and will get you ranked, you need to create different content that is ten times better than your competitors. You don’t always have to write a blog post.
Start by looking over the content your competitors have and analyzing it. As you do this, consider how to make your content different and ten times better.
Look into your competitors so you can understand where you need to have your content. Good content is the product of real-life experience.
Core Web Vitals Ranking Factor
Alright, for you all, Google made Core Web Vitals a ranking factor last year, which means you need to know your metrics, or you stand the chance of a quick back-pedal. Know what’s happening and quickly manage failing page speed, failing mobile quality, inadequate optimization, and poor security.
More new, you’ll want to consider the users’ emotions when they visit your page. How does it make them feel? It is an excellent example of prioritizing the user will pay off big time.
Here’s what’s being judged:
- Page load speed
- Page responsiveness
- Page accessibility and navigation ease on mobile devices
- Site security while being used
If you’re not on this now, you best start. It’s a solid win for your users and will lead to more conversions- a definite success for you.
Creating Amazing Content
So, we looked over what your competitors are potentially creating, and here is how you can make your content ten times better and unique in a way that makes you stand out to Google search engines.
Case Studies: Researching case studies for your particular niche is a great way to create content that will rank in Google. Type your “niche + case study” into Google to find some online ideas.
Relevant Stories: Any relevant stories online that you have listened to from customers or competitors, or some have your own experience. Remember, you’re writing for people first, then for Google.
Cater to Different People: We all know we absorb information differently. Make sure you include more than just articles in your content. Include videos, audio, and specialized images. Remember, being different is going to make you stand out.
Make Your Content 100% Unique: This relates to the 3rd point. Keep your competitors on their toes by making content that is 100% unique and different from anything else out there.
Always Try Adding More Value
If your competitors are writing 2,000+ word articles, you should write 5,000+ word or 10,000+ word articles. If your competitors rank with tools or software, create something ten times more valuable than your competitor’s content.
- Write content that is easy to read and understand.
- Care about your grammar and spelling.
- Use short paragraphs with no more than one to four sentences.
- Keep your content above the fold. Most people won’t read anything lower.
- Use applicable and great heading.
- Use pattern interrupts- anything to keep your reader engaged.
- Eliminate distractions that don’t add value.
How to Do SEO in the Right Way?
Search engine optimization is a comprehensive yet simple process. It is twofold; you need to perform on-page SEO as well as off-page SEO.
On-page SEO Tips:
On-page SEO involves making specific changes to the content on your website so that Google or any other search engine finds it worth displaying among the top search results.
The on-page tips listed below will help you make the right start:
- Create high-quality, interesting, valuable, and original content for your website. Search engines and people alike love such content. When people love to read your content, they will keep coming back to your site. By the way, people also love to share such content.
- Place your keywords strategically. Scatter them throughout your webpage. Do not forget to include your keyword in the first 50 words of your page. Most search engines focus on the top part of a webpage while crawling it, so you must include your keyword in the first part of your page.
- Keep your keyword density between 1% and 4%. That roughly equals using a keyword once every 100 words. There are special tools that can help you determine the exact keyword density. Search engines can block your listing if you over-optimize by keeping keyword density high.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Some people try to group keywords close together to trick search engines into increasing their website rankings. Search engines hate such practices, and the penalties often involve filtering your search listing. The key to success is using your keywords strategically throughout your webpage.
- Optimize the title tag for each webpage effectively because this text appears as the clickable heading for your search engine listing. It should clearly describe the topic of your webpage. You should also include your target keyword in the title to let readers know that the page has the relevant information they are looking for online.
- Use your target keyword in inline hyperlinks. Instead of creating “click here” links, be more specific. If, for example, you have a page that covers “making money online,” ideally, the link text should be something like “How to Make Money Online.” It will improve readability besides giving search engines an idea of where a link is leading.
- Use the H1 tags for headings on your webpage. Doing so makes each section stand out. It also makes your content easy to scan and read. Search engines love it. Besides, people love to share such content.
Off-page SEO Efforts:
Off-page SEO involves doing activities that you do offsite on your website that improve your ranking. It is equally important, and if you ignore it, you will not get desired results. Here are some tips to help you do off-page search engine optimization effectively.
- Promote your website through social networking. Create profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and connect with people to improve your website's reputation. If possible, dedicate separate professionals to each social networking site profile.
- Blogging is another excellent way to promote your website. People love to read blogs online. By creating a blog for your website, you give people a reason to return to your website. To run a successful blog, you should write compelling and exciting content for your blog. If your blog is impressive, it will encourage people to link to it.
- Market your website in online forums. Join a forum related to your niche and start interacting with people. Don’t forget to post a link to your website whenever you can. Forums are a great way to direct traffic to your website.
- Leverage the power of link baiting. Have other good quality sites link to your site. When a website links to your website, it provides you with a “backlink,” which improves your site’s worth. Social networking websites, blogs, blog marketing, forum marketing, directory submission, search engine submission, social bookmarking, and article submission are some effective methods for promoting your website.
- Submit your website to search engines. Search engines keep crawling the Web for new websites, and eventually, they will discover your website. However, it may take time. The smart way out is submitting your website to search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
- Submit your website to directories. Contrary to popular belief, directories are not dead, and so is directory submission. People still use them. Search engines refer to them for a lot of information. Again, the rule of thumb is to submit your website to niche directories, i.e., the directories related to your website.
- Improve your website traffic with social bookmarking. The good news is that you do not need to spend money to bookmark. Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and many other social bookmarking websites let you publish your bookmarks free of cost.
- Go for article submission. It is worth the effort. People read articles when they are looking for expert advice on some topic. Submitting articles related to your niche to article directory sites like EZine, Go Articles, etc., could drive traffic to your website, improving its rankings.
- Answer people’s questions. People are asking questions more than ever. The “how to” queries are increasingly becoming popular these days. When people ask questions, they seek expert advice without spending time. Answer people’s questions and leave a link back to your website in your answer. That way, you will get links from a top website.
Why is SEO Amazing?
SEO is amazing, and It is simple, and if done correctly, It is effective. Above all, it is free.
- Search engines could deliver high volumes of traffic to your website.
- Traffic obtained through search engines is 100% free traffic.
- To receive significant traffic from a search engine, you must appear on the first three pages of the results.
- You must make effective use of on-page and off-page SEO.
Despite its drawbacks, SEO is still the most widely used method of boosting website traffic. Affiliates worldwide harness the power of search engine optimization to improve the rankings of their websites, and It’s your turn now.
SEO Glossary Reference for SEO Guide for Beginners:
Keyword: A word or phrase people use to search for information on a search engine. Examples of keywords include “how to make money online,” “SEO guide for affiliates,” “affiliate marketing,” etc.
SERP: Search Engine Results Page is a page on which a search engine displays the results for a search query.
Website Ranking: It describes a website's position in the search results on a search engine.
Traffic: The number of users who visit a webpage on your website.
Crawling: The method used by search engines to index blogs and websites on the world wide web.
Start Optimizing and Improve Your SERP Rankings
On-page SEO is ongoing. It means you should also monitor for new opportunities to improve. To start, crawl and index your website and evaluate its health and current content to make the right decisions for optimization.
SEO Toolkit for Beginners:
Below are helpful tools to use as you build and execute your SEO strategy and monitor performance for future optimizations.
- Google PageSpeed Insights Tool – Checks your site health, analyzes your page, and point out key areas where you can gain faster load times and higher SERP rankings.
- Google Search Console – this will let you easily monitor and resolve server errors, site load issues, and security issues like hacking and malware. You can also use it to ensure any site maintenance or adjustments you make happen smoothly concerning search performance.
- SEMRush – This will enable you to find and track keywords for which your competitors or other websites rank.
- Screaming Frog – Enables you to find broken links, ensure your redirects were created correctly, analyze your page titles, generate XML sitemaps and even discover duplicate content.
Remember, Google ranks pages highly when it determines they are the best answers to the specific search query. It means your page needs to provide value to searchers and be better than any other content ranking for that topic.
On-page SEO not only ensures high-quality content and better rankings, but it also requires continuous monitoring to improve. Be sure to track your metrics on a dashboard. It’s also important to remember that rankings fluctuate each time content is indexed. It means what has dropped two positions today could climb five ranks next week. Make smart decisions and keep a close eye on changes.
FAQs About SEO Guide for Beginners to Improve Rankings
How much does SEO cost?
The cost of SEO depends. You can hire a professional to handle it for you, or you can do everything yourself. Doing it yourself will take a lot longer, and you’ll have to account for the learning curve. However, for the most part, you could do it for almost free if you do everything on your own.
How do I rank faster on Google?
The best way to rank is with consistent effort regularly. If you’re in it to win, you’ll want to steadily build links to your site, create new content, and update previous content. Doing this day after day will yield the results you want.
Can I rank a website without SEO?
Of course, there are situations where people get lucky, but it’s likely because they’re providing something many people aren’t. Many compete in the same space, where the best SEO can win. Affiliate marketing is an excellent example of this. There are a million sites that focus on sporting goods for affiliate marketing. Competing in this space requires a solid understanding of SEO marketing.
What is the most crucial factor in SEO marketing?
No one factor is most important because they’re all important. If we had to pick something you should focus on, it would be providing quality information to people. You can have all the SEO pieces in place, but if your content isn’t good, it doesn’t matter because people won’t be interested in you.
How long does it take for SEO to work?
SEO is not a fast track to success. It never was and never will be. It would be best if you had a long-term plan when it comes to SEO because it can take between six months and a year to rank for most keywords.
Final Words on SEO Guide for Beginners
SEO is much more approachable when you have a well-defined strategy. It clarifies all the steps you need to take to improve your visibility on search engines.
Implementing your strategy will undoubtedly take time and effort, and you may not see results overnight. But every step in this SEO guide for beginners outlines is essential and will compound over time to boost your search engine rankings.
The SEO guide for beginners strategy template we have provided in this article covers almost everything you should consider while creating your SEO strategy. Granted, that’s a lot to take in and digest, so feel free to revisit this article as often as you need to because we frequently update the details according to the latest Google algorithms and other website ranking factors.
You don’t need to follow everything outlined in this article right from the start. Start with the essentials and add more actions as you go. By following this SEO guide for beginners, you will have a solid SEO plan that will result in more traffic and sales.