SEO is a huge topic, and it’s so confusing! In between the million articles on the internet, advice from Facebook groups, consultants sending you reports of everything wrong on your site, where do you even begin?
First, let me assure you that every new blogger or website owner has been in the same place. The good news is that the basic premise of SEO is quite simple to grasp. Pair that with a little technical knowledge and some consistent effort, and your website will reap the benefits steadily over time.
How this guide is different
Search for “beginner seo guide” and the top results are thousands of words long. This guide is different. Instead of trying to cover everything you need to know, this guide aims for the minimum you need to know. The focus is on actionable steps so you can start applying SEO right now.
Here’s what to expect:
We’ll start by identifying the absolute minimum SEO you need do for each piece of content you produce. If you only have time for one article, go read this now.
We’ll then take it a step further by understanding how keywords fit into SEO – how to decide which keywords to target and how to use them in your content.
Next we’ll have a look at improving your website user experience, which is becoming an important ranking factor.
We saved the most technical for last. The chapter will wrap up with how to identify and fix technical issues that can impact your SEO.
Each article in this chapter will take less than 15 minutes to read. If you want to learn more, we’ll direct you to some trusted resources.
A Plain-English Definition Of SEO
Let’s start off our SEO journey by understanding what it is and what it isn’t.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is the process of improving search engine rankings in order to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website.
When you “do SEO” correctly, you may find…
Visitors to your website or blog are actually reading and engaging with your content. Your keyword research helped you identify what topics your target audience is interested in, so you can create relevant content to attract them.
Your copywriting makes your content readable and ensures visitors understand your message. Side benefit: Google understands it too. Your trustworthy writing style also improves the number of visitors buying from you or signing up to your offers, becoming customers and subscribers.
What’s more, visitors to your site visit more than one page and stay longer. Your efforts in improving the website user experience makes content easy to find, read and navigate. The ease of use causes your website feel trustworthy and more credible too.
From the description above, we can see that SEO is actually all about the website visitor. SEO is all about building a website that your audience will love. And when you do that, the search engines will reward you by sending you lots of traffic.
But don’t take my word for it. It’s what Google says themselves in their Webmaster Guidelines.
Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.Google Webmaster Guidelines
Google and other search engines are so advanced today that they rank sites based on how we humans like those sites. They now factor the reputation and credibility of a website, and Google is encouraging website owners to improve their user experience by emphasizing page speed and usability.
SEO is not a secret technique that will suddenly send you more traffic. SEO is not about installing the correct plugin. SEO is not about pleasing Google—it’s about pleasing your audience.
So how do we please our website visitors? We start by making a great first impression.