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SEO 101: A Guide for Beginners

By: Annika Peveril

SEO 101 beginner guide

If you’re new to SEO, you’re in the right place. There are many different layers of SEO, but I’ll start with the basics. This SEO 101 guide is perfect for anybody who has no background in this whatsoever as it consists of jargon that is understandable.

Our SEO 101 guide will cover:

  • What is SEO and is it worth it?
  • Can you do it yourself?
  • What things affect your ranking?
  • How and where to begin optimizing so that your website can rank well

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of enhancing a website’s visibility in search engines like Google, Bing, etc., – specifically in the organic (unpaid) area of search results. Search engines are looking for specific criteria and will put your site higher up only if you meet and exceed them. By focusing on optimizing a site, you can get a very positive response and get more free traffic. SEO has many aspects to it, from the content on your webpage to the way other sites link to you on the internet. The overall goal is to make your site better for people to use.

Check out this quick 3 minute video on “How Search Work” created by Google:

Is SEO worth it?

Web traffic is mostly directed by the dominant commercial search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Social media is a very prominent way to generate traffic to your website, and I will go further into that later, but search engines are the primary method of navigation for Internet users.

There are so many websites out there and to be seen by Internet users, you need to follow this SEO 101 guide and commit. SEO is the process of ensuring your site is structured in a way that search engines understand. This way your site is more likely to show up amongst top search engine results when someone searches for a keyword. It can take years for you to perfect your SEO and rank among the highest sites, but it is rewarding when you have finally reached your goal.

Can I do it myself? 

SEO requires time and effort, but it can be done by you! Hopefully this SEO 101 guide will help you get started.

There’s no reason that you can’t do it yourself and succeed! If you are considering doing it all of your own SEO, two thumbs up for you! ??

But before you begin, answer these questions:

—Do you have the time?

—Do you know enough?

As an entrepreneur you probably already have a never ending list of tasks to be completed. Consider what your priorities are and figure out what works best for you. You may end up deciding that it is time efficient and worth financially to have an expert handle things for you.

What things affect your ranking?

There are two things that can impact your ranking:

On-site (things happening on your webpage)

  • Quality of content on your site
  • Word choice and keywords
  • How fast it loads
  • User experience and functionality
  • Site design
  • Use and number of links

Off-site (things away from your site)

They provide an indirect but measurable benefit to a site’s external popularity, which the engines can then interpret as a signal of higher quality.

  • Things occuring that impact your rank
  • Do others link to your site?
  • Social media
  • Digital marketing
  • Traditional PR
  • Business ranking, other than website

Crafting your site

  • Easy to use, navigate, and understand
  • Provide direct, actionable information relevant to the question
  • Professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers
  • Deliver high quality, legitimate, credible content

Search engines look at keywords, links, and site structure. It takes care and nurturing to craft a friendly user experience that establishes a good experience for your website visitors. The goal is to attract the guests to share your site, return, bookmark, and link from their social sharings to your site. Appealing, useful content is crucial to SEO. Search engines place web pages in their results in order to satisfy that intent in the best possible way.

How to find the right keyword

This is one of the most important instructions in the SEO 101 guide, so pay attention!

By now you should know who your target market is and what they are looking for. You want to choose a keyword that effectively reaches and keeps users.

Ask yourself:

— What are your target customers looking for?

— What keyword has low volume and very easy competition?

Once you know your goals, the next step is finding the perfect keyword. You want a good balance between “head” and “long-tail” keywords. Head keywords consist of one to three words, whereas long-tail can be conversational phrases. Head keywords are better for longterm and have higher traffic, but also higher competition. Long-tail keywords have a higher short term sucess rate and have lower traffic, but lower competition. It’s good to have a variation of both to get the best result. Make sure to research which keywords and phrases are most popular for your industry before continuing on.

When it comes to content strategy and optimization, this means having content that is highly geared towards what your audience searches for most often, and then ensuring that that content is technically well-optimized.

How to successfully integrate your SEO keyword onto your site

  • Include in title at least once
  • ​Once near the top of the page. Try to keep the keyword phrase as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible
  • At least two or three times, including variations, in the body copy on the page
  • At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page. This not only helps with web search, but also image search
  • Once in the URL
  • At least once in the meta description tag. The meta description becomes the text used by search engines and therefore helps attract clicks by searchers reading the results page

Power of Social Sharing

Social channels are strong and effective tools to use to promote your business. Content sharing through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc) allow you to reach potential customers through different avenues. Search engines treat socially shared links differently than other types of links – but they still notice them. Social sharing is There is no denying the rising importance of social channels.

As I said at the beginning, SEO has multiple layers and is constantly evolving. I hope this SEO 101 guide is a good starter point and helped you learn and understand the basics. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the information you have probably read on the internet. A successful SEO is attainable but it is a long-term strategy and can take months before you start seeing results. One step at a time!

Thanks for reading! Please let me know how you liked this SEO 101 guide below in the comments.

Check our last articles on SEO:

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) explained
A_B Testing Explained

or if you are interested to check out my other articles? Click here