This is the most updated beginner’s guide to SEO in 2024.
In this SEO Guide, we’ll keep things simple and fun. We’ll explore the basics of SEO, from understanding how search engines work to creating content that people (and search engines) love.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, this guide has something for everyone.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to make your website stand out from the crowd!
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of optimizing your website to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). The goal of SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of organic traffic to your website by ensuring that it appears in the top results for relevant searches.
When you search for something on Google, Bing, or any other search engine, the results are determined by complex algorithms that take into account hundreds of ranking factors. SEO is the process of understanding these factors and optimizing your website accordingly to ensure that it ranks as highly as possible for relevant keywords and phrases.
SEO is a long-term strategy that focuses on making your website more user-friendly, informative, and easy to navigate. It involves both on-page and off-page elements, including keyword research, content creation, technical SEO, link building, and more.
By implementing effective SEO techniques, you can improve your website’s search engine rankings, which can lead to more organic traffic, increased brand awareness, and, ultimately, better online visibility and business growth.
Why is SEO Important?
SEO is important because it helps your website get noticed by search engines like Google.
When you optimize your website for SEO, you’re making it easier for search engines to understand what your site is about and why it should show up when someone searches for something related to your business.
Here’s why SEO matters:
- More Visibility: SEO helps your website appear higher in search engine results, which means more people will see it.
- Increased Traffic: When your site ranks higher, more people will click on your link, which leads to more visitors coming to your site.
- Better User Experience: SEO encourages you to make your website better by improving navigation, loading speed, and providing valuable content, which makes for a better experience for your users.
- Cost-Effective: SEO is a long-term investment that can bring in traffic and customers without the need for constant advertising spend.
- Credibility: Websites that rank well often seem more credible to users, which can help build trust in your brand.
Can I Do SEO?
SEO is a little bit complicated, but not that much if you can keep track!
The basics are easily understandable, and your way of doing that can make a big difference. The Internet is full of free resources to learn it, including this beautiful SEO Guide. Just understand, then add some practice, and you are ready to be an expert in that niche!
If your website is complicated and you are unwilling to learn and implement everything, you can seek help from an SEO Expert to take care of you.
But remember: Having a sound knowledge of the core concepts of SEO is a must. I think it’s enough now if someone asks you, “What is SEO?”
Now, let’s take a look at the structure of the SEO Guide.
The following section is about practical information and will help make your base about actually doing SEO.
How Google Works
Search engines like Google work by following these steps:
- Crawling: Search engines send out bots (also known as crawlers or spiders) to explore the internet. These bots follow links from one webpage to another, collecting information about the content they find.
- Indexing: Once the crawlers gather information from web pages, they store it in a massive database called an index. This index is like a library catalog that allows the search engine to quickly find information relevant to user queries.
- Processing User Queries: When you type a query into a search engine, it runs through an algorithm to match the keywords and intent behind your query with the information in its index.
- Ranking Results: The search engine uses complex algorithms to rank the results. These algorithms consider hundreds of factors, including the relevance, quality, and popularity of the content, as well as the user’s search history and location.
- Displaying Search Results: The search engine displays a list of results, typically with the most relevant and authoritative websites ranked highest. These results can include web pages, images, videos, news articles, and more, depending on the query.
- Reevaluation and Refresh: Search engines continuously update their indexes and rankings to ensure the most current and relevant information is shown.
To improve your website’s visibility in search engine results, you can optimize your content and site structure using techniques like keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building. This process is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO vs SEM
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are both strategies used to improve the visibility of a website or web page in search engine results, but they approach this goal in different ways.
SEO is a long-term, organic strategy focused on making a website more attractive to search engines through various techniques, including:
- Keyword Research: Identifying the words and phrases that potential customers are using to find products or services like yours.
- On-Page Optimization: Optimizing elements of your website such as title tags, headings, content, and metadata to include these keywords.
- Technical SEO: Ensuring your website is technically sound and easy for search engine crawlers to index.
- Content Creation: Producing high-quality, relevant content that satisfies user intent and encourages backlinks.
- Link Building: Gaining inbound links from other websites to increase the authority of your site.
SEO is generally considered a cost-effective way to attract visitors to your site because it provides sustainable traffic over time. However, it can take several months or even years to see significant results from an SEO campaign.
SEM is a paid strategy that involves bidding on keywords in search engine auctions to have your website appear at the top of the search results. The most common form of SEM is through Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). With SEM, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
- Keyword Bidding: Businesses bid on specific keywords that are relevant to their products or services. When someone searches for those keywords, the advertiser’s ad may appear at the top of the search results.
- Ad Creation: Advertisers create ads that include a headline, description, and a URL that leads to their website.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Advertisers are charged each time someone clicks on their ad. The cost per click can vary based on the competitiveness of the keyword and the quality of the ad.
- Ad Rank: The position of an ad in the search results is determined by the bid amount and the quality score, which is a measure of the ad’s relevance and the landing page’s quality.
SEM offers more immediate results compared to SEO, as ads can start appearing in search results as soon as the campaign is set up and keywords are bid on. However, it requires a consistent budget to maintain visibility, and once the budget is exhausted, the ads stop appearing.
- SEO is organic, while SEM is paid: SEO relies on earning traffic through free, organic search results, while SEM involves paying for ads to appear in search results.
- SEO is long-term, while SEM is more immediate: SEO can take months or even years to show significant results, while SEM provides immediate visibility once the ads are live.
- SEO is ongoing, while SEM is more flexible: SEO requires ongoing optimization and maintenance to keep up with search engine algorithm changes and competitors. SEM allows for more flexibility in budget and targeting, as advertisers can adjust their bids and targeting options as needed.
- SEO is sustainable, while SEM is temporary: The traffic generated from SEO is sustainable over time, as long as the SEO efforts are maintained. SEM traffic is temporary and stops once the budget runs out.
Many businesses use a combination of SEO and SEM to maximize their online presence. SEO provides a sustainable foundation, while SEM can be used to supplement traffic and sales, especially during key marketing periods or to quickly capture market share.
Black Hat vs White Hat SEO
Here is how these may be described:
Just remember, we will always focus on white-hat SEO.
We are not going into the details of comparison in this guide. So, in case you wanna know, you can find more here.
That was all about basics. Hope you’ve got everything because I have added almost everything.
Before moving on further, below are the major divisions of SEO:
- Keyword Research
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
Almost all of the beginner’s guides to SEO on the internet ignore this factor.
But according to me, it is the most important one.
SEO is a game of Keywords.
So, I decided to give you a solid introduction to “What Is Keyword Research?” and “Why It Is That Much Important?”.
In an earlier part of this SEO Guide, I talked about the user’s search queries.
These exact wordings of a user are called keywords.
You must be aware of the keywords related to your topic or niche if you want to be successful in SEO.
Different keywords have different values depending on their search volume and some other factors.
In this SEO Guide, we don’t need to go deep into these factors.
Keyword Research is all about finding the intentions of the users to use search engines. What exactly are the users searching for your topic? Are your keywords?
Using the right keywords while doing SEO on your website is the career-deciding thing for your site.
It gives you an opportunity to know your targeted audience better.
It will increase your site’s relevancy to your topic, and that is a great thing for SEO and search engines.
You need to do proper research to find valuable keywords related to your topic before starting your website.
Even if you already have a website and content on it, you can optimize it by using the correct keywords.
By the way, BlogRex’s comprehensive guide for proper Keyword Research is live. You can read it now.
We are now moving to the next step!
On-page means everything displayed on the web page and its back-end programming.
In On-Page SEO, you need to optimize your website’s page and posts, etc., for search engines. In short, optimizing content for search engines.
It covers a lot of things, so let’s break this into larger branches.
Content is the most significant division of On-Page SEO.
You might have heard that famous quote about content:
“Content is the King, ” and there is no place for doubt about that.
Do you know that Google is the biggest search engine? I mean, sure, you do, and no one even needs to ask that.
Google’s priority is to provide its users with top-quality content and the best relevant information available on the web.
These days, Google also loves the right length of content.
So, write long and informative.
Content on your website isn’t only about the written article. It also includes videos, pictures, animated slides, infographics, etc. Try to make it for the best user experience and perfectly optimized for the search engines at the same time.
It will increase your user’s probability of sharing it more and more.
Pay more attention to for better content:
- Titles: Create eye-catching titles that raise the reader’s interest. You only have one chance to make a great first impression.
- Keywords: Pick keywords that are relevant and will help bring people to your site.
- Links: Link to quality sites that compliment what your website is about. It’ll encourage sites in your niche to link to you as well.
- Quality: Try to publish unique and quality content. This prompts users to come to your site because they cannot easily find the content elsewhere.
- Freshness: If you are publishing content that does not age or becomes outdated, that’s great, but you also need to add new content on a regular basis. If you don’t have the time to add content to your website, consider adding a question-and-answer section or a blog to your site.
While writing your content, don’t ever forget to embed your keyword research in the best possible and natural-looking way.
For now, You can read some content writing guides to know more…
BlogRex’s content writing guide with practical tips, tricks, secret strategies, and specific step-by-step processes is on the way as well.
2. Website Layout
After optimizing your content, Website Layout is the next thing you need to take care of while doing On-Page SEO. An example of the worst website layout is when someone has totally irrelevant categories as compared to their topic.
I have personally seen some sites that have layouts like their niche is health, and they have categories related to fashion design.
So, don’t ever do that severe harm to your SEO. This thing just greatly disturbs and distracts the user.
Can you imagine visiting a website with a bad layout? There is more than an 80% chance that you won’t like to see that site again.
So, Why would anyone else?
Then, why not make it user-friendly? And sure, Google loves that as well.
3. Website Speed
Website Loading Speed matters a lot! Have you ever heard about Dwell time?
No? Let me tell you.
When a user searches for something, your website appears on a search engine result page (SERP).
Then, that user opens your site.
Dwell time is the duration for how long that user stays on your site after clicking on it. And that Dwell time is indeed an important search engine ranking factor.
Now let’s work on an example to see what happens to that Dwell time when a website has a slow loading speed.
How about taking an example of yourself?
Let’s say you search for something and then open the top site appearing in the search results.
What if that website needs to be shorter to open? What would you do? Wait? No way.
You will close the tab and move to the second site.
And here is how the Dwell time of the first website gets destroyed. Results? Ranking down.
In short, a user needs good speed, and Google also has an update for website speed. Try to improve your site to increase its Dwell time and, hence, improve its ranking in SERPs.
4. Web Design
Website design is another critical thing to have a good user experience. Your theme needs to be Responsive and should have an Eye-Catching Design.
I always prefer to stay on a website with an attractive design along with informative content. I can also read from a poorly designed website, but only when it is the only result I have.
There are lots of sites that have excellent content but a bad design.
Just ask yourself. How long can you keep visiting these types of sites, which are even worse when you are using your smartphone?
You’ll surely get tired and, in the end, will stop visiting that site. Personal Experience. Design is more than what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
So again, always use responsive and eye-catching design. For now, that’s enough about On-Page SEO.
Just like you have done your On-Page SEO, you also need to do Off-Page SEO to make your domain authority in the eyes of search engines.
In other words, we need to make our website trustworthy for search engines.
And it will happen when other famous sites tell the search engine that our site has the best content about our topic.
Now, how would it happen?
We need to get our website referred from other famous resources on the web about our niche.
In technical terms, it is called link building. Naturally, it’s an automatic thing.
We will post very high-quality content on our website and share it with topically interested people and internet marketing resources.
Eventually, whoever would like our resource will link to it.
The best link-building strategy is to create something extraordinary and let everyone know about it.
But Remember: In today’s competitive environment, we need to learn about proper link-building strategies. Then, plan and execute pre-defined and practical ways adopted by some quality sites.
Your hard work in that activity will surely pay you with a better ranking in SERPs.
To know, here are the things that should be done:
- Use social networks to promote your content
- Do some blogging and guest posting
- Refer to your suggested solutions in discussion forums
- Photo and video sharing
- Relevant business and local listing
Your Way Forward
Now that you have understood the SEO Guide, some of you might be thinking that I have missed a lot of information about SEO, as only some beginners will read this guide.
To make it clear, yes, I did that on purpose.
I could have written about 50000 words on this topic, making a lengthy chapter-wise and very in-depth guide.
But, trust me, that would have been not very pleasant and distracting for the beginners.
Also, there are lots of lengthy guides available on the web.
Then why do I need to add another one?
The purpose is to get a clear idea from this guide and then learn updates about each subheading, including the outdated, lengthy guides.
How To Do SEO in 2024?
On your way forward, you need to follow these steps:
- Select your niche (always start with your passion)
- Do keyword research and content planning
- Set up your platform/website
- Develop content with a bit deeper keyword research
- Setup your social network
- Post content and on-page optimization
- Make your content commercial with social sharing
- Start off-page optimization
- Analyze your performance
- Plan improvements and go back to step 3
- You may skip step 4 in your second round
While doing all these things, keep on learning and improving.
Exploring each subheading, you will find some new website authority and ranking parameters defined by SEO experts.
Such as domain authority, page authority, trust flow, citation flow, do-follow backlinks, spam score, etc.
These parameters are helpful and change your ranking with an increase or decrease in their values.
So, Google these to learn in-depth.
Wrapping it Up
Finally, I am covering SEO Guide with a certainty that you have actually improved your SEO knowledge.
And if you find it to be a practical search engine optimization guide, then give us a thumbs up by sharing it with your friends.
In case you have any feedback or suggestions, you must comment and don’t hesitate to ask.