SEO Tutorial for Beginners

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing traffic to your website through organic search results. When a website ranks on the first page of any search engine results page (SERP), there's more brand visibility and a higher chance for increased website visits and conversions. To rank higher and target relevant users, effective SEO tactics are a must. Here's how they work.

This SEO tutorial video will help you understand what is SEO, and why we need it.

Keyword Research

Keyword research, one of the most important components of SEO, is the process of identifying famous words and phrases used on search engines by users looking for information, products, and content. An ideal keyword has substantial search volume, high relevance, and low competition.

There are two types of keywords: short tail and long tail.

Short-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords are broader and typically:

  • Consist of no more than three words
  • Have substantial search volume
  • Are highly competitive
  • Have low conversion rates

short tail-long tail

Short-tail keywords are ideal to use when your focus is to bring traffic to your website. Examples of short tail keywords include restaurants and children's shoes.

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are more specific and usually consist of more than three words. They have low search volume and less competition but can have higher conversion rates.

long tail

These keywords are used for targeted pages like product pages and articles. A targeted page is where you target a specific webpage to display your most popular keywords for that page. Examples include the best Italian restaurants in Florida and branded shoe stores in New York.

How Search Engines Work

At a very basic level, search engines send spiders or bots to crawl websites, which then scan and store content within that search engine’s index. Based on any given search query, the search engine displays websites that are ranked in order of relevance. 

Master the various facets of SEO including keyword research, technical SEO, and more with the Advanced SEO Certification Training Course. Enroll now.

SEO Tactics

There are two main types of SEO: on-page and off-page. To rank for a particular keyword, both types must be applied.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing elements of pages on your website to make them more relevant to specific search queries. On-page elements that can be optimized include:

  • Schema Markup 

    Gives an enhanced description that appears on SERPs; contains ratings and reviews, image thumbnails, and sitelinks
  • Title Tag 

    The title of the webpage that appears on the SERP as a clickable link (50-60 characters)
  • Meta Description 

    A short description of your webpage's content on your page; appears in the SERP as the text underneath the title (50-300 characters)
  • Header Tag 

    Used hierarchically for appropriate reading and crawling structure; ranges from H1 to H6
  • URL Structure

    Includes a webpage's protocol, domain name, and path; ideally is short
  • Image Alt Text

    Used to derive meaning from images; displayed on a webpage when an image fails to load on a user screen (no more than 125 characters)
  • Page Speed 

    The time it takes to load the content of a webpage; slow page speed may result in a higher bounce rate, reduced conversion rates, and fewer return visitors
  • Internal Link 

    A hyperlink that goes from one page of your website to another to improve indexing
  • Sitemap 

    A listing of all webpages on a site so search engine spiders can easily access them; includes HTML and XML versions.

amazon fashion

To increase your webpages' speed:

  • Use a simple website design
  • Optimize images to ensure they are high-resolution, copyright-free pictures
  • Improve server response times
  • Optimize/Limit the length your code

Featured Snippet

A featured snippet is the search result that is shown on top of the search engine’s organic results. Some of the most common featured snippets are a paragraph, table, and list snippets. 

featured snippet

According to Getstat, paragraph snippet is the most popular featured snippet. The idea behind featured snippets is that they are informational and provide the best answers to users’ queries.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO goes beyond the design of a webpage and hones in on promoting your website using techniques like link building through blogging and promotion of content on social media channels to improve a webpage's ranking. According to Backlinko's analysis, a webpage with more backlinks will generally rank higher than one with fewer ones.

google position

Link building through these channels is widely considered to be the most effective method of off-page SEO. It can improve the credibility of your website, increase your domain authority and referral traffic, and help improve page rank. 

When you have a link pointing from another website to your own, the link can be a dofollow or a nofollow link. With dofollow links, search engine crawlers can follow the link and pass equity to the destination domain. With nofollow links, they can't. 

A link can also be an inbound or an outbound link. Inbound links come from external websites to your website, whereas outbound links direct users from your website to external sites.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is identical content that appears on more than one page. This can negatively affect your webpage rankings because search engines may not be able to determine which version of the content is the original. Examples of duplicate content include:

  • A spammer taking an article and posting the same content on his website

original-content

  • Having two different versions of the same webpage 

webpage

These issues should be resolved as soon as possible for search engines to recognize the source of content. To address the duplicate-content problems::

  • Use a 301 redirect to the original URL 
  • Use the rel=canonical attribute to the original content, which tells the search engine that a particular URL is an original webpage
  • Use Google Search Console to  set a preferred domain for your website, which will allow Google spiders to crawl various webpages differently

Google Algorithms

Google algorithms use advanced concepts to retrieve data from its index and deliver webpages based on search queries. To achieve the best results, a combination of algorithms and factors is used.

Popular algorithms include:

  • Google Panda 

    Removes webpages that have low-quality and duplicate content
  • Google Penguin 

    Aims to decrease the ranking of webpages that are stuffed with keywords or created artificially by using unethical black-hat techniques
  • Google Rankbrain 

    Uses machine learning to determine the most relevant results to search engine queries. Rankbrain is becoming increasingly important.  Google announced that the third most important factor in ranking. It has proven to be more accurate than human coders.

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Types of SEO Practices

SEO practices can be divided into three types. All follow the same purpose of improving SERP rankings, but they vary widely in their techniques

  • Black-hat SEO violates search engine rules and policies; techniques include link manipulation, keyword stuffing, duplicated content, and sneaky redirects
  • White-hat SEO follows search engine rules and policies naturally using relevant keywords to create high-quality content, as well as improve website navigation and page-load time
  • Gray-hat SEO is a combination of black-hat and white-hat SEO; it uses ethically dubious techniques like link purchasing, excessive external linking, SEO squatting and spun content

Website Architecture

Website architecture gives search engines an idea of a website’s structure to improve internal links equally. Robust website architecture can make your content easier to find and improve traffic by enhancing site navigation, using responsive design to ensure it's visible on desktop and mobile devices, having a consistent URL structure, and optimizing for web crawlers so they can more easily find and index your webpages. 

Take a look at the difference between good website architecture and poor website architecture:

website architecture

Local SEO

Local SEO involves optimizing a website to gain traffic from location-based searching. It is especially crucial for local businesses because it helps to market products and services to customers in their area.  Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence.

NAP refers to your organization's name, address, and phone number, which is visible across websites. For better organic search rankings and targeted traffic to your website from local searches, make sure your NAP is accurate and consistent across the web, like in the image below.

NAP

How to Measure SEO Performance

Once you have launched on-page and off-page SEO campaigns, you'll need to measure their performance. There are multiple SEO metrics to track, but how do you know which ones to measure and how best to measure them?

Consider tracking these critical metrics:

  • Organic traffic at scheduled and geographic levels to determine the conversion rate and ratio of new website visitors to returning visitors
  • Mobile traffic through responsive website design and tracking of mobile visitors, user behavior, and page speed
  • Keyword ranking across desktop and mobile applications to determine clickthrough rates, average position, and strength of keywords
  • Local visibility using Google Maps to track visitor requests and communications like check-ins 
  • Engagement metrics like bounce rate, average session duration, and pages per visit
  • Backlinks for domain authority, number of inbound and outbound links, citation and trust flow, and number of dofollow and nofollow links

To measure website performance, use a free tool like Google Analytics. It lets you measure not only website traffic but also other behaviors from organic search.

How good are your skills in SEO and its nuances? Try answering these SEO Multiple Choice Questions and find out now!

Get To Know SEO Better

SEO is a must if you want to rank higher than your competitors on any SERP. The better your SEO tactics, the more visible your website is, leading to higher traffic and conversions for your business. 

To learn more about SEO, sign up for Simplilearn’s Advanced Search Engine Optimization course today! To master these concepts and more, take the Digital Marketing Certified Associate Certification Training.

About the Author

Medono ZhasaMedono Zhasa

Medo specializes in writing for the digital space to garner social media attention and increase search visibility. A writer by day and reader by night, Medo has a second life writing Lord of the Rings fan theories and making cat videos for people of the Internet to relish on.

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