Thinking of getting started with search engine optimization (SEO)? Then a step-by-step SEO tutorial is in order. Up to this point, you’ve likely heard of some basic terms like keyword research and on-page optimization, but you are probably wondering how you actually apply the knowledge gathered thus far.
In this blog, we will walk you through it step-by-step. No matter how new or experienced you are to SEO, anyone can get started with the following SEO tips and boost their website ranking in a flash. Well, as you know, it may take a year or more, as SEO is a long game.
Following this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll be able to come out of it the other end with a list of actionable steps to get your SEO strategy off the ground.
Step 1 – Finding keywords
What is keyword research? We should never assume this is as simple as picking a list of words and phrases relevant to your company. Consider which words are most likely to get people to do what you want them to do and focus on those words – such as visiting your website and submitting a form for example.
As a beginner, it’s wise to choose your keywords intuitively at first instead of using a dedicated keyword research tool. For example, if you sell roasted coffee, you might opt for ‘Colombian coffee’ or ‘local coffee roaster’ instead of just ‘roasted coffee’.
Listing such keywords in a document or spreadsheet of your choice can help you keep track of what you are using. It is best to then pick one word or phrase to use on one page of your site. In Laymans terms, you don’t want to target different keywords on one page. You are looking to target a single keyword, as well as any keywords it’s related to.
For example, say you were to write a page for ‘local coffee roaster’, you can target semantically related terms such as ‘local coffee’, or ‘coffee roaster near me’.
Step 2 – Putting keywords in the page title
Chosen a keyword? Now’s time to put it into action. Firstly, you want to enter your web page title.
The page title is one of the highly prioritised things that Google and other search engines evaluate to determine what is on a web page – after all, it’s what appears on top of your web page’s result in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
One thing to remember – keep it short and sweet. 65 characters or fewer is a good recommendation to ensure that search engines don’t trim your title.
Step 3 – Putting keywords in the page URL
Google and any other search engine also use the text of the URL of the page to determine the content of the web page. You should use your keyword or phrase specifically in the slug.
Remember, don’t overdo it. If you sell coffee, don’t create an exhaustive slug such as the following –
Keep it short, descriptive and simple. An effective and simple solution to this would be –
If using WordPress, here’s how to change your web pages’ slugs in the backend.
Step 4 – Putting keywords in your meta description
Your page’s meta description can further tell search engines and users what your page is all about.
Metadata is not as critical as it may have been before, but it still counts. Take advantage of this by entering your keyword or phrase. The description should be readable by a person and make sense. The keyword metadata should also focus on your keyword or phrase. Remember, less is often more!
Step 5 – Putting keywords in your H1 text
The H1 text is usually the title of an article or some larger bold text at the top of the page. Search engines such as Google and others can see this, and they place extra importance on the words in the H1 text. Just make sure your keyword or phrase is there.
Step 6 – Using keywords in the page’s content
Using your target keywords in your content is an essential part of your on-page SEO strategy.
Why? Because doing so signals to search engines that the page is about the keywords and should show up in search results. According to some “experts”, you should use your keyword anywhere from 4-6 times to 10-12 times. Our own advice is to write naturally and trust your instincts and try to avoid black-hat practices such as keyword stuffing.
Step 7 – Building links to your website
Once you signal relevancy to search engines via keywords, it’s time for the hard work to start. The building process can begin through inbound links to your website from sites dedicated to your own industry.
Arguably, this is one of the most important SEO steps you must take. The number and quality of links directing towards your website are important to Google and other search engines to evaluate your rank on different terms. If people are linking to you, then that means that your site offers authoritative, trustworthy information dedicated to a certain topic.
Step 8 – Monitoring your ranking
Last and certainly not least, it’s time to check in on the results from all of your efforts. Give search engines as much time as possible to work their magic (this may vary from a couple of days, to weeks, to months) and then keep checking in on your rank to see what happened and track your progress.
If you’re still getting started with SEO, you can check this rank manually by searching for your target keyword in Google. We highly recommend you use Google Search Console to check your rankings free of charge.
Since GSC can be limited in some respects, you can upgrade to an official SEO monitoring tool to track the most relevant keywords to you and consistently create new strategies to improve performance and reach full potential.
You should monitor your Google PageRank too. As a measurement of how ‘important’ your website is on the web, Google uses your page ranking through this tool. Naturally, a higher Page Rank means you have a better shot at being one of the top results for search terms.
There are many free tools available out there to get an accurate estimate, one of which is Check Page Rank.
Throughout the monitoring process, you should also grade your website. Another free tool is Website Grader which evaluates the SEO effectiveness of your site.
Thought we were finished? This Step-by-Step Tutorial is Only the Beginning
Don’t let your learning stop. Following these steps can get you started with creating an effective SEO strategy.
Waiting to hear some good news? Well, you don’t have to guess about your next steps. If you use our handy starter pack, you can ramp up your SEO plans and boost the likelihood of your website ranking on the first page of the SERPs.