SEO For Beginners: The Only Guide You Need in 2020 to Learn SEO

Hey, there avid reader, how are you been doing? I know you’ve landed here by looking at the title “The Only Guide You Need in 2020 to Learn SEO”.

You might be having many questions regarding SEO, like how does it even work? Is SEO free? Why does it matter a lot? Many such questions.

But first things first, before talking about all the Ninja Techniques in SEO, let’s get our basics right and learn SEO for beginners.

If you have landed here by a “Google Search,” there’s a reason why we are ranking for this article. The answer is “SEO.”

According to the statistics, on an average 4 million blog posts are going live every single day, which is around 1,66,666 every hour, 2,777 every minute, and 46 every single second!

So by the time you’ve reached this part of the article, probably thousands of articles went live over the search engines.

So to withstand this competition, you’ll need to master the SEO game, so let’s get started with it.

1. What is SEO, and why is SEO for Beginners so Important?

What is SEO
Source – Lyfe Marketing.

Let’s talk about what first, What is SEO?

If you want the standard definition, here is the one from Wikipedia.

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. The term excludes the purchase of paid placement, referring only to the improvement of unpaid results (known as “natural” or “organic” results).”

Well, I know it was pretty confusing for you. In simple terms, SEO is the process of improving the position of your website in the search results.

Who doesn’t love ranking on top of the search results? Higher your rankings, the higher number of chances that people are going to visit your website.

But then, SEO isn’t an overnight game. It’s a long-run process and requires patience to achieve the results you are looking for.

Now let’s talk about why, Why is SEO important?

Here are the solid reasons why is SEO so important.

Though there are many methods such as paid advertisings, social media, and other online platforms that can generate traffic to your website, the traffic from the search engines still stays on top.

People have become smart these days, and most of them avoid clicking on paid advertisements, in fact, recent research has revealed that out of all the US searches, only 2.8% of people tend to click on the paid ads.

So in simple terms, SEO has got 20x more potential traffic when compared to any other methods. Not just this, but SEO is going to be profitable in the long run, all it needs is perfect content and the right set of keywords.

Whereas that’s not the case with paid advertising, though your content quality has got nothing to do with the traffic, you will eventually end up regularly paying to receive traffic on to your site.

2. The mechanism behind search engine –

Mechanism behind SEO
Source – PC Mag

It is essential for one to know how does the search engine works.

In simple terms search engines are the answer machines, you ask for a questions, and it replies with an answer.

Here are three most essential functions in this process –

1. Crawling –

When a new piece of content is published over the internet, Google doesn’t manually go and check every single article, instead, it sends the robots to find new and updated content.

This process of discovering all the latest content with the help of crawlers or spiders in known as Crawling. The format of content could be anything, these robots can be an image, a video, or even a PDF file.

Crawling
Source – Stone Temple

Once the bots discover new web pages, it then uses the links on those webpages to find out the new URL’s, these links are the ones which are placed as a process of interlinking.

By crawling all the links from a webpage, it then adds them all to the largest database of all the discovered URL’s, called Caffeine.

The beauty is that you have access to stop the crawlers from crawling your website, either one part of it or the entire website.

So if you want your content to be ranked, then first you need to make sure that the website is visible to the crawlers.

2. Indexing –

Indexing in simple terms means getting the webpage live on Google, didn’t get it? Let me explain it in a better manner.

The process of indexing depends on Crawling, once the bots crawl all the links, the indexing process begins after which your content goes live on Google.

Indexing
Source – Site Checker

This is usually an automatic process, but then if you have just updated an old article, and want to get it indexed faster, you can manually submit the link for indexing.

3. Ranking –

Now, this is the final stage among all the three processes. When a user searches on the search engine, out of all the indexed content the most relevant one comes on to the top, followed by the less relevant content.

Ranking
Source – Rocket Spark

This process of showing the content is called as ranking. So in simple terms, the higher your website is ranked, the higher the number of chances of your content coming on top of the SERP’s list.

3. How to do keyword research?

You might be hiring the best content writer, but then your content is worth nothing without proper keyword research.

You need to target the right set of keywords to generate quality traffic. There are a lot more things which go into this, so let’s get started.

But before getting started, What is Keyword Research?

Keyword Research
Source – Whizsky

Keyword research is a process wherein you can find the exact number of people searching for a specific keyword over a search engine.

These insights are going to help you in planning out your content, and also in the overall strategy. 

Targeting the right keywords is an art, and we’re about to excel it.

How to find keyword ideas?

First things first, before finding out the keywords, you need to have a basic idea on what niche are you planning to target.

Here to demonstrate, we are going with proceed with “Digital Marketing Agency.”

So when you think about Digital Marketing, probably these are the things which might come to your mind.

•    Social Media

•    Blogging

•    PPC

•    Website Traffic

•    Content Marketing

•    Email Marketing

•    And a lot more

Well, if you’re wondering if these are keywords, no there aren’t. These are just the topics which we are going to use to find out keywords.

Now here are the different ways to find out keywords from the topic which we have.

1. Google and YouTube Suggest –

This is a straightforward technique, wherein you just need to type your topic in the search box, and Google will automatically start to suggest relevant terms.

Here’s an example.

We are searching for the term “Content Marketing.”

And here is what Google is suggesting us.

Google and YouTube Suggest

Do you see them? Yes, these are the list of keywords which Google is suggesting for our topic.

These are great keywords to get started with, the reason being Google suggests you only those keywords which tends to have more number of searches.  

But then, if you are not yet satisfied with the results from Google, let’s try the same over YouTube.

Here you go, these are some excellent keyword suggestions from YouTube.

2.Related Searches –

Here’s another simple technique of finding keywords, it’s called as Searches Related to which is usually the bottom part of the search results.

Let’s proceed with the same keyword,

Here is what you find when you search for “Content Marketing.”

Now scroll down to the end of these results, and here is a list of 8 keywords which are related to our keyword “Content Marketing.”

Related Searches

Well, so both the auto-suggest and the related searches are coming straight out of Google, so you don’t need to worry about the search volume.

Google is directly giving you all those keywords which have tons and tons of searches. So to get them, all you need to have is one single keyword from your topic.

3. SEO Tester –

Keyword Explorer from SEO Tester Online is one of my favorite tools, and I’m pretty sure that you will like it too.

This is a perfect tool to see search volumes, keyword difficulty, and also helps you in finding new keywords which a user is searching for on a specific topic.

There are many situations where you are left with more than one keyword and you not sure on which one to proceed with.

SEO Tester Online

PS:- This image just gives you an overview, you can further go into advanced filters by visiting the website.

Now with the help of this tool you can easily compare up to 5 keywords simultaneously which is eventually helping you to select the appropriate keyword and the content strategy.

Pro tip – Use it wisely and this can be your one stop destination to all your SEO needs.

4.Uber Suggest –

Uber Suggest is another massive tool which gives a fierce competition to the next tool which we are going to talk about.

Recently this tool received a massive upgrade and ever since then it has been favorite for many.

Uber Suggest

Though Uber Suggest uses Google’s search suggestions to generate keyword ideas, it gives you accurate data on each keyword such as search volume, CPC, keyword difficulty and a lot more.

Not for beginners though, but then with the help of Uber Suggest, you can reverse engineer your competitors’ SEO, social media marketing strategy and also content marketing.

5.Google Keyword Planner –

This is the tool we’ve been talking about which is a tough competitor to Uber Suggest. The Keyword Planner from Google is known for its reliability because all the data comes straight out of Google.

The only downside of the Keyword Planner is that it helps people out in designing their Ad Campaigns, but then this can still be used to find out some great keywords.

Google Keyword Planner

All you need to do is, enter the keyword, hit enter, and you get the exact search volume.

The beauty of this keyword is it filter the dates, which means you can accurately see the number of searches in a particular month.

6.SEMrush –

If you’ve got some budget, then SEMrush is 2nd tool which I would suggest after SEO Tester.

This tool is a time saver because instead of giving you random keywords this tool provides the exact keywords which a site already ranks for.

SEMrush

So if you are sure that you’re a competitor is already ranking, then this is the best tool to extract the exact keywords.

7.Keyword Difficulty

Once you’ve found all your keywords, its important to evaluate them to know what all does it rank to get ranked on top of SERP’s.

Keyword Difficulty is a crucial part of keyword research, this could give you an idea of the competition.

PS: – One thing which you should always remember, keyword difficulty never depends on the number of searches for the particular keyword.

SEP Tester Online

The level of keyword difficulty varies from 0-100, so the higher the numbers, the harder it gets to rank on top of SERP’s.

There are many tools available out there, but then the problem is each tool gives you different metrics for the same keyword.

So to avoid the confusion, I suggest you stick SEO Tester.

Pro Tip – Long tail keywords are usually less difficult.

4. Search Engine Optimization Techniques –

We’ve reached the most exciting part, this is where the magic happens.

Search Engine Optimization can be divided into two different types,

On Page SEO and Off Page SEO.

Both these are very important if you aim to rank top on the SERP’s. These both go hand-in-hand and has got their contributions, any one of these cannot get the job done.

What is On-Page SEO –

On Page SEO includes a set of tasks which has to be done, previously On Page SEO was all about headlines, meta tags, and over-optimized content.

But now things have quite changed, and there are a lot more things which go into ranking higher.

Here are the things to do to get your On-Page SEO perfect.

1.Meta Title –

The meta title is one of the key factors in On-Page SEO. Though you are ranked on top of Google, no one is going click on your website if the Meta Title isn’t optimized correctly.

Remember, the more attractive it looks, the more people click on it.

You should always try and use your targeted keyword at the beginning, but then if that isn’t possible at least try to mention it somewhere in your title.

Now probably there should be a question on your mind, What if I use my keyword multiple times in the title, will I rank faster?

Meta Title

This was the same question which I had over my mind when I just got started with SEO, but the answer is No.

That is not going to help you in any manner, instead, chances are more that your content might not even rank if you do so.

If your someone who is using HTML, this is how the actual title tag looks like

title>Beginners Guide to On-Page SEO</title>

But then if you are a WordPress user, there is a plugin called as Yoast by SEO which helps in creating a title tag right in its platform.

Pro Tip – Though Google has recently increased the characters limit to 70, try to have a title length which is under 65 characters.

2.Meta Tags –

Meta Tags are one of the most crucial parts of On-Page SEO. Meta tags are beneficial in increasing your CTR, so a custom meta tag can surely help you in fetching a better click-through-rate.

Though now meta tags don’t have a huge impact, if they are written and optimized well, it is undoubtedly going to spike up the traffic graph.

3.Meta Description –

The Meta Description gives the users a brief description of what are they going to find on your page.

Though this is not a factor which affects your ranking, this will help the audience find the right stuff they are looking out for without having the need to waste their time.

This is going to help you because even if you are not ranked in the first place, there are chances that the audience might find your meta description interesting, and this results in better CTR.

Well if you are running a website with tons of pages and not sure which one of it doesn’t have a meta description, you can use a tool called as Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, this will help you by showing the meta description of every single URL of your website along with its length.

As of now, the length of Meta Description for Desktop is 200 characters, whereas its 172 characters for mobile.

To satisfy both the users, the ideal suggested description is between 165 to 172 characteristics.

Do not try to stuff the keywords, but then try to mention at least two of your keywords if possible.

4.Heading Tags –

It doesn’t matter if you have a landing page or a blog post, using multiple heading tags is really important.

If possible, you should try to use all the tags, right from H1 to H6, and H1 being the most crucial tag, it is suggested not to use it more than once.

As the user scrolls down, he should find different tags such as H2 and H3 which can be used in the form of subheadings.

So if you aren’t already using this technique, start using it, and you will see some excellent results both in terms of SEO and also user experience.

Pro tip – Use them in the method of Hierarchy, right from H1 to H6.

5.Alt Text –

Alt Text is the words which can be attributed to a picture, once the picture gets indexed, the picture starts getting ranked eventually.

This is helpful as there are a good number of people who find the picture interested, and hence visit your blog to read more about it.

So you can create an infographic with all the information, give it the right alt-text and after it’s indexed, you can find traffic flooding to your website.

In this way, you can still get the traffic if your main keywords are not ranked, and the rank of these images increase gradually hence you can expect more traffic in the future. 

6.URL Structure –

The URL of your website is something very important, it should be short, precise and easily readable.

In a recent study, AHREF’s has found that shorter URL tend to rank a lot better when compared to clumsy URL’s. Here is an example of good and bad URL’s.

www.exampledomain.com/technical-seo-audit/ ——- User-friendly URL

www.exampledomain.com/audit-seo-technical.php?vm= —- None user-friendly URL.

Hence keep your URL’s shorter, the shorter the URL, the better the user experience.

It is also suggested to use your main keyword in your URL, this eventually helps Google in showing up your content when searched for the exact keyword.

7.SSL/HTTPS –

The security of your website has always been a concern, but then it has become much more valuable since 2018.

Hence getting an SSL certificate has become mandatory for improving your security, not just that but then this also improves the credibility of your website, people will eventually start trusting it more.

Once you have your SSL certificate installed, you will get to see https and secure text in green color, this indicates that your site is secured.

Google does prefer the sites which have SSL enabled, and hence it increases the visibility over the search engine.

8.Internal Linking –

Internal linking a gift to your website, using this technique you can easily refer your old posts in the new article.

For example, you are currently reading the SEO for Beginners article, so in the end, I can add an interlink to another article named,

“Advanced SEO Techniques,” this will eventually help the users to know the other content on your website.

Not just this, but then it also makes your website easy to crawl and increase the Page Authority which affects your ranking on SERP’s.

Pro Tip – Do not make your content clumsy but having internal links in every single line, instead have multiple links throughout your content.

9.Site Speed –

We are in the 21st century, and speed matters. There is no point in you ranking first if your sites loading speed is too slow, people are just going to hit back and visit another website.

If your page is taking too long to load, then the user experience is being damaged. A recent study found that 50% of the mobile users leave a site if it doesn’t load under 3 seconds.

So it is essential that you have a check on your sites loading time, here is what you can do to decrease it.

•    Leverage Browser Caching

•    Optimize the Plugins & Images

•    Use GZIP Compression

•    Have a Faster Hosting

•    Clean Up the HTML & CSS Coding

•    Eliminate the Ads

•    Minimize Redirects if possible

In most of the cases it’s the image files which are increasing the loading time, so try to upload the images by compressing it.

Here are a couple of tools using which you can maintain the performance of your website.

•    Page Speed Insights

•    GTMetrix

•    Pingdom Website Speed Test

•    Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool 

The faster your website loads, the more the user engagement. Now we are done with the On-Page SEO, let’s proceed with Off-Page SEO.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-Page SEO simply means all those activities which are carried outside your website which helps you in ranking better in the SERP’s.

Here’s an example.

Consider you fill an entire bucket with water, now when you drop a toy, it starts floating on top of the water.

That’s what exactly Off-Page SEO is going to do with your content, proper off-page SEO helps all your content rank higher in the SERP’s.

Here is the checklist of all the Off-Page SEO Factors.

1.Backlinks –

Before getting started, here’s a quick fact. There are absolutely no chances of you ranking on the first page of Google without even a single backlink.

Backlinks are one of the most important factors for off-page SEO, the reason being search engines trust your website more if you’ve got relevant backlinks or backlinks from websites with higher authority.

Here is the list of things which Google considers while ranking –

•    The number of linking domains your site has is the most important ranking factor.

•    Higher the Domain Authority, higher the chances of your site getting ranked.

•    It’s always suggested to have more links from individual domains rather than having it from a single domain.

•    One link from a higher DA site is better than five links from a lower DA site.

•    Google has recently confirmed that it doesn’t count no follow links, but then it’s always good to maintain a ratio of Do Follow and No Follow links.

•    Links from your content are more worth than the links from the sidebar.

But then the real question is, How to get links with high authority?

•    Guest Blogging –

Guest blogging has been considered one of the best technique to acquire some really good backlinks, but then the only problem is you need to spend a lot of time on researching that specific topic.

Once done, all you need do this create a list of all the top website in the same niche, and start pitching them.

If your content is really good, there are a higher number of chances that it gets published, and what do you get in return? A quality backlink!

•    Broken Link Building

If you are not willing to waste much of your time on guest blogging, then you can use this method which is pretty much faster.

Did you ever realize that most of the links on some of the authority websites are already dead?

There are many reasons why this could happen, but the major reasons are because either your hosting gets expired, or the links tend to break during the process of file transfer or migration.

Though this doesn’t have any effect on the ranking, this does spoil the user experience.

So you can identify all those broken links, contact the owner of the website and let them know about these links and help them in increasing their user experience.

There are higher number of chances that the owner might include your link on their website for reporting it.

•    Create Amazing Infographics

Infographics are considered to be one of the best ways to get some really good results.

If you are planning to attract a large number of people and want to create some authoritative backlinks, then infographics can give you the best results.

It has been proven that people easily get attracted and show more interest in visual stuff when compared to plain texts.

Infographics usually go viral, so the more number of people shares it, more the organic traffic you will receive.

If you have a budget, it is suggested to hire a professional designer, if not you can create one for yourself with the help of Canva or Visual.ly.

2. Reaching out Influencers –

If you think that you’ve got an awesome piece of content, never hesitate to share it with people.

Find out the influences in your industry, ping them up saying to check out your blog and then ask them for backlinks.

There are chances that you get the backlinks if the influencer like your content. The best part is there are chances that he might share your article on to his which will help you I getting more traffic.

3.Social Media Engagement –

This is another useful technique using which you can easily get some quality backlinks.

Make your website or blog popular by engaging with more people over social networking sites, try to help out others with their questions which can help you get more backlinks.

Here is the list of best websites to increase your credibility.

S.NoSocial Networking SitesDAPAPR
1http://www.twitter.com/1009710
2http://www.facebook.com/100979
3http://www.linkedin.com/100979
4http://www.pinterest.com/100969
5http://plus.google.com/100969

4.Social Bookmarking Sites –

Social Bookmarking platforms are still considered as the best way to promote your website for free.

Bookmarking your website or blog post on these popular platforms are going to help you in fetching high-quality traffic.

Here are a couple of most popular Bookmarking websites with High PR.

S.NoSocial bookmarking sitesDAPAPR
1https://delicious.com98968
2http://stumbleupon.com98908
3http://digg.com99967
4http://slashdot.org94957
5http://diigo.com92657
6http://technorati.com/99957

5.Forum Submissions –

Participating in the forums is another good way to build that connection with your audience, find out all the forums which are related to your blog or business, and then start engaging with the community.

Try to answer questions, and give suggestions to people with the help of your blog. Here’s a list of High PR forum which you can make sure of

S.NoForum Submission SitesDAPAPR
1https://www.flickr.com/help/forum/en-us/98619
2http://www.addthis.com/forum100578
3https://bbpress.org/forums/79647
4http://www.careerbuilder.com88907
5http://www.chronicle.com/forums88444

6.Video Submissions –

Video submissions are another great technique to get quality backlinks. All you need to do is create a video revolving around your blog and business, give it the right title, description, and tags with your referral links.

Upload the video and you are done, this is yet another popular way to get quality backlinks as the video submission sites have High PR.

Here’s a list of best Video Submission sites.

S.NoVideo Submission SitesDAPAPR
1https://www.youtube.com/100979
2https://vimeo.com/98979
3http://www.ustream.tv/94958
4https://vine.co/79827
5http://www.hulu.com/88907
6http://www.break.com/82866
7http://www.metacafe.com86896
8http://www.dailymotion.com/in94775

7.Question and Answers –

This is the last technique in Off-Page SEO. This is one of the best ways to get high-quality traffic just by answering questions.

To do so, join the websites which have questions related to your blog, and start answering them.

By doing so, you can easily increase your visibility by giving a link at the end of the answer.

Here’s the list of best websites for Question and Answers.

S.NoQuestion and Answer SitesDAPAPR
1https://answers.yahoo.com/100918
2http://askville.amazon.com/97698
3https://www.quora.com/87907
4http://www.blurtit.com/49574
5http://www.ehow.com/90916

Local SEO –

Local SEO is considered to be one of the best ways to market your local business online.

This helps all the local businesses in promoting their products and services online. There are a couple of methods using which this can be achieved. 

What is a Local Search –

 Google has recently revealed that 46% of the entire searches have local intent.

Here’s a simple difference between a normal search and local search.

How to make a shelf out of wood ——- Normal Search

Carpenter near me ———– Local Search

So a local search usually includes a location or a near me keyword. So now the search engines give you suggestions based upon your location.

Local SEO is altogether a different ball game, but here is an overview of it for your understanding.

There are three major things if you want to rank well in the local search.

•    Proximity – How close is your business to the searcher?

•    Relevance – Are your products and services relevant to the search query?

•    Prominence – What do other consumers think about your products and services?

Here is the overview of key things which can help you rank better in local SEO.

•    Localization of your website –

Localizing your website means adding details like city, state, country, region naturally to your website.

If your business has got more than one location, then you need to create separate pages for every single location.

•    Google My Business Listing

If you own a local business, then it is really important that you claim your business on Google My Business.

By doing so, you can control things such as services you offer, contact details, opening timings, description and a lot more.

•    Reviews and Ratings –

Genuine and honest reviews are the key, a 5-star review is going to help you rank higher in SERP’s.

The amount of overall quality reviews which you receive builds your authority, hence this is one of the most important factors in local SEO.

Conclusion –

We’ve come to the end of this definitive guide, hope you got to know about SEO in and out.

If you are planning to rank your website, then both On-Page and Off-Page SEO is important. It takes a lot of efforts to mark your presence online, and you need to master the basics if you want to.

Well so the next time you plan out to publish a new piece of content make sure you follow all these guidelines, and there are chances of you standing out in the SERP results.

Do let us know your queries in the comments section down below and we’ll help you out with that.

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Udit Goenka
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