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SEO for Beginners is an easy guide to understanding SEO if you have little experience or no experience in this field.
This guide will help you understand SEO better if you are considering to start a blog.
Related: How to Start a Blog in 2020
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a Digital Marketing practice of growing a blog or website traffic organically.
Traffic means the number of visitors a blog or website receives.
Search Engine Optimization, as the name suggests, means optimizing a blog’s content to rank better in search engines, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Content is basically everything that’s posted on a blog, from articles (text) to pictures, videos, etc.
In order to be able to perform SEO, you first need to understand how search engines work.
SEO for beginners
How do search engines work?
Search engines work in 2 phases.
Phase 1. Gather information
In this phase the search engines, via spider bots, search all the content available on the web and read all the information that is publicly available on the internet, from all the websites.
This is known as crawling.
Phase 2. Organize information
This is the most interesting work that search engines do.
During this step is when the spider bots store all the information that they crawled and afterward they organize it into categories so that whenever you hit search, you receive the most relevant results to what you are looking for.
How do they do that?
The way search engines organize information is based on a number of algorithms, however, one of the most important elements for search engines is keywords.
Keywords, as the name suggests, are words that act as a key to an entire sentence or concept, etc.
For example, if you want to learn about SEO, you will probably type SEO in Google search.
What does this mean?
This means, that the first results that you see after hitting search in Google, are articles that contain a lot of keywords, making them relevant to this particular search.
“Does this mean that if I insert plenty of keywords in my articles I will rank good in Google?”
Sorry to disappoint you, but things don’t work like this. Stuffing your articles with keywords won’t get you anywhere and your blog can even get penalized, as this practice is against Google’s SEO Guidelines.
So how do you improve your blog’s SEO?
First, if you decide to start a blog or open a website, you need to make sure that Google is able to read it.
If you opt to use WordPress as your platform, which I highly suggest, you don’t need to worry about it as WordPress is search engine friendly.
This means that you don’t need to get into technical stuff for Google to be able to read your blog. This doesn’t mean, however, that it is SEO optimized.
In order to improve your SEO, you need to do a lot of manual work.
The first thing to start with is your blog posts title.
Although this might seem like something very small, your titles are extremely important for SEO.
How do you optimize your titles?
Let’s take this article as an example.
This article is explaining SEO in a very friendly way, without using technical vocabulary, therefore I named it „SEO for beginners” .
This will help the search engines to understand that this article explains what SEO is and that is a good guide to improve SEO for someone who does not have a lot of knowledge on the subject.
A good alternative for this article’s title would be „How do search engines work”, however since I am talking also about how to improve SEO, the title „SEO for beginners” is a better choice.
If, on the other hand, I would have named this article „How to drive traffic to your blog” it would have confused the search engines, as I do not talk much about traffic in this article.
The bottom line, make sure that the title best describes what your article is about.
Here is where the actual work starts.
Optimizing your blog post for SEO can take quite some time. So if you think that writing the articles is where the hard work is, think again.
Before diving in, what you need to understand is that what Google search engine likes, is good quality content that is spider bots friendly, as well as human-friendly.
How do you create human-friendly content?
Human-friendly content means content that is easy to read and navigate.
In order to achieve that, you need to structure your blog posts, so that when someone is just screening them, they will know exactly what to expect.
The headings or subtitles are basically tags (H1, H2, H3, and H4) and it is strongly advised to use them to structure your posts.
When adding a new post in WordPress, by default you will have the title block and paragraph block. In order to create a heading, simply press + on the upper left corner to add a new block, and choose the type of block that you want.
When pressing Heading, a new block will open and you will have the option to choose the type of heading you want this block to be.
This will allow structuring your post with subtitles (headings) which enables users to screen it before reading it and to understand better if they will find what they are looking for. All this while giving information to the spider bots about the content of the post, like headings, are basically tags.
After you are done with the headings, it’s time to optimize the actual post.
Ideally, you should write your article in a Word document and afterward insert it into WordPress.
After you insert the article into WordPress, you need to follow a few steps in order to SEO optimize it. Don’t worry, SEO for Beginners has you covered with the following guidelines:
It’s very important to remember that unlike novel writing, blogging is a science, and in order to have a successful blog, you need to keep it clear and simple.
This means short sentences.
Try to break any long paragraphs that you have in short sentences. This will make your article easy to read, therefore human-friendly, therefore search engine friendly.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, keywords are, well, the key to improving your ranking in search engines.
It’s important to know how to use them, as this makes the difference between quality blogging and cloaking your article with keywords just for the sake of it, which can get you penalized or even get your blog suspended.
There are several tools that can assist you before publishing your post, however, we will talk about them in another post.
As a basic guideline, you need to use the same keyword in your post, like the one you used in your title. For every 100 words, use the keyword once. Also, any synonyms or long tails keywords are helping improve your SEO.
A long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that contains at least 3 words.
- Keyword: SEO
- Long-tail keyword: SEO for Beginners
Depending on the type of articles that you will be posting on your blog, you might want to include pictures inside your blog posts, which is highly recommended.
When uploading images into your blog post, you want to make sure that their size is optimized.
Basically you need to shrink or resize your pictures to the lowest size possible, while still making sure that they are good quality.
Ideally, you should shrink them to the size that they are actually going to look like when inside the article. Typical optimized sizes for pictures are a few hundred kb.
Resizing pictures is absolutely mandatory, as they will help your website or blog load fast, and search engines love fast websites, therefore it pushes them higher in the ranking.
Also, when uploading pictures into WordPress, during the process of importing media files from your computer, you have several fields that you need to take care of such as Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description.
You want to fill those in with keywords as they help your pictures to show on Google, therefore bringing traffic to your article.
Once all of this is done, it gets a bit more technical, but don’t be afraid, as it is extremely easy.
What’s a snippet?
A snippet is a short summary of what your article is about and the information that appears in Google results under the title of your article/blog.
It looks like this:
In order to help the search engines, you need to edit your snippet to be short and very concise and don’t forget to use your keywords here as well.
If you do not edit your snippet, Google will automatically extract, most probably, the first paragraph of your article and include it in your snippet, which might not necessarily be the best for your article.
What is a permalink?
A permalink is basically the URL to a particular page or blog post and it’s the one that appears in the address bar in the browser.
For example, for my 18 Ways to Make Extra Money in 2019 article, it looks like this:
It is advised that you edit your permalinks to best describe your article, preferably to be the title of the article as well, as this means it will include keywords.
Before hitting publish you want to make sure that you have outgoing and internal links.
Outgoing links: These are links that are supposed to take you somewhere else, other than your own blog or website. If you mention another blog, for example, you can include a link to the respective blog.
Internal links: are the links that help visitors navigate easier and keep them on your blog for longer, by adding links to related articles, as I did earlier:
Once you check off the list all the above things before hitting publish, you should be good to go.
Do you want to become an SEO expert?
After understanding the basics of SEO, you are ready to up your skills and go into more technical things (even if you are not tech-savy).
SEO was something that was very intimidating to me in the beginning, however, after I became comfortable with the terms (alt-data, snippets, title tags, etc.) I was ready to get a more professional course that will help me speed up my learning process and get results faster.
Investing in my education as a blogger has helped me to have many articles ranking on page 1 of Google and, automatically making a better income with this blog that you are reading right now and turning it into my full-time job.
I might have reached these results by myself, but it would have definitely taken me much longer. I was able to turn my blog from a side hustle into a business that allowed me to quit my job, 1 short year after I started.
Having said this, SEO was one of the biggest factors that contributed to my success. I was dedicated to learning SEO from the best and one expert that I couldn’t recommend enough is Debbie Gartner, from The Flooring Girl.
She has managed to grow her website to 500,000 organic monthly visitors, all thanks to her knowledge of SEO and her blog is making $20,000 per month.
She has created the best SEO course out there for beginners, meaning her actionable tips and easy to implement tricks are easy to understand, regardless of your knowledge, or lack thereof of SEO.
She has helped thousands of people, including myself, who are just getting started in the blogging world, to have great results and take advantage of free organic traffic.
She has several courses and bundles available. I personally purchased the above bundle that includes “Easy on Page SEO” and “Easy Backlinks for SEO”.
These 2 e-books are a great starting point if you are just now beginning to explore SEO and the benefits of it. I have started seeing results a few weeks after implementing Debbie’s tips and I have also found a lot of information that was not available anywhere else, or not for free that is.
Debbie’s e-books are very affordable, especially compared to other bloggers’ courses that can cost even $1,000.
If you’re ready to start making money from your blog and want to get some Google love, get Debbie’s bundle here.
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