Beginners Guide to SEO

Are you looking to boost your website’s visibility and attract more organic traffic? If so, then understanding the fundamentals of SEO is crucial. By implementing effective SEO strategies, you can increase your website’s chances of appearing higher in search results, driving more organic traffic to your site.

In this blog post, we will explore why SEO is important for business owners. We will start by breaking down what SEO actually means and how search engines determine the ranking of web pages.

We will then explore two types of SEO, on-page and off-page, and what tactics they involve to help boost your online rankings. 

To wrap up, we will discuss how you can effectively track your SEO rankings to gauge the success of your optimization efforts. Monitoring these rankings will allow you to measure the impact of your SEO strategies, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to enhance your website’s visibility in search results.

What is SEO and Why is it Important?

Let’s start with the very basics. What is SEO? 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This refers to the process of improving various aspects both on and off a website to improve its visibility of the SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages. 

The ultimate goal of SEO is to drive organic (non-paid) traffic to your website by bringing you closer to the top of a search engine like Google’s, results page. Not only is SEO important for visibility, but when your website is higher on the results page it shows consumers that your business is credible and trustworthy.

How Search Engines Work

In order to have a successful SEO strategy, we first need to understand how search engines work. How search engines determine how to rank pages can be simply described in 3 steps.

Step 1: Website is Crawled

The first step a search engine will take when looking at a new website is referred to as “Crawling.” Search engines use crawlers that visit web pages and analyze them.

Step 2: Webpages are Indexed

Once pages have been crawled, the next step is indexing that content. Indexing refers to the process of extracting data from a website such as titles, text content, images, links etc. This information is recorded and then stored in a database referred to as the search engines index.

Step 3: Webpages are Ranked

The final step is search engines ranking your page. This is where SEO comes in. 

If you have optimized your website with the right keywords, and relevant content, show authority through external links, provide a seamless user experience, etc. search engines will rank your website higher. 

Now you might be asking yourself what all of those ranking factors mean, but don’t worry we will get into defining these terms.

On-Page VS Off-Page SEO

Now that we know what SEO is and why it’s important, let’s go into a bit more detail. SEO can be split into two different umbrellas – on-page and off-page SEO. 

On-page SEO refers to everything you can do on your own website to help increase your search engine rankings. This involves tactics and practices such as internal linking and using the appropriate keywords to make your website both search engine and user-friendly.  

Off-page SEO refers to everything you can do outside of your website to improve your rankings. This could be through social media, reviews, other people linking to or mentioning your website, etc. 

Both of these umbrella terms use different tactics to boost SEO.

On-Page SEO

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of identifying the terms and phrases that people use when searching for information related to your website’s content. By conducting keyword research, you can determine which keywords to target and integrate into your content. The purpose is to align your website’s content with the search queries of your target audience, increasing the chances of your pages appearing in relevant search results.

Titles Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Header Tags

The purpose of title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags work together to accurately describe what is featured on the specific webpage. The title tag is simply the title of a web page. It is the headline that appears on the search engine results page. 

The meta description is a 160-character description that shows up under the title tag in the SERPs. This description shows a brief summary of what is on the webpage. The meta description and title tag will look something like this:

Header tags are the titles within your website. Header tags are also used to help structure your webpage. What is referred to as H1, is your main title for the webpage. An H2 tag would be other titles within the content on the page. H3, H4, and so forth are used as additional subheadings. 

The title tag, meta description, and header tags should all be optimized with the keywords you are trying to rank for.

Permalinks and Slugs

Permalinks and slugs are straightforward and a great way to improve SEO and the overall user experience. A permalink entire web address. The slug refers to the last part of the URL that follows your permalink. They go together to give your website’s name followed by a descriptor for the specific pages. 

Look at this blog post for example:

The permalink would be The title of the blog is long, optimized slugs should be descriptive, concise, and include relevant keywords. The slug in this case is /self-storage-seo. This describes what is on the page, is concise, and includes what we are trying to rank for which is SEO for self-storage companies.

Image Optimization and Alt Tags

While most people might not think too deeply about it, the images on your website can affect the user experience and overall ranking of your site in the SERPs. 

Firstly, images can enhance the visual appeal and ultimately engagement levels on a webpage. You want to have images that make sense with your webpage, and even better, align with your brand. 

These images also need to be the right size. If an image is too large it may affect the website load speed, but you also don’t want it to be so small that it appears pixilated or blurry. 

Alt tags are written descriptions that you provide for an image. These descriptions provide more information about the webpage for search engines and improve the accessibility of your content to people who are visually impaired.

Internal Linking and Site Navigation

Internal linking and site navigation work together to provide a seamless user experience. Have you ever been on a website and not been able to find what you are looking for? It’s frustrating, and with the short attention span of today’s consumers, it could mean that they turn away from your business. 

Internal linking refers to adding links on your web pages to other pages within your website. For example, if I have a business selling computers, I could put a link on my webpage advertising laptops that take customers to my page where they can buy a laptop case. It is all about making your website convenient and simple for the consumer. 

Site navigation refers to setting up your website in a way that is centered around the customer experience. Your website needs to be easy for consumers to navigate. This can be done through creating and organizing tabs to different pages in your heading and footer section, including a search bar, and having easy access back to the homepage. 

Both internal linking and site navigation will help keep users on your website for longer and improve your search engine rankings.

Off-Page SEO

Link Building

Linking building is a great way to build the trust and authority of your website. Linking building is done by having other websites link to your website. These backlinks act as a vote of confidence for your company and further show that you are a trustworthy source. 

Getting high-quality backlinks takes some work. A few ways you can go about getting them are through guest blogging, promotion, and building relationships. 

Guest blogging or guest posting is where you write and publish articles on an authoritative website that is relevant to your business and include a link to your webpage. 

Another route you could take is through promoting your content, products or services to try and have another website post a link to you. This might involve building a relationship with bloggers, industry professionals, and other website owners. 

Link exchanges when done correctly can be another form of effective link-building. If you’re a storage company you may have a resource page that links to a moving company in your area. In turn, they may provide a link on their resource page to your business’s website.

Reviews and Reputation Management

Reviews for your business are crucial in today’s echo system. Reviews help show the legitimacy of your business and it is important to stay on top of them and respond when necessary. 

When you properly respond to negative reviews, you show customers that you care and that they can trust your company to rectify any issues if they arise. 

You should also find ways to encourage customers to leave reviews. This could be through QR codes customers can easily scan, emailing them after they purchase, or simply asking customers to do so after they purchase a product or service from you. 

Reputation management will help keep customers happy, coming back for more, and thus increasing your relevancy and rankings in the SERPs. 

In particular Google My Business reviews can be vital for local service businesses. These reviews help you rank in the map pack which can drive a lot of leads for local businesses.

Social Media

Although social media doesn’t provide a lot of benefit from an SEO perspective it’s important from a brand-building perspective.

 By building an online presence you can help increase brand awareness, engage with your customers, and ultimately drive traffic to your website.

One example of how you could do this is sharing content from your website such as blogs, new products or services, and portfolio material on your social media. This will help educate consumers and encourage them to visit your website.

How to Track Your Rankings

Now that you know all the tactics you can implement to boost your search engine rankings let’s talk about how to track results. Tracking results is crucial to understand what SEO methods are working and where changes in your strategy might need to happen. 

The first way to track your ranks is through using Google Search Console. The Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that allows you to monitor your website’s performance in Google search results. It provides valuable data on keywords, impressions, clicks, and average positions of your web pages. You can track your rankings over time and identify any changes or trends.

Google also has a program called Google Analytics. Google Analytics can provide indirect data on organic search traffic and keyword performance. By analyzing organic traffic trends and landing pages, you can infer the impact of SEO efforts on your website’s visibility and rankings.

There are plenty of other online tools that you can use as well. Some popular tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and Mangools provide comprehensive data, including rankings on different search engines, historical data, competitor analysis, and more. All this data can be used to pinpoint what is working and maybe what isn’t in your SEO strategy.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding the fundamentals of SEO is crucial for boosting your website’s visibility and attracting more organic traffic. By implementing effective SEO strategies you can increase the chances of your website appearing higher in search results and drive more organic traffic. 

Additionally, tracking your SEO rankings allows you to measure the success of your optimization efforts, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to enhance your website’s visibility in search results. 

Embracing the world of SEO is a valuable step for businesses and website owners seeking to maximize their online presence and reach a wider audience.


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