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SEO for Beginners: All You Need to Know

SEO for Beginners

SEO for Beginners

Getting your website to perform better is extremely valuable, no matter whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to sell through your website or a blogger just looking to build an audience. SEO is all about earning more relevant traffic as cheaply as possible, so if you’re not familiar with how SEO is done, this piece is for you.

In this SEO tutorial for beginners, we’re going to cover what SEO involves and explain how you can do SEO for your website, step by step. If you find yourself interested in learning even more once we’re done, you can proceed to a comprehensive SEO course. Let’s get started.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines like Google crawl the internet to discover and categorize websites, then store them in search indexes. When you search on Google, the Google algorithm interprets your query, goes through its index to find the most relevant pages and presents you with pages of search results (also known as SERPs).

SEO work is all about configuring websites to make them more likely to appear prominently in those SERPs. It isn’t as flashy or immediate as something like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, but it has excellent long-term results when done effectively.

Do you need to do any SEO?

This depends on several things, including what you’re trying to achieve with your website, how much-improved rankings would be worth to you, and how good your website currently is. It doesn’t take long to greatly improve a poor website, but it can be very challenging to make a good website that much better.

If you’ve never given SEO any thought before this, however, and you’re even slightly ambitious about your website, then yes — you need to check the SEO basics at the very least.

What SEO steps should you take for a new website?

If you’ve just set up a website, or you have an existing website that has never had any SEO work done on it, you need to carry out the following SEO tasks:

Check that your website has been indexed

As noted before, search crawlers store website information in indexes, but they can’t index every page or even every site. Settings or technical issues can prevent a page from being indexed, meaning it can’t appear in search results at all.

To check if your website has been indexed, search directly for its URL and see if it comes up. If a new site doesn’t appear, it most likely just hasn’t been indexed yet — give it time. When a website that has been live for several months doesn’t appear in SERPs, that suggests that there’s some kind of problem causing it not to be indexed.

Here are some of the issues that can give rise to this:

  1. Crawlers not being able to find your website due to a lack of links leading to it.
  2. Links to your site is set to ‘noindex’, preventing crawlers from following them.
  3. The server file that instructs crawlers (robots.txt) being set to block them entirely.
  4. Your site not being up to the search engine’s quality standards.

If your site hasn’t been indexed and you think it should have been by now, consult an SEO expert to get some advice. If it has been indexed, then move on to on-page factors.

Review your website’s on-page SEO

On-page SEO concerns all the factors on a webpage that affect how that page ranks — factors such as how quickly it loads, how much content it features, and how the information is structured. If your on-page SEO is only mediocre, search crawlers will consider the page less useful and/or relevant than more optimized pages, causing it to be ranked below them.

When reviewing your content, think about how it would look to a computer program that doesn’t understand human language very well. Is it clear how the page is structured? What the title is, what the sections are? Can it be broken down into digestible chunks, or does it only make sense if you read (and understand) the entire thing?

To get the most out of your on-page SEO, try to use various standard structuring elements such as the following:

  1. Tables
  2. Numbered or bulleted lists
  3. Headings and subheadings
  4. Images

You can see how this page has been broken down into sections, each with subheadings that makes it clear what the topic of the section is.

Provide relevant metadata

To help search engines understand what pages are intended to do, you should give every page a meta title — this will also determine what appears on the browser tab. Every title should neatly and clearly explain the content of the page. Another title for this page might be something like “A Simple Introduction to SEO: Learn the Basics”, for instance.

You should also include a meta description, which affects the text that appears below the page title in a search result. While search engines don’t use meta descriptions for ranking purposes, they do make a difference to the likelihood of a searcher choosing your page to click on — to make your meta descriptions as enticing as you can.

If your site is image-heavy, take the time to give each image some informative alt text (a picture of a dog might simply be described as “A picture of a dog”). This is important for accessibility purposes, because alt text is used for people with visual impairments, and important for general SEO because search crawlers aren’t very good at figuring out what images are without some assistance.


As noted in the introduction, there’s a great SEO course elsewhere on this site that will give you a lot of additional information. You can also make an effort to start consuming SEO and general marketing content, as it will give you a lot of essential contexts. Make a habit of checking out podcasts like Search Engine Nerds, Marketing Speak, or The Agents of Change, as well as checking out the rest of this blog and other SEO-targeted blogs.

SEO isn’t nearly as intimidating as you might first think, so don’t get overwhelmed by the jargon and the mountains of advice available online. Soak up as much information as you can find, and you’ll soon discover that you’re ready to move on to more advanced SEO concepts and start taking steps to turn your website into a polished performer.

Well there you go, a guide to how SEO is done for anyone totally unfamiliar with the industry! There’s a lot to wrap your head around, but everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s something that’s absolutely worth pursuing if you have any website-related ambitions. Good luck!

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