A Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide to SEO for 2020

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Do you want to learn this SEO technique to boost your rankings? But, feel it’s too hard and not worth the effort?

Let’s begin in a very simple way.

But before we begin, I want to assure you that many SEOs and resources as well make SEO very complex nowadays.

I promise, this guide will not.

What is SEO?

SEO is a technical term which stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is responsible for the quality & quantity of your website traffic.

In simple terms, SEO is the process of getting organic Internet traffic into your website.

SEO is the best way to get visible & drive traffic to your website without any cost, Although it is a long-term method but it will worth it.

Is SEO difficult?

Well, It depends on individual experiences. Suppose, If you are just a beginner in SEO, you exactly don’t know what works or what doesn’t. 

A person who has experience of 4 or 5 years knows how to do keyword research, how to choose low competitive keywords, which tool to use, or how to smartly plan the whole process.

While a beginner doesn’t know how to do these things so they tried all the possible things.

The only thing which matters is – KEEP EXPERIMENTING.

As you dig deep you’ll know what you exactly need to do & then perform accordingly.

So, In a straight word – Yes, SEO is difficult for beginners as well as for experts but the only difference is Experts know how to & where to play.

Some basic terms of SEO

BLACK HAT

Black hat SEO are the activities which used to improve the website rankings in search engines result page & these activities are marked as black hat by search engines. 

The ranking factor depends on the guidelines of a search engine.

For example, Google works around numbers of factors which decide which website to rank & At the same time search engines also look for the black hat activities as in their guidelines.

Some of the black hat SEO activities are –

  • Content automation
  • Link manipulation
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Cloaking

It depends on individual requirements whether he should use Black hat or not.

For eg – If you’re a branded company or want to build a long-lasting business then avoid black hat SEO.

WHITE HAT

White Hat SEO is the completely opposite of black hat.

It is the activities that are used to improve the ranking of the website in legitimate way means by following the guidelines of the search engine.

In simple terms, white hat SEO is the search engine approved techniques, tactics, and strategies. White Hat SEO are the best activities to prevent Google Penalties. 

In the White Hat SEO, You will be doing the following things –

  • Create content for humans not for the search engines
  • Create quality content which actually adds value to the readers
  • Perform SEO activities under the guidelines of the search engines

Some of the White Hat techniques are –

  • High-quality content
  • Keyword-rich Meta tags & description
  • Easy to navigate

White hat techniques took a long time to give results but it is the best way to build a long-lasting legitimate website & It gives results for a long period of time.

ON-Page SEO vs OFF-Page SEO

There are two types of SEO –

  1. ON-PAGE SEO
  2. OFF-PAGE SEO

On-Page SEO is the activity that is performed on the website.

Some of the activities are –

  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Internal Links
  • Structure of the page

While, On the other hand, OFF Page SEO are the activities performed outside of the website.

Some of the activities are –

  • Link Building
  • Influencer Outreach.
  • Guest Author.
  • Broken Link Building.
  • Social Networking.
  • Social Bookmarking.

What is Search Engine?

Search engine is a platform or a software system which helps the user to access any information available on the internet.

Search engines look for the results in their database, arrange them according to their algorithm & put the results on the search engine result page to the user according to their search query.

Some of the popular search engines are – Google, Yahoo, Bing & DuckDuckGo, etc.

How search engine works?

There might be different algorithms for each search engine but their working method is almost the same. 

Search engines first find the information through crawling & then organize the information by indexing.

Search engine working based on the three main functions –

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Ranking

Let’s understand them one by one –

It is the process which is used by the search engines to scan the website across the world wide web with the help of crawlers (small bots). 

Crawling –  

Crawlers scan all the available content on the website that means content, sections, pages, subpages, etc. It scans every available data on the website. 

Crawlers scan the web pages & follow the link available on the webpage. They go from link to link & collect information from the search engine’s servers.

Indexing –

Indexing is the process in which search engines collect & store the information to provide fast & accurate results to the user.

In the simple terms, Indexing means adding a web page content into the search engines.

When crawlers crawl the web page the search engine’s system renders the content & indexes them by various factors from Keyword to Website structure.

Ranking

Search engines use algorithms to rank the content & these algorithms are frequently changing over the period of time.

To rank the website, Search engine depends on their algorithms & the ultimate AI of the search engine is to provide useful & relevant results to the user according to their search query.

There are more than 200 ranking factors Google takes a signal to rank a website.

Some of the primary ranking factors are –

  • Domain Factors
  • Page-Level Factors
  • Site-Level Factors
  • Backlink Factors
  • User Interaction
  • Special Google Algorithm Rules
  • Brand Signals
  • On-Site Webspam Factors
  • Off-Site Webspam Factors

Search Engine Framework

How People use Search Engine

People use search engines by typing the particular words or phrases, commonly known as keywords. 

People use search engines for –

  • Research
  • Shopping
  • Entertainment

Tip – It is important to know why someone will search for your website? What will you offer to them?

People are using search engine for these two frameworks –

  • Business Framework
  • Customer Framework

Business Framework

A number of people use the search engine for business or for professional purposes.

To find the customers for their business or to find a way to improve the business.

Customer Framework 

Most people also use search engines as a customer. They’re probably looking for shopping, some kind of service or solutions, etc.

What is Keyword research?

Keyword research is an important part of SEO.

When you search any query or term on the Internet, that term is known as Keyword.

For eg – “Best laptop for gaming” this is the keyword. 

when you want to rank on the keyword, the first thing you need to do is select the keywords in which you want to be ranked & later do the keyword research.

In the keyword research, You need to consider a few factors like –

  • Keyword relevance
  • Keyword search volume 
  • Keyword competition
  • Keyword Intent

Where to find keywords?

There are plenty of platforms & tools available in the market through which you can find the keywords.

Some of them like Google keyword planner, Ubersuggest, Ahref, & Moz, etc.

I suggest you that don’t completely depend on these tools, Do manual research about the keyword with the help of these tools.

Here, We are going to discuss Some of the platforms & their methods to find keywords –

Google Suggestions

Google Autosuggest is the perfect place to get an idea of what people are actually searching for & how you can create content around them.

Here are the steps you need to do –

Step 1: Go to the search engine

Step 2: Type your initial word in the search bar

Step 3: Add “FOR”

Step 4: And, Google will suggest you

Step 5: Write it down

Tip – Try different words with the same meaning around the topic.

Answer the public

Answer the public is a keyword search tool, which provides instant search insight of a keyword.

Here are the steps to get instant search insight of a keyword

Step 1: Go the Answerthepublic.com

Step 2: Type your keyword & search

Step 3: Now, Look at the data

Keyword Research Tools

There are plenty of keywords tools available in the market which will help you to do the best keyword research.

One of the reason to use keyword research tools is they have millions of keywords stored in their servers to provide you vast insight.

My suggestion to you is always use these keyword research tools to gather the data & do your manual research to choose the keywords.

Some of my favorite keyword research tools are–

  • Ahref
  • SEMrush
  • Ubersuggest
  • Google Correlate
  • Bulk keyword generator
  • Keyword In
  • Soovle
  • Wordtracker Scout

YouTube

Youtube is the 2nd biggest search engine on this planet after Google. So, It’s a great idea to look out for the keywords on Youtube.

You can use Youtube autocomplete to get the keywords ideas. Write them down & later do research on any keyword research tool you like.

Here is the example of a youtube autocomplete –

If you will dig deeper, You can also check the competitor’s tags to find out the keywords they are using.

Here are the steps you need to follow – 

Step 1: Go to the particular page of the video

Step 2: Click the right button & Select view source code

Step 3: Press Ctrl +F  and  you can search for keywords in the source code

Quora

Quora will help you to find the long-tail keywords, basically, these long-tail keywords are in the form of questions.

So, You have to open your mind to what needs to be done here by using these data.

Here are the steps you to find keywords on Quora –

Step 1: Go to the quora & use the search bar

Step 2: Search the generic topic of your niche

Step 3: Look for the questions which are popular

Step 4: Look for the answers which are upvoted the most

What is SEO friendly content?

SEO friendly content or SEO optimized content is the content which is written by keeping SEO factors in mind.

 Some of the factors are –

  • Use of Keywords
  • Length of Article
  • Original Content
  • Title 
  • Use of Proper Images
  • Internal links

Tip – Always write for the Humans, not for the search engine.

When people write content they think that Article must be more than 2000 words, keyword stuffing & they end up writing for machines.

Always keep in mind, Your blog post will be read by humans.

While writing your content work on SEO factors but at the same time keep in mind you’ll not be writing this for the search engine.

The main goal is if your blog post will be liked by the people then the search engine will definitely prioritize your content. 

So, Don’t worry about the search engines.

How to write SEO friendly content?

Writing a blog post is easy, Anyone can do the research & write a few hundreds of words on it. 

But, to gain authority, to get visible, to be on the reader’s mind, you need to write a SEO friendly or SEO optimized blog post.

Here are some tips you must follow to write SEO friendly content –

Length of the article

Some of the marketers may suggest that you should write a long blog post, thousands of words post.

I agree with them.

 Long blog post matters because visitors spend more time on your website & It gives a signal to the search engine that the person likes it.

But,

The matter is when people write long articles, they just write to fill the words. 

If you write useless crap things in your blog post, Who is going to read it?

Your visitor will scroll as fast as they can.

If you’re writing a blog post for 1000 words & you ended up in 800-900 words, Don’t push yourself.

Don’t write just to fill the words. Write the full value-packed content.

Optimize the Images

A picture speaks thousands of words. Images are the booster for your blog post.

Images will help you to land the audience into your website.

Putting images & optimizing it in the blog post is the important factor of on-page SEO.

Here are the few tips you must follow while optimizing the image –

  • Use a relevant image.
  • Use a good file name for your image
  • Make sure image dimensions match the image size as displayed
  • Reduce file size or compress the images
  • Don’t forget to add a caption
  • Use image alt text. 
  • Add structured data to your images
  • Don’t break the left reading line with an image – Always align images right or center
  • Provide all the context you can

Structure your post

Imagine a plate of food, Every food is organized in a proper way, How much you will like it?

Now, Imagine a second plate of food. All the food is messed & mixed up, How much will you like this plate of food?

Obviously!!

You are going to like the first food of plate fresh & clean.

Isn’t it?

The Same concept applies within the website.

Search engines and the visitors both like neat & clean structured content. 

Structuring a post will give a better user & SEO friendly environment to your website. 

There are some points where you can focus while structuring the post. Some of the important points are –

  • Craft your post – Points, Headings, etc
  • Add links whenever necessary
  • Use keywords but don’t do keyword stuffing
  • Make sure use headings properly
  • Optimize image & length of content

We’ll be discussing all the things in detail.

Use a plugin

You can also take the help of a plugin in WordPress to do On-page. These plugins will suggest you how to do the right things in On-page SEO. It’ll reduce your workload.

Some of the best On-Page SEO plugins are – 

  • Yoast SEO
  • RankMath
  • SEO Framework
  • SEO Squirrly
  • All in One SEO pack

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO completely focused on optimizing the web pages of your website to get higher ranking on the search engines. In simple terms, On-Page SEO is the practice of performing Seo activity on your website. 

There are three terms in SEO –

  • ON Page SEO
  • OFF Page SEO
  • Technical SEO

There are a number of factors in On-page SEO which you’ve to do efficiently to get higher ranking & to get ranked the first thing you should keep in mind is ON Page SEO.

If you perform ON page SEO effectively, there are still some chances that you’ll get ranked without doing OFF Page SEO.

So, here we are going to discuss some of the factors of ON-PAGE SEO–

Title Tag

Meta Title is the title tag or headlines of a blog post or web pages.

Title tags are the ones which your readers are going to look at on the search engine result page.

You’ve to write it Clickable, accurate & title should describe the content of the page.

Here are the few tips to write a good meta title –

  • Keep your title under 60 character
  • Put your main keywords in your title
  • Make it relevant to the content
  • Write different titles for each page
  • Write in the form of Call to action

Meta Description 

A meta description is the description of the web page content & It shows in the search engine result page under the Meta tag. 

The meta tag is a kind of ad-copy because Meta title & Meta description are the two things which your target audience is going to see.

To make them land on your website you’ve to write it effectively, That’s why it is the important [art of on page seo.

Here are the few tips to write a clickable meta description –

  • Use Call to action
  • Be specific & relevant
  • Don’t exceed the limit of 160 character
  • Don’t put your keyword more than one
  • Think yourself as a visitor before writing

Heading Tags

Search engines scan heading tags to find relevant content – Erin Yat.

Headings are used to give a proper structure to the content. From the SEO point of view, It is very necessary to use the Headings – H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, &  H6, etc properly in the content.

It is also one of the important factor for on-page SEO.

Here are the few tips how to use heading tags –

  • Don’t use more than one H1 tag.
  • Keep your headings short & relevant.
  • Add your primary keyword in H1 tag.
  • Keep your H1 tag less than 70 characters.
  • Write h2 to h6 tags short & with your other keywords.

The use of H2, H3 and on tags –

Take a look at one example of blog post about “How to lose weight”

H1 tag – How to lose weight within a month 

H2 tag – Plan your goal

               H3 tag – Diet

               H3 tag – Exercise

H2 tag – Execute your goal

  1. Anchor Text

Anchor Text is a hyperlink in the text which leads the visitor to the other page of the website.

It’ll enhance the user experience.

Google says anchors text helps the algorithm to crawl the pieces of content that don’t collect a copy on the internet for indexing.

Here’s the example of Anchor text –

 Image

Alt Tag

Alt tag is an HTML attribute which is implemented in image tags to provide search engines with alternative text of the particular image.

Search engines basically don’t index or interpret the images.

So, the Alt tags help search engines to find out what exactly the image is about but now with the help of artificial intelligence search engines are start gathering information about the images.

Here’s what you can do to optimize the Alt tags for SEO –

  • Keep the description short & relevant
  • Alt text must be short than 125 character
  • Don’t do keyword stuffing

Internal links

An internal link is the network of links within your website.

In other words, internal links connect your website’s one page to another page.

Internal linking is one of the main on-page SEO factor considered by the search engines.

By implementing the internal linking strategy you can help search engine to understand your websites –

  • The relevance of the pages
  • Relationship between the pages
  • Value of the pages

There are some steps you must follow to effectively place internal links –

  • Structure your site properly
  • Add Contextual links
  • Link on the rank basis
  • Add the navigational links
  • Add relevant links to your post

TECHNICAL SEO

Google Search Console

Google search console is a completely free service from Google. It helps you to monitor your website on their search engine result page.

You can set up your search console & submit a sitemap of your website. After that, you can easily monitor your website.

Website Speed

The speed is also one of the factor responsible for SEO. Search engine algorithms use website speed as a signal to rank the pages of the website. 

Here’s how it matters –

  • A visitor came into your website
  • And your website took more than 5 seconds to load
  • Visitor got irritated & you lose one of your visitor.

Here are the few tips to increase your website speed –

  • Choose the best hosting
  • Enable Compression
  • Reduce redirects
  • Optimize the images

AMP

AMP means Accelerated mobile pages. With the help of AMP, you can easily create a simple mobile website which downloads instantly without wasting any seconds.

It’s main benefit is speed.

Here are some benefits of using AMP in your website –

  • Increase Speed
  • Better User experience
  • More revenue

You must use AMP for your website.

Sitemap

A sitemap is a complete map of your website and it helps the search engines to crawl your website. Sitemap helps the search engine to index each page & especially most important pages on your website.

Here are the tips by which you can use the sitemap to improve your ranking on the google –

  • Create a sitemap
  • Submit the sitemap into search engines
  • Use sitemap report to find out the error in your website
  • Use the sitemap to find out the error with the indexing
  • Match your sitemaps and Robots.txt
  • Compress sitemaps file, if large
  • Calculate submit pages indexation rates
  • Include only SEO relevant images in XML sitemaps

Robots.txt

A robots.txt file helps the search engines to exactly find out which pages to go or can’t in the website. It gives you to control which content of the website you want to show on the search engines or which you don’t want.

Here’s how you can effectively use Robots.txt file –

  • Create a Robots.txt file
  • Your Robots.txt file must be easy to find
  • Check the mistakes & errors

HTTPS Vs HTTP

HTTPS is the same like HTTP but has encryption, The only difference is that HTTP(S) is TLS (SSL) is secured means your website is encrypted. For the SEO point of view, we must use HTTPS to prove the search engine that your website is secured and safe.

URL/IP Canonicalization

A canonical tag is used to tell the search engines that a particular URL is the master copy of a page. It prevents the problem caused by duplicate content that appears on the multiple URLs.

Here are the few tips which helps you to resolve the duplicate content problem & the important factors to consider while using canonical tag –

  • Always use lowercase URLs
  • Use the correct domain version (HTTPS)
  • Use one canonical tag per page

OFF-PAGE SEO

Off-page SEO is the activity which is performed off-site of the website to increase the ranking of the website in the search engines. 

Off-page SEO ranking factors include:-

  • Backlinks
  • Domain authority
  • Social Shares

Many people think Link building is the only factor of off-page SEO but Google has said that they use other off-site SEO signals as well.

Search engine algorithms are changing with the time & off-page SEO will build the relevance, authority & trust of a particular website.

Well, No one exactly knows how much percentage of on-page & off-page SEO signals algorithm have to look upto, but the recent study shows that OFF page SEO weight more than 50% in the ranking of a website.

Well, my point of view is different. For me, Both of these are an important part of SEO. The first thing you’ve to focus on On-page SEO & your second priority will be off-page SEO.

Why link building is important?

Link building strategy plays an important role in off-page SEO. Link building helps to show that the website is relevant & authoritative. When the website get a link from another high DA (Domain Authority) website then it gives a signal to the search engine that this website has good authority & content.

Here are the some points which will tell you the importance of link building –

  • It Is one of the top three ranking signal search engine use
  • It helps to build the relationships between the communities
  • It helps in getting the traffic from other websites
  • It helps to get the referrals
  • It also helps to building the brand
  • It helps in getting indexed in search results faster

Types of Backlinks –

There are mainly two types of backlink- 

  • No follow backlinks
  • Do follow backlinks 

There is no difference one can see between them but the difference in their source code.

Let’s understand them one by one –

No Follow Backlinks –

No follow backlinks are the less valuable links. They are used to tell the search engine that don’t follow this link.

Search Engines rarely prioritize no-follow links but the number of no-follow links & do-follow links can vary website to website and search engine wants the good mixture of both the links.

No follow backlinks still provide some value to SEO. You will get some indirect benefits of no-follow links.

No follow links are generally came from –

  • Social media websites
  • Blog comments
  • Q&A websites
  • Forums
  • Press releases

Do-Follow links 

Do follow links are the valuable & prioritized links in comparison to no-follow links. Do follow links tell the search engines that the content on the website is genuine, important, and should be crawled by the search engines.  

These types of links put a difference in terms of SEO, that’s why you have to always look for do follow backlinks. 

There are some genuine ways through which you can get do-follow backlinks – 

  • Guest post
  • Testimonials
  • HARO ( Help a reporter out ) 
  • Broken Link building 

Quality aspect of backlink

The quality of a backlink is very important in terms of SEO.

Quality of a backlink is decided by where it comes from or in simple words the high-quality backlink is coming from a high domain authority website because these high authority websites are already reputed in search engine algorithms.

So, whenever you get the link from a high domain authority website it gives search engine a signal that this website content is high-quality content. 

Here are the few ways through which you can determine the quality of backlinks –

  • Check the domain authority
  • Check their backlink profile
  • Use a backlink analysis tool
  • Authority of a page
  • Relevancy of the site
  • Link Position on the page

Link Building strategies 

Building links for the website is one of the most important things one can do for SEO to get a higher ranking.

You need to follow an efficient plan and strategies to achieve your goals. 

So, we are going to discuss some strategies of link building which will help you to get a high-quality backlinks for your website –

Guest posting –

Guest posting is one of the most effective strategy for link building. In the guest posting, you will write articles & publish for someone else’s blog and in return, you will get a quality link to your site.

There are some steps you need to follow to make guest posting easy & focused for you –

Find the leads 

First thing you need to do is find out the websites for whom you are going to write and get a backlink in return.

You can do some google search by typing your keyword + phrases to get the list of publishers.

Here are the few examples for you –

[keyword] + “submit guest blog”
[keyword] + “contribute to our site”
[keyword] + “guest post”
[keyword] + “article wanted”
[keyword] + “writer wanted”
[keyword] + “guest author”
[keyword] + “submit article”
[keyword] + “guest post written by”
[keyword] + “contributing writer

Or the next thing you can do is spy on your competitors. You can use any competitor analysis tool like link explorer, Ahref & many more. With the help of these tools, you can easily look up to your competitor backlink profile & get the leads.

Look for the opportunities 

Your content must add value to them. Put yourself in the shoe of the publisher & their reader as well.

These are the things you have to look up to when looking for opportunities –

  • Content must be relevant to your niche
  • Domain authority should be good
  • Readers have to engage with the content

Find out the content ideas 

You have to write content for life, not for any event or occasion.

Here is the example –

How to lose weight? (Evergreen)

Who will win this election? ( Event)

Also, You have to write the content which will make readers curious so the readers will go to your website. 

Researching or select a content idea is not an easy task but there are tools which will help you to make it easy –

  • Ahref
  • Buzzsumo
  • RankTracker

All you need to do is put the publisher’s website & find out the blog post that performs best.

There are few things you’ve to keep in mind is –

  • Type of articles (list, guide, research, etc.)
  • Style of the article headlines;
  • Level of the audience (beginner, intermediate, advanced)

Reach to the publishers

Now, you don’t need to directly send the articles or copy of the content. Firstly, you need to build a genuine relationship with them & later you can mail & pitch them.

Got it?

Deliver the content

Once the publisher accepts your idea, Write an amazing kick-ass blog post which hasn’t been seen on their website yet. As you read above we told you how to write an SEO friendly blog post.

Submit and follow up

Now, You have to submit your post to them. Your work hasn’t finished yet, You need to keep followup with them unless you get a reply or get reviewed & published.

Track

Once your post is reviewed and published, don’t forget to track the success of your strategy through google analytics. Google Analytics will tell you how much traffic your link is driving & how healthy it is, So keep your eyes on it.

Broken link building

Broken link building is the activity in which we replace the 404 pages with the fresh working link to the particular website.

Broken link is the easy strategy because in this every time you provide some value to the publisher’s website. 

Now, the question is how can you use the broken link building strategy?

Build the high-quality backlinks.

Here are the steps –

  1. Find out the dead pages on the top websites of your industry
  2. Find out the broken links into their websites
  3. Outreach them

 Here are the few tips for successful outreach –

  • Reach out to the right person
  • Keep your outreach email short & relevant
  • Always follow-ups

Here are some tools which will help you to find broken links of any website –

  • Broken Link checker
  • Screaming Frog Seo spider
  • Google webmaster tools
  • W3C Link checker
  • Xenu Link Sleuth

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