SEO For Beginners: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide

You’ve heard about SEO everywhere, and you might’ve figured it has to do with ranking your website on Google, but how do you get started? You start here with my SEO for beginners guide.

When I started with SEO, I had no idea how to do it. Today, I’ve scaled multiple websites to thousands of clicks, so if I can do it, you can, too.

I’ll explain everything you need to know to get started, and you can also watch the video if you prefer not to read it.

The Basics Of SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps improve your experience, authority, and website performance and gain visibility on search engines like Google.

SEO will help you rank higher in organic (unpaid) search results than sponsored or paid ones.

But what are paid results, you may wonder? These are the results of the Google Ads that advertisers use. They use a completely different ranking system than organic results.

Google’s organic results are ranked on quality, context, relevance, and usability, not pay-to-play.

SEO For Beginners Terms

Still, it helps to know the basic SEO terms for beginners before starting with search engine optimization.

  • On-page SEO: This is your website’s internal magic touch, including strategic keyword placement within your content and optimizing behind-the-scenes elements like site structure.
  • Off-page SEO: Think of this as building your website’s reputation outside your own walls. It involves strategies like earning backlinks from other high-quality websites and guest blogging on relevant platforms.
  • Link building: Imagine building bridges to other trustworthy websites. Link building involves acquiring links back to your website from these credible sources, boosting your website’s authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines.
  • SERPs refer to the pages you see after entering a search query in a search engine. It stands for Search Engine Results Pages.
  • White-hat SEO: These are the good guys of the SEO world. They represent ethical optimization tactics that adhere to search engine guidelines and best practices.
  • Black-hat SEO: Unlike white-hat tactics, black-hat SEO involves manipulative strategies that attempt to trick search engines and gain unfair ranking advantages. These tactics are often unethical and can even penalize your website.
  • E-E-A-T: Have you ever wondered what Google considers when judging your website’s content? E-E-A-T stands for Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This is one of the factors Google uses to determine your website’s relevance and credibility.
  • Keywords: These are the search terms people use for online information. As an SEO, your job is to identify relevant keywords related to your business and strategically incorporate them into your content to improve your website’s visibility in search results.
  • Keyword Research: Picture yourself digging for hidden treasure. Keyword research involves unearthing the keywords people use to search for topics related to your business. This helps you tailor your website content and target the right audience.
  • Organic/Organic results: These are the free listings you see in search results, earned solely based on the relevance of your website content to the user’s search query, not through paid advertising.
  • Organic traffic refers to visitors who find your website through organic search results instead of paid advertising or other channels.
  • Rank/page ranking: This indicates your website’s position in search results for a specific keyword. The higher the ranking, the closer your website appears to the top of the search results page.
  • Ranking factor: These are various elements that influence where your website lands in search results, including factors like your page authority and the relevance of your content to the search query.
  • Search intent: Understanding the underlying “why” behind a user’s search is crucial. Search intent refers to the reason or purpose behind a user’s search query, which helps you create content that addresses their needs and information gaps.

By understanding these key SEO concepts, you can take control of your website’s online presence and attract more organic traffic!

How To Learn SEO for Beginners

Okay, I have touched on some of the terms, but you must dive a bit deeper. You can learn SEO by yourself, but it will take time, as you need to learn a lot.

Luckily, you can find helpful information online to help you learn. Yes, I know everyone has different ways of learning, so I included some resources that fit your needs.

Sign up for YouTube Channels, Podcasts and Newsletters

You can find many reliable SEO educational resources online to watch and read to help you build your Search Engine Optimization knowledge.

Here are some of my recommendations:

These are some of the best places to find information, but as you optimize your site for Google, then start with Google. Check out the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, and I highly recommend Search Central Blog.

You can also get a curated list of the best SEO podcasts. Check out these great podcasts to listen to.

Take Beginner SEO Courses (Free & Paid)

If you prefer using guided learning, you can take an SEO course to build your SEO skills.

The fantastic thing is you can get an SEO certificate when completing your course. Here are some recommended options you can check out:

  • Best free SEO course for beginners on HubSpot Academy with a certificate.
  • Another free course you find on Google Analytics Academy is excellent for beginners.
  • Semrush Academy offers a course free for multiple levels of SEO.
  • With MOZ Academy, you can get a paid version for beginners and advanced learners.
  • FatStacks is another excellent place for beginners to get a paid SEO course. I took this course myself, and I strongly recommend it. Jon goes through it step-by-step and shares all his processes. You can top it up with extra courses from Tony Hill and Scott Delong. This is an excellent investment in yourself.

Stay Ahead of Trends

One thing you must learn is that SEO evolves all the time. The algorithms keep changing, and there are always new trends.

For example, recently, Google added the E standing for Experience to their existing E-E-A-T guidelines. This helps ensure that your content is relevant, helpful, and created by someone with experience.

Still, why is this important? Recently, AI-generated content has become popular and is a new way of working for writers. But it differentiates between humans and computers.

Hence, you need to become an SEO expert more than ever to recognize shifts when it happens in the industry. So, I recommend you check out the running lists of major updates that can impact your success in SEO.

Analyze Your Competitors

One way of understanding why your competitor’s sites are great is to learn what they are doing differently to your site.

I recommend you do a competitor analysis to help uncover new keywords you can use and where your competitors place backlinks.

Do SEO Every Day

Once you can apply what you have learned hands-on, use the SEO strategies you have learned.

Use your competitor’s analysis to practice on your website to update it based on your findings.

Starting one is an excellent idea if you don’t have a website yet. Then, you can implement what you learned to monitor your metrics.

The best way to learn SEO is to use it every day. Many SEO tools are available to help you along the way.

Use SEO Tools

Doing SEO functions by hand will be a nightmare; this is where SEO tools help. It has saved me loads of time and energy to bring results to my websites.

Here are my recommended tools:

  • KeySearch is an easy-to-use web-based keyword research tool. It can be used to search for primary keywords and long-tail keywords.
  • Use Google Analytics to view your metrics and understand your SEO efforts, such as measuring your non-organic and organic traffic.
  • To check and fix SEO performance issues on your site, Google’s Search Console can help.
  • Another helpful tool is Google PageSpeed Insights, which uses Google cookies to analyze traffic and more.
  • Lastly, you can find different AI writing assistants like Jasper to help you write an SEO-optimized blog.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which refers to improving a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

In other words, it’s optimizing your website to make it more attractive and more accessible for search engines like Google to understand, thereby allowing it to rank higher in their search results.

SEO involves various techniques, including:

  • research
  • on-page optimization
  • link building
  • content creation

By implementing these techniques, you can increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website, ultimately leading to more potential customers or clients.

Why does SEO Matter?

SEO plays a vital role in providing organic results. It brings more traffic to your site, leading to more customers, leads, and revenue. Even with basic SEO strategies, you can get a massive return on your investment.

So, the higher you rank, the more clicks you get. According to the State of Search 2023 report, 45.1% of desktop users click on organic results. As per the comparison, only 1.8% click paid results even if the ads rank at the top of the page.

But when you do your SEO right, it adds up fast. An excellent example is Amazon, which has millions of visits. It would cost you millions on Google Ads to get that much traffic.

Interestingly, they get loads of organic visitors whether they run or do not run ads. So, it is an ongoing process that takes hard work. Still, once you rank for a specific list of keywords, it remains stable over time.

For this reason, regarding digital marketing, SEO helps make your brand visible to potential customers so they can find you on search engines.

This, in turn, leads to more organic search traffic and conversions and increases brand awareness, giving you an advantage over your competitors.

SEO Step-by-Step Tutorial

Now that you know what SEO is and how it can help improve your website or blog post, check out this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Ensure Google Can Index Your Website

When Google cannot crawl or index properly, it will not appear on the Google Search Engine result pages (SERPs). So, how does a search engine work?

  1. You create and publish content on your sight.
  2. The Google search engine crawlers (bots) crawl your site to review the content.
  3. Then, Google will index the page, and if it meets Google’s ranking criteria, it will land on the search results.

So, index your pages to land on the search rankings. The best way to do this is to use the free Google Search Console.

After setting up your page, you can explore your indexing report.


If URLs are not indexed, you can find out why when you fix the crawlability issue.


The best way to fix these issues is to create an XML sitemap, a digital document that helps search engines understand your site’s structure.

The sitemap creation will depend on your site’s CMS (content management system) (Shopify, WordPress, etc.).

No matter your method, you must submit it through the Google Search Console Sitemaps.


The tool can do many things, and Google Search Console has a detailed guide you can check out.

Step 2: Understanding Keyword Research

Keyword research involves picking a list of words or phrases, known as long-tail keywords, relevant to your brand or business.

When searching for keywords, you need to think like they think, leading to conversion to reading an article or buying on your site.

For this reason, it helps to use a keyword research tool, but as a beginner, you can choose a keyword first. For example, you can use herbal teas and herbs if you specialize in tea products.

Then, list the keywords on a spreadsheet to keep track of them. You can pick one word or phrase to use on your site. You do not want to target different keywords on a page; you only want to target one.

So, you can create a page for local herbal teas as the main keyword and then target related terms like local tea, local herbal tea near me, locally brewed herbal tea, etc.

Step 3: Do Content Research

The first step to creating SEO-friendly content is understanding the search intent for your keyword. Search intent refers to the reason behind a user’s search query.

For instance, if someone searches for “herbal teas,” they could be looking to purchase, learn about, or navigate to a website related to herb teas.

Search engines like Google aim to provide users with the most relevant results that match their search intent.

Consequently, creating content that satisfies the user’s search intent is essential to rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP).

To determine the search intent for a particular keyword, you can use a keyword research tool like Semrush.

Once you’ve entered the keyword, you’ll see the intent section that tells you the type of search intent.

For example, if the search intent is informational, you can create a blog post or article that provides information about herbal teas.

You can also examine the SERP analysis to see what types of pages are ranking. This helps you understand the format and content types best for a particular keyword.

For instance, if most top-ranking pages are product review pages, you can create your product review page to match the user’s search intent.

By understanding search intent, you can create content that satisfies the user’s needs, which ultimately helps you to improve your website’s ranking on the SERP.

Step 4: Write Your Content

Now that you have search intent behind you, it is time to start creating content to earn high rankings on the search engine.

For example, using a keyword like herbal tea, there are a few essential things to remember.

  1. First, you’ll want to ensure your content is relevant to the target keyword. For example, you could write about the benefits of herbal tea, the different types of herbal tea, or even how to make your herbal tea at home.
  2. Once you have a topic in mind, it’s essential to incorporate the primary keyword naturally and organically throughout your content. This means including it in your title, headers, and throughout the body of your text, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  3. To make your content even more engaging, consider including images, videos, or infographics to help illustrate your points. You may also want to include links to other relevant resources or products related to herbal tea.

Ultimately, the key to writing great content after selecting a keyword is to focus on providing valuable information that is helpful to your audience.

Step 5: Optimize Your Content For SEO

After writing your content, you need to do on-page SEO, also known as on-site SEO, to improve your rankings. Google must look at the content to see if the search results are relevant.

  1. Ensure that your primary keyword is in the title, for example, 10 Healthy Herbal Teas. Also, remember to keep it short, around 55 to 60 characters.
  2. Use the keyword throughout the article, including the beginning of the intro, headings, and your content, but remember, no keyword stuffing.
  3. Next, place your keyword in your page URL, for example, healthline.com/nutrition/10-herbal-teas, but keep it short, simple, and descriptive.
  4. Then, place the keyword in the meta description and keep it short and not too long. For example, For a healthier lifestyle, choose any of these ten healthy herbal teas.
  5. Ensure the keyword is in the H1 text, which usually is the title we have mentioned.

Step 6: Improve User Experience

The UX, or user experience, is the most crucial aspect of your website, and it directly impacts your SEO. You want a positive user experience.

In a recent Google Antitrust trial released to the public, they found that Google uses the user behavior signals on your website to rank it in Google. 

So, what does this mean? It means the more people interacting with your website, the more positively it affects your rankings. 

Also, create a great CTA (call-to-action) button to draw visitors without looking gimmicky or intrusive. You can place it at the end of an article to flow naturally with your page and provide value.

Use images, headings, and short paragraphs to use the page’s white spaces. Implement bullets and numbered lists to catch a reader’s attention more easily.

Step 7: Create Internal Links

Another crucial thing is internal linking between pages on your site. Doing this helps the search engine understand the structure of your site. It also creates page ranking between pages and encourages visitors to navigate between your pages.

Step 8: Acquire Backlinks

Another pillar of your SEO success is building backlinks from reputable sites. With backlinks, the website gives you a vote of confidence but ensures the link back to you is trustworthy and relevant to your site. Here is how you can achieve this:

  • You can build links from a connected business, supplier, or associate by contacting them; many are happy to add your link.
  • Add your site to quality directories that deal in your niche.
  • Alternatively, you can use a place like HARO that connects journalists with marketers and business owners like you.

Another great way is to create external links to reputable websites.

Step 9: Technical SEO

With technical SEO, you ensure your site is accessible to search engines. The best way to know this is to connect to Google Search Console to fix indexing problems.

Then look at these technical issues:

  1. Depending on the website CMS, you might have a robot.txt file. If not, you should create one, which can be found at yourdomain.com/robot.txt. The file instructs the Googlebot on how to crawl the site and can block some pages, such as private or duplicate content.
  2. Next, you need to check your page speed metrics, as they can affect your Google rankings. You can do this using Google Search Console by clicking on Core Web Vitals. For more detailed information, click on the desktop or mobile report.
  3. Lastly, set your HTTPS and check if you can access your site using https:// instead of http://. If you can, you need not take further action. But if you cannot, speak with a website host or developer to plan your HTTPS migration.
  4. Also, prioritize your mobile version SEO to give phone users a great experience.

One helpful tip to make your site mobile-friendly is to use a responsive website layout that automatically adapts to a user’s screen.

Never let the navigation bar become cluttered, and use your animations sparingly, as it will slow down the speed of a mobile page.

Step 10: Measure Your SEO Efforts

It’s essential to keep track of the results of your SEO efforts.

After giving search engines time to crawl your website (which can take a few weeks to a few months), you should monitor your rankings to see how your website performs and track your progress.

If you’re new to SEO, you can check your rankings manually by searching for your target keyword on Google. Additionally, you can use a free analytics tool like Google Search Console (GSC) to see your rankings.

However, since GSC has some limitations, upgrading to an official SEO monitoring tool may be beneficial for tracking more relevant keywords and developing strategies to improve performance.

Along with monitoring your rankings, it’s crucial to monitor your Google PageRank. This metric measures the importance of your website on the web.

A higher PageRank increases your chances of ranking higher in search results. Check Page Rank is a valuable tool for estimating your PageRank.

Wrap-Up: SEO for Beginners

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a crucial aspect of digital marketing that can help improve your website’s ranking and visibility on search engines.

Navigating the complex world of SEO can be overwhelming for beginners. Nonetheless, one can follow a few fundamental principles to get started with SEO.

Firstly, it is important to understand your target audience and conduct keyword research to identify the relevant keywords that users are searching for. Optimizing on-page elements such as title tags, meta descriptions, and headers can improve a website’s visibility on search engines.

Additionally, creating high-quality content that provides value to users can help improve a website’s authority and attract more traffic.

Implementing these basic SEO strategies can help you get started optimizing your websites for search engines. However, it is important to remember that SEO is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort to achieve desired results.

So why not subscribe to my newsletter to be updated about what is happening in the SEO world and implement it in your daily SEO activities?


How can I start SEO as a beginner?

To start SEO as a beginner, focus on learning the fundamentals of keyword research, on-page optimization, and building high-quality backlinks.

Implement what you’ve learned gradually on your website while staying updated with industry trends and changes to search engine algorithms to refine your strategies.

Can I learn SEO on my own?

You can learn SEO independently through online resources, tutorials, and practice.

To become proficient in SEO, dedicate time to understanding the principles, experimenting with different techniques, and staying updated with the latest trends.

What is the first thing to do in SEO?

The first step in SEO is to conduct keyword research to identify relevant search terms for your website.

Understanding what your target audience is searching for will help you optimize your content and strategy effectively.

Can I do SEO without paying?

You can do SEO without paying by utilizing free resources such as online guides, tutorials, and tools to optimize your website.

However, investing time and effort in learning and implementing SEO best practices is essential for achieving organic visibility and traffic.

What does SEO cost?

The cost of SEO can range from $0 to $10,000+ per month depending on factors such as website size, competition, and the extent of optimization needed.

Picture of Phillip Stemann
Phillip Stemann
I'm Phillip, and I've been in the SEO game since 2020, where I took it under the skin. I've grown multiple websites to thousands of clicks, and I'm sharing all my SEO knowledge through my content and YouTube channel. I started as a curious mind at 13 years old, programming and programming for many years before I discovered SEO. I then started with the technical part of SEO as it came naturally to me with my technical background, and then I took on all parts of SEO. I love helping other people grow their websites, and I help my clients do the same.

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SEO For Beginners: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide

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