SEO Tutorial for Beginners

Basic SEO Tutorial

People might think that SEO is complex as science can be, but in reality SEO isn't that much complicated, only in certain cases.
If you already know about the basics of SEO, or would just like to jump in a little bit more with a comprehensive beginner's guide, then study our free and beginner-friendly, yet comprehensive, SEO Guide.

If you are a bit outdated, you can always brush off your SEO vocabulary by visiting our SEO Glossary. No matter what your experience or where you decide to start with your SEO learning, it is important to keep in mind that SEO is an infinite learning discipline as Google is always ahead, and it takes time to get a good grasp on how the difficulties of the process of optimization work.
To learn more, you can also check our list of recommended SEO books.

Link Building

Before you step into link building campaign, it is important to ask yourself whether you have something worth linking to, otherwise you'll be stuck doing the same thing repeatedly on other website owners do, which is poor quality linking campaigns like free directory submissions, blog and forum comments, etc. Every successful link building campaign starts with a website that has content worth linking at. If you don't have that, then you are wasting time and money and it would probably be better to spend time on developing such content. Now lets assume that you have a wonderful, and unique content on your website, there are some simple linking strategies that you can use to get you on the right track.

The links from organizations

These little examples represent a short introduction of what is possible when it comes to link building.

  • Try first to do the simple registration such as local chamber of commerce, you find there that they include link to their members' websites.
  • Have yourself signed up on a reputable website, for example Apple, once signed in you can drop couple lines about your business and put your website link.
  • Creating linkable content

    If you already are an expert in your field, you can use your knowledge and write helpful articles on other websites which might benefit from your work.
    In counterpart providing such content to websites, you would request backlinks from lines included from within those articles or blog posts.
    Keep in mind that you would not want to publish an article at more than one location, as the effect created by the duplicate content will be counter-effective unfortunately, as search engines only assign value to the content they perceive to be the original version.

    Link requests

    The easiest, but the effective-less way to build backlinks is a direct link request. It is better to writing to the webmaster and ask for a link. For some people it works well, for most people it doesn’t. With some directories or resource websites you may actually get the links…but for blogs, content sites and high quality websites you probably won’t.

    Paid directory submissions

    High quality paid directory submissions that offer a suitable category for your product or service. Some quick directories example would include Yahoo Directory,, and USAlistingdirectory.

    Niche directory submissions

    Manually researched niche directories which can usually be found on industry related sites. These types of directories can either be free or offer a paid option. In any case, you will get a link from a relevant website. These types of links will not be the highest quality ones, but as a good start will do well enough so you can establish a nice foundation for your website's link profile

    Optimizing Your Website

    The instructions on this page are meant to immerse you into the SEO World. They can also be used to make sure that the SEO company that you are about to hire will do a good job. Educate yourself as much as you can on the topic the better you know about the merrier

    Logical and helpful internal link structure (in-line links)

    For most (if not all) things in search engine optimization, logic is what a maestro is for a classic concerto. So when it comes to internal linking, logic should be your base foundation. You should be able to justify In-line links in your content and think if the reader is going to benefit from it or not. Now analyze in that context if a particular keyword mentioned in your content on page ('A') is about to relate the information on the other page ('B') on your website-- Why not linking that keyword to page 'B'? In some cases you will need to develop new content to facilitate this process.

    The Things You Can Do

    1) - Improving the content and keep it up-to-date.

    2) - Try to create content that highlight a specific topic while using relevant keywords.

    3) - Make sure your textual content is well researched, well written, and useful in some fashion.

    4) - Try to make your titles and headings descriptive but simple.

    5) - Incorporate keywords in your file names.

    The Things You CAN'T Do

    1) - Select a list of keywords and create optimized pages for each individual keyword. This is nothing more than rehashing paragraphs with the main targeted keyword as the only variation. You should NOT have pages like "Blue Metallic Cars Tampa Bay", "Blue Metallic Cars Jacksonville ", "Blue Metallic Cars Miami".

    2) - Constantly add new pages to the site that does not offer any useful information, nor interesting and entertaining, but are there only to serve the search engines and to show them how much optimized content you have.

    3) - Stuffing you file names with keywords, creating absurd long-tale link such as "blue-cars-in-tampa-fl-dealer-blue-cars.html".

    4) - Write content that is stuffed with keywords, but does not offers little to no value to your visitors.

    5) - Stuff your titles with keywords, or repeat the same keyword multiple times.

    Keyword Research

    Before doing any search engine optimization for your website, it is necessary to set goals towards which you can strive. The most basic of these goals is ranking for a particular set of keywords. Though you may think the most popular keywords in your industry are the ones for which you should rank, it is important to keep in mind that quality (like in many other things), as opposed to quantity, is what is important.

    To illustrate, let's say you have a website that sells blue metallic (and only blue metallic) cars. First things that come up in mind are? Rankings and Keyword selection. Most of the time you will figure out how your website will rank for the word 'cars' in order to be successful. So let's see if it is a true fact.

    Do not let yourself distracted by the high volume keywords. It is more important to figure out which keywords are more likely to convert. Let's say that the keywords 'cars' has a monthly search volume of 1,000. Now let's also assume that through incredible efforts (since 'cars' is going to be a pretty difficult keyword to rank for you or the company you hire manage to get your site to rank in the #1 position in all search engines. Let's again also assume that each search engine user queries lead for the word 'cars' and it ends up that they are clicking on the #1 listing which is not the case.

    Now, the 1,000 searches conducted by search engine users for the term 'cars' can be broken down into two very broad categories: those who are looking to buy socks of some color, not necessarily blue, and those who are simply looking for information on socks. The truth here is, that the ones that are looking to make a purchase are likely going to be interested in a variety of colors, not only blue socks. At this point it should be clear by that a big portion of the 1,000 visitors that will be coming to your site by the value of your unlikely high rankings are not going to be interested in what you have to offer since your website offers only blue cars; Are you following?. This is the most fundamental reason, why keyword research and selection are crucial for a successful and sustainable search engine optimization campaign.

    Since your website specializes in blue socks, wouldn't it make more sense to ignore the deceptively large search volume of the term 'socks' and instead concentrate your efforts behind ranking for the term 'blue socks' and variations thereof? If you are not sure about the answer, let us answer it for you with a "Yes", it actually does make more sense to ignore the misleading large search volume. Now from lack of specificity, the term 'socks' will be very difficult to rank for, since it is a more broad generic term compared to 'blue socks'.

    The level of competition of a keyword will dictate the amount of effort it will require to get high rankings for the selected keyword. So given the fact that a generic term like 'socks' is extremely difficult to rank for, and is much less likely to help create a conversion for your website compared to a term such as 'blue socks', wouldn't it make more sense to pursue rankings for a keyword which has less competition? And the higher potential to send well-converting traffic? The Answer, again, is "Yes, it does".

    There are a plenty of SEO tools out there that you can use at your end to research keywords, but one of the keyword research tools which has to the most up-to-date and reliable data is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. You might say, "Hey!, that keyword tool specifically designed for AdWords that you are talking about, which is a PPC (Pay Per Click Platform.)", "What is the difference? Since the tool provides the same metric data you would need to evaluate whether or not to pursue rankings for a particular keyword."

    Now that we have shed some light, pay really close attention to when it comes the time to the selection of your keywords, making sure the keywords for which you will expend effort on, in order to rank are not going to be a waste of your time and money.

    Developing a list of 50 to 100 words (the list will be narrowed down)

    Start with a large list of keywords and narrow down to only keep the ones that are the best fit for your site, product (service) type, service area, and so on. Have a look down below at the list of "quick tips" for narrowing down the list of keywords.

    Customized headings and sub headings for your pages

    The Headings (h1-h6) can and should be thought of as titles and subtitles (or headings and subheadings), and should be used exactly as they were intended.
    The most important section ( main ) of your page should have h1 heading, followed by a subsection of that section that should have an h2 heading (and so on). This structure assumes that you have subsections to your sections on a particular page; if you do not then of course you would simply use headings h1 as main one. Just like the title, and meta tags, the headings have to be descriptive.

    Begin by the most popular keywords in your industry

    Use the research tools available online (e.g. Google Adwords Keyword Tool) to expand your list based on what you think are the most popular keywords.

    Narrow down the list to areas you specialize in

    If you sell industrial shoes and specialize in walking shoes, don't use the term "man's shoes" just because it has more searches. This by no way means that you should not include "man's shoes", but perhaps your optimization will be better served if you used "man's industrial walking shoes". The search numbers may be much lower, but you'll get the type of visitor that is much more likely to buy, once on your site

    Don't pick keywords solely based on the search volume

    Big numbers should not have any effect on your mind. In fact a keyword with a search volume of 10,000 per month will have a high level of competition and it might take your site probably a year or two to rank in first page of the listings (not even #1) , and even then you will only get a fraction of the 10,000 visiting your site.
    Now what if you picked a keyword that has only 1000 searches but you are able to rank #1 for it within a few months? Getting all or a big chunk of 1000 within a few short months is much better than getting little to none of the 10,000

    It does not matter how many products you have, start the initial stage of your optimization with no more than 30-50 keywords

    Try to keep a reasonable number of keywords and it will not only help you to better utilize your resources, but it will build long-lasting term and sustainable success on short term achievements.

    The right balance between, low, mid and high competition keywords (based on your site's ranking potential*)

    Don't ignore the high end keywords even if your site is brand new, the proportion of the over-competitive keywords should be smaller compared to the mid-range and low-end keywords. Remember, do not get distracted by large search numbers.

    Understanding your niche, the competition, and what your site is capable of

    If you've recently started an "online garage sells" site, OfferUP is definitely not your competition. Keep in mind that you are only trying to figure out what keywords to pick. If your site (a bootstrap isn't a website) is new (a baby), you will need to make some compromises about the type of keywords you can start your optimization process with. Going back to the garage sells site example, you would be well advised to stay away from the keyword 'sells'. This is not to say that you should ignore the dominant keywords for your industry, but you also should not expect to see results for a while too.

    Fixing SEO Problems

    Optimized websites must not be unpleasant with that simple issues that can negatively impact the search engine friendliness of the site. To achieve this, there are some very simple rules to follow in order to address the most important of these issues.

    Complex and non search engine friendly navigation

    The search engines must be able to index your pages before they can rank them. So if the architecture of your website is an obstacle to the indexing of your pages, no amount of content optimization will help the ranking potential for your website.
    Develop a simple to use and logical site architecture, and make sure the navigation is not a barrier to the search engine spiders. For example: Don't hide your navigation in Flash or JavaScript), but a map for finding each and every page.
    Nota Bene*: Even with a perfect navigational structure, you will still benefit from having an actual sitemap.

    Customizable titles tags

    One, if THE most important element of the on-site optimization process, the title tag should be used at its fullest extent, and this can't be done unless each and every page on your site has an independently customizable title tag.

    Customizable description and keyword meta tags

    Even though the meta tags are the (much) weaker of the title tag, it is still recommended to customize the keyword and description meta tags. If for nothing else, the description meta tag can be used to provide the search engines relevant and optimized marketing text for the snippet displayed on the search engine result pages (SERPs).

    Short tale, yet descriptive URLs which are free of session IDs

    URLs are a good way of telling visitors what the page is all about. A URL such as tells the user nothing about the page. Why not use something like There is no good reason for not using the short and descriptive URL. Aside from making the site more user-friendly, the short descriptive URLs will also be search engine friendly. The keyword in the URL will contribute to improved rankings as well think about it!.

    Fixing Duplicated Content

    Over the years we have seen that many websites are being put in the corner because they are suffering from performance rankings issues mainly because of content duplication and the mistaken belief that any content is good content. Good content may be primordial, but duplicated content is TOXIC for the health of a website. Get rid of all and any duplicated content you may have on your site, even though the content was generated intentionally or it is just a function of bad information architecture design.

    If you would like to learn unnecessary details about search engines which will not in any way help you with SEO, then head on to the page about History of Search Engines