How To Start Learning SEO

how to start learning seo

When you are starting out with anything new, the topic at hand can seem daunting — especially if it’s something as complex as the entire field of search engine optimization. However, learning SEO can be incredibly beneficial for your business. 

Unfortunately, the industry is filled with substandard SEO companies that overpromise and underdeliver. That’s why SEO coaching for business owners and website managers is often the surest way to succeed; you can make all the tweaks to your website yourself with the right guidance without resorting to expensive yet unreliable service providers. If you learn SEO yourself, you won't have to worry about getting ripped off by so-called experts with dubious reputations. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the first steps you need to take when you start learning SEO. 

Understand Your Goals 

Naturally, different companies can have starkly different marketing goals. Still, at the end of the day, everyone wants to boost their revenue through online channels, which is SEO’s general purpose as well. 

When you improve your website in line with the best SEO practices, you’ll increase your chances of ranking high in SERPS — search engine result pages. And once you’re in the top few results for your niche, you’ll get a lot more traffic. 

With organic SEO, increasing traffic is very much the name of the game. The logic here is simple: when more people visit your website, you’ll also get more qualified leads that have a high chance of making a purchase. 

So, how do these SERP rankings work? How does Google choose which websites will be at the top for any search? 

Search engines like Google use “bots” or “spiders” — digital web crawlers that go through basically all websites on the Internet, index their contents, and then rank them accordingly. Because of this, SEO is one huge effort to “please” Google’s algorithm and nudge it towards assigning your website a higher rank in various ways. 

Learn Keyword Research 

Of course, your website can’t be the first search result for *everything*. Instead, you will aim to rank high for specific keywords — the words people type in when they’re searching for something on Google. 

As a business owner, you’ll want to find the keywords that people would use to search for your company or your competition — and then outrank them in the SERPs and get most of the traffic that would otherwise go their way. 

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why keyword research is such a big part of SEO. If you pick the keywords that naturally fit your business and compete for them, you’ll be able to get your business in front of a larger online audience. 

Now, this is where we start getting into the weeds — but you should know that there are two types of keywords on search engines: long-tail and short-tail keywords. The latter has only a couple of words at most, while the former consist of three or more. 

Usually, long-tail keywords lead to more specific results. It is only logical — if you type in “where to stream The Boys”, you will get the precise information about the TV show that you need. On the other hand, typing in “the boys” will just get you generic info about the show, or even something completely unrelated. 

So, considering all of this — how do SEO pros do their keyword research? These days, it’s all done with a variety of keyword tools that give you all the necessary info you need to make an informed choice. 

Keyword research is the first step to a complete SEO strategy; once you know what keywords you’re aiming for, you can start naturally weaving them into your titles, URLs, meta descriptions, and content. 

Off-Page vs. On-Page SEO 

As you might have gathered the title of this section, SEO work is done in two distinct places — off-page and on-page. Ultimately, everything you do on your website to improve its rankings is on-page work, and all of the stuff that takes place on other sites (that’s largely not up to you) is off-page SEO. 

So, what does on-page SEO work involve? For starters, it means proper formatting (H-tags), navigation, URLs, keyword usage, alt text, image descriptions, meta descriptions, etc. That’s all the stuff you’re doing to ensure your website content is as Google-friendly as possible. The easier it is for Google’s crawl bot to index your pages, the better they will rank. 

And then there’s the off-page SEO, which largely covers how others view your website and your online content. In practice, that means ensuring you’ve got authoritative links on relevant websites that lead back to your own, positive coverage for your brand, and ample social media marketing. 

If you want your overall SEO strategy to be successful, on-page and off-page stuff is equally important. 

Improve Your UX 

All of the hoops that Google makes website owners jump through to reach a higher ranking are usually designed to do one thing — create a better user experience for website visitors. So, most of the changes that Google’s algorithm “likes” are also changes that are beneficial for your website in and of itself. 

Because of this, one of the best ways to improve your SEO rank is to improve your website’s UX (user experience). If you implement the right modifications to your functionality and design, you will ensure your customers and search engines know that your users are your #1 priority. 

And Google is hard at work to quantify this as well — for instance, RankBrain is Google’s algorithm specifically designed to analyze users’ preferences and satisfaction with individual websites. Plus, machine learning advances will only allow Google to process more data and become better at evaluating UX as time goes on. 

Some UX metrics directly influence your SEO standing — like dwell time, which shows how long people stay on your pages before returning to the search results. Logically, longer dwell times indicate more interest in your website content.

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