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SEO: The Best Free SEO Beginner’s Guide For 2022

This step-by-step SEO free beginner’s guide is designed to help beginners, develop an in-depth appreciation and understanding of a majority. If not all major aspects of Search Engine Optimization. Starting with foundational aspects of SEO such as setting up a google analytics account. And the more technical side of SEO such as setting up sitemaps and Robot.txt files.

I have divided this guide into eight sections. For easy assimilation of the knowledge being shared in this step-by-step beginner’s guide to SEO.

  1. Foundational SEO
  2. User Experience
  3. Performance 
  4. Technical SEO
  5. Content Strategy
  6. On-Page SEO
  7. Off-Page SEO
  8. Link-Building 

What is SEO?

Let’s start by answering this pivotal question which is, what is SEO?

SEO is a short form of “Search engine optimization”. It is a long-term marketing strategy employed to improve a website’s visibility and organic search results in google and other global search engines.

SEO is not a one-time job, it is an ongoing process that if done correctly can result in increased traffic, higher rankings and most importantly – more customers and conversions.

SEO aims to fill any of a website’s deficiencies to make that site more visible and attractive to search engine algorithms. 

Get more information in my article on What is SEO?

Table of Contents

Why should we concern ourselves with SEO?

It has been researched that at least 93% of all business starts with an internet search. People are looking for everything on the internet. Creating a proper online presence is now a necessity for any business or brand planning to grow especially financially. 

Now let’s say you are selling a red widget, would you buy ad space on a billboard near your area. You are hoping that people driving by would see your advert (hoping they are even interested in buying your widget). Instead of that, every time goes on a search engine and type “red widget” you show up.  Are high because they are showing what marketers call ‘commercial intent”.  
Commercial intent simply means someone is signalling and showing that they are interested in buying something.

SEO Beginner’s Guide

Step One: Foundational SEO Beginner Guide

When I began working on my website coming from a background in web design and development. I wanted to create the most aesthetically pleasing website until I was faced with a rude awakening. That making a website beautiful does not necessarily drive traffic to a website.  

After a lot of research on how I could drive traffic to my website. I landed on this concept of search engine optimization and that changed everything. Now I have to be honest with you. SEO is one of the Nerdist, if not most technical types of digital marketing. 

In this section, I want to share with you what I call the most foundational steps to start your SEO using this SEO beginner’s guide.

Setup Google Analytics

At the core google analytics allows you to track the analytics, the matrix and the website’s data. A good thing about this tool is that it is free, yes you heard me right. You get to benefit from all this information at no extra cost besides the time it takes you to set up your account. 

Setting up your website on google analytics will help you get necessary data about your website performance such as the kind of traffic coming to your site, where the traffic is coming from and more importantly the key driver of your traffic. This information to develop a website in such a way that it attracts the right kind of traffic that converts.

To set up a Google Analytics you can easily follow the stages listed below:

Now, this takes us to the next step after setting up google analytics in our comprehensive SEO beginner’s guide which is setting up your Google Search Console.

Setup Google Search Console

Google Search Console Homepage
Google Search Console

If you have ever created a website that was never visible on the google search engine then in this section you have to pay a lot of attention. Simply creating a website does not mean Google is going to magically find your website, let alone find it in the right way and index it in the right way. This is where Google Search Console comes in handy. 

When you set up Google Search Console you allow Google to start indexing your website and allow google to make your website visible in the google search engine. Google Search Console also gives its users some valuable matrices such as load speed and how the website performs on mobile which is key indicators if your website is going to rank higher in the google search engine.

Integrate an SEO solution or Software directly to your website

If you are using WordPress like myself the common SEO solutions available are Yoast SEO and Rank Math.

Having a tool like this helps you to make fast, easy changes to your website structure, content and different variables that impact page ranking. 

I suggest you install one of the plugins to start improving your websites to start ranking high on search engines. Both Yoast SEO and Rank Math are free and have paid premium packages if one wants to explore further SEO beginner’s guide techniques and solutions.

Step Two: User Experience

SEO Beginners Guide
User Experience

It is important to note that at this step of user experience, a majority of visitors to your website are going to be using mobile phones and thus it’s a priority that your website be optimised for mobile. Statistics show that at least 60% of google searches are done on a mobile phone. 
The mobile user experience should be equal if not more than the Desktop experience. In simple terms ‘prioritise mobile over desktop’ period.

Load Speed

You need to make sure that your website loads faster. If you are using WordPress an important thing to note here is that you need to make sure that the theme you are using is lite and faster when loading. I have noticed that themes from Themeisle like Neve are great for creating blogs and are fast loading.

Loading faster helps your website rank here in search engines. Statistics show that a delay in load time can result in a 7% loss of website conversions and though these stats may not be high it adds up over time.

Minimise Slug Size

According to Mozilla;

“A Slug is the unique identifying part of a web address, typically at the end of the URL. In the Context of MDN, it is the portion of the URL following “</locale>/docs/”.

It may also just be the final component when a new document is created under a parent document; for example, this page’s slug is SEO-Beginners-Guide/Slug”

Keep your URL short and clear! It should also include your keyword for a better SEO ranking.

Step Three: Performance

SEO Beginners Guide -User Reports
User Data Reports

When I decided to come up with this SEO beginner’s guide I did my little research on website performance and I gathered that three things can significantly affect your website.

Hosting Plans

Selecting the right hosting plan for your website is critical when it comes to how your overall site performs. Although there is no definite hosting package that solves everything and that these things are constantly changing I can not say there is one best hosting plan. 

One has to research their desired hosting plan and see whether it suits their desired goal in building the SEO of their website. There are many other options, for example, Bluehost, HostGator and GoDaddy e.t.c. My personal favourite is Hostinger and that’s what I recommend in this SEO beginners guide. I have never had problems with it and their Hpanel is simple and easy to use with WordPress.

Un-Optimized Images files

Like I said in the paragraphs above of this SEO beginner’s guide, most of the people who are going to visit your website are going to do so using their mobile. It is therefore not necessary for you to upload massive image files onto your website for this will result in a slow load speed and overall website performance. 

SEO Beginner's Guide: Images Resizing
Resize Massive Images

Resize your massive image files to smaller and web-optimised images. I use tinypng to resize my larger files before converting most of my images if not all of them into .webp format. This helps make your website perform more efficiently and load fast for better SEO ranking.  
Bonus: Also try to use unique images e.g. images you created using photoshop, or those you took personally, and screenshots you took by yourself. This will help you in ranking high in your SEO as search engines like google prefer unique images over stock footage.

Using the right themes and plugins (if you are using WordPress)

Take your time in selecting the right theme and plugins for your website. You can use the Google Page Speed test to see whether the theme you are using performs and loads fast. You can also use Google Page Speed to see errors and areas affecting page speed on your website that you can improve and adjust.

Step Four: Technical SEO

A more technical side of SEO;

Make sure your website uses HTTPS

Use HTTPS for better Rank - SEO Beginner's Guide
Use HTTPS

When you see a website that uses ‘HTTPS’ that simply means that website is connected to a secure network and is secure for visitors. Search engines love to rank secure websites and if ever you desire to rank higher you need to make sure that you are using ‘HTTPS’ for your website. 

I know web browsers that will discourage users from continuing to visit a site that is not on a secure network. You need to make sure your visitors trust your website and thus will not hesitate to visit your website and benefit from your amazing information.

Sitemaps

If you are using Yoast SEO or Rank Math a quick way of figuring out your sitemap is to go to the setting and look for sitemaps. Another way is to simply add the sitemap root folder to the website domain. 

e.g. https://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

After you do this then you add the sitemap to Google Search Console. Doing this gives search engines access to learn more about your website, layout, and content which in turn allows search engines to crawl your website making sure you get all the credit that you deserve.

Create a Robot.txt file

This kind of file tells search engines which pages to crawl and which ones to ignore. The reality is that in designing your website not every page deserves crawling. By adding a robot.txt file you help search engines know which pages to prioritise when crawling your website. 

To rank fast on any search engine it is important to inform through robot.txt files which pages are not important and pages you don’t want to rank for on the search engine.

Step Five: Create Amazing Content

Three things to always keep not in the section:

SEO Beginners Guide - Keyword Research
Keyword Research

Keyword Research

To rank higher on a search engine it is important to find out what are some of the keywords people in your industry or market are using, what they are searching for and more importantly what keyword you want to rank for on search engines.

Long-form content

Search engines want content and lots of it. This means you can’t write a half-page flimsy article with a few hundred words and expect to rank higher on search engines like google especially if you can go deeper on that particular topic.

When writing articles for your blog you should aim for articles with at least 800-3000+ words. Another thing to note here is that unlike the olden days of search engines where a creator could write a substandard article with keywords thrown all over and have that article rank high on search engines.

These days search engines now value quality over quantity. Search engines want to know that your article is valuable to your visitor and worth ranking and as a result, they monitor how long a visitor stays on your website and how long it takes them to return to google for a continued search. Research thoroughly your keyword and give your audience the best information that converts into value for your visitors. 
Bonus: Go for the 10x content, go for the long-tail keywords rather than short and more competitive ones right on the bat.

Step Six: On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO Analysis - SEO Beginner's Guide
On-Page SEO

Create content for people (not for Robots/Search Engines)

Search engines now have algorithms that pay attention to the content one posts on their website. Google takes note of how long a visitor comes and stays on your website before returning to Google to continue their search.

Use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords

LSI, these are words closely associated with your keyword. For example, if one is going to write about ‘Tea’ then possible LSI keywords would be a mug, breakfast, bread, sugar, black and green. LSI words are words that share a close relationship with your keyword.

Google can pick on such words, actually as search engines will be crawling your website, they will be looking for LSI’s to establish you as an authority and more importantly authenticate that your post has adequate information to rank in search. 

Properly format content

Properly format content
Format Content

Make your content easy to read by separating sections within your content with a heading, use H1, H2, and H3 tags. Develop your content into small to easy-read paragraphs of max 6-8 sentences each. Make sure that your content flows from section to section and is easy to understand.

People are most likely going to skim through your information on your website. Write it in such a way that people read the key elements of your article and develop an understanding of the subject of your post or article.

Step Seven: Off-Page SEO

Building Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO

Create a Link-Building plan

You need to make a link-building plan and make it through. Gone are the days when a website you have a thousand spammy links and expect to rank on a search engine. Behaving like this will hurt your website and may even damage your website permanently. 

You need to acquire high value, high quality and relevant backlinks from other high-quality and relevant sources to your website.

These signals provide search engines clues that your website is valuable and worth linking to and that the search engine should probably rank it. This whole process is relatively easy to do.

Using Social Media as Foundational Links
Using Social Media as Foundational Links

These are links created using social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and many other valuable social networks.

Other foundational links could include links from yelp, Yellowpages, and the Business bureau. Other platforms could include forums and platforms that are your niche-based platforms.

Another commonly used way of creating valuable backlinks is through guest posting. This is a process by which one writes an article for another brand’s website and links back to your website thus creating valuable links. In the same light, one can go on a high authority domain and find broken links on articles closely related to your keyword and offer to be a link replacement.

SEO Beginner’s Guide Conclusion: Recap

SEO Beginners Guide -Recap
Recap

What is SEO (Recap) – SEO is a method of increasing the visibility of a website or web page by improving its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user enters a search term into a search engine, the search engine displays the most relevant websites or pages first.

Now that you know the basics of SEO, it’s time to start putting them into practice! Here are a few next steps to help you get started:

1. Do some keyword research. Identify a few target keywords or phrases that you want to rank for, and start incorporating them into your content.

2. Optimise your website for search engines. Make sure your website is properly formatted and structured so that search engines can easily crawl and index it.

3. Promote your content. Get the word out about your content by promoting it on social media and other websites.

4. Monitor your site data through google analytics and other search engines.

Some of the links used in this article are affiliate links.

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5 thoughts on “SEO: The Best Free SEO Beginner’s Guide For 2022”

  1. Pingback: What Is SEO: Everything You Need To Know - Floyd Kay

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    1. Thanks, glad I could be of assistance. I am going to be adding more blog articles on Digital Marketing and SEO and more importantly how one can profit from these tools and skills.

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