So you want to learn SEO.
Well, it can be daunting at first. There’s a lot of vocabulary and strategies that will leave you pondering your life’s existence. I’ve been there before.
In this beginner’s guide to SEO, I’m going to explain these “complex” concepts to you as if you were a 5th grader.
If you need any further information on these topics, leave a suggestion in the comments section. I check back frequently.
What Are Search Engines?
Search engines are everywhere. They’re on Google, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, and even Amazon. So, what are search engines?
Search engines are programs used to make web searches, based on the user’s query or question.
When used, it searches through its database and gives you the most relevant and authoritative results based on the user’s query.
Still confused? Let me give you an example.
Google is a search engine. You are a user. So, you put a question into the search bar and press enter. Congradulations, you’ve just submitted a search query on the web!
After the query is submitted, Google will give you results based on what you’ve entered.
How Does Google's Search Engine Work?
Google’s search engine works by crawling, indexing, and ranking information.
Step 1: Crawling
There are tons of new sites, and updated pages uploaded to the internet each day. And Google needs to know they exist somehow. The way it searches for new and updated pages is by using software known as crawlers.
Crawlers look for new pages and go from link to link to do so.
Once they have new data they go back to Google’s servers to get indexed.
Step 2: Indexing
Indexing is the organizing part of the process.
Google needs to sort billions and billions of information. So, they have a process called indexing.
Think of indexing as a giant library for web pages.
They organize and store them for later use. So when you search for something on Google, it can give you the best results based on the content inside the pages.
Step 3: Ranking
The final step is ranking.
When you use Google’s search engine, it will search through its index, then present you the most relevant pages based on many ranking factors.
2 important ranking factors include:
- The content inside the page – keywords, header tags, images, etc.
- Links – internal and external links are used to determine authority.
Google’s complex algorithm has a pretty good idea of the context of what you searching for.
For example, searching “bakery new york” Should give you a list of bakeries in New York. Not, Australia.
So after you use any search engine you will get a SERP, or search engine results page.
It’s basically the page where your query/question is answered.
This is where the ranked pages are listed. They are displayed from the best at the top, to the least relevant at the bottom.
Organic Vs Paid Results
Paid results are ads that are displayed along with organic results. In the image above, the paid result is the one at the top. They have a little “AD” symbol at the top left of the result.
Companies bid on keywords to have their ads appear on the results page. They can be located anywhere on the page.
Organic results on the other hand are provided by Google’s many variables and ranking factors. No one can pay to be on top of the results page. They are all organic.💪
Now, What Is SEO?
You might be wondering why this is so far down the list. Well, that’s because if I told you the definition of SEO right off the bat, you would just look at me like 😐.
Thankfully now you have a small grasp of certain words and concepts of SEO. Now for the definition…
SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is the process of improving the quantity and quality of organic site traffic. It works by optimizing your site for ranking factors as well as getting your site crawled and indexed.
Why is SEO Important?
Billions of searches are made each year, which often show the intent of buying. If you don’t optimize your website, you might not appear on the first search results page. And pretty much no one goes to the second page. So, you will be missing out on some traffic potential, and possible sales. Not to mention that SEO can be a way to get awareness for your business or brand.
To break SEO down even more.
– The goal of search engine optimization is to get more traffic.
– A higher position on the search results page gets you more traffic.
– More traffic = more money.
– So, you need to optimize your website
SEO Process in a Nutshell
Now ”how do I optimize my website?”, you might ask? Well in order to see the whole picture, the image above shows a basic outline of the SEO process.
SEO & Target Personas
The first step is finding out who the user/searcher is. This is important because we can use this information to find search and demand. In addition to finding search intent.
It makes finding keywords, creating content, and strategizing a lot easier.
Here is a full tutorial on creating your own target persona. This is insanely powerful.
What Are They Searching For?
Did you know that there are tools made to see what people are searching for?
I thought that was crazy as well. There are tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, and Semrush, that can track what people search for and how often.
This part of the process is called keyword research. This can get a bit complicated so, in short, keyword research is finding out what terms people search for, so you can use them in your content in order to rank for that term.
Choosing Your Channel
Remember that Google is not the only search engine. You can optimize your content for different search engines such as Pinterest, Yelp, TikTok, Amazon, and YouTube.
This all depends on your persona, business, and where people would search.
Choosing the right channel helps your potential customers find you not just on Google but on other platforms.
Search Engine Optimizing Your Content
There are plenty of ways you can optimize your content.
You can make your page load faster, improve UX, do on-page SEO, and technical SEO just to name a few.
SEO and the Funnel
Your job as a marketer is to move potential customers from stage to stage in the customer journey.
There are keywords that can help you pinpoint where the potential customer is on the journey.
This means that SEO can be used as a way to get awareness, leads, and conversions.
If you read the whole beginners guide, you now know more about SEO than a large majority of the population.
If you need further clarification on certain topics you can click on the links in the article. But, if you want to move on to the next step, let’s learn about keyword research.