SEO Basics: A Beginner’s Guide to SEO Success

SEO Success
SEO Success

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of creating and maintaining an online presence that will be prioritized by search engines to indirectly promote your product or services. SEO implementation ranges from simple and straightforward to intricate and complicated, and an entire industry has developed around analyzing the efficacy of different keywords, metadata, and even text formatting. This guide is intended to be a basic introduction to the practice and a launching-off point to furthering your own use of or research into SEO.

SEO for Beginners

Optimizing your website’s listing in search engine results is done by using a variety of techniques, but the following basic practices are easily accessible and integral to any SEO strategy. They can be tailored and expanded to best suit your specific needs.

  • Using keywords and phrases in your website’s content and metadata to improve your listing in search engine results relevant to your product or services, and

  • Cultivating an audience that regularly visits your website and refers others to it as a valuable, reliable, and entertaining source of information and advice.

These two techniques feed back into each other with use, and you will need to remain up-to-date on current or trending keywords and search topics. You should regularly produce content such as how-tos, buying guides, and reviews to use the most current keywords and phrases. As your readership grows, you can expand the subject matter you cover to garner a wider audience and adjust the keywords to suit the new direction in a continuous cycle.

Essentially, you are offering information for free to build trust with your customer base and demonstrate your expertise in your field, but if no one knows this information is available, they won’t read it. In order to show up as early as possible in SERPs, or Search Engine Result Pages, you will need to understand what potential customers are looking for, related subjects, and the different phrases and words used to achieve the same search results. By including not only the primary keywords but also these different phrasings, you will capture a larger portion of your target audience.

What Are Customers Searching For?

A lot of SEO comes down to identifying the best keywords, so consider your primary focus, whether it’s a product or a service, and look for keywords associated with this focus. While this sounds straightforward, it can be overwhelming without a specific direction and goal.

One way to narrow the scope of potential keywords is to look at search intent - Wordstream identifies that search engine queries can be grouped into a short list of categories.

  • Informational intent: queries that seek to answer questions and provide knowledge.

  • Navigational intent: queries with a goal of gaining access to a specific site through searching for part of its name or content.

  • Commercial intent: queries looking for information about products before buying them.

  • Transactional intent: queries intent on finding products to purchase.