Rankings and Traffic Through Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine OptimizationWelcome to your SEO learning journey!
You’ll get the most out of this guide if your desire to learn search engine optimization (SEO) is exceeded only by your willingness to execute and test concepts.
This guide is designed to describe all major aspects of SEO, from finding the terms and phrases (keywords) that can generate qualified traffic to your website, to making your site friendly to search engines, to building links and marketing the unique value of your site.
The world of search engine optimization is complex and ever-changing, but you can easily understand the basics, and even a small amount of SEO knowledge can make a big difference. Free SEO education is also widely available on the web, including in guides like this! (Woohoo!)
Combine this information with some practice and you are well on your way to becoming a savvy SEO.
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
Ever heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? It’s a theory of psychology that prioritizes the most fundamental human needs (like air, water, and physical safety) over more advanced needs (like esteem and social belonging). The theory is that you can’t achieve the needs at the top without ensuring the more fundamental needs are met first. Love doesn’t matter if you don’t have food.
Our founder, Rand Fishkin, made a similar pyramid to explain the way folks should go about SEO, and we’ve affectionately dubbed it “Mozlow’s hierarchy of SEO needs.”
Here’s what it looks like:
As you can see, the foundation of good SEO begins with ensuring crawl accessibility, and moves up from there.
Using this beginner’s guide, we can follow these seven steps to successful SEO:
- Crawl accessibility so engines can read your website
- Compelling content that answers the searcher’s query
- Keyword optimized to attract searchers & engines
- Great user experience including a fast load speed and compelling UX
- Share-worthy content that earns links, citations, and amplification
- Title, URL, & description to draw high CTR in the rankings
- Snippet/schema markup to stand out in SERPs
We’ll spend time on each of these areas throughout this guide, but we wanted to introduce it here because it offers a look at how we structured the guide as a whole.
Explore the chapters…
CHAPTER 1: SEO 101
What is it, and why is it important?
For true beginners. Learn what search engine optimization is, why it matters, and all the need-to-know basics to start yourself off right.
CHAPTER 2: HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK – CRAWLING, INDEXING, AND RANKING
First, you need to show up.
If search engines literally can’t find you, none of the rest of your work matters. This chapter shows you how their robots crawl the Internet to find your site and add it to their indexes.
CHAPTER 3: KEYWORD RESEARCH
Understand what your audience wants to find.
Our approach targets users first because that’s what search engines reward. This chapter covers keyword research and other methods to determine what your audience is seeking.
CHAPTER 4: ON-SITE OPTIMIZATION
Use your research to craft your message.
This is a hefty chapter, covering optimized design, user experience, information architecture, and all the ways you can adjust how you publish content to maximize its visibility and resonance with your audience.
CHAPTER 5: TECHNICAL SEO
Basic technical knowledge will help you optimize your site for search engines and establish credibility with developers.
By implementing responsive design, robot directives, and other technical elements like structured data and meta tags, you can tell Google (a robot itself) what your site is all about. This helps it rank for the right things.
CHAPTER 6: LINK BUILDING & ESTABLISHING AUTHORITY
Turn up the volume.
Once you’ve got everything in place, it’s time to expand your influence by earning attention and links from other sites and influencers.
CHAPTER 7: MEASURING, PRIORITIZING, & EXECUTING SEO
Set yourself up for success.
An essential part of any SEO strategy is knowing what’s working (and what isn’t), adjusting your approach as you go along.
THE SEO GLOSSARY
Understand key terms and phrases.
Learning SEO can sometimes feel like learning another language, with all the jargon and industry terms you’re expected to know. This chapter-by-chapter glossary will help you get a handle on all the new words.