Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Looking to learn about SEO and boost your blog’s traffic? Well you're in luck! You've just discovered the best SEO for bloggers guide to massively grow your blog's traffic.

This isn’t the average run of the mill SEO for beginner’s guide which you can find everywhere on the internet. We have made sure that we covered everything there is to cover about SEO which can help you pave your way to the top of Google rankings.

This guide is especially designed for newbies who are just starting to get to know about SEO for bloggers.

In this guide we have talked about practical examples that we have tested ourselves. You are going to learn about strategies that are working in 2020, and different trends that you need to follow this year.

Needless to say, if you were looking to improve your SEO game this year then you’ll love this guide.

Let’s look at the content we are going to be discussing in this guide.

Page Contents

Learn SEO in 2020

  • Learn SEO: SEO Basics
  • Learn SEO: Search engines
  • Learn SEO: On-page and technical SEO
  • Learn SEO: Content & SEO
  • Learn SEO: Keyword research
  • Learn SEO: Link building
  • Learn SEO: UX & SEO
  • Learn SEO: SEO resources

Learn SEO: SEO Basics

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Before we dive into specific techniques and aspects of how to learn SEO in 2020, let’s start with the basic stuff in the first chapter. Are you ready? Welcome to the ultimate SEO guide for beginners!

Step 1: Learn what your customers are actually searching for

You can’t optimize your website without knowing what your customers are searching for—that much is obvious.

How do you figure this out? The best starting point is to use common sense.

Imagine that you run a hotel in Dublin, Ireland. It doesn’t take an SEO genius to guess that your customers are probably searching for things like:

  • hotels in Dublin’
  • place to stay in Dublin’
  • accommodation in Dublin’

Before you do anything else, think about what your customers might be searching for and jot your ideas down in a notepad. You could even ask them directly.

No need to go overboard here—a handful of ideas will do.

Done? Good. Let’s do some more research.

a) Figure out the most popular way people search for your business

It’s likely that some of your customers are searching for your business using the words and phrases you jotted down. Whether the majority of people are is another story.

So the first step is to figure out the most common way people search for what you do.

You can use the ideas you’ve already jotted down to do that. Start by doing a Google search for one of the words or phrases on your list. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or long-winded this phrase is. I’ll use a purposely silly one to prove it.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Here are the top few search results for that query:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Having skimmed these results for all of 10 seconds, I can see they each have the phrase “Dublin hotels” in the title.

This matters because websites tend to optimize their title tags for SEO, so it’s likely that these particular ones have already done some research and found that “Dublin hotels” is the most popular way people search for places to stay in Dublin.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

There’s no guarantee that these folks know what they’re doing.

Let’s make sure this is a good main keyword to target by checking out original search term in Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

When we search for the same phrase in Keywords Explorer, it tells us that the Parent topic is “Dublin hotels” with a monthly US search volume of 9,900. It also has good traffic potential.

This confirms our initial suspicions that this is a good main keyword to target.

b) Understand other ways people may be searching for the same thing

Let’s take a look at the SERP overview for “Dublin hotels” in Keywords Explorer.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Take note of the “Kw.” column, which shows how many keywords for which each of the top 10 web pages rank.

The average here is around 150–200 keywords.

In other words, each of these web pages gets traffic from hundreds of other long-tail and related keywords. That means not everyone types “Dublin hotels” into Google when searching for a place to stay in Dublin. Other people search for the same thing in different ways.

You can start to get a sense of what these other keywords are by analyzing more Google search results.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Look for more similar and related phrases that pop up over and over again.

In this instance, we see such phrases as “hotels in Dublin,” “Dublin city hotels,” and “cheap hotels in Dublin.”

These businesses have likely identified these keywords and phrases already, hence the reason they include them in their title tags.

If you want even more suggestions, try the Also rank for report in Keywords Explorer

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

This report shows the keywords for which the top 10 ranking pages also rank.

However, this report tends to surface a lot of keywords, which can be overwhelming.

One way to narrow things down to only super relevant results is to take the 2–3 most relevant top ranking pages and paste them into Ahrefs Content Gap tool. That will unveil the common keywords for which all of those pages rank.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

c) Delve deeper into the more granular searches your customers are making

Now that you know how people search for your business, it’s time to delve deeper into the more granular searches people make in relation to what you do.

A simple way to start is to look at Google autocomplete results.

Go to Google and begin typing a query in the search box, but don’t hit Enter. Google will immediately suggest some additional search terms that people have used:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

You can repeat this step and get more results by adding each letter of the alphabet:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

If this sounds like a major hassle, head over to Keywords Explorer and check out the Search suggestions report. This report effectively automates the process and shows keywords generated by Google autocomplete alongside valuable SEO metrics like monthly search volume and Keyword Difficulty.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

If you’re interested in learning the questions people ask (and search for), check if there’s a “People also ask” box in the Google results…

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

check the Questions report in Keywords Explorer:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

d) Find popular and engaging topics in your field

Content marketing is the art of creating useful and valuable content to attract your target customers or clients. But don’t just start a blog and hope for the best—figure out what topics are popular and engaging in your field and create content related to said topics.

For this, I’d recommend starting with Reddit.

e) Expand your keyword list by looking literally anywhere else

Google search results and professional keyword tools can give you a lot to get started with, but it’s in no way enough.

To be successful with SEO, you need to understand how people are talking about the niche you’re operating in, what problems they have, and so on. Use every opportunity to speak to customers and take notice of the language they’re using.

Doing this in person is great, but also very time‐consuming.

So here are a few places where you can find the words people use while talking about your topic of interest:

  • Forums: There are quite a few communities where people discuss traveling. For example, a simple search led me to the TripAdvisor Dublin Travel Forum.
  • Quora/Reddit: Quora is probably not the first place that comes to mind when you’re looking for travel advice, but you’d be surprised by the amount of information you can find there even on this topic. Where it comes to Reddit, the adage that there’s a subreddit for everything is generally true.
  • Facebook/LinkedIn Groups: LinkedIn is more geared towards B2B markets, but when it comes to Facebook, there are groups for almost everything.

Any website or social network with a large number of visitors and user‐generated content can serve as a source of inspiration and keyword ideas.

Step 2: Create pages optimized for search

Keyword research is only the first step towards attracting more organic search traffic.

You also need to make sure your pages are structured well and satisfy the person behind the search to rank for the keywords you selected.

Your optimization efforts should start with making sure that your visitors are enjoying the user experience (UX) your website provides. Use design and typography that makes it easy to consume the content, and remove any unnecessary elements such as pop-ups, opt-in boxes, etc. that can annoy your readers.

On‐page optimization is the next step in your SEO strategy.

Even targeting the most profitable keywords with the “best” content won’t help you if your pages are not optimized for search engines.

There are many ways to implement the features I discuss in the following sections, but if you’re using WordPress for your website, I first recommend installing an SEO plugin like Rank Math. It’s free and simple to use, and it’s perfect for those who are new to on-page SEO.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Setting up your pages for success in the search engine involves the following:

a) Create content that aligns with ‘search intent’

Wanting to rank for a keyword doesn’t mean you deserve to, even if your traditional on-page SEO elements are on-point. That’s because of something called search intent.

In short, there are three main ‘types’ of searches people make:

  1. Navigational: They’re looking for a specific website, e.g., ‘Dublin airport’
  2. Informational: They’re looking to learn more about a specific topic, e.g., ‘things to do in Dublin’
  3. Transactional: They’re looking to purchase a specific product/service, e.g., ‘book hotel in Dublin’

Naturally, searches with a high level of commercial interest are more valuable from a business point of view since the people doing them are closer to purchasing

and thus more likely to spend money if they land on your site.

But search intent isn’t always crystal clear from the search query itself.

For example, take the query “best hotel in Dublin.”

Now, you might be thinking “my hotel is the best hotel in Dublin, so this is probably a transactional term for which I can rank my homepage,” right? Not so fast.

The best way to understand the intent behind any search term is to see what pages rank for it.

So let’s do that:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

If you want to avoid the risk of truncation, your meta descriptions should not exceed ~155 characters. Use the pixel tool mentioned above to keep them within limits.

d) Use headers and subheaders to create a logical structure

Use the standard HTML format for headers (H1 to H6) to make it easy for search engines to understand the structure of your page and the importance of each section.

Header 1 should be reserved for the on‐page title of your content and should ideally include the main keyword (or something closely related to the main keyword) that you’re targeting.

Header 2 should be used for the titles of the main sections on your page. They should also include the main keyword you’re targeting (whenever possible and natural—don’t shoehorn!) and are a good place to add additional (longer‐tail) keywords for which you want to rank.

Every time you go a step deeper in your content, use the next type of header, e.g., Header 3 for subheadings within an H2 section, and so on.

Here’s what a well‐structured piece of content looks like:

  • H1: The Complete First-Time Traveller’s Guide to Dublin
    • H2: Sights & Attractions
      • H3: Trinity College
        • H4: The Book of Kells Exhibition & Old Library
      • H3: The Guinness Storehouse
        • H4: The Gravity Bar
      • H3: The Temple Bar Area
    • H2: Accommodation
      • H3: Hotel 1
      • H3: Hotel 2
      • H3: Hotel 3
    • H2: Restaurants
      • H3: Upscale restaurant
      • H3: Gastropub
      • H3: Another hip place
    • H2: Bars
      • H3: Bar with live music
      • H3: Bar with great cocktails
      • H3: Very touristy bar
    • H2: Conclusion

Following a clear and exhaustive structure makes it easy for search engines to categorize your content and also helps human readers.

e) Optimize your images

Images are great for humans, but search engines can struggle to make sense of them.

To illustrate that point, here’s what happens when you upload a photo of butter to Google’s Cloud Vision API—their machine‐learning image identification tool:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Google is 91% sure that this is a photo of cheese, which is wrong.

To help Google (and other search engines) understand your images, you should use the alt tag to describe and explain them. In this case, a good alt tag would be alt=”Butter”.

f) Set up Schema

Schema has become a popular way to improve how your website looks in search results. For example, you can use it to add ratings to your search results entry, thus making it more noticeable:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Learn more about on-page SEO

On-page SEO is a complex beast. Everything above will get you off on the right foot, but there’s always more to learn (as is the case with everything SEO-related)

Check out our full guide to on-page SEO to learn more.

Step 3: Make sure your website is accessible to both search engines and humans

When doing SEO, it’s important to remember that you’re working for two separate customers—your human readers, and the bots search engines use to index your website.

While bots are becoming more intelligent and human-like, many differences still exist between the two. Therefore, your goal should be to create a positive experience for both humans and bots.

Understanding how to create pages optimized for bots can be challenging. That’s why, while it’s important to have a strong understanding of the features we discuss in the following paragraphs, I encourage you to delegate them to a professional (preferably a developer).

Still, here are a few tips to get you off on the right foot.

NOTE. I’ll keep this section relatively short and straightforward, as I don’t want to get bogged down with too much technical mumbo-jumbo in this guide.

a) Make sure your website loads fast

Both humans and search engines prioritize the loading speed of websites. Studies suggest that up to 40% of people leave sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load.

Using Google’s PageSpeed Insights, PageSpeed Checker , Pagespeed Insights Checker can help you find out how quickly your pages load and give you actionable advice on how to further improve their speed.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

b) Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

According to one study, more than 60% of searches are now from mobile devices.

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Here’s what you want to see:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

c) Install an SSL certificate

HTTPS is officially one of the ranking signals Google uses.

You can tell when a site uses SSL because there’ll be a padlock in the URL bar:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Not using an SSL certificate can also be a security issue—especially if you’re running an ecommerce site or accepting form submissions.

d) Create a sitemap

A sitemap is an XML file which lists all the pages on your site. Search engines use it to find your content and understand how your pages are connected (i.e., see the overall structure of your website).

If you’re using Yoast SEO, the plugin will generate a sitemap for you. You can then follow Google’s guidelines on how to test and submit it. (There are also multiple other free tools you can use to generate a sitemap for your site.)

Sitemaps do not affect rankings directly, but they allow search engines to find and index new pages on your website faster.

e) Upload a robots.txt file

While the sitemap lays out the full structure of your website, the robots.txt file gives specific instructions to search engine crawlers on which parts of the site they should and shouldn’t index.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

f) Internally link between relevant posts and pages

The strategic linking of various pages on your website is a great way to increase the speed at which search engines crawl your site, and point them to your most important pages.

There are various strategies for doing this, such as the hub‐and‐spoke strategy, etc. These work but they can get complicated. For now, focus on creating a strong structure with plenty of links between relevant pages.

In our example, we can create a page that targets ‘Dublin guide’ and have it link to separate pages that cover ‘Dublin sights,’ ‘Dublin restaurants’, and so on.

To quickly find linking opportunities use the following query on Google:

site:yourdomain.com + “topic of the post you want to link to”

For example, if you’re looking to link to your Dublin guide, you can type site:yourdomain.com + “Dublin guide” (or “Dublin tips” or even just “Dublin”), and you’ll see all pages on your site from which you can add links.

Learn more about website structure and technical SEO

The structure of the data on your website plays a significant role in successful SEO performance.

Read our guide to technical SEO and SEO Audit Checklist to learn more.

Step 4: Build backlinks from other websites

Link building is critical for the success of your SEO strategy, so if you’re prepared to spend resources (time, money, etc.) on producing content, you should also be prepared to commit at least as much time to promoting and generating links to your content.

Why? Because there’s clear evidence showing that backlinks are one of the factors with a strong influence on Google’s ranking algorithm.

Even Google admits that backlinks are one of the top 3 ‘ranking factors.’

There are many tactics you can use to get other websites to link back to your web pages. Some are more legitimate than others. However, before you start cherry picking “link building hacks” to try, take the time to review and analyze how your competitors are building links.

It’s important to use your competitors because each niche is different and tactics that work great in one niche might not be so effective in yours.

When done with this, consider some of the following tactics.

a) Swipe links from inferior content

Let’s say that we’ve just published an excellent Dublin travel guide.

We put our heart and soul into this guide. It’s extremely thorough, the user-experience is on-point, and the information and recommendations are as up-to-date as it gets. It’s probably the best Dublin travel guide on the web.

In other words, our Dublin travel guide is more deserving of links than any other one.

However, if we search for “Dublin travel” in Content Explorer ahrefs and filter for pages with links from 20+ referring domains, these are some of the results:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Those two pages combined have links from over 200 referring domains (unique websites).

Neither of those two pages is bad. They’re just not as good as the guide we’ve put together. So it may be worth reaching out to the folks linking to those pages and seeing if there’s scope for them to link to us too.

To find out who links to a page, we can paste the URL into Ahrefs Site Explorer and check the Backlinks report.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Not every link will be worth pursuing, but even after skimming the backlinks report for just a minute or two, I can already see a few good candidates from whom I’d love to get a backlink.

Here’s one of them:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

b) Broken link building

Broken link building is where you find relevant broken pages (with backlinks pointing to them) on other sites. You then reach out to the people linking to the dead resource to suggest that they swap out the dead link for a suitable replacement on your site.

Sound confusing? Let me show you how to do it.

For this example, I decided to use the subreddit on Dublin, mainly because it contains multiple links and I’m sure there would be at least a few broken ones. I run the page through Ahrefs and check out the Broken links report:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

I find one that looks interesting. Based on the text on Reddit, this page contained a map of public WiFi areas in Dublin. You can also use the Wayback Machine to find out what the page used to be.

The power of this tactic lies in the fact that:

  1. you know what these site owners want to link to, and
  2. you’re helping them improve their site (by fixing broken links)

c) Guest blogging

Guest blogging is where you write for another website in your industry.

Many people think guest blogging is dead because a while ago Google published a “warning” about using guest posting for link building.

But read it carefully:

Google does not discourage these types of articles in the cases when they inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company. However, what does violate Google’s guidelines on link schemes is when the main intent is to build links in a large‐scale way back to the author’s site.

And one of the violations is:

Using or hiring article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing on.

So as long as your guest posts are helpful, informative and quality, you don’t have to worry.

Guest blogging works for link building when you follow three basic rules:

  1. You publish on an authoritative website with a large relevant audience.
  2. You create a high-quality piece of content, which is helpful to the audience of the website on which it is placed.
  3. You link to relevant resources on your website that will further help the audience expand their knowledge on the topic.

When followed, these turn guest blogging into a great tool for brand‐building, generating referral traffic, and improving rankings.

Step 5: Tracking your SEO success

The final step in setting your SEO strategy is figuring out how you’ll track your performance. There are many methods and metrics you can use, so it’s easy to get confused.

My advice is this: focus on the basics.

The most important metrics when it comes to SEO are a) organic traffic, and b) the average ranking position for the keywords you’re targeting.

a) Measure organic traffic

If you’re using Google Analytics, you can quickly view your organic traffic by going to:

Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

b) Track your rankings

Another important thing you should measure in your SEO strategy is how your content ranks on Google over time.

One way to do this is by using Google Search Console where you can find data about the average position, impressions, and clicks you get for various keywords.

Learn SEO: Search engines

In the 2nd chapter of this SEO guide, you will learn how search engines work, how people use them and what type of search queries they submit. We’ll take a look at the technical background behind Google.

Let’s take a closer look at the search engines and what are the most typical ranking factors you should focus on.

How search engines work

Search engines consist of three main ingredients:

  1. Crawling
  2. Indexing
  3. Picking the results

The process goes like this:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Crawling

Crawling or spidering means scanning the website, its sections, content, keywords, headings, hyperlinks, images by thousands of small bots. Any data that can be found on the website is crawled.

Crawlers detect all hypertext links on a website that point to other websites. Then they parse those pages for new links over and over again. Bots crawl the whole internet regularly to update the data.

Indexing

Once the website is crawled, the indexing takes place. Imagine the index as a gigantic catalog or a library full of websites from all over the world. It usually takes some time for a website to be indexed. From our experience, it’s from 1 to 10 days.

Pro tip: You can check what pages of your website have already been indexed by using this search operator: site:domain.com

Furthermore, every time it’s changed, our good friend crawler scans it again. Keep in mind that until the updates on the website are indexed, they won’t be visible in search engines.

Picking the results

Results are critical for both developers and users. Once the internet user submits a search query, the search engine digs into the index and pulls out matching results. It’s a process of checking the query against billions of websites based on various algorithms.

Companies running search engines (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!) keep the exact calculations of their algorithms in secret. Nonetheless, many ranking factors are well-known.

Ranking factors

Most of these factors are proven, but some are just speculations or even myths. On top of that, some are more important than others.

You don’t have to know all of the ranking factors by heart to learn SEO, but it is good to have at least a basic overview.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

One of the most important factors, the backlink profile is based on the number and quality of backlinks leading to a website. It’s a very simplified view on Google approximation of the website’s authority. Each backlink is basically an analogy of an academic citation.

Some other important ranking factors include (in no particular order):

  • use of relevant keywords and phrases
  • HTTPS
  • link relevance
  • grammar and spelling
  • topical authority
  • social sharing
  • domain age
  • AMP
  • page layout

Ranking factors can be divided into on-page SEO factors (including technical SEO) and link building or off-page SEO factors.

Quick tip: Check the domain authority of your or any other website to find its strengths and weaknesses.

How people use search engines

To recap: The main point of SEO is to be friendly both to users and search engines. If you invest all your money and time into perfect technical SEO, it’s fine. But if the user interaction is poor, your positions can suffer. And that’s how you start wasting money. The user’s point of view is a number one priority.

The picture below represents one of the common user journeys in Google Search:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

 

The interactions with search engines have evolved over the years. However, the principle remains the same:

  1. A need for a solution, information, or an answer
  2. Typing the need in form of a query (keyword) into the search engine
  3. Going through the first results
  4. Clicking on one or more results (websites)
  5. Scanning websites for the answer
  6. Going through more results on the 1st SERP and/or changing the search query, if the answer isn’t found.

Search engines market share

In the charts below, you can see which search engines people use the most. The data is from Netmarketshare’s reports.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

How do we classify search queries?

There are three types of search queries:

  1. Navigational search queries
  2. Informational search queries
  3. Transactional search queries

Navigational search queries

They represent an intent to search for a particular brand or website. People tend to type “youtube” or “google” into search engines rather than using browser’s history or bookmarks.

Based on our case study where we analyzed 1,6 billion keywords, brands such as YouTube, Facebook and Google reach the highest search volumes along with other navigational search queries.

Informational search queries

These are submitted when users are searching for information. They aren’t looking for a particular website, yet for an answer or guidance on how to do something. For example, “How to bake pizza”.

Transactional search queries

This type is an intention to make a transaction. It usually comes with a product name (Nike Airmax) or category (sneakers). Additionally, it can be written with “Where to buy …”“… price” or in a similar manner.

There are many blog posts on how to target a particular search query. However, it’s may not be that easy in the future because of the increasing popularity of voice assistants such as Siri, Google Now or Alexa.

Informational search queries can quickly transform to transactional by opening a new app or giving an option to make a purchase.

SERP updates

Being on the first page of the organic search results is good, scoring the top three is great but there’s only one winner, right? Or, is it? It’s a matter of perspective.

Websites all over the world are updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, …ok, some are not but that’s a different case. The thing is that the internet grows every single day. When new websites and changes are indexed by a search engine, the organic results may change.

 

 

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

What we’re trying to say is that even if you’re the winner, your positions can (and probably will) be replaced by competitors the other day, and vice versa.

SERP features

Of course, ranking first is important, but these days, you have to take into consideration the so-called “zero position”.

Let’s take a look at the results for “How to bake potatoes” search query. The first result is a Google featured snippet with all or the most important information, so you don’t need to check the other results.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

There are many SERP features (also called Rich snippets). Why should you care about them? Rich snippets influence the behavior of users when they see the SERP. In other words, the generic organic search results may have and in many cases, they do have lower click-through rates (CTR).

It’s because the SERP features have bigger visual appeal and they often provide enough information so the Google Search users don’t have to click on other results at all or they click only on the featured results.

These are some of the most common rich snippets you’ll see in the SERP:

  • Featured snippet
  • Answer box
  • Carousel (images, videos, products)
  • Image pack
  • Map pack
  • Sponsored features (Google Ads, flights, shop on Google)
  • Knowledge graph
  • Top stories
  • Events
  • Sitelinks

Learn SEO: On-page and technical SEO

On-page SEO includes quite a long checklist of tasks to do. A few years ago, it was mostly about meta tags, over-optimized content and headlines. If you want to learn SEO in 2020 you’ll have a lot more fun with the on-page stuff. Let’s dive in.

Search engine algorithms have come a long way and become more sophisticated from the times when content, titles and descriptions stuffed with keywords were enough to achieve high rankings in search results.

If you want to learn SEO, you can’t get stuck in the past. One of the biggest improvements of search engines is that they consider the human factor, in other words, the user engagement.

Meta tags

Meta tags are a part of the HTML code. They describe website’s content. The most important are meta titles and meta descriptions

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

They aren’t as important as they used to be from the technical point of view.

Meta titles and descriptions packed with keywords don’t directly influence your rankings BUT they remain a strong psychological factor affecting the CTR and overall user engagement. Therefore, they are still very important for SEO.

Don’t get confused by bloggers saying that title tags and meta descriptions aren’t important at all. On the other hand, keep in mind that Google algorithm changes titles and descriptions to better indicate their relevance to the search query in case your copy doesn’t match enough.

There are many tools and plugins (e.g. Rank Math SEO) analyzing your content in terms of focus keyword usage in meta title, meta description, headings, overall keyword density, alt image attributes and others.

Pro tip: Why not use Seo Yoast? there are many factors i don't use the yoast plugin. read this article Yoast SEO vs Rank Math SEO Comparison 2020: Which SEO Plugin is the Best? and  Complete SEO Checklist 2020: Tips, Techniques & Ranking

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

They offer a lot of hints, yet can hardly follow Google’s algorithm focusing when it comes to human factor. Make sure that you consider both technical points of view and user experience when creating meta tags.

On-page SEO checklist

Let’s start with the things you can do in WordPress or any other content management system.

1. Find out what people are searching before you start writing

Do you plan to write about a topic that people search for? Are you sure your point of view is different, unique? Can you offer a new added value to the topic? Is your timing right?

These are the major questions before you start writing and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a blog or a product landing page. There are many ways how to find out. Keyword research is an inevitable part of it.

2. Title tags and headlines

Create an appealing title tag, meta description and headlines. Keep in mind what we mentioned earlier. Your main focus keyword should still be there, so users know what is your website about. Use the meta description as a great opportunity for the call-to-action (CTA) emphasis.

Persuade both users and search engines that your website is the one to be clicked on.

Quick tips for title tags and headlines:

  • Google will show the titles if they’re up to 70 characters and meta descriptions up to 155 characters (updated on May 2019).
  • Make sure to use correct <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, … structure for good readability and structure.
  • Check the search results preview in tools such as our Search Engine Spider Simulator

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3. Use SEO-friendly URLs

Avoid using auto-generated URLs with figures and characters:

www.example.com/2017/post318e7a349f6

Use URLs corresponding to your content and its title:

www.example.com/how-to-bake-pizza

If you use WordPress, you can set permalinks in the common settings.

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SEO specialists and bloggers say that short URLs ranks better in Google. We think it’s a matter of the user experience. Of course, this doesn’t mean a 20-word URL is alright.

4. Multimedia

Do you want to engage your visitors? Use images, infographics, charts and videos. They lead to lower bounce rates and higher engagement. Some things have to be written in the good old-fashioned way but multimedia are a must.

Video streaming has been one of the hottest marketing trends over the last couple of years. Furthermore, they motivate people to like, share or comment your content.

Quick tips for multimedia:

  • Optimize images by using relevant file names (how-to-bake-pizza.jpg), alt image attributes and file size.
  • Embed interactive multimedia such as videos or charts.
  • Don’t forget to include transcripts so you don’t lose important keywords (search engine crawlers can’t “read” the video).

5. Outbound and internal links

Using outbound links gives a relevancy signal of your topic to Google. Make sure to link to relevant and authoritative sources.

Internal links are a perfect way to promote your other articles or website sections. It makes easier to visit them and leads to higher engagement. Internal linking also helps Google bots to understand the website structure.

Quick tips for outbound and internal links:

  • Outbound links may not directly improve your rankings, yet it is highly advisable to use them.
  • Use up to 2-3 internal links, depending on the content length.
  • Search engine crawlers scan these links, so don’t try to cheat and watch out for broken links.
  • Follow the topic cluster model for internal linking.

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6. Let people engage

Great content shares itself. Yes, maybe in the past. People are lazy these days so the share buttons should always be on your website. According to BuzzSumo, social sharing dropped by half since 2015.

Besides Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, consider adding specific and topic-related social networks, such as Reddit, Pinterest and many others.

Technical on-page SEO checklist

We can classify technical SEO as a part of the on-page SEO that deals with more technical stuff. It usually requires at least some development skills or a web developer. But don’t get scared too much, there are many things you can do easily in WordPress

1. Search Console

Connecting your site to the Google Search Console (former Webmaster tools) is one of the SEO basics. It helps you to monitor and maintain your site’s presence and performance in Google Search.

The Search Console helps you analyze your keyword rankings, CTRs, possible Google penalties and many other useful data for technical SEO.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Other features include content mobile usability, choosing what you want to be indexed and what not, site errors, structured data errors and links.

Quick tips:

2. Website speed

Website speed is one of the ranking factors so you should always aim to improve it. It’s known that 50% of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. If it doesn’t load in 3 seconds, they will leave.

Quick tips:

  • Test the speed in PageSpeed Insights, PageSpeed Checker.
  • Optimize images, enable GZIP compression, HTML compression, JS and CSS minification and try to decrease server response time.
  • Quality web hosting plays a big role in the website speed, so make sure to select a trustworthy provider.
Pagespeed

Pagespeed

3. Mobile optimization

Mobile optimization is a must. The world is shifting from desktop to mobile. In fact, running a website that is not mobile-optimized will negatively influence your rankings.

Google started rolling out the mobile-first indexing in March 2018. The mobile-first indexing means that Google will use the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking.

Quick tips:

  • Test the responsivity of your website in the Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • Monitor your keyword rankings in mobile search results.
  • Make sure the mobile version of your website works like a charm.

You can also consider the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). It’s an HTML code extended with custom properties that enable to render static content faster. In 2017, it was one of the main Google’s projects of mobile search. We’ll see if there’s any future for this.

4. Sitemap

A sitemap helps search engines to crawl your content. It’s a file where all website sections are listed. It’s good to have one when you run a large website with a complicated structure or when you use rich media content.

Having a sitemap doesn’t mean your rankings will improve. According to Google, it’s a benefit but you’ll never be penalized for not having one.

Quick tips:

  • Not all websites need a sitemap.
  • There are more types of sitemaps than just the XML sitemap.
  • The Sitemap shouldn’t contain more than 50,000 URLs and cannot exceed 50 MB.
  • Place the sitemap in the root directory of the website:
https://example.com/sitemap.xml

5. Robots.txt

Robots.txt is a file that tells crawlers which website sections you don’t want them to be accessed. It’s located in https://example.com/robots.txt and it’s public.

It’s handy when you don’t want some scripts, unnecessary files or images to be indexed.

robots.txt syntax:

User-agent: * (e.g. Googlebot)

Disallow: /  (e.g. /images/pizza.png)

Quick tips:

  • Don’t use robots.txt to hide content from search engines.
  • Crawlers or malware robots should not be able to violate robots.txt

Further technical SEO hacks

There are many SEO hacks that will boost your website performance. First, start with the analysis of the current state. It will help you find the opportunities.

Pro tip: use Moz to analyze your site

Set up Google Tag Manager for advanced tag management, so you don’t need any assistance from web developers.

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HTTPS vs. HTTP: Back in 2014, Google announced they will boost rankings of HTTPS/SSL websites. Today, we know that it’s a lightweight ranking factor influencing a small percentage of search queries.

However, security is a strong psychological factor. Google Chrome, for example, labels a website that is not encrypted with SSL as “not secure”, which influences the user engagement.

URL/IP canonicalization: IP canonicalization is important when a website is indexed under both its IP address and domain name. URL canonicalization means that:

https://example.com and https://www.example.com/ should resolve to the same URL

Learn SEO: Content & SEO

Are content & SEO two independent terms or one ideal couple? A lot of marketers used to think that they are separate players. Let’s find out how you can benefit from their synergy.

There was a popular myth among some marketers that perfect content doesn’t need SEO. The truth is they were wrong. And we’ll show you why.

Stop thinking “SEO vs. content marketing” and start exploring how well they perform together.

Seriously, can you imagine high-quality content without on-page optimization or without a single backlink? Likewise, can you imagine a perfectly optimized website packed with content that no one would read?

Some people still believe, that:

  • SEO is for search engines
  • Content is for human beings

They’re wrong! Content & SEO overlap. You simply have to create unique content and optimize it for search engines and people at the same time. This technique is sometimes referred to as “SEO content” or “SEO copywriting”.

What content should I create?

This is the first and most important question. The answer (at least in theory) is simple: “Be unique”Creating original, thought-provoking and engaging content is a great start. Content and SEO must go hand in hand from the beginning. You can choose from various content types:

Blogs

Blogs are very popular, especially in the last years. A good blog is a great source of user engagement not only for bloggers but also for e-commerce websites, SaaS businesses or professional service providers.

Blogging is also a way how to earn money by doing what you love (travel bloggers, marketing bloggers, etc.). Unique blogs with in-depth articles, guides and how-tos can make you a respected influencer in the industry.

Quick tips:

    • Stand out from the crowd, be original
    • Conduct your own research and use unique data
    • It’s not about length, it’s about quality and added value for readers
    • Be consistent to create a strong personal brand
    • Cooperate with companies and influencers

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Product pages

Quality product pages should be the top priority of every online business. They are often used as landing pages for PPC campaigns, including the AdWords remarketing or paid social media.

Quick tips:

  • When it comes to eCommerce, simplicity is a must so clearly describe the product, how much is it and how to buy it (CTA)
  • Use professional photos of products and write appealing copy
  • Website speed and UX are more important than ever

Reviews

Do you want to be an influencer? Writing a review is nothing new but in the world of the internet, everything can be reviewed. You can write reviews of tools, films, bars, restaurants, electronics, you name it.

If you manage to become a trustworthy influencer, you will form people’s opinions and profit from sponsored reviews. Reviews are an inevitable ingredient of the influencer marketing.

Quick tips:

  • Choose one specific topic
  • Don’t sell yourself out just because some company pays well for a 5-star review
  • Create your own standard of what is superb or poor
  • Consistency is the key to become a strong brand

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Case studies and original research

Tell the world about how you do things, share interesting data you collected, reveal what is your customer satisfaction strategy or how you failed when launching a new product. Do experiments, test various myths in your industry.

Probably the best thing about case studies is that they are always unique and bring new information for readers.

Quick tips:

  • Take your time, do your research, prepare enough original data and be honest (don’t lie)
  • If you are writing about your business, show the humans behind the company
  • Don’t be shy, people aren’t interested in dull success stories

Infographics

Everyone likes them! They’re easy to share and download. However, authors frequently use them as a text substitution. Infographics then end up as complicated images with a bunch of copy, so they lost the potential.

Creating infographics is about making information nice and easy to read.

Quick tips:

  • Infographics still have a great sharing and linking potential so make sure to play with both data and design
  • Use only the most important data
  • Create a story, add charts or pictures
  • When uploading infographics as pictures, don’t forget to write a transcript because crawlers cannot “read” the text in the image

Guides, how-tos, tricks & tips

Many times, guides are published as a part of blogs. The “… guide” and “How to …” are attractive keywords. You can write guides or how-tos, but keep in mind that there are already thousands of them.

Don’t copy others, provide different tricks & tips than your competitors.

Quick tips:

  • Record your own videos, or at least use custom screen recordings and screenshots
  • Outreach the product owner or seller to possibly get a backlink or share on their social profiles
  • If you are writing a guide on your own product, put the guide on the product landing page to get additional traffic and an internal backlink

Top lists

Another popular form of written content. There are thousands of top lists out there so think wisely about the topic.

Writing lists is an opportunity to include downloadable items to collect leads, to earn valuable comments and to create a buzz thanks to social shares and backlinks.

Quick tips:

  • The headline says everything about the post
  • Stress extraordinary facts
  • Keep the structure simple
  • Use proven data sources
  • Ask the readers to suggest other items to your list in the comments

Interviews

Getting unique information and opinions from an industry guru is excellent! It helps to build credibility, traffic, social shares and backlinks.

What’s more, interviewees with large audience generate high traffic for free if they share the interview. You can write, record a video or a podcast.

Quick tips:

  • Try to interview a thought leader (famous person in the industry)
  • Set a clear structure of the interview
  • Questions should flow naturally
  • Allow some space for the interviewee, readers are curious about their thoughts

Videos

Higher engagement, social shares, likes, backlinks, more leads and conversions. These are the biggest benefits of using video content. Videos can increase conversion rates by 80%.

Quick tips:

  • Write a script, proofread and practice the script
  • Prepare some budget either for hardware and editing software or for hiring a professional video maker
  • Include transcript
  • Formulate a marketing plan or at least plan the basic promo activities to justify the time and money you’ve put in

Of course, you don’t always need to create your own videos. Make your post more interesting by sharing or embedding the video by an industry expert! It can enrich your content and make the reader stay longer on your website.

Ebooks

Ebooks are usually used for lead generation. Maybe more in the B2B industry but there are still many B2C websites that require an email address to download an ebook.

No one gives you the contact details just like that. You need to give readers a good reason. Ebooks usually come in PDF and contain a long piece of content.

Quick tips:

  • Write it as a proper book: you need a killer topic, title, preview, credible author, proper proofreading and catchy design
  • Motivate users to download: use ebooks with unique data and special tricks that can’t be found on your website or when compared to competitors

What’s the ideal blog post length?

A few years ago, long posts stuffed with keywords ranked on the top positions easily. Somehow, it got to the point, where it looks like there are hundreds of almost identical articles with the same keywords.

Creating content for the sake of content doesn’t work anymore.

If you write an article, you need to keep reader’s attention. It starts with the title, first paragraph, content type and most importantly the overall content structure. Use <title>, <h1, h2, h3, …> and other HTML tags correctly.

When it comes to time, posts with a 7-minute reading time are ideal according to Medium. When it comes to SEO, there are many studies. Most of them prove that longer posts rank slightly better.

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Learn SEO: Keyword research

Keyword research is one of the basic SEO tasks. In this chapter, you will learn how to find your niche and how to find profitable keywords you can rank for.

Creating content without keyword research doesn’t pay off. The content without proper optimization won’t rank and the website traffic will be low. You simply have to know what keywords to target to generate enough quality traffic.

Where to find keywords?

There are various ways to find keywords.

Your first task is to come up with the seed keywords – phrases you’ll use as the stepping stone to finding more keyword ideas. If you run a coffee blog, simple phrases such as “coffee beans”“coffee machines” or “espresso” will work great.

The classic ways to look for keywords:

Google suggestions & Bing suggestions

Google and Bing  offers many keyword suggestions directly in the SERP. Features such as Google and Bing AutocompletePeople Also Ask or Related Searches can be a great source of keyword ideas.

With the autocomplete feature, you just need to write your seed keyword into the Google search and the suggestions will appear automatically.

Example: Email Marketing

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You can combine your seed keyword with different letters from the alphabet to find more autocomplete ideas (e.g. email marketing aemail marketing b,…)

Here’s another example of keyword ideas that can be found in the Google results page:

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Bing:

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All the suggestions based on the real search queries used by people all over the world.

Pro tip: use keyword suggestions tool

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

 

Keyword tools

There are many free keyword tools that can give you hundreds of keyword ideas based on a single seed keyword. One of the most popular ones is Google Keyword Planner although it’s main focus is keyword research for PPC ads.

Pro tip: Highest CPC Keywords and Best Adsense Niches in 2020 Earning $2000/Month

You can look for keyword ideas almost anywhere. Focus on websites people in your niche use to ask questions, communicate and share ideas.

Some of the most popular platforms to find keyword ideas:

  • YouTube
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Wikipedia
  • Forums
  • etc.

Keyword metrics

In the past, content creators did keyword research only to find the keywords with high search volumes. They stuffed them into content to trick the search engine algorithms and ensure high rankings in organic search. This no longer helps because keyword research has become a lot more complex!

These days you have to work with more metrics, consider the Google RankBrain algorithm and the actual SERP you plan to rank in.

Google RankBrain
RankBrain is a component of Google’s algorithm based on artificial intelligence. It helps Google to understand the intent behind the search query and deliver the most relevant results thanks to the machine-learning system.

Relevant keywords with high search volumes and low keyword difficulty – an ideal combination of the three most important factors of keyword research.

We call it The tripod rule of keyword research – these three factors represent the three legs. As soon as you take one of the legs, the tripod will collapse.

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Unfortunately, it is not always that easy and you need to look for a balance between these factors.

Long tail keywords vs. search volumes

Start by looking for the long tail or middle tail keywords.

Long tail keywords have lower search volumes but there are thousands that represent the opportunity for you. Count them up and you’ll see their enormous potential.

Visitors who find you via long tail keywords will engage with your content a lot more and their conversion rates are higher. It’s because the query is specific enough to find relevant results. And you want to be at the top of these relevant results.

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The biggest con of long tail keywords is their search volume. Sometimes, it may be as low as 100 searches per month. That’s why you need to find the right balance and the metric called the keyword difficulty will help you to do achieve it.

Keyword difficulty

Once you find keywords you want to rank for, you’ll need to evaluate how hard it will be. The keyword difficulty is a very useful metric that will help you with it.

The value is usually indicated on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the score is, the harder it is to rank on the 1st SERP for the keyword.

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There are many keyword research tools on the market calculating the keyword difficulty. The values may vary – you can see score 30 in one tool and 50 in another one for exactly the same keyword.

That’s because the calculations are based on slightly different metrics and algorithms. The important thing is to compare the results within one tool.

Search intent

SERP analysis is a very important part of keyword research. It helps you to find out whether:

  1. You are able to compete with websites in the 1st SERP
  2. The search intent behind the keywords you want to optimize for

By looking at the SERP you can identify what’s the intention behind the search query. When you are searching for a “homemade pizza recipe”, you probably don’t want to buy a pizza.
Always keep this in mind so you won’t end up optimizing for wrong keywords.

There are 4 different search intent types:

  • Navigational – search for a specific website/brand (“google search console”)
  • Informational – search for general information (“how to make coffee”)
  • Transactional – user wants to buy something online (“buy apple iphone xs”)
  • Commercial – user does the research before purchase (“canon 6d review”)

If you run a blog about pizza recipes, you don’t need to rank #1 for the keyword “pizza” (with more than 4 millions of monthly searches globally)? Look at the SERP for the keyword:

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It wouldn’t make sense to be there unless you plan to compete with Pizza Hut or Domino’s. Yes, these kinds of keywords are very attractive but in most cases, they are not relevant to your niche. What’s more, they represent only a few of all the searches across the world. The majority of searches are long tail queries.

How NOT to do keyword research

Newbies and impatient content creators usually find a keyword with high search volume in Google Keyword Planner or any other keyword research tool while not thinking about other metrics.

As we have explained above, finding an ideal keyword is not only about search volume.

Another mistake is data misinterpretation. A common example is the “Competition” score in Google Keyword Planner. There’s a confusion between this metric and the keyword difficulty.

The competition in GKP represents the level of competition in Google AdWords. It doesn’t represent how hard it is to rank for that keyword.

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Another thing you should avoid at all costs is keyword stuffing. Keyword research is no longer about finding one ideal keyword and using it as much as possible.

Instead, select one focus keyword and use it in:

  • The heading
  • Title tag and meta description
  • One of the first paragraphs of the text
  • A couple of times in the text (depends on the length of the keyword too)

Google has evolved and it understands what the content is about. If it is well-written, comprehensive and user-friendly, you may actually rank for keywords you did not even use in your text.

Instead of using the same keyword over and over again, try to look for LSI keywords.

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are keywords that are semantically related to the main seed keyword. They are a great add-on to keyword research.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

LSI keywords change all the time based on the current trend. Adding semantic keywords to your content is a good idea. You can use LSIGraph to generate a bunch of beneficial keyword ideas.

Learn SEO: Link building

In the 6th chapter of our SEO for beginners guide, we will discuss link building – one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. Let’s learn how you can build a quality link profile.

Link building is a process of getting links from other websites. From the technical point of view, backlinks are hypertext links that serve as navigation among websites. The links are crawled by search engines which allows them to index the web content.

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Why is link building so important?

Search engines use links to explore new websites and to set the overall ranking of a website in SERP. In other words, they explore new content and determine the authority of a website based on the authority passed from external sources.

This means that a website’s link profile is one of the most important ranking factors.

When Google introduced PageRank in the 1990s, the number of backlinks was used as an important metric of the overall ranking. The more links you earned, the better was your ranking.

As this could easily be misused, several Google algorithm updates focused on penalization of shady link building techniques.

Today, link building is no longer about the number of backlinks, but mostly about the quality and relevance.

Types of backlinks

Generally speaking, there are two types of backlinks:

  • Do-follow backlinks pass the authority of the linking page to the linked page. This authority is also often called the “link juice”.
  • No-follow backlinks don’t score any points to the linked website. They don’t pass the authority because of the rel=”nofollow” HTML tag that tells crawlers not to count it.

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In the illustration above, Site A links to both Site B and Site C. But only the link to Site B passes the “link juice”. The other one has a no-follow tag, so no authority is passed to Site C.

No-follow links have no value from the SEO point of view.

Anchor text

The anchor text is a visible, clickable part of a hyperlink. It helps crawlers to indicate what the linked page is about.

If more pages link to you with certain terms used in the anchor texts, it may help you rank for these terms in the search engines.

Well, then all I need is a lot of backlinks with my focus keyword as an anchor text, right?

It’s not that easy. An over-optimized anchor text profile may lead to an algorithmic penalty by Google. It is better to leave the anchor texts to be natural rather than trying to tweak them artificially.

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There should be a balance among the following types of anchors:

  • Keywords and phrases (“SEO tools”)
  • Brands (“JasaSEO.be”)
  • Branded terms (“SEO tools by JasaSEO.be”)
  • Generic anchors (“page”)
  • Naked URLs (“jasaseo.be)
  • CTAs (“click here, “read more”)

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Quality aspects of backlinks

Google considers multiple quality aspects of the referring websites:

  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority
  • Other link profile quality metrics

There are several metrics by Moz and Majestic which help us to evaluate/approximate these qualities:

  • Moz Page Authority (PA)
  • Moz Domain Authority (DA)
  • Majestic Trust Flow (TF)
  • Majestic Citation Flow (CF)

Pro tip: Domain Authority, Page Authority Vs Domain Rating: What Do They Mean for SEO?

The higher is the value, the higher is the quality of the backlink.

When we take a look at Majestic’s “Trust Flow and “Citation Flow”, we’ll get another evaluation of links.

The first mentioned says that sites closely linked to a trusted seed site can see higher scores, whereas sites that may have some questionable links would see a much lower score. Citation Flow predicts how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it.

Relevancy

Links referring to a website have to be relevant to its content. A backlink from a clothes e-shop will be useless for you if you write a blog about recipes.

Link placement

Links placed in the main articles or sections are better than links in footers and sidebars. Single links tend to be more valuable than sitewide links.

Sitewide links appear on all pages of a website. They are usually in the footer, header, sidebar or blogrolls. Sitewide links are great both for internal and external link building.

They can generate a lot of traffic. Don’t get scared by them but make sure to use only natural links and keep in mind that their SEO potential may be a bit lower when compared to single links.

Besides the aspects mentioned above, we need to consider the freshness of the link, the anchor quality, popularity and social signals.

Link building strategies

It’s not easy to acquire a high-quality backlink. The techniques that were the simplest (reciprocal links or directory submissions) do not work anymore, so the SEOs spend a lot of time trying different approaches.

Let’s take a look at what works the best these days:

Guest posting

Guest posting is probably the most popular link building technique. The equation is simple: You write a post and publish it on another website. The website will get free content and you’ll get a free backlink. Win-win.

Of course, it all comes down to quality. If you want a good backlink, you need to bring your A-game in terms of the guest post quality. The popularity of this technique means that everyone uses it and there are too many bad guest posts and bad outreach emails. Here’s what you should keep in mind when doing the guest post outreach campaign:

  • Don’t use templates
  • Be personal
  • Offer relevant, well-researched topics

Competitors’ backlinks

A time-consuming but still quite effective strategy is to find what works for the others. Check the websites that link to your competitors, create better content and contact relevant people behind these websites to link to your website instead.

The easiest way to find your competitors’ backlinks is to use a backlink tool such as Ahrefs or Moz. All you need to do is to enter the domain of your competitor and the tools will show you the backlinks they have

Once you find your competitors’ backlinks, it’s time to analyze the best opportunities. You should consider:

  • Link relevance – Is the link relevant to your content?
  • Link strength – What is the authority of the linking page?
  • Chance to replicate the backlink – Will I be able to get the same backlink?

The next step is the so-called email outreach – contacting the website owners to replace the backlink of your competitor (also known as The Skyscraper Technique) or add your backlink as an additional resource.

Here are some other popular link building techniques:

  • Content-based link building: Create content that will naturally attract backlinks, social shares and referral traffic
  • Social backlinks: Share your content on social media, promote it on Facebook, join discussions, comment relevant posts and create connections
  • Broken link building: Find websites with inactive links and give them your content to link to instead
  • PR articles written by professionals and published on news portals will give you high-quality backlinks but prepare some budget for this and make sure they are truly relevant
  • Buying backlinks via paid blog posts
  • Writing a testimonial for a product with a backlink to your website
  • Backlinks from forums, Q&A sites, top lists, comments, content aggregators, business listings, etc. (keep in mind that a vast majority of them are no-follow or low-quality backlinks)
  • Grey/black hat techniques such as PBN (Private Blog Network) link building

Pro tip: How to Build Backlinks in 2020

Black hat techniques and penalties

Paid backlinks and PBN (Private Blog Network) link are another way to build backlinks but these techniques are considered black hat (or gray hat). Google may detect the pattern and penalize your website.

On the other hand, these techniques work. You just need to be super careful and think about all the possible risks before taking the black-hat path

Example: This site https://www.themeslide.com use black hat seo technique

When our team analyzes backlinks through ahrefs

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

open site and view page source:

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

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After reporting you will get a reply from google 3 days – 1 week

Penalties

Google Penguin algorithm update from April 2012 started to detect and penalize for bad, spammy, or low-quality links.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

However, if you have spammy or low-quality backlinks you did not create, don’t panic! Google understands that not all bad backlinks were created on purpose and usually, the worst-case scenario is that it will just ignore these backlinks. If you want to be sure, you can still disavow such backlinks in the Search Console.

Best practices

  • Do link building regularly, it’s not a one-time effort
  • Acquire a few high-quality links rather than many low-quality links
  • Do natural anchor text distribution based on the tips we listed in the “Anchor text” section
  • Avoid backlinks from spammy websites and networks
  • Try to acquire backlink placements which could bring you referral traffic as well

Pro tip: Outbound Links: Why Is It Important for SEO in 2020

Learn SEO: UX & SEO

UX and SEO are two aspects of digital marketing that go hand in hand. In this chapter, we focus on their synergy to find out how you can improve your rankings by doing a little extra on your website.

If you were starting with SEO in 2008 your main tasks would be stuffing your content with keywords, ideally hidden as white text, doing reciprocal backlink exchanges and creating low-quality content pages for every keyword variation.

Luckily, we are in 2020 where the mentioned techniques don’t work and some of them will grant a penalty for your website.

Let’s read them all again and think as a human being. Did you find any positive value? Nope. That’s exactly what they were meant for: to fool the search engine algorithm.

And here comes user experience (UX) which is on the opposite side of the barrier…

While SEOs need to understand it’s not only about rankings, UX specialists have to admit that user experience kicks in even before using the website.

User experience. What is it?

User experience is every user’s interaction with the company, its website or products. It’s the overall experience influencing product development, design, marketing and customer support.

In this SEO guide, we focus on the “online” user experience and its relationship with SEO. UX is no longer only about meeting customer requirements. It’s about going beyond these requirements.

You should think out of the box and develop a website that naturally covers every possible need of a customer without bothering him.

Keep in mind:
UX is not UI (user interface). Yes, it’s a part of it but we need to distinguish these terms. Imagine an online store. Despite its UI for finding a product is perfect, the overall UX will be poor if we click on “Order & pay” and suddenly get an error message that the product is out of stock.

UX rules nowadays world

The first and most important part is to understand that UX is a never-ending process of improvements towards customers. It’s a philosophy the company should stick to and develop its website accordingly.

Web UX is a mix of content and technical UX. If we wanted to put it simply, we would say UX is everything. That’s why we need to understand its complexity and influence on everyone inside and outside the company. We’re talking about:

  • Website structure and navigation
  • Conversion funnel optimization
  • Easy onboarding process
  • Page speed
  • Website responsivity
  • Content optimization
  • Content structure
  • Title tags and meta descriptions
  • Real-time customer support
  • Smooth workflow

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

UX and SEO challenges

When we think “UX and SEO” instead of “UX vs. SEO”, we have to cope with challenges every once in a while. Not all of the above mentioned are directly connected to SEO. Let’s take a look at the ones that do.

Website structure and navigation

Let’s put everything on a single page to ensure smooth UX. This is a valid idea in the UX world. It’s easy and it makes sense. But SEOs know that organic traffic is at least half of the success.

Many visitors should come from the organic search or access the page directly based on their previous actions. Other visitors are referred from various sources such as social media, blogs or PPC campaigns.

Can you imagine a single-page experience for all of these different intentions and search queries? People use Google to find what they want. Your website should be the finding.

When it comes to the website navigation, don’t try to fit all possible landing pages there for the sake of SEO. Having a link to your latest blog post in the navigation indicates Google that the URL is important but it may not be relevant to your website visitors.

Example:
Our blog used to have a different call-to-action button in the top-right corner. It was designed to convert the readers to our SEO tools users. Not that relevant, right? We decided to add “Subscribe to newsletter” instead. It makes more sense from the UX point of view and gives a chance to work harder on our inbound marketing activities.

Page speed

The faster is your website, the better is the UX. page speed is one of the ranking factors. There’s a clear relationship between SEO and UX. This is probably the easiest case to explain.

Pro tip: Tips to Speed Up WordPress Performance in 2020, if you se w3 total cache check this post How to Install and Setup W3 Total Cache (Best Guide)

Content optimization

Understand the language of a typical searcher and adjust your content to it. In other words, do keyword research and optimize your content accordingly.

The point is to make your content accessible for everyone searching for a product, solution or any information that your website may provide.

Pro tip: How to Promote Blog in 2020: Content Promotion Tactics and Best Tips for a Successful Content Marketing Strategy (2020 Best Guide)

Title tags and meta descriptions

The higher in the SERP you are, the higher possibility you get to be clicked. That’s quick math.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

However, if you spoil the title tag and meta description the quick math can go wrong. Your goal is to catch the searcher’s attention by using copy that encourages them to click on your website in the SERP.

There are 3 main elements to consider when creating title tags and meta descriptions:

  1. SEO – Use the right keywords so crawlers can understand what is the website about and what is the most important content.
  2. UX – Give the searchers clear and meaningful information that will motivate them to click because they will find what they are looking for.
  3. Marketing – Irresistible copy with a clear call to action leads to higher click-through rates.

How to measure UX and SEO

From Google Analytics through specialized reports to internal data, there’s a variety of options you can use.

Engagement and behavior metrics in Google Analytics

“Bounce rate”, “Pages per session” and “Avg. session duration” provide a basic view on user interaction. These metrics are almost in every report in GA, so you can see them for various traffic sources.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

The more detailed information is available in the category “Behavior”. The “behavior flow” informs you how visitors interact with various sections of the website. Advanced options let you see reports based on traffic sources, landing pages, campaigns and others.

Though the report is usually based on a small percentage of website visitors, it comes with a piece of handy advice: It tells you how many users went through or dropped-off when visiting that particular section.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Conversion funnels in Google Analytics

This report tells you how people interact with the checkout page on your website. Do you have more than one step in the checkout process? In this case, don’t forget to properly set up the goal tracking in the admin menu.

This way, you’ll measure how many people went through all the steps and how many abandoned throughout the process. It can be a registration form, buying process or subscription form on your blog. It’s just another extremely useful information for UX optimization.

If the majority of the website users who visited the checkout process didn’t even fill the first form then you know there’s something wrong.

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Heatmaps & recordings

Heatmaps visualize the behavior of website visitors while providing many useful reports. Sophisticated heatmap tools such as Hotjar or Crazyegg come with complex analytic solutions but they can be too expensive for bloggers or small businesses. For beginners, a limited free plan by Hotjar or Ptengine may be a good start.

Heatmaps help a lot when it comes to both UX and SEO. The power of heatmaps is in the ability to see exactly where people click, what elements they expect to be clickable, how they scroll, interact, fill in forms.

Top-notch heatmap tools include the recordings of the user behavior. Are they worth it? Yes, but not for everyone. Businesses with more complicated (e-commerce) pages (and usually with bigger budgets) should go for it, but there is no point for bloggers to spend hundreds of dollars on these expert tools. Limited free versions should do the job.

Internal data

Do you know what’s great about internal data? There aren’t any additional costs. You create these reports packed with useful information all the time:

  • Customer questions
  • Feedback forms
  • Comments and reactions
  • Customer wishes and complaints
  • Marketing reports
  • Email responses
  • Reports from web developers

Testing and site speed

Testing the website before it’s launched is a must! Beta testers provide a lot of useful information. They’re the first real users. On top of that, you can do some usability testing with colleagues, friends or fans during the development process.

Pay attention to key elements such as page speed, mobile optimization, and other important on-page SEO aspects.

Learn SEO: SEO resources

Besides this SEO guide for beginners, there are many great sources that will help you to learn SEO and improve your optimization skills. We have picked the top ones for you!

SEO is a growing industry and there are literally hundreds of resources you can learn from – wheter you prefer blogs, ebooks, infographics, forums or following the experts. The well-known online marketing company Ignite Visibility even made an SEO Movie!

Of course, too many resources can be a little overwhelming for an SEO beginner as it may be hard to distinguish quality content from the lousy one. That is why we decided to dedicate the last chapter of our SEO guide for beginners to the best SEO resouces we hand-picked personally!

Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners
Learn SEO 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners

Learn SEO in 2020: Complete SEO Guide For Beginners to Increase Traffic in 2020 Increasing your website’s traffic is fairly easy if you understand few rules of SEO.

Course Provider: Organization

Course Provider Name: JasaSEO.be LLC

Course Provider URL: https://jasaseo.be/seo-guide-for-beginners/

Editor's Rating:
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