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.
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.
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.