The Ultimate SEO Beginners Guide For 2023

SEO is constantly changing and evolving, and in order to keep up with the latest trends, you need to be knowledgeable about the basics. In this guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about SEO - from the basics of on-page optimization to link building and keyword research.

Stephan Moerman
Stephan Moerman

In this guide we'll explain what search engine optimization is all about, and how search engine optimization can help your business grow. After reading this article, you'll know how you can help a search engine discover your website to start increasing how many pages of your website show up in major search engines. So whether you're a beginner or an experienced marketer, this guide has something for everyone!

Table of contents

  1. What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and why is it important?

  2. The tools you need to get started with SEO

  3. What are the 3 types of SEO?

  4. The basics of on-page optimization

  5. How to do keyword research

  6. Link building techniques (internal links and external links)

  7. Tips for improving your website's ranking

  8. Common mistakes in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that can hurt your rankings

  9. Resources for learning more about SEO

What is Search Engine Optimization and why is it important?

Search Engine Optimization is a process that can be used to improve the ranking of a website on search engines. SEO is important because it can help you attract more visitors to your website, which can result in more sales or leads. Understanding how search engines work is an important part of search engine marketing, just like using the right SEO tools.

There are several factors that go into determining a website’s ranking, including the quality and relevance of the content, the number of backlinks, and the use of keywords. SEO is a complex process, but there are several things you can do to optimize your website for the search engines once you understand how search engines work.

Make sure you understand on-page SEO strategies

One of the most important aspects of Search Engine Optimization is on-page optimization. This involves optimizing your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and images. You can also improve your website’s rank by adding relevant keywords to your content and by optimizing your pages for mobile devices.

On-page SEO elements
Another important aspect of SEO is link building. This involves acquiring links from other websites to your own. The more links you have, the higher your website will rank in the search results. There are several techniques you can use to build links, including guest blogging, press releases, and directory submissions.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that SEO is a continually evolving field. The techniques that worked last year may not work this year, so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and changes.

The tools you need to get started with SEO

There are a few essential tools you need to get started with SEO. The first is a website. Once you have built your website, it is important to integrate Analytics tools. These tools will help you track your website's performance and optimize it for Google search and any other search engine.

Link your Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console (GSC) account

Once you have created a website, it is important to link Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts. This will allow you to track your website's performance and optimize it for Google search. In GA, you can find your website's tracking ID, which you will need to enter into your GSC account. Once the accounts are linked, you will be able to see data such as impressions, clicks, and average position in search results for your website. These two tools combined allow you to monitor your search rankings so you know exactly where your SEO stands.

Google Search Console

What is GSC and how do you set it up?

Google Search Console is a free service that lets you learn a great deal of information about your website, page issues (which can be negative ranking factors if not taken care off), and the audience who visits it. You can use it to discover how many people are visiting your site, how they are finding it, whether more people are visiting your site on a mobile device or desktop computer, and which pages on your site are the most visited. It can also assist you in finding and fixing website errors, submitting a sitemap, and creating and checking robots.txt files.

Set up your GSC property

So now that you know a little bit about what Google Search Console is and what it can do for you, let's talk about how to use it. The first thing you'll need to do is create a Google Search Console account. You can do this by visiting google.com/searchconsole and clicking on the "Create a new property" button.

You'll then be prompted to enter the website you want to track. Once you've entered your website, click on the "Verify" button. Google will then give you a few options for verifying your website. You can choose from one of the following methods:

1) Adding a meta tag to your website's header

2) Uploading an HTML file to your website's root directory

3) Entering a verification code provided by Google into your website's HTML

Start looking into the data

After you've verified your website, you'll be able to access a variety of information about it in the "Google Search Console" dashboard. The main sections of the dashboard are "Home," "Search Traffic," "Crawl," "Index," "Googlebot," and "Labs." In each section, you'll find different reports that will tell you more about how your website is performing.

For example, the "Search Traffic" section contains a report called "Queries." This report shows you the top queries that have sent traffic to your website. It also tells you how many impressions and clicks each query has generated, as well as the average position of your website for each query.

The "Crawl" section contains a report called "Fetch as Google." This report lets you see how Google is indexing your website. You can use it to troubleshoot any indexing issues and make sure that Google is crawling all of the pages on your site.

The "Index" section contains a report called "Sitemaps." This report shows you which pages on your website have been indexed by Google and how many impressions and clicks each page has received. It also tells you if there are any errors with your sitemap.

The "Googlebot" section contains a report called "Robots.txt Tester." This report lets you check to see if your robots.txt file is blocking Google from indexing any of your pages.

The "Labs" section contains several experimental features that aren't yet available to all users. These features include the ability to test your site's mobile usability, receive email notifications when your site's search traffic changes, and view detailed crawl statistics for your site.

As you can see, there's a lot of information available in Google Search Console. By using it, you can learn more about how people are finding and using your website.

Once you have your website set up and the accounts linked, you can start looking into SEO software such as Semrush. Semrush is one of many SEO tools that allows you to track your website's rankings for certain keywords, as well as spy on your competitors to see what tactics they are using to rank higher than you. This information can help you improve your own SEO strategy and rank higher in search results.

What are the 3 types of SEO?

As anyone who has ever used a search engine knows, the order of the search results can have a major impact on your ability to find the information you need. The higher up a result is, the more likely you are to click on it. For this reason, businesses and individuals alike have become increasingly focused on search engine optimization, or SEO. This broad term covers a wide range of activities, all aimed at improving search engine results. There are three main types of SEO: on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and technical optimization.

On-page optimization refers to the content and structure of your website. This includes things like title tags and meta descriptions, which help search engines understand what your website is about. It also includes making sure that your website is easy to navigate and load quickly.

Off-page optimization, on the other hand, refers to the activities you do outside of your website to improve your search engine rankings. This can include things like link building and social media engagement. Technical optimization is a bit more technical, and it refers to things like sitemaps and structured data. It’s important to note that all three types of SEO are important for getting good search engine results.

Comparison between on page, off page and technical SEO
SEO can be a complex and time-consuming task, but it’s important to remember that it can have a major impact on your business or individual success, as it can drive a lot of organic search traffic to your website. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started with SEO.

The basics of on-page optimization

On-page SEO is one of the most important aspects of SEO. This involves optimizing your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and images. You can also improve your website’s rank by adding relevant keywords to your content and by optimizing your pages for all devices, whether it's a smart phone, tablet or a computer. Pro tip: you can find out which device types visitors on your own site use in your Google Analytics account. We always recommend you focus on on page SEO before you start working on your off page SEO.

One of the most important aspects of on page SEO work is the use of keywords. You should include keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and throughout your content. However, you should not overuse keywords, as web crawlers will notice this and it can result in a penalty from the search engines.

On page SEO - content optimization

Another important aspect is the use of images. You should always include an alt tag for each image on your website. The alt tag is the text that is displayed when an image is not available. You should also make sure to use relevant keywords in your alt tags. If you run an online store image optimization is even more relevant just like it is for other sites such as social media sites. A team of SEO experts that know the eCommerce industry, like Bakklog, can help you tackle these challenges and make sure your site's pages show up for relevant search queries by optimizing the meta tags, description, title tag, keyword suggestions, and more. If you want to learn more about SEO for eCommerce, we highly recommend you read the ecommerce beginners guide by Shopify.

You can also improve your website’s ranking by optimizing your pages for smartphones and tablets. More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to search for information online, so it is important to make sure your website is optimized for these devices. You can do this by using a responsive design or by creating a separate mobile version of your website.

Bonus tip: Make sure you set the right title tags and meta descriptions. Once you've done that, focus on sharing the right amount of information and the related keywords, otherwise you won't show up for relevant queries.

Responsive web design

How to create an off-page optimization SEO strategy

Off-page optimization is the process of optimizing web pages so they rank higher in google search results or other search engines. One way to do this is by improving the quality and quantity of external links pointing to a page. This can be done by adding new content that is shareable and linkworthy, or by reaching out to other webmasters and asking them to link to your page. You should also link to external resources (other sites) in your blog posts every now and then to maintain a balanced profile. Another way to optimize a web page is through internal linking.

This means adding links from other pages on your website to the page you're trying to optimize to help search engines discover the structure of your website. Simply put this helps Google understand what the page is about and how it relates to other pages on your site. Off-page optimization is an important part of any SEO strategy, and there are many different ways to improve your ranking. Experiment with different techniques and track your results to see what works best for you.

How to do keyword research

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO. It involves finding the right keywords to target for your website. The key is to find keywords that have a high search volume and low competition.

There are several ways you can find keywords to target for your website. One way is to use Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to find keywords based on your own website’s content or by entering a keyword phrase.

Another way to find keywords is to use a tool called SEMrush. This tool allows you to see the estimated traffic for a particular keyword, as well as the level of competition for that keyword.

Once you have chosen a few keywords, it is important to include them in your content. You should also use them in your title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and throughout your content. However, you should not overuse keywords, as this can result in a penalty from the search engines and search engines discover keyword stuffing without any doubt.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that SEO is a continually evolving field. The techniques that worked last year may not work this year, so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and changes.

Link building techniques (internal links and external links)

One of the best ways to improve your website’s ranking is to build links from other websites. There are several techniques you can use to build links, including guest blogging, press releases, and directory submissions.

Guest blogging is one of the best ways to build links. This involves writing guest posts for other websites. When you write a guest post, you include a link to your own website in the author bio. This is a great way to get exposure for your website and to build links from high-quality websites.

A press release is a great way to get SEO backlinks

Press releases are another great way to build links. A press release is a statement that you issue to the media about your company or product. When you issue a press release, you include a link to your website at the bottom of the release. This is a great way to get exposure for your website and to build links from high-quality websites.

Directory submissions are another great way to build links. A directory submission is when you submit your website to a directory of websites. When you submit your website, you include a link to your website. This is a great way to get exposure for your website and to build links from high-quality websites.

SEO link building

PPC (paid results) vs. SEO (organic search results)

PPC and SEO are two different ways to get your website seen by potential customers. PPC is the process of paying for ads that will show up in search engine results pages, while SEO is the practice of optimizing your website so that it will rank higher in those same search engine results pages, without having to pay for ads.

PPC and SEO are both great ways to get your website seen by potential customers, but there are a few key differences between them.

The main differences between SEO and PPC

Both PPC and SEO have their benefits, but SEO is the more long-term option. With PPC, you have to keep paying for those ads to stay at the top of the results pages, but with SEO, your website will gradually move up the rankings as long as you continue to optimize it. This means that if you have a tight budget, SEO is the better option, because you only have to invest in it once and your website will continue to get traffic from search engines organically.

PPC can drive traffic quickly but stops working when it's toggled off. That's because PPC is an interruption marketing strategy. It gets users' attention by pouncing on them with an offer and then disappears until the next time it's used. Interruption strategies are generally less effective over time because people get used to them and tune them out.

PPC paid results vs SEO organic results

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

In 2015, Google announced a new initiative called AMP. The goal of AMP is to improve the performance of web pages on mobile devices. AMP pages are designed to be lightweight and fast-loading, and they can be found in the Google search results. When a user searches for a term on Google, they may see AMP pages as part of the search results. These pages have a lightning bolt icon next to them, indicating that they are AMP pages. Although AMP is not a ranking factor for Google, it can still help to boost your website's SEO. Having AMP pages can help increase your click-through rate from the search results, as well as the organic traffic to your website. In addition, having AMP pages can help improve your website's overall performance and user experience.

If you're looking to implement AMP on your website, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you'll need to create AMP pages for your website. This can be done using the AMP HTML markup language. You can also use a tool like the AMP WordPress Plugin to create AMP pages for your website. Second, you'll need to make sure that your website's content is compatible with AMP. This means that you'll need to use lightweight fonts and images, as well as simplified HTML code. Third, you'll need to configure your website's server to serve the AMP pages. Finally, you'll need to track the results of your AMP implementation and make any necessary adjustments. By following these steps, you can create fast-loading and SEO-friendly AMP pages for your website.

One of the main benefits of AMP is that it can help increase your website's click-through rate from the search results. When a user sees an AMP page in the Google search results, they are more likely to click on it than a regular web page. This is because AMP pages are designed to be fast-loading and lightweight. As a result, users are more likely to have a good experience when browsing them.

Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

Another benefit of AMP is that it can help improve your website's overall performance and user experience. AMP pages are designed to be lightweight and fast-loading, which means that they will load quickly on any device. In addition, they use simplified HTML code, which makes them easy to read and navigate. As a result, users are more likely to stick around on your website longer and interact with its content. This can help to improve your website's bounce rate and overall engagement metrics, and drive more traffic for the same content.

AMP does not affect search engine rankings

Overall, AMP can be a valuable tool for improving your website's SEO and traffic. By following the steps above, you can create fast-loading and SEO-friendly AMP pages for your website. It's important to note that other search engines such as Bing also support AMP in their mobile search results.

Before investing a lot of time and energy into AMP, we highly recommend you read the article by search engine land that explains what happened when they turned off AMP. For other sites that are focused on completely different industries the SEO team at Bakklog noticed that AMP is not considered a Google ranking factor.

Common mistakes in SEO that beginners make

Many people make mistakes when it comes to SEO, which can hurt their website’s ranking. Some of the most common mistakes include not using the right keywords, not optimizing for mobile devices, and not using a responsive design.

Another common mistake is not building links from other websites. You can build links from other websites by guest blogging, press releases, and directory submissions. Anyways, let's dive deeper and make sure that you don't make easy to make mistakes such as not adding a meta description and title tag to a page or not adding structured data when it's an easy win.

  1. They don't use the right keywords

  2. They don't search engine optimize for mobile devices

  3. Focusing too much on SEO and not enough on the user experience

  4. Not tracking search rankings

  5. Creating content instead of taking the time to produce high quality content

  6. Not adding keywords in their meta tags (irrelevant meta title and meta description)

Search engine work you should focus on in 2023

1. Using the right keywords

When it comes to SEO, using the right keywords is essential. If you don’t use the right keywords, your website may not rank as high as it could. This can have a negative impact on your business, as you may not get the exposure you need. Keyword research is not counted for on or off page SEO but is a critical step to start ranking on any search engine. If you produce high quality content with the right keywords by using a keyword research tool such as Semrush, you'll find that Google marks your particular page as one of the relevant results much quicker. Keyword phrases need to be a part of more than just your page title and meta description tag however, but before we dive into that let's explain some of the mistakes you need to avoid.

SEO keywordsCredit: image by backlinko

Keywords can hurt your rankings

Not using the right keywords can also hurt your website’s ranking in the search engines. This means that your website may not show up as high in the search results as it could. This can be a major blow to your business, as you may not get the exposure you need from the search engines.

In order to avoid these negative consequences, it is important to use the right keywords in your content. You should include them in your title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and throughout your content. You should also use them when submitting your website to directories and when issuing press releases.

By using the right keywords, you can ensure that your website ranks as high as possible in the search engines and that you get the exposure you need from them.

2. Optimizing your website for mobile devices

If you don’t optimize your website for mobile devices, you are making a big mistake. This is because more and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet, and if your website isn’t optimized for them, they will not be able to view it correctly. This can lead to a bad user experience, which can hurt your website’s ranking in the search engines.

Responsive web design is important

In order to avoid this negative outcome, it is important to make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices. You can do this by using a responsive design, which will ensure that your website looks good on all types of devices. You can also use a mobile friendly design, which will make it easy for users to navigate your website on their mobile devices.

By optimizing your website for mobile devices, you can ensure that your website provides a good user experience and that you don’t lose traffic due to a bad user experience.

3. Focus on the user experience to complement search engine optimization

When it comes to SEO, it is important to focus on both the user experience and the search engines. If you focus too much on SEO and not enough on the user experience, you may end up with less leads and sales.

This is because if your website provides a poor user experience, users will not stick around long enough to convert. This means that you will not get the leads and sales that you need from your website.

In order to avoid this negative outcome, it is important to focus on both the user experience and SEO. You should make sure that your website is easy to navigate and that the content is interesting and relevant to users. You should also make sure that your website loads quickly and that it looks good on all devices.

If you focus on both SEO and the user experience, you can ensure that your website provides a good user experience and that you get the leads and sales that you need from it.

If you want to learn more about SEO, there are a number of resources available to you. You can read articles like this one, or you can attend SEO training courses. You can also watch videos about SEO, or listen to podcasts about it.

Get a free SEO audit and find out why your website is not ranking on Google

Another great way to learn about SEO is to request a free SEO audit from one of Bakklog's SEO consultants. Our consultants will evaluate your website and give you a report on the areas that need improvement, based on the most important ranking factors. They will also provide you with recommendations on how to improve your website's ranking in the search engines to make sure you start ranking on the Google Search results.

Should you focus on other search engines

A question we often get is: Should we focus on other search engines for SEO other then just Google? The answer is crystal clear. While SEO is focused on Google, it also has an indirect effect on other search engines. This is because when a website ranks higher in Google, it will tend to rank higher in other search engines as well. Once you start ranking on the Google SERP (search engine result page) you'll also start ranking on other search engines and more traffic will come in through Bing, DuckDuckGo as organic search results start getting better across the board.

Bonus: learn more about SEO with a real life example at an Insurance Agency

Ready to learn more about SEO and see the steps in practice? Continue reading our guide on SEO for Insurance Agencies to discover how SEO gets applied to businesses. If you want to instead prepare for what's coming next, check out the top SEO trends for 2023.

If you're looking to make some quick changes to your website's authority, we highly suggest you start learning more about Link Building for your SMB, Startup or Enterprise.

Conclusion: start working on search engine optimization (SEO) in 2023

SEO is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. It involves optimizing your website for the search engines, so that you can get more exposure and leads from them. In order to optimize your website for SEO, you need to know the basics of on-page optimization. This includes using the right keywords in your content, titles, meta description tag, and header tags. You should also make sure that your website provides a positive user experience with quality content so that users have a good experience when visiting it. Another important aspect of SEO is link building. You should build links to your website from other websites, as this will help improve its ranking in the search engines and help drive more traffic - but don't forget about internal links. Finally, it's important to note that this blog contains only a few words about some important topics, this should be your starting point as SEO is an ongoing process. Besides that, you should also focus on providing a good user experience on your website, as it's part of the ranking factors. If users have a bad experience when visiting it, they will not stick around long enough to convert. By following these SEO industry tips, you can ensure that your business starts showing up on the top of Googles search engine results page.

Ready to start working on your SEO goals for 2023 or looking for some help with your content strategy? Schedule a strategy call with one of our SEO consultants.