SEO For Beginners: A Basic Search Engine Optimization Tutorial for Higher Google Rankings
3.5 billion searches are performed on Google every single day Seriously, no matter what you do, people are looking for your products and services on Google cell phone repair, shop, 1,700, monthly searches, iphone charger, 34,000 monthly searches, best smartphone, 41,000 monthly searches,
And these search volumes are only for US based searches But heres the thing, Even though there are billions of searches every single day. Our recent study shows that 91 % of content gets no traffic from Google. So how do you join the other 9 % of web pages and start getting free, consistent and passive traffic from Google? If youre a beginner to SEO, then youre going to want to watch this whole tutorial because Im going to show you how to start attracting customers from the worlds largest search engine.
[, Music, ] Whats up everyone – Sam, Oh here, with Ahrefs the SEO tool that helps you grow your search, traffic research, your competitors and dominate your niche. This tutorial is called SEO for beginners, because even if you havent got the slightest clue what SEO is youll have very clear and easy action items that you can implement into your website. Right away So well be covering the most important things that you should know to ensure that your website is optimized for search Lets get started. So what is SEO?
Seo stands for search engine, optimization Its the process of optimizing your website and webpages to get free, organic traffic from search engines like Google, Think of Google like a filing system. In a library The library has billions of books with hundreds of trillions of pages, So lets say that you want to find something on global warming.
Then Google would search through these books and extract pages that contain your keywords or closely related words.
But as Im sure you know, search results aren’t returned in any random order. Google tries to return the most relevant results first by using sophisticated algorithms And they’re so good at this that most of us never have to click through to page 2 of the search results. Nobody knows exactly how these algorithms work or the exact factors it looks at to rank a webpage, but we do know a lot of the so-called “ Google ranking factors ,”. So we are able to make some optimizations
So your job is going to be two-fold Number. 1. We need to make sure that it’s easy for search engines to understand what your page is about and create that content that matches what we call the searchers intent ,” right And number 2. We need to show Google and other search engines that its worthy of ranking So throughout this tutorial lets, say that Im a new and budding photographer and I live in Toronto. Canada,
Im starting my new wedding photography, business called Sam PhOHtography Yup Im, pretty awesome.
.., but I dont have any friends so referrals are out of the question. Alright great Step 1 is to find relevant keywords that people are searching for and see how these search queries fit into your business.
The easiest way to start finding relevant keywords is to put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer, So I would think that a bride or groom looking for some magical wedding photos would search for wedding photographer in Toronto, Makes sense right So Ill. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords, Explorer tool, which is one of our SEO tools that provides rich data on Google searches and Ill enter in that search. Query here Ill also change the country to Canada, since people in other countries, they probably arent. Looking for a Toronto based photographer as often
Now Ill run the search, And you can see that there are only around 60 or so monthly searches for this keyword. Phrase which is far from exciting, But looking below youll, see that the parent topic for our query is different. The parent topic determines, if you can rank for your target keyword, so the one that we originally entered here, while targeting a more general topic on your page. Instead, In this case, the parent topic is showing that more people search for toronto wedding, photographer over wedding photographer in toronto.
Now, if we scroll to the bottom of the page, you can see the top 10 Google rankings for your target keyword and a bunch of keyword, metrics
Ill just touch on two of them. For this video traffic and keywords. Take a look at these two ranking pages. You can see that they generate well over a thousand search visitors every single month and next to that youll see that each page individually ranks for hundreds of keywords. If we click on the number of keyword rankings here, you can see all of the different keywords and the ranking positions in Google search.
This is a good thing to do, because you already know that Google is ranking this single page for all of the keywords. So why wouldnt you be able to rank for these keywords and maybe even more Try and remember this part, because we will be exploring things like keyword, usage, multiple times throughout this tutorial.
Alright, now that we have a list of keywords its time to optimize your pages In the world of search engine optimization, this is called on-page SEO. Since we know the keywords that people are searching for in Google, it gives us clues on the language we should use to. Let both Google and potential customers know what your page is about.
For example, knowing that toronto wedding photographer is a more popular search, query than wedding photographer in Toronto, that will help us make smarter copywriting decisions. So for your homepage content you might want to say Hi Im Sam, a Toronto wedding, photographer Blah blah blah blah blah. Instead of Howdy Im Sam and I do wedding photos for couples in Toronto, But I do need to make two things very clear. First, you dont have to use your exact match keyword since Google has gotten pretty smart at understanding what your page is about.
And second, its very important to note that you shouldnt try to trick Google by using keywords where they dont belong.
Your first priority should be to optimize for people, because the last time I checked, robots arent going to pay you for your services, Heres an example of what you shouldnt do: “ Im a Toronto wedding photographer that does Toronto wedding photography for your Toronto wedding. This is known as keyword stuffing and long story short. It does more harm than good
So key takeaway Dont do it
So for on-page SEO, I want to pass on 4 very basic, but important tips that you can use on every page you optimize First, is to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions. When you look at the Googles search, results. Youll see this part in blue and the text below The top part is called your title tag and the other part is the meta description. The purpose of these is to entice someone to click through to your page.
And if people are actually clicking through to your page, then thats telling Google that your page is likely relevant to the reason why they had searched for the query in the first place right, And you can see that Google actually even bolds these keywords and similar keywords Within the search results, making them stand out With that in mind, I might create a title like Award-Winning Toronto, Wedding, Photographer and then my brand name, But of course, if youre going to do something like this, it should be true.
Then, for the meta description, you can explain in a couple brief sentences. What the page is about.
But, rather than putting a generic description that everyone else is doing and calling yourself the best you can put something like Sam, Oh was rated the Stars Best Toronto Wedding Photographer. He combines creativity with science to capture lifes happiest day in a million pixels Awww …
How sweet is that Now? This would make me, as a consumer want to find out who this awesome photographer is The last part of on-page optimization is the most important and thats the actual content on the page For a typical wedding photography home page. I might have some images a short about us or about me section, possibly the services that I provide and some testimonials from happy brides and grooms Without over complicating things. Youll likely want to use your primary keyword. Phrase in the main headline often referred to as an H1 tag.
And looking at one of the top ranking pages, youll see that they did this right here, An example of what you probably shouldnt be doing is something like this hello there. The H1 or heading tag here says hello there, which doesnt help anyone understand what the page is about And remember. Your job is to help Google best identify your page as being relevant to the users search query Ill, go back to the organic keywords report in Ahrefs to see one of my competitors keyword rankings and see if there are any other ideas that might help. Google better understand what my page is about.
You can see some other relevant keywords in here like bridal photos and GTA, which stands for the Greater Toronto Area. So as youre writing the copy for your page, you might want to keep these in mind and sprinkle them in where it makes sense and reads naturally to visitors. Alright, so lets take this Sam PhOHtography example. One step further Lets say that my business was growing. I got a lot more experience under my belt and I found out that I have some mad skills in areas like landscape portrait, travel product, photography,
So I decided heck Im going to offer those services too.
Rather than trying to rank my homepage for keywords that arent exactly related, I could easily create new services pages. So Id do the same thing by first going to Ahrefs Keywords: Explorer Then Id type in something like toronto, product photographer, ,” and Ill quickly. Look at the search volume and see it has 100 or so monthly searches in Canada Then Ill. Take a look at the parent topic that has around 200 searches And heres a quick but super interesting side. Note
With wedding photographers people seem to be searching for Toronto wedding photographer the most While people looking for product photographers in Toronto are searching for product photography Toronto. So this step is vital to ensure youre targeting keywords that will provide you with the most exposure for your pages.
So for our services page, we would do the same thing as we did before with the title tag, meta description and the content on the page. The last thing you should do is to include your primary keyword phrase in the URL of the page,
So for a product photography, services page, your final URL might look like this. If youre a WordPress user, you can just click here and edit it using hyphens to separate spaces. So in this case I would change it to product-photography-toronto. A really quick hack you can do is to look at the top 10 rankings and see how theyve optimized those pages to rank there. So if we look at the Google search results for Toronto product photography, you can see that some of the pages are keyword stuffing in the title tags and that the meta descriptions are all kind of cheesy or they’re truncated.
Clicking through to this result, you can see that its just a classifieds site, similar to Craigslist so its clearly not optimized,
Clicking through to this one, you can see that they included their keyword, phrase in the heading and title tags, but then theres pretty much no content on the rest of the page And then clicking through to this one. Here. This one seems to be over optimized for their keyword target
And if I do a find for the word photo, you can see over 110 instances of it on this page, which again will do more harm than good in the long run. What youre seeing here is an opportunity to overtake these search results. Basically, Google has no choice but to choose the best options from a bad pool of pages.
Alright, so by this point, weve optimized, our main pages for our different services and we’ve covered the basics of on-page SEO. And if youve done this for all of your key pages, then I can assure you that you are miles ahead of a lot of your competitors. The next part, and arguably most important piece of ranking high on Google, is off-page SEO. Off-Page SEO often refers to link building And link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your web pages?
Basically, links act as votes or other people vouching for your website saying hey. These people are really good at what they do, and I trust them enough that I would send my visitors to their website. It works in a similar way that you would refer your friend to buy a product from whatever store because youve tried it used it and loved it In general, the more quality backlinks you can get from relevant pages. The higher youll rank in Google Now Im putting the emphasis here on the word quality, because there are a lot of different types of links you can get from like forums, directories and editorial links to name a few. But if you think about it a place like a forum where virtually anyone can place a link will likely hold less value than a link from someone else’s blog
But to be clear, other types of links will still hold some kind of value, but probably not as much as links like editorials would So. If youre focusing on quality, then youll probably want to prioritize editorial links And the main way to get links from other peoples. Blogs is through something that SEOs often refer to as outreach And outreach is exactly the way it sounds. Youre contacting people and asking them for a link.
But you cant just email, someone and be like yo. I need a link Hook it up. It doesn’t work that way. There are a three things that you need in order to make your outreach campaigns more successful.
1, You need people who are actually interested in the stuff that you do 2. You need a good reason to contact them. 3.
You need a pitch that somehow benefits them. Lets go through a few examples. Shall we First we need to identify people who are interested in what you are doing. The most commonsensical one in the context of link building are websites that have already linked to your competitors. You can find these pages by going to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and entering in a domain or URL
So Ill enter in mangostudios.com, who also does wedding photography in Toronto.
Ill also narrow our search down to pages that are linking just to their home page From here. I can click on the backlinks option in the left, column And here Ill use this filter to narrow down the backlinks to only links within content. Since I mentioned that, I want to get some editorial links.
On the left side, you can see the websites that linked to the target, URL or domain and on the right side you can see which page they linked to and the context of the backlink Next lets. Click through to this one, on “ Jaw-Dropping, Gorgeous Wedding Flower Ideas. .”, You can see that there are a bunch of pictures of flowers,
And hey, I actually have a great one thats way better than all of these
So lets check that off on our checklist for successful outreach. We now have a prospect, So I can contact the author, Nicole and let her know about one of my pictures that was published in some kind of wedding magazine because its that awesome. So this now fulfills checkbox # 2. We have a good reason to contact her because we have something relevant to her piece.
And, of course, Id be giving her rights to publish my photo, which also checks off # 3. As a side note, it doesnt mean that shell publish my photo or give me a link.
As a general rule of thumb, the better the excuse you can come up with to contact the author, the better your chance will be to get the link. Another good reason to contact someone is to offer a guest post. Blog owners are always on the hunt for new content and, since your site is new, youll be getting in front of someone elses audience in exchange for some of your time and content where you could easily use some watermarked photos that youve taken
With guest posts, your reason to contact them is pretty reasonable and youll be providing value, which is free content (. That should be good ) that benefits them and/or their website. The next outreach prospect you can find are businesses in a lateral, non-competing niche. So, as a wedding photographer, you might want to contact other local flower shops, reception, halls and wedding planners. If you look at the jaw dropping flowers article, you can see that there are two people mentioned in the article Theres Mango Studios, which is the site that were analyzing as well as an event and design planning company.
You can contact these people to form meaningful relationships, Just think about it. For a second, Your businesses go hand-in-hand and you can pass on referrals to each other. You can link back to each other as a preferred vendor or link to others content in guest posts where it’s relevant And this isnt limited to just local businesses. This applies to everyone.
So find some solid partners who are on that same journey as you in a lateral niche and help each other out Now with link building. There are numerous tactics and strategies. So if you want to expand your knowledge in this sphere, then I highly recommend watching our series on link building where youll get a full scope of how to do this effectively.
Alright, We are on to the last SEO tip that I see a lot of beginners avoiding Now. If you have something to sell setting up your homepage and product/services pages is probably the first thing that youll do or did, and for good reason.
These are the pages that will directly generate leads and revenue for your business But heres. The final tip start blogging Now: Im not telling you to write about how you changed your storefront sign from red to green By blogging Im referring to providing practical content that can and will help your prospective customers solve problems In Dr
Jonah Bergers book Contagious “ Why Things Catch On ,”? He shares his research on why content gains popularity and even goes viral Content that provides practical value, was one of the key factors to success. People dont just share funny cat videos or emotional stories. They share things that help others And the same goes for gaining links.
People are more likely to link to your content if its helpful actionable and solves a problem. Look at what we do for the Ahrefs blog
We have numerous SEO tools, but we tackle different big topics like keyword, research and link building, And even if you dont use our tools, you can gain a ton of value through these monstrous posts. But youll see that we include shortcuts or hacks where our tool can make doing SEO a whole lot easier.
To further prove my point, if you look at the top pages report inside Site, Explorer youll see that the pages that generate the most search traffic for us mostly come from our blog articles.
Blogging lets you reach large audiences. For example, we saw that Toronto wedding photographer had around 900 monthly searches in Canada. Lets look up something like wedding venues: Toronto in Keywords Explorer. You can see that it has around 1,400 monthly searches in Canada.
If youve been in the wedding photography business long enough, then youve probably done shoots at numerous venues, So you could create a post with helpful and practical value. For example, I might create an article of some of the best venues that I had taken photos at and display pieces from my portfolio within the blog post.
I would also detail pros and cons of each place: pricing, information, location, details, items on their catering menu or anything else. That would be genuinely helpful to a person visiting this page And, if you think about it, people usually book the venue before the photographer
So theres a solid chance that after people see some of your stunning watermarked photos, they might look through your portfolio and contact you for a quote that can generate more customers for you And, if you think about it, they may have never discovered you through a different Means because they didnt type in a keyword phrase like Toronto wedding, photographer, ,” or their friends didn’t refer you to them. When youre thinking of these ideas put yourself in the searchers shoes, What would they be looking for and what would help them solve the query Now, when youre picking topics try and stick with ones that provide value to your business?
So, as a photographer, I would want to almost always showcase my work, because I would be judged by my portfolio.
As a software company, we showcase how our tools can help in peoples SEO process, because people will buy our tools if they see how it benefits them. As a coffee roastery, you might show them how to make the perfect cup of coffee or an article on how to roast beans. I cannot emphasize enough how much a blog can help you boost your SEO, efforts Its a great way to get ahead of your competitors, who have been in the game for longer than you, but they’ve been targeting. Only these obvious keywords:
From here you can just rinse and repeat the keyword, research process, the on-page, optimization tips and continually build links to your content and articles and start climbing. The Google search rankings
We have a ton of really helpful videos where we expand on these topics, so Ill leave. Links to those in the description Make sure to subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials. And if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I would be happy to jump in and help out. Sam PhOHtography signing out..
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