SEO for beginners: 7 websites to get you started

November 28, 2023
tl;dr: this article is for beginner’s who want to learn more about SEO. Included are some helpful links to learn more about each subtopic.
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Whether you’re a wearing-all-of-the-hats entrepreneur and researching search engine optimization for your own efforts, or you’re looking to hone your professional skills, this SEO for Beginners article is for you!

I get a lot of questions about SEO from my clients, some who simply receive an email alert about their website that doesn’t quite make sense, or those who want to learn more about what optimization is and the work involved. In this article, I cover some popular topics to guide you through learning more about search engine optimization:

    Grab a snack and start bookmarking these helpful SEO for Beginners websites to learn more about SEO!

    The beginner's guide to SEO by Moz
    Image source:

    1. The Beginner’s Guide to SEO

    To get you started in the wonderful world of SEO, The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz is an in depth tutorial on how search engines work and covers the fundamental strategies that make websites search engine friendly.

    After reviewing the basics, Moz supplies advanced information broken up into chapters to help you consume the data or focus on a preferred topic. Moz also offers access to free SEO tools and additional resources to continue learning.

    I especially appreciate their noting that keyword research takes time and that what you think you want to rank for and what your audience actually wants can be two completely different things. With more focus on your audience versus throwing arbitrary keywords around, you’re sure to find more success.

    Visit: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz

    Google Search Central screen
    Image source: Google Search Central

    2. SEO Starter Guide

    “You should build a website to benefit your users, and gear any optimization toward making the user experience better. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content. SEO is about helping search engines understand and present content.”

    – Google

    This SEO starter guide, provided by Google, offers some basic information on SEO fundamentals, answering frequently asked questions like “how to get my site on Google”, or “how Google search works”. From there, you can move forward and read on about crawling and indexing, ranking and search appearance, and monitoring and debugging.

    With Google accounting for over 80% of the search engine market share, it’s beneficial to keep up to date with what they have to say. You can also connect with Google Support to review additional documentation or seek help from the online community.

    Visit: SEO Starter Guide by Google

    Your 6-step guide to building a content strategy in 2023
    Image source: Semrush

    3. Content Strategy and Marketing Tips

    You may find yourself reading about analytics, meta data, backlinks, and indexing but every SEO specialist will tell you that “content is king”. Plainly put, keyword stuffing and whipping up a blog post or webpage that doesn’t speak to your audience, isn’t going to perform as well as it could.

    When I talk about “content” I am referring to both the text and graphics/videos that are published on websites, blogs, social media profiles, print or downloadable materials, newsletters, brand collateral, and advertising channels. You might get decently far without a plan but imagine how much farther you could get if you considered your business goals, audience, management, and budget? Consider that 80% of the people surveyed by Semrush who consider their content marketing efforts to be very successful have a documented strategy.

    A content strategy is like giving yourself a roadmap to what you plan to communicate to your customers in order to reach your business goals. From there, content marketing is put in place to help you generate leads.

    Read these articles from Semrush to learn more about Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing and how to start planning for each.

    Visit: Guide to Building a Content Strategy by Semrush

    Rank Math WordPress plugin screen
    Image source: Rank Math

    4. SEO Plugins for WordPress

    Installing a SEO plugin on your WordPress website will give you access to optimization tools such as focus keywords, editing meta titles and keywords, previewing your search result, and connecting your website data with other tools such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console.

    Most plugins will offer a free version with streamlined tools, with premium settings locked until you upgrade. I recommend trying any new tool as a free trial. You need to learn how it works, what it is reporting on, and feel comfortable interpreting the information for you to find any value in this. From there, gauge if an upgrade is good for you.

    Visit: Rank Math WordPress Plugin*, or search the full WordPress plugin repository to find more SEO plugins.

    Web designer working on computer
    Image source: Search Engine Journal

    5. How Design and SEO Work Together

    Keep SEO in mind before you start making decisions about your website design and content!

    At this point in your learning you may have come across a reference to something called “E-A-T” or “E-E-A-T” – this is a guideline that Google uses to assess whether your content is of value to readers. After all, Google is a business and their search engine is a product. They want to ensure the content they deliver to their customers is both as helpful and relevant as you do. This becomes a bit of a give and take because Googlebot isn’t your only audience, real, live, human beings are too.

    “…If you spend time and money building a beautiful site, you want to make sure people are visiting it.”

    – Tony Wright, contributor to SEJ

    Finding balance in both your bot optimization and speaking directly to your very human customers isn’t easy. You may need to compromise on colour and font selections for accessibility and readability purposes. Or, you may need to add additional elements to the page to help break up large blocks of text. If you’re responsible for the design and development of your website, add researching both design and content in with your SEO learning.

    Visit: SEO Tips for Graphic Designers by SEJ

    How social media supports SEO graph by Lyfe Marketing
    Image source: Lyfe Marketing

    6. SEO and Social Media

    While social media is used to generate content and engage with your audience, SEO still makes a big impact on these platforms. Take the #hashtag for example, many platforms utilize hashtags as a keyword to help users find more information about a topic they’re interested in.

    Some posts can be indexed by search engines and filtered through search results, and of course, anyone sharing a link to you on social media is driving referral traffic to your website. Search engines take note of this traffic referral and may boost your page rank. If you use social media as a major part of your marketing or engagement strategy, it’s worth reading more about how social media impacts SEO.

    Visit: 10 Social Media Strategies to Boost SEO by Hubspot

    Blog posts that contributed to total traffic increase by Ahrefs
    Image source: Ahrefs

    7. Refreshing your Content

    You may already have some great content to work with if you’re willing to update and optimize it. DMI describes evergreen content as being “search-optimized content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers over a long period of time”.

    While content refreshing is verging more on a marketing side, the importance of keywords and readability for search engines still remains an integral role. The supplied links offer some best practices and step-by-step strategies to refresh your website content.

    Visit: Content Refreshing: A Step-by-step Strategy by Ahrefs

    Visit: The Beginner’s Guide to Evergreen Content

    As you can see, SEO is a vast world with many moving parts and changing variables. The truth is, what you learn today may not apply later. Search engines like Google can change their algorithms and their search engine results page (SERP) which means users have to stay up to date to ensure they keep their website optimized.

    Many of the SEO for Beginners websites I linked to in this article are from well-known experts. If you’re truly interested in learning more, sign-up for their newsletters or feeds to be notified of new articles, bookmark the site and make note to visit regularly. Like any industry, staying on top of current events can mean the world to your business! If you’re looking for a hand in optimizing your website, contact BE3Designs, let’s talk and see what I can do to help.

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    Are you interested in starting or refreshing your website to reach and grow your audience? My name is Bree and I’m a website designer and developer who helps with the before, during, and after processes of launching and managing a website. If you’d like support with your website or business, reach out and let's chat!

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