SEO Steps for Beginners – How to Get Started in 2021

seo steps for beginners
Ravi Davda Rockstar Marketing CEO

Written by Trayana

Mar 18, 2021

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In this article, we will review the basic SEO steps for beginners that will give you the needed foundation to make your website more visible. When carried out correctly, SEO can grow your website’s online presence significantly. That will result in more people turning to you when searching for the service/product you offer. Another benefit is that you will establish your business as an authority within your industry. But how exactly can you do this? 

You will often stumble upon the phrase “content is king”, and that’s the truth. Without it, you won’t get any new users visiting your website and keep the ones who already did it. You won’t get any quality backlinks with articles that don’t answer the user’s search intent and provide them with the desired information. You may have the best website design showing off your service/products flawlessly, but what’s the point if you don’t educate your audience about it? Here are the SEO steps for beginners that will help you achieve that.  

SEO Steps for Beginners – Main and Secondary Keywords

Primary and secondary keywords are what describe your business to users and search engines. They are a crucial part of SEO because you want to rank at top positions in the SERP when users type in a query relevant to your business. Keywords help browsers to identify and understand the topics you decided to cover. Search engines execute sophisticated algorithms that help them analyse the search intent behind a given keyword and if it answers the idea of your content accordingly. 

Therefore, spamming your articles with random keywords to reach the first place would be bad for your website. If you consider this black hat technique, keep in mind that Google’s Panda algorithm will most likely detect your thin content and penalise you. Since that’s one of the significant SEO steps for beginners, let’s help you understand primary and secondary keywords in detail.

What are Main and Secondary Keywords?

It would be helpful if you develop the ability to see the Internet as a user and SEO at the same time. Why do we advise you this, and what has it in common with keywords? Surprised or not, there is a lot of psychology behind figuring out your primary and secondary keywords. Users tend to search for a service or a product by using basic and roughly structured queries like “Digital marketing Google”. This phrase doesn’t make a lot of sense, right? 

You wouldn’t use this keyphrase when you’re an experienced SEO, researching digital marketing because of the “professional eye” you’ve developed to scale logical keywords. However, if you check this query in Google’s Keyword Planner, you will see it has a decent search volume between 10K-100K. That is what we mean by observing the search engine both as an SEO and user, and it’s where the tricky part comes in – getting the best of both worlds. 

SEO Steps for Beginners – Focus Keywords

The focus keyword is the one you want your web page to rank mostly for. It is the single term that will get all the attention. You do that by implementing it in the content somewhere about 2%-5% – that’s the keyword density. It is the percentage considered to be the “safe zone” for not getting penalised by Google for keyword stuffing. 

However, it still depends on the word count of your article. For example, if your article is between 1000-1500 words, the density of your focus keyword should be around 1%-1.5%. You’re now probably wondering how to get the precise number of times your keyword should appear in the article. Here’s the secret formula:

1500 x 1.5% = 22,5 – we will round the outcome to 23, which is the number of times your main keyword should be placed in a 1500-word article. 

Another factor you should keep in mind is your competitors. What are their practices for writing well-ranked content? Are they exceeding the keyword density in their articles? If yes, did they get away with a penalty? If not, then maybe you can add your main keyword a couple more times. To conclude, stay up-to-date with Google’s Panda algorithm and its updates, your users’ search intent, and competitors.

Advice: If your focus keyword is a long tail one, place it no more than 2-6 times in your content for 1500+ words articles.

seo steps for beginners to strat with
Focus keyword placement at Yoast. Rank Math’s plugin looks similar.

SEO Steps for Beginners – Secondary Keywords

Think of secondary keywords as the auxiliary wheels of your primary keyword. They boost its effect and help the search engine to figure out the idea of your content in detail. If your focus keyword is “SEO strategy”, your secondary keywords would be “link building”, “keyword research”, “content optimisation”, etc. Their purpose is to add context, which Google sincerely enjoys because its goal is to deliver relevant content to users. Of course, this would have a positive impact on your rankings, leading to a wider online presence. 

One of the SEO steps for beginners to take regarding secondary keyword research is to review Google Autocomplete. Type in your primary keyword in the search bar, and Google will autocomplete it with the most searched phrases by users. You can also get keyword ideas from the “people also searched for” list at the bottom of Google’s page results. Eventually, you will have to take your keyword research practices a step further and start using tools such as the Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush. 

There are many tools to choose from, so practice your research skills and find the one that will do the job for your optimisation strategies. The density of secondary keywords in the content should be less than the density of the focus keyword because you don’t want to dethrone it. Try to implement them between 2-5 times for 1500+ words articles.

seo steps for beginners guide
In WordPress, you type-in your secondary keywords in the “Tags” section.

SEO Steps for Beginners – Keyword Metrics to Consider

Choosing random keywords without knowing their ranking power would look more like a lottery game. Unfortunately, crystal balls and fortune-tellers don’t exist, so like it or not, you need to learn more about keyword metrics… by yourself. But don’t panic! It’s not that scary as it sounds. In this part of our guide, the next SEO steps for beginners aim to make you understand what is:

  • Search Volume
  • Average CPC
  • Keyword Difficulty 

The range of metrics depends on the type of keyword research tool you use, but the ones we listed above are the main measurements you will encounter. Any other parameters included in your keyword research tool have to be explained in the platform itself. You will find info about each one either if you hover your mouse over the metric or in a dedicated guide somewhere in the menu. Let’s get down to business!

Search Volume

That is probably the lord of keyword metrics. It’s like the all-seeing eye of Mordor, and you’re the poor Frodo, trying to make the world a better place. If he’s climbing the tower to destroy the ring, you’re climbing the latter of the SERP to rank number one. We won’t lie to you, you’re going to break a sweat… yes, like Frodo. 

The Search Volume is the main metric giving you an idea of the popularity of your targeted keyword. In keyword research tools, this measurement’s statistics are usually represented for a 30-day period of time. That will help you decide if the query you want to use as a focus keyword is worth the time and attention. If your main keyword’s search volume is 1-10, try to come up with another one, or you’ll end up on pages 2, 3, 4, etc., which is equal to being invisible. Unseeable is Harry Potter when he puts his invisibility cloak on, and you’re Frodo. Don’t forget that. 

In simple words, the higher the search volume, the higher amount of potential traffic you will get. However, sometimes less is more. When your main keyword is “chonky” in regards to this measurement it also means that the competition is fierce. There is a high chance that you will take over the SERP’s top spots relatively hard and not so fast. With lower-volume keywords, you’re more likely to dominate Google’s results page simply because there’s not so much competition. 

search volume in keyword planner
This is how the search volume is represented in Keyword Planner.

seo steps for beginners list
In Ahrefs, the search volume is next to the keyword difficulty.

Average CPC

Nope, CPC does not stand for Certificate of Professional Competence. Well, actually it does but to a whole lot different niche. In SEO and digital marketing, it’s the acronym for Cost-Per-Click, also known as paid advertising. Yes, we know. You want to rank higher for free, so why do we even mention it? We decided to say a thing or two about this parameter because it can tell a lot about organic traffic, too. CPC gives you an idea about the value of a given keyword and how much your competitors are willing to pay for it. Keep in mind that if the cost per click is above £3, it might be too competitive for you. Especially if you’re just touching the surface with search engine optimisation. But hey, you’re Frodo remember? He literally went inside the lion’s mouth, so there’s nothing too hard for you, little hobbit. 

Keyword Difficulty

The name of this measurement speaks for itself. There’s not much to explain here, to be honest. If the keyword difficulty is high, then ranking for that query will be difficult, too. With time and experience, you will find your safe zone. Until then, we recommend you to use keywords having low and medium difficulty. The factors that impact this metric include:

  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority 
  • Content Quality 

The thing is that each keyword research tool calculates the keyword difficulty in different ways. Keep in mind that in Ahrefs, this parameter is measured by scaling the organic traffic results. In Google’s Keyword Planner, the competition metric indicates the paid search results.

SEO Steps for Beginners – Page Structure and URL 

The last stage from the SEO steps for beginners is the one that will affect the UX of your website. UX is the abbreviation for User Experience, and as its name suggests, it’s what your users experience when they visit your website. If you want your visitors to navigate through your website seamlessly, you have to forget Frodo, okay? Now you have to become the bloody Norman Foster of your website’s information architecture!

website information architecture

Website Information Architecture

We are sure that you leave the messed up and confusing websites in the blink of an eye. Do you know how this action is called in the SEO world? Bounce rate. The two words that make any SEO learn tarot card reading and read Adweek’s horoscope for marketers (yes, such a forecast exists) before checking this metric. 

You want to make sure that your website is easy-to-navigate and has a compelling interface design. If you achieve that, along with top-notch implemented content, checking the bounce rate will never make you nervous. Here’s what you need to cover to build a UX-friendly website that will make your visitors stay and even share your service/product:

  • Create a hierarchy 
  • Make a sitemap
  • Develop easy navigation

Remember how we advised you that thinking like a user and SEO at the same is a helpful ability to develop? The same thing applies here. Try to remember the things that irritated you the most when you visited a website. Now write them down, pin them on the wall and try to avoid them. As a matter of fact, pin on the wall the hierarchy of your website. 

A friend who studied UX in Denmark used this visualisation technique to see eventual gaps and what could be improved overall. And one last thing – research your audience well before you start building your website and stalk your competitors for eventual ideas. But don’t become a copycat because your website has to stay unique. After all, your identity is your most valuable possession, so try not to lose it on the way.

Conclusion 

Dear Frodo/Norman Foster, we hope that this guide gave you a general idea of what you will have to go through before winning the №1 place in the SERP. The road is long and not easy, but this is what makes the successful outcome even sweeter. However, if you rather take some guidance and hold a professional’s hand while you go through the SEO steps for beginners we presented you with, ours is reached out. All you have to do is take it and let us be your faithful companion. 

Rock on with Rockstar Marketing!


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