SEO Basics for Beginners: A Complete Guide

SEO is an integral part of posting anything online since we all want to be found on the internet. To do that one must first understand what the SEO basics are. From the time you enter a search query into a search engine to the time list of URLs are displayed to the user, there is an algorithm run by the search engine to build a hierarchy based on how much of optimization you have incorporated into your site.

There is the “SE” part i.e. search engine and there is the “O” part which is optimization. In order to do fruitful optimization which maximizes relevant traffic to your site, gaining insights into both these parts is essential. Getting a higher listing by a search engine like Google is a big feat and involves many cofactors like link building, keywords searched, on-page factors, and many other little things which are sometimes overlooked.

In this article we will go through the SEO basics and what are the minimum things you must exercise as part of Search engine optimization techniques.

What are the essential elements of SEO?

There are a few basics of SEO which remain constant. A little understanding of SEO basics could make a huge difference to your website and in turn your business.

Let us break apart the term “SEO” and see what each part means:

SE – This stands for “search engine” that runs your query every time you enter it into any of the search engine’s search boxes, like Google or Bingo. They have a crawler that starts gathering information from all the content available on the internet. Once this data comes back to the search engine it builds an index and feeds it to an algorithm. This algorithm then matches the obtained data with the query you entered to give the search results.

O – This stands for optimization. Once you understand this, you can not only learn SEO basics but also master it. Optimization has many facets; a meta description that is informative and has optimum length, relevant title tags, internal links to your pages, links to other websites, faster page load, and the list goes on.

SEO in a layman’s word means running a website for the right people. This means that you get traffic from people who are genuinely interested in your products or services and there is a high rate of conversion from leads to actual customers. If you quickly want to learn the basics of SEO then you can go through some of the most successful techniques for SEO.

Techniques of SEO Basics

  • Each of your pages should have unique and relevant Meta descriptions – Meta description is the first thing users see as part of search result listing. It should be engaging and unique so that readers get interested in visiting your site. With WordPress, you can easily fix this issue with its software like Yoast plugins or All-In-One-SEO pack.
  • Use well-researched keywords – It is no mystery that people search for keywords and having your pages optimized for relevant keywords would increase your chances of better ranking. This is the most important part of SEO and the first thing you would come across when you learn SEO basics. You need to understand what others search for, in your area of business. Some of the tips for zeroing on apt keywords for your niche:
    • Adding too many keywords is not the key to success but they have to be relevant. Try to Google for keywords to know what is an important keyword in Google’s eyes. Take views of friends and families by sending them your page and asking them to come up with a bunch of words that strike them while reading it. A general rule of thumb is to generate one important keyword for each of your pages and they should not be the same.
    • If you are a new website owner then it is better to go for less competitive and long-tail keywords. For example, if you are designing a page for SEO then a keyword like “search engine optimization” would give many pages where your nascent page would be lost. So try to choose another string of words like “How SEO works” which is less competitive.
    • Sneak into competitors’ keywords, find out what is working for them, and use them in your pages. There is a software to know that as well as you can set alerts if there is an addition of a new keyword.
    • These days people use Siri and google to speak out their searches rather than typing them in. This has made SEO driven largely by natural language searches. There is more detail in the searches which makes it less competitive. So using such clusters of words as keywords would give your site more visibility.
  • Page speed – Slow loading pages get abandoned fast, more so by mobile users.  A page that takes more than 3-4 seconds to load is very likely to rank lower in search listings. You can better this by avoiding heavy images, unnecessary plug-ins, many redirects, not prioritizing visible content, not using asynchronous technology, etc.
  • Web page’s length – There is no guideline on how many words a web page should have for a better organic listing. But it is generally deemed that pages with more content stand a better chance at appearing higher in search results. Sites with more text content, in the order of 900 to 1600 words, are picked by Google for higher listing.
  • Backlinks – If a trustworthy site links back to your pages, you gain trust in the search engine’s eyes and in turn users’ eyes. building links is important for any website. If a high authority website link backs to you, you are seen as having high authority in your domain and likewise, if a low authority website links to you, you are deemed as a low authority. You could use Google Search Console to disavow yourself from bad or untrustworthy backlinks.

Mazlow Hierarchy of SEO Needs

The popular hierarchy of needs created by Mazlow is an apt analogy for the hierarchy of SEO needs. Basically, humans have to first satisfy their basic needs like food and water before they can achieve higher-level needs like social recognition or love. The image below will show you in one glance what SEO needs are and the order in which they should be achieved.

SEO Basics


What is SEO and how do you learn it?

SEO means optimizing your website so that you can organically rank higher in search engine results. Learning SEO involves a lot of analysis, technical knowledge, and creativity. There is a lot of information on the net which you can learn from. It comes with a study of the SEO basics but most importantly it comes with practice. There are many online courses and webinars you can attend to learn SEO basics.

What are SEO tools?

SEO tools are used to analyze the potential of web pages to rank high in search engine results. They give you information on keywords and backlinks. You can also understand the SEO competition in the market in your line of business. Some of the commonly used SEO basics tools which are also free are Google analytics, Google search console, Ubersuggest, MozBar, etc.

Is SEO easy?  

Yes, it does require your time and effort though. The more time and effort you put in, the better is the result. It is easy in the sense anyone can learn SEO basics and it does not require hiring a professional for this purpose. If you pick the key things to optimize then it would not be so hard to start ranking higher on the search list.

Why is SEO so important?

SEO takes care of not just getting a higher ranking in search results but also enhances user experience and usability of a site. If you secure top positions for the keywords then users feel you have something valuable to offer. A higher listing in the search result is also a mark of the trustworthiness of the website for the users. You reap benefits of higher ranking with increased traffic to your page, more conversions and higher revenue.

What are the two types of SEO?

The 2 most common types of SEO basics are on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO – Things that you do with the pages of your website to better its chances of appearing higher up in organic listing are termed as On-page SEO. These include content as well as the technical aspect. A few of the key items in this category are page titles, meta descriptions, title tags, internal and external linking, formatting of content, URL structure, mobile-friendliness, page speed. On-page SEO does not require much time and investment and is a great way of getting high CTR (click-through rates). This method of optimization forms the basics of SEO.

Off-page SEO – In order to create a trustworthy relationship with other websites as well as increase the influence and authority of your website, there are a few Off-page SEO techniques that need to be used. Some of the techniques involved in this kind of optimization are social bookmarking, forum marketing, directory submission, blogging, business reviews, etc. Off-page SEO helps strengthen your connectivity and gives more exposure to your website.

What is SEO analysis?

SEO analysis means using tools to know how you can improve your website’s ranking with search engines like Google. These tools will help you understand what aspect of your SEO strategy is working and which ones are hurdles in giving you a higher ranking. A sound SEO strategy needs tracking of its performance. There are tools like Google analytics and MozBar which help you perform SEO analysis. Basically, such analysis would test various components of your website which includes:

  • Page load speed
  • Keyword rankings (can be done by keyword researchers like SEMRush or Moz’s keyword searcher.
  • Backlink portfolio to check if you have spammy backlinks

Which SEO techniques are popular?

Few of the topmost SEO basics techniques adjudged widely are:

  • Improved user experience through the entire website – This can be described with high page load speed, low bounce rates, easy to read posts, etc.
  • Mobile-friendliness – With the majority of people using Smartphones, designing your site first for mobiles then for other devices is the need of the hour.
  • Link building – With link building you get referral traffic as well as better ranking
  • Keyword optimization – Keywords are what people search for in search engines hence optimizing your website for keywords pertaining to your business would earn you a better position in search results.

How long before SEO takes effect?

If you have taken care of SEO basics in designing your pages, then the time gap between implementing your SEO strategy and finally seeing results is from 4 months to a year. This huge range depends on a few things:

  • Content – Your content should be of optimum length and solve the user’s problem. That is important to get a higher ranking.
  • Competition – Depending on what kind of product you sell, your competition would vary. Something which people buy a lot will face more competition than something which is unique and rarely available. This would determine your ranking in the organic listing.
  • Inbound links – More links will definitely give you SEO success but how fast you get the success also depends on linkback from high-quality websites that are relevant to your line of work.

How do I know my SEO is working?

There are many tools to figure out if your SEO is giving you the desired results. Some of them are Google analytics, raven tools, etc. They primarily track the following parameters:

  • Website traffic – The increased number of hits to your website is an indication of your SEO strategy’s successor
  • Conversion – The number of people who visit versus the number of customers you gain from them is another true measure of your SEO’s power.
  • Keyword ranking – Based on keyword searches, a good SEO campaign would result in the appearance of your website on the first page of Google within 6 months. If that happens, you have scored well in SEO.


SEO is easy yet one of the most essential phases of website building. It helps in gaining more visibility on the search engine, creates a brand image and results in higher customer engagement. Understanding the SEO basics is important before taking any SEO based project.

Also Read: How to submit website to Search Engines in 2020