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SEO Tutorial - Step by Step Guide to SEO process

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is a practice that aims to rank a website as high as possible in organic search results. The measurable effect is increased organic traffic on the website and, consequently, more visits and conversions (read more about conversion rate optimisation). To put it briefly, if your goal is the first page on Google for specific keywords, you need to apply SEO techniques.

I have decided to prepare a detailed guide that will lead you “step by step” through the areas to focus on to achieve this goal. An article also includes the most powerful tools and software SEO companies and professionals usually use.

Essential steps before starting actual optimisation process

Before you get into the actual optimisation process, there are a few steps you need to follow. It is necessary to collect and analyze data on the optimised website, analyze and select keywords, check competition and establish strategies.

SEO Audit

It would be best if you started with an SEO audit to understand the current health of your website. That applies to both new websites and those on the Internet for a long time. The rule is simple: Search Engine Optimisation starts from an audit.

The purpose of the audit is to define technical and on-page errors and check the backlink profile (off-page SEO). You can use professional software such as Ubersugest, Semrush, Ahrefs, and Screamingfrog, available in PRO and free versions. Using free online tools will not deliver accurate results. 

audit seo

Data analyse

The audit collected information on architecture, UX, content quality, keywords, keyword density, meta tags, headers, technical conditions, image optimisation, and backlink profile. After the audit, it’s time to analyse the data from the SEO report.

Data analysis aims to sort the information and draw conclusions. After completing this stage, you will know which SEO areas you should focus on to achieve the best results. You will be able to start planning your SEO strategy. 

Example:

Based on the SEO report, you know that website has no technical errors such as broken resources, HTTPS/HTTP mix, few numbers of W3C HTML errors, broken links, multiply canonical, all URLs correct and others. 

You also can see there are no On-page issues – meta title and headers in place, all images have alt tags, there is a correct number of keywords in content, all images are optimised. Eventually, you find that the backlink profile is very weak (few links from low reputable websites).

It means that you need to focus on link building in your SEO strategy. The above example is elementary, and usually, it never happens. In 90% of cases after SEO audit, you will find improvement space for all SEO areas

Competition analyse

This is a crucial element that, in my opinion, should be done before planning an effective SEO strategy. First, you need to find your direct competitors. If you run a company and have been in the industry for years, you won’t have any problems.

In the case of just start-up businesses, identify the sectors and see who the leader is. Perform a similar audit of their websites. Analyse your backlinks. The tools listed above will help you with this. You can also use the free SEO Spy version from PowerSuit.

Examine their strengths and take what’s best. Remember that copying others will only get you to the same level, and the whole idea is to stay ahead. Whatever you think is valuable, use the improved form in your SEO strategy. Look for weaknesses and don’t repeat their mistakes. Construct an advantage in places inaccessible or difficult to trace for others.

SEO-strategy

SEO Strategy

Develop an SEO strategy that must be a comprehensive and tactical action plan. We plan for a few to a maximum of several months, considering that we will be introducing changes during this time. This is due to the dynamic variability and ever-evolving Google algorithm.

It all depends on your current ranking, the activity of the competition and the type of niche. Therefore, the strategy you develop should be flexible and redefinable. Remember that the strategy is also a schedule of activities that will allow you to quickly and efficiently manage the project.

After the SEO audit and analysis, you already know what errors are on your website and what you should correct. Now you need to decide on the optimisation moves and put them on the schedule of your SEO campaign. The order is important here!

For example, we don’t create valuable content without defining relevant keywords. You are not optimising loading performance if you do not specify page components.

keyword strategy

Keyword research

It is one of the most important factors in determining the success of your website on the Internet. This is because most of the paragraphs on the page are built around keywords. Keywords are included in the titles and descriptions of the website and subpages. Keywords that seem natural to a given niche or product are not always appropriate.

In fact, people suggest what keywords they use to find the right product or service quickly and accurately. They do this by searching and you can find out what queries they are looking for.

We use this fact experimentally, conduct research and analyse it using advanced software to finally choose the words that best fit your website. I definitely recommend using tools like Ubersugest or Ahrefs. Read more about the long-tail keywords strategy.

On-page SEO (search engine optimisation)

On-page SEO (also known as “on-site SEO”) is a set of practices for optimising web page content for search engines and users. Common on-page SEO activities include optimising title tags, headers, content, internal links, images and videos.

Technical seo

Amend a page titles and header tags.

On-page SEO (also known as “on-site SEO”) is a set of practices for optimising web page content for search engines and users. Common on-page SEO activities include optimising title tags, headers, content, internal links, images and videos.

Page Title is the first thing that web crawlers read while crawling. Moreover, a page title is the first highlight, which people also read while seeking their queries. Therefore, it must be attractive to both crawler robots and the audience.

If both conditions are right, you will get better rankings and more clicks. Header tag is used to specify headings and subheadings within your content from other text types, such as paragraphs.

Header tag serves as an essential function for your audience and your search engine optimisation: headers, separate paragraphs, readability and titling paragraphs.

They can indirectly impact your rankings by:

  • Make your content more straightforward and more enjoyable for visitors to read.
  • Ensure there is keyword-rich context.

Content optimisation

You already know the right keywords for your niche. Remember that you should optimise the content depending on whether it is updated or completely new.

Always build your content around keywords, not the other way around. Make sure that the content is legible and adequate to the message it carries. Examine the density and saturation of keywords. Beware of plagiarism and duplicated content also within your website.

The form in which you address the audience is important and grammatical correctness. The Grammarly Pro is a great help here.

You can use the Semrush Content Writer or the free SEO PowerSuit to determine the SEO strength of your content. They help to check, among other things, keyword stuffing and readability.

Optimise your images and media.

It is necessary to add pictures to make your content more attractive. But media can also slow down your website. Make them light without losing quality.

You can use cloud converter (https://cloudconvert.com/) to convert jpg, png to next-generation format webP. If your website is built on Worpress Smush or ShortPixel will do the job.

Images are also one of the best ways to get more organic traffic and leads. Ensure all the images have Titles and ALT tags including keywords, giving an alternative description for an existing graphic. Google has separate tabs for discovering only images for unique queries.

Well optimised images open the door for them to appear in the top ranking on your targeted keywords and increase your website’s chances of getting more visits.

Optimise all URLs

Create descriptive URLs using relevant keywords for the page or post. It is a user-friendly practice that also helps the robots find the content. Remember to do not change URLs that already have valuable backlinks. Change them only when URLs don’t represent actual content on the web page.

For example, your page is about commercial photography and the URL looks like photostudio.com/photos. Much better if you make it photostudio.com/professional-commercial-photography.

It is much more descriptive, isn’t it? One more thing! If you really need to change the URL for some reason, ensure to use 301 redirects to the new URL.

Optimize functionality

Make sure the menu and navigation inside the website is user friendly. Take care of the correct placement of the contact forms and secure them with the CAPTCHA system. Buttons in the mobile version calling the phone number or email client number should be easily accessible. Users should navigate smoothly on your website and know exactly where they are.

optimisation

Technical SEO (search engine optimisation)

Technical search engine optimization (SEO) is another piece of the process that refers to the tactics of optimizing a website so that search engines can readily crawl, index, and render it. There are a number of elements responsible for that.

Page speed

It is one of the most decisive matters which affects the user’s experience. It is directly associated with because people expect results immediately. Loading time should not exceed 2 seconds. Optimise your graphics, pictures, video, code, to reduce the number of server queries. The best tool for that is GTMetrix

Schema Structured Data

Apply Structured Data to articles, products, FAQ. That is a different vocabulary engineered to help Google better understand your content. We use it to expose particular parts of your website as reach results.

Technical server configuration

Check your server configuration and hosting to ensure no issues arise from setup faults. Change a server hosting to Cloud if you have international ranges. Use free Cloudflare if your website is on slow share hosting.

Internal linking and crawling

A well-designed hyperlinks architecture allows crawling your website. Managing the crawl is critical, specifically for complicated structures and many pages. Defining your links flow and page hierarchy is necessary, affecting flow and user experience. Ensuring bots can easily go through your website is the key to success.

Multi-device responsivity

Responsive websites are standard. Your audience or customers can view your web pages on various devices such as mobile phones, tablets, TVs, or desktops. Google use mobile crawling bots and examines vital cores to ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Interactive dynamic content

It is viral and used on many websites. I believe that the usability is over unnecessary common visual effects. It is better to invest in functionality instead of animated graphics or dynamic elements. Also, crawlers can occasionally encounter problems when interacting with them. We always make sure your website follows protocol for indexing and uses W3C standards and webmaster guidelines.

Content download speed

Compressing, dividing, or merging files can do your content loading more fluently. This is significant, especially now when serving content through mobile networks is over 50%. It is caching the code and styles, setting them in a proper queue for a better render on the visitor devices.

link building

Off-Page SEO (search engine optimisation)

Concentrate on optimising off-site aspects affecting the search engine’s and user’s perception. It includes citations, guest posts, diversity link building, social media, reviews or forums. That is everything you need to do outside of your website.

To say it briefly, Google wants to know what others on the Internet are saying about your content. It is a kind of voting. If more relevant and reputable places mention or point toward your website, it is considered of significant value to you. Link building is also part of off-site SEO, and it is the most time-consuming point.

Quality Link building

You have to target creating a strong off-page profile for your website to help it climb the search engine rankings and win good domain authority. Hyperlinks from reputable sites are among the most decisive ranking parameters and increase your brand’s visibility.

It also affects the growth of parameters such as TF (trust flow) and CT (citation flow). You must use proven methods to provide the best possible links to your website. However, don’t acquire backlinks just for linking to your website from other places on the Internet.

Focus on looking for quality places related to the niches you operate. In 2022, link building methodologies that were useful before do not make much sense.

They can harm your site more than help. Google appreciates websites in which DA is natural. They have a better chance of occupying top positions and counting on many visits. 

In addition, do not forget to remove all toxic backlinks. They are those that harm or may harm the authority of your domain or even expose it to penalties. Find them with Semrush or Ahrefs. They will be marked as “toxic”. You can disavow them with Google Disavow Tool.

Summary

I tried to describe the SEO process and its aspects. Due to the high degree of complexity, constantly changing Google algorithm and many other factors, it is impossible to express everything in one article.

It is a guide, not an instruction manual. Every website is different and is located in different niches, so there is no one recipe for SEO. However, rules in the Google Webmaster Guide must be followed to achieve the best and most lasting results. 

About the Author

Philip Mcnill

Philip Mcnill

I'm Philip Mcnill, an SEO specialist working for the SEOWizard digital marketing agency that deals with website design and development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Diversified Link Building Strategy, Digital Marketing Services and Consulting in the above fields in the UK, Ireland and remotely around the world.

In addition to my passion for search engine marketing, I worked for several years as an operation director and consultant in various sectors. For the last few years, however, I do what I really like and what has always been my true passion.

In my private life, I am interested in the culture of China and its people. I have been practising Taekwondo for over 20 years, although sometimes I think I practice 🙂 Strong coffee and green tea give me a kick.

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