SEO from Beginner to Guru

07 Feb 2019

SEO stands for search engine optimization.

SEO is often considered a broadly complex topic, but it is not always difficult.

In the next guide, we summarize everything we need to know about SEO in simple articles and videos that can be consumed at our own pace.

Today, we carefully selected the best content from top SEO top experts in order to save time searching online.

Note 1: There is not fluff here. All the strategies described below are proven in the industry and have been used by our team to dramatically improve the performance of organic search.

Note 2: Since the SEO is constantly changing over time, the content of this guide is continuously monitored for accuracy.

Let's start.

What is SEO

The conventional definition of SEO is as follows.

"Search engine optimization is the process of improving the ranking of web pages (or web sites) with a search engine such as Google to promote" organic "or" free "traffic.

There are three main elements of this process.

  • Keyword research
  • Content creation (with in-page and in-site optimization)
  • Backlink building (also called off-page SEO)

However, in order to become a true SEO expert, you need to understand that EVERYTHING may affect search ranking.

This is just a few examples.

  • Content quality / format
  • User Experience (UX)
  • Design
  • Branding

As you navigate this guide, it is very clear what SEO is and where the search engine algorithm is going in the future.

Tips for reading the guide

  • SEO beginners should be aware of the main SEO components. If this is not your daily work, you do not have to consume everything.
  • Marketers and web site owners need to understand all of the SEO related and apply some strategies.
  • SEO experts have learned all SEO concepts and have repeatedly created their own strategy based on what is best for business.
  • We recommend bookmarking this guide for future reference. You rarely become an SEO expert in one session.

Note: Link through both the free and paid tools throughout the guide. Solutions are ranked based on value rather than cost. It is completely impossible to become a SEO expert without investing in a specific tool.

Web site audit

This is an essential step to ensure that your website is properly indexed by Google and that there are no technical problems hindering your website from performing searching.

For example, slow websites can be harmful to your rankings.

This 16 step web site audit , created by Joshua Hardwick, takes several hours, and it costs $ 7 if you have not already subscribed to Ahrefs.

In addition to being beginner friendly, the above audit will help you find an immediate victory that could potentially dramatically affect your search performance.

This article also includes a live site audit that shows how you can complete within 20 minutes.

Keyword research

Keyword research is one of the most important elements of SEO.

If the content you created is targeting the wrong keyword, one of two things happens.

  • Your article does not rank or drive organic traffic.
  • Or Your article will drive unqualified traffic that can not be converted.

In order to avoid these problems, you first have to figure out the framework as follows.

  • Target keywords that can compete and rank.
  • Target keywords that match business goals.

Regardless of the strategies and tools used for keyword research, it is important to respect the above two statements.

The following are two examples of how to configure keyword research.

1. Business Value Keyword Topic Mind Map Including Segmentation

This is the exact strategy used in PageCloud. It was developed by combining several technologies we tested over time.

Step 1 - Select topics and subtopics

To create a content mind map, you need to brainstorm the main topic and subtopic of the blog or website. The purpose of Mind Map is to promote keyword research, content production, and overall content strategy.

Ideally, this brainstorming session is a group exercise for removing personal prejudices and coordinating all content efforts.

Since Huula is a Web site builder, our main topic is "Web site". I decided "design", "contents", "marketing", and "software" as subtopics. You can continue to split topics into additional subtopics to help promote your keyword research.

Mind map should include topics, not keywords.

The key word will come later.

Step 2 - Create a Mind Map

There are several tools that you can use to create mind maps. It's free and easy to use, so we recommend using coggle.

Once done, download the mind map and use it as a reference for the next step.

Step 3 - Find relevant keywords

Note: We recommend adding keyword ideas to spreadsheets as they appear. For details about this, please see the following.

Seed keyword

Using your mind map as a guide, you will want to come up with a list of seed keywords related to your subtopics. For example, if you belong to the category of health and fitness, there may be a subtopic called "diet".

From that subtopic, you can come up with:

  • "Best meal"
  • "Myth of a diet"
  • "Vegan diet"
  • "Intermittent fasting"
  • "Atkins diet"
  • And so on...

There are many ways to come up with keyword ideas. Here are some of the most popular ones.

  • Talk to your target audience, brainstorming.
  • Use tools such as Google Keyword Planner (free), Answer The Public (free & charged), Ubersuggest (free), SEMrush (charged), Ahrefs (charged).
  • Explore your forums and sites where your target audience interacts like Quora and Reddit.


A very efficient way to come up with keyword ideas is to look up queries that competitors have already ranked. If it conflicts with seed keyword, it may be ranked by many related keywords not considered.

The only drawback to this approach is cost. We have not found a free tool yet to provide accurate keyword ideas that can be sorted and filtered based on the competitor's URL.

The top three tools that provide this function and how to use them are as follows.

  • Ahrefs (7 days trial $ 7)
  • SEMrush (10 free requests during trial)
  • Moz (10 free request / month)

Side note: All three tools are from $ 99 a month. In Huula, I use Ahrefs.

Step 4 - Filter the keyword list

Since infinite keyword candidates were obtained, we narrow down the list based on the following.

  • Search Volume
  • Business value
  • Difficulty of keywords

The reasons why these three filters are essential are as follows.

Search Volume: If there is not enough search volume, there is no point in spending time and effort to produce content that is not displayed.

Business Value: If the target keywords are not promoting limited or at least potential potential, business can not benefit from increased traffic.

Keyword difficulty: It is almost impossible to rank them if the targeted keywords are too competitive.

Huula uses the Ahrefs keyword explorer listing feature to manage and provide data for a large number of tracked keywords.

Once the keywords pass the initial screening of quality (based on the above criteria), add the keywords that are best for AirTable. Spreadsheet so that you can prioritize.

As you can see, the columns are based on this same standard.

Keywords / topics

"Parent keyword" is also known as the main keyword targeted by future articles.

Search Volume (US)

An estimate of US monthly search volume for specific keywords. This gives us a brief overview of whether the key words are worth pursuing.

Business value

To fill this column, we ask ourselves: "How important is our product with regard to this keyword / topic?"

If there is no way to mention at least our products, we will not write that article. It is better that the articles are related to our products.

Best articles

If you are still worth pursuing keywords, add the top 3 URLs that are ranked in the parent keywords. This makes it easy to see what Google thinks is best in the class and what you need to surpass them.


We use Ahrefs to estimate how much top 3 URLs are getting traffic each month. This would be a solid benchmark of how much traffic you can get if you were ranked on the top three pages.

Note: This is much more accurate than the amount of keyword searches, as pages tend to be ranked with more than one keyword at a time.

The difficulty of a keyword differs greatly depending on several factors. One of the most important elements is the quality and number of backlinks that point to conflicting pages. This is the reason to add the number of link domains to each of the top three. This will help you decide if the keyword is a big opportunity or just too competitive for now.


Article status helps to manage multiple keywords and article ideas.

A new keyword will be added to the 'In doubt' status. Then, if it shows a promise it will be moved to "next up". While creating the article, it is labeled "in progress" until it is published.

Articles spent several weeks on "Completion - Distribution" before going to the "done" pile, as the articles need to receive promotion, sharing, and backlinking to rank. For details about this, please see the following.

This is the area to add notes when we do research. For example, if all the top ranking pages are outdated, it is pointed out here that the loading is slow, incomplete, there is a bad design, or there is a possibility of improvement.

You can use a combination of research methodology and various sorting mechanisms to decide which content to create in what order.

2. Dartboard Framework - Targets Interest and Intention

The keyword research strategy explained by Beth Morgan on Neil Patel's blog is different from what you use on PageCloud, but focuses on keywords that both concepts convert.

As you can see from the infographic above, I would like to focus on keywords closest to the center of the dartboard.

Another big part of this framework is the way developed by the agency implementing a paid search campaign with Google AdWords. There are some wonderful lessons that you can learn:

Before spending time to create organic content, you can test the value of your keywords by running a paid search campaign. Long tail, high-intention keywords are converted more effectively than wide keywords. Also, paid search is cheaper, and organic search is easier to rank. Because there are so many similarities between the two channels, PPC experts tend to acquire SEO very well. Since I covered keyword research, I will start producing superior contents this time.

Content creation Note: This guide focuses primarily on how to drive organic visitors from blogs and websites. We put an additional tutorial for the video SEO in the section of useful links.

Before jumping to a keyword-targeted blog post and writing it, it is important to conduct additional investigations to properly structure the content.

Here are the questions you need to answer:

What format should I use for articles? What kind of topic do you explain? (As in the chapter in the book) What is the advantage over the current ranking? To illustrate, I will explain the procedure ranked first in "How to add a custom font to a website" on Google.

What format should I use for articles? By quickly searching for targeted keywords on Google, you can quickly determine what kind of content is currently ranked. These may be blog posts, product reviews, forums, videos, and everything between them.

It is also important to pay attention to how the content is displayed. Is it on the list? Step by step guide?

The current search engine results page (SERP) on "How to add custom fonts to website" is as follows.

As you can see, all ranked content is a step by step guide. The audience's intention is to learn how to do something, so this is the format required for ranking.

Looking at SERP, we can see that most of the content is more than five years ago. Because Google considers content freshness as a ranking factor, it makes ranking easier.

Let's see the topic that needs to be covered.

What kind of topic do you explain? It is easy to understand what is being debated by opening the top five results (other than ours).

Fonts available on the web A phased process (CSS rule) for adding custom fonts via @ font-face. Technical issues such as web font restrictions and browser support An example of how to add a specific font. Before adding these to Google documents and rewriting existing ones, we had to find a way to make articles better.

Again, this can be done by asking related questions like the following.

Are all these topics necessary? Are there any missing topics? Can you explain these topics in a better way? The first overview is as follows.

We simplified some topics and added two new points that we did not cover in other articles. "How the content management system supports custom fonts" and "How Web site builders support custom fonts".

This makes sense because most people do not code their website manually. They want to know how to accomplish this task using their website building platform.

Let's see how you can improve the article.

What is the advantage over the current ranking? We already knew that this article is more inclusive and more comprehensive than what is ranked. But can you do more?

Conflicting pages are as follows.

From the point of view of the user experience (UX), there was a specific thing that all of them had room for improvement.

Dull introduction (Please do not tempt to read more visitors). Font size is small (readability problem) Busy design (material not related to advertisement) The format made it difficult to summarize the content (forum). That's why it's essential to have strong writing skills and incorporate UX's best practices into websites and blog designs.

So I adopted these elements to make our article even better.

Note: Since Google's RankBrain update, this algorithm incorporates user behavior signals to help you rank pages. For example, if someone returns to SERP because your website is too late or tedious, it will hurt your rankings.

Relevance: Impact of design on SEO

SEO copywriting There are several approaches you can take when writing your articles.

Some SEO experts can become super technical by saying as follows.

"You need to know the density of keywords or you need to add LSI keywords." - Typica SEO expert We recommend that you simply use the following best practices for copywriting:

There is no spelling or grammar mistake. It is short and concise (there is no unnecessary fuzz). Provide practical advice. Use synonyms to avoid redundancy. People who use emotional triggers, hooks, and cliffs. To be honest, as far as SEO's copywriting is concerned, there are many things you can do to improve.

However, here are three main areas that you need to pay more attention to.

Your introduction Title of the article (heading tag) Your title tag and meta description (These will determine how your page will appear on the SERP) Write an introductory intro Introduction is where you build trust with your visitors and ultimately decide whether visitors should continue reading SERP to find another answer to their question.

Needless to say, this is very important.

Intro introduced in the article targeting "How to add custom fonts to Web site" is as follows.

Please be aware of how easy and accurate the introduction is.

The first sentence describes the main advantage, while the second sentence jumps into the process to explain the content of the article. The third sentence shows additional topics not covered by other articles.

The blue table of contents helps visitors quickly understand your article's summary and move to important sections for them.

Choose a compelling title As people arrive at your page, they will do one of two things:

Please read the intro and scan the title. Or Scan the title and read the intro. In either case, they are trying to figure out if you should spend time on your articles.

As mentioned above, while attracting the reader's interest, you will want to reflect the topics that you cover in your title.

From a technical SEO perspective, you would like your main title to be the h1 tag and you want your subtitle to use the h2, h3, and h4 tags based on relative importance to the core topic.

The method of displaying the title of the site visitor and search engine crawler is as follows.

To truly master your title, please check the Search Engine Journal article on Best Practices on heading tags.

Relevant: PageCloud's basic SEO including heading tags.

Click tagged title tag and meta description Title tags and meta descriptions are important elements to help organize page snippets with SERP.

This is how the head section (code) of the website and SERP are displayed.

Note: As mentioned above, we can choose to change the meta description and display what seems to be more relevant. The key to writing a powerful page title and meta description is to guide you to click the link instead of the link beside it, quickly communicating the value and relevance of the page.

For example, if you are adding a custom font to your website, which link do you click?

Most people will choose the PageCloud link.

but why?

This does not perfectly match the search query "How to add custom fonts to a website", but it seems like an article that can be summarized more easily than the second one.

In order to reproduce our strategy we will introduce some high-level tips for writing great page titles.

The title tag should be limited to a maximum of 60 characters so that it is not truncated by the search engine. Use natural language, avoid keyword padding. Be creative with symbols and numbers to highlight your link. Use words of behavior, adjectives, emotional triggers. Please be inspired by existing advertisements and search results. Related: How to make a perfect SEO title tag

Regarding meta explanation, it differs slightly.

Here are the main things you want to keep in mind:

Maximum number of characters before the description is truncated is 160 characters. Google will not check keywords in the meta description (although the snippet keywords are in bold, so the clickthrough rate can be high). If we determine that something else on the page is more relevant, we will modify or replace your description. Bonus: How to optimize your page for SEO If you are not a technician, here is good news:

Over the past few years, Google has made it easier for high-quality content to come up to the ranking despite having no "fully optimized pages" from the technical SEO point of view. But there are a few things you need to rank absolutely.

I have a high-speed loading website

Use Google PageSpeed ​​insights, Pingdom, or GTMetrix to verify that the website loads fast.

Prepare a web site for mobile

Use Google's Mobile-Friendly test to make sure the page looks mobile on mobile.

Please consider using SEO friendly URLs

Unfortunately, some web site building platforms and content management systems automatically create ugly URLs that are difficult to understand for both search engines and site visitors.

For example:


In order to create the proper URLs, please shorten them to make them relevant to the target keywords.

Another tip is to avoid using numbers or dates.

■ These may change over time.

For example:

What happens if you add an idea or update the article in 2020? Is the URL still relevant?

You will be substituted instead:

For detailed tips on SEO, see Brian Deans 'fully optimized page structure'.

Related: How to send a new page to Google

Backlink Building Backlinks are one of the most important ranking elements for your website.

If another website links to your website, a backlink will be created.

Google considers this to be a "confidence vote" that helps the algorithm determine the quality and relevance of the content.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the competitive power of the target keyword, the more backlinks needed to rank.

Before explaining how to obtain backlinks, let's first explain some important concepts.

Backlink: quality and quantity There are several ways to judge the quality or "authority" of the backlink.

I will give you some examples.

Domain organization (DA), Mos Page authority (PA), Mos Domain evaluation (DR), Ahrefs URL Rating (UR), Aleph Domain authority and page authority checker, SEO review tool (free) Using a scale from 0 to 100, these tools help to predict the quality of the domains and their pages.

Generally speaking, the larger the number, the more values ​​you get from the incoming link.

To help explain this concept, here are some example sites and their domain rating: = 100 = 74 = 43 Brand new website = 0 Backlinks can be quite complicated topics, but applying common sense will help to determine the quality of backlinks.

Can you tell which pages provide high quality links?

A page with 1000 links and a page with 10 links Pages of contents not related to topics and pages of related contents Pages with paid links and pages with organic links Unprotected and protected pages If you select the bold option, that is correct.

But why is this so important?

Understanding the quality of the link will help you target the links you want to go.

Since backlink outreach can be a long process, I do not want to waste time trying to get a poor quality link that is not useful for the site.

Be aware of some things before proceeding to the next section.

There are two types of links. Following is not followed. No Follow links are not counted in page rank, so I do not want to follow this type of link. Google has improved a lot over the years by automatically ignoring poor quality links (paid links, annoying websites) to your website. However, you can use Google's denial tool to tell the user which links you do not want to consider. How many backlinks are necessary to rank? Since our algorithm considers more than 200 ranking factors at a time, it is impossible to make a final answer.

However, the more you understand SEO, the easier this question is.

Basically, you now need to compare the quality of the ranking of content with yours.

Let's go back to the original example of the keyword 'How to add custom fonts to a website.'

Using Ahref's SERP overview and other tools, you can quickly see important metrics on top 10 search results.

The back link indicates the total number of links received by the page, and the domain indicates the total number of Web sites linked to each page.

As you can see, there are several pages ranked in the top ten without a single backlink.

This immediately told us that if we create good quality content our content will likely be ranked without requiring any links. This is true despite the fact that some websites have a much higher domain rating (DR) than PageCloud.

But what if we had 100 backlinks from 50 domains on every page?

Well, it will be a much more difficult keyword to rank it!

Since our content is definitely better than our competitors, so many links may not be necessary, but let's say there are still 10 to 20 links required.

Do not forget that it is quality as well as quantity.

The important thing is that the better your content, the less backlinks you need to rank. This is because we consider signals of more than 200 other ranking, including how visitors interact with SERP and content.

Note: pages with fewer than 10 backlinks may conflict with pages with thousands of backlinks. Normally, these pages provide excellent or highly relevant content that gets backlinks out of time and makes it extremely difficult to express frankly.

How to get backlinks? This question is similar to "sales and marketing way".

Basically, getting a backlink is a combination of both, there are several helpful hacks along the way.

Backlink marketing can include traditional tactics such as newsletter, posting to social media, paid ads, dialogue at forums, podcasts.

On the other hand, reach out to people Selling via e-mail or social media is considered a more sales approach. This is extensible, but basically it's a one-to-one experience.

When getting the backlink it is important to use the appropriate tools and framework. Otherwise, obtaining a backlink can be a difficult and time-consuming task.

This is some of our favorite backlink strategies (from beginners to professionals):

How to get high quality backlinks in 2019, Backlinko How to get backlink: 7 tactics that do not require new content, Ahrefs 17 Killer link construction strategy, lobby Richards It can be seen that almost all of the above backlink building strategies are deployed around one of the following concepts.

Make the website owner replace the existing link with your link (out of link, high-rise building technique, etc.). Let your website owner add your link to their website (directory, review site, etc). Let the owner of the website publish the content around your link (guest posting etc). If you really decompose backlink construction into core steps, it looks like this:

Step 1 - Find backlink opportunities Step 2 - Find contact information of the person who is managing the website Step 3 - Reach out / Follow up with a personalized message telling worthy props

Here are some additional articles that will help you choose the right tool and process to help you become a backlink building master:

Find backlink opportunities:

509 expert ranked 2019 best back link checker How to find 50 backlink opportunities in just 20 minutes 9 Easy link building strategy (anyone can use it) Look for the contact information of the person who is managing the website.

Nine practical ways to find someone's email address 14 Ways to Search for Any E-Mail Address within 10 Minutes Reach out with a personalized message telling value prop / Follow up:

Writing outreach mail (not to be ignored) [video] 11 Awesome influencer outreach email template Note: PageCloud uses Ahrefs,, and BuzzStream to complete these tasks.

Final idea Congratulations through the SEO Guide.

The above tactics and strategies reduced PageCloud and many other successful companies dramatically improve their search performance and they rely on paid advertisements.

Whether you are trying to do SEO yourself or someone else is going to hire some other things, here are some important points to keep in mind:

SEO is a process. Results will not occur overnight. You need your company to participate in this way of thinking to see long term results. There is no magical SEO hack or anything like a tool to do everything for you. You will need to invest some time and effort. The more you understand consumer behavior and intentions (including the customer's pain), the SEO improves. SEO should always be in line with your business and marketing goals. Below are some SEO articles related to more specific topics such as video SEO and local SEO.