The Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Part 1

When you search “Beginner’s Guide to SEO”, the first result that appears is Moz’s “Beginner’s Guide to SEO.”

Beginner's Guide to SEO as described by Moz
Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO

The problem?

Many have little to no interest in learning the details of SEO as a career.

Instead, they want a basic explanation of SEO to make educated hiring decisions, or examine how SEO can fit within their business model.

The goal of this guide is to provide a fundamental understanding for amateurs, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to grow their brand in a digital world.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. The purpose of SEO is to make your website as appealing to search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) as possible.

The more the search engines like you, the higher up in their search results you’ll be!

How Does it Work?

Most internet users perform Google searches to find either products or services. What people forget is that Google is a service itself!

Google programmers work hard to ensure that only the best results appear at the top of their search results. Just like any other business, if they don’t make their customers happy, someone else will come and take their customers away.

In order to rank all of these results, Google has to scan the internet and compile a database of all the different websites. That’s one of many reasons why SEO is such an important tool for digital marketing.

After all, if Google can’t find your website, than how do you expect your customers to!

What Does Google Look For in a Website?

To determine which search results are the best, Google looks for many things including:

  • Is your website slow?
  • How long has your website been around?
  • Does your website work on a mobile phone?
  • How long do people stay on your pages?
  • How much content is on your website?
  • Do people keep looking for answers to their search after they’ve found your website?
  • How many other good quality websites link to your site?
  • Is your website safe for people to visit?
  • Many many more!

You’re probably thinking “that seems like a lot of things to worry about!”

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Using a tool like Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer can reveal SEO issues for many large companies. Just because they have a large marketing budget doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes!

In reality, many websites only optimize a fraction of their content. That’s another reason why SEO is becoming such a critical tool in the modern business world. There are very few opportunities to gain a leg up on your competition, so if you don’t take advantage, your competitors will.

So SEO is a One Time Investment?

Not exactly. If you’ve never had an SEO site audit performed, you’ll likely see an immediate improvement.

Even after you’ve finished optimizing your website, however, maintaining high quality SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

SEO exists in your page structure, your social media, your content, even in your customer service interactions. Many large companies will spend thousands of dollars a year to ensure that they have the best SEO on the market.

Luckily for all of us not spending thousands a year, a large budget doesn’t guarantee quality SEO.


The fact of the matter is that for many people, SEO is a career. Each update from Google changes the landscape of modern SEO, and it requires a lot of time and commitment to execute at a professional level.

If you put in the time to watch some videos on the basics of SEO, you can probably save some money by performing basic fixes yourself. If you want to make up ground on your competition, however, it’s strongly advised that you consider hiring an SEO Agency to perform at least an initial assessment of your website.

Contact me today if you are interested in receiving a free initial assessment from von Essen Digital Marketing. I’ll be happy to speak with you personally about what you can do to improve the health of your website and how to boost your search engine result ranking.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll explore the meaning of “keywords” and how they affect your ranking, both good and bad.

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