How To Do SEO Yourself: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide

So, you want to learn how to do SEO for your website.

That’s great because this guide is meant for people who have absolutely no clue where to start and how to get started.

What makes me qualified to give you such a lesson?

Well, I’ve been in the business for close to half-a-decade now and have single-handedly grown multiple affiliate sites and blogs. And all through the power of SEO!

Since this guide is meant for absolute newbies, I’m going to keep things brief. My goal here is to give you information to spark enough curiosity so that you take action.

One step at a time.

This guide is for those who are:

  • Thinking of starting a website for the first time
  • Having trouble ranking for certain keywords on Google
  • Cannot afford to hire a pro at the moment

But if you can and do decide to hire someone to do your SEO, check out one of my favorites – Common Sense SEO – by clicking here.

If not, keep on reading!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is a process of getting “free” yet quality traffic to your website via organic search results.

All search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing have search results where they show content based on what they consider to be relevant to the users.

I said “free” because you don’t have to pay for ads to show up on the search engines. You have to implement the right SEO techniques that’ll allow your keywords to rank higher on search results.

SEO, when done right, will give you the following results:

1. Get More Quality Traffic

By ranking on the top 3 of Google search results, you’ll get more warm traffic, which will ultimately lead to more clicks and sales.

2. Become An Authority

By consistently showing up on search results and providing solutions to the user’s problems, your website will stand a chance to become an authority in the niche. And that will let you earn even more in the long run!

Okay, now that I’ve tempted you enough with the riches, let’s get into the basics of SEO. There are broadly 5 aspects you need to care about:

  • An SEO-friendly website
  • SEO-friendly content
  • On-page optimization
  • Off-page optimization
  • Testing and evaluation

Let’s discuss each one right now.

How To Do SEO Yourself in 2019: 5 Pillars of SEO

1. Get SEO-Friendly Website

Everything starts with a website. Well…almost.

Once you’re ready to dive into SEO, start by applying some essential techniques to make your site faster and more user-friendly.

It doesn’t matter if your site is new or if you’ve had it for a while; these actionable plans will work for both:

A. Pick A Short and Brandable Domain Name

Choose-A-Brandable-Domain-Name-DIY-SEO

The days of exact match domains are gone; today, if you want to stay relevant for the long haul, it’s crucial to focus on building up a brand.

You can either spend hours in brainstorming a great name or use one of these amazing brand name generators.

Once you have a domain, buy hosting and set up your site on WordPress.

It will allow you to easily modify and add different types of content without needing any technical skills such as PHP or coding.

B. Setup Proper Site Architecture

Setup-Proper-Site-Architecture-DIY-SEO

By this I mean, make the site easier for the user to navigate and find whatever they’re looking for. Ideally, none of your important pages should be 3-clicks away from the homepage.

Set up proper menus, submenus, headers, footers, sidebars, and everything else.

Your goal is to NOT appear flashy at the expense of user experience.

C. Optimize for Speed As Much As Possible

Optimize-for-Speed

Yeah, I can’t even tell you how many sites I’ve come across that look pretty at first glance but is an absolute mess in the back end.

Your website should be optimized for speed before anything else. Otherwise, you risk losing your audience to the competitors.

For maximum speed, optimize images, use a light WordPress theme, and avoid installing a bunch of plugins you’ll never use.

I personally use and recommend GeneratePress theme.

2. Publish SEO-Friendly Content

What good is a website without any content? Exactly! Like a haunted house with no ghosts in it.

Wouldn’t that be a disappointment?

Well, jokes apart… you need the right kind of “high-quality” content because that’s what your traffic would be looking at to solve their problems.

Content that is spun, poorly written, or plagiarized hardly get any traction from Google and is more likely to get your audience looking for the exit as soon as they land on your page. IF…and that’s a big “IF,” your content ranks in the first place.

Worst case scenario: your site will get penalized and eventually de-indexed. That means Goodbye. Forever!

SEO-friendly content means content that both users and search engines love.

Content-Quality

Content that’s written naturally (read: there’s no keyword stuffing) and answers the user query in detail is what works in 2019. And I’m pretty sure that’s not changing anytime soon.

For some amazing content ideas, I recommend this guide!

You don’t have to be the best writer in the world; knowing how to write informative content is good enough in Google’s eyes.

Content length also plays a major role in deciding your Google rankings and social shares.

Oh! And content doesn’t just mean written text. Include images and videos in there too.

3. On-Page Optimization 

Now, this is the point from where it all starts to get a little “technical.”

Writing good content is not enough, believe it or not. Once the content is ready, you have to optimize it for search engine crawlers so that your keywords are prepped to rank.

How do you do that? Well, ‘on-page optimization’ is a topic in itself that warrants massive guides, but I’ll let you in on some quick fixes for quick wins.

A. Analyze Your Competitors

Analyze-Your-Competitors

This is the most important part. Analyze your competitors to judge their content length, structure, and keyword density. Once you’ve made a note of those factors, you’d want to mimic certain aspects and improve others.

Mimic = keyword density, content structure (not always)

Improve = content quality and length

The end goal is to make your page better in every way possible. Here are a few tools to help you with competitor analysis & steal their working methods.

B. Follow This Checklist

  • Use short, SEO-friendly URL
  • Write a catchy title with keywords included
  • Write an exciting meta-description for more CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • Use words like “guide,” “best,” “top,” “review,” “2019”
  • Add images, videos, memes, GIF, or other visual assets whenever applicable
  • Use the right heading tags for the subheads
  • Interlink to other posts that are relevant
  • Link out to authority sites
  • Add social share buttons

Well, that’s as much as I can tell you about on-page tactics given this is a short guide. Backlinko has some amazing advice on how to do On-page SEO, so I suggest checking them out!

4. Off-Page Optimization

Off Page SEO - Do It Yourself SEO

Oh, how great it would be if we could rank our content just by publishing them!

Well, technically we can, by focusing on keywords that have basically no competition, but that’s not always a good strategy to follow if you want to make it big.

Link building is one of the core components of SEO, and it’s something that costs time and money.

I know because I’ve spent a significant amount in my solo career reaching out to other webmasters in search for guest blogging opportunities.

What’s link building?

Well, consider it like getting votes to your website. The more (and quality) votes you get, the more your site stands a chance to appear as an authority in front of Google.

Be authoritative enough, and you’ll soon start ranking for keywords that are going to bring more traffic and more sales.

For free promotional ideas, check out this comprehensive list of 45 sites that can drive traffic to your site.

DIY Link Building Tips

Okay, so you have a post you want to build links to. There are a few ways to go about it:

  • Reach out to other websites in your niche and sub-niche and pitch a guest post in return for a do-follow link
  • Reach out to other sites in your niche and sub-niche and offer them money to post your guest post in return for a do-follow link (best choice)
  • Create infographics or researches & data and reach out to other blogs in your niche asking for a mention

5. Testing and Evaluation

Testing and Evaluation

Great content – check!

Proper on-page SEO- check!

Authority links – check!

Wait! Your content is still not ranking?

Well, things are not always easy. In the world of SEO, you can do everything right and still see little to no results. And that’s why it’s crucial to place a lot of emphasis on testing and evaluation.

  • What are the gaps you can fill?
  • Is your content lacking in substance in comparison to your competitors?
  • Are you targeting keywords that are too competitive?
  • Are you falling behind in acquiring links?
  • Is your on-page metrics optimized with proper keyword density, heading tags, meta tags, etc.?

These are the questions you have to find answers to yourself. And this is what separates good SEOs from the great!

Tackle one aspect at a time and see if there’s any movement in keyword rankings. Rinse and repeat till you are satisfied. And then build some more links.

Final Words

Search Engine Optimization is NOT hard. But it’s hard enough to weed out those who are trying to get into it “just for fun.”

So, put in the work, have faith in the process, and keep learning always! I’m sure you’ll make significant progress with your endeavors. 

That’s all for today! Let me know your thoughts on this short guide in the comments section below. Also, make sure to pin the below image to your favorite Pinterest board.

Pin me for later 🙂
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13 thoughts on “How To Do SEO Yourself: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide”

  1. Hi Shafi,

    This is great article. As you have rightly said that you need to keep working on seo but keeping in mind that your work brings out the correct results. Doing Seo just for the sake of it leads one to a dead end.

    Reply
  2. Hi Shafi,

    This article will save many people from spending money and time for SEO. The question is why should we spend money when we can get this kind of useful and practical articles on the internet for free?

    SEO doesn’t work magically, It does take time.

    Thanks,
    Jeangam Kahmei

    Reply
    • That’s 100% true, Jeangam. If you have the passion to learn and willing to spend some time researching the best resources, you can find almost everything about SEO for free. And what’s a better way than doing experiments and learning first hand?

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a great comment. Keep visiting 🙂

      Reply
  3. Hi Shafi,

    Awesome Post! Thank you so much for sharing this valuable post on SEO Beginner’s Guide. And I am really impressed with the content you have provided in this article and covered all SEOs. In this SEO community this quote “One step at a time” really adds value to it.
    Keep up the good work! Keep sharing…

    Cheers,
    Abhay

    Reply

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