SEO for dummies: The very basics of getting started

Is SEO getting too complicated? You’ve come to the right place for an SEO for dummies guide. Including keyword research, link building, content creation and accessibility.

Start optimising your website for search engines with these top tips today.

Keyword Research 

Keyword research is not just about finding keywords to create content for. But discovering what your audience is searching for and how you can rank for these searches.

  1. Start with seed words, usually a one or two-word phrase. Brainstorm topics and ideas that your audience are likely to be searching for and problems they have.
  2. Input seed words into search engines or keyword tools. Generating suggestions for long-tail keywords. These keywords and phrases tend to have a lower search volume than seed words but usually resulting in lower keyword difficulty and competition.
  3. Use the ‘people also ask’ function on Google results for seed words and long-tail keywords. This usually brings up more ideas and alternative long-tail keywords to rank for.
  4. Search forums and groups where your audience hangs out online. This can provide new ideas for content when browsing through groups or communities. As well as revealing the language that your audience uses when referring to particular topics. 

These 4 steps can provide hundreds of ideas and focus keywords for you to craft your content. 

Write content for both search engines and real people

Next comes creating your content using your keywords. Previously, content creators could stuff keywords into pages to rank in search engines. However, search engines have come a long way since then and can recognise and evaluate content more effectively now.

Low quality, keyword-stuffed content will most likely have a negative impact on your SEO. Increasing bounce rates, not appealing or converting your audience and decreasing ranking.

Content that is crafted for both search engines and real people needs the following elements:

  1. Relevant and up-to-date information
  2. Contextual LSI keywords. These keywords are recognised by search engines and add context to your content. For example, content can focus on cars but including words such as Lightning Mcqueen or the Piston cup, search engines will recognise this is for the Disney movie Cars.
  3. Headings are important for both search engines and readers. You can use headings to include the main keyword for search engines to recognise. Index bots will use these headings as indicators of the context and essential sections. Headings also offer structure and allow readers to skim content for sections that are important to them.
  4. Effective meta titles and descriptions that are keyword optimised for search engines. As well as attract the attention of searchers looking to resolve their query.

These elements are a key part of on-page SEO.

Man at laptop on desk learning SEO for dummies

Link Building

Backlinks are one of the most important elements of SEO. Links help increase your search engine ranking by sending link juice from authority websites. In addition, links can bring traffic from other sources to your website as well as add context to your website within your niche.

How can you obtain backlinks from authority websites?

There are many great paid and free techniques to obtain links such as guest posting to include in your link building campaign. Writing content for other websites often brings in links from both within the content and an author bio. 

Check your competitor’s links to either replace their content from the other website or offer new content for them to link to. 

Broken link building is another solution that can be offered in your email outreach. However, this is more effective for established websites with some authority and super high-quality content. 

To obtain these links you need to follow a few steps.

  1. Create a list of contacts. These can include websites from with your niche, linking domains from competitors and websites that you want to build a relationship with in the future.
  2. Create awesome content. This is to offer as a guest post or content that may be of interest to their audience and attract organic links.
  3. Conduct email outreach. Create personalised and eye-catching emails to your contacts including what you would like to offer them and achieve with the relationship. This can be a guest post, skyscraper content or fixing a broken link.


All of the work you put into keyword research and link building will go unnoticed if your website is not accessible. This includes accessibility to both search engines and visitors. To ensure your website is accessible, you can follow simple on-page SEO steps.

  1. Search engines are seeing a massive increase in mobile searches. You want to ensure your website is mobile-friendly so that it can be indexed in mobile search and easily used by your visitors.
  2. Submit your site map to search engines. Both Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster tools accept sitemaps. Enabling the search engines to index all pages on your website and show these pages in SERPs.
  3. Set up clear and effective website navigation. This ensures that all your pages are easily accessible through your menu and usually no more than 3 links away. Therefore, search engine bots are able to index and discover new pages easily and visitors can explore your website with ease.
  4. SEO is also impacted by loading speeds. Longing loads can increase bounce rates and decrease your ranking. 

Start with the SEO basics

These 4 elements of SEO are both important and just the start of optimising your website for search engines. If you need more details about how to get started read our in-depth SEO guide.