How to start with SEO?

You’ve had this great idea. You’ve built this amazing website. And then, you want that website to attract visitors! You want to be found! What to do? How do you get started with SEO? How do you start with SEO on a brand new site? In this blog post, I’ll talk you through the 7 steps you need to take in order to get your SEO strategy up and running. 

So, you’ve started your first site and you want it to be found, so you can share your thoughts and views with the world. What to do? Let’s go through the steps of starting with SEO!

  1. Install Yoast SEO

    Provided that your website is on WordPress, installing Yoast SEO should be the first step in your SEO strategy. Our Yoast SEO plugin will help you to make sure your website is crawlable and findable. Yoast SEO will immediately take care of some technical SEO issues, just by being installed on your website. Besides that, our plugin will help you to construct your website in such a way that Google will understand and rank it. We offer a free and a premium plugin. If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably won’t need our premium version yet, although it can already save you some valuable time.

  2. Get that first link

    Google needs to know your website exists. And, in order for Google to know about your awesome new site, you need at least one external link towards your site. The reason for this: Google crawls the web. It follows links and saves all the webpages it finds in a very large database called the index. So, if you want to get into that index, you need (at least) one external link. So make sure to get that link from an external website!

  3. What do you want to rank for?

    Make sure to attract the right audience to your website. Who are your customers? For whom did you build this website? What terms do your customers use when searching on Google? And what’s their search intent, what kind of content are they looking for? Find out as much as you can about your audience.

    SEOs refer to this stage as doing your keyword research. This is a hard and important phase. There are a lot of helpful tools that make doing keyword research easier. Some of these tools are free, others are rather expensive. While these tools will make the difficult phase of keyword research easier, you should remember that you can’t outsource your keyword research to a tool. You really need to think about your audience and about the search terms they are using. It’s also important to analyze what you’re seeing in the search results pages when entering your keywords. Take your time for this phase. It is crucial. If you do your keyword research correctly, you’ll come up with a long list of keywords you want to rank for.

  4. Set realistic goals

    For a new site, it is rather hard to rank high in the beginning. Older sites already have a history, established their authority and a lot of links pointing towards them. That means that Google’s crawlers come by more often at older sites. For a new site to rank, you’ll always need to be a little patient. And remember: some search terms will be out of reach for a new site because there’s too much competition. Trying to rank for [WordPress SEO] will be rather hard for any new blog, because of some fierce competition on that term from

    If you’re just starting with your site, try to aim at ranking for long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are keywords that are longer and more specific and have far less competition than the popular head keywords. After a while, when your site starts to rank for the long-tail keywords, you could try and go after the more head keywords.

  5. Internal linking

    As I already mentioned in step 2, Google follows links. Google also follows the links on your website, your internal linking structure. It crawls through your website following the internal linking structure of your site. That structure is like a guide to Google. Make sure your internal linking structure is flawless. That’ll help with your ranking. 

    If you start with a brand new website, you’ll probably don’t have much content yet. This is the perfect time to think about structure. Now it is relatively easy. It’s like having a new closet and you haven’t started buying clothes. Now is the time to think about the things you want to put on the top shelf and which items you want to hide in the back of your closet. So, decide which pages are most important to you. What are the pages you want to rank with? Make sure that these pages have the most internal links pointing towards them.

  6. Start writing

    In order to get ranked, you need to have content. A very important step in how to start with your SEO is to write amazing content for all these search terms you want to be found for. The content analysis in the Yoast SEO plugin will help you to write that content. Our analysis will help you to write a text that is both readable and SEO friendly.

    While you’re writing, make sure to use the words you want to be found for. Use them in headings and in the introduction and conclusion of your text. After writing your text, you should optimize your SEO title and your meta description. The Yoast SEO plugin will help you to do all these things.

  7. Get those links!

    External links are important to get your site in high positions in those search engines. But gathering those external links can be a hard process. Make sure to write content people want to share and link to. Original ideas and great, valuable content will make the chance that people would want to share that much bigger.

    Of course, reaching out to people and making them aware of your awesome website and product can be a good strategy to get those external links too. Read more about a successful link building strategy or find out what link building is first.

And then what?

The truth is that SEO is more than these 7 steps. This is only the very beginning, the steps you take to start with SEO. In order to get longterm high rankings in the search engines, you need to do hard work. Your content has to be amazing, your site structure has to remain flawless (and that’s challenging when your site is growing) and you’ll have to keep earning those external links. The only way to really do that, in the long run, is to make sure that your audience enjoys visiting your website. If you want to rank the highest, make sure your site is the very best. Good luck!

Read more: WordPress SEO the definitive guide »

13 Responses to How to start with SEO?

  1. Dinesh
    Dinesh  • 3 months ago

    when you work on backlinks , what is the reason behind going down in google ranking ?

  2. shanhaider shan
    shanhaider shan  • 3 months ago

    I would add, create a Google Sheet of all your page’s metadata so you can easily tweak things and see it overall.

  3. Jack Willson
    Jack Willson  • 3 months ago

    How to find list of sites’ DA result by uploading a single excel sheet?

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 3 months ago

      Hi Jack, Not sure what you mean? Could you elaborate a bit?

  4. Mandy Cee
    Mandy Cee  • 3 months ago

    This post sums it all. SEO is the lifeblood of blogging, and without good SEO practices, your blog might not live to see the light of day.
    Though I must say, it;’s not a walk in the park. It requires patience and some bit of hard work before the results start manifesting.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 3 months ago

      Hi Mandy Cee, We totally agree! Although it might sound easy, it’s definitely no walk in the park. More like climbing a mountain, I guess ;-)

  5. Judd Dunagan
    Judd Dunagan  • 3 months ago

    I would add, create a Google Sheet of all your page’s metadata so you can easily tweak things and see it overall.

  6. David Artigliere
    David Artigliere  • 3 months ago

    This is really helpful! A friend told me about your website and I started with this post and already put your suggestions into action. It’s going to be finding those external sites to link back which will be the challenge, but doable!

  7. Becca
    Becca  • 3 months ago

    Internal linking has helped so much and I as I grow there are so many internal link options.

  8. Anatolii Ulitovskyi
    Anatolii Ulitovskyi  • 3 months ago

    Thanks, Marieke, for sharing your knowledge. I like your explanation. Get the first link and be patient with others )) Realistic goals means don’t try to outrank big brands and authoritative websites )) Find your own way…

  9. Noam
    Noam  • 3 months ago

    Thanks very much for this great helpful plugin!

    One thing though:
    1. We have noticed that the Yoast SEO on-page analysis, does not take into account many parts and sections of the analysed pages.
    E.g. Sidebars (which include both text and links), Visual Composer elements such as Call to Action buttons (which include both text and links) etc.
    2. So in a way, the analysis is somewhat incomplete, as it does not give you an inclusive analysis of all parts and sections of the page.
    For example: there are links and text with the focus keyword in the Visual Composer Call to Action buttons, but Yoast analysis doesn’t “see” them.
    3. Our research indicates that Google does take ALL these page items into account – sidebars, All Visual Composer elements etc.

    So I guess the question is: Why does Yoast plugin behave this way?
    Thank you,