SEO tutorial for beginners: How to start with SEO?

If you’re not already working on it, now is definitely the time to start with SEO. You need to rank high if you want customers to find you online. So, what should you do? How do you get started with SEO? Or, 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 to get your SEO strategy up and running. 

If you prefer video, you can also watch this compilation video on how to start with SEO. Watch the entire video or skip through to the parts that you want to know more about:

How to start with SEO?

So, you’ve just created 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.

Follow these steps and you’ll make a flying start with your SEO. What can help you keep this momentum going is our free SEO for beginners training course. This course gives you quick wins to get ranking and explains how search engine optimization works. So make sure to check it out!

Read more: SEO for a new website: the very first things to do »

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 long-term 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. So, if you want to rank the highest, make sure your site is the very best. Good luck!

Keep reading: WordPress SEO the definitive guide »

Coming up next!

17 Responses to SEO tutorial for beginners: How to start with SEO?

  1. Mayur Rane
    Mayur Rane  • 3 years ago

    It’s been 5-6 months but some of my posts are not indexed. I am working on this site for 8 months. Please suggest to me what to do?

  2. Samkit Palecha
    Samkit Palecha  • 3 years ago

    This is really amazing. Thanks for sharing this. We’ve started using this technique and our SEO scores have boosted a lot since the past 3 months!

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 years ago

      That’s great to hear :) Keep up the good work and lots of luck with your SEO!

  3. Roger Mulley
    Roger Mulley  • 3 years ago

    One of the best guides I ever read about SEO for beginners

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 years ago

      Thank you for those kind words, Roger!

  4. mondi
    mondi  • 3 years ago

    I try so hard but my site vanished suddenly. I don’t lknow what’s wrong?

  5. Vikash Sharma
    Vikash Sharma  • 3 years ago

    I just love your awesome content. You’re a super amazing company. Thanks a lot.
    Just wanted to ask, do exact match domains still work for SEO?
    Again, love you!

  6. Muhammad Ahmed
    Muhammad Ahmed  • 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing. Good Article

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 years ago

      You’re welcome :)

  7. Obaloker Brian
    Obaloker Brian  • 3 years ago

    Useful tips for a beginner like me. Thank you so much yoast team

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 years ago

      You’re welcome, good luck with your SEO!

  8. JITS
    JITS  • 3 years ago

    This is very useful to us to improve my seo skills to rank our website

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 years ago

      That’s good to hear, good luck with your SEO!

  9. Maghzrayaneh
    Maghzrayaneh  • 3 years ago

    Very good thank you…

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 years ago

      You’re welcome!