Rewriting the Beginner’s Guide to SEO

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/ZS0_AI-rLns/rewriting-beginners-guide-to-seo-outline

Posted by BritneyMuller

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Many of you reading likely cut your teeth on Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Since it was launched, it’s easily been our top-performing piece of content:

Most months see 100k+ views (the reverse plateau in 2013 is when we changed domains).

While Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO still gets well over 100k views a month, the current guide itself is fairly outdated. This big update has been on my personal to-do list since I started at Moz, and we need to get it right because — let’s get real — you all deserve a bad-ass SEO 101 resource!

However, updating the guide is no easy feat. Thankfully, I have the help of my fellow Mozzers. Our content team has been a collective voice of reason, wisdom, and organization throughout this process and has kept this train on its tracks.

Despite the effort we’ve put into this already, it felt like something was missing: your input! We’re writing this guide to be a go-to resource for all of you (and everyone who follows in your footsteps), and want to make sure that we’re including everything that today’s SEOs need to know. You all have a better sense of that than anyone else.

So, in order to deliver the best possible update, I’m seeking your help.

This is similar to the way Rand did it back in 2007. And upon re-reading your many “more examples” requests, we’ve continued to integrate more examples throughout.

The plan:

Over the next 6–8 weeks, I’ll be updating sections of the Beginner’s Guide and posting them, one by one, on the blog.
I’ll solicit feedback from you incredible people and implement top suggestions.
The guide will be reformatted/redesigned, and I’ll 301 all of the blog entries that will be created over the next few weeks to the final version.
It’s going to remain 100% free to everyone — no registration required, no premium membership necessary.

To kick things off, here’s the revised outline for the Beginner’s Guide to SEO:

Click each chapter’s description to expand the section for more detail.

Chapter 1: SEO 101
What is it, and why is it important? ?

What is SEO?
Why invest in SEO?
Do I really need SEO?
Should I hire an SEO professional, consultant, or agency?

Search engine basics:

Google Webmaster Guidelines basic principles
Bing Webmaster Guidelines basic principles
Guidelines for representing your business on Google

Fulfilling user intent
Know your SEO goals

Chapter 2: Crawlers & Indexing

First, you need to show up. ?

How do search engines work?

Crawling & indexing
Determining relevance
Links
Personalization

How search engines make an index

Googlebot
Indexable content
Crawlable link structure
Links
Alt text
Types of media that Google crawls
Local business listings

Common crawling and indexing problems

Online forms
Blocking crawlers
Search forms
Duplicate content
Non-text content

Tools to ensure proper crawl & indexing

Google Search Console
Moz Pro Site Crawl
Screaming Frog
Deep Crawl

How search engines order results

200+ ranking factors
RankBrain
Inbound links
On-page content: Fulfilling a searcher’s query
PageRank
Domain Authority
Structured markup: Schema
Engagement
Domain, subdomain, & page-level signals
Content relevance
Searcher proximity
Reviews
Business citation spread and consistency

SERP features

Rich snippets
Paid results
Universal results

Featured snippets
People Also Ask boxes

Knowledge Graph
Local Pack
Carousels

Chapter 3: Keyword Research

Next, know what to say and how to say it. ?

How to judge the value of a keyword
The search demand curve

Fat head
Chunky middle
Long tail

Four types of searches:

Transactional queries
Informational queries
Navigational queries
Commercial investigation

Fulfilling user intent
Keyword research tools:

Google Keyword Planner
Moz Keyword Explorer
Google Trends
AnswerThePublic
SpyFu
SEMRush

Keyword difficulty
Keyword abuse
Content strategy {link to the Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing}

Chapter 4: On-Page SEO

Next, structure your message to resonate and get it published. ?

Keyword usage and targeting
Keyword stuffing
Page titles:

Unique to each page
Accurate
Be mindful of length
Naturally include keywords
Include branding

Meta data/Head section:

Meta title
Meta description
Meta keywords tag

No longer a ranking signal

Meta robots

Meta descriptions:

Unique to each page
Accurate
Compelling
Naturally include keywords

Heading tags:

Subtitles
Summary
Accurate
Use in order

Call-to-action (CTA)

Clear CTAs on all primary pages
Help guide visitors through your conversion funnels

Image optimization

Compress file size
File names
Alt attribute
Image titles
Captioning
Avoid text in an image

Video optimization

Transcription
Thumbnail
Length
“~3mo to YouTube” method

Anchor text

Descriptive
Succinct
Helps readers

URL best practices

Shorter is better
Unique and accurate
Naturally include keywords
Go static
Use hyphens
Avoid unsafe characters

Structured data

Microdata
RFDa
JSON-LD
Schema
Social markup

Twitter Cards markup
Facebook Open Graph tags
Pinterest Rich Pins

Structured data types

Breadcrumbs
Reviews
Events
Business information
People
Mobile apps
Recipes
Media content
Contact data
Email markup

Mobile usability

Beyond responsive design
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Google mobile-friendly test
Bing mobile-friendly test

Local SEO

Business citations
Entity authority
Local relevance

Complete NAP on primary pages
Low-value pages

Chapter 5: Technical SEO

Next, translate your site into Google’s language. ?

Internal linking

Link positioning
Anchor links

Common search engine protocols

Sitemaps

Mobile
News
Image
Video

XML
RSS
TXT

Robots

Robots.txt

Disallow
Sitemap
Crawl Delay

X-robots
Meta robots

Index/noindex
Follow/nofollow

Noimageindex
None
Noarchive
Nocache
No archive
No snippet
Noodp/noydir
Log file analysis
Site speed
HTTP/2
Crawl errors

Duplicate content

Canonicalization
Pagination

What is the DOM?

Critical rendering path
Help robots find the most important code first

Hreflang/Targeting multiple languages
Chrome DevTools
Technical site audit checklist

Chapter 6: Establishing Authority

Finally, turn up the volume. ?

Link signals

Global popularity
Local/topic-specific popularity
Freshness
Social sharing
Anchor text
Trustworthiness

Trust Rank

Number of links on a page
Domain Authority
Page Authority
MozRank

Competitive backlinks

Backlink analysis

The power of social sharing

Tapping into influencers
Expanding your reach

Types of link building

Natural link building
Manual link building
Self-created

Six popular link building strategies

Create content that inspires sharing and natural links
Ego-bait influencers
Broken link building
Refurbish valuable content on external platforms
Get your customers/partners to link to you
Local community involvement

Manipulative link building

Reciprocal link exchanges
Link schemes
Paid links
Low-quality directory links
Tiered link building
Negative SEO
Disavow

Reviews

Establishing trust
Asking for reviews
Managing reviews
Avoiding spam practices

Chapter 7: Measuring and Tracking SEO

Pivot based on what’s working. ?

KPIs

Conversions
Event goals
Signups
Engagement
GMB Insights:

Click-to-call
Click-for-directions

Beacons

Which pages have the highest exit percentage? Why?
Which referrals are sending you the most qualified traffic?
Pivot!
Search engine tools:

Google Search Console
Bing Webmaster Tools
GMB Insights

Appendix A: Glossary of Terms
Appendix B: List of Additional Resources
Appendix C: Contributors & Credits

What did you struggle with most when you were first learning about SEO? What would you have benefited from understanding from the get-go?

Are we missing anything? Any section you wish wouldn’t be included in the updated Beginner’s Guide? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

Thanks in advance for contributing.

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