Q&A: What are the SEO basics?

Question: A lot of your posts on SEO seem to be aimed at the expert, do you have something on the basics of SEO?

Answer: That’s a fair comment, we have written our 7 Steps guide to SEO for Expert members to be easy to follow for marketers less familiar with SEO.  Here’s a round up of some of the best guides introducing the basics of SEO.

1. The Google SEO Starter Guide PDF

Best to go straight to the Horses Mouth – this is a great intro with examples, although published in 2008 and not updated since. It underemphasises the importance of backlinks – links from other sites.

Google also a short practical video to SEO for startups.

2. Google How It Works

This is a great visual guide which I’ve started using when talking to non-search specialists in training – definitely not for SEOs… Nice visuals though.

3. The main SEO ranking factors

I still use this summary on my training courses for marketers since it put a relative value on the importance of the factors – everyone wants to know what’s most important. It also debunks the importance of meta tags which I STILL find people think are important for ranking – they’re not and they never have been (although the description is an important call-to-action. See the link above for more details and the original source.

Remember also that there are negative factors which can harm your SEO like buying links and behavioural factors like clickthrough rate or social media mentions that are also taken into account.

On-page SEO factors

  • Keyword frequency and density = 3.7/5
  • Keyword in headings =
  • Level 1 heading= 3.1
  • Level 2 heading = 2.8
  • Keyword in document name = 2.8
  • Meta name description = 2/5
  • Meta name keywords = 1/5

This is useful to highlight the myth of the importance of meta tag which so many generalist marketers seem to cling to”. I would rate the meta name factors even lower.

Off-page SEO factors

  • Link anchor text contains keyword = 4.4/5
  • More backlinks (higher PageRank)= 4/5
  • Link Popularity within the Site’s Internal Link Structure=4/5
  • Page assessed as a hub = 3.5/5
  • Page assessed as an authority = 3.5/5
  • Link velocity (rate at which changes) = 3.5/5

4. SEO Moz Beginners Guide
Updated in 2012  I’d also recommend this guide which has 10 clear chapters on SEO and is also available as a free PDF.

5. 101 Guide to SEO

Finally, this is a guide we’ve published at Clickthrough Marketing this year, which has a completely different style to all the other guides – it’s a magazine style with 101 SEO tips from basic to more advanced.

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  • http://twitter.com/Thomas_Norden Thomas Nordén

    The “Econsultancy Best Practice Guide to SEO”-link has expired.

    • http://www.smartinsights.com Dave Chaffey

      Thank you Thomas, I have updated the post.

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