Introduction To SEO (Strategies, Tutorials & Hacks In 2019)
Let’s start with a quick definition of SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the „art and science of driving targeted website traffic to your site from search engines“ 1.
We’re not talking about a new trend. In fact, SEO almost as old as the internet itself. For more than 20 years, webmasters all around the world have been trying to get to the top of search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo & Co. The calculation is simple: Anyone who gets listed by search engines will also get attention, views, sales, and revenue.
Learning SEO Can Be Hard
That is all well and good, but SEO is a massive topic. Not so much in its complexity, but more in its sheer volume. A simple introduction to SEO almost seems impossible.
You see, SEO experts like Neil Patel, Brian Dean, or Rand Fishkin are competitive and driven individuals. They try a lot of things, develop new hacks, tools, and processes. Eventually, they tell us about their findings on their blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels.
And they do this, again and again, year for year. As a consequence, there are only a few business disciplines where knowledge gets created that quickly.
Learn SEO Fast
The current situation leads to a lot of confusion for newbies. But SEO beginners have only one thing in mind:
- They want a straightforward introduction to SEO
- They want to get ranked on the first page of Google & Co.
If that’s your goal, this blog post is your territorial SEO map. It guides you through the best SEO resources around the web. Whether we talk about video tutorials, hacks or massive checklists.
The goal of this guide is straightforward. After you have read this, you will clearly improve your search engine results. Besides that, you also will be able to develop your own individual SEO strategy.
Learning SEO is all about taking action. So, this SEO guide focuses on practical tutorials and applicable methods and tips.
How To Create Your Own SEO Process
The following online resources have very high information value. If you don’t apply this knowledge immediately, you will forget a lot of it. Or even worse, you won’t put in into practice at all.
To prevent this, I’d urge you to create your own SEO process along the way. How does that work in concrete terms?
- Write down all the SEO tips & tricks you learn on this guide (and also in the future)
- Divide this knowledge into subtopics. Put it into a logical and chronological order.
- Every time you create a new page or blog post, work of this list step by step.
- Keep iterating: If you learn something new about SEO, add this knowledge to your list. But if one specific tip doesn’t get you results, remove it from your list.
I created such a list for my own, and I’m happy I did. Every time I create a new blog post, I pull off this list and know exactly what to do. Such a SEO process saves time, mental energy. And of course, it will improve your search engine rankings.
1. SEO 101
There is good news for SEO beginners: It’s no quantum physics. You don’t need deep theoretical knowledge to get started optimizing your website. In fact, try to cut the consumption of pure theoretical SEO resources. They will confuse you the deeper you dive into that topic. Instead, check out 3 or 4 of the following links and you are ready to start with SEO tutorials in the next chapter.
- Who should read this? Everyone (honestly, this one is no brainer)
- What you will learn: The bare minimum of theoretical SEO knowledge.
- Time To Read: 10 minutes (Blog post)
- Who should view this? If you want to understand SEO in under 2 minutes (and if you like nice infographics), check out this short this video.
- What you will learn: Introduction to SEO from a high-level perspective & The 2 main principles Of SEO
- Time To View: 1:43 minutes (Video)
- Who should view this? SEO aims to improve the results of search engines. Thus, you first must understand how search engines work on a very basic level. So if you don’t know how search engines (Google) do their job, check this video out.
- What you will learn: A Google engineer explains how their search engine crawls, retrieves, stores and presents websites.
- Time To View: 3:14 minutes (Video)
- Who should read this? If you love nice infographics and perfectly structured content (seriously, who doesn’t?), please read this blog post. This introduction to SEO is my personal favorite.
- What you will learn: „What Is SEO?“, „Why do you need SEO?“, „How do search engines work?“, „What ranks a website?“, „How has SEO changed?“, „Where Is SEO going?“
- Time To Read: 1,5 hours (Blog post)
- Who should read this? If you are that kind of guy or girl who needs to dive deep into theory before jumping to action, this resource is your personal heaven. You will have a solid theoretical SEO foundation on which you can build your practical skills.
- What you will learn: This resource includes 18 in-depth articles about SEO. Topics like „History of SEO“, „How people search“, „Why links are important for SEO“, and „How Long does SEO take?“. Please be aware that you don’t have to read all the articles because they aren’t interconnected. If you are interested in specific topics (let’s say „How long does SEO take?”), just jump directly to that article.
- Time To Read: 6 hours and more (Collection of blog posts)
2. How To Do SEO?
This chapter is the main part of this web resource guide. You will learn how to do SEO by going through the best tutorials of the web. If you don’t have much time for a detailed introduction to SEO, get 2 or 3 tutorials under your belt, and leave this guide. Then, apply your new knowledge as good as you can on your website, blog, landing page, niche site, whatever. And if you get stuck, come back to this guide and keep on reading.
As I already mentioned in the introduction, it definitely makes sense to build your own SEO checklist along the way. So, I urge you again to write things down, to structure them. Apply this SEO process every time you create new content.
I worked through a lot of SEO tutorials in the last weeks. At least 15, probably more. To cut this tedious work for you, I handpicked the best SEO tutorials around the web. I tried to select the tutorials with the highest density of information. Every single tutorial is unique in some way or another, be it its content, structure, practicality, or even its presentation style.
Before you decide to work through a tutorial, please read the extra information below the link. It will show you if the web resource meets your requirements. You can choose your tutorials based on the following criteria:
- Text versus Video
- Relationship between Theory and Practice
- Covered Topics
- Quick Summary
- Used SEO Tools (paid versus free)
- Time to Read/ View
a) Text-based SEO Tutorials
First, let’s start with the best text-based tutorials:
- Content: 50% Theory, 50% Practice
- Summary: This one is a classic. This guide has a nice balance between practice and theory and every major SEO subtopic (see below) gets explained in a long blog post. Besides that, Moz offers many additional resources like a „Key Research Template“ or „Maslow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs”. The only drawback: If you expect a raw step-by-step action plan (including SEO tools) you will be disappointed because this guide is more of a high level-strategy plan.
- Covered Topics: „How Search Engines Work“, „Keyword Research“, „On-Site Optimization“, „Technical SEO“
- Covered Tools: No tools covered
- Time to Read: 6 hours and more
SEO is not hard (A step-by-step SEO Tutorial for beginners that will get you ranked every single time)
- Content: 20 % Theory, 80% Practice
- Summary: This tutorial is straightforward. No fluff, just actions. You will learn an easy step-by-step process to do keyword research, on-page and off-Page SEO. If you want fast results fast, this tutorial is definitely for you. Every step is kept very short and actionable. A big plus: the whole process is based on free SEO-tools.
- Covered topics: „How Google works“, „Finding Long Tail-keywords“, „Manual Keyword Difficulty Analysis“, „On-Page SEO Checklist“, „Internal Link structure“, „Link Building“
- Covered Tools: UberSuggest, Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, SEO Quake, Google Keyword Planner, Disqus, Buzz Bundle
- Time to Read: 3 hours
- Content: 20% Theory, 80% Practice
- Summary: If you want to improve your SEO in less than an hour, this resource is definitely worth a read. After a short introduction to Google & SEO, this tutorial presents an easy step-by-step SEO process. This tutorial is far from being complete, but it can be the first building block of your individual SEO process. While this tutorial has been created by the SEO tool company Ahrefs, 90% of this advice can be implemented without using their fee-based keyword tool.
- Covered Topics: „Understanding Keywords“, „How to create a good title“, „Right URL structure“, „How to get backlinks“, „How should I get started?“
- Covered Tools: Google Trends, Ahrefs (paid)
- Time to Read: 2 hours
- Content: 10% Theory, 90% Practice
- Summary: This tutorial by Nathan Gotch has it all: super-actionable advice, a concise strategy and a lot of screenshots. This tutorial gets down to nitty-gritty action steps while keeping the big picture in mind. Another big plus: this is blog post is also available as a video.
- Covered Topics: 4 pillars of effective SEO (1. „Please your users“, 2. „Satisfy Search Intent“, „3. Build Your Web“, „4. Optimize & Amplify“), „How to Create SEO Content“, „80:20 Strategy for SEO”
- Covered Tools: Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, Moz Toolbar, UberSuggest, SEM Rush (paid), Ahrefs (paid)
- Time to Read: 4 hours
- Content: 20 % Theory, 80% Practice
- Summary: This tutorial is similar to the one before („The SEO Strategy You Need (2019)“) but is a little bit more theoretical. The only disadvantage of this tutorial is that it’s mainly based on the paid SEO tools by the company Mangools.
- Covered Topics: „Search Engines“, „On-Page SEO“, „Content & SEO“, „Keyword Research” „When do I need paid keyword tools?“, „Link Building“, „UX & SEO“, „Get SEO Certificate (Free Test)“, „SEO resources”
- Covered Tools: Mangools SEO Tools (paid), Answer The Public
- Time to Read: 4 hours
b) Video-based SEO Tutorials
And now the video-based tutorials:
- Content: 5% Theory, 95% Practice
- Summary: One of the most practical SEO tutorials I have ever seen. This video shows you how to do SEO step by step on the basis of concrete examples and a plethora of SEO tools. You will learn how to research competitors, find & validate keywords and how to perform on-page and off-page SEO. Besides that, the video is very methodical in its structure.
- Covered Topics: „SEO-Strategy“, „Competitor Research“, „Keyword Research“, „Blog SEO“, „Local SEO“, „E-Commerce SEO“
- Covered Tools: UberSuggest, Ahrefs, MozBar, Google Search Console, YOAST, WordPress, SEMRush (paid), KWFinder(paid)
- Time to View: 2h 40 minutes
- Content: 10 Theory, 90% Practice
- Summary: This video uses an illustrative example to demonstrate how to run through a basic SEO process. Although it’s a short video and based on the paid tool Ahrefs, you can get a good feeling for various SEO activities like keyword research, On-Page SEO or outreaching.
- Covered Topics: „Keyword Analysis“, „On-Page SEO (Title, Meta, Content, URL)“, „Off-Page SEO (Outreach)“
- Covered Tools: Ahrefs (paid)
- Time to View: 20 minutes
- Summary: 100% Practice
- Content: This video is the holy grail for practical people. Brian Dean shows you all the details of his personal SEO keyword-strategy. You will learn (amongst other topics) how to research and „attack“ your competitors by using SEO tools, forums & YouTube. However, my favorite thing about this tutorial is its extremely methodical approach for creating a content strategy. Brian Dean breaks down an easy method to create much better than all of your competitors.
- Covered Topics: „Find & Filter Keywords“, „SEO Qualifiers“, „How To Create A Content Strategy“, „Headline Analyzer“
- Covered Tools: Google Trends, Headline-Analyzer, BuzzSumo (paid), Ahrefs, (paid)
- Time to View: 29 minutes
- Content: 60% Theory, 40% Practice
- Summary: A short video which covers a lot of practical and theoretical SEO aspects. In particular some theoretical approaches like „SEO in the context of funnel marketing“ or „Keywords & Synonyms” offer a unique perspective on SEO. Unfortunately, the video covers SEO quite deeply but doesn’t show how to actually do it.
- Covered Topics: „3 Fundamentals of SEO“, „Search Isn’t Just Google“, „Importance Of Click-Through Rates“, „The Search Framework“, „Keywords & Synonyms“, „Title Tags & Meta Descriptions“, „URLs“, „Link Building”
- Time to View: 35 minutes
- Summary: 50% Theory, 50% Practice
- Content: Among all of these tutorials, this one is by far the most controversial. Statements such as „keyword tools don’t work“, „You don’t need Yoast SEO” or „don’t focus on keywords but users“ will question your fundamental notion of SEO. But this is good and refreshing. This video will help you to keep your SEO process easy and to focus on the essentials.
- Covered Topics: „Why old SEO is dead“, „The importance of UX“, „How to gain reputation“, „What is a good blog post?“, „Why you should start with small keywords“
- Covered Tools: None
- Time To View: 56 minutes
- Content: 70% Theory, 30% Practice
- Summary: This tutorial is pretty high-level but helps you to get the big picture. Especially the explanation of the Google algorithms is really helpful.
- Covered Topics: „Top Ranking Factors of Google“, „Black-Hat versus White-Hat SEO“, „SEO Triforcing“, „On-Page SEO“, „How to keep learning SEO“, „Why SEO tools are not important”
- Covered Tools: Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs (paid), KWFinder (paid)
- Time to View: 42 minutes
- Content: 80% Theory, 20% Practice
- Summary: I came across this tutorial quite recently, but I had to add it to this web guide. While this tutorial targets bloggers, you still can learn a lot of practical SEO details. If you go through this 1-hour tutorial, you will learn the whole SEO lifecycle including keyword research, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and content optimization.
- Covered Topics: „5 SEO Myths“, „5 Principles of Focused SEO Content“, „Easy Keyword Research“, „The Most Important Step Of SEO“, „How To Promote Content“
- Covered Tools: Google Keyword Planner, Zapier, Ahrefs (paid)
- Time To View: 60 Minutes
3. Checklists & Hacks
Let’s admit it: Sometimes, you just feel lazy. In this kind of state, you don’t want to ponder about theory and SEO strategy. On the contrary, you want results, and they better be fast. If that’s what you are currently feeling, then you’re in the right place. Use the following checklists and hacks to take your SEO to the next level. Although this section doesn’t substitute a detailed SEO strategy, it can definitely help you to boost SEO rankings in a short amount of time. Yet, the following resources work best after you went through the tutorials of the previous section.
a) Best SEO Checklists
- Content: This checklist is an epic collection of tips and tricks about keyword research, On-Page SEO, Technical-SEO and Link Building. Besides that, the checklist offers practical screenshots & infographics as well as many further web resources. You will certainly find valuable tips you can use to boost your SEO results. The same checklist by Brian Dean can also be found as a video.
- Time to Read: 3 hours
- Content: This checklist offers 31 amazing tips over the whole SEO lifecycle. In my opinion, this checklist is even more actionable then the previous one. Definitely worth a read! The same content is covered by Ahrefs in this video.
- Time to read: 4 hours
- Content: This checklist is huge. And not only that, many of these tips haven’t been mentioned by other resources. Bonus: All tips are summarized in one big infographic.
- Time to Read: 4 hours
b) Best SEO Hacks
- Content: Another video by Brian Dean. My favorite techniques are „1. Use these words in you title-tag“, „3. Little Known Sources For Awesome Keyword Ideas“ and „9. Pay Attention to SERP Features”
- Time To View: 11 Minutes
- Content: The guys from Income School bring a new perspective to the SEO community. Their tips are just clever. My highlights are „1. Create titles that reflect helpfulness”, „4. Buffet title for generic searches“ and „6. Format titles as statements rather than a question“.
- Time To View: 18 minutes
- Content: What would a proper SEO introduction be without mentioning Neil Patel? It’s a short video but has some golden nuggets of advice. Some great tips are „expand successful blog posts“ and „leverage roundup blog posts“.
- Time To View: 6 minutes
- Content: In the strictest sense, this resource is just one single SEO tip. Moreover, this advice aims at advanced SEOs. Nevertheless, this blog post is golden because it details how to improve the SEO rankings of your low-performing web pages by using a simple SEO workflow.
- Time to Read: 1 hour