Learn SEO Basics and Success Factors Free

Learn SEO Basics and Success Factors Free

When you want to learn SEO basics and the success factors for website optimization for search engines, finding a simple tutorial on search engine optimization can seem overwhelming.

In this post, I address this by providing links to resources that offer simple explanations to the somewhat-technical or person with some technical aptitude.

If you do not fall into one of these categories, don’t let the technical mumbo-jumbo stop you from reading and learning. You may find you know more than you realize about this technology — you do use it every day! Plus, we all have to start somewhere.

Learn SEO Basics from Google

The first resource you should skim to learn SEO basics is Google’s own Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. You may download this free PDF to read or skim as you have time.

Google’s guidebook covers:

  • SEO Basics
  • Improving Site Structure
  • Optimizing Content
  • Dealing with Crawlers
  • SEO for Mobile Phones
  • Promotions and Analysis

The guide is aimed primarily at webmasters. However, web developers and web designers, including DIYs, should find the material provides a high-level overview of the factors involved in ranking a website well online.

If Google’s 32-page guidebook is too complicated or time-consuming for you now, and you want to learn SEO basics as simplified as it is possible to do, another option is Search Engine Land’s The Periodic Table of Search Engine Success Factors.

Learn SEO Basics from Search Engine Land

My advice is to ignore the science-looking “elements” in the center of the image below, and instead, read the keywords and questions in the left and right columns at the edges. These keywords and questions will give you an idea of what to aim for when you optimize your site for search engines.

search engine land period table of seo success factors

The table covers the following sections: on-page factors, such as content, architecture, and HTML. It covers off-page factors such as trust, links, personal, and social.

How can you use this table to learn SEO basics?

When you look at your own website, think through each question and make sure that you have answered it on the website you are optimizing.

Learn SEO Basics from ForegroundWeb

Last but not least, ForegroundWeb has one of my favorite resources for DIYs. I wish I had written this post, SEO for Photographers.

If you are not a photographer, do not let the title turn you away.

The resources he has put together are true and right for most small businesses. You may not take the photos you put online on your site, but it helps to understand how to optimize your featured and/or product photos and caption them for greater sales and find-ability online.

The post provides doable tips that anyone with a determined and persevering mindset, plus basic website know-how, can carry out to add SEO themselves.

This article covers 50 (yes, fifty) SEO actions to go through:

  • on-site & off-site SEO factors
  • getting backlinks
  • website performance & mobile-friendliness
  • image optimization best practices
  • free SEO tools
  • examples & graphics
  • links to other relevant articles & resources

The article is long, but take your time and skim/read over it. It is a wealth of useful SEO information compiled with insight and clarity of purpose.

Next, when I am studying the SEO for my site or for a client, then I look at what keywords bring people to the site, how long they stay, and what posts or pages they read. The SEO dashboard provides that information. (Although Google does not always let you know what keywords bring someone to your site, for privacy reasons.)

Learn SEO Basics via Google Analytics

If you would like to understand your data, and you feel overwhelmed by Google Analytics, there is a simpler way to check your data.

  1. Login to Google Analytics (this assumes you have an account and that Google Analytics is set up on your website).
  2. Go to your main Google Analytics dashboard (not the “admin” one), and click on Customization, then Dashboards.
  3. Open a new tab in your browser, and go to eConsultancy’s 10 Useful Google Analytics Custom Dashboards.
  4. Click on the link underneath the image for the type of data you want to check or know, then assign it to your website in Google Analytics.
  5. Click on the link in your custom dashboard to review the data. Yes, you may add more than one custom dashboard.

Here is the list of my favorite custom dashboards that I review for Impact Zone Consultancy. You can also use this image to understand where you need to be on Google Analytics to add the custom dashboard(s) via the instructions, above.

Google Analytics Custom Dashboard examples

I could scroll through Google Analytics, but I find I like to know different types of information at different times, and for different reasons. Sometimes, I want to know the site load time for a post, so I check the Site Performance Dashboard.

Another time, I may want to know a bit about a client’s website or my own website’s visitors, such as where they live, what posts they are reading, what devices they use, or how long they stay on a page. When I need that information, I review the 70 Facts About Visitors or Blogging dashboards.

Learn Basic and Advanced SEO Free

Finally, if you want to continue your SEO studies, then you can read Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building, or The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media. Yoast provides a variety of SEO-related articles and tutorials related to WordPress.

Learn SEO Basics with Impact Zone Consultancy

I have written a series of articles with which DIY, small-business, and solopreneurs can learn SEO basics. I also have some (free) SEO webinar videos you can review that actually teach you and are not a one-hour infomercial.

Last, but not least, are my weekly SEO Thursdays Periscopes, that I have archived online. The Periscopes tend to match a weekly blog post, so you may want to search my SEO articles. I have the videos either on the blog post or linked to in the article.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, or leave your questions and comments below so others can learn from you.

If you have decided you cannot stand the thought of learning SEO basics, or simply want to save yourself some time, then contact me online or email me about implementing SEO on your website. I offer one-on-one or small group SEO coaching and training. You can review the small business SEO services we offer, along with ballpark pricing.

Learn SEO Basics and Success Factors Free

02 Impact Zone SEO Newsletter 29 June 2017

02 Impact Zone SEO Newsletter 29 June 2017

This 2nd newsletter is a bit of a mix. We are sending this out a day early due to the long 4th of July weekend.  

First, if you want to do some SEO work yourself, then check out Buffer’s list of free tools.

Second, are you at a loss for finding the “rich people” market? Then check out Denise Duffield-Thomas’ advice. Hint: save them time. 

Third, if you want some quick and fast advice on marketing locally, then read Yoast’s interview with David Mihm. We found some Local SEO gems in there.

 Fourth, manners matter. Sometimes, manners go awry in terms of giving people a negative perception of you. Try thanking people instead of apologizing, and watch your power soar. 

Last, but not least, inspired by the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated TV series (available for streaming in Netflix), I applied Lucas’ “Jedi Star Wars” quotes to entrepreneurship.

Please have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend. (And here is the PDF version of this newsletter.)

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June 29, 2017

Your SEO Top 5 for Succeeding Online (and Off)
This 2nd newsletter is a bit of a mix. We are sending this out a day early due to the long 4th of July weekend.  

First, if you want to do some SEO work yourself, then check out Buffer’s list of free tools.

Second, are you at a loss for finding the “rich people” market? Then check out Denise Duffield-Thomas’ advice. Hint: save them time. 

Third, if you want some quick and fast advice on marketing locally, then read Yoast’s interview with David Mihm. We found some Local SEO gems in there.

 Fourth, manners matter. Sometimes, manners go awry in terms of giving people a negative perception of you. Try thanking people instead of apologizing, and watch your power soar. 

Last, but not least, inspired by the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated TV series (available for streaming in Netflix), I applied Lucas’ “Jedi Star Wars” quotes to entrepreneurship.

Please have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend.


24 Most Effective Free SEO Tools for Google, Bing & More | Buffer Blog


Check out our list of the best free SEO tools that can boost your organic rankings on Google & Bing and can lead to immediate gains in your marketing today:

How to Market to Rich People | Denise Duffield-Thomas


Let’s talk about how to market to rich people. There are SOME things that are different when you’re marketing to rich people, but not as many as you think!

5 questions: Talking local SEO with David Mihm • Yoast


Find out what local SEO markers you should focus on if you want to be successful in your local market. https://yoast.com/5-questions-david-mihm/

What Happened When I Stopped Saying “Sorry” At Work For A Week

Rich Bellis

What if you decided to thank people whenever you felt the impulse to say “sorry”?

10 Star Wars Motivational Quotes for Entrepreneurs


Here are 10 Star Wars Motivational Quotes for Entrepreneurs. Tell us, what motivates you to do what you do each day? https://izco.me/2qaCBgn

Is there something you’d like to know more about? Contact us and let us know. We’ll research the best articles for you and send it out in an upcoming newsletter.
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01 Impact Zone SEO Newsletter 16 June 2017

SEO Retainer | Announcing the biweekly 16 June 2017 Impact Zone Newsletter

Today we announce the inaugural issue of the Twice Monthly 16 June 2017 Impact Zone Newsletter. We feel thrilled, so we hope you feel excitement, too!

Our goals are to help you get found online, to better navigate your digital dilemmas, and to laugh and have fun on the crazy life journey we are all traveling together. We want to offer articles to our clients that are useful, fun, and engaging.

Impact Zone will email five articles every two weeks that are our “Top Five” for the previous two weeks. We are 100% spam free. We will never sell your information to anyone.

The topics will range from SEO and web/online/social media to the randomness of life events. We want you to apply what you learn immediately, so your small business can succeed online. And, we want you to have fun while you do it.

You may read the inaugural Twice Monthly 16 June 2017 Impact Zone Newsletter online or download a PDF version, below.

Twice Monthly 16 June 2017 Impact Zone Newsletter

Do you have something you want covered in the Impact Zone Newsletter? Is there something related to SEO, digital marketing, digital strategy, digital stewardship, or a related topic about which you would like to know more?

If so, then remember that we take requests on articles or areas about which you would like to learn more.

If you would like to subscribe now, please email us or go to the sign up box on this website. We put it in the bottom right footer. Please feel free to send this blog post to anyone you think whose small business will benefit from our newsletter.

Impact Zone Top 5 Newsletter 16 June 2017

Understand the Five Types of SEO Services

SquareSpace SEO expert

When clients come to me for SEO services, very often their stories are the same. Does this sound like you?

You spent a lot of time and money on your website and yet, you have almost zero traffic. You look at your site, and you aren’t sure why.

The designer created professional graphics. Your images are on point; your copy reads well and describes your products. Yet…you wait. You built this site, and hardly anyone is coming.

You talk to your friends and business colleagues. They recommend you have your website optimized for search engines (SEO).

However, it is expensive. And you read or hear some bad things about SEO. It seems a bit “woo woo”.

In this post, I am going to tell you what SEO does for your site. I will describe what types of services to expect when you purchase SEO services.

Furthermore, I’m going to explain the primary SEO service areas an SEO firm and analyst identifies and implements.

Last, I’m going to explain why SEO has a reputation for being a bit woo-woo. Be sure to look around before you settle on an SEO firm.

Know What SEO Does for Your Website and Business

Optimizing your site for search engines means you are more likely to get found online by customers or clients. When applied properly, it means those same clients or customers will have a pleasant experience on your website.

Increased traffic to your site plus a better experience on your website means you sell more products and gain more clients. Thus, you increase your profits.

SEO is one of those services that are an expensive outlay initially, but when done properly you will receive a 100% return on your investment if you implement the recommendations and strategies consistently.

Understand the 5 SEO Service Areas and Tasks

When I apply SEO, I go through a checklist contained within five primary tasks: strategy and research; a technical site review; on-page SEO; off-site SEO; and maintenance and monthly reporting.

I’ll explain what each of these means below.

Tip: if you cannot afford anything else, at least go through a technical site review and on-page SEO, built on a foundation of strategy and research.

Strategy and Research SEO Services

This is the foundation upon which the rest of your SEO services will be built. These SEO tasks consist of keyword research and analysis, and competitive analysis.

During this portion of the process, your SEO provider will assess your current keyword usage and research your website’s current traffic and other website statistics.

The person will research new keywords for your website, products, or services. They will analyze your competitors’ keywords and website.

Then they identify link-building opportunities for your brand, business, and products; and, examine your website’s data to understand the current state of your site online.

Last, but not least, your SEO provider determines what they can do to improve your website’s search engine results rankings. They run tests on the site using software and a human being reviews the site page-by-page.

Technical Site Review and Implementation SEO Services

This set of tasks consists of an entire site review to ensure all technical aspects of the site have been honed as much as possible.

The technical portion is still the most important factor when search engines crawl your site. If you are not fast, you will have challenges ranking well in search engine results.

During this phase your SEO provider will review your website for broken links, load speed, page size, mobile-friendliness, crawl errors, and any other latent technical issues.

Most companies run these tests with software. When I implement this portion of my SEO services, I also examine the site and results to determine the accuracy of the software tests.

I want to find solutions to the problems, as sometimes the identified “problem” is the effect of another problem that is actually the one that must be solved.

That means, you have to examine the problem, and figure out the root cause. These tests review what search engine crawlers “see”.

They don’t always identify the true cause. That part can take a human being looking at the site.

On-site SEO Description

This portion is the front-end website work. The technical optimization is the “back-end” work.

This portion of your SEO services determines the current state of the website as viewed by humans, mostly, and somewhat, by crawlers.

Your provider will look at text, images, and the overall look and feel of the site.

That is, the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)), navigation, footers, the blog, brand look and feel, image optimization, and ALT tag descriptions, title tags, Meta descriptions, etc.

This portion of the service integrates the early keyword and competitive research, and applies it to your web page.

This ensures consistency of keyword usage within a page so that both a person and a human being seeing the page can understand the content and purpose of the page.

Off-page SEO Description

Once your SEO provider has your website in good order technically and visually, it is time to build up links from other websites to your site.

The goals involved with this service include checking backlinks and developing strategies to build links to the site, and then implement those strategies.

The best rankings in search engine results develop out of organic link building. What does that mean?

That means you want people to love your site/products/ services so much that they blog about them and link to you. Or else, you receive press coverage or other links to your site via prominent websites.

Think of this as the PR portion of your business marketing. Best of all, it’s free!

In addition, your SEO provider will examine which social media are the most relevant for your brand and business by researching and understanding your target demographic.

This ensures you have a presence where your clients spend time online. Off-page SEO services ensure your social media strategies integrate with your website to create a common identity for the business.

Maintenance and Monthly Reporting Description

Every website needs some kind of monthly maintenance. The first few months after a launch, and after initial on-site SEO, are crucial to the long-term success of the site.

You want to be able to gauge how your current keywords, products, copy, and other aspects of the website do and do not appeal to your target demographic.

While monthly maintenance is not a computer-generated report with no analysis, the most basic maintenance you want to do is to check your website stats once a month.

In addition, assessing what traffic is gaining traction can provide ideas on how to engage your target demographic further with additional blog posts, off-site SEO, and on-page products and offered services.

Another advantage to monthly maintenance is that it keeps your website up-to-date, not just with platform and plugin updates, but also search engine algorithm changes.

The type of monthly maintenance service you may require will vary according to your unique needs, but they may include creating an ad campaign and setting monthly goals for it.

You may also decide to set monthly goals for Google Analytics metrics and a strategy for how you will achieve them. You may include other goals as time and results determine your needs.

Be Careful: Buyer Beware with SEO Services

No legitimate SEO company can promise to rank a client above the fold. There are many reasons for this. First, SEO companies do not control the search engines or their algorithms.

Second, search companies like Google have made recent changes to the layout and design of their search results pages. The top of the fold not goes to paid advertisements or maps showing local businesses that offer that services.

Third, the top search engine results go to sites like Yelp, FindLaw, Angie’s List or other aggregated sites, but not to individual businesses. That is not to say you cannot rank in the top three.

It is not impossible, it is simply harder than it was a few years ago.

Last, people use mobile phones for about 50% of search now, and many times they are not using browsers to search for information. They are searching within apps.

This means that your business has to have an online presence beyond your website. You may have to list yourself within social media applications in order to increase your presence to your target demographic.

What a legitimate SEO business can guarantee you is that you will be happy with the results. If not, within a pre-established time frame, they will make those changes.

In addition, their recommendations and implementations will increase your traffic and improve your rankings (even if you do not get to the top three).

Last, their SEO work should mean search engines never penalize your site. That is, they do not implement “black hat” practices.

Find the Right SEO Company

You want to find the right combination of price point and experience. If you pay too little, then you will not have enough work done and your SEO work will be incomplete or shoddy.

Then your SEO services will fail you, and you will have wasted your money.

If you pay too much, then you may be paying for the name of a particular firm, and not just for the quality of services and results.

My advice is to do your research–as you are now by reading this post–and figure out what SEO work you do need to have done and how much that should cost you.

Shop around, and ask questions before you settle on a person or a firm.

If you would like to work with me to get found online, please review my SEO services.

I previously published this post on bounce rates as a guest blogger on AskYvi.com on 18 August 2016.

Understand the Five Types of SEO Services

SEO Checklist 100 Steps to Get Found Online

Squarespace SEO checklist

An SEO Checklist is a great way to keep track of what you have done and what you need to do. You can use one as you improve your search results, drive traffic to your website, and get found online.

We have taken our years of experience and put them into a 10 page document with a 100 step checklist that is yours to keep.

Our goal is to help you better understand the SEO process when you buy SEO services. Furthermore, we want to help you fully implement your DIY SEO on your website, social media, and digital marketing.

Download your free 100 step SEO checklist template here.

Every client has unique needs for their SEO project. Each SEO project is slightly different.

Yet we believe you will find our checklist useful as a guide to help you navigate what areas you should cover when evaluating your own SEO.

We have included definitions of the different types of search engine optimization: Keyword Strategy and Competitive Analysis; Technical Site Audit, On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Maintenance.

We have included the steps required before beginning the project. The tasks we do when we carry out a full site audit. And finally, our project wrap-up steps.

Good luck, and if you have any questions, please contact us. If you would like to learn more about SEO, please review Moz’s excellent beginner’s guide to SEO.

If the idea of implementing your own SEO makes you want to build a pillow fort and hide from the world, please review our in-depth SEO Services page.

We have a short PDF that describes our pricing and services, if you would like a “just the facts” page to skim over.

SEO checklist 100 simple steps to get found online