Search Engine Optimization Beginner' Guide

If you are new to SEO or want a refresher course, this guide is for you.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is Search Engine Optimization
    1. SEO Breakdown
    2. Definitions from Industry Leaders
  2. How Does Search Work
    1. How Google Search Works from Matt Cutts
  3. Search Engine Optimization Benefits
    1. Referral Business & SEO
  4. Don't Forget The Other Search Engines
    1. Search Engine List
  5. Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Guide
  6. Search Engine Ranking Factors
    1. Major Search Ranking Categories
    2. Ranking Factors Sample List
  7. How Important Is Web Design For SEO
  8. Affordable SEO Packages
  9. The Title Tag
    1. The Title Tag In Code View

What Is SEO?

The target audience needs to be able to find your content quickly and easily. That's where SEO comes into play. This acronym stands for search engine optimization it can make or breaka website in some cases. SEO is the process of optimizing your website for the search engines. This makes your website more searchable. There is a long list of Google rank factors, but this guide only focuses on heavily-weighted ranking factors.

SEO is the practice of using current best practices to optimize a website in order to rank high for a particular search. SEO only affects unpaid search results, also called organic results. Some main factors that influense SEO are keyword optimization, original content, website performance and back links. Simply put, you are optimizing your website to be searchable.

The goal of a search engine is to help users find exactly what content they need at the time they search.

Definitions from Industry Leaders

Search Engine Land

SEO is the process of getting traffic from the "free," "organic", "editorial" or "natural" search results on search engines."1

1 Media, T.D. (2016) What is SEO / search engine optimization? Available at: (Accessed: 4 December 2016).


Search Engine Optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP).2

2 (no date) What is SEO? Search engine optimization. Available at: (Accessed: 4 December 2016).

The Moz

"SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in* search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand."3
3 Fishkin, R. (2014) SEO: The free beginner's guide from Moz. Available at: (Accessed: 4 December 2016).

How Do Search Engines Work?

Let's look at "How Search Works" from Google Search Quality Team Lead Matt Cutts.


Hi, my name is Matt Cutts. I'm an engineer in the quality group at Google and I'd liketo talk today about what happens when you do a web search. The first thing to understand is that when you do a Google search, you aren't actually searching the web, you're searching Google's index of the web, or at least as much of it as we can find. We do this with software programs called spiders. Spiders start by fetching a few web pages then they follow the links on those pages and fetch the pages they point to, and follow all the links on those pages and fetch the pages they link to and so on, until we've indexed a pretty big chunk of the web--many billions of pages stored across thousands of machines. Now, suppose I want to know how fast a cheetah can run. I type in my search, say, cheetah running speed and hit return. Our software searches our index to find every page that includes those search terms. In this case, there are hundreds of thousands of possible results. How does Google decide which few documents I really want? By asking questions--more than 200 of them. Like, how many times does this page contain your keywords? Do the words appear in the title, in the URL, directly adjacent? Does the page include synonyms for those words? Is this page from a quality website or is it low quality, even spamming? What is this page's PageRank? That's a formula invented by our founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin that rates a web page's importance by looking at how many outside links point to it, and how important those links are. Finally, we combine all those factors together to produce each page's overall score and send you back your search results about half a second after you submit your search. At Google, we take our commitment to delivering useful and impartial search results very seriously. We don't ever accept payment to add a site to our index, update it more often or improve its ranking. Let's take a look at my search results. Each entry includes a title, a URL and a snippet of text to help me decide whether this page is what I'm looking for. I also see links to similar pages, Google's most recent stored version of that page, and related searches that I might want to try next. And sometimes, along the right and at the top, I'll see adds. We take our advertising business very seriously as well, both our commitment to deliver the best possible audience for advertisers and to strive to only show ads that you really want to see. We're very careful to distinguish your ads from regular search results and we won't show you any ads at all if we can't find any that we think will help you find the information you're looking for--which, in this case, the cheetah's top running speed is more than 60 miles an hour. Thanks for watching, I hope this made Google a little bit more understandable.

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Search Engine Optimization Benefits

How Can SEO Help My Company?


I get all of my business from referral business. I am super happy that you are getting business like that and I hope that you continue to get business that way because a referral customer is the best type of customer. It's my job to get you business from people that you've never met, people that only reason they're buying from you is because they've seen your name is a Google search or a bing search, or they've seen your company in a directory. Every time a customer sees something about your business, that's an impression, and every impression we make, creates a larger customer audience. Increasing Internet presence.

Well I just don't know how much search engine optimization can really my company.

I will say that how much depends on the industry, but it can help every single business increase revenue and lower overhead.

How does it lower overhead?

We are bringing people right to your door and you're not paying me $50,000 a year as a salesperson. We are also making you and your business an authority in your industry. Because who ever is number one in a particular search is the authority. And when you're the authority people want to work for you, people are more motivated to work for you and this maintains retention lowering turnover rates. Also we offer Pro Plus Package which includes analytics monitoring and we are able to measure advertisement spending ROI. The analytics data will reveal if an advertising campaign has been worthwhile or a complete waste of time. And we have the data to back it up.

Show Some Love To The Other Search Engines

Don't Forget About The Little Guy, There Are More Than Just Google and Bing.

There are hundreds of other search engines beyond Google and Bing that also help your website generate new customers and these are just a few.

Search Engines

  • AOL - America Online Search Engine.

  • Baidu - Largest Search Engine in China

  • Yandex - Largest Search Engine in Russia.

  • Dogpile - Combines Both Google & Yahoo Into Search Results.

  • IxQuick - Private Search Engine.

  • Exactseek - A Search Engine With Around 500,000 Indexed Sites.

  • DuckDuckGo - Search Engine That Doesn't Track Visitors

Search Engine Results Page, also known as the SERP

Google SERP Screenshot

Figure Above displays paid and organic listings on the Google search engine results page.

For example, if I search "buy car in Louisville" on, you will see a list of dealerships and online businesses that sell cars in the search results. SEO determines what dealership shows up first in the organic section of the SERP. The first few results will most likely be advertisements. Ads always have a sign to indicate an advertisement. The results will vary across search engines. Why does it vary? Most search engines are similar in terms of how they rank but they each have their own unique set of rules.

A great site to visit where you can see this first hand with a visual representation is Soovle Search. It will show you the auto-complete results for 10 search engines simultaneously including Bing, Google, Yahoo and more.

Search Engine Ranking Factors

Google has over 200 ranking factors.

Major Ranking Categories

  1. Original, Useful Content
  2. Keyword
  3. Inbound and Outbound Links
  4. On-Site Optimization

Search Engine Ranking Factors

This is meant to be a sample and not a complete list.

  • Mobile Optimized
  • Image Alt Tag
  • Number of Linking Pages
  • Authority of Linking Pages
  • Keywords in Title Tag & <h1> Tag
  • Repeat Traffic
  • Bookmarks
  • GEO Targeting
  • Number of Facebook Likes
  • Sitemap
  • Natural Link Profile
  • PageRank
  • Page Authority
  • Domain Authority

Don&aos;t worry if you are not familiar with some of the terms in the list.

Always remember that SEO ONLY applies to unpaid, or "organic", search results. The first few search results are almost always "paid" advertisements. Look for "AD" written next to the link somewhere.

So the number one organic ranking website for your search is third or fourth down on the page.

How Important Is Web Design For SEO

Many business owners like to focus on the web design and whether or not it looks good, but what's really important is what's behind the design.

We want people to navigate your website easily and follow a sales "funnel". That is why a clean, user/friendly design and an appropriate theme is important.

Affordable SEO Packages

At, affordable search engine optimization packages is a focal point. It doesn't matter if you have the greatest product in the world if no one can find it. We want to make it easy for potential clients to find you. We can't guarantee number one ranking, but we can guarantee substantial rank improvements across the board.

Please call or text to schedule a free Q & A Session at
812.406.8040 or email us.

The Title Tag

The Most Important 55 Characters On A Web Page

And these 55 characters don't even show up on the actual web page. If they aren't on the page where are they?

You probably don't realize it, but you see the title tag anytime you're on the internet.

Please click the link to reveal the title tag's location.

The title tag is what tells the search engine spider what exactly that page is about. For example, you are a Realtor and you have have a listing in an area of Louisville, Kentucky. What would you say about the property if you only had 55 characters to sell it? If your company hired a web developer there's a very quick way to tell if they know anything about optimizing for search fairly quickly.

Go to your website anywhere on the website, perform a right click and a menu will appear. On that menu will be an option towards the bottom labeled "open page source" or "view page source".

Click this link to show an example of the view page source option.

That will open a new window with the web page's source code on it. Four of Five lines down from the top you should see the title tag and it will look like this.

Title Tag In Code

<title>Beginner's SEO Guide</title>