A 16-Step SEO Plan for Beginners That Gets Results

Person with a plan beginning to climb.

Launching a new website?

First, and maybe most important, there is no “easy button.” There are hundreds of algorithm variables, trillions of websites, and more keywords with variable intent than we can count.

There are far more than 16 steps followed by a seasoned SEO expert. But to keep this simple for you, I have laid out a series of steps with detailed articles on each. This SEO plan for beginners will guide you in the right direction and help you get the ball rolling with your search engine optimization. Let’s dive in.

1. Do Keyword Research

Use SEO tools and analytics to discover what people are typing or saying as they look for the information, products or services you offer.

Learn more about keyword research.

2. Refine the Keyword Set

Evaluate your potential keywords by finding the websites currently ranking for those terms. If the websites that show up in the search results have similar information, products or services as you, the keyword is likely relevant enough.

Learn more about evaluating keywords by looking at the competition.

3. Finalize the Keyword Set

Organize your keywords by category (topics, products, services, etc.). Once you do this, it will be a guide to organizing your website and its content. (I’ll touch on that soon.) Have a good mix of broad and long-tail keywords. And think about how you will combine keywords on pages.

Learn more about choosing keywords.

4. Do a Competitive Analysis

Analyze the webpages and sites that are ranking for your desired keywords to find out what they are doing so you can meet or beat them.

Learn more about competitive analysis.

5. Structure the Website

Organize your website content in a way that communicates your expertise and authority on a topic to search engines, and allows your audience to find what they need.

Learn more about structuring a website through siloing.

6. Follow Technical SEO Strategies

Make sure your site is set up for search engines to crawl and index easily. (And to create a good user experience). This cannot be overlooked.

Learn more about technical SEO.

7. Optimize the Site for Mobile

Create a mobile-friendly site so that you offer a good experience to mobile users and have a better chance of ranking.

Learn more about mobile SEO and UX optimization.

8. Write the Content

Write original and compelling content that your audience (and Google) will love and want to share.

Learn more about key considerations when writing content.

9. Optimize the Content

Make your content perform even better with some best practices in content creation, SEO copywriting and page optimization.

10. Create and Optimize Rich Media Content

Create a better user experience and have the opportunity to gain more visibility in the search results by using images, videos and other rich media.

11. Create an XML Sitemap

Create an XML sitemap so that search engines can crawl and index the website better.

Learn more about how to create an XML sitemap.

12. Submit the Website to Search Engines

This is an optional step but a good idea in many cases. Especially for new websites.

Learn more about submitting a website to search engines.

13. Attract Quality Links

Follow a link-earning (not link building) strategy that will get people to link to your website’s content.

Learn more about attracting quality links.

14. Avoid Search Engine Penalties

Know what it takes to create a website that is in compliance with search engine guidelines, so you can avoid penalties that can reduce or stop organic traffic to your site.

Learn more about avoiding Google penalties.

15. Monitor Backlinks and Remove as Needed

Monitor the links that point to your site from other websites so that you can ensure they are quality. If they are not, you’ll want to get rid of them.

Learn more about monitoring links.

16. Monitor Progress

Monitor performance indicators like search engine rankings, organic traffic to your site and conversions coming from the organic search channel.

Learn more about how to monitor SEO progress.

Finally, loop! When you are done going through this SEO plan for beginners once, start again knowing that you can win through effort.

For more SEO strategies and tactics, access our great SEO Guide to learn how to do search engine optimization now.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (8)
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8 Replies to “A 16-Step SEO Plan for Beginners That Gets Results”

amazing content briefly explains and what a wonderful way to the way these complex things I can’t find this type of article on SEO on the internet. thank you soo much <3

nice article the above SEO checklist is soo great and will always work SEO is evergreen.

The unique thing about solo technology is that we consider our CUSTOMERS are our Biggest Assets. We never compromise on this asset. We always take their views into consideration of our blogs. We have a special team of people to manage relations with the audience. From reading the comments to auditing customer reviews, we have got everything in our hands.

Paula Allen

Solo: Your customer-driven philosophy is refreshing. Great job.

This is really a insightful checklist to follow and do smart SEO, Thanks!

Where you say “Attract Quality Links” do you have like a blue print or should you try and follow the links of the front pages?

This a actually like a great SEO checklist. I think maybe you can add page speed optimization to your plan list. Anyways I love this piece of article. Thanks for sharing.

Im so glad i stumbled upon your blog there are so many gems in the blogs you have here. Im a small but successful SEO expert in Perth and its great to see some straight forward and easy to understand blogs on the topic of SEO. I for one love it

I have one question do you recommend any particular ways in which to scope a link building campaign. I find that this is something that not a lot of people understand and id love a expert opinion on how to go about this.


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