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How to Kick Off Your SEO Journey: A Beginner’s Guide

Profile picture Rimbout Bobeldijk.
Founder Rimbo Designs
Rimbout Bobeldijk
30 August 2023
7 min

Navigating the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be daunting when you're starting. But once you get the hang of it, it's simpler than you might think. In this article, I'll guide you through the basics of SEO and share insights on how to avoid common pitfalls.

Many people make SEO more complex than it needs to be. My aim is to spare you from wasting your time overanalyzing every detail and get to work on the things that matter most. So, let’s jump in and get started. 

Setting the right expectations

The most important part of SEO is content. You're going to need to write a lot of new content consistently since the more content you have, the more chances you have to get discovered. As a general rule, you can do 1 blog post every 2 weeks. With this level of effort, you can expect the following results:

Illustration of a graph depicting how long it will take for you to achieve results

After 3 Months: It feels like you're not getting enough in return for your efforts. 

After 6 Months: You'll begin to see some promising signs but might still be skeptical about the ROI.

After 12 Months: You'll likely experience a consistent stream of traffic that confirms your SEO efforts are paying off.

Finding the Right Topics: Who Are You Writing For?

Before you drown in a sea of keyword tools and analytics, ask yourself: Who is my target audience? If your goal is to generate leads, your content should act as a lead magnet. This means you need to double down on giving value. You have to make them feel rewarded for engaging with your content, motivating them to come back. Effectively build up your brand value through your content.

Pro tip: Don’t hold back on sharing your secret sauce. You want to give a maximum return on time since people who pay with their time now are more likely to pay with their money later. And if it was not a valuable return of their time, they probably won't want to engage with your content again.

Key Focus Areas:

Target Your Niche: Specializing will help you stand out and offer more specific value.

Speak Their Language: Use terminology and a tone that resonate with your specific audience.

Local Focus: If you're operating locally, target your content to local search queries.

Avoid Fluff: Ensure every sentence adds value—be it informational or entertaining.

Once you know what your readers really care about, it's time to go deeper and become an expert in those areas.

Building Topical Authority 

Being seen as an expert in your subject is a big deal for Google rankings. To become an expert, you'll need to cover all the questions people have about your topic.

To help you find the most relevant questions on your topic. Here are a few easy tricks:

Use Google: The most reliable way is to look directly at Google’s suggestions. Just look at the “People Also Ask” section. Or scroll down to the bottom to see the “Related Searches” section. Lastly, the autocomplete feature can also provide hints. 

Google people also ask section, Google Related search section, and auto complete function

Google people also ask section, Google Related search section, and auto complete function

Answer The Public: This tool offers a visualization of popular questions and search terms related to your topic. Check it out for yourself here.

Visual keyword map from Answer the public

Other tools: Platforms like Semrush and Ahrefs offer keyword research tools, but they can be pricey ($130+ p/m). I can't really recommend them since Google Keyword Planner does the same thing for free. However, If you're looking for an easy-to-use, budget-friendly tool that clearly shows where you can rank, try

For simplicity, I would stick to the Search Engine Results Page since it is the most reliable. 

Interlinking your content

As you create articles on similar topics, consider interlinking them. This helps in two ways: it gives your readers more useful information and keeps them on your site longer. Both are good for your site's ranking. 

The general idea is that each article you write should link to all the relative other articles on your site.

Quick Tip: To identify opportunities for interlinking, try using Google's site search feature. Simply type "keyword" into Google's search bar. This will show you a list of all your articles that include that keyword. It makes it easy to see where you can add links between your articles.

Google search results usting the " "keyword"" trick

The Technical Side of SEO

While it's key to write great content, don't forget about the technical SEO stuff.

Ensuring Google Discovers Your Content

Google uses automated bots, known as crawlers, to search the web for new or updated pages. Your site will get indexed automatically over time, but this can sometimes take a while. To speed up the indexing of your new content, you can make a direct request in Google Search Console.

Setting Up Google Search Console

  1. Navigate to Google Search Console.
  2. Register Your Site: Upon registration, you'll receive a code snippet.
  3. Implement the Code: Paste this snippet into the appropriate section of your website.

Here is how you set up Google Search Console in Webflow

Submitting a URL for Indexing

Once you've set up Google Search Console, you can manually submit new URLs for indexing. Simply input the URL you want to index into the provided search field. If the console indicates that your URL is not yet indexed, you can proceed to make a request for indexing.

Showing how you can index your site with Search console

Helping Google Understand Your Content

Once your content is visible to Google, the next step is making sure it understands what your content is about. Here’s how:

Heading Structure

The structure of your headings plays a vital role in helping search engines understand your content. Make sure to use only one H1 tag for the title, followed by hierarchical subheadings like H2, H3, H4, and so on.

Image Alt Text

Images can’t be 'read' by search engines in the same way text can be, so providing alt text helps Google understand the context of an image. This is also beneficial for accessibility.

Let Google Know How to Display Your Content on Search Results Page

By using the right Title Tags and Meta Descriptions, you can influence how your site appears in search results. This can help your site stand out and get more clicks.

Title Tags

The title tag is the clickable headline that appears in search engine results. It's essential for both SEO and social sharing. The title tag tells search engines what your page is about, and it's the first impression many people will have of your page.

Tips for optimizing Title Tags:

  • Front-Load Keywords: Place the most important keywords at the beginning of your title to capture the user's attention.
  • Be Unique: Aim to create a distinct title for each page on your site.
  • Keep It Concise: Stay within 60 characters to ensure your entire title shows up in search engine results.

Meta Descriptions

The meta description shows up below the title in search results. While it won't boost your site's rank, a good meta description can make people more likely to click your link rather than a competitor's.

Tips for optimizing Meta Descriptions:

  • Length: Keep it between 120-156 characters. This length ensures that your entire description will display correctly in search results.
  • Include a Call-to-Action (CTA): Encourage the reader to engage with your content. Phrases like "Learn more," "Read now," or "Discover how" can be effective.
  • Use related Keywords: Add related keywords that line up with what people are searching for. This makes your description more appealing.

Additional Optimizations

Besides content and keywords, you also have to Make sure your site loads fast and looks good on phones.

Page Speed

One of the key factors that impact user experience and SEO is the speed at which your webpage loads. Slow page speeds can frustrate users and lead them to leave your site, potentially hurting your search engine ranking. You can easily assess your site's speed using Google's PageSpeed Insights. This tool will not only evaluate your site's speed but also offer actionable advice on how to fix any issues it identifies.

Preview of PageSpeed insights


With the increasing use of smartphones, having a mobile-friendly site is crucial. Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher in search results when the query comes from a mobile device. To check whether your site is mobile-friendly, you can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Backlinks

Before we start, remember: great content is key. When you're just beginning, putting your energy into creating good content will pay off more than just focusing on backlinks.

What Google Thinks of Backlinks

In the eyes of Google, backlinks function as votes of confidence for your website. When another website links to yours, it's essentially vouching for your content. This is why webpages with a high number of quality backlinks often enjoy superior rankings on Google.

Understanding Domain Rating

Domain Rating (DR) is a measurement on a 0-100 scale that evaluates the strength of a website's backlink profile in comparison to others. Higher DR means your site has a greater chance of ranking favorably in search engine results.

Understanding Link Types: Do-Follow vs. No-Follow

Backlinks come in two types and affect your SEO differently: Do-Follow and No-Follow links. Here's what each one does:

Do-Follow Links: A Do-Follow link not only directs traffic to your website but also passes along "link juice," or link equity. This positively affects your Domain Rating (DR) and sends a signal to search engines that your content is credible and trustworthy.

No-Follow Links: These are links that include a rel="nofollow" attribute, which instructs search engines not to pass any link equity through to the linked page. While they won't contribute to your DR or improve your rankings, No-Follow links still have a role to play. They can drive traffic and increase your site's exposure, even if they don't directly impact your SEO

Characteristics of a High-Quality Backlink

When it comes to backlinks, not all are created equal. Here are the key attributes that make a backlink particularly beneficial for your SEO strategy:

Do-Follow Status: Do-follow links are important because they help improve your Domain Rating and show search engines that your content is reliable.

High Domain Authority (DA): A backlink from a website with high Domain Authority carries more weight than one from a low-DA site. Sites with a high DA are usually more trusted and have more visitors. So, when they link to you, search engines take it as a big thumbs-up.

Keyword Relevance: When a backlink is related to your content, it adds extra value. This tells search engines that not only is your site credible, but it's also relevant to the topic at hand.

Unique Source: Backlinks are most valuable when they come from a website that hasn't linked to you before. Multiple links from the same site are generally seen as less valuable because they offer diminishing returns in terms of link equity.

Efficient Strategies for Earning Backlinks

When I first tried my hand at SEO, I thought simply adding my URL to every directory would do the trick. But reality set in quickly—most of these were No-follow links, barely helping my site's authority. That's when I understood: to get valuable backlinks, you need to contribute meaningful content to other sites.

Good news: there are many platforms where you can guest post for free. To help you out, here's a handy list of sites where you can guest post for free in various niches. If you want to find more opportunities on your own, you can do so by using Google search strings like:

  • “guest post submission guidelines" + [your topic] 
  • "contributor" + [your topic] 
  • "submit guest post" + [your keyword]
  • [your topic] + “write for us”

Quick and Easy Solutions

When I began, I found that reaching out to sites for guest posts was a tedious process. Why? Some sites have tough rules for what content they accept. Meeting those rules felt like a hassle, especially when I'd rather use that time to improve my own website. 

For those who'd like to quickly secure high-value backlinks without the hassle, there are platforms like where you can buy guest posts for as low as $4. I found this approach time-efficient because the content requirements are less stringent. I was able to use ChatGPT to whip up articles that met the criteria, and they got indexed fast, giving me quick confirmation of a successful backlink.

If you have a budget to invest, platforms like Fiverr offer a range of backlink services that can give your site a solid boost. From my experience, it pays to be discerning. Look for providers with 1000+ five-star reviews and at least 10 years of experience in the field. I've personally tried a few of these well-rated services and have been quite pleased with the outcomes.

Advanced strategies 

For those ready to go beyond basic SEO, consider these advanced strategies:

  • Content-based Link Building: Focus on creating content that naturally invites backlinks. This could be original research, industry reports, or insightful analyses.
  • Skyscraper Method: Spy on competitor’s backlinks. Contact those website owners and ask if they'd consider including your link alongside or as a replacement for existing ones.
  • Fix Broken Links: Use the Backlink Audit Tool on Semrush to identify and replace broken links on the websites you're targeting.

Note: This is just a sneak peek into the world of backlink strategies. However, when starting out, it's usually best to keep things simple and focus primarily on content creation.


In this guide, I aimed to show you a straightforward way to succeed in SEO. Don't get lost in all the technical details like I did, and keep your focus on the creation of valuable content for your audience. Remember, write for people, not just search engines. Good luck!

Profile picture Rimbout Bobeldijk.
Founder Rimbo Designs

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