6-step SEO guide – Practical tutorial for better Google rankings (2024 update)

Veröffentlicht: 13. April 2024

You want to start optimizing your website, have already searched for a few SEO tutorials, but feel overwhelmed by their sheer volume?

Are you simply looking for a short & concise SEO guide that you can use to lay the foundations for more visibility and better Google rankings?

If you can answer “yes” to one (or both) of these questions, then you’ve come to the right place!

I’ll give you a compact SEO guide that you can implement step by step. We have really tried to keep everything as short and concise as possible. So stop talking and get down to business!

Step by step SEO guide

First step: Find keywords

First of all, you need to find the keywords, i.e. search terms, that are relevant to you. So the question is:

“What would your target group google to find a solution to their problem (that you can solve)?”

You have several options for this. To keep it as simple as possible, proceed as follows:

  • Brainstorm while putting yourself in the shoes of your target group. What would you google? Also consider different formulations & synonyms. Summarize all keywords on one sheet / in an Excel file.
  • Type a few of your ideas into Google yourself, and look out for the “others searched too” suggestions in the search results. Also use the auto-complete suggestions for inspiration. If you find a few more ideas here, add them to your list.
  • Use a keyword research tool that automatically provides you with suggestions and further information on search volume etc. Ahrefs offers a 7-day trial version for 7$, which I would recommend. The tool will also help you with the next steps. Link to the test version

You should now have a long list of possible search terms in front of you. We are now continuing to work with this.

Second step: Group & filter keywords

The next step is to group your keywords in a meaningful way. Your task now is to organize the individual search terms into topic groups. Here is an example for a better understanding.

Imagine your keyword list looks like this:

  • Living room couch
  • Living room table
  • Antique armchair
  • Buy garden furniture
  • Patio furniture
  • Camping chair
  • Balcony couch with chairs
  • Cheap kitchen chairs

Then you could group this list into the following clusters:

Theme group 1: Outdoor furniture

  • Buy garden furniture
  • Patio furniture
  • Camping chair
  • Balcony couch with chairs

Theme group 2: Indoor furniture

  • Living room couch
  • Living room table
  • Antique armchair
  • Cheap kitchen chairs

Of course, this is only a very rough example, and you should divide your search terms into the most specific topic groups possible. If you can, you should ideally proceed hierarchically.

For example, a cluster would be “indoor furniture”, which would then be subordinate to “kitchen furniture”, which in turn would be subordinate to “kitchen chairs”.

Why all the effort, you ask? You’ll find out in a moment. Now it’s time to filter out a few keywords.

Prioritization of keywords

This point is very important to ensure that you will be successful with your SEO work. You need to understand which keywords you have a real chance of ranking well for and which you don’t.

You are probably just at the beginning of your SEO journey with your website. You won’t do everything perfectly yet and will probably make a few mistakes. And that’s not a problem.

You will always lose out to these websites (at the beginning). Search engine optimization will not magically bring you tens of thousands of visitors. SEO is hard work and the search results sometimes resemble a shark tank. You have to internalize that.

So we still have to prioritize our keywords, and we do that based on potential.

The ranking opportunity and the potential profit from the keyword play a role here.

To assess whether you have a chance of getting a keyword, go through the following steps:

  • Take a look at the top 10 results for your keyword so far. Do they all have an “exact match” keyword (i.e. the exact search term) in the title and meta description? This is the headline and the small description in the search results.
  • What do the individual pages look like? How qualitative is the content? Do they make an “optimized”, high-quality impression on you? Do you see opportunities to make your content better?
  • Which pages are on the first page? Are they all smaller sites, or are the results full of well-known, large websites?
  • (Optional) Use your Ahrefs trial and compare the number of backlinks of the pages with your own website

Then you have to ask yourself: Can I keep up here? Is my site a small fish or a big player? Can I deliver better content? Can I offer the user a better experience?

You will only achieve a top ranking if you can offer users an advantage on your site. If you can’t do this, assign these keywords a low priority and look for alternatives.

A common method for fresh websites is to focus on long-tail keywords. In German: Very specific search queries. Here you have a lower search volume, but often less strong competition.

Here you can find our detailed guide to keyword analysis

With regard to the question of how lucrative a keyword can be for you, you can take the following points into account:

  1. What search volume are we talking about?
  2. How relevant is the keyword for me?
  3. Is there a high / low willingness to buy behind the search intention?
  4. What click-through rate is realistic?

Of course, you can only make a rough estimate of all this. But it should still help you to rank your keywords a little better.

Keywords with a high ranking chance and a high potential profit are now given the highest priority. Keywords with low lucrativeness and low ranking opportunities are therefore given a low priority.

Now you have a filtered, updated version of your keyword selection. You can now set up your content & page plan.

Third step: Content & page plan

The theory of page planning in a nutshell: You want to create one landing page / subpage per keyword group to cover it.

The important thing here is that you have grouped your keywords well.

Important

It makes little sense to create two separate pages for the keywords “couch for balcony” and “balcony couch”. The search intent is the same here. Both are looking for a couch for their balcony. Here you would run the risk of falling victim to so-called keyword cannibalism. This happens when you have two subpages for an identical topic. Then search engines do not understand which of the pages is the more important one. The result is usually that both pages rank poorly.

So you can cover both keywords with one page.

If you are not sure whether you can cover several keywords with the same page, compare the search results with each other ( SERP overlap check ). As a rule of thumb: If more than half of the search results are identical, you can cover the keywords with one page.

Now plan which subpages you need to create for which keyword groups. Take enough time to ensure that you can cover all keywords without falling victim to keyword cannibalism.

The right content

Now it’s time to create the right content for the planned pages. There are a few more pitfalls lurking here. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you:

1. understand the search intention

The first step is to understand the search intention. So what does the user want to see for keyword XY? It is essential that you understand this.

For one keyword this may be information, for another it may be instructions, and for yet another the user wants to see shopping results (products). You have to tailor your content precisely to the search intent if you want to have a chance of ranking well.

You won’t rank for a shopping-oriented keyword with an informative article and vice versa.

2. analyze your competition

Look at the first 5 results for your keyword and analyze what content they offer. What topics do they deal with? What products etc. do you offer?

You should offer at least the same amount / quality of content. So make a note of what content you absolutely have to cover.

Here, too, it is worth taking a look at the “Others also searched” boxes to expand your content if necessary.

3. targeted placement of keywords

Now that you know what type of content and what content you need to deliver, you can get to work on the copywriting. Use your keywords strategically here.

Meta title, description, H1 heading, the first 100 words and at least another subheading have proved their worth. Put your most important keyword here and use it here and there in the rest of the text.

Also use synonyms and alternative formulations, and always make sure that the text remains easy to read. Don’t overdo it with the keywords and don’t concentrate on a specific“keyword density“.

This approach is outdated and it makes more sense to use a semantic approach for your content.

4. further best practices

Especially with informative content, aka a lot of text, you should stick to these common rules:

  • Use short paragraphs (1-5 lines)
  • Avoid complicated sentences and words, write in a way that is easy to understand
  • Liven up your content with images, graphics, etc.
  • See also our“How to: Writing SEO texts

5 (Optional) Optimize again afterwards with SurferSEO

SurferSEO is a tool that provides you with many suggestions for optimizing your content in terms of word count, keyword density and many other factors. These tips are based on an analysis of the top 10 for your keyword, and it is definitely worth doing some fine-tuning here.

Fourth step: take care of your technique

In addition to the content of your website, its technical condition is also important. At this point, you definitely need to get a tool to help you.

The Ahrefs test version also offers you a feature to check your site’s technology. Alternatively, you can also use the free version of Screaming Frog SEO Spider (up to 500 URLs).

Whichever tool you use, you should pay particular attention to the following points:

  • Have you set up the meta title & description everywhere?
  • Do you have one, and only one, H1 heading on each page?
  • Avoid links to pages that do not (or no longer) exist, so-called 404 errors
  • Avoid links to redirects, so-called 301 / 302 statuses
  • Check that you are not inadvertently preventing your page from ranking via noindex or robots.txt
  • Avoid duplicate content and duplicate URLs
  • Use readable URL’s and place your keywords in them (e.g. yourpage.com/keyword instead of yourpage.com/page1)

You can also find many of these errors in Google Search Console. You can find out what these errors mean in detail and how you can rectify them here: The most common GSC errors explained.

You should also take care of your loading times. Analyze your site, for example. with PagespeedInsights, and see what you can improve.

Tip

If you want to analyze several URLs at the same time, or even all your pages, use the Screaming Frog SEO Spider with the Pagespeed API. This saves you a lot of time!

If you want to know more about the points mentioned above, take a look at our OnPage Guide.

Once you have created and optimized your content and brought your website technically up to scratch, you can turn your attention to link building.

The aim here is to increase the number of links to your website. A link is like a recommendation, so it makes sense for search engines to take this into account in their evaluation.

A few basics that you can implement immediately:

  • Have you created a company profile on all common social media platforms (and linked your page there too)?
  • Register in relevant company directories or local directories. Pay attention to consistent information in the various portals.
  • Do you have business partners or friends you can ask for a link?

If you want to continue here, I strongly recommend that you read our OffPage SEO article. You can find out everything you need to know about link building, what a good backlink is and which backlinks you should avoid at all costs.

For better visibility in your immediate surroundings, you should also secure a Google Maps (MyBusiness) entry.

Sixth step: Monitoring

The last step in this SEO guide is to link your website to Google Analytics and the Google Search Console – if you haven’t already done so.

Both tools offer you the opportunity to keep an eye on your progress, evaluate your visitor numbers and much more. The setup is actually done quickly.

Concluding words

Now the “short & concise” SEO guide has already become a good 2000 words. In some places, however, it was hardly possible to keep it short, but you got a lot of helpful information along the way!

I hope this SEO tutorial makes it easier for you to get started and offers you a good orientation for getting started with search engine optimization. If you want to learn more, take a look at our “Learn SEO” section.

Hannes Kaltofen

Hannes Kaltofen

Gründer & Geschäftsführer

Seit über 7 Jahren in den SERPs unterwegs. Dank SEO konnte Ich das Affiliate Marketing, Blogging und Agenturgeschäft kennelernen und helfe Unternehmen tagtäglich bei ihrer Sichtbarkeit.

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