SEO beginners guide for small businesses and start-ups

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Hello, I'm Scott. I'm a Freelance SEO Specialist.

Your One-Stop-Shop for everything from building & improving websites to implementing your social media, SEO, PPC, content, competitive research and anything in-between.

Chapter 1 - Introduction To Search

During this blog post, I will be referring to the Google Search Engine.
Google has over 92% of the global Search Engine Market. 
I like to always use an Incognito window when executing SEO searches. This then prevents Google showing me results based only search history.
(To get a private screen up – press the following keys together Command-Shift-N (macOS) or Ctrl-Shift-N (Windows))
In the example below I am going to show you a Google search and then break down what data is returned.
Please remember that Google is a company, they have employees that they have to pay.
An example of how Google generates revenue is by Google ads.
As we can see in the example above, in the amber section we have the SEM results which is Search Engine Marketing (these are the Google ads). In the green section underneath is the Organic results which are known as SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.
The way that Google maintains its market share is by insuring it returns the best results for each search that is entered.
That is why the best organic results will appear on page 1. later in the blog post, I will talk about local SEO and the results that are returned due to your browser history.

How Google pulls results

How big is the Google database

As you can see above, Google has a total of about 925,000,000 results for this query and returned that within 0.59 seconds.

In order to maintain the results, Google crawls websites. Many things go into this topic which I’ll cover in another post.

Example of how search engines work

Chapter 2 - Fundamentals of SEO

"So, how do I get my website on to page 1 of Google?"

Google Webmaster Answer


Personal brand photography by Caan of Stepping Stones Branding

Start with why should people come to your website?

It’s all about relevance
What is the intent behind the search?
What is Google Auto Suggest reporting back?
What is Googles Related searches reporting back?

What is Google Auto Suggest reporting back?

Example of Google Google Auto Suggest reporting back on the term Christmas...
Example of Google Auto Suggest reporting back on the term Christmas...

What is Google advising people also search for?

Another example of Google Auto Suggest reporting back on the term Christmas...
Another example of Google Auto Suggest reporting back on the term Christmas...

What is Google Auto Suggest reporting back?

Example of Google Related Search for Christmas Gifts
Example of Google Related Search for Christmas Gifts

SEO provides a set of standards & processes that enables you to rank your website on page 1 of Google. We can start by breaking SEO down into 3 areas.

The 3 areas of SEO:

Technical SEO
On-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO

The table below aims to give a high-level view of what is included within each are of Search Engines & SEO. 
Search Engines Technical SEO On Page SEO Off page SEO
Robots & Crawlers
XML Sitemap
Content is King
Digital Marketing
Search engine algorithms
Errors & Redirects
>200+ Factors checked
Robot.txt files
URL Optimisation
Remove Toxic Links

Technical SEO:


Key items from above range from making sure you have an XML sitemap so that search engines can crawl your website.

Add pages you don’t want to be crawled to the robot.txt.

Fix errors on your website by inspecting the pages or running the Bing scan I have noted in the quick wins section below.

On-Page SEO:


Key items from above range from making sure your webpage is using URL Optimisation.

Structuring the page correctly and you can use the MOZ toolbar to help which is within the Quick Wins section.

Creating and Optimising Unique Content. Tip – use Screaming Frog to checkout a Competitors website. See example in the Quick Wins section

Off-Page SEO:


Your Digital Marketing would fit into the off-page SEO category.

Backlinks from outside the website. Note toxic links can harm your ranking. 

Chapter 3 - SEO Quick Wins

For improving a page ranking in Google I start with:

Add more text to your page so that it isn’t considered thin content and has a better chance of ranking.

In general, the average web page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains 2200 words.

The first 400 to cover all the keywords.

Add your Website into the Bing Webmaster tool

Once you have your free Bing Webmaster Tools account, you can add sites to your account. You can do so by entering the URL of your site into the Add a Site input box and clicking Add. 

Run a FREE SEO Bing Webmaster Scan

Within the Microsoft Bing webmaster dashboard, scroll down to the SEO section and then select site scan. The output will show you the areas to fix on your site.

Scan status update from Bing Webmaster Team

This highlights a few areas that I need to improve on my website. Using this tool is much easier for beginners.

Set-up the Microsoft Clarity offering

Microsoft Clarity is a free-to-use analytics product built to help website managers improve their website experiences by better understanding site visitor behavior.

Find Linked Keywords

“Get instant, raw search insights, direct from the minds of your customers”. This tool is very good for showing you the variations on keywords. Be careful as you can only use 3 times a day on the free plan.

Find New Topics

“Exploding Topics scours the internet to find emerging trends before they take off.”. This tool will help you if you are stuck on finding a topic within your industry to write about.

Install MOZ toolbar

“free all-in-one SEO toolbar for research on the go.”. This toolbar will show you the key SERP info on each page. Very useful for website audits.

Install Screaming Frog

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a website crawler that helps you improve onsite SEO, by extracting data & auditing for common SEO issues. Download & crawl 500 URLs for free, or buy a licence to remove the limit & access advanced features.

Google Search Central

It’s very useful to keep an eye on Google Search Central. Enable Web Stories on Google is a great example of a quick win.

Google Search Central - Early Adopters Program

In this example, it’s critical to keep an eye on what is coming down the road. Mobile Page speed (AMP) is an example.

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