Google SEO guide

The Complete Guide to Google SEO in 2020: From Start to Finish

Google SEO?

What’s the catch? Why do every blogger and content creator talks about SEO?

What do they compete for?

The answer is just one thing.

Google SEO guide

Position #1 is the only reason people want to learn SEO especially for Google because it’s the biggest search engine after all.

People search their queries on Google for getting information and buying stuffs online.

But getting the position #1 on Google SERP (search engine results page) is not an easy task.

It takes a lot of work and most importantly having an idea about Google SEO such as what works and what keeps you away from getting to position #1 or even the page #1 of Google search results page.

But the truth is, there are only four ways to know for sure what works in Google SEO: 

  • Put on a burglar mask and sneak into Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, while the employees are sleeping.
  • Conduct experiments on your own for years.
  • Hire a search engine optimizer and pay a hectic amount of money with no guarantee of success.
  • Trust the information given in this article.

Along with what works on Google having information about Google algorithm updates comes in handy.

In fact, Google updates its algorithm on an average of 9 times per day. According to Moz study on Google algorithm update.

So you can’t stick with your old and outdated wisdom about Google SEO.

But don’t be sad thinking about search engine updates.

Think about it like this, search engines are built to serve people.

People change. So does the search engines.

As our behavior changes, technology evolves to keep up with our wants and needs.

So, search engines have to change too.

For example.

Years ago voice search was not present, people were typing in their queries on search engines but now they can easily ask Google assistant and Alexa.

They will tell you the answers to your queries.

But again don’t be sad thinking it will eat up your possibilities of getting high organic traffic.

Because some of the wisdom like keyword research, auditing your website, link building is still there.

It was, is and will be a major thing in Google SEO.

So, read this guide filled with information, data and proofs to the very end and you will know all the answers to your whys.

You will be doing great in SEO of your website or blog.

You will be ranking higher on Google search results page and getting quality visitors to your site.

Whom you can further convert into your email subscribers and make ton of money later (that’s a story for another time).

This Google SEO guide is divided in two parts, 

  • Theory
  • Practical

Both are equally important in order to moonlight your way to Google SEO so you can’t afford to skip the theory part.

And practical part is where the real fun begins.

Understanding Google SEO

According to Google, SEO is an acronym for "search engine optimization" or "search engine optimizer” who will optimize your site.

It is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a search engine like Google.

Sounds complicated?

Ok, let me try one more time.

SEO is the gatekeeper to millions of people coming on your website.

The better your friendship with search engine the more people it will send to your website.

Pretty easy, right?

So how do you do friendship with search engine?

Simple. By giving it what it wants.

What does search engine wants? You ask.

It wants to serve people.

We can easily say this by looking at major Google algorithm updates.

Google algorithm update

It literally wants to serve its users.

And if it isn’t aware about your content then how are you going to expect search engine to show up your content to general users.

So what does it needs in order to be aware about your presence?

It needs the information about your content more than anyone else.

The better it understands your content the more relevant and targeted people it sends to your website.

The more visible your content is to search engine, the higher your website ranks on Google search results page.

Higher a page or content ranks, the more traffic it receives.

By content I mean it can be anything. It can be text, image, video or a combination of them all in the form a blog post.

Which is exactly what you are going to learn in practical part of this Google SEO guide.

But how does all these work?

It starts when users search for the keywords they type into their search boxes.

What is Google SEO

This is how search engines index websites or the blog posts, and most recently, how relevant and user-friendly content is to users and user’s queries.

In general, SEO involves optimizing your website design and its content by making it easier for users to interact on various devices, using relevant keywords, creating links between your website and other relevant high quality sites on the same topic.

And as of recent Google algorithm update, improving the page speed on mobile as well as user friendliness of your site.

We will touch on each of these factors and look at how to optimize them for search engine.

On page SEO

SEO is categorized in two parts.

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO

On-page SEO (also known as “on-site SEO”) is simply doing the SEO practices on the pages you control such as web pages of your own site.

Such as doing SEO audit, keyword research, optimizing the headlines, subheading, content/article.

Optimizing title tag, meta-description, permalink, inbound and outbound links, submitting on Google search consol, de-indexing weird pages from Google search.

Optimizing and updating old content on a regular basis (every 3 months is a sweet spot).

Fast page speed, responsiveness of website, mobile optimization etc…

Your domain age?

Nah you can’t control that.

Off page SEO  

While Off-page SEO is doing the SEO practices which you don’t control directly.

In indexing and ranking pages, Google also uses off-page factors. Off-page factors are factors outside your website.

Important off-page aspect you should pay special attention to include links.

1. The number of domains linking back to your site (also known as backlinks).

This one is major. Google uses backlinks as votes of confidence. More domains linking back to your site equals better ranking.

2. Number of linking pages

There are instances where one domain will link to you several times. While this may positively affect your overall rank, it is generally better to have multiple pages linking back to your site.

Each backlink from a single page counts as a vote.

Thus, more pages linking back to your content equals more votes and more vote equals better rankings.

3. The rank of the linking page

Not all websites and pages are equal. Some pages and domains have better rank.

It is better for your website ranking if pages with a high DA (domain authority) link back to you.

As you build links, aim to have high quality websites link back to you. (we will delve into link building much later).

4. Link relevancy

Imagine this, your website is about fitness, and then, a site talking about dog training links back to a page on your website.

Do you think Google would pay any special relevance to that backlink?

NO. Website which is linking to you must be relevant to your niche.

5. Domain authority

The authority of a domain linking back to your site is a ranking factor, links from higher authority sites will boost your domain authority therefore higher rankings.

6. Dofollow vs. nofollow links

Google does not count NoFollow links. If you have a shit ton of NoFollow links and minimal DoFollow links, it is bound to affect your ranking.

7. Link placement and anchor text

Links placed within the body of content hold more relevance when compared to links placed on the side bar.

And links with the correct anchor text are proven to be given more relevancy.

For example – Click here to read article on Google SEO

If you put your link on the word click here then it can appear spammy and negatively affect your ranking.

While putting your link Google SEO will increase the relevancy and more link juice.

SEO audit 

Audit the whole site and see whether your websites is even indexed on Google or not.

Find and fix weird pages.

Pages which has no content, such as having only one image, pages with only lorem ipsum paragraphs, mean nothing and cost your overall ranking and reputation.

Webpages which you have deleted from your site but it’s still indexed on Google search giving you tremendous amount of 404 errors.

As Google doesn’t like it. These pages needs to be de-indexed from Google.

So the question is how do you perform such audit of your site?

Keep reading it you’re going on a helluva ride.

Type site:yourdomainname.com on Google search result.

Perform SEO audit

This picture tells this blog is already indexed on Google and if you can’t find any of your web page there then your site is not indexed yet and your site needs to index it on Google.

By doing this audit I found out one thing that is not supposed to be there.

See the second result in above image. This test page is already deleted.

This page doesn’t have any content but it’s still showing up on Google search.

Therefore ruining my reputation and rankings, so I need to remove it from there.

How do I do it?

Simple, by visiting Google search console, clicking over removals, paste the URL and hit remove.

And you’re done.

removal of link on Google search console

The same way you can index your webpage on Google as well, which will be covered later in this guide.

Next is searching for lorem ipsum pages and deleting them.

Type site:yourdomainname.com "lorem ipsum” on Google search results.

And if you find something like that delete them immediately.

As they give no meaning to a webpage and Google doesn’t like it.

Check your website speed and improve it with respect to your top 5 competitors.

You can use a FREE tool similarweb and it will give you list of your top 5 competitors along with other important data.

Then compare their website load speed with your and try to be better than them as after Google algorithm update Mobile, website speed plays an important role for attaining higher rankings.

To find out about website speed use tools like GTmetrix and Google page speed insights.

The point behind doing SEO audit of your site is finding weird pages and de-indexing them from Google search.

Do it every 3 months and you will be surprised seeing your rankings on Google.

Keyword research

Keywords are the search queries that users type into their search engine boxes when looking for information.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Google would use keywords as an important ranking factor.

Which means keyword research is the most important aspect of SEO.

While Google may not outright state it, their algorithm pays attention to keywords, perhaps not their chronic use, but their placement on different areas of your website.

Such as heading, subheading, title tag meta-description etc…

And how helpful your keyword-optimized content is to the users.

In fact, all user searches start with a keyword. That is the nature of search.

For instance, let us assume a user wants to learn more about Google SEO.

Google seo

He or she will fire up his or her browser, go to Google, and type “Google SEO guide,” in this instance, the keyword/s are “Google SEO guide”.

Keywords are the epitome of search engine optimization. Without keywords, the Google index would be non-existent.

According to the above section SEO is all about optimization, without keywords, optimization is impossible.

Website and content optimization starts at keyword research.

Once you identify the keywords you aim to rank for, to make your web page relative to those search terms, you have to optimize your content around these keywords.

By adding them within your content and specific areas of your website, keywords allow you to optimize your content for specific search terms, which makes it easier for Google to relate your website to your keywords and rank it higher on Google SERP.

Fair warning: Do not practice keyword stuffing.

After Penguin 4.0 update keyword stuffing has been forbidden.

Keyword stuffing will penalize your website by de-indexing or de-ranking it.

Instead of stuffing keywords, concentrate on their natural use within your website and content.

Here’s how to keyword research.

Use Google search suggestion

The Google search suggestion method is easy and straight forward.

Head over to Google.com and type in your seed keyword.

For our example, we will use marketing as our head term and use it to discover popular searches for that topic.

Once you get to Google, type in your preferred keyword topic and then type the letter A.

Google keyword suggestion

Do the same but this time type the letter B.

Google keyword suggestion

And finally type the letter C.

Google keyword suggestion

This method is also known as the Alphabet Soup method and it lets you discover in an alphabetical manner, popular phrases that users type into their search bars.

You can use this method to come up with a rough list of keywords.

For example, using our marketing keyword example, our list of possible keywords would be:

  • Marketing and sales
  • Marketing automation
  • Marketing basics
  • Marketing business plan
  • Marketing channels
  • Marketing courses

Google suggest on the other hand to head over to Google, type your intended keyword, and once you get the result, look at the bottom of the Google result page for suggestions of possible keywords.

For instance, using our marketing keyword example, we would head to google.com, type the keyword, and look at the bottom of the page for suggestions.

Google keyword suggestion

As what’s the best keyword research tool other than Google itself.

You want to win at Google SEO so you must follow the information of Google.

Once you create your rough draft of keywords, plug them into your spreadsheet.

You can use Microsoft Excel, or Google Spreadsheet.

The latter is better suited for keyword research because of its cloud nature (meaning you can access your keyword research data from any internet enabled smart device).

For more keyword ideas you can use tools like - 

Now once you have documented all the possible keyword ideas now it’s time to choose the ones which you’re going to create content on.

For that you need to be aware of some facts such as monthly search volume, and keyword difficulty.

To know these data what’s the best way other than Google itself.

Jump over to a FREE keyword research tool of Google.

Yup, Google keyword planner.

It will show you the monthly search volume and keyword difficulty of a keyword.

You’re advised to use keywords which has at least 5k monthly search volume and which has difficulty low to moderate.

If you chose keyword less than 5k a month search volume then the amount of traffic you will be getting on your website would be little to insignificant.

After you’ve decided which one of the keyword you want to create content on, you’re ready to move to the next step.

Use of keywords

You probably already know that you want to use your keyword a handful of times on your page.

For better ranking, you want to make sure you use relevant keywords in -

1. Heading of your article.

keyword in headline

Headings are H1 tags by default on WordPress. And it makes easier for Google to understand what your overall content is all about.

2. Subheadings

Subheadings are valuable spots for Google SEO keywords so make sure to add your focused keyword there.

And make it H2 tag. Although their is no proof that making your subheadings H2 will help your rankings but this is what I do and it does pretty well for me.

3. Body

Add those keywords in the body of your article. However, it’s important to use your keyword at least once in the beginning of your content, ideally in the 100 words.

But remember not to just use the same keywords over and over again.

Add in modifiers such as “best”, “top”, “amazing” and long-tails such as the best guide Google SEO and not just Google SEO over and over again.

Considering our keyword to be “Google SEO”.

Your work is not over yet! Don’t forget to add your focused keywords into the:

4. Title tag

The title tag appears in search engine results page. Use some solid keyword here.

Try to be creative as well as it will boost your click-through rates there for more good impression in the eyes of Google.

For better, enhanced rankings, place your intended keywords at the start of the title tag.

Yoast SEO plugin make it very easy to execute.

Yoast SEO plugin

5. Meta description

This description appears below your link in Google SERP. Write an engaging meta description that includes relevant keywords.

6. Permalink

Use your focused keyword in the permalink as well. But make sure to keep your permalink short and sweat.

No dates and all just add your main keyword just like in the image given below.

permalink on wordpress

7. Image file names/ALT attributes

First of all, include images in your article.

Images are attractive and appealing for readers, and Google also likes them. Use the keyword in the file names.

For example – (google-seo-guide.jpg)

Also use the ALT attribute to tell search engines and users what the picture is with a keyword.

8. Anchor text

Link to your new page from your various other pages on your site, using your keyword as the anchor text.

This makes it easy for Google to find and rank your page.

For example - Learn how to write viral blog post that Google and your audience love.

Here I’m using the “viral blog post” as anchor text and it is exactly the focused keyword of that article.

Content creation 

All the Google SEO practices is incomplete and useless without a good content.

A good content is content that satisfies the intent for what someone is looking for.

When the information given in any article aligns with the searcher intent then that article is considered to be a high quality content.

Because of various reasons.

  • Google looks for serving its users.
  • Relevant content has higher duration time.
  • Content which are engaging tends to have low bounce rate.

And many more factors.

In fact according to a survey 5,760,000 blog post are published every day which is more than 2 billion blog post every year.

Do you think getting to position #1 or even in top 10 result on the first page of Google search ranking would be easy?

Yes it is because most of the blog post are not optimized for search engines.

They don’t follow Google SEO guidelines which is mentioned throughout in this guide.

One very reason people struggle at getting to the first page is they write short and low quality articles.

After Google Panda algorithm update all the sites have been slapped by Google which has low quality content.

Study shows the average length of top ranking articles are 2000 words long.

length of top 10 pages

In fact, 90% of the articles I publish on this blog contain around 4000 words. And by being consistent with creating high quality content has improved my search rankings over time.

High quality content contains many thing.

  • It should satisfy the searcher intent.
  • Should be through, long and in-depth.
  • Catchy headline
  • Proper use of keywords
  • Backlinks to that article
  • Up-to date

In fact freshness of the article plays a vital role in search engine rankings.

So always keep fixing broken links and updating sources and data of your articles. The goal is to make it up-to date.

Which will then lead to a better user experience of the user satisfying Google search engine.

Indexing on Google 

How do I get my site on Google?

This is the first question every beginner asks and it is by far the easiest thing of Google SEO.

All you need to do is have a Google search consol account set-up and you are good to go and yes it’s 100% FREE.

Whenever you create content on your website such as blog post, or webpage, you need to take its URL and paste it there and click enter.

Submitting pages on Google search console

It will index your page on Google and then it can be found on Google search results page.

Link Building

Link building is the aspect of getting other pages (preferably quality and relevant sites) to link back to your website content or pages.

As it will increase your domain authority (DA), and give your site a boost on Google search result.

But don’t get it wrong, if you buy hundreds of backlinks from sellers on freelance sites like Fiverr or Upwork then you’re in trouble.

As after Google Penguin algorithm update it filtered all the sites which were building links the unethical way.

Google hates link schemes. Meaning de-indexing or de-ranking of your site, furthermore no organic traffic on your website.

Here is the information about link schemes from their webmaster answers page.

link schemes

Source: Google webmaster

It is clearly mentioned that

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

So what to do instead in order to build links.

Do guest posting.

link building strategies

In fact, according to a big survey done by SEMrush they found out guest posting is the #1 way to build links.

Guest posting serves as a means to increase the visibility of your website on someone’s blog by placing a link on it.

The links may be placed either in the text body or in the “About the Author” section with a Do-Follow attribute, provided the blog owner allows you to do this.

In turn, you can place a link on your website to that blog, so the blogger increases their blog’s visibility as well.

But first you need to find blogs you would like your guest post to be placed on.

To find blogs which accepts guest posts you can simply type in something like on Google search bar.

  • Your niche + guest posting
  • Niche + write for us
  • Niche + guest post
guest post research

And you will find sites which accepts guest posts.

After your research, pay attention to the rating and trust score of the website you want to place your resource backlink on.

 It is directly related to the visibility of your website on Google. This advice applies to any link building strategy.

To research you can jump to ahrefs backlink checker tool which is FREE.

ahrefs backlink checker

Type in the URL of your preferred website and see the URL and domain ratings. The higher they are the better for your site.

But keep in mind that those sites should be relevant to your blog’s niche.

This is the ultimate way to build links all you have to do is to get featured on other’s blog which are high value sites and are relevant to your niche.

This will sky rocket your domain authority in no time which results in higher rankings, position #1 and more traffic to your site.

Rinse repeat

Voyla, now you’re a master of Google SEO.

At this stage all you have to do is rinse and repeat everything.

From SEO audit to keyword research, creating high quality content to making it keyword optimized.

Serving searcher intent and improving the user-friendliness of your website.

And high quality authority sites link building.

That’s it.

And all the best to your Google SEO practices.

Now I would like to hear from you.

Which was more useful?

The theory part or the practical part?

Either way let me know in the comments.