Everything You Need to Know to Get Started With SEO in 2022

Everyone is talking about SEO in 2022.

Perhaps you have heard the term before. Perhaps you haven’t. Doesn’t matter. This blog article will cover everything.

Here is all you need to know about SEO laid out in a simple manner.

You will learn.

Nov 1, 2022

What is SEO?

A good place to start is with the name SEO. What does it stand for?

It stands for Search Engine Optimization. And what, exactly, does that mean?

A Search Engine is simply a program that retrieves information from the internet. Examples of search engines include:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Duck Duck Go

Sound familiar? You have probably used one of these search engines at some point. This article is going to focus on Google in particular, because they have over 90% of the search engine market share.

The second part, Optimization, refers to the goal of making your website visible on the search results page. To illustrate, consider the following:

Let’s say you run a blog and write articles on the subject of tomato growing. Your blog article called “Pruning Tomato Plants in 4 Easy Steps” would ideally show up on the following Google searches:

pruning tomato plants
how to prune tomato plants
trimming tomato plants
when to prune tomato plants

Unfortunately, this part is not guaranteed. Not by far. Just because you have written a great article doesn’t mean people are going to find it. They might be searching for the “wrong” terms.

But that's your problem.

It is up to you to optimize your article for the search terms (aka keywords) that people are using.

And how do you do that? Skip forward to How does one improve their SEO?

Why is SEO important?

This question could just as well be restated as: “Why is getting lots of traffic important?”

Ask that question to any e-commerce store making millions each month.

In this day and age, website traffic is the bread and butter for blogs, e-commerce shops, and online newspapers, as well as many local businesses and boutique shops.

Practically everyone benefits from SEO. Unless you are selling your old clothes at a flea market or running a lemonade stand at the beach. Then SEO is not for you.

When it comes to small businesses in the United States and Canada, almost half of them (44%!) say they have an SEO strategy. They seem to have understood the benefits they can reap from having an optimized website.

What’s perhaps even more noteworthy (and good for you) is that 66% say they don’t have one.

Which means you’re going to have an edge on them.

How does one improve their SEO?

Now that we have figured out the what and the why, let’s move on to the hard part.

The How.

The SEO process can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Finding keywords that you want to rank for
  2. Creating useful content for said keywords
  3. Building links to your website
  4. Sorting out the technical(ities)

If you are interested in attempting SEO by yourself (it is really fun!), keep reading. If it seems too daunting and you feel like leaving it to an expert, read about how much SEO costs.

Find keywords that are relevant to your website/business

The first step in the process is figuring out what people are searching for. This is so that you can meet the demand with your website content. One way of thinking about this concept is in terms of problem and solution.

People are entering a keyword into their search engine because they demand something (have a problem). They expect to find solutions to their problem in the form of search results.

We will get back to this point later when explaining how to create useful content. For now, let’s focus on finding keywords.

To find keywords, start by mapping out the different topics that your website should cover. In the case of tomatoseeds.com, the main topic would be “tomato seeds''. All the different classes of tomatoes would be subtopics.

Some websites only cover one topic. That’s fine. Others cover tens or hundreds. That’s also fine.

It is now time to fill out those topics with specific keywords.

Researching keywords

When the topics are laid out, it’s time to do what is known as keyword research.

Keyword research involves identifying what people are searching for in reality, related to the topics you just came up with.

Here, it’s appropriate to use a keyword research tool such as Bruno.ai. Other programs will work too.

A good starting point is establishing which domains are your competitors. I. e. which ones have similar content to what is on your website.

Open up a Google search window. Enter a bunch of keywords that relate to the central topic of your site. This should bring up domains that already dominate the results pages. Keep these in your memory or jot them down.

Now, insert these domains into Bruno or your keyword tool of choice. Extract all the keywords that meet your set criteria and export them into an excel document. Take your time and sort through them, discarding those that aren’t relevant to your website.

What you should be left with is a long list of valuable keywords to tackle, as well as their difficulty and monthly search volume (two incredibly important metrics to consider when prioritizing the content of your website).

Keyword List

There are of course countless more ways to find keywords. Learn about them in this article.

Create useful content that addresses the search intent

The second step in the SEO process is creating useful content. If we were to boil this part down into one sentence, it would be: Address the search intent!

Now, this makes sense. It is in Google’s interest to serve the best, most relevant search results for the input keyword. So all that is required of you is to make the best, most relevant content. Content that addresses the problem that the searcher intends to solve with their Google search.

Google SERP Illustration

Let’s give an example to illustrate exactly what we mean.

You’ve upgraded your love for tomatoes from a hobby to a business. You now sell tomato seeds at tomatoseeds.com - the best seeds you will ever grow.

You have found that the keyword “plant tomato seeds” has over 1,000 monthly searches.

Since the end goal of your website is to convert traffic into sales, naturally, you try to optimize your shop page (tomatoseeds.com/buy-seeds) for “plant tomato seeds”.

But hold on. Remember, what we said about addressing the search intent.

The purpose of your shop page is to sell tomato seeds. Entering a keyword about planting tomatoes probably means the person has already bought tomato seeds. They want to know how to plant them!

What you should do instead is create a blog article that addresses search intent, perhaps named “Planting Tomatoes in 4 Easy Steps”, laying it out in a simple manner.

Conversely, don’t try to write a blog article optimized for keywords such as “buy tomato seeds” or “affordable white cherry seeds”. These keywords imply a strong buying intent. Here it is actually appropriate for Google to serve their users webshop pages on the results page. So what you should do is optimize your shop page for these keywords.

Sometimes it’s unclear what the person is looking for just from the keyword alone. But what’s great is that Google already knows. They have been trying out different search results to find what works. So all you have to do is enter the keyword into Google and examine the top search results. For example:

Take the keyword “solanum lycopersicum” (the binomial name for the tomato plant). What do people want in this case? Probably information of some kind, but what exactly? A short paragraph that explains the meaning of the term in English?

No. A quick Google search will show you that that’s not the case. Judging from the results, people searching for the keyword “solanum lycopersicum” expect long articles written for an academic audience.

If you want to rank for this keyword, you better create an academic article that outdoes the one currently in the top position.

And how do you create a top-ranking article? Keep reading.

4 concrete tips for creating traffic-worthy content

Follow these simple rules and your article will have a high chance of taking off.

Optimize for a keyword

Choose a main keyword to optimize your article for. This is especially important if great articles already exist on the topic.

Going back to the tomatoseeds.com example, one such keyword could be “tomato fertilizer”.

Other so-called long-term keywords might be “best tomato fertilizer”, “organic tomato fertilizer”, “tomato calcium fertilizer” and “tomato fertilizer ratio”. These are also great to address at some point in the article.

Some things you can do to optimize for a keyword:

When creating a blog article, include the main keyword in the header and title tag. Some SEO professionals insist that fronting the keyword is even better. One example of a headline using fronting is:

“Tomato Fertilizers – How To Use Them | Quick And Easy Guide”.

Title Tag and Heading Illustration

Use the main keyword at the beginning of the article. This is important because it makes it easier for Google’s bots to understand what the text is about.

Look over your URL structure. A clear and comprehensible URL structure is helpful for both users and Google bots. The article about tomato fertilizers could have the following URL:


Write a custom meta description containing the keyword. You know, the tiny bit of text under the title tag in a Google search result. The keyword will get highlighted, drawing more attention to your article.

Meta Description Illustration

Include images with alt-tags. Google considers images when gauging the quality of your content. But make sure to include alt-tags that describe the content of your image.

Give the people what they want

People are looking for quick answers. They don’t usually read long articles like this one.

So what you should do is present the answer at the absolute start. And then elaborate.

This might seem strange at first. The natural thing to do is to guide the reader through an investigative process and reach a conclusion at the end. But you should do the exact opposite.

Let’s illustrate with an example:

Are natural fertilizers better than chemical fertilizers?

Short answer: No, they are not.

And here's why.
Natural fertilizers are fertilizers made from natural…

The purpose of an article should be to answer, not educate.

KISS - Keep it Stupid Simple

Your content should be understood by a twelve-year-old.

This is a widely used benchmark. For instance when writing instructions for medical products. And the reason for this might come as a surprise to some of you.

According to the Center for Plain Language, the average reading ability among adults in the US is equivalent to that of a 12-14-year-old (that’s an eighth-grader!).

Most people skim.

Illustration of skimming

They are frantically searching for an answer to their question. And leave as soon as they’ve found it.

So keep your writing simple. No complicated words. No unduly long sentences which, while admittedly embellishing and stimulating, your average reader, indubitably beset by a constant stream of scattered thoughts (such as What the heck do I make for dinner?), could not, in a swift manner, get the gist of.

One way of accomplishing this is to use lots of subheadings in your article.

And the single most important thing is fulfilling the search intent. It doesn’t matter how many answers your article has. If the people searching haven’t found what they’re looking for, your article won't have a chance of ranking.

Don't go for good enough. Aim for amazing

You know that the content you have written is useful when you leave it to sit for a while, come back, look at it, and think to yourself:

“This is a damn good article.”

Achieving that is not easy.

What you have to do is up your ambition level a notch. Become your own harshest critic. Constantly look for things to remove and refine.

This might not be the answer you were looking for. But it’s the truth.

Build strong backlinks to your website

Building strong backlinks to your website is one of the most important things you can do to rank well.

Google’s bots crawl the internet, jumping from website to website using links. If they find that they can reach your site via a high authority domain, then that counts as a “vote” to strengthen your authority.

The concept of links counting as votes has been a part of the Google search engine from the beginning. And it is still a hugely important ranking factor.

So how do you get others to link to you?

It’s not easy. Because it, like so many things in SEO, boils down to amazing (link-worthy) content.

But since you now know how to create amazing content, it shouldn’t be a problem. It just takes some time.

This alone won’t work if your domain is completely new and lacks authority in Google’s eyes. But you’re not out of luck. Try using the broken links method.

Picture of a 404 Page

If you are browsing the internet and stumble upon a link that is broken, I. e. returns a 404 error, you can use it as an opportunity to create your own version of the missing article. Use a backlink-took, such as Semrush or Ahrefs, to find what other domains link to the lost page.

If you are browsing the internet and stumble upon a link that is broken, I. e. returns a 404 error, you can use it as an opportunity to create your own version of the missing article. Use a backlink-took, such as Semrush or Ahrefs, to find what other domains link to the lost page.

Now, reach out to the domain owners and offer them a new link (to your article of course). This is a great way of approaching link-building if you are starting at zero acquired backlinks.

There are, of course, other ways of obtaining backlinks which you can read about here.

Sort out the technical SEO

As mentioned earlier, Google uses bots to crawl your pages and index your website. But if they can’t because of some technical issue, then any content that you create will be invisible to Google and their users.

To see if this is the case with your website, sign up to Google Search Console and check out the Coverage Report. This will show you if Google is able to index all the pages that you submitted when uploading an XML sitemap.

If you don’t know what a sitemap is or haven’t created one already, then it is about time!

Some other important things that might need to be hammered out:

Your site structure. Use a “flat” site structure, meaning no page should be more than a few links away from another.

Picture of a flat site structure

Thin and duplicate content. Make sure that no page on your site contains duplicate content. Utilize canonical and nofollow links if you have to show some bit of text on multiple pages.

Illustration of duplicated content

Webpage size. Every time a user accesses a webpage on your site, a document is downloaded to their browser. If your page contains data-heavy resources, such as large images or stylesheets, the page speed will take a hit. This will inevitably result in lower rankings.

How much does SEO cost?

So you have decided that SEO is too big of a hurdle to tackle on your own. Instead, you are looking into hiring an SEO specialist.

The prices discussed here apply to bringing in an SEO consultant. Creating an in-house SEO department is completely out of the scope for most small and medium-sized businesses.

What are the costs associated with an SEO consultant?

There is no industry standard for the price of SEO. It varies greatly, depending on a plethora of factors. Some of the factors include:

  • Experience of the SEO consultant
  • Location of the SEO consultant
  • Pricing model. Such as hourly, monthly, or per project
  • Size of your business
  • Scope of the SEO strategy
  • Your current SEO status
  • Goals and objectives set by you
Hourly cost

The hourly cost of professional SEO is usually between $50 and $200.

According to a survey by Credo, 57% of SEO agencies charge between $100 and $200 per hour. 28% of agencies fall between $50 and $100. The rates are on average slightly higher in the United States than in the rest of the world.

Monthly cost

Monthly rates vary significantly. To the point where it is impossible to give even a range of prices.

What can be said, though, is that small businesses on average spend $497 per month on SEO services, according to a survey conducted by Backlinko. What “SEO services” means in this case also has no clear answer, although it is usually agreed upon before the contract is signed.

Per project cost

Similarly, per project rates vary tremendously. Once again, we can’t provide a specific number.

A project is a one-time SEO effort with a predetermined price. One-time jobs could be things like technical audits, on-page optimization for specific pages, or conducting search behavior analyses.

This pricing model is a great choice when you want help with something specific. It sometimes makes evaluating the consultant's work much easier, since it’s clear what work is expected to be done by a certain date.

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