A pragmatic SEO guide to getting started in 2024

In the world of search engine optimization, there is never a moment’s pause. Like Google’s recent updates, SEO techniques and strategies are constantly changing. To keep up with these rapid developments, it is essential to have access to the most up-to-date information and guidance. That’s why I present the SEO manual for 202 4 , a complete guide that offers you insight into the latest trends and methods in SEO.

Especially use the links that point to other articles on my website. A complete SEO manual on one page is obviously not possible. Do you really want to get started with SEO yourself? Then also check out my SEO training/course. Hiring me as an SEO expert is also possible.

What is (an) SEO (manual)

An SEO manual is a guide to. SEO. But what is SEO? SEO consists of three components:

  • Technology: What does the website’s technology look like? This often has a lot to do with the user experience on a Web site and how Google can read a Web site.
  • Content: The quality and quantity of content is always important for improved findability.
  • Link building: The more (quality and relevant) websites link to your website, the more authority you have for Google in the marketplace.

In this SEO guide, I talk more about how I optimize these individual components for ultimately higher rankings in Google.

Why is SEO important?

  1. Visibility: people rely on search engines to find what they need. The higher you rank, the more likely they are to visit your site.
  2. Credibility: ranking high in search engines builds trust. It gives the impression that your site has authority in your field.
  3. Traffic and conversion: SEO not only helps drive traffic to your site but can also help increase conversion by better matching your target audience’s needs.

A short guide to content

Keywords are the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. These words and phrases are what your potential customers type into search engines, and finding the right keywords is a crucial step in optimizing your website.

How do you find the right keywords?

  1. Understand your target audience: think about what your customers would type in if they were looking for your products or services.
  2. Use keyword tools: there are several tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner that can help you identify popular keywords in your industry.
  3. Analyze the competition: look at the keywords your competitors are using and consider how you can outrank them.
  4. Pay attention to long-tail keywords: these are longer, more specific keywords that are often less competitive but can have higher conversion rates.

My SEO guide to content writing

When I write content I always try to think: would I share the piece of content I just wrote with a client of mine? Or would that client then think … did you write this? If it is the latter, then chances are that the quality of the content is not high enough. A few things that matter for SEO when it comes to content writing:

  • Use a consistent tone of voice throughout the website;
  • add real value for the visitor, don’t just write for Google;
  • Use quality and relevant internal links throughout the text;
  • Provide quality images in the text;
  • Don’t use the keyword too often;
  • Provide complete articles that highlight each subtopic of a given topic.

This is just a tip of the iceberg. For the full story, read this article.

Technical SEO manual

Technical SEO includes the underlying structure of your website and how search engines crawl and index your site. I divide the points into parts that are important to the user experience and parts that are important to Google. Of course, many points will affect both, but I won’t go too deeply into that now.

SEO guide to technique for crawlability

I have written full articles for most of these topics, so here I will not go into detail again.

  1. XML sitemap;
  2. Robots.txt;
  3. internal link structure;
  4. canonicals;
  5. crawl budget optimization;
  6. website speed;
  7. structured data;
  8. URL structure.

SEO guide to an improved user experience

Some of these are similar to the list above, but these are the most important for better crawlability.

  1. mobile-friendliness;
  2. website speed;
  3. HTTPS implementation;
  4. user-friendly website structure;
  5. Core Web Vitals;
  6. Responsive design;
  7. accessibility;
  8. browser caching.

My guide to link building

Link building is the process of getting links from other websites to your own site. Links are one of the most important factors that search engines use to assess a site’s relevance and authority.

Important in the selection of obtaining links is the following:

  1. Are the websites relevant to your business?
  2. Are the websites qualitative?
  3. Do the websites have a lot of authority (within the market)?
  4. Do the websites obtain high quality traffic through SEO?
  5. Are the websites made for link building (this is not positive).

From this checklist, you can assess the websites for their quality and whether you would want a link from them at all.

How do you obtain backlinks?

Getting backlinks is a complex process for which you actually need your own network to do it. Some ways I would link-build if I didn’t have a network:

  1. Guest blogging at other websites within the market (you have to reach out to many websites for this to get some who are open to this).
  2. Target websites that are in competitors’ backlink profiles.
  3. Write quality content that is naturally referenced (this takes a very long time in practice).

The main components of the SEO manual

Here is a table of the top 20 SEO components, their priority, estimated time for implementation and whether an SEO specialist is required:

ComponentPriority (1-100)Time period for implementation (1-100)
Keyword research / content writing10070
Meta descriptions8520
URL structure8040
Optimize internal links8060
Link Building9580
Content creation9070
Sitemaps7520
Mobile optimization8560
Loading speed8550
SSL certificate7040
Responsive design8560
Optimize images6540
Social media integration6030
SEO manual components + priority.

This table summarizes the major components, but it is important to note that these values may vary depending on the specific situation and needs of the site. For each website I work on, I look at what is currently happening on the website and what is needed to optimize it.

Conclusion

The world of SEO is complex, but with the right approach and dedication, it can be a powerful tool to increase your online visibility. The SEO Guide for 2024 is designed to give you a solid foundation in the principles of SEO, from keyword research to technical optimization.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 27 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 7 June 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.