SEO for Beginners: How does SEO work?

Welcome to the world of SEO. As an experienced SEO specialist with nearly a decade of experience, I invite you to explore the world of SEO with me. Want to make your business stand out more, improve your marketing skills or are you just curious about this field? Then you’re in the right place.

During my career, I have worked extensively with both international companies and local Dutch businesses. This has given me a deep understanding of the versatility of SEO. Now I am happy to share my knowledge with you.

This practical guide on SEO for Beginners covers several features. Here I want to explain the various topics, including understanding search engines, optimizing a website and selecting the right tools. I will also discuss building quality backlinks.

My approach to SEO focuses not only on search engines but more importantly on people. SEO is all about creating value, building relationships and providing solutions. Let’s explore the world of SEO together and expand your knowledge!

How does SEO for beginners work?

First, let’s look at exactly what SEO means, how it works and what aspects are involved. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a process by which we optimize a website for search engines. The main goal is to improve the visibility of the website in the search results of search engines, such as Google.

It’s not just about getting a better position in Google. SEO is a strategic approach to reaching the target audience and providing them with relevant information. Companies can transform significantly through SEO.(1)

Getting started with my

SEO course?

Check out my SEO course here and get started with SEO optimization yourself.

Why is SEO important?

In a world where almost everyone consults search engines for answers, SEO is very important. An effective SEO strategy ensures that users find a website at the right time. This is not just about visibility, the main goal is to provide value to the target audience at the right time. Only when this component is in order can SEO reach its full potential.

Do you always need an SEO specialist to do this? Definitely not.(2)

How does a search engine work?

To be successful, it is good to understand how search engines work. They constantly search and index websites looking for relevant content for search queries. They use sophisticated algorithms and rank results based on factors such as relevance, user experience and authority. Improve your website according to these criteria to properly reach your target audience.

SEO is not just a technical term, it is a way to reach real people. SEO helps you reach the right people at the right time, whether you are selling products, offering services or sharing ideas. I work enthusiastically in this field every day and am always discovering new things, there is always something to learn. (3)

SEO for beginners summarized

Watch the video for a summary of SEO for Beginners. In a short time, all the important information is explained to you.

SEO for Beginners (video).

Your first step (SEO explanation)

The first step in SEO is critical. I am ready to guide you in taking this first step. Whether you’re a business owner new to digital marketing, or someone who wants to understand the basics of SEO, I’m here to help.

The basics of SEO (SEO explanation)

SEO is governed by a few basic principles. This involves keyword research and understanding on-page and off-page optimization. It is also important to know what role content plays in search engine rankings.

Suitable tools

Over the past 10 years, I have worked with leading software, analyzing websites, the market and competitors. It is important to choose the right tools, because wrong tools negatively affect SEO. Choose the tools that fit your needs and budget. With the right tools, the road to successful SEO can begin. (4)

User-friendly website for SEO

A user-friendly website is important for SEO. It’s all about people, with an emphasis on the user. Make sure your website is fast, accessible and easy to find, and don’t forget privacy and security.

Link building and online reputation

Link Building not only focuses on search engine optimization, it also plays an essential role in building a strong online reputation. In doing so, follow Google’s guidelines for an effective approach. Follow Google’s guidelines and help others create a link building strategy that is both sustainable and effective. (5)(6)

I enjoy helping you achieve successful SEO. With the right knowledge, tools and strategies, you can build an online presence that suits your target audience. Make sure you develop websites for visitors and not just for Google.

Getting started with my

SEO course?

Check out my SEO course here and get started with SEO optimization yourself.

SEO tools for beginners

I worked with many different tools and software, and some of them were really great. Some of these tools have really changed the way I work. Here I share some of my favorite SEO tools and software. These are not only effective, but also easy to use and reliable. I have carefully selected them based on functionality, usability and reliability.(7)

Keyword research tools

Keyword research is at the heart of any SEO strategy. My standard tools for this are Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush. They help identify actually used search terms, which is essential for creating relevant content. I apply these tools in shaping campaigns for clients such as Avery Dennison and Ista, which has led to successful results.

Tools for measurability

You can closely monitor the performance of your website. To know what works well and where improvements can be made. For analytics, I often rely on Google Analytics, Ahrefs and Moz. These platforms provide detailed insights into traffic, user behavior and conversion that are used to make informed decisions.

Site audit and technical SEO tools (for beginners)

Make sure your website is healthy by performing regular audits and technical optimization. For these tasks, I often use tools such as Screaming Frog and Sitebulb. They thoroughly analyze the website and detect problems, such as broken links, while also making useful recommendations for improvements.

Link building tools

Ahrefs and BuzzSumo are indispensable tools for link building. They discover link opportunities, analyze competitors’ backlinks and assist in setting up an effective content promotion strategy.

These tools are important in determining the success of an SEO strategy. With these tools, I have created successful, user-friendly websites that are Google-friendly.I use these tools not only for better search engine performance, but also to increase conversions. Both people new to the field and seasoned professionals gain valuable insights from these tools.

Getting started with my

SEO course?

Check out my SEO course here and get started with SEO optimization yourself.

Setting up an SEO action plan for beginners

Creating an SEO action plan for beginners requires understanding various aspects and tools in the dynamic world of SEO. Since the market is constantly changing, a powerful action plan is good for keeping an overview. Start developing an effective and sustainable SEO strategy.(8)

Understand your target audience

Understanding your target audience is important in SEO. You need to know who they are, what they are looking for and how best to reach them. Develop your strategy around your target audience. My experience with companies such as Make-A-Wish and Fagron has shown that understanding their unique audiences was the first step to success.

Conducting keyword research as a beginner

Conduct extensive keyword research, as this is much needed in the SEO world. Use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to discover which terms are commonly used by your target audience.

In keyword research, it is not only important to identify the specific words but also to understand the intent or purpose behind these keywords. It’s about knowing why people use certain search terms, what information they are looking for or what actions they want to take. Understanding intent helps optimize content for relevant and valuable search results.

Website optimization

A Web site must be attractive not only to search engines, but more importantly to people. Make a website fast, accessible and user-friendly. I always focus on the visitor. In creating the website, I apply high standards. My goal is to create a website that exudes quality and excellence so that visitors have a positive user experience.

Valuable content

SEO is mostly about content. Not only are good keywords essential, but the content must also be of high quality. As a professional, I help devise plans for content. These plans aim to inform readers, grab their attention and offer something actually valuable to the target audience. (9)

Apply link building

Use link building to increase your online presence, but do so ethically and according to Google’s guidelines. Getting started with SEO does not have to be a complicated task. Establish a good plan and seek guidance to build an online presence that reaches the target audience at the right time. I work enthusiastically in this field every day and enjoy helping others along this beautiful path.

SEO roadmap for beginners

An SEO roadmap is for SEO beginners to improve their approach.

SectionPriorityTime period for implementationRequired persons
Target group analysisHigh2 weeksSEO specialist, marketer
Keyword researchHigh3 weeksSEO specialist, content marketer
Website optimizationHigh4 weeksSEO specialist, web developer
Content strategy & creationMedium6 weeksContent marketer, SEO specialist
Technical SEO auditHigh3 weeksSEO specialist, web developer
Link building strategyMedium4 weeksSEO specialist, link building expert
Monitoring & analysisContinuousContinuousSEO specialist, data analyst
Social media integrationLow3 weeksSocial media manager, SEO specialist
Local SEO optimizationLow2 weeksSEO Specialist
Website speedMedium3 weeksWeb developer, SEO specialist
Feedback & improvementContinuousContinuousFull organization
SEO roadmap for beginners.
  1. Target audience analysis and keyword research: the basis for an SEO strategy. Start with this right away.
  2. Website and technical optimization: essential for a well-functioning website.
  3. Content and link building: medium priority, builds on the fundamentals and increases visibility and authority.
  4. Monitoring and analysis: these tasks are ongoing. They are essential to keep track of progress. Make adjustments as needed.
  5. Social media and local SEO: These are additional tasks. They depend on specific needs and target market.

The table above provides a clear overview of the most important tasks for SEO over a 6-month period. Do keep in mind a company’s specific needs and goals.

Getting started with my

SEO course?

Check out my SEO course here and get started with SEO optimization yourself.

SEO for beginners summarized

SEO is an ongoing process and needs attention, dedication and a good strategy. I wrote this article for anyone who wants to learn more about SEO or apply SEO for a business.

I explained the different topics of SEO. From selecting a target audience to choosing the right tools. The approaches mentioned are focused on accessibility and sustainability. Moreover, the focus is ultimately on the user and not exclusively on the search engines.

SEO brings its challenges. With the right approach and guidance, it is possible to create an appropriate SEO strategy and achieve good results. It is absolutely possible to create a fast and user-friendly website that is easily findable in the search engines. I would like to help people with this. Let’s get to work together!


  1. SEO Starter Guide: The Basics | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.-c). Google For Developers.
  2. What is an SEO expert? | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.). Google For Developers.
  3. In-Depth Guide to How Google Search Works | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.-e). Google For Developers.
  4. Dean, B. (2024a, January 31). 41 Best free SEO tools. Backlinko.
  5. Szymanski, K. (s.d.-f). Quality links to your site | Google Search Central Blog | Google for Developers. Google For Developers.
  6. SEO Link Best Practices for Google | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.-d). Google For Developers.
  8. Silva, C. (2024, Feb. 22). SEO Strategy: How to Create One for 2024 (+ Template). Semrush Blog.
  9. Creating Helpful, Reliable, People-First Content | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.-g). Google For Developers.
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 8 April 2024. The last update of this article was on 8 April 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.