Did you know that search engine optimization can be a great way to attract more leads and score more readers and customers? Today is all about the basic steps you need to take to implement SEO for your website.
What SEO Really Means for Your Website
We all think that SEO is the magic bullet that we’ve all be missing our blogging lives. SEO is supposed to bring us lots of new traffic and sustain us over time, if done right. The truth is, using SEO is just like any other strategy for online growth. It takes a lot of planning, time, skill, and patience to pull it off well.
SEO has lots of little bits to it, like heading tags, keywords, and all kinds of small changes you can make to improve your search performance. I’ve even written about them before on my blog.
The reality is that without a great strategy behind these small changes, you’ll never see the big changes you want for your online growth. Instead of focusing on the nitty gritty of SEO, you first need to focus on the bigger picture of your blog and website.
Here are the first steps you should take when developing an online SEO strategy.
Is a Local SEO Strategy Needed?
If you’re a hyper local blogger only writing about stuff in your area of have a business that doesn’t sell products nationwide and only serve a small area, you’ll need to focus on creating a strategy for your community that’s targeted specifically for your area.
The rest of us, however, don’t compete only locally and have a much wider audience. It also means we typically have a much larger pool of competitors. But there are a lot more opportunities for us!
Neither approach is better than the other—it just matters what works for your goals. It wouldn’t really make much sense for a company that only sells their products in Arkansas to market to California unless they planned on expanding soon.
Do Competitor and Search Research
Start researching your competitors and see what people are searching for in your niche.
Don’t focus solely on keywords and minute details here. Take a large big picture approach when you’re first developing your SEO strategy to make sure that you’re not missing out on important trends and information.
Search for things you think people might search for to find you and see what comes up.
- Who’s at the top?
- What are they doing?
- Do they blog?
- Do they have lots of article about them in different magazines and newspapers?
- What kinds of things are they banking on for marketing?
It’s important here to use the Google Keyword Planner Tool to start figuring out what people might search for when looking for your services and products. Google can help give you a good direction but remember you shouldn’t rely on it too much at this stage. This is just to give you a basic idea of what you want to work towards.
The goal is to figure out what your future customers are looking for and what kinds of words and terms they use to find it online. What you might think about how people talk about your products might be entirely wrong.
Bloggers, remember that your articles are your products in this situation so you want to think about what you love writing about and what kinds of words people might use to find what you write about.
Create a Content Strategy Based on Search Research Findings
Before you get too far into keywords and SEO specifics, start creating a content strategy.
- What are the most common concerns and questions your audience might have?
- What have you been asked in the past about your business or blog?
- How can you provide answers to readers about your niche?
If you’re starting completely from scratch, that’s okay. Just make some educated guesses and get to work.
Be sure to provide sincere value with your content and that it is something useful to your audience. That’s more important than SEO at this stage of your website. If you need help really digging deep into what you audience wants, sign up for my free audience building course.
Make choices informed by your competitor research and start to really think about how to best serve your leads before they decide to be loyal customers or readers.
Analyze Your Results
This is where you start to really dig into your numbers and see what’s working and what isn’t. Google Analytics is your best friend when it comes to this stage of the SEO development process.
You need to start digging into your data and seeing how your content is performing and what actions people are taking at your website.
- Are they reading it?
- How are they getting to your website?
- If they’re coming from search, what’s happening to their traffic?
Make conclusions here about your audience, like what they’re looking for and what directions you might consider going in for your content and SEO strategy.
Revamp Your Strategy and Include SEO
Now that you’ve got some data, start focusing on making your content better both to serve your audience and better from an SEO standpoint. This is when you can start thinking about SEO nit-picky things, like using keywords appropriately and setting your website up to be better for SEO.
While other SEO experts will say to do this step first, it’s got a pretty high level or entry for people who haven’t had much of a strategy in the first place. Most SEOs don’t start websites from scratch but fix them up after they’ve been around for a while. Taking this same approach can help you make better choices about what directions to move in for your SEO strategy, especially since you’re not a professional.
Keep SEO Simple—For Now
Of course, this is a super simplified approach to SEO strategy and you could stand to get a lot more information from me. After all, I work every day to help my clients do better in search!
I’m releasing an SEO workbook soon to help non-seo professionals get the most out of Google. Be sure to sign up to receive an alert when the book is released, as well as a little special something when it comes out that I’m only sending to my subscribers.