SEO Basics: Where Do I Start?
SEO isn’t always friendly to newcomers. Ask a random person on the street what SEO is and what it stands for and you might be met with a blank face. Yet, it’s one of the most important and vital marketing strategies today. Where do you even start? We’ll walk you through some SEO basics and highlight why you’ll need to hire an expert to really take advantage of everything SEO has to offer.
Our practical guide to SEO gives you a good starting point for getting started with the basics.
Audit Your Website and Analytics
Before you start making moves, you need to know where you’re at. By performing an audit of your website, you’ll have a clear idea of how your website is doing in terms of SEO and where you can start to make improvements. This includes looking at things like site speed, checking for errors and broken links, seeing which pages have the most traffic, and seeing how your pages are currently ranking on Google. Having this info is crucial, allowing you to know where to devote your attention and what to address right away.
Define and Research Keywords
This step is a bit more involved than it may sound at first. The obvious assumption is to pick the words that you want to rank for. For instance, if you’re a cloud services company you might be inclined to go after keywords and phrases like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services – phrases that are commonly searched for and talked about in your industry. However, big and common phrases like these get competitive. All your competitors want those same words too, meaning you can spend a lot of energy optimizing your site for the Azure keyword and run into some big setbacks when it comes to showing up on the first page of Google.
Thankfully, all hope is not lost. You just have to rethink your strategy a bit. You can take those keywords you’d love to rank for – the white whales of your industry – and find unique versions of them that you can quickly rank for. Maybe it’s something more localized like “Azure specialist Seattle” or a long-tailed phrase like “what is Microsoft Azure”. Be creative. Research what users are looking for and see if there’s a missed opportunity that you can take advantage of. Plus, if you already have pages that are ranking highly for certain keywords, you can continue to optimize content that will bolster them higher and keep you high on Google’s results.
Start Optimizing and Planning Content
With your keywords nailed down, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty. In order to show up for keywords, you need to have content that contains those words. This is more than just spamming a page full of “Azure, Azure, Azure, Azure” over and over again. Google’s algorithms are smarter than that. You need to create content that’s actually worthy of note. Without getting too deep into the weeds of the backend of SEO, just imagine what type of content you would like to read if you were searching the topic on Google. Thought leadership content that goes in-depth on a subject gets rewarded by search engines and is more likely to get shared, which only helps you. Build out the content on your already existing pages. Start a blog. Plan an editorial calendar so you’re not searching for pieces to write about. Content is currency with Google and it’s time to start saving up. Once you have content, you can then start to optimize things like meta titles and descriptions and add alt tags to your images to help you better show up in searches.
That can be a lot to take in, especially if you’re new to SEO. Need help getting started? N2Q’s team of SEO Specialists can take your website from the murky depths of search results to the first page. Give us a call today and we’ll help you start to make your ideal SEO plan.