Get on with it – How to start SEO yourself in 2022 the Dilate way
If you’re wondering how to do organic SEO for your brand, chances are you already know just how beneficial SEO can be for small businesses. Getting started with SEO is actually relatively simple and accessible. There’s plenty of information out there and lots of free tools you can make use of. Plus, efforts towards better SEO will benefit your website, even if you don’t see results with your ranking straight away. For example, improving user experience, speeding up your website and making high quality content are smart moves for any brand.
But a word of warning. Getting true and lasting results with SEO is an involved process requiring a high time commitment. You see, SEO is a long term marketing strategy that requires nurturing to grow into something fruitful. The good news is, when you put in the time and effort, you’ll get a bountiful harvest that keeps nourishing the growth of your brand long into the future.
Getting started with SEO
Whether you’re considering professional SEO services or want to handle things in-house, we’ve put together a helpful guide to get you started. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to do organic SEO like the professionals:
Step 1: Keyword Research
Keyword research is the process of figuring out what your target audience is actually searching for. What queries are they putting into Google? How many people are making these queries? What are they hoping to find when they make the search? With this information, you’ll be able to create content on your website that is optimised for your audience.
Keyword research can start with some general brainstorming and guesswork, but for the most part it’s actually a highly numbers-based process. After all, there’s no point ranking for ‘comfortable dog beds’ if your audience isn’t searching this term at all.
How to do SEO keyword research
- Brainstorm broad keywords related to your business.
- Discover more specific keywords based on the market’s interest. There are plenty of free SEO tools that can help you at this stage.
- Check the traffic potential of each keyword. How many people are searching for this keyword? There’s no point ranking for a keyword if it doesn’t bring anyone to your site. Search volume is a good rough guide of whether a keyword is valuable to you or not.
- Check the ranking difficulty. How competitive is this keyword? Some keywords like “real estate” or “cheap flights” might be so competitive that it’s unlikely you’ll ever rank for them. Focusing on more specific queries can sometimes be a better strategy.
- Choose keywords that match the search intent of your audience. Consider why someone is making the search in the first place. What are they hoping to find?
Keep in mind that the type of searches and search intent of your target audience might change over time – this is only natural. What that means for you is that you need to do regular keyword research to find new opportunities and tweak your existing content to better connect with your audience.
Step 2: Create a keyword map
A keyword map tells you what pages on your website target which keywords. Essentially, you’re marrying each of those great keywords you found in Step 1 to the right page on your website. Later, you’ll create content for each page that’s optimised for the keyword and search intent.
Understanding search intent
Search intent is the why behind the search someone is making. Understanding why someone is making a search is crucial. It’s how you’ll make content that satisfies the user, keeps them engaged and gives them a great experience on your site. Search intent is a ranking factor, which means you can’t skip over it in your SEO strategy. Google wants to give its users really helpful search results and if you can provide that, you’ll be rewarded with better visibility on Google.
Making your keyword map
Start by mapping out your keywords based on your core products and services. Generally your product and service pages will have higher purchase intent keywords as their core such as “buy car insurance” or “running shoes”. These keywords will attract people whose search intent is to buy something, compare options or get a quote.
For secondary pages and blog posts, you’ll want more informational keywords. For example: “types of car insurance” or “best running shoes for women”. This will help you capture potential customers who aren’t quite ready to buy your products or services, but are looking for information, ideas or inspiration.
Step 3: Write your content
Now you’ve got your keywords, it’s time to make highly valuable content for your pages. Optimised content is the foundation of SEO, so it pays to spend time developing a robust content strategy. All content should be optimised for the relevant target keyword and any appropriate secondary keywords. Don’t forget the content also needs to be optimised for conversions.
Your content should take your website visitors on a journey – starting with the reason why they clicked on your website page in the first place. Maybe they are looking for basic information such as “what is acoustic insulation?”– or perhaps they’re trying to compare different types of acoustic insulation to decide which is best for them. They might be looking for a specific insulation product to buy or a quote for local installation services.
Whatever the search intent is, make sure you give your visitors what they’re looking for in an accessible and engaging way. If a visitor stays engaged on your site, it tells Google that your content is valuable and high quality, helping you rise higher in the rankings. To take your content to the next level, make sure you’re implementing these content tips.
When you’re getting started with SEO, it’s easy to focus on making new content all the time. But keep in mind that you’ll need to audit your older content as time goes on to make sure you remain competitive and relevant. Find out how to optimise your existing content for search.
Step 4: Optimise your pages for SEO
Onpage SEO gets down to the nitty gritty details to make sure Google knows what your content is about.
You’ll need to optimise things like:
- URL slugs
- Title tags (read our guide on how to optimise a title tag for SEO)
- Meta descriptions
- Image alt-tags
- Image file names
Use your target keywords in each of the above, and be as specific as possible. However, beware of keyword stuffing (overusing keywords in an unnatural way). Google will penalise you for keyword stuffing, unnatural sentence structure and unconventional punctuation use.
Step 5: Improve user experience
User experience (UX) has a direct impact on your rankings. If your site is slow to load, provides misleading information or is difficult to navigate, visitors are going to bounce away quickly. Show Google that your site gives users a great experience and it’s more likely Google will choose to serve your content users over competitors.
Top ways to improve user experience include:
- Improving site speed
- Optimising for mobile
- Having a professional website design (follow these website branding tips)
- Making navigation easy and intuitive
- Using high quality images
- Breaking content up with headings, dot points and tables
You’ll notice when getting started with SEO that lots of your efforts will pay off in other areas. Investing in user experience is beneficial for paid streams of marketing too.
Step 7: Build site authority
One of the factors that Google uses to determine which websites rank high is authority. Do other credible sites recognise the value of your website? In other words, if you want to build your site’s authority, you need to gather external credibility or quality backlinks to your website. Backlinks need to be high quality, relevant to your business and properly sourced. Stay away from any black hat tactics as these can put you in Google’s bad books.
Here are some good ways to build your site’s authority when you’re first getting started with SEO:
- Write guest posts for other blogs
- Create and share infographics
- Publish highly valuable content such as ultimate guides
- Provide information to reporters and bloggers
- Pitch your content to resource pages (e.g. if you’re a local cafe, you could reach out to sites publishing content like “best places to eat breakfast” or “best cafes for families”)
Keep in mind that it can be time consuming to build an extensive and effective network of links. You’ll need to keep searching for new opportunities as part of your ongoing SEO strategy. Aim for a range of different kinds of sites and backlinks so that Google gets a varied and holistic picture of your brand’s authority.
Step 8: Optimise Google My Business
If your brand provides products or services to a specific location, Google My Business should be a crucial part of your local SEO strategy. GMB is free to use and can help you win more local traffic to your website and your physical store. You’ll need to optimise and manage your GMB profile with regular, up-to-date content similar to how you would do a blog.
Make sure you’re getting the most out of Google My Business with our guide How to optimise your Google My Business for local SEO.
Step 9: Monitor your SEO performance
Just like any other area of business, measuring your performance with SEO means you can find ways to improve. You can use tools like Google Analytics to track who’s coming to your site, where they’re coming from and what they’re doing on your site when they get there.
Numbers and metrics can help you figure out how to do SEO better. For example, if you’re getting lots of clicks on your website for a particular search term, it could mean your title tag and meta description are on point. Once on your site, if people are leaving quickly, it could mean your content isn’t matching their search intent – or that your loading times are too long.
Keep in mind that markets will naturally change over time. So what worked two years ago might not be the best tactic for your audience today. Keeping your eye on your SEO performance means you can stay relevant and protect your rankings.
If you’ve been doing SEO for a while but still aren’t ranking on Google, these tips to improve SEO could make all the difference.
Step 10: Keep on top of algorithm updates
It’s not just a changing market you have to keep your eye on. Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving as well. To rank well in Google’s search results you need to know the factors that matter the most and the practices that are going to get you penalised. Stay on top of updates like Google’s 2022 update to core web vitals and make sure you get your site ready for these specific metrics.
Need help getting started with SEO?
Getting started with SEO is fairly accessible if you’ve got the time and energy to put into it. But taking the next steps and knowing how to do SEO that gets lasting results can be a challenge. Especially if you’re trying to juggle other priorities as a busy business owner.
If your business is ready to take the next steps with organic marketing, an SEO agency can help you create and implement an SEO strategy that gets impressive results. At Dilate, we can help with everything from keyword research and mapping to conversion-optimised content creation and targeted local SEO services.
Call us today on 1300 345 283 to see what we can do for you.