How to Start SEO: A Definitive Guide


Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of marketing your business. It’s also a bit of a mystery to many business owners, who are wary of diving in and risking their reputation with Google as well as their own sanity.

If you’ve read blog posts, listened to podcasts, or attended any marketing meetups in the last year or two, you’ve probably heard something about SEO being “hard” or “confusing”, or maybe even “dangerous.”

You might be thinking: Is this some kind of joke? Does anyone understand this stuff? Do I have to take off my logical hat for this one? In this blog post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about getting started with SEO for your business.

What is SEO?

SEO is the practice of making your website more “findable” by search engines. It’s one of the most cost-effective and scalable ways to build your audience, sales, and brand, while also saving money on marketing that you would otherwise have to pay for.

SEO is essential for businesses of all sizes, whether you have an eCommerce site, a B2B business, a B2C lead generation campaign, or are simply promoting a blog.

With SEO, the idea is to get the search engine algorithms to rank your site or blog post higher than other sites that might have more traffic or be more established. You do this by understanding how search engines work, building authority and trust, and providing content that resonates with your target customers.

Choose your keywords and write your ad copy

Ideally, your keywords will be in the title of your post, in the URL, in the H1 header, and in the first sentence of your content. If you’re blogging on your website, you need a good keyword research tool to make sure you’re hitting your keywords correctly.

Keywords are the terms you want to appear for in search engine results. They’re what bring people to your site. You want to choose keywords that are useful to your customers and that you can rank for. If you’re selling men’s dress shoes, the best keywords might be men’s dress shoes, men’s oxford dress shoes, or oxford dress shoes.

You should also think about which keywords your competitors rank for. If you sell dress shoes, you might want to make sure you rank for oxford dress shoes over oxford men’s dress shoes to avoid competing with your own site.

Start with a content marketing plan

Before you even start to think about writing for SEO, you want to create a content marketing plan. This is a document that outlines the type of content you want to create, how often you’ll publish it, who will create it, what your goals are for each piece of content, and how that content contributes to your overall marketing efforts.

You can easily use this template to get started. You should have a blogging schedule with topics catered to each stage of your sales funnel. If you have an eCommerce site, your blog posts can serve as product pages that are optimized for search engines and are much cheaper to create than paying for PPC ads.

Track your ad’s performance and make tweaks

At this point, you’ve created an ad and started to track its performance. You probably have a general idea of whether it’s going well or not. But to get an exact read on its performance, use a Google Analytics account and set up goal tracking.

This will tell you what people are clicking on your ad and where they go after clicking. If you see a lot of clicks but your bounce rate is extremely high, your landing page might not be converting well. You can make changes to your ad or landing page to improve performance.

If your conversion rates are low and your clickthrough rates are good, you might want to consider lowering your CPC rate and retesting your ad again to see if your impressions improve. If you’re running a PPC campaign, you should be testing different ad variations to make sure you’re getting the best return on your investment.

How to determine if you need SEO

If you have a product or service that you want to sell online, you need SEO. If you have a blog with regular content, you need SEO. And if you want to drive more visitors to your site, you need SEO. Building your brand also requires SEO.

If you’re selling something, you need SEO. If you want traffic, you need SEO. And of course, if you want a bigger audience, you need SEO. If you want new customers, you need SEO.

Yes, you need SEO. No, it’s not as hard as it sounds, and yes, your sanity will remain intact. If you don’t have a website that’s optimized for search engines, you won’t be found. You’ll have to pay to be listed above your competitors. And you won’t be found by new customers who are just starting to shop around for the product you sell.

Summing up

When done well, SEO is a cost-effective way to grow your brand and customer base. When done poorly, your customers will never find you. There’s no magic formula for SEO. Instead, it takes diligence, patience, and effort.

You want to make sure you’re following best practices for SEO. This typically means making your website as user-friendly as possible, creating quality content that resonates with your customers and provides value, and making sure your website is set up to rank well for search engines.

In order to do that, you need to understand the basics of SEO. Learn about things like choosing the right keywords, writing for search engines rather than people, and making sure your website is properly set up for SEO.

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