DIY SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization: Can You DIY?

Alan Melton

When you have a website or other online presence, you know that you need to use SEO or Search Engine Optimization to get your business links ranked at the top of internet searches. But can you do it yourself?

My answer is yes, as part of a guerilla marketing strategy. Eventually as you grow your business you will likely hire an expert, but in the beginning there are a number of things you can to improve your rankings.

Even though SEO is a good strategy to make your website known and to get more leads and customers, it takes time and effort. Starting out, read some related blogs or articles. Watch a webinar. Ask other business owners and partners how they tackle this truly important strategy.

With SEO, there are plenty of things you can do on your own that won’t cost you anything but a few brain cells:

Know Your Keywords

As you attempt doing your own search engine optimization, the first focus point should be keyword research. You must know the words or phrases people are using to find your products or services, which drive them from search engines to your web site or social media channel.

While you know the names, characteristics, catchwords, and jargon associated with your offerings, don’t assume that buyers do. Do a little digging to discover the verbiage being used in internet searches – try using some free tools like Google Ads or Google Keyword Planner.

Future outlook: Voice searches are rising, and are expected to be used for half of all searches. This will necessitate using more conversational phrases instead of individual keywords.

Check Out the Competition

Looking at your competition’s online presence can help you figure out how you can get more visitors and sales. While you shouldn’t just copy what your competitors are doing, it can be quite useful to see what they do and how they do it.

Conduct your own searches for services or products that you offer. Click on the website results that Google returns and do a little investigating:

  • How does your competitor rank in search results compared to your company?
  • Do they have a comparable business model to yours (similar pricing structure, services, products, online storefront)?
  • What they are doing well (branding, easier navigation, more photos or testimonials)?
  • How do they engage with their prospects (pop-ups, videos, trade shows, person-to-person, etc.)?

Social Media

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are incredibly important in terms of search engine optimization.

While having a YouTube channel doesn’t by itself rank you higher in search results, it starts a chain of events that does. Worthwhile content gets followers, who share links with others … your brand grows, traffic increases to your site … website shows up higher in searches.

If you don’t have a social media page, build one! It continues to be one of the best ways to share your content and to drive more targeted traffic to you.

Think It Through

After completing the earlier steps, you can now look at your website from a different perspective. You should have a clearer idea about what your target audience is looking for and how your competitors are offering it.

Now, take a look at your website again. Choose the most important pages and the right keywords to get consumers there. Driving traffic to these pages is what will create interest, draw them into a funnel and, ultimately, make a sale.

Recommendations:

Pop-ups within your site are a great method to drive your web visitors to connect with your sales team or to go where your products and services can be purchased. Be careful in your design, though – as of 2017, “intrusive” pop‑ups (ones which that a mobile user has to dismiss before being able to access the main content of the page) will get you penalized by Google.

Include your target keywords in: content, images, all types of links, and in URL slugs (ex: www.mywebsite.co/keyword).

Polish up your content – it should be:

…   typo-free

…   professionally written

…   keyword-rich

…   mobile-optimized (test it)

…   of value and relevance to your target audience

Optimize your website by:

  • following Google guidelines
  • avoiding broken links
  • partnering with other site owners to provide backlinks to each other’s pages
  • making it user-friendly (test that, too)

Keep it Fresh

Content is crucial in any SEO strategy. However, we understand that you may not have the time to publish a blog post every day.

You just need to strike that balance in making Google happy by publishing new content frequently. The main focus should always be ensuring that your content is unique, valuable, and consistently refreshed. Good, relevant content ensures people will share it.

Remove stale copy

Don’t forget that publishing content with relevant keywords is not just about text – there’s also videos, photographs, imagery, and infographics, among others.

Analyze Results

Measuring your results is crucial to knowing if your efforts and strategy are paying off. After all, how can you know which page gets the most visitors? Or the pages where your bounce rate is higher? Or what content leads directly to purchases?

Find the right website analytic tool for you, based on the data you want to collect as well as its ease of use, power, and cost. There’s Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Clicky, to name a few. 

SEO may not be what you thought would keep you up nights, but it can’t be ignored in the quest to guide traffic to your stuff.

Unfortunately, SEO is not a once-and-done job. Due to the continually changing universe of factors like search engine formulas, terminology, marketing trends, and user devices, you’ll need to regularly review and analyze what gets your links high on search results and drives consumers to your products and services.