SEO is complicated and frustrating. It is a long term game and all too often businesses desperate to improve their SEO are tempted by a company that may claim to give you fast results. Fastresults are not the reality. Slow and steady wins this race.
How to Start SEO – What to Focus on First
Imagine investing in a custom built home. You have it all planned out. You know exactly how it will look, how many rooms it will have, even what kind of counter-tops you want in the kitchen. It will be a sight to behold, the most beautiful house in the neighborhood! Now imagine that the builders of this house, take short cuts with the things you cannot see. You know, the stuff behind the walls. The stuff that is required to keep your house running smoothly. The pipes, the electrical, the insulation. The house may LOOK beautiful but what good is something that will never function properly?
With that in mind, this is my quick start check list for SEO. It is by no means a comprehensive list of what you should do but rather these are the first things you should consider.
- Check the structure of your website. This is really important and it is the first place you should turn your attention to. The technical details can make or break you when it comes to SEO. If you are not sure where to begin your SEO journey, start with the technical. This is the first thing our company does because often times things are lurking behind the scenes that can have a big impact later on. You can have fantastic content but if your site is not in line structurally, you won’t get very far. So take a look at your URL’s, header tags, Robot.txt files, and sitemaps. Just throwing up WordPress and installing an SEO plugin is not going to make your SEO dreams come true.
- What is your content like? The future of great SEO will come down to content. I don’t care what anyone else tells you, it’s all about content. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to network and keep the technical aspects fine tuned, but at the end of the day it is your content that will push you ahead of the others. You need to consider content for every aspect of your business. You need the right content for your website, great social media management, email campaigns and even press releases. Social media management is a separate beast that I will cover in another article, so for now it is important to know that you need the right content for each channel you use. Do you want people to keep coming back to your site? You do that with engaging content. Do you want to be found based on certain keywords? You do that through strategically written content. Do you want people to share links to your site and talk about your brand? You do that by giving them content that they can really get behind. The right content doesn’t just sell a product but it tells a story. It creates a relationship with the user.
- Consider all your links. The best links are the ones you don’t even realize you have. One of the ways that bad SEO companies try to convince you they can deliver fast results is by buying links. They won’t even tell you they are doing it. You will see increased traffic and maybe you will get a boost in your rankings but it likely won’t last. Google has moved so far away from that practice that you are likely to end up with a penalty. It’s not worth it and it will not help you in the long run. The temporary boost you may get will not be quality traffic and will rarely result in a conversion. I prefer to set everything up online, organize social campaigns and let the links happen organically. Those are the best links. The ones that others do for you because of that fantastic content you are creating. See step #2
In regards to linking, it is important that you also consider your existing links. If your website is older, it is possible that you have old links that are no longer relevant to your company or brand. Those links will end up hurting you. If you are not using Google’s Search Console, now is the time to start. If you just wondered “what is Google Search Console” then this step should take priority. Keep track of who is linking to you and if it is not related to your business, get rid of those links. You are looking for Quality over quantity. The days of trying to get as many links as you can are over and no longer relevant. Dealing with links is a process that can be complicated so start with some of the things NOT to do.
- Do not buy links.
- Do not sign up with every directory you meet.
- Do not trade links with other people.
You should also be practicing internal linking. This requires thought and you may need to update older articles to link to newer ones. You want to pay attention to your anchor text as well. If you are wondering, “what is anchor text” then dig a little further into our blog. These are all things I try to answer.
Keep in mind, this is a quick start guide. Above all it’s important to understand that this is a continuous process. SEO is not something you do and then forget it. You have to be consistent and be dedicated to this process. Patience is key.