To get a top search engine ranking (i.e. get your website at the top of Google), you’ll need Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your website. This leaves many beginner website creators asking, “How can I do SEO for my website?”

Adding SEO to your website is not like pressing a button. Rather, SEO is more of a habit than something you can simply install on your site. Four important habits for doing SEO on your website include:

  1. Making clean, usable design choices.
  2. Maintaining a fast-loading website.
  3. Publishing content that is clear, relevant, and informative.
  4. Continually evaluating SEO results and adjusting as needed.

The first two habits are technical, and it is relatively simple to optimize in bulk every once in a while. At least, as long as you don’t make terrible decisions along the way! For the third and fourth habit, you’ll need a SEO strategy to execute on your website by yourself. A simple, strong strategy will save you a lot of time and has the biggest potential to earn you great results.

In this article, I’ll show you four steps to building your own SEO strategy. First, I’ll explain what SEO really is and the important nuances of how it works. Then, I’ll give you a step-by-step tutorial for doing it yourself.

What Is SEO and How Does It Work?

If you have a website, you must have heard gurus saying about SEO and how it works really well. While it can be overwhelming at first, it doesn’t have to be complicated or be shrouded in mystery. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the act of optimizing a website to make its content rank high on the search engines for a query of a certain keyword.

The Four Main Search Engines

DuckDuckGo Homepage for SEO

DuckDuckGo is a growing search engine to be aware of for SEO.

There are at least four search engines you should know about:

  1. Google, the most used website on the internet
  2. Bing, Google’s closest competitor
  3. Yahoo, an older version of Bing
  4. DuckDuckGo, a fast-rising newcomer

If you have a website, you want everybody to know you are online so they can interact with you. A few examples of online interaction are reading your content, signing up for your newsletter, or eventually becoming your paying customer. SEO is a guerrilla marketing strategy which can help people find you online easier and faster.

How SEO Brings Visitors to Your Website

How exactly does SEO work to bring you more visitors to your website? Think of using a search engine. Every time you search for a word, a phrase, or even a paragraph, the search engine gives you results. These results are ranked based on , relevance, and popularity with other trusted sources.

Search engines use mathematical equations, called algorithms, to score to every website for different possible search terms. Your goal with SEO is to achieve the highest score in comparison to other websites for the topics you are interested in being found for.

Remember in school when you had to get good grades in many different subjects to graduate? Well, now if you want your website to be seen (“graduate”), you have to earn high score for various factors (“subjects”), such as the number of sites link to your site, site’s appearance, how descriptive and accurate your <title> elements and ALT attributes are, and so on.

If you are asking yourself “How do I attach or implement SEO on my website?”, the good news is, you are not the only one wondering about this. There is a step-by-step process to help you do effective SEO for your website without paying thousands of dollars to a consultant.

What Are the Steps for Doing SEO?

Search engine traffic works by attracting people who are likely to become your customers with relevant content. Getting search engine traffic is important because it gives you an edge on your competitors, and can be implemented by yourself without spending any money on ads.

Many DIY beginner website creators feel there is too much work, or that SEO is overly hard to do. Firstly, know it isn’t as difficult as you think to cover your basics and get started. Secondly, SEO is important  because you are running a business in a world where 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. About 82% of those searches come from Google alone. Combine that with the fact that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, and you may realize just how important it is to get started with SEO right now.

Are you in? Great, let’s get to the step-by-step process of four simple steps to help you build an efficient long-term SEO strategy! By the time you’re finished, you should be ready to move on from “How can I do SEO for my website?” to more in-depth questions about turning these steps into daily habits.

1. Target Market Analysis

SEO Step 1: Target Market Analysis

Your target audience is the defined group of people you market to. Click To Tweet

Your target audience is the well-defined set of people you’re marketing to. Understanding them is the first step of SEO. You will need to determine their age, sex, geographic locations, and especially their needs. The more detailed you can describe your target audience, the better you’ll speak to their pain points and offer exactly what they need.

This first step helps you to create content strategies that only include relevant and useful content for that market’s need. This will help you find their most used search terms, a.k.a. discovering their keywords through keyword research.

Here are a few resources for getting to know your customers’ pain points.

Check out market research studies online. Many of them are free, but you need to pay for more in-depth ones. Here are some places to start:

  1. eMarketer
  2. MarketResearch.com
  3. Forrester
  4. Federated Media

Conduct surveys, whether by putting them on your site, sending emails, or using survey sites like SurveyMonkey. Alternatively, you can hire focus groups.

Use social media listening platforms such as Nielsen Buzz MetricsBuzzMetrics or NetBase.

2. Keyword Research and Goal Setting

SEO Step 2: Keyword Research and Goal Setting

Understanding how to target the right keywords is half the battle of Search Engine Optimization #SEO Click To Tweet

Powerful SEO is all about choosing the right keywords, or in other words, search terms your target audience is likely searching for at some point. Not finding the right keywords can lose you potential customers. Overly specific keywords can cause you to miss out on traffic. Keywords with a lot of competition will not perform well without spending a lot of money to hire professionals.

However, each of your website’s pages should focus on a keyword.

Thankfully, keyword research is not an impossible mission. Plus, once you get the hang of it, the results can be outstanding. Here are the basics of keyword research:

  1. First: Think of the topics that hit your targeted audience’s needs and also are what you want to rank.
  2. Second: Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – what are the keyword phrases that they would think of? Type them down in Google Adwords keyword tool and get search volume.
  3. Third: Remove the ones that aren’t relevant.

At this point, you might be really excited to create SEO-optimized content, but take time to think about your goals. Doing SEO is not likely to bring you revenue immediately or boost your sales 500% right away – it takes time. Having specific goals will help you to keep track on the work and have a clearer vision of what to do.

So, set and know your traffic, conversion and revenue goals. For example, if you drive a certain number of visitors to your site a month, what are your conversion rates and how much more money you can earn.

3. Content Optimization and Submission

SEO Step 3: Content Optimization an Submission

Publishing optimized content that solves a need is at the heart of best practices #SEO. Click To Tweet

Bill Gates said “Content is King” in 1996, and it’s true – Marketing Sherpa reports distribution lead to a 2,000% increase in blog traffic and a 40% increase in revenue. A Google search engine customer is happy when they find the result that speaks to their needs, and they won’t hesitate to click the link to find out more. The rest, is history. 😉

This means your number one job in SEO is to create unbelievably high quality content. Coming up with great content is not easy, but you don’t have to start from scratch. You can get your ideas from all the keywords your target audience is searching for! Even if you aren’t a strong writer, there are many reliable resources to help you learn from what others have done. Don’t worry if you are a newbie, you can produce great content by practicing and work your way up.

Your second job is to optimize your content and how it gets submitted to search engines. Include your keywords along with variations of that same phrase through importance parts of your content. Here is a short checklist:

  1. Include the keyword in your page’s title.
  2. Use header tags and lists to make your content easier to understand.
  3. Optimize your images to load quickly.
  4. Title your images with descriptive keywords.

WordPress users can use Yoast SEO plugin to make sure you hit all the basics. Friendly reminder: If you skip the optimization part, you may be risking all the benefits of the content you’re hoping to publish.

4. Ongoing Testing and Adjusting

SEO Step 3: Ongoing Testing and Adjusting

SEO is always a work in progress. Any successful strategy will include ongoing testing. Click To Tweet

Last, but not least, you need to monitor your results and carry out ongoing testing as well as adjusting. You can keep track your SEO progress by using:

  1. Google Analytics. This tool helps you to learn more about visitors to your site and how they use your site.
  2. Authority Labs. This tool tracks whether your keyword rankings are moving up in search results.

Once you have results, compare them to your goals. Which keywords lead visitors to do what you want them to do? Which one should be eliminated or added? Is the current SEO campaign meets your expectations yet? What can be changed to help your business become more successful?

SEO is a work in progress, so not everything you try will directly pay off. However, that’s okay because you’ll learn how to adjust and find what does work. Test frequently, and gradually adjust everything until you have found the perfect formula for your business. Just keep in mind that this formula may need to change over time to meet new market needs.

How Can I Do SEO for My Website?

Adding SEO to your website isn’t a simple matter of installing something or clicking a button. SEO takes time, effort, and strategy to execute correctly. Thankfully, the basics of SEO are something anybody can learn to do themselves with a little bit of guidance. In other words, SEO is more of a habit of strong execution more than anything you could install on your website!

By now, you are armed with a four-part strategy to start implementing SEO on your website. It’s the answer to the question, how can I do SEO for my website?

  1. First, do a target market analysis to understand who you want to see your website.
  2. Next, do keyword research and set some goals about which you want to rank for.
  3. Create and publish quality content that targets these keywords.
  4. Monitor the results and adjust as needed.

What questions do you have about doing SEO for your website? Ask your questions in the comments section below!

Image Credits: Benjamin DadaNicholas GreenGlenn Carstens-PetersBrad Neatherychuttersnap