I have been managing websites for over 10 years. I have been lucky enough to work with some of the best SEO agencies in the world. I have also been in the position where I have had no budget for SEO and had to optimize the site myself. Certainly, if budget permits, I recommend hiring professionals for SEO. For those of you that don’t have the budget for SEO, I will share a step-by-step guide for what you can do to optimize your website for search engines.
STEP 1: Inventory analysis –
- Review your website carefully and make a list of keywords you think are relevant . Maintain this keyword list in a spreadsheet, you will be adding to it regularly as you build your knowledgebase.
- Talk to your boss, your sales department and your executives.1 Explain that you want to optimize the company website so it performs better with the search engines. Ask them for the words they think are the most important. what words they think you should focus on.
STEP 2: External analysis –
- Visit your competitor websites. Make a list of all the keywords they are targeting. This can be done by viewing their source code and reading the meta data and use tools such as SpyFu and SEMRush.
- Review your list of keywords you put together from your internal analysis. I am confident a handful of those keywords will really stand out to you. Now, search for those keywords and look at the websites that rank well. Google Trends or KeywordDiscovery are great tools to identify some related search phrases that you may not have considered.
- Using Google Adwords, document the search volume next to each keyword and sort highest to lowest.
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STEP 3: Keyword mapping –
- Using a spreadsheet, in column A, make a list of every primary URL on your website
- Open your keyword spreadsheet / workbook and start at the top (keywords with most search volume) and in column B of the URL spreadsheet, add 3-5 keyword you want to target for each page.
These first steps are time consuming but critically important. In my next post in the series “Drive traffic to your website with SEO,” I will cover using the information learned in part one to optimize your website.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.
1 Don’t skip this step because at the end of your optimization process, you will likely be showing reports highlighting positive impacts. These executives are going to measure you on the keywords they asked for, and often times the keywords they request are too competitive to get organically and don’t convert anyway. You may want to consider running a PPC campaign for those keywords around the time you are showcasing your SEO results. Let the PPC campaign run a while and if they don’t give you a quantifiable ROI, you have data to back why you are not focusing on those keywords.