6 Simple Strategies to Help You Get Started with SEO
A simple introduction to SEO in 6 steps
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization and it involves activities that can vastly improve the odds of your dream customers finding you online—meaning more qualified leads, more dream readers, more potential subscribers and ideal clients landing on your site.
Search engines like Google, prioritize relevant content above all else. When we search online, below the paid-for ads, we find the organic search engine results deemed most relevant by that search engine. The good news is that you don’t have to give Google money to get into those organic results, but it does take some work; you do need to invest in either time or money to achieve that type of visibility. You can hire an SEO consultant to help you, or you can DIY.
A huge part of SEO is your content strategy, and there are activities you can do on your site (on-site SEO) or off-site to build a solid SEO foundation.
Why should I bother with SEO?
Here are a few of the many benefits of implementing SEO into your regular content routine (even getting started with just 30-60 minutes a week can improve your SEO):
You make better use of your website; your existing and future content will increase in visibility.
Planning your blog content becomes easier when you’re strategic.
You gain more control over your marketing messages.
Building a streamlined content marketing workflow will free-up more time.
You empower your audience to make their own choices.
Your engagement and shareability will increase.
Your reputation with search engines and your potential customers will improve.
The chances of your site showing up in a search will dramatically increase.
More traffic and more qualified leads will arrive at your site.
The end result? More clients, more money, and a greater impact.
And, once you get your SEO strategy set up, you can delegate the continued tasks to your assistant or team, or you’ll find that simple, weekly updates are all you need to do.
SEO doesn’t have to be so complicated. Let’s get started with those six simple steps to SEO improvement!
1. Long-term growth mindset
SEO isn’t about throwing random tricks at the wall and seeing what sticks; it’s an attempt to land on page one of Google. It is a long-term growth strategy where you can both increase and improve the quality and quantity of your traffic over time. SEO done right has a wonderful snowball-down-a-hillside effect. You can expect to see improvements within about 3-6 months and beyond, depending on what you implement now.
You started your business as a long-term venture. It may have been sparked by a major life-change, a new outlook, needing a better work-life balance, wanting to make a bigger impact or all of the above. You know that growing (and scaling) a business isn’t an overnight event; SEO can grow side-by-side with your business—it’s often the missing piece of your marketing puzzle.
2. Empower your audience
This step helps you begin to understand the true goal of your SEO. It’s time to let go of any preconceptions—there’s more to SEO than meets the eye.
As mentioned, search engines prioritize relevant content above all else. As a content provider, you want to offer the best, most relevant products and/or services to your customers. In fact, your marketing, messaging, and SEO have relevancy in common too—the goal of SEO is: helping your ideal client find your solutions by providing valuable, relevant, and authentic content.
Not only does SEO help (friendly) search engine bots understand your site’s content, it also empowers your audience. How? Well, when you provide relevant, helpful content for the answers and solutions that they’re already searching for, Google pays close attention. That’s right! Your ideal clients are already searching for the kinds of products/services you provide (and you’d be surprised how many of your competitors haven’t started any SEO yet, so you’re already at an advantage).
Now that we’ve got our end goal sorted, we can get into the juicy stuff—simple strategies and actions you can take.
3. Blog strategy
You’re much better off writing a few high-value posts that answer your ideal clients’ frustrations, needs, problems, and desires, rather than churning out low-quality posts every week. When you write content with your audience in mind, your posts will become packed with value. If you’re in need of help figuring out more about your customer audience, check out these simple strategies to learn how you can write more effectively to your ideal customer.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you can:
Look over comments on your blog and social media and see what questions and insights arise, e.g.:
What’s not been covered yet on my blog?
Are there any new questions or topics I’d like to address?
What insights have been shared on which I now might have a slightly different take or approach?
What search terms would my dream customers use to look for this topic?
Ask questions on your social media platforms.
Prompt your audience to hear how they feel about specific topics, issues, or concept. See what questions come up, and explore the ideas in more detail on your blog.
Give your blog a new lease of life by repurposing old posts.
Another handy research task, especially if your blog is quite new or you’ve already covered lots of topics, is to look over comments on your competitors’ and industry thought leaders’ blogs and social media and use the same questions above. Of course, don’t copy someone else’s content; you can research your industry and popular topics of interest, and then make sure you offer your take on a particular topic. You have a unique voice, so just be yourself.
Once you’re done brainstorming and researching, you can start to plan out a range of post topics—you can even write a series of blog posts series where you delve into subtopics. Remember: write with your audience in mind, and you can never give too much free content away on your blog.
4. User experience
Visitors come to your site with certain expectations. That doesn’t mean you can’t delight them with surprises! Here are some key questions to be aware of, so you can give them an amazing user experience (UX).
Is your niche obvious?
When people land on your site, they potentially came from search engine results, social media, a referral, or something else. Often it’ll be the first time they’ve interacted with your site and, possibly, your brand. How clear is your niche when people land on your homepage? What topics and ideas does your blog explore? Is your niche clear to a new visitor within the first few minutes of landing on your site?
Is your customer front and center?
Even if it’s appropriate for your brand to include personal blog posts, are you thinking of the benefits for your ideal customer? This is the most important consideration for your marketing and content, and it’s particularly crucial to the success of your blog. What desires, goals, results are your customers seeking?
Is your blog reader-friendly?
Keeping your branding ethos (your voice, visuals, and vision) in mind, how can you make your blog clear, scannable, and easy on the eyes? You can improve readability and break up walls of text with subheadings using color and/or font; dark text on a white or pale background; white space; lists or bullet points; occasional use of bold, italic, quotes, images.
Do your visuals represent your brand?
More on visuals below, but are you using images that align well with your brand aesthetic? And are they in the same style for every post?
5. Engagement & Shareability
Improving shareability has a direct impact on engagement, UX, and your blog traffic, plus there are easy ways you can boost engagement too.
Encourage people to stick around by using internal linking to your other related blog posts, and putting a Call-To-Action (CTA) at the end of each post to encourage comments, for example, “What action-step are you going tackle first?”, “Share your insights and questions with me below”, “Did I miss something? Let’s chat in the comments…”
Increase shareability and engagement with your brand by:
Providing easy ways to share your post on social media with:
Sharing icons or a “floating” bar.
Sharing buttons over images (Sumo app works great).
Listing your website across all your social media profiles.
Sharing links to your posts on social media (and tagging anyone you’ve mentioned).
Images that align with your branding
The strategic actions above are a mix of one-offs and regular actions you can do with every post. Going forward, take time to get your initial workflow set up and you’ll create a time-saving, streamlined process for the future.
Next, the most important question to ask yourself is: How often can I realistically publish blog posts? Be honest! If it’s once a month, that’s okay. Try and develop a regular schedule, but don’t stress yourself out if you don’t always stick to it.
Block out time to batch tasks, and try to line up your content-related tasks in advance. Here’s a quick checklist for regular blog post activities:
Blog post checklist:
Solution, desire, goal or result-focused
Audience in mind
Tagged accounts or other brands mentioned
So there you have it. My recommendations for building a simple, solid, and successful SEO foundation. There is so much you can do before we start looking at the “tech” side of SEO, like keywords and metadata (hint: even those aren’t as techy as they sound). I’ll look forward to sharing those with you soon, but in the meantime what part of your content strategy are you going to whip up first? I’d love to chat with you in the comments below. Let me know, and I’ll reply!
Danielle Zeigler is an SEO + Digital Marketing Strategist who helps passionate business owners STAND OUT (without selling out) in a crowded online space.
She’s on a mission to help entrepreneurs & small business owners harness their strengths, personality, and energy to grow responsive, thriving tribes of exactly their right people. Because it IS possible to tackle your marketing with authenticity, grace, and ease, and still get results.