“There’s a Lot Out There About SEO – But Where do You Start From Scratch?”

I recently saw this “how to SEO” question in a LinkedIn group I belong to:

 “There’s a Lot Out There About SEO – But Where do You Start From Scratch? I’m learning the art of SEO and I have a fair understanding of it now after various resources have been searched, but where do you start? The fundamentals.”

Who else has ever found themselves in this situation? When I set out to optimize my website a few years ago, I was in the same boat. So I wanted to share my response with you in case you’re experiencing the same frustrations of how to get started with SEO:

Your question is one I hear often from my small business colleagues and clients. Instead of trying to completely SEO your site all at one time, I would take it step by step. Also, I say that SEO is like tennis. You can read about it all day long, but unless you actually get out there on the court with a racket, it will never make sense. Here is my approach: 

  1. Understand the basics of SEO (which it sounds like you have done)
  2. Do your keyword research
  3. Do your competitive research
  4. Write your keyword rich title tags and descriptions
  5. Do your on page optimization
  6. Wait a few months and analyze through Google Analytics or another analytics program – or skip to step 6
  7. Start doing off page optimization/linkbuilding
  8. Blog if you’re not already blogging (and SEO is that important to you)
  9. Assess your efforts through Google Analytics consistently and see if traffic is converting 

Once you give it some time and see what’s working and what’s not, you can go back and tweak or revise. Good luck! 

How to SEO from Scratch

Hmmm – did you by chance notice my off numbering in the LinkedIn post? Just ignore that! 🙂

Here are a few responses from other group members that I thought were good:

  • “Probably the best place to start is what are your goals with your website? Once you answer this questions it will determine how you go about on-site optimization and off-site optimization.”
  • “The Art of SEO” is a great book to start with.”
  • “I’d add one thing to that very nice list – check the technical as you go. Make sure your URLs are functioning properly. Google won’t serve up pages that are bad, so if you have 404 or 500/ongoing server issues, fix them.”
  • “You home page does not have a meta description which is a very important place to have your keywords. Go back to Jenny’s list above and start with some keyword research and competition analysis. Then write your title and meta descriptions and on page SEO. Wait for a few weeks then analyse your backlinks and make sure you have varied link types and anchor text.”
  • “To monitor back links of your site, as well as your competitors, you can use Open Site Explorer from SEO Moz. They also have a competitive link finder, where you enter the domains of multiple competitors and find which links they have in common.”

What questions do you have about where to start with SEO? Would you add anything to my list?

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Jenny Munn

Jenny Munn is an SEO Strategist who helps organizations get more leads from their website and integrate SEO into their marketing mix. She consults with in-house marketing managers, agencies, and small businesses. Jenny has taught SEO at WordCamp Atlanta, Digital Atlanta, Solo PR Summit, Business Marketing Association, Atlanta Tech Village, and various content marketing and social media organizations.
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