SEO Steps: How to Do SEO Step-by-Step to Create a Killer Strategy
Did you know that over 70% of people research a company on the web before deciding to buy or visit?
If you don’t have a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place, people won’t find you when they’re doing their research. You’ll lose out to competitors who are already harnessing the power of SEO.
Okay, so you know you need to build an SEO strategy — but where do you begin?
To help you get started, we’ve created this guide that lists the nine SEO steps to follow to help you get your strategy in place! Here’s a preview of the steps:
- Identify a list of keywords
- Look at what’s ranking for your keywords
- Create content
- Link internally
- Optimize your title tag
- Optimize your URL
- Earn backlinks
- Improve your site’s load time
- Deliver a mobile-friendly experience
Keep reading to learn how to do SEO for your business! And if you want to get the latest tips and tricks for marketing your business online, subscribe to Revenue Weekly!
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What is an SEO strategy?
An SEO strategy is a plan that outlines the steps you’ll take to improve your search engine rankings. With your plan in place, you can optimize your website to rank better in search results to drive more qualified traffic to your site.
SEO step-by-step: 9 steps to launch your SEO strategy
Ready to get started with SEO?
Here are nine SEO steps to help you get started:
SEO Step #1: Identify your keywords
If you want your site to appear in relevant search results, you must optimize your pages for relevant keywords. When users conduct research looking for a business like yours, they use keywords to help them find companies that offer what they need.
Using a keyword research tool like KeywordsFX, you can find dozens of relevant terms to integrate into your pages. For example, if you own a candy store and want to rank for searches like “homemade chocolate candy,” you can plug that topic into KeywordsFX and find relevant terms.
When you see your list of keyword options, focus on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords contain three or more words, like “homemade chocolate bark candy.”
These keywords are best for your SEO because they help drive more qualified traffic. For example, if someone searches a short-tail keyword like “chocolate,” they could be looking for nearly anything related to chocolate, from frosting to candy.
On the other hand, with long-tail keywords, like “homemade chocolate bark candy,” you know exactly what they want to find.
Once you identify relevant terms for your page, you can integrate them throughout.
You can put keywords in your:
- Body text
- Image alt text
By integrating applicable terms throughout your page, you’ll put your business on the fast track to ranking for relevant searches that drive qualified traffic to your site.
SEO step #2: Look who’s ranking for your keywords
The next part of this SEO step-by-step guide involves seeing who’s ranking for your keywords currently.
There are two critical benefits to looking at who’s ranking for your keywords:
- You understand who you’re likely to compete against in search results.
- You understand what ranks in search results.
Let’s look at these two components more.
You understand who you’re likely to compete against in search results
As you learn how to do SEO, you discover you must compete against dozens of other businesses to get the top-ranking positions in search results. By looking at the search results, you can get a good indication of who you’ll compete against for rankings.
You’ll want to pay attention to businesses that repeatedly appear in search results for terms you wish to rank for in search. If you look at the search results for multiple similar keywords, you can see who repeatedly shows up in the search results.
When you understand who you’re competing against, you can better create content that outranks your competition.
You understand what ranks in search results
Another reason this SEO step is critical is that it helps you understand what’s already ranking in search results. If you want your pages to make it to the top of the results, you must know how to format your page to help it rank in search results.
For example, if you look at the search results and see many listicles ranking, you may want to use the same format for your page. On the other hand, if the page is more like a step-by-step blog post, you may want to follow a similar format for your page.
By looking at the search results, you can determine what information to include so your pages can rank better in search results.
SEO step #3: Create content
If you want to know how to do SEO, start by creating content. Content creation is a critical component to helping you rank in search results — if you don’t have content, you don’t have anything to rank in search results.
To help drive traffic to your site, create informative and helpful content for your audience.
Some of the best types of content for helping you rank in search results includes:
You can also use content like video and infographics to help enhance the experience on your content pages. In fact, you’re 53 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google by using a video on your page.
When you create content, you want to focus on industry-related topics.
For example, if you own a candy store, you’ll want to discuss topics like making certain types of candy or what candy is best. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be relevant for you to create content on building a bookshelf or the best ways to care for your lawn.
Keeping content industry-focused enables you to drive more qualified traffic to your website.
As you start creating content, keep in mind that you want to create content frequently. When you publish content often, you drive a steady flow of traffic to your site and help new leads discover your business through varying topics.
While a blog post on making chocolate bars may not interest someone, a blog post on why candy is sour could interest that same person. People have different needs and wants when it comes to content, so publishing diverse, industry-related content can help you entice these people to visit your website.
SEO step #4: Link internally
Next in this guide on how to do SEO step-by-step, let’s look at internal linking. So, you’ve created your content piece, and everything looks great — your text is informative and lengthy, you have fantastic visuals, and you’ve integrated your call to action (CTA) to get users to take the next step.
You’re just missing one thing — internal links.
Internal links are links you place in your content that lead to other pages on your site. These links are critical when you create new pages because they help Google discover additional pages on your site if it hasn’t already.
For your pages to appear in search results, Google must crawl and index them. Your internal links can help Google discover these pages, visit them, and then crawl and index the pages. It’s a great tactic to help your content appear in search results.
Not to mention, internal links help keep visitors engaged on your page, too. People can click on your links and visit other pages on your site, which keeps leads engaged on your page longer and can lead to higher rankings.
SEO step #5: Optimize your title tag
Next on our list of steps for creating an SEO strategy is optimizing your title tag. When users conduct a search and find relevant listings in the search results, the first thing they see is the title tag. The title tag provides your audience with a preview of what to expect on the page.
Let’s say someone searches “How to make chocolate nonpareils” — which title tag do you think people would be more likely to click?
Title Tag A: 5 Easy Steps to Make Chocolate Nonpareils
Title Tag B: Making Chocolate Nonpareils is Easy
If you said title tag A, you’re correct!
Title tag A tells the searcher precisely what they’ll find on the page. They can expect to see a list of five steps to make the candy.
On the other hand, Title tag B doesn’t tell the reader much about what to expect. Sure, it’s great that it’s easy, but what type of information will the page provide? Will it provide users with tips, steps, a guide?
If you want to get this SEO step right, follow these best practices:
- Stick within the 60-character limit so your title tags don’t get cut off and leave searchers hanging
- Use your core keyword within your title tag, preferably as close to the beginning as possible
- Use power words like “free,” “spectacular,” and “killer” to entice people to click
- Be clear and concise with your title tag
SEO step #6: Optimize your URLs
Next on our list of steps for creating an SEO strategy is to optimize your URLs. Your URLs are an essential part of your SEO because they provide search engines and users with context to your page.
Imagine you’re visiting a website on how to create sugar-free chocolate bars. If you saw this URL, would you have any clue what to expect on the page?
The answer is no — this URL provides no context or helpful information about the page.
Now imagine that same page had this URL:
This second URL is detailed and provides readers with a clear idea of what to expect on the page.
When you optimize your URL, make sure it’s clear, concise, and integrates your core keyword.
SEO step #7: Earn backlinks
When you earn backlinks, you help boost your site’s trust and authority. It sends a positive signal that you have reputable information on your site. Not to mention, these backlinks send traffic to your site, which can help boost your page’s ranking in search results.
To earn backlinks, you must create high-quality content. High-quality content is informative, helpful, and provides all the information searchers want to find. Once you create your high-quality content, you want to share it with industry authorities to get them to link to your content.
You can also find broken links on others’ sites and provide a link to your content as a solution. It’s an excellent way to earn backlinks for your pages and help drive more traffic to your site.
SEO step #8: Improve your site’s load time
Next in this guide on how to do SEO step by step, let’s look at improving site load time. As you add more pages and content to your website, you want to ensure they don’t slow down your site’s load time. If you have a slow-loading website, users will bounce from your site and return to the search results.
If you have a high bounce rate, it will send a negative signal to Google and adversely impact your site’s ranking in search.
To ensure you deliver a positive user experience, focus on improving your site’s load time.
You can help your site load quicker by:
- Reducing redirects
- Enabling browser caching
- Reducing image file sizes
- Using a content distribution network (CDN)
SEO step #9: Deliver a mobile-friendly experience
The last of the SEO steps we’ll cover is mobile-friendliness. If you want your content to rank in search results, you must have a mobile-friendly site. Google now uses a mobile-first index, which takes the mobile version of your site into account when ranking your site in search results.
To ensure you deliver a mobile-friendly experience, integrate responsive design into your website. Responsive design ensures your site adapts to whatever device a user uses, whether it’s a smartphone or tablet.
You can also add mobile-friendly elements to your site, like thumb-friendly buttons or a hamburger menu navigation, to deliver a better user experience for your audience.
By having a mobile-friendly site, you’ll keep prospects engaged on your site longer, which will help increase your site’s ranking in search results.
Need help with any of these SEO steps?
When you look at this SEO step-by-step guide, you may feel overwhelmed with everything you need to do to improve your site’s ranking in search results. But, if you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry — the experts at WebFX can help you optimize and manage your company’s SEO strategy.
With over 20 years of experience, we’re a trusted partner for building SEO campaigns that drive results.
In the past five years alone, we’ve driven over $2.4 billion in revenue and over 6.3 million leads for our clients. You can feel confident our team of search engine experts will craft a campaign that helps your business thrive online.