Going into SEO can be a scary thing, especially if you’re a new Blogger or Webmaster. To help make it simple, here is a guide on how to start an SEO campaign, written in plain English, and using an affordable tool to help measure, monitor and track your success.
To get started with your SEO campaign, you’re going to need to do some things. The first starts with the necessary Google tools you’ll set up and use. (Don’t worry, they’re free.) Then you will develop a keyword and content strategy that will lead into your link building.
We’ll help you with measuring and tracking your results, building your backlinks and then what to do to keep your website growing.
- Google Tools
- Keywords and Content
- Link Strategy
- Measurement and Tracking
Once you have your domain and hosting, you’ll need to install the tracking code for both Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. They both have simple instructions for verifying your url and installing code. By going into the design or widgets section of your website, you can copy and place the tracking code in the footer of your website.
As you advance your SEO skills you’ll learn why these are important. You may also want to get a Google Adwords account so you can do keyword research for free using the Google Keyword Planner.
Keywords and Content
This is where you need to have a plan that is mapped out and stick to it. The first thing to do is write down 50 article ideas that can fit within the topic / topics of your site.
Next, log into Google Adwords (if you have created your account) and find keyword variations for the terms for which you would like to rank.
Think of three or four main keyword phrases, (i.e.“blue widgets”, “green whatzits”, “purple whoseits” and “yellow yesits”.) Once you have these, find 7 or 8 long tail variations of these phrases. To do this you can add on colors, words like “buy” before the keyword or add words like “online” after the keyword.
“Blue widgets” can become “Buy blue widgets online” or it can become “Where can I find the best blue widgets online”.
Editors note: From here on out we are going to be using UpCity as a tool to help with the rest of your intro to SEO. It is an affordable and easy to use tool that can help you save time while maximizing your efforts.
UpCity SEO Tool Screenshots
Now, take a few of the 50 article ideas and outline them so that they can be very detailed and informative pieces of content. By having these as high quality resources, you can create content that people will want to link to and share. When you have the articles you’ve selected, assign one high volume keyword from your list to each of the posts.
Make sure that as you write the content, you focus only one or two specific keywords per article and the variations of them. Those will be the only articles for which you should be trying to rank those keywords.
Now take the resources and link other keywords you want to rank for to their articles. As these articles gain authority, they will be able to pass “link juice” to other pages to help them rank.
As you continue to write new blog posts and articles, make sure that whenever you use some of the main keywords and phrases, you link them to the page you want to rank for those phrases. This is called building an internal linking structure. You can also use modifiers to help provide variations of the phrases to the search engines.
You’ll also want to take these keywords and enter them into UpCity. You can always add more keywords as you want to track more variations and as your site grows.
UpCity will automatically track where your site ranks for these terms in Google and Yahoo/Bing. You’ll also get a weekly, color-coded report showing your site’s progress. I have two screenshots below from two clients using this tool. You can see their progress and also when we added more keywords.
Now that you have your keywords assigned to your content, and you have your amazing content live, it’s time to build backlinks. Here are two very popular and proven methods to do this.
- Start by researching content relevant sites. (Sites whose readers and current content are all about the same, similar or complimentary content to the article on, or the topic of your website).
- Draft an email that makes a unique comment that is relevant to only their site so that the owner knows you have read it. Then you have a few options.
- You can pitch to write an article for them and reference your website in it.
- You can mention “I loved this post because of XYZ”. I also found this resource on XYZ site (insert a link to your content) as well as this one (insert a link to another good piece of content you don’t own) and think it may be able to better help explain (insert topic from their post that you want the link from that isn’t sourced).
- Draft an email with a direct request for a link and explain why. This tends to not work as well.
Directories and Social Media Sites:
You will want to go out and claim your social media profiles before someone else does, as well as find content relevant directories. A content relevant directory is one that only has outbound and inbound links to and from sites within your niche. If your site is about blue widgets and a directory links out to green whozeiwhatzits, purple doozies and something adult oriented, skip over it.
If it only has competitors, sites with similar content, and doesn’t link out to adult, payday or pill sites, it could be a good fit. UpCity has all of this already built in for you so you can easily find, submit and track progress with directories and the top social media sites.
Below is a screenshot with the UpCity tools to help with creating, tracking the progress from submission to these sites and for when they go live. They also offer a giant selection of directories, social media sites and options across the board. It is up to you though to determine which ones are good fits for your business and SEO and which are not.
Measurement and Tracking
Now it’s time to start measuring, monitoring and tracking your efforts. Although SEO can take months before you see any results, by having the keyword ranking reports mentioned and shown above, monitoring Google updates like Penguin and Panda, as well as keeping a record of which links were built and when, you can start to determine what is working, what caused rewards and penalties, and what you should continue to do, try to repair and what to leave alone.
The important thing here is to use Google analytics and sort by landing pages and organic traffic. If you notice a large increase or decrease, check the box to compare to a previous period and then see what pages were rewarded or penalized by sorting on the clicks or visitors columns. From there you can look at the links you built to the pages that gained or lost traffic, the copy you updated on them and either replicate the process to help other pages gain, or repair the damage if your pages lost traffic.
UpCity can help with this by including links in the sales CRM tools, as well as comparing it with the reports in Google Analytics mentioned above.
Now that you know what is working and what is not, you have an easy way to see the results of your work. Start repeating the strategies that are helping you. You can write more copy, build more links, and watch as your website begins to climb in the search engines.
SEO is a huge and scary thing to try and tackle. Luckily, there are affordable tools like UpCity to help you through the process and get yourself started. By properly mapping out your content and keywords, creating solid resources and finding relevant sites to link into it, you will be on your way to helping your site rank better in the search engines.
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