A Comprehensive Guide to SEO: Step-by-Step Instructions

Technical SEO optimizations are essential for any website to rank well in search engine results. This includes the correct use of relevant SEO tags, such as title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags, as well as improving page load speed and the use of structured data. It is also important to ensure that search engines can index all relevant pages. Additionally, users will be more likely to share and link to high-quality content, making content marketing a crucial component of an SEO strategy.

Competitive Research

When beginning an SEO project, it is important to conduct competitive research to determine how the client's website compares to its competitors in terms of the amount of content indexed.

This step is especially important if the client's website is lagging behind its competitors.

On-Page Optimization

Once new, high-quality content has been added, on-page optimization should be tackled next. On-page optimization involves optimizing each page on the website for a specific keyword or phrase. This includes adding the keyword phrase to the title tag and meta description, as well as using it throughout the page content. For more information on this topic, see our article on Page Optimization Basics.

Internal SEO

Internal SEO consists of four main steps: keyword research, site structure organization, content building, and on-page optimization.

Let's take a closer look at each step.

Keyword Research

The first step in internal SEO is keyword research. Google's Keyword Planner is a great tool for conducting keyword research. If you are creating a completely new website, keyword research should be done before any content is added to the site. If you already have a website, it is also a good practice to constantly expand your list of target keywords.

Once you have identified these keywords, they should be used throughout the next three steps: organizing the structure of the site, creating the content, and optimizing the page. For an easy-to-follow 12-month plan that you can use to develop a solid strategy, track your progress, and adapt to changing situations, download our SEO strategy e-book with a full annual plan.

Making Your Site Visible

The first step in getting your site to appear on Google is to make sure that Google can find it. The best way to do this is to submit a site map. A sitemap is a file on your website that informs search engines about new or changed pages on your site.

Learn more about creating and submitting a sitemap.

Measuring Results

It is important to measure the results of your SEO efforts in order to understand what factors are behind your ranking and identify areas where you could improve. Measuring results also demonstrates the value of SEO for decision makers within an organization. Rankings, site traffic levels, social signals, and other key metrics can be compared to pre-optimization levels in order to measure results. There are many other valuable SEO tools out there, but these are some of the best for getting started and helping you learn more about whether your SEO efforts are making a difference.

White Hat SEO

If your pages were not designed according to recent white hat SEO methods, Google will identify it and lower your site's ranking.

White hat SEO involves following search engine guidelines and using ethical techniques for improving rankings. The key difference between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO involves “organic ranking”, which means you don't pay to be in that space. Adding title tags and meta descriptions to your pages is easy with free plugins such as All in One SEO, Platinum SEO and SEO by Yoast.

Content Quality Matters

You can have all the pieces of SEO in place, but if your content isn't good, it doesn't matter because people won't be interested in you.

Quality content should be engaging and informative while also being optimized for search engines with keywords placed strategically throughout the text.

HTML Knowledge Is Helpful

When people read that HTML is part of SEO, they start to get scared, but there's nothing to worry about. Knowing HTML basics can help you understand how search engines work and how they read webpages so that you can optimize them accordingly. Similarly, SEO can tell your marketing team what types of content resonate best with users so they can adjust their campaigns accordingly.

Perseverance Is Key

However, if you persevere and stick to the rules of white hat SEO while also staying up-to-date with animal-proofing (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird) your campaigns, you will eventually taste success with your SEO efforts.

Budgeting for SEO

If you're looking for budgeting options for doing SEO work yourself or hiring someone else to do it for you, you may find that some of your employees are already well qualified to help out with this task. Here we'll guide you through the steps needed to create an effective SEO campaign that will get your site up in the rankings in no time:
  • Create an effective keyword list.
  • Organize the structure of your site.
  • Create quality content.
  • Optimize each page.
  • Use different types of anchor text.

Gloria Foulke
Gloria Foulke

Wannabe twitter lover. Freelance social media maven. Friendly twitter nerd. Hipster-friendly zombie advocate. Avid zombie practitioner. Amateur baconaholic.