Those of you who know me personally, know that whenever possible, I like to offer small businesses (especially start-ups) real value and the opportunity to make your own website a success for no cost to you. So I am writing this article in response to my many sole trader clients who are committed to learning how to rank well in Google.
OK, so you have no budget at all for SEO… and you aren’t a tech boffin. Don’t panic because you can still SEO your own website if you have these three things instead:
- An editable website (CMS) or blog
- Willingness to read widely and learn
Firstly a few words on learning how to SEO your website for Free…
The good news is that SEO isn’t rocket science or voodoo. SEO isn’t so technically difficult that it is beyond the average business person. SEO isn’t too difficult for you to learn.
However, the first fact for you to accept is that there are many factors that help rank your website (http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors#overview), not just one… regardless of what your taxi-driver tells you. So accept that fact that SEO isn’t about a magic bullet. For example, if you change your domain name, you might still not rank number one. If you simply register 200 domain names you won’t rank number one. If you start a blog you might not rank number one. If you buy software from an SEO “guru”, you might not rank number one. There isn’t any ONE thing that you can do that will make you number one. There are many, many factors that help your website ranking. The point is, accept the fact that there are many factors and it can take time.
Before I continue, if you still believe you only want to make just one change to your website to rank well, then call an SEO expert. That is the only single action that I can think of that will really impact your rankings. Basically, you will be paying someone else to do the work… and that is absolutely fine if you are time poor and you have the budget. In fact, that is probably the best action you can take, but if you have no budget for SEO then read on…
Doing your own SEO
So, you still want to learn how to SEO your website for free. Then remember you must…
- be prepared to read widely
- be prepared to commit some time regularly to your SEO tasks
- be patient
- be prepared to start with one or two actions.
Of course in one blog post, it isn’t realistic to learn everything there is to know about SEO. However, there are a few factors that we find have the greatest influence on search results. These steps will help you better optimise your site to improve your search rankings.
3 Steps to DIY SEO
At the risk of oversimplifying an entire industry of SEOs, here are three of the most useful and simple SEO tips that I know…
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research will make sure your time (on the next two steps) is well spent. Think about your target audience and what their needs are. Then try to step into their shoes and try to think what they would be typing into a search engine to find the service or product that you offer. This will give you an insight into what keywords and key phrases you should be looking to optimise your site for.
There are also free tools available to find out how many people use particular search terms (see below).
2. Update your site to provide good content for your customers
Improve and expand your onsite content by writing blogs or articles that use your keywords. This is a key component of on-site SEO.
3. Make sure the Search Engines know your site is there
Get links to your website. Look for free online directories, relevant forums and any other legitimate ways to get links to your site. We call this off-site SEO.
Once you start reading and finding out new things about SEO, you might find you need help of an expert with some of the more technical aspects of on-site SEO. If you get stuck, by all means contact us. We can help you with some free advice, undertake some on-site improvements or provide a highly competitive quote for a complete SEO service.
If you are keen to find out more yourself about SEO, here are some resources to get you started.
- Google Insights for Search – http://www.google.com/insights/search/
- Wordtracker – https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/
- SEOMOZ – http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo/keyword-research
- SEOMOZ – http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo/how-usability-experience-and-content-affect-search-engine-rankings
In general we find that these are reputable information sources: