Getting started with search engine optimization can seem a daunting task. You’re starting with nothing and you know you need to build pages of content and links, etc. But this is the part where you don’t look at the big picture. When I began, I was still selling cars in the dealership and trying to do web design and learn and apply SEO techniques. In the beginning, I started with just an hour a day. You can too!
Step one: The topic
Begin by selecting a topic. If your website is already covering a topic you are satisfied with then you may want to skip this step. But you need to keep in mind that you should set realistic expectations in the beginning. When I began optimizing Marlboro Nissan, I didn’t begin with the goal of getting on page 1 for national term’s like “Nissan Dealer“. Increasing your rankings for competitive terms like this is much more difficult than increasing for less competitive terms.
To get the most out of your search engine optimization efforts you should consider your target audience–the people you are trying to attract to your site. You must understand who your target audience is and what they are searching for if you want to be effective.
Before beginning your SEO initiative, you must set goals. This should include how much money you want to dedicate to your campaign. Are you going to hire an internal team to work on SEO? Then you need to determine a budget around how much you want to paying your team and acquiring the tools they will need to be successful. I can tell you from experience that this will yield the best results but will cost many times the price of outsourcing. If you do intend to outsource for SEO, you should set aside a minimum budget of $4,000 monthly for a dedicated SEO professional.
If you put together an internal SEO team will require you to hire people who are proficient in writing HTML, CSS, data analysis, graphic design, server administration, copywriting, link building, blogging, and social media marketing. The scope of your project will dictate how many people you will need for your team and you can always outsource various components of the job.
Writing lots of content will seem like an insurmountable task, but there are a myriad of copywriters out there who can provide well-written content at a reasonable price. There are website where writers even compete for work via an auction system.
You will want to keep up to date with at least the broad strokes of SEO so you know how your team is performing. The best places to keep up with things are on blogs, like this one, SEOmoz.org and SearchEngineLand.com. You can also attend events like SMX (Search Marketing Expo). There are many others and all one needs to do is search and read.
In the next article we’ll be covering Keyword Generation. I want to thank you for taking the time to learn your craft. Also, don’t forget, PLEASE comment and REMEMBER: There are NO stupid questions!