Today I want to give you a bit of a ‘behind the curtains’ look into how search engine optimisation (SEO) specialists work to get business sites closer to the top of Google.
If you have anything to do with marketing your company, it’s probably something that’s come up at least once as something you need to look into.
Hopefully it makes the process a little easier to understand – especially if you take on the task yourself or you choose to engage an SEO specialist to help with your website.
The good news and some helpful links
First, if you’re thinking about getting someone to do your SEO and you have even a slight technical interest – eg. you simply feel comfortable navigating your website’s backend and posting articles to your blog every now and then – then I have good news.
It is completely possible to do your own SEO with a bit of focus and self-education.
The best starting point is Google itself (https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7451184?hl=en), closely followed by this guide by SEMrush (https://www.semrush.com/blog/semrush-guide-to-seo-for-your-blog/) and another produced by Moz (https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo). SEMrush and Moz are both online software tools for search engine marketers.
Also, full disclosure: Wyatt Media pays for access to SEMrush’s services and gets no favourable treatment or incentives from them for this post.
Alright, back to it!
As an example, I’m going to follow the process for my business – Wyatt Media.
Let’s say I want to get my site higher up Google for searches relating to search engine optimisation experts.
This is a good example, because it can play out over time as my site goes through what would happen for any of my clients if they release a new product or service.
Step 1. Keyword Research
The first step in SEO is researching the terms people are using already, and picking terms I want to target. These terms are called keywords.
Because not many people know me, I’m going to focus on the broader SEO category. Now. This is a blank slate. I have no pages right now relating to SEO on my site, and I mention the phrase once on the ‘What we do’ page.
I’m based in Brisbane, so I want to make sure people can find a local SEO expert. But I don’t want to ignore SEO work that could come out of Melbourne and Sydney.
So I fire up SEMrush and go to the Keyword Analytics tool to type in ‘SEO’. In another window I search ’Search Engine Optimisation’ to see what gets used most by people searching.
Interestingly, everyone seems to be using ‘SEO’ in their searches, and Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide related searches trail the vanilla ‘SEO’ term. You can see an interesting trend here. In SEO, searchers use the term first, then the location (eg SEO Brisbane instead of Brisbane SEO). Funnily enough, when I test that search option, I see that ‘SEO services Brisbane’ gets just under a third of the searches that ‘seo Brisbane’ gets, but people are advertising like crazy there at just under double to cost per click.
I decide that I’m probably going to try to rank for the ‘seo brisbane’ keywords.
Before I commit, I decide to check SEMrush’s ‘Keyword Magic Tool’, a handy way of seeing related terms and identifying any useful trends or difficulty information.
It shows me some interesting stuff – ‘SEO brisbane’ is reasonably achievable at 46% keyword difficulty (essentially outranking the top 20 google results for the term). I see that ‘local SEO brisbane’ seems to be trending upwards and has a similar keyword difficulty, so I decide I’m going to try and rank for ‘SEO brisbane’ and ‘local SEO brisbane’.
Now, I set up a project in SEMrush and add the domains I want to track my progress against. Simple – I just search ‘SEO Brisbane’ in Google and copy the domains into the project, add my two keywords to the project and fire it off.
At the end of my research, I’m sitting at over 100th from the top of Google for ‘SEO Brisbane’ and have a lot of work cut out for me.