Welcome to the world of SEO

Congratulations! You’ve just built your first website and are ready to hit the market and hopefully make some money. 

Maybe this new site is a side-hustle. Maybe it’s a bonafide business that’s intended to generate leads and be your primary source of income. Regardless, at some point you’re going to have to figure out a way to market it. But according to Siteefy, there are 250000 new websites being created every single day. That’s a staggering amount of content to sort through and from your perspective, 1000’s of potential competitors you’ll be up against. At least when it comes to online presence and yep, you guessed it, Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of building your website and generating content in such a way that allows the various search engines to a) find (index) your website and b) put it in front of anyone that is searching for content related to your website. That’s pretty much it, albeit a much simplified explanation. 

Where it starts to get complex is when we need to start considering how your site is built, is it structured in such a way that users can easily discover your content, is the content useful? Is it providing value to to the user? Does your content want to make the user continue to engage with your site and possibly take an action that can lead to a sale? 

The world of SEO is actually quite a lucrative industry with so many tactics, strategies and changes to consider. Don’t even get me started on AI. 

From your perspective and in the interests of keeping this as simple as possible, if you are at the point where you need to start thinking about online marketing and investing some time toward SEO. Here are some high level things to consider:

1. It's all about the content

Have you hard the saying ‘content is king’? It’s true, content is king. But let’s expand on that a little more by saying ‘helpful content is king’. It’s no longer about how much content you have on your site but rather, is your content going to help answer questions a potential customer might have or does your content have a clear intention? Regardles of what content or how you display your content, if it’s not going to add any value to the person reading it, then don’t waste your time adding it. Less is more, especially if you’re able to get your point across succinctly. 

2. A good experience is just good branding

How many times have you searched for something in the search engines and have found a site that potentially answers your query only to click on that search result and then have to wait seconds – dare I say – minutes, for the site to load. 

If your site takes a long time to load, chances are users are going to leave and find another result meaning you’re missing opportunities to satisfy a user search query and potentially generate engagement. 

Having the best looking site in the world doesn’t mean squat if the load times sabotage your websites potential. 

Make sure when you’re building your site, you are constantly testing the performance speed to make sure you’re fixing any issues that are causing high load times. 

Google recommend Pagespeed Insights .

There’s so much we can talk about when it comes to page experience and the overall performance of your site but for now. Let’s just focus on being aware of it. 

3. Page 1 search results take time

When you’re just starting out what I find becomes the most disheartening for clients is when they’ve been trying and trying to make changes and updates to their website but can’t ever get to Page 1. 

And how many spam emails are you getting from random agency’s promising you Page 1 on Google as part of their pitch? Here’s the harsh reality! Never trust any agency that promises you or guarantees you Page 1 on Google straight away. For every single search query, there’s usually 1 million results. Google and most of the other search engines will only display the Top 100 results (usually about 10 pages). Getting to Page 1 is incredibly difficult and there are a plethora of factors that influence how high you rank and how long it takes to rank in the top 1-2 pages. 

Quality content that’s valuable is a great start plus offering a great experience to your site visitors will definitely help. But consider this. If you are entering a highly competitive industry, chances are it’s already saturated with competitor websites all trying to say the same thing you are, just their own versions of it. 

So be patient, have a plan and manage your own expectations.

4. Have a plan

I can’t begin to explain or tell you enough just how important it is to have a content strategy or a plan for marketing your site in place. Building the site and getting it to look great is only the start. Traffic is absolutely not a guarantee and you will need a strategy in place to identify who it is you want to target online, how you’re going to get their attention and then what actions are you going to take to make it all happen? 

If you haven’t already, you should know who your direct competitors are. This includes brands that you can align with and cross-promote with. Every website online that does what you do – IS YOUR COMPETITOR!

What kind of content do they produce? What are users typing into the search engines to find them? How often are they producing new content? What’s the socials like? What keywords are they targeting (more on this later). You need to know all of this information. Having a strong understanding of your direct competitors also helps you to understand your market. And having a strong grasp on the market makes planning all the more impactful. 

You will want to have the following data points captured in your content plan/content strategy (however you like to call it) for a start.

  • What blogs are you going to produce for the month? And how many.
  • For each topic, who are the top ranked competitor articles and what are the common things they’re saying?
  • Which blogs are you going to promote on socials and identify which platform to promote them on (this all depends on the audience you’re trying to capture).
  • (Not necessarily SEO) What content are you going to produce for the socials and how often?
  • Depending on the topic, what images are you going to use? Will you be creating videos to support the topic?
There are sooooo many great resources online that go into the content strategy/plan in depth  and from what you can probably tell, the planning of the content strategy will be the most time consuming so take your time to get this part right. The by-product of all this planning means you’ll eventually be an expert – if you weren’t already – in your industry.

5. So let's talk about Keywords

What are keywords? Well, keywords are the words, phrases, questions, statements, sentences, etc that a user will type into the search engines with the intension that Google and the rest will present 100 search results that the search engines believe best matches the user search query. 

When most people talk about SEO, it’s more than likely that they are referring to keywords, keyword research and keyword management, etc. 

Keywords are incredibly valuable from a data perspective that identifying which keywords your competitors are placing in their content to rank for that keyword and they also help us understand trends, how content performs seasonally and when used in the correct manner, can help search engines match your content to the relevant user search query. 

However be warned. If your focus starts to revolve around what keywords you add to your content and not creating quality content first and THEN naturally adding in any focus keywords. You will always most certainly be outranked by competitors who prioritise creating high quality, useful content vs stuffing a whole list of keywords just to rank. 

The search engines are becoming so sophisticated in how they process the language in content these days that as long as your content is clear and is not ambiguous, will rank anyway for the intended keywords, even if you don’t have them included in your content. 

SEO can be really intimidating for the uninitiated and it’s a multi-faceted specialization that takes years to truely grasp. However, that doesn’t mean you have to rush out and get an agency straight away.

You can get yourself off to a great start and begin setting your website up for success by following those 5 steps. 

Just remember, focus on creating high quality content that’s going to be valuable and useful to anyone who discovers it organically. If you start trying to create content purely for the sake of ranking as high as you can or using AI tools for the sole purpose of ranking, then you’re always going to be outranked by your competitors every day of the week. Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to email us.  

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And I still need help with all of this SEO black magic