This is the first article in this DIY optimization guide series
Disparaging marketing is easy, isn’t it? No one ever says, “I want to be a marketer when I grow up.” In today’s world though, the distance between marketing and creativity is virtually nonexistent. I know the kind of marketing I don’t like and I made a career of doing marketing differently. Doing marketing differently is easier said than done. Want to get started? It starts with doing something good. The shifts in the business landscape is dictated by demand and quality, not marketing. This is my nice way of saying: it’s very hard to put lipstick on a pig. Be warned, this is not a blog post about viral social media success. This is a guide to help you rank slowly, little bit by little bit on Google.
Wondering How to Do Your Own SEO Step by Step?
If you want the best cheap SEO out there, DIY is the way to go. You can’t do it all, just like you probably won’t make a chocolate soufflé at home but you know you can pull off a German chocolate cake (from the box or otherwise!). There are genuinely parts of SEO that only more experienced online marketers can manage. Handing those over to rank amateurs is a recipe for a disaster… like a Google penalty. On the other hand, there are parts of SEO too that are beginner-friendly. Let’s get started with the fundamentals shall we?
Learn to Create and Carry Out Your Own SEO Strategy
If you have some common-sense, aren’t too lazy and want to know more about your own customers, you too can do SEO! The first thing you can do to improve your online marketing is to carry out keyword research. SEO is part of the content creation process. It’s very easy to “cheat” and create valuable content when you know what people are looking for!
- Master keyword research to get visibility
- Get your keywords for free from Google Search Console
- Review your pop-ups on mobile
- Do this one thing for every single one of your images: compress them!
If you need some help because words like internal link, target keyword, long tail or search volume freak you out, we recommend you still check out an SEO expert or take a course (we offer both options of course!).
Master Keyword Research to Nail Your Positioning
A Word on Positioning your content in Google (aka What Search Engines Look for When Ranking Your Site)
But what if someone else does exactly the same thing you do? What if you can’t beat their price? What if you can’t outserve them? This is typically where “savvy” marketing comes in. When brands claims or product claims overemphasize a non-differentiator so it looks important or when they straight up lie. Here’s looking at the NewsPaper WordPress theme that straight up lies on their claims. Before anybody threatens me with a lawsuit here, I got stuck optimizing this theme too many times to even try to pretend they don’t lie about being “fast-loading” and “SEO-friendly”. I guess this is another tip: test your WordPress themes for speed and accessibility before buying them. Run them through the Google Page Speed Insights tool and check accessibility.
Get your keywords (and maybe those of your competitors while you are at it)
You should absolutely sign up for the Google Search Console. Once you managed that feat, you should be able to access the performance report which lets you download the keywords users types in Google to be shown your content.
But you know what the main problem is with those lovely keywords? Depending on your situation, your problem will be one of these:
- My website is new or badly optimized and I have 0 queries. This problem also works for “I just signed up my site for Google Search Console and there are no queries yet” scenarios. This is problematic because if you will have very little data. What I recommend in that case is checking out your competitors’ keywords with a third-party SEO tool.
- You gain experience or your gut tells you that something’s missing. Google only shows you roughly 1% of your keywords. There are reasons for this but none of them are valid when you are looking for insights. You are right and in that case, I recommend signing up for an SEO tool like SERPStat. Use the free 7 day demo to download your keywords!
- You want to know more about what works for your competitors to help you improve your positioning. Google Search Console won’t ever give you another website’s data. This is not possible. If you want to get marketing insights, invest in a tool like SERPStat or SEMRush (but be careful because their marketing may hound you if you sign up for a demo and don’t become a client).
DIY Search Experience Optimization
Little Known DIY SEO Tip: Review your pop-ups strategy on mobile
Are the pop-ups taking roughly more than 15% of the screen? If so, you may be facing a mobile penalty from Google. Audit your pop-ups and make them mobile-friendly! Want to know more? Check out this wonderful full guide about interstitials and pop-ups.
Check your image performance (one of the most often ignored DIY SEO tips)
Chill. We are not going into technical tidbits here. I just want you to start using your Google Search Console like a pro. Many people confusing Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These tools are not the same thing! We are going to use Google Search Console for this because search engine optimization sometimes can mean optimizing things beyond written content. In this case, we are going to check which images bring you traffic.
You’ll figure out quickly what your advantages are in terms of visuals and videos. No need to optimize everything on your website: start with what works well and optimize what should be working well but isn’t.
Ever Download Unsplash Stock Photos for a blog post?
Chances are that the pictures you upload on your site are HUGE. This causes issues. Do you have a WordPress? If so, do yourself a favor and get ShortPixel OK? It’s a freemium product that’s worth every penny if you decide to pay for it (because you have lots and lots of images on your site). Trust me on this, I can point to quite a few resources that explain why. Here’s the short breakdown:
- It lets you use the fancy new image formats
- It compresses images as you upload them
- It can resize your images if you ask nicely (by checking the box in the settings)
- You can go back and revert if you don’t like what it does to your pictures.
Check Yourself: a tip for small businesses
You could spend a lot of money on social media listening tools or simply rely on a search engine to do the work for you! This is a really good way to kick start your link building efforts.
To do this, search site:yourdomain.com on Google. You’ll get no results if your website is not indexed on Google. Basically, this tells Google you want to search for results only from your domain. It’s very useful if you want to search for a specific keyword present on your website for example.
Hot tip : you can use this but search for all the websites that talk about your brand, filtering out your own domain. To do this type in the search bar: yourbrandname -site:yourdomain.com
If you want to dig in deeper, you can check your internal link report and external link report in Google Search Console.