I've been fortunate enough to run SEO projects from small startups all the way to Fortune 500 companies and I can tell you from experience it is never easy to begin doing SEO as a business. The reality is that there is so much information out there that for anyone trying to take the first steps you are guaranteed to waste effort in areas that won't produce results.
Set the right goalSEO is very unique in that success pays off exponentially more as you become more successful. A top 3 ranking is going to send a lot of traffic but 11th will send almost nothing. Furthermore, Google has consistently made changes to guarantee big brands will rank even if their sites have extreme problems that would not allow smaller sites to rank at all.
Eye tracking study of Google SERPsThat means that any SEO plan that doesn't involve being an authority online is missing the core value of SEO over any other marketing medium. The real benefit of SEO is that it has the potential for the lowest cost per customer acquisition of any marketing channel. If the end goal is to simply get a modest directly measurable ROI a big SEO project is setup to fail from the beginning. Consider looking at other marketing channels particularly paid marketing or just getting a basic technical plan for future SEO efforts.
For low authority sitesIf you haven't developed your business as a top authority on subjects relating to your core business there is a huge gap in what you could be getting out of SEO. The bottom line is that every SEO plan for a low authority website needs to include becoming an authority. These are examples of strong plans for developing authority:
- Create such compelling content that the viral traffic you receive is profitable without search rankings
- Optimize your PR to get links out of your placements
- Run events that can break even and focus on social engagement of the participants
- Use your well known and expert employees and executives to create content for big publications, organizations and events
- 11 employees total and their authority was built while there were fewer
- 81 Domain Authority
- Top ranks for extremely competitive terms like "mockups" and "wireframing tool"
- Seemingly no SEO optimization done
Websites with authorityOnce your website already has authority you have a choice to make:
- Optimize search engine's ability to crawl your website and correctly rank you for your areas of expertise
- Invest in growing your authority or expanding into a larger topic niche/industry
OptimizeNote that what we're trying to do here is make sure that we aren't losing out on areas of expertise that we deserve to be ranking for. Unfortunately, search engines are far from perfect at crawling websites so it's your job to ensure that you aren't causing problems. To start you want to understand the key ways websites are crawled and put into a search engine, you must understand:
- What is relevant content for the terms you want to rank
- How a search engine crawler finds and indexes every page you would want to rank
- What keywords your indexed pages target