People always ask for SEO advice on reddit.com/r/seo. Something in the vein of:
Sorry guys, total newb here. I’m the IT guy at a small company and my boss told me to make us #1 on Google. Any help would be appreciated.
Usually this is met with similarly well thought out answers from the peanut gallery that is r/seo, but today I saw someone answer one of such questions with something I think anyone looking to do a little DIY SEO would benefit from.
Here it is, care of Reddit user aignam.
Sit down and brainstorm all of the keywords that potential customers might use to find your services. Be thorough. Check your current Organic search traffic in Google Analytics to see what keywords are already bringing in traffic, even if it may not be much traffic. Run this list of keywords through the Google Keyword Tool set to Exact Match and only showing keywords related to your search terms.
These keywords will be a good starting point. Find the keywords that are very relevant and have a relatively high level of monthly searches. “Map” these keywords out to your existing content. Your most desirable keyword should be the target of your homepage, and the other keywords should be mapped up to your other existing pages in ways that make sense.
Install the Joost SEO Plugin and take care of the technical optimization contained in this guide. The most important things are permalink structure, title tags, meta descriptions, image optimization, xml sitemaps, and the duplicate content section.
Use the Joost plugin to edit the Title tags of each page. Write a Title tag that uses the target keyword, makes sense and looks good to people, includes your brand name, and is less than 70 characters.
An example for your homepage (based off zero keyword research) might be: Financial Modeling for Startups | Pinnacle Analysis
Write a keyword-rich title tag for every page, and also attempt to work that keyword into the body text, H1/H2, and IMG alt text for each page. Don’t go overboard or start stuffing keywords, but be thorough and make sure everything makes sense from a human perspective.
Write a meta description for every page that completely ignores keywords and SEO and focuses solely on getting a potential customer to click through to your listing if they were to see it in the search results, and is 155 characters or less.
Use the Joost plugin to generate an XML Sitemap and sign up and verify with Google Webmaster Tools. Submit the sitemap you created. Take care of the duplicate content fixes as per the guide.
Now your site is somewhat well optimized from an on-site perspective. The next move is to figure out what new keyword opportunities you can explore that would lead to good customers. Follow this basic model. Use the keyword research tool to find a keyword that you think would be really good. Google it. Look at the top 10 results. Build/write/create something better than all ten results. Promote the content you created and ask for links. Network with authority voices in your industry and do everything you can to become one yourself. Don’t worry about publishing a blog post every day or every week, necessarily. Focus on creating truly, truly exceptional content that is really adding value to your industry.
Don’t be afraid to give away the “secret sauce.” For example, I think that you could give away some incredible financial modeling templates for startups, potentially offering it as a free download in exchange for the visitors e-mail address and use it as a way to grow your e-mail list. It may seem counterintuitive to offer a DIY version of your services to visitors, but it will position you as an authority and build trust with potential visitors. At the end of the day, there will always be your core customer group of people who want to hire someone to take care of this for them, and either don’t have the interest, time, or ability to do it themselves, and no free download you offer will ever change that, so go crazy with it.
SEO consultants know what to look for when we’re doing keyword research, there are a million more things we could optimize on-site, there are dozens of off-site link building strategies that we can use beyond just creating great content and making friends with people, and we have a clearer understanding of what it will actually take to rank for the keywords you want to target. But if you don’t have a budget to start with to hire someone, the above is pretty much what any good SEO consultant is going to do for you. Source: I am an SEO consultant.