DIY SEO - it sounds complicated, doesn’t it? But, peer past the jargon, and it’s relatively simple. Don’t get me wrong, for bigger companies, large websites, or websites that need technical tweaks to the CSS or JavaScript, a qualified and experienced SEO specialist can see you climb Google’s rankings. 

But what if your site doesn’t fall into one of those categories? For as little as 4 hours per week and limited upfront investment, you could effortlessly set your site up for SEO success and start to watch the organic traffic to your website grow over time. 

Continue reading below, and you’ll not only get the tips to take the lead on your website’s SEO strategies, but you’ll also get the facts behind some of the more famous search engine optimization myths. 


Content

The old marketing adage “Content is King and Context is Queen” could never be more accurate with search engine optimization. But, how can you be sure that you are providing content that is relevant to what users are searching for? 


Audience Segmentation

If you already have a website, then you more than likely have a Google Analytics account. Using the data there (which can be found under Audience>Demographics) you’ll be able to ascertain the age of your website’s visitors, their locations, and even their interests, this can be very insightful to understanding who your most important website visitors are and what they are looking for. For brownie points, cross-reference the data on your Facebook business page’s audience to see if there are any differences between who you are attracting via Google and on social media. 


Where to Find Ideas for Content

Even if you’re not willing or able to pay for a service like BuzzSumo, there are a multitude of free resources that you can use to help you create content that is relevant, informative, and likely to engage website visitors:

  • Google Keyword Planner

  • Answer The Public 

  • Google Trends

  • Google Correlate

  • What’s Trending on Social Media

  • Search Console’s Data (get the data on what people are searching for when landing on your site)


Are Keywords Important?

Keywords are not as significant as they used to be. And we are long past the days of jamming as many keywords in as possible in a 300-word blog or page. Despite this, Google’s Keyword Planner is still a valuable resource for planning content, especially when it comes to providing context for long tail keywords. According to SEO expert Neil Patel, “As a digital marketing expert, I won’t be looking for ‘SEO.’ I’ll be interested in ‘SEO trends,’ ‘SEO brand success stories,’and other long-tail keywords.”


Schema Markup

Another way to provide Google with more context about a site’s content is to use structured data. In short, structured data allows Google’s website crawlers to understand the complete context of a website. For example, if a law firm that wrote about case law had Schema Markup on their blogs, Google would then know that  Schema Markup uses programming language but that shouldn’t deter any SEO expert in the making, there are a handful of helpful resources out there. Remember to check the Schema with Google’s Structured Data tool.


Backlinks

Ah, backlinks, where marketing efforts converge into one hopefully terrific torrent of traffic. Ultimately, backlinks are a pleasant byproduct of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Backlinks are the connections between two sites where one links back to another--hopefully passing along trust and authority signals along to Google in the process, known in the SEO world as “link juice.” 

There are a couple of ways that website owners can help grow their backlink profile. The first is by feeding Public Relations in their strategy. After all, backlinks from media are good signs of trust and authority to Google. 

The second is by building an engaged audience on social media and providing them with share-worthy content. Which is a self-fulfilling cycle that increases brand recognition, provides more visitors to the site, and increases the chances that other content creators will see and share your content. Did you know that Pinterest is an excellent source of high-quality backlinks that will pass link juice to your site?


Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is all about building up your backlink profile and building relationships.

At its simplest, guest blogging is simply having an external party such as a thought leader or influencer – somebody who has a loyal following – write a post on your blog. In other cases, the role may be flipped where you become the contributor to another blog. Guest blogging is much more meaningful than just the written words, though. Both hosting a guest blogger and being a guest blogger have their benefits.

In the case where you’re the host, by having a well-regarded person contribute a post, you gain exposure. The contributor may likely share the post on their social channels, spreading your brand to a whole new set of eyeballs and provide web traffic.

Flip that around to where you’re the contributor, backlinks become the goal. If you’ve noticed on guest blogs, they typically have a section that provides a brief bio and an important link back to the author’s site. The greater authority the site you're contributing to has, the more valuable that link becomes. And of course, a strong backlink profile is a significant factor in your overall SEO.


Google My Business & Local SEO

If you’re a business that caters to local customers, you’re going to want to make sure you’re your company is found through local intent based searches.

The first thing that you’ll want to do is create or claim your Google My Business account. If you’re unfamiliar, Google My Business or ‘GMB’ for short is the postcard that comes up on the right side of your desktop based search results and the top of mobile search results. It’s super easy to setup and gives your business that extra screen real estate.

By claiming your business on GMB, you’ll be able to provide company details, reply and interact with reviews, and show off company products or culture by uploading photos.

The more robust a profile is, the more context and relevance you’re providing to potential customers.

Another amazing thing that GMB allows to do is connect your company with Google Maps so that when users do a search, your business is populated within their geographical area.

Of course, even if your business doesn’t have a physical location you can still make use of many of the features of GMB.

The last thing to mention about GMB is a relatively new feature, posts. Posts are integrated into the GMB panel and essentially give you a space to connect with users in a number of ways. Posts are between 100-300 words, they give you a space for an image card, and allow you to place a Call-to-Action button. You can even create an event through posts and promote products. Keep in mind, posts expire after one week.

Here’s what Google has to say about their ranking priority, “Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence.”

Local SEO doesn’t stop there, though. When you are integrating keywords onto your site, you’ll want to make sure you use your city or region where appropriate. This includes having your city in the page body, the meta descriptions and page titles. One thing to note, always keep consistent with how your present your name, address and phone number. Going even further, we suggest using schema markup when you add this information onto your site.

While Google My Business allows for you to gather reviews, you should also look to other review sites such as Yelp.

We’ve already touched on backlinks but this is an instance where backlinks from local businesses trump those of higher authority. Of course, you’ll want to aim for backlinks that are both local and high authority. Backlinks play a significant role in search ranking so make sure to place a priority on having a plan to gain backlinks.

Lastly, search engines watch user behaviour. Google tracks things like which search result links are being clicked on and if users stay on the site or jump back to the results. The higher the quality and locally relevant your content is, the better you’ll perform. This includes having descriptive and engaging page titles and meta descriptions.


Search for Video

Do you know what the second largest search engine in the world is? It’s YouTube! That’s right, everybody's favourite channel to watch cat videos on can be used as a search engine too. If you use any video for business, optimizing them for YouTube can bring in additional organic traffic and help improve your campaign’s return on investment. 

Much like Google, the first step to YouTube search success is to have great on-page content. Ensuring that you’ve got a good title, description, tags and keyword list that matches your content’s subject are just a few of the initial optimizations you should do. Specific long-tail keywords should also be employed to expand reach, especially if your content is a “how to”. Of course, make sure to include a link to your website on each video’s description.

According to Search Engine Land, “fresh, newly uploaded content (as well as the latest actions taken by the users) is taken into consideration by YouTube when ranking videos.” So, if your content is longer in length, consider creating a series of smaller videos and releasing them on a weekly or daily basis. Finally, don’t forget about that Call-to-Action at the end of every video to drive viewers to click the link in the description. 

The third major consideration for YouTube is viewing length. If a considerable amount of video viewers exit off of your video very quickly into it, YouTube’s algorithm will likely devalue the content on this video, not allowing it to rank higher and be seen by more. Avoid this by ensuring that the description matches the content of the video, that the video is professionally shot, and that it provides value to the viewers.

Although Search Engine Optimization is filled with jargon and can seem very confusing, it is easy to do DIY SEO once you understand the basic rules. Although paid ads are a more immediate source of traffic and customers, as a website matures having an SEO strategy (even if it is a DIY SEO strategy) is a cost-effective way of adding additional traffic, giving business owners a chance to convert them into lifelong customers.