The do-it-yourself SEO Journey

Following on from my last post, I am now making good on my promise to keep you informed with my SEO journey.  Like many of you I juggle with the day-to-day process of running two businesses and being company secretary on another, helping out friends and colleagues and generally living. Therefore, if you don’t outsource the SEO for your website and say you will do it yourself to save the money, what I’ve discovered is that you need to set aside time specifically for this task!  Running a business and looking after your customers is hugely time-consuming. Building up a substantial SEO profile is also time-consuming, an hour a week in the beginning is just not enough.

So, I sit and look at my very, very long list of keywords gleaned from the Google keywords planner. There are thousands! It would be silly to try to fit all of those keywords into the copy on the website, so I will try to identify perhaps three keywords/phrases that I will concentrate on and I decide to start on the homepage text. (Only another 26 pages to go after the homepage!)

Before I started, I decided to explore tips and tricks that others have used, so a quick internet search for “SEO tools”  This, in itself is a time-consuming exercise, and after an hour or searching from one forum to the next I hit upon I had stumbled upon this site the previous week and had read a brilliant article, so I decided I would stop here and work through some of the recommendations.

So, first things first.

I have a new website – lets audit it. By this I mean I want to have a benchmark of zero – new site, no back links, no ranking, but as I optimise the site I need to be able to chart my progress. I’ve downloaded FREE the Website Auditor –  I must confess, even with the free version, I’m instantly reminded that I’ve not paid enough attention to the onsite meta data. So for the next hour, I go back through the Content Management of the website in order to ensure that the Meta Data is in place. In an hour, I didn’t manage to finish all the pages. I think this is something that I need to keep addressing. This is a relatively large website and some thought needs to be given to this, so that each page contains relevant data. Two hours down and I still haven’t started crafting the copy on my home page!

Next on my list is to identify the key phrases for which I want to be found and then to take steps to re-write the copy to optimised the home page for these three phrases. Another hour and a half, continuously crafting the copy and then checking with the Website Auditor allowed me to see an improvement on my optimisation rate from 35% (which was extremely poor) to an optimization rate of 81.8%.

Because I’m not quite ready to launch We Build Websites on the world (we have to relocate offices which will result in downtime and I’m not prepared to leave clients without support for any length of time) I haven’t set up Facebook page, LinkedIn profiles or used any Social Media to promote the site as yet… quite possibly I might chart the pitfalls of this exercise in my next post!

Optimising websites to show up in Google searches

Being found in a Google search
The journey of being found by Google

We Build Websites is aimed at the busy entrepreneur and those who genuinely don’t have the knowledge to create their own site using free tools available on the internet. We believe there is a market for this product, but can’t be sure of that until we get a significant influx of traffic to the We Build Websites promotion site signing up for the product.

We Build Websites is in the same boat as your new website! This website is a brand new website, we want to go through the same journey that you are on. Not by paying vast amounts to an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) company, but spending an hour per week (hopefully that is a realistic target) doing the housekeeping in order to get the website seen by our potential customers. (The chaps here voted me to do this as I have the least experience in SEO! Thanks guys!)

So, We Build Websites, is now live and can be seen by Google*, but now the hard work starts in ensuring that Google starts to display it when people type in certain search terms relating to the website.

This blog will provide a fortnightly progress of the steps we take to optimise the website to be seen by our potential customers. It will take into account

  • the keywords on which we want to be found
  • the online tools we use to measure our effectiveness
  • our analytics results (Google Analytics – a free tool which enables you to measure, among other things, traffic to your website and where that traffic comes from)
  • and, if all goes to plan, we can pass on the tips and resources that will help your website be found by your potential customers.

Wish us luck, the journey starts here!

*NOTE: I’m using Google as a generic term in this post. I do mean it needs to be optimized for all search engines (Yahoo, Bing, Ask, Lycos, DuckDuckGo etc). It becomes quite time consuming to write them all out each time. I’m also aware not every knows that Google is known as a ‘search engine’.