First Steps in SEO

by | Apr 12, 2022

SEO – your first steps.

You may be wondering why some of your competitors are appearing in google searches and you are not and you are wondering where you should start in terms of drawing more attention to your website – particularly when it comes to keyword searches. In the perfect world you want someone “googling” for a service you offer and always finding your website appearing on the 1st page of searches and ideally nearer the top of this search list. Its a competitive world out there and you dont want your competitors to be always a step ahead of you in such searches. SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation ) is about taking the right steps to improve your “ranking” in such searches. As “Google” is the Number 1 search engine in Ireland, then starting with ensuring your website is ticking all the right boxes in terms of being google compliant and friendly is a great place to start your SEO journey.

In this article we are talking about your first steps into SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation) Stepping into your first SEO project and completing this phase will ensure you are much better positioned to decide whether you need further ongoing SEO support or if you wish to start managing what has been set up in this 1st month.

Planning your 1st SEO Steps.

SEO is a long term game, that seeks to align your web content with what those using search engines are looking for – with the objective of not alone getting more visits to your website but getting a better “ranking” because there is no point in drawing lots of visitors if the visitor does not find what they need.

This is a long term game and once your website is up and running it is worth investing a spend to get you started on this road – at any point on the journey you can choose to take over the SEO role yourself or continue to use SEO expertise as you need.

YOUR SEO Partner

For those of us who specialise in SEO, there are few things more frustrating than a client who wants instant results on a tight budget. Our objective here is to draw a picture of what is involved, so a client fully understands the objective, the process and how to measure the effectiveness of what has been done. This involves a strategy and the patience to see this through.

Prioritise

Because this is your first step into SEO it is important to prioritise the SEO tasks

Our imaginary Client

For the purpose of illustration we illustrate a 1 month initial SEO Budget for “Salon Martina”

Their target clients are millennials and Gen Z and they are happy that their offers and products are well placed to keep this target market happy.

In terms of SEO they are starting from scratch……

They are not an international business, their market is relatively local.

They have not undertaken any SEO work to date.

They dont rank well for relevant keywords ( e.g. Salon near me)

They dont have a google business profile

We have indicated we recommend 30 hours of SEO work be undertaken as this is a first time SEO undertaking. We charge €60 per hour – so that would require a budget of €1800 (ex VAT) . – you can choose more or less spend, depending on your business needs. See below as to what could be undertaken with a budget of this value.

Our objective it to show that prioritising specific steps will set the foundation to building a quality SEO platform for the business and will build confidence with the client as to how the money is spent and how the effectiveness of this spend can be measured.

The Salons objective is more revenue generated by more clients.

In short the salon will measure the effectiveness from the number of phone calls received and and appointments booked. We will support this with analytics that tract activating on the site at commencement and which can be measured at points afterwards, each week, each month, etc.

Showing up on google is important to the client and our conversations with the client is advising that SEO is the best way to rank well over time on Google.

So now we agree a fixed time period to undertake this work ( minimum should be over 2 to 3 consecutive months – to allow you see the impact of work carried out) – at the end of which we will see where the website is at and the client can decide how they want to proceed after that.

Business: Hair Salon, Monthly Budget: €1800 ( month one) Hourly Rate €60 – Hours allocated 30 . Timeline : 1 month

KPI: increase the number of phone calls received and bookings on their online booking form.

 

Phase 1

( includes website structure study, competitor comparison, improvements in user experience and fixes if required)

We begin by running a technical audit of the website. We dont know the history of the website and we dont know if there are any issues that may impede the SEO work we undertake. So we want to ensure we dont undertake SEO optimisation on a website that needs initial fixing. This is the foundation stone on which we commence our SEO work. It takes a couple of hours to run this audit and we then prioritise which errors are the most important. Time taken for this Salon project 3 hours. (Depending on the website there may be other requirements, issues with “copy and paste “ content, website reputation, effectiveness of existing content, etc. ) We focus on fixing technical issues in week 1.

We look at the prioritised list and break the prioritised fixes into 2 lists, short quick fixes and more time consuming fixes and we start with the “critical” fixes e.g Pages not passing mobile friendly test, pages blocked for indexing, slow loading, etc.

Based on available time we allocate 4 hours to this work and intend to fix them in week 1. Server setting issues delays this and it take an additional 2 hours that run into week 2.

Week 1 estimate 7 hour. Time taken 9 hours. Time left 21 hours

Phase 2 ( Tuning and amending, adding content and improving existing content)

This week priority is to setup google analytics, google search console and google business profile. It takes 3 hours to set these up and submit a sitemap. Google business listing required claiming by website owner ( I asked them to do this on day one and this has now been done). I update listing with correct content.

Time taken 5 hours Time left 16 hours

Phase 3

Its time to do research on competitors, keywords and content. I estimate 10 hours work on this and its a competitive business and lots of competition for keywords. I determine best keywords for this website. I compare site with competitors to analyse gaps and see better ranking websites are producing lots more content. ( I keep this as an item to discuss with client, if they are willing to undertake this ongoing or how they wish to address this ).

Time Taken 8 hours Time left 8 hours

Phase 4

Focus this week is on the keywords identified for this website and which we want it to rank well for. We will use both on page and off page SEO. ( Off Page and off site SEO requires involvement by the website owner – creating relationships with suppliers, manufacturers etc to build their credibility in the market – and if the website owner gets named by suppliers and manufacturers then this adds to credibility- getting involved in events with these suppliers cab help) .

We start with optimising areas including site structure, improving user experience, and crawlability.

I spend some time optimising image sizes to improve site speed. I add meta tags, headers and body copy focused on keywords and lead generating and finish by returning to the Google Business Listing to optimise content

Time spent 8 hours Time left 0

Finish

Our objective is to communicate the value of work undertaken, the value of work client can undertake, and suggest other SEO work for them to consider.

At the end of this SEO project check the sites performance and provide a detailed report to the client covering:

– our findings

– what client can expect from work undertaken

– recommendations for the client to undertake ( in this case content – posts and blogs relative to the objectives)

– recommendations for continued SEO work.

In summary our “Salon” has created a great foundation stone that allows them monitor how their “ranking” performs as a result of this work ongoing and will allow them tweak content ongoing and retune the keyword focus if required in the future.

Summary

We hope that the above example gives you some insight into what SEO does, how it is undertaken, how it is very specific to each client and the importance of setting objectives and a budget and measuring at the end of each spend as to what has been achieved and what else might be considered.

Planning your SEO work on a similar method to above allows you control your spend within your budgets and allows you step back and measure the effectiveness of what has been undertaken.

SEO is ongoing – your competitors may change strategy, once you have set up your first SEO project correctly, this allows you measure and monitor and you can decide to revisit your SEO updating at intervals that best meet your needs including taking a break for a month or two and revisiting and trying how effective different sets of keywords impact on your SEO ranking.

Talk to us today about getting your website pages noticed for the right reasons

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