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How to do SEO yourself in three simple steps (with free tools)

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You’re interested in DIY Search Engine Optimization. No wonder. It’s expensive to hire an outside SEO company. Content writing and link outreach are two of the most time- or capital-intensive SEO investments that can yield great results.

It’s possible, and sometimes even preferred, to be a solo SEO. You may want to know more about The Business, before you pay a professional SEO company a lot. You may already have a small website and enjoy writing. You may not have the funds to invest in SEO.

Tools like ahrefs or Moz are invaluable. They are used every day. If you’re new to SEO, buying them now is like purchasing a 60″ 4k TV just to watch old M.A.S.H. reruns.

Try these three steps to get started if you’re interested in DIY SEO. They include links to tools that are free.

 

#1 – Create and submit a sitemap

Googlebot scans every second of the day. Googlebot is a software program that Google uses to crawl the web and create a searchable database of websites.

Sitemaps are files that describe the content and structure of your website.

The sitemap is only for crawlers, not your users.

By adding a sitemap and submitting it directly to Google, you will make it much easier for Googlebots to understand and scan your website.

Google will not index your site if it isn’t indexed. Your site MUST be indexed, and if it changes frequently, then you should have your site indexed on a regular basis.

How do you make a sitemap then? You could create it manually. You don’t need to.

There are free tools available that can scan your site and create a file called a Sitemap for you. Two free tools are recommended to create a website map:

Do you have a WordPress website? Use a plugin.

Use a WordPress plugin to create a sitemap, then upload it. Google XML Sitemaps is a plugin that is regularly updated and used by millions of websites. Let it do all the work.

 

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog provides a free version their SEO Spider Tool. Download SEO Spider to create your sitemap for free if you have fewer than 500 pages.

Screaming Frog is also a lot more than just a search engine. It can analyze your metadata and find broken links, among other things. It is a great tool to maintain your technical SEO.

xml-sitemaps.com

Use xml sitemaps.com for a free websitemap. No downloads or accounts are required. You can create a file of sitemaps if your website contains 500 pages or less. Just enter your URL in the homepage.

Uploading Your Sitemap

You need to do at least two things after creating your sitemap:

Upload the sitemap into the domain root directory of your website.

Add the sitemap to your website. Open the file manager in your cPanel. The root folder is always the public_html folder. This folder is where you should add the sitemap.

Submit your sitemap to Google, and other search engines.

There are several ways to submit your sitemap. This can be done directly via Google Search Console. This is a pretty simple part.

Keyword Research

In order to increase search traffic, you need to determine the most effective language to use for your website. It is important to strike a balance between relevancy, search volume and competition when doing keyword research.

Relevance

What are people searching for when they need something you sell? It is important to determine the keywords that are most relevant for your business.

Always think about your audience. What would they search for and understand?

It can be difficult for business owners to know their products and industries inside and out.

Imagine the general understanding of your offering.

Search Volume

The search volume is the number of searches performed on a phrase.

Ahrefs, for example, is one of many paid SEO tools that provide valuable data on search volumes.

Try Keyword Surfer if you’re looking for a quick snapshot of search volume using only free SEO tools.

The Chrome extension provides you with search volume information for keywords when you are using Google.

You’ll get ideas and data about keyphrases that are related to your query. It can be a useful tool to discover new keyphrases that are worth targeting.

 

Competition

The competition is the other search results ranking highly for the keywords that you are trying to rank for. Ranking high for a keyword that is highly competitive could require more time and effort than you are willing to invest.

It is difficult to estimate the level of competition without the help of paid tools that can calculate roughly the difficulty in ranking keywords within the top 10.

It is best to focus on “long-tail” keywords. This means longer, more specific keyphrases.

Long-tail keywords have lower search volumes, which correlates to lower difficulty.

Searchers who are interested in specific queries and more likely to convert will also be attracted by long-tail keywords.

Consider the differences between “mens slim wallets” and “wallets”.

A person who searches for “mens thin wallets” will be closer to purchasing a wallet than a person searching for “wallets.”

This traffic is still valuable even though it has fewer searches.

It’s easier than ever to achieve high rankings!

Keep in mind long-tail keywords if you do not have access to tools which give greater insight into your competition.

The Meta description and title tags should be optimized.

Use your keywords in the meta description and title tags.

This text is valuable for SEO. These lines of text are the most direct and plainest description of your website. They are important.

Include your most important keywords as part of the title and meta description.

It’s also a good idea to include your city or state in both the title and meta description if you are a local company.

You can also test your writing abilities by using meta descriptions and title tag.

This is the first impression that you make on visitors. This is like your online storefront.

These should be both informative and compelling.

These two examples are both informative and have strong calls to actions: “Shop Men’s Leather Wallets”, “Upgrade Your Style”.

The first description contains a lot of information: the brand name, the product and any shipping or return details.

Second, the second description is a style argument that places durability and style at the forefront

These are both good examples of meta descriptions.

This is the point:

Title tags and meta descriptions should be carefully written for every page that you want searchers to find. Title tags should include the unique keyword for each page.

Please do not use the same keyphrases on different pages.

You’re only competing against yourself if you target the same keyword phrase on multiple pages. Do not do this.

 

Headings

Use your keywords in the titles of your pages.

Headings, like meta descriptions are important real estate in SEO. Use the same keyword that you used for the page’s title tag or meta description.

It is important to pay attention to the words in the title tag and meta description.

I saw once a page rank number one for fireworks in a city, even though their business had nothing whatsoever to do with fireworks. They had “fireworks”, for some reason that is completely unknown, in their title tag. This is the type of influence that a title tag has. This also shows how little competition there was in the area for “fireworks”.

 

What’s Next?

This guide has so far focused on simple and inexpensive DIY SEO starter steps.

These tactics can help you lay the foundation for SEO. They will not get your website on page one of search results, unless you are in an area of the Internet that is a true backwater (i.e. no competition).

You need two things to rank highly against actual competition:

Content.

Backlinks.

It IS possible to perform SEO on your own if you are serious about it.

What is the problem?

Both require a lot of time.

It’s impossible to avoid it. To get results that are worth your while, you need to put in the time (or pay someone).

Backlinks and quality content are essential to ranking for keywords that are competitive.

Backlinks

Google’s search engine results are heavily influenced by backlinks.

Backlinks are when another website links to your webpage. Google will treat this as a vote for your page’s quality. Google is in the business to serve quality results. They’ll place quality stuff at the top.

Writing and posting quality content is the best way to gain backlinks.

This means creating useful content that is relevant to your audience, or audiences adjacent. You can use blog posts, videos, infographics or podcasts.

You can naturally get backlinks if your content is good, easy to share, and well-promoted. This is less likely if you are just starting out.

You can also encourage people to link to your content.

Imagine you have a blog about baking and you create a super-intense and awesome guide on the different types and uses of wheat flour for bread. White whole wheat. Semolina flour. Strong flour AP (all-purpose) flour. All the good stuff.

Contact other sites that would be interested in your content to ask if they are willing to link back to you.

Some people won’t respond or will simply say no. You can convince them that your content is valuable to their visitors by making a persuasive but pleasant argument. Have good content.

You can also find out more about the content on this page.

Backlinks and good content are closely related. Good content can get you backlinks.

Adding relevant content to your website regularly is also helpful.

Search engines will take note of your site’s credibility and worthiness if you regularly update it.

We still recommend blogging to those who are serious about SEO.

A blog that is active allows you to add new content regularly to your website.

You can target more long-tail keywords with a blog and increase traffic to your website.

You can produce content that will boost your SEO if you are a writer, an expert in the field, and have time. You can do it. This is a rare trifecta.

In SEO, you’ll pay a lot of money for content and backlinks. It takes time and experience to create good content. Outreach for backlinks requires a lot time and a methodical approach. No software can make writing good content easy.

After DIY SEO

If you try DIY SEO, you can accomplish a lot. You can complete most of the work required to achieve a high ranking if you have enough time.

Give us a ring if you want to bring your SEO up to speed. Every day, we do both local and national SEO. Our bread and butter. All of the above and more are our tactics. Okay, pitch is over.

 

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