Search Engine Optimization

The First 5 Steps to Getting Started in SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be an overwhelming responsibility, especially when you consistently see articles announcing its impending death. Dramatic much? The term Search Engine Optimization might soon become outdated, because, not surprisingly, people want to be marketed to like people, not robots. It’s becoming increasingly important to write your content for human beings to read, and the days of practices like keyword stuffing, link farming, and throwing plain old shit content on a webpage are behind us. Google’s periodic algorithm updates exist for this exact purpose — to toss out the garbage. Unfortunately, sites with quality content can get caught in the crossfire when poorly set up and that’s why someone will always need to be optimizing content and sanity checking the technical aspects of web development. SEO will never “die.” It will simply evolve.

I manage SEO in house and it’s only a small portion of my job responsibilities; so, I’m learning as I go and time-saving tips are hugely valuable to me. Here are my 5 tips I suggest you do pronto when you’re entering the wacky and wonderful world of SEO.

  1. Bookmark www.moz.com. Moz is probably my favorite resource right now. Follow their Twitter @moz (might as well follow some personal handles as well: Rand Fishkin, Erica McGillivray, Jennifer Sable Lopez, just to name a few.) Check out their blog for some great in-depth articles on topics ranging from content and user experience to analytics and security. I also recommend tuning in to their Whiteboard Friday webinars and reading their Beginner’s Guides. It was one of the first things I found when I was researching what the heck I should be doing. The company is full of knowledgeable, super helpful people at all levels in their careers and I really appreciate their approachable nature — a big plus for people who are unsure of their skills and need some guidance. Oh! And catch up on all the Google algorithm updates with their ridiculously comprehensive timeline. The resources never end here.
  2. Sign up for Google Adwords. I rely a lot on Google Adwords tools. There are others out there (Moz even has one) but Adwords is free and really easy to use — all you need is a Gmail account. I don’t currently do PPC, but the Keyword Planner tool is great for research. It’ll definitely come in handy once you’re ready to start diving into optimization and strategy. For now, just get familiar with it.
  3. Subscribe to Search Engine Land. I check this website out pretty much daily. In fact, I have their Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors pinned to my cubicle wall and I suggest you do, too.
  4. Attend a conference. I mentioned this in a previous article on general marketing tips, but I can’t emphasize enough that if you’re lucky enough to afford to get your behind to a SEO conference, then do it. There is nothing more valuable than meeting peers and sharing ideas. You’ll meet so many great resources (and live tweeting during presentations helps you know who to follow and also builds your own social following). Here is a good article from Search Engine Journal (another great resource to bookmark) on some options.
  5. Educate yourself on other areas, not just SEO. Like I mentioned earlier in this article, SEO is evolving. It’s important to know how social media, content marketing, email marketing, PPC, advertising, etc. all intersect with each other and how that relates to SEO. I work really closely with a social media manager, as well as keep up to date on email marketing tools, lead generation best practices, and innovations in web development — all important to my growth in the SEO space.

-Rach