If you’ve landed on this page, then you already know what SEO is. We’ve seen all the marketing gurus and tech experts talk endlessly about the importance of SEO, but are they right? Can you forgo SEO early-on in favor of creating great content? Or will skipping SEO now put you way behind later on?
When is the best time to start SEO on your website? The best time to start SEO on your website is right now—immediately. The more content you create, the more difficult it will be to correct all your content at a later date. Structure your webpage or blog correctly today to set yourself up for future success and less technical work.
SEO doesn’t have to be difficult and starting SEO today only requires a few simple tweaks. You can do all the work yourself with a little time invested and a touch of know-how. Let’s get to it!
When is the best time to start SEO on my website or blog?
You should start an SEO strategy immediately. SEO isn’t a nebulous or scary process. It simply means that you are purposeful about the way you are presenting your content to search engines.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
The general idea is that search engines want to scan/crawl your content to learn about the content. In other words, search engines want to know what you are doing on your website. If they have an idea of what your content entails, they can send relevant traffic to it.
That’s how Google or Bing knows to send people searching for shoes to shoe websites and people searching for golf clubs to golf websites. Their business is escorting you to the results you are looking for.
After crawling your site, search engines will determine who well your content fits specific searches. The more relevant your content to the search, the higher in search results you’ll rank.
In essence, having a strong SEO game will enable your website to rank better.
Just like any other resource with words (magazines, books, flyers, etc), you want the reader to understand your content clearly. The more junk you put on your site, the harder it becomes to have quality SEO.
You wouldn’t know it, but I began writing this blog with a whole list of technical tweaks you can make to your website to increase performance and web crawling and blah blah blah. Bad idea!
I realized that I’d be making the same mistake as many other “SEO Must Do” website articles. Not gonna happen here. You want to do the big things that make the biggest difference.
Keep it simple stupid: The best advice I could give any website owner is to start creating better content and produce it more often. Write better posts that are more helpful than your competitors and do it more often.
Let’s start with the biggest, baddest SEO action you can do right now.
Where to start with SEO
Here’s the deal: SEO isn’t rocket science. It might seem intimidating, but it’s not. There are thousands of websites that have invested very little technical effort with thousands or even millions of views. I’ve seen websites with little to no money invested rank for thousands of keywords.
Take for example Dirtbikeplanet.com which has insane amounts of traffic. It’s not overly fancy nor does the site have advanced SEO experts working on the sites internal code behind the scenes. But they do create TONS OF HELPFUL CONTENT.
You really have two choices: create AWESOME content and/or LOTS of content. There it is. Big bright lights! And, if you are really good, you’d great A LOT of AWESOME CONTENT.
Let me give you an example of both websites that produce a ton of content and websites that produce awesome content (no copying OKAY!!)
A LOT OF CONTENT approach
Cuteness.com – Cuteness is a website that is basically an animal question resource. They currently have 9000+ articles on their website. It’s a monster of a website. We’d consider this in the “A LOT OF CONTENT” category.
There isn’t anything special about this website other than the adorable animals plastered on every blog. The idea behind this website is to post content consistently. That’s it. There isn’t any rocket-science coding here or technical voodoo. Just good ol’ fashion blogs piled on top of blogs.
|Estimated Traffic Per Month||Number of Keywords Ranking|
Based on the data form Serpstat, they are raking it in. Being that they are an ads based website, they would hope for around $10-$20 per 1000 page views based on their traffic tier. It could be lower or higher.
That would bring them an estimated $94k-$180k per month on traffic ads alone. Their affiliation with Chewy would bring them even more revenue. Any affiliate products they are linking to would bring them even more. They might even have sponsored posts which would bring them more money.
AWESOME CONTENT approach
Backlinko.com – Backlinko is owned by traffic expert Brian Dean. It isn’t fair for me to say there isn’t anything special about this site, but this truth is, it’s refreshingly basic. The landing page is short and there are only a couple hundred pages on the website with really helpful blogs.
It’s a great site and a great resource for marketers. And the reason I bring it up is because in the world of mega marketing sites, it’s not huge (200+ posts). A few hundred posts is certainly enough to make a great income on your blog, but Brian has built an empire on a few hundred posts.
Brian has raked in serious cash with his posts because they are EPIC posts. Many are long form blogs with unbelievable data, images, and educational information.
Every time Brian writes an article, he is doing so with precision and intention. He isn’t writing just to write, he is writing to rank. His latest blog had 3500 words and was split up into 9 chapters. This man doesn’t play!
|Estimated Monthly Traffic||Number of Keywords Ranking|
With only 200 articles driving 1.1 million visitors per month, he is averaging 5,500 visitors per month per article. That is CRAZY GOOD. All because he creates gnarly content.
Compare that with another SEO guru Neil Patel who has 4,880 pages and 7 million visits per month which averages 1433 visitors per month per page. Brian is getting over 3x more impact from each article.
But don’t get it twisted, Neil is a phenomenal marketer and is simply managing to strike a balance between content production and content quality.
And how about Backlinko revenue? Brian isn’t making money on ads (there are none on the site), but he is making a boatload of revenue with his courses that typically sell for $1k+ a piece.
With a million people coming to his site each month, he isn’t having any issues making income. If he converts .001% of the people on his site (which is ULTRA CONSERVATIVE), he would have 1000 potential customers per month.
Disclaimer: These website traffic results were run through Serpstat and are an estimate. While I believe Serpstat to be a very capable website performance predictor, they are usually conservative. All of these websites mentioned above are probably getting even more traffic, page views, and revenue that estimated above. And probably a lot more. I don’t want to insult these guys by undervaluing their businesses. But the “conservative” numbers are crazy right?
The Big Idea
As you can see above, the big idea is that you need to create content. If you are worrying about your SEO, yet you only have a four page website, SEO isn’t your biggest problem…creating ENOUGH content is your biggest problem.
On the flip side, if you are creating a post every other day but they are only 200 words a pop, then creating AWESOME content is your biggest problem.
Ask yourself this:
Am I posting consistently and are my posts my best work? If not, then reassess your website strategy.
Great and consistent content will win in the long run. Every time.
Easy On Page SEO Techniques
If you haven’t read the first section, do that first. Good and consistent content will always be the most important factor.
After great content, there are some things that can impact your ability to rank and they are easy to fix on your website (On-Page SEO).
Website speed is a big deal. If your site is loading slow, you need to fix it immediately. There are a few ways to measure your site speed to get a baseline.
- PageSpeed Insights: This measures how Google views your page speed (super important)
- GTmetrix: This measures your site speed and gives you actionable insight to fix it
- WebPageTest: This site gives some of the best insights on loading speed waterfalls
What do I do if my website is slow?
Feat not, you can improve this really quickly. The first thing to check is your hosting. Even if you have a bunch of on-page issues or page errors, a slow server will still be the biggest cog in the wheel.
Shared hosting on Go-Daddy, Blue Host, or any other big brand will typically have subpar speeds. I recommend switching to faster shared hosting provider like GreenGeeks or SiteGround.
I’ve used both of these and they are faster than the bigger names. Their support is also top notch and available 24 hours per day. This is worth the small price bump.
If you have some money to spend, both of these companies provide faster hosting services on non-shared server plans. You pay more, but your speed will be even better. I’d recommend this if you can afford a bit more per month. Remember, this is your business and it’s worth the small investment.
Once you get better hosting, that turtle will really start to move!
Improve Your Content Management System
If you built your site on a content management system like Wix, SquareSpace, or Weebly, you’re probably okay. You can probably skip this section.
If you built your site on WordPress, then you might need to cut the clutter. WordPress is great because it has tons of plugins and themes to choose from. WordPress is awful because it has tons of plugins and themes to choose from.
Optimize WordPress in 3 Steps
- Change to a minimal, fast theme: We love Astra. We feel it’s the easiest. Other great frameworks are StudioPress, Scalia, and Adaline. These themes are built for speed. Don’t get sidetracked by all the fancy widgets from other themes. There are tons of after-market site builders now that do all of those things in more. Start with speed, design later.
- Minimize images: Such a simple thing to do. My favorite is Compress JPEG & PNG images. I’ve compared it to other compressors and this one flat out works the best. Images take up SOOO much space and slow loading time immensely. I’ve seen sites where the images are 90% of the reason for the data slow-down.
- Cut down on plugin bloat: Plugins will junk up your site faster than anything else. With a better theme, you shouldn’t need a ton of plugins. If you are downloading widgets for a million different reasons, consider switching over to Beaver Builder or Elementor. They have more than enough widgets to improve your site design without adding more plugins. Not to mention they are SO EASY TO USE.
If you want to get penalized by the SERP police, then have an unsecured site. An SSL certificate will help you achieve better security and search engines will send you more traffic because they will view your site as safer.
If your site has the following icon in your search browser when you are on your website, you have a problem Jack.
The easiest way to remedy this problem is to secure your website. Many web hosting companies will do this for free. Siteground and Bluehost both have free SSL certificates included with most of their plans. If you have another provider, you can always install an SSL for free on your own. Check out this guide on how to secure your site for free.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’ll get dinged again. 70% of all website traffic happens on a mobile phone. This is a big deal. You need your website to work well on a mobile phone.
How to know if my website is mobile friendly?
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your website is mobile friendly. If it is, you are good to go and you probably have a web platform or theme that is mobile responsive.
If your results show that your website isn’t mobile-friendly AND you don’t have the first idea how to fix it, then you probably need to change website themes or platforms all together. Again, we recommend using GreenGeeks, WordPress, and Astra as a great website stack.
Easy Off Page SEO Techniques
After your fixed the big on-page issues, it’s time to consider off-page optimization. But before we get started, I truly believe this happens ONLY after you’ve put up some decent content.
If your website is content based (blog), then you shouldn’t even think about off-page SEO until you’ve consistently brought in 50 visitors per day. Keep writing!
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO are the factors outside of your website that contribute to higher page rankings. There a few big factors that make a difference:
- Links: When other websites link back to your website, search engines see that as a recommendation. And the more popular the site is that is recommending you (authority), the more powerful your site becomes. It’s like if a politician says your name on the Tonight Show, suddenly the world will automatically give you more authority. Search engines are much the same in this regard.
- Social Media: Having social media accounts with a lot of active followers can help your search engine optimization to a degree. This is more the case with Bing than Google, but none-the-less, having an active social following constantly visiting your website from your social channels sends positive signals to search engines.
- Off-Site Content Creation: This is the act of creating content in places other than your own website. Creating content that links back to your site on platforms like Youtube, Pinterest, Linkedin, Medium, and even email can help to send positive signals to search engines and drive in loads of website visitors.
- Meta Optimization: Meta optimization is when you create better headlines and descriptions for your webpages and people choose to click your page over other search results. If you have a WordPress site, downloading All In One SEO or YOAST makes this a breeze. We prefer the simplicity of All In One SEO, but that’s just us.
Will blogging help my website SEO?
Blogging is the most powerful SEO tool you have. Once your website is fast enough, blogging will give you the greatest return on investment.
How blogging builds traffic
Every time you blog, you add another page to your website. Each page you add, search engines like Google and Bing will eventually crawl and index your page.
If you are relying on search engines to send you traffic (we all are), then why not become the kid who sits in front of the class and raises their hand for every question. Your teacher (search engine) will really get to know your voice (blogs).
If your website only has five pages (most websites), then Google really has no reason to think your site is a big deal or relevant. It’s like you started and quit.
If you want to rank over the other millions of websites, then you have to provide better content more consistently. And because millions of other websites fail to do this, you’ll be in a league of your own when you produce good content.
If your website has 500 pages, Google has crawled your website month after month, getting a better idea of who you are why you’re relevant. Yes, this is a popularity contest and you need to accept it.
But you should be excited and here is why: 99% of websites won’t create content beyond their landing page, services page, about us, and contact page. So, the competition isn’t as fierce as you might think.
Don’t fall for “quick results”
If you’ve ever seen promises from SEO companies that promote top page rankings overnight, I’d steer clear of them. To be frank, I’ve actually seen this work. And a few companies are selling a real service that could get your results nearly overnight.
But… you don’t necessarily want quick results in search engines. 80% of your traffic will be driven from 20% of your pages or less. I’ve seen many cases where 90% of the traffic came from 5% of the pages.
Why is that important? Google updates their search algorithm frequently and the updates are typically aimed at providing better results for searchers.
For example their recent “Medic” update attempted to improve health based search results. If you are searching for medical advice for your infant, you’ll be directed to a prestigious institution of physician writers instead of the blog from a 19 year old keyword wizard—updated form his mom’s basement.
When companies try to manipulate organic site growth and drive overnight traffic, Google usually finds out and penalizes the entire strategy. This penalty could get your site banned which is catastrophic to a company. Countless websites have been destroyed by Google’s updates.
Google updates dozens of times each year and sometimes seven or eight times in a month. Marie Haynes updates her website regularly for Google updates. Here is a snapshot of what Google updates look like:
With that being said, you have nothing to fear when you produce awesome content. Google has ALWAYS rewarded great content. And most SERP updates reward great content even further.
My advice: write 100 blogs with an average word count of 1750 on topics that aren’t competitive. You’ll start to see success.
Sound extreme? Maybe, but come back in one year and tell me your traffic hasn’t quadrupled. If you need some proof on blog word count, check out this post on blog word counts. If you need help on finding non-competitive topics, read up here.
If I tell 100 people to go and write 100 great blogs, only two will do it. That’s the hard truth.
But that my friend is good news for you. You’ll be standing alone on the battlefield with your 100 posts. Write 200 blog posts with an average of 1750 words and you’ll get even better results.
To really drive this point home, consider this: five million people will start a website this year and 5,999,990 will stop after a few pages. Will you decide to be the few who keep pushing through?
Caveat: I’m not picking on “fast results” from blogging. I realize the more authority you have the quicker your website will rank. I also realize that underserved search inquiries can result in fast rankings. This is all true. I’ve seen it.
The point is that you should focus on creating A LOT OF GREAT CONTENT and your rankings will follow. Don’t be sneaky. Don’t take shortcuts. Do the work and receive the reward. The majority of your traffic will come from the posts that required thought and effort.
How can I optimize my blog for SEO?
Optimizing your blog page isn’t complicated at all. If you follow a few simple rules to structuring your page, you’ll be set.
If you look at how I structured this page, it’s super easy to duplicate.
5 steps to optimizing your blog for SEO
- Make sure your page title is an H1 header. Most website builders will do this automatically for you, but some page builders allow you to select H1-H6 and/or paragraph. Your title should always be an H1.
- Put your keyword in your title. While this isn’t as important as it used to be, it does help people click your website over other websites in the search results. You want to be relevant and this is a great way to show people what your page is about.
- Break up your blog with H2 headings. H2 headings are the paragraph headers. The table of contents at the top of this page are my H2 headings. Notice how this blog is broken up into different topics. This helps the reader better consume the content.
- Break up your paragraphs into shorter breaks. If you read through this blog, you’ll see that I’m not typing in full paragraphs and this is purposeful. Not only is it easier to read in smaller chunks, but the user experience is much better on mobile phones where huge blocks of text look terrible 🤮🤮🤮.
- Use images, graphs, data, tables, emoji’s, videos, and other media. Writing tons of words are great, but if all you have are huge walls of text, your post will get boring in a hurry. Remember, people are viewing Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix and hilarious GIF’s on text ALL THE TIME. If your throwing 3000 words at them without any interesting breaks, they are going to leave for more exciting media.
How many blogs do I need to improve SEO? As a rough estimate, 60 solid blog posts will begin to generate some traffic if your topics are well chosen and your content has enough depth. Longer-form posts tend to perform better.
How long will it take for my webpage to see SEO improvements? Most blog posts on new websites take eight to nine months to experience traffic. On more seasoned websites, the results can come much faster. If you are just beginning your content creation journey, be patient.
You are new and now is the time to prove to search engines you are here to stay. The best way to do that is to write a few blog posts every week. It will be worth the time and patience.