SEO Research

The First Step for SEO: Research

Just like any task, preparation can make or break your strategy. Research is the first step to SEO to know how to build your effective SEO strategy. Effective SEO research includes the following:

  • On-Page Analysis of your own site
  • Keyword research
  • Competitor Research
  • Social Analysis
  • and Search Engine Saturation

So, now you know what to do, research. But HOW? All of this requires you to know coding languages, magic spells, and to have copious amounts of caffeine right? Not at all. The key to a successful SEO in the research phase is having the right tools. Here are just a few of the tools used at W3 Affinity for successful research. Most of these are free, I’ll make sure to label them for you with links if you click on them:

7 Tools for Effective SEO

  • Google Adwords Keyword Opportunity Tool (Free) – Use this tool to find out search volume on keywords that people are actually using on Google. This is a great way to discover content that you’ll want to create, how to write your copy on your website, and maybe even help you see that maybe people don’t search for your services by technical terms.
  • Moz Open Site Explorer (Limited Free) – A great link analysis tool for you and your competitors. This tool will help you understand where you stand.
  • Woo rank Page Analyzer (Free to try) – Covers a variety of on page ranking factors, this tool is very easy to use and understand. It has tool tips near all of it’s grading factors, with importance being noted next to the tips as well.
  • GTMetrix Speed Testing (Free) – Site speed is very important, GT Metrix combines YSlow & Google Page Speed checker into 1 unique tool that grades you based on your code quality & structure.
  • Hubspot Marketing Grader (Free) – A great tool to see how effective your site is online. I use this to get a broad understanding of a site.
  • Webmaster Tools for Bing & Google (Free & Free) – The cornerstone of effective SEO is knowing what the Search Engine thinks of your site, this tool has crawl errors, site analysis and keyword ranking all in one place.
  • SEMRush (Limited Free) – The best competitor research tool I’ve come in contact with. It’ll give you link analysis, keyword analysis and traffic estimates!

Ok so now you have a few tools under your belt, you’re starting to look like a super hero. Know that these tools above are just tools I prefer to use in my research of a website, the aren’t the only ones out there, nor are they the only ones that I have in my arsenal. There are many paid tools that are designed for programmers and techies alike that have large fees built for companies like W3 Affinity to manage and research multiple websites, and aren’t designed for the small business owner to operate. That’s ok though, you’ve got the key tools above now to get an effective plan together.

Time to Use Those Tools

Alright, with all these tools, what does an effective plan look like? You’ll want to gather a list of 10 or so keywords that you want to target using the Google Keyword Opportunity Tool. These should be longer tailed (multiple words) while broad and cover the variety of services you offer. This will help you align your content to build an effective website to cover these topics. Build out pages on your website in a way that makes sense, and using the keyword data you’ve found you should begin to make text that answers the question or issue of those keywords. Make sure each page sticks to one topic and make the content unique. Once you’ve put the content into your site, head over to the Hubspot Marketing Grader & Woorank tools and grade the pages one at a time and make recommended tweaks to improve your content’s value. Once your content is optimized, its time to speed everything up, head over to GTMetrix and start making the tweaks they recommend to improve your page speed, like optimizing images, alt tags, moving java script and various other tasks they’ll recommend. Put all of theses tasks into organized lists so that you can get them done in an orderly fashion.

The true key to an effective SEO plan is research, but the secret to that key is that you’re always researching. You’ll never be done looking at competitors, keyword opportunities, and making adjustments to your website. New technology will arise, new security risks, new ways to improve your speed, and the list goes on. So continue researching, stay ahead of your competition and succeed.

Take this with you…

My last piece of advice before starting in on your SEO journey. There is no “right way” to do SEO, or quick and guaranteed results out there. There are Webmaster Guidelines to follow in the Google Webmaster tools and beyond that, it’s experiment and analyze. So try different things, get social, test, analyze and re-test. Don’t take shortcuts, they’ll hurt you in the end.

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