Yes, it is possible to self-learn SEO. And yes, it isn’t that tough either.
However, it isn’t as easy building a high-traffic website or blog. That will take a LOT more skill, experience and savviness.
Ok, now for the big secret to a high traffic website:
Your website has got to meet ALL the criteria below:
- The website should provide sufficient value – if you don’t have anything of value to offer, figure out something else to do; you’d be wasting your time and that of the few visitors who land on your site, spare everyone the trouble! Think of what value you can offer, then only start.
- It should ideally be targeted to a very very specific niche set of people – you can’t be everything to everyone, focus on a subset of people who would most benefit from what you have to offer; forget about wanting to be like your “big competitor”, first try being better than your “smaller and more focused competitors”
- Consistently adding value (consistency is key) – show commitment to your audience that you’re always on top of things. This WILL lead to:
- Higher visitor engagement which will lead to
- Repeat visitors (loyalty) which will lead to
- More people talking about you (links) which will lead to
- Increased referral traffic from links and social shares which will lead to
- Better SEO
And all of the above will lead to a high traffic website that gets traffic from search engines, referrals, and social shares.
“That’s all good, but I can’t get traffic without SEO when I’m starting out. I need SEO.”
That’s the biggest myth ever! You don’t need SEO to start off. Yes, get the basics right, not going to stop you from that. Optimize your pages, put in your target keywords, get the HTML sorted, Page Speed optimized and internal links optimized. However, reality said, there are a lot of people who know all that stuff and do it already. So, doing all that won’t necessarily get you the first place and you’ve got to be realistic about that. Those are necessary SEO checklist items you need to take care of.
For truly great results from SEO and otherwise, you’ve got to build something of value and promote the hell out of it. If it truly is valuable, the word will get around. But it’ll take a LOT of promotional and marketing efforts. And wait…when you’re going about your marketing efforts keep SEO in mind. Every marketing opportunity can be an SEO opportunity which can help your rankings in the long-term.
Examples of how you can convert marketing opportunities to SEO opportunities:
- If you’re getting mentioned by others, request specifically targeted anchor text in how they link to you;
- If you’re guest posting, be sure to include links back to your site.;
- If you’re being interviewed, request the interviewer to write a bit about you as well and link to you.
SEO is as much about marketing and relationship building as it is about getting the technical aspects right. So always keep that in mind.
Understanding what a search engine is looking for (most of the time)
Search engines reward your site if:
a) Your page is relevant to the search query (obvious, but is your target page really relevant to your target term, think about it! Look at your page again.)
b) Your site has established itself as some sort of authority on the subject matter (you’ll realize you have a lot of work to do for this)
c) The page has witnessed some sort of growth/ virality /engagement and has attracted some links and mentions on the web (this is where you need to focus on attracting links and mentions)
d) The content is updated enough to be “more relevant” than any recently updated sites for the search term (think about your pages as being more than just a one-time write and forget piece but rather something that needs to constantly evolve)
e) Your page can answer not only the searcher’s immediate query but also any related question the searcher may have in mind (topic depth is important and you want to have content that addresses any other question the searcher might have, search engines are smart and can tell the intent behind the query and whether your page satisfies that intent or not)
So, what should you do right now?
1. Understand the basic technical aspects of SEO. This is not the hard bit. Some useful resources:
Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz
SEO: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners by Kissmetrics
2. Ensure your site has the basics of SEO implemented
3. Do your keyword research properly. You want to be realistic about the terms you choose to target. There are many keyword research tools out there but I’m going to be selfish and recommend you check out Mondovo – it’s an arsenal of SEO & Social Media tools put together in one platform and there’s a keyword research module out there that can help you out in figuring your target keywords.
4. Develop your content around your target keywords. And build around a lot of related keywords; have related content that would address all possible intents the user might have when searching for your target term.
5. Provide value. Build things of value. It could be written content, a tool, useful guides, etc. but it has to provide true value.
6. Promote, promote, promote. You first want to get traffic from other sources. This validates whether you’re on the right track. If your content isn’t much appreciated, then you need to constantly re-evaluate your strategy.
7. Once you’ve validated that what you’re doing is being appreciated, market your site with SEO in mind. Guest post on other sites, get people you’ve built relationships with to talk about you, do anything and everything that’s possible to get people to link to you and talk about you.
8. Consistently provide value.
9. Consistently update your content.
10. Consistently promote.
It’s easy to understand but not easy to execute. But it’s worth the effort once you get it right! And so you should never give up.
So those are some things you want to keep in mind when trying to build a high traffic website. It’s definitely possible to do it on your own. And it’s something that many have achieved as well. Since there are only a few that will keep trying and persisting, that’s a rare quality, you could be one of the few that actually achieves it.
And remember, you got to constantly promote your site at every opportunity. Having said that, do check out😉 On a practical note, SEO tools are useful when you want to research your competitors, track how well you’re doing, audit your website for SEO issues and to spot trends and opportunities in your space. Mondovo does help in all those areas.
This answer was originally published on Quora out here, so you could read the original version here. You could also follow me on Quora for any other useful answers I may publish there in the future. Or you could subscribe to our Blog’s Newsletter (another angle at promotion 😉 always try to capture your audience in one form or another, if not as a lead, then at least get them to subscribe to your updates or like or follow you on your Social Profiles)
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