Getting started: 7 SEO steps to take first
So, you have landed an SEO job or started your first website?
Congratulations! But what’s next?
What do you do first to hit the ground running? What are some of the steps that you should take right away?
Here is a list of 7 such SEO steps to take first when you start.
1. Run an SEO audit
As an SEO professional, you will soon realize that most websites would have some SEO issues. Therefore, as soon as you start working on a website, it is highly recommended to start with an SEO audit.
See how the website looks and what are some of the issues it has.
Here are some of the common issues that you may find:
- Missing meta titles or meta descriptions
- Missed internal link opportunities
- Orphan pages
- Crawlability issues
- Broken links
- Duplicate content
- Canonicalization problems
If it’s a brand new website, you will probably not run into any of these issues at this stage. But it would still be a good idea to keep an eye out on these issues for later.
We also recommend running SEO audits periodically to find problems.
Whatever issues you do find, however, make sure to fix them before moving forward. Craft a plan with subtasks, stakeholders, and deadlines to keep everything organized.
2. Set up a content management system
The website will likely have some sort of content management system in place. If there isn’t, set up one.
If you are not sure which CMS you should go with, WordPress is arguably the safest and most popular choice.
Once WordPress (or any other content management system) is set up, personalize it to how you’d prefer running your website. You may want to install some helpful SEO plugins, like the Yoast SEO plugin.
Arguably, the most important thing is to settle on a URL structure. Otherwise, if you change the URL structure later down the road, you will have to create redirects — which is something you want to keep at a minimum level.
If you are using WordPress, go to Dashboard > Settings > Permalink to change the URL structure.
3. Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
A search engine optimiser cannot do much if the right data and information isn’t available. Therefore, make sure to install and set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console at this stage.
Here is how to install Google Analytics.
Lastly, it is highly recommended to link the Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts. This integration will give you more in-depth data and unlock valuable insights.
4. Run competitor analysis
This is an excellent way to get started quickly — especially if you do not know much about the industry.
Find a few direct competitors, analyze their website and content infrastructure, find their top pages, identify their best-performing keywords, and shortlist their backlink sources.
Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
If something is working for most of your competitors, you know it’ll likely work for you as well.
5. Conduct a thorough keyword research
Use the information you gathered in the last step and conduct thorough keyword research for your own website.
If competition is high, focus on long-tail keywords more than head keywords. Build your backlinks with those terms, drive relevant traffic, and get the ball rolling.
6. Establish content infrastructure
Now that you have your keyword research, it’s time to think about the overall content infrastructure for the site.
- How many new pages you will need
- What keywords those pages will target
- How you will present them in the main menu and footer
- How will all those pages be interlinked with each other
7. Start creating high-quality content
You’re almost done now.
The next step is to start creating those pages and get that free organic traffic rolling.
It is important to remember that it’s tough to rank on Google’s first page, even for semi-competitive keywords. Not every piece of content will rank in the top 10 positions.
Here are a few guides to help you create SEO-friendly content: