Apart from knowing the difference between SEO, SEM and PPC, I have always wanted to try executing them. Since I have some free time on my hand, I decide to take up a personal project to immerse myself. Since I don’t want to spend a lot of money and neither do most companies, I decided to learn the most cost-effective method among the three – SEO.
As a self-proclaimed full-stack marketer, I want to not only know why a form of marketing is the best option, I want to know how to do it well too. This project is my attempt to self-learn and practice the art of SEO.
My goals for this project is to get the website to appear on the first page of the Google Search Result Page for 2 keywords (not the brand name) and have a constant flow of 50 visitors/day on average.
SEO resources and tools
I’ll be referencing content from MOZ, Neil Patel and SEM Rush to guide me through the process of doing SEO. In addition to the resources, I will also be using the following free tools to help me execute them (it will be updated as I go along).
- WordPress (to set up a website)
- Elementor (to build website pages)
- Asset CleanUp (WordPress plugin for website speed optimisation)
- W3 Total Cache (WordPress plugin for website speed optimisation)
- GT Metrix (to analyse website speed)
- Yoast SEO (WordPress plugin to help)
- Google Keyword Planner (keyword research)
- Google Search Console (monitor SEO performance)
Website setup for the SEO project
I’ll be using WordPress since I’m already familiar with it and also because there are a lot of resources to help solve any problems along the way. To save time on designing the website, I used Elementor, a page builder and one of its templates.
See the final website here: http://azrinhamdan.com/
Website speed, an SEO essential
According to Neil Patel, most users would wait up to a maximum of 6-10 seconds for a website to load before abandoning it. My first SEO step would be to optimise the speed of the website. Before I optimise it, I analysed the current speed to identify the current state and problems it has. I used GTmetrix as it was the most recommended tool with its detailed analysis that allowed me to pinpoint the problem.
Since my website is light and the performance is good, I’ll skip the process of optimising the technical aspects of the website.
However, if your website requires some work, I found this video by Oxygen really comprehensive and easy to follow as it takes you step by step. So if you need to fix the performance of you website, just follow the video.
Revived this blogpost from here on 16 June 2021
Since I got my website’s Technical SEO performance optimised, I’ll shall move on to the next step – keyword research. I’ll be using Moz’s keyword research guide as my resource.
- Seed keywords
Following the Moz guide, the first step was to find & list seed keywords around my product or service. Since my purpose of my website is to share content around digital marketing tips, my seed keywords will be based on that. I decided on 10 seed keywords to start it off (see it on Google Sheets here).
2. Keywords list
After deciding on my 10 seed keywords, I had to expand it to find keywords related to these seed keywords. Since I wanted to only use free tools, I used Google Ads’s Keyword Planner tool to find the keywords. For this step I had to put in each seed keyword into the keyword planner to discover new related keywords. I then saved keywords that had good traffic and acceptable amount of competition. These keywords are saved in the Google Sheet mentioned earlier. To keep it organised, I separated the keywords into tabs – with a tab for all the seed keywords and individual tabs for keywords related to each seed keyword.
After doing that first round of keyword expansion based of the seed keywords & keyword planner tool, the next step is to expand it further by looking at the competitors for those keywords and see what other keywords are they targetting.
[To be continued]