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What is SEO? In simple words, search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy that helps you rank on search engines like Google. Its primary purpose is to increase visiting users accessing businesses’ websites and boost online presence. 

There are many SEO steps, from basic to advanced, that can leverage your business SEO performance. However, this guide introduces the 7 most fundamental steps in the SEO process for SMEs to start immediately. 

Let your optimization journey begin!

seo process - ROI Digitally

Why Understanding The SEO Process Is Important?

Imagine the SEO workflow process is your path to success, as there is NO shortcut.  

The SEO methodology is a complete process requiring various precise SEO strategies to follow along the way. To gain enough patience to see the results, you must understand how a positive SEO process benefits your business:

  • Increased Visibility: SEO helps businesses attain visibility for relevant search queries. Hence, it increases its visibility to potential customers and organic traffic.
  • Organic Rankings: By optimizing your website, you can improve its chances of appearing prominently in search results without having to pay for each click.
  • Brand Equity: Rank high in search results can improve users’ perspective of your brand’s authority and credibility.
  • Targeted Traffic: A website with proper keyword research can attract visitors who actively search for that specific product or service, potentially generating leads.
  • Cost-Effective: When a website starts ranking well, the consistent organic traffic continues to generate great benefits for businesses without ongoing advertising costs.
  • User Experience: SEO involves optimizing the overall user experience on your website, such as design, structure, etc, which leads to higher engagement and conversions.
  • Competitive Advantage: By starting the process of SEO, you can gain a competitive advantage over competitors who aren’t optimizing their websites effectively.
  • Long-Term Results: SEO is a long-term strategy. And its benefits can last for months or even years, continuing to drive organic traffic and customer engagement.

7 Fundamental Steps To Optimize Your SEO Process

There are 7 fundamental steps in an SEO application process:

  • Step 1: Keyword Research
  • Step 2: Website Audit
  • Step 3: Landing Page Optimization
  • Step 4: Blog Creation
  • Step 5: Backlinks Implementation
  • Step 6: Google My Business (GMB) Optimization
  • Step 7: Follow-up & Report

Step 1: Keyword Research

Keyword research is a fundamental SEO step involving finding and analyzing the keywords or search terms users enter into search engines. It is crucial in optimizing websites, creating relevant content, and attracting targeted organic traffic.

The best way to do keyword research is to know the search intent behind a specific keyword. Ask yourself: What is the purpose behind searching for that key term? How do they want the search results to look? What information should be included in the answers? 

After understanding the expectation behind the key term, there are two aspects to consider: volume and key difficulty. While volume tells the number of users desiring the same questions, key difficulty shows the potential for the word to rank on search engines. 

The advanced development of technology gives marketers a smooth process of conducting keyword research. Ahrefs, SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, etc, are the best free SEO tools offering in-depth reports when entering a specific keyword or phrase. The keyword overview includes volume, KD, potential traffic, top competitors, ads analysis, and other metrics. 

Experts recommend the SEO best practice is to seek a set of keywords with high volume but less competitive in search results. Remember, sometimes the keyword doesn’t have to be grammatically correct, so pay attention to those too.

Keyword-Research
An Ahrefs report for the keyword “Michigan SEO Companies.”

Step 2: Website Audit

A website audit in SEO steps is like a comprehensive health check for a website. It thoroughly examines technical and functional issues impacting the page’s performance. The audit process can take weeks, depending on the severity of the problems discovered.

Website-Audit
A website analytic example by Ahrefs.

Another aspect of this SEO application process is the content audit. This involves evaluating the performance of different sites on a webpage. Based on this analysis, website owners can make right-time adjustments on what to keep, audit, rewrite, or remove from the website.

Be aware that traffic might be dropped when removing content. However, this is intentional as the aim is to determine between relevant and irrelevant traffic to best analyze the website.

A comprehensive website audit typically covers multiple areas, including:

  • Technical SEO
  • Website structure
  • On-page SEO 
  • Website content review 
  • Competitor analysis 
  • UI/UX 

Step 3: Landing Page Optimization

The next step in the SEO workflow process is landing page optimization, which is improving the performance and relevance of specific landing pages. Once you complete keyword research and website audit, the next step should be optimizing landing pages.

In most cases, creating a new landing page is necessary when targeting keyphrases for a specific service or product. However, there are some exceptions where existing pages are used to optimize to align with the new keywords. 

The number of new pages required will depend on the campaign’s keyword selection. But most of the time, three to four new pages are within the website’s main navigation.

Previously, search engines relied on more simplistic algorithms, leading to a practice where each keyword had its dedicated landing page. This often resulted in overstuffed keywords and repetitive content throughout the page. 

However, search engines evolve allowing a more natural structure where several related keywords can be placed on the same page. This approach reduces unnecessary creation of landing pages and brings a more precise website structure.

Here are some landing page optimization elements you should consider:

  • Page titles
  • Targeted keyword phrases
  • Sitemap
  • Alt-text

Step 4: Blog Creation

In recent years, blogs have been a “must” factor when creating SEO strategies. Creating blogs on your website is an excellent way to educate your readers with freshly updated content. Hence, improve your credibility and build trust among users.

To ensure optimal SEO benefits, installing a proper blog theme when using publishing platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, etc, is essential. The blog theme should include an overview page and detail pages for each blog post. This structure allows for better organization and navigation of the blog content.

In addition to setting up the theme, using supporting plugins is important to enhance your blog functionality and performance. These plugins can improve various aspects, such as SEO optimization, social sharing, and user engagement.

To further emphasize the significance of your blog, create a top navigation and footer link dedicated to the blog section. This helps to highlight your blog category and display how it freshly appears with new articles on your site. Also, it encourages users to take action and proves to search engines that your website consistently produces valuable content.

Blog-Creation
Blog category on ROI Digitally’s website.

Step 5: Backlinks Implementation

Besides technical SEO and on-page SEO, there is another important aspect of SEO called off-page SEO. While the other two are like a direct contribution to the page, SEO off-page is an indirect process of improving your site. Both aim to build more authority towards your webpage.

One of the most highlighted elements of SEO off-page is link building or backlinks. This is a concept of acquiring high-quality links from external websites to your website.

In the late ’90s, Google started evaluating the number of links referencing a web page as an indicating metric. Initially, the link quantity was a top priority. But as Google evolved, it changed that concept to link relevance, making navigating and indexing relevant content more accessible.

Google’s ranking algorithm prioritizes generating quality “do-follow” backlinks from high-ranking websites with vital Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA). The more specific those links are within your niche or related fields, the higher the chance search engines recognize the page. 

Step 6: Google My Business (GMB) Optimization

GMB (Google My Business) optimization is a local SEO application process that allows businesses to manage their online presence across various Google platforms. It is a free tool for businesses to showcase their contact info in Google Maps results, enhancing businesses’ presence specifically targeting their local area.

One of the obvious advantages of GMB optimization is that it doesn’t require a website. However, having a website is highly recommended as it is the fundamental of SEO strategies, involving both on-page and off-page optimization techniques.

GMB data can be reviewed through Google Insights, which provides performance metrics for your business listing. This includes valuable insights into the keywords people are searching for, the number of searches performed, website visits, phone calls, and more. It offers a deeper understanding of how your GMB listing is performing and helps inform your SEO strategy.

By optimizing their GMB profile, businesses can increase their online visibility, attract more local customers, and improve their search engine rankings. It is a powerful tool for SMBs to establish their digital presence and connect with potential customers.

Google-My-Business-GMB-Optimization
Example of a GMB profile.

Step 7: Follow-up & Report

Obviously, the final step must be following up on the performance of all the SEO strategies you have implemented throughout your SEO workflow process, right? 

Frequent reporting allows a business to compare the outcomes between different phases: pre-, during, and post-. This process of SEO helps them to see what measurable results are and insights concluded from the campaign. 

Key metrics such as keyword rankings, site traffic, social engagement, and conversion rates are beneficial in analyzing their optimization efforts’ efficiency. This data-driven approach precisely points out the pros and cons of the campaign. Hence, making some adjustments and decisions to ensure long-term success. 

Once again, you can consider these paid and free SEO tools to support a detailed analysis of your SEO performance:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • MozBar
Google-Search-Console
Google Search Console’s website report. 

See more: Global SEO

Frequently Asked Questions

How does SEO work step by step?

The 7 SEO steps include: 

  1. Keyword Research: Identify specific relevant keywords and phrases with high volume and low KD, targeting to rank high when users search for that particular key term.
  2. Website Audit: Make a thorough examination of the website to address issues, such as on-page optimization, design, structure, etc, to improve user experience.
  3. Landing Page Optimization: Adjust on-page optimization for specific landing pages to rank high on Google algorithm, including title tags, URLs, keywords, etc.
  4. Blog Creation: Create and frequently update valuable blog content to educate readers and increase chances of receiving Google’s recognition as an authoritative website.
  5. Backlinks: Earn high-quality backlinks from credible and relevant websites. This helps to establish authority and credibility for your website.
  6. GMB Optimization: Optimize your website for local search results by including location-specific keywords and being more visible on local directories.
  7. Follow-up & Reporting: Track and analyze the performance of your SEO efforts. Monitor keyword rankings, website traffic, conversions, and other relevant metrics to measure the success of your SEO campaign.

What do you mean by SEO process?

The search engine optimization process refers to the strategies implemented to improve a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO methodology aims to drive organic (non-paid) traffic to a website.

The SEO process typically involves keyword research, on-page SEO, technical SEO, content creation, link building, and follow-up. By following a systematic approach to SEO, businesses can enhance their online presence, attract relevant organic traffic, and ultimately increase their chances of achieving their marketing and business objectives.

Conclusion

In short, SEO aims for the one-and-only purpose: ranking high on search engines. Though it requires extreme patience and commitment as there is NO skippable step, that does not mean you cannot stand out. As long as you start the SEO process, you are on the right track!

Are you still trying to figure out how to create an SEO plan? Let our team of experts help you leverage your marketing plan for a cost less than hiring an actual employee, starting from $2,500/month. Unbelievable? Talk to our expert now!