These days one of the main ways people reach a site is via a search engine like Google, Bing, or Baidu. This means that your presence in search engines will impact your site’s growth.
Even if you already get traffic from search there are always changes and improvements you can make to your site to get even more traffic, especially because search engines like Google continually update their algorithms. These algorithm updates are important, as search engines want to make sure that the results that they provide to their users remain relevant and helpful.
So where do you get started if you're brand new to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
Step 1 - Find out if your site has any existing issues that will hinder your SEO efforts
Start by analyzing your site first to see if there are any glaring problems that will hinder any of your more focused efforts. Search engines won't display your site to searchers if they've found problems with the way your site links to other sites, if pages are unreachable, or any number of other issues that you can identify and correct.
You can analyze your site with Alexa's Site Audit. An audit is available every 2 weeks with our Advanced plan. The reason you don't want to analyze your site just once and make all of your improvements is because your site content is not static - you might add a new subdomain, start optimizing for mobile, or even introduce a blog/news feed. By getting an audit every 2 weeks you can not only check the progress on the improvements you were already working on but you can also make sure that you haven't introduced any new issues as your site evolves.
Step 2 - Create new content and optimize older content for searchers
Step 1 is a good start, but it's just one piece of a larger puzzle. The foundation of getting your site to rank highly in search is to have amazing content. Having unique and compelling content that sets your site apart from similar sites is at the core of what search engines are looking to promote.
If you’ve already published content, what steps can you take to move your site up to the coveted top positions in search results? Can you update your meta description or page title to be more compelling? Can you use a more relevant keyword?
If you’re creating new content, keep in mind that when someone goes to a search engine, they're often not entering your specific site URL or the name of a page. Instead, they're entering a keyword, or several, to find content that provides what they are looking for. Be sure that your content answers a searcher’s intent using relevant target keywords.
If you already have some keywords you know you want to appear for in search engines that's great, incorporate them into your content and check to be sure you’re using them in all the important places using our On-Page SEO Checker.
If you don't already have keywords in mind, you can find the best terms to target based on what’s popular with other sites in our Site Keywords tool or with our Competitor Keyword Matrix tool.
Finally, if you do have keywords in mind but want to find even more, we recommend using our Keyword Difficulty tool as well as our Audience Overlap tool in conjunction with our Competitor Keyword Matrix tool.
Now that you've got a list of keywords that you're interested in optimizing for, you can use the Workspace - Keywords page to keep track of them and share them with other members of your organization. Again, use these keywords to create relevant content that search engines and searchers alike agree is valuable.
Step 3 - Put it all together and iterate, iterate, iterate
One thing you might hear frequently about SEO is that it's an ongoing process. As we touched on above, search engines are continually trying to make a searcher’s experience better. Sometimes this means that something you did in the past no longer works or may even hurt your site. This doesn't mean there aren't ways to get a few quick SEO wins. But if you want to make sure that your site continues to show up in search results you need to think about things in the long-term as well.
For example, are you trying to spruce up your site by doing a design change? Make sure that new SEO issues weren't introduced and that you're still optimizing for the keywords you found in step 2. Even a minor thing like adding a new blog article is something that you should be keeping SEO in mind for. If that article isn’t SEO-friendly then people who might be interested in the article, but don't already know about your site, will be left out in the cold.
In Conclusion - Don't forget to look for results
We started out this article talking about how improving your site's SEO will get you more traffic to your site. You can use our Certified Site Metrics feature to measure exactly how much your efforts are paying off in the Search and Performance metrics sections.
SEO is a long-term effort, but if done right it can provide great benefits for your site and your business.
Note that every tool mentioned in this article is available with our Advanced plan. If you already have an Alexa Pro subscription you can upgrade your current plan level at http://www.alexa.com/account, otherwise you can sign up for a free 7 day trial of our Advanced plan.