What to Expect When First Starting SEO On Your Website

Starting SEO for the first time? Learn what happens in the early stages, including changes in organic traffic, rankings, and authority. Get a timeline for when you'll see results.

What to Expect When First Starting SEO On Your Website

Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) is an extremely essential process for establishing substantial online visibility and attracting significant organic website traffic over time. For beginners just embarking on optimizing their website, SEO can often seem like a remarkably daunting and complex process. This expansive, in-depth guide covers absolutely everything a new SEO practitioner needs to know, spanning from the foundational core concepts all the way through advanced optimization strategies and approaches.

Comprehensively Getting to Grips with the Fundamental Basics of SEO

SEO refers to the highly strategic process of substantially improving a website's rankings, visibility, and traffic in search engine results pages (SERPs) through a wide range of optimization techniques and tactics. It requires implementing a diverse combination of both on-page and off-page optimization factors to be effective.

On-page SEO specifically covers optimizing and enhancing a wide variety of elements directly within the website itself, including content, titles, headers, image attributes, URLs, site speed, metadata, etc. Off-page SEO refers to externally-focused activities like high-quality backlink building, social media marketing, influencer collaborations, brand mentions, and other digital PR efforts to authoritatively boost a website's overall trust, authority and relevance in the broader online ecosystem.

Thoroughly grasping these foundational core SEO concepts is an absolutely essential first step for new practitioners before moving on to learning more advanced and nuanced tactics. Having this comprehensive initial working knowledge establishes the proper context and framework to approach the overall SEO process from a strategic perspective.

The Importance of Conducting a Highly Thorough Initial Benchmark Website Audit

Before deeply diving into the often intricate details and complexities of SEO strategies and optimization, it's crucially important for beginners to first conduct an extensive technical audit of their website's current health, performance metrics, and overall optimization status.

Meticulously examine vitally important factors like site speed, mobile optimization, broken links, schema markup implementation, etc. Identify any existing issues or limitations to address as early as possible, as this establishes a stronger foundational baseline for improvement through SEO.

Industry-leading analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide immense value by offering deep insights into a website's current visibility, performance benchmarks, and optimization status. Closely analyzing this baseline website data enables accurately identifying weaknesses, issues, and opportunities for improvement to target through SEO efforts.

The Immense Value of In-Depth Keywords Research and Competitive Analysis

Conducting comprehensive keyword research is an absolutely essential process required to determine the specific terms and phrases that are most relevant to a website's content and offerings while also experiencing sufficient monthly search volume to drive traffic. Finding the optimal balance between relevance and volume is the ultimate goal.

Leverage robust keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner for search volume data, as well as analyzing the keywords being targeted by industry competitors. Researching related long-tail keyword variations also provides additional optimization opportunities. These insights empower selecting the best keywords to focus SEO efforts around.

Incorporating thorough competitive analysis examines what SEO tactics direct competitors are leveraging for their website optimization, providing key insights into additional strategies to consider for implementation. Comprehensive keyword research fuels the entire SEO process.

Step-by-Step Implementation of Core On-Page Optimization Elements

With foundational keyword research completed, the next step is applying those insights through implementing a wide range of core on-page optimization elements to substantially boost overall SEO performance. This process establishes the technical SEO foundation.

Ensure meta descriptions and titles are highly keyword-optimized and compelling while providing true value to users. Improve overall content quality and depth by incorporating keywords in a natural, engaging way while also delivering value.

Optimize images file names and alt text with descriptive, relevant keywords. Structure all pages using keyword-focused headers and subheaders to improve readability. Build internal links between related content to distribute equity and relevance signals. On-page optimization techniques significantly enhance search visibility.

Building Authority and Trust Through Expansive Off-Page SEO Activities

While on-page SEO establishes the technical foundation, extensively engaging in off-page optimization is equally crucial for achieving long-term SEO success at scale. The most effective approach is to build a diverse profile of high-quality, authoritative backlinks from reputable external sources to substantially boost overall search rankings and visibility.

Additional impactful off-page activities include guest posting on industry blogs, influencer outreach for backlinks, and maximizing social media engagement across all relevant platforms. Monitoring backlink profiles regularly and disavowing any toxic or low-quality links is also essential. Organically cultivating a powerful backlink profile requires immense dedication and effort over an extended period of time.

The Immense Central Importance of Ongoing Content Creation and Promotion

At its very core, a website's SEO strategy is ultimately driven by the quality, consistency, and promotion of its content. Regularly creating truly valuable, exceptionally engaging long-form content optimized with targeted keywords opens up countless SEO opportunities.

Varying content formats, such as blog posts, videos, visual graphics, and podcasts allows connecting with users in different ways. Aggressively promoting all new content across social media channels is equally crucial.

The more high-quality, keyword-optimized content that is produced and distributed over time, the more avenues exist to substantially improve website visibility through search and build lasting connections with your target audience. Make content the consistent cornerstone of all SEO activities.

Tracking and Analyzing SEO Progress Through Robust Analytics and Metrics

Implementing comprehensive analytics tools early on provides the ability to closely track and analyze the performance of SEO efforts through examining key metrics and benchmarks. Google Analytics offers deep data on traffic sources, user behavior flow, conversions, and more.

Google Search Console provides additional insights specifically around indexing status, search query performance, and overall Google ranking positions. Establishing these analytics tracking capabilities right away creates essential benchmarks to gauge SEO campaign impact over time.

Adjusting Timelines and Setting Proper Expectations Around Gradual SEO Results

One common mistake beginners make is having unrealistic expectations around how quickly SEO results can be achieved. Unlike paid search ads, which can deliver immediate results, SEO requires substantial time for search engines like Google to fully crawl, index, process, and reflect website changes in actual rankings.

In the first few months, focus on extensively building out core technical foundations before expecting significant growth or traffic increases. Consistent, long-term adherence to SEO best practices leads to gradual but steady improvements in organic visibility and traffic to a website over lengthy periods of time. Patience and diligence are key.

The Importance of Staying Continuously Up to Date on SEO Trends and Best Practices

As search engine algorithms, ranking factors, and digital marketing technology rapidly and frequently change, staying current on the latest SEO strategies, trends, and best practices is absolutely essential for sustainable success.

Regularly reading widely-respected industry publications, attending conferences and webinars, and actively engaging with SEO communities allows quickly identifying new tactics and approaches to integrate.

Remaining nimble and proactively adapting SEO strategies based on shifts in best practices will ensure a website remains fully optimized for the ever-evolving capabilities of Google and other search engines. Ongoing education is required.

Embracing the Extensive But Rewarding SEO Journey as a Beginner

For beginners first exploring SEO, the required knowledge, complexity, and effort involved can understandably seem highly daunting. However, by taking the time to methodically learn SEO fundamentals, conduct comprehensive website audits, thoroughly research keywords, implement wide-ranging on and off-page tactics, and track detailed analytics, new SEO practitioners can put their website on the path to substantially improved visibility, traffic, and organic growth over time. With dedication, realistic expectations, and commitment to continuous learning, the extensive SEO journey will ultimately yield tremendous rewards.