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Can You DIY Your SEO? Tips & Tools for Success

Updated: May 23, 2023

In this blog post, I'll discuss how to leverage do-it-yourself SEO strategies to boost your website's visibility and rankings. We’ll talk about keyword research, optimizing existing pages on your site, and creating new content that attracts organic traffic.


Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you use this link. This will never influence the recommendations I give, and I will only ever partner with tools and companies that I 100% support.


Can You DIY Your SEO?

Yes, you can DIY your SEO with a bit of education and understanding of how SEO works.


If you're looking to build your brand’s presence in organic, non-paid results without spending the budget of hiring an agency or consultant to complete the work for you, then this guide is for you.


By utilizing the background information and DIY SEO techniques in this article, you can boost your odds of appearing higher on search engine result pages while conserving cash.


Table of Contents (click to skip to section):

Understanding How SEO Works

Definition: SEO is the practice of boosting a website's visibility in organic, non-paid search engine results by taking measures such as researching and selecting relevant keywords, adding the keywords to content on your site, acquiring links from other websites to your website to increase authority, and monitoring performance over time.

Unlike paid ads where you have to pay for each click, organic rankings are “free,” in that while it requires an investment to build the content and optimize, once you rank, you don’t pay for clicks.


Before you read the rest of this article, I highly recommend watching this informational video to learn about the exact formula for ranking for Google: SEO Overview and Ranking Formula.


Key Takeaway: SEO is an ongoing process of researching and selecting keywords, optimizing content for those terms, getting other websites to link to you, and tracking performance over time. If you’re a local brick-and-mortar business, you’ll also set up a Google Maps listing (called Google Business Profile) and other listing sites such as Yelp and Yellowpages.com.

Research Keywords for Your Business and Plan Content


Part One: Find which keywords your customers are typing into Google (backed by data, not a hunch)

Keyword research is the first step in your DIY SEO approach. Keyword research helps you identify which terms and questions your target audience uses when searching online. When conducting keyword research, you should also consider long-tail phrases that are more specific than single words or short phrases. These will often have less competition but still generate quality traffic from relevant users. Additionally, look for related terms that might be used in combination with your main keyword phrase; this can help you expand your reach even further by targeting additional audiences who may not know about your business yet.


You can use free tools like Google Trends or the Google Search Console (which requires setting up your website, similar to how you set up Google Analytics) to investigate search terms related to your field of expertise.


My keyword research tool of choice: Semrush

Even with free tools, I recommend using paid tools such as Semrush or Ahrefs. My tool of choice is Semrush, because you can do keyword research, track rankings, investigate competitors, and set up local listings if you're a brick-and-mortar business.


You can track 10 keywords for free, and complete some of your keyword research for free. Sign up here.


Part Two: Map Discovered Keywords to Existing Pages

I always recommend starting with what you already have, meaning the pages that are already on your website. Once you’ve identified the right keywords for your business, map them to existing pages on your website. The goal is to rank those existing pages higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Optimization for existing pages includes updating page titles and meta descriptions with relevant keywords while also making sure the body text on the page contains those same terms throughout. For keywords that show images in search results, optimizing image alt tags can also increase visibility in search results by ranking in image carousels. Image alt tags are also a legal accessibility requirement, so it’s a win-win.

Key Takeaway: Keyword research and mapping that to a website action plan is the first step in any SEO project, especially for a DIY SEO approach.

Optimize Existing Pages on Your Website

Optimizing existing pages on your website can help you improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). By taking these steps to optimize existing pages on your website you will be able to take advantage of lower-hanging fruit by enhancing existing pages that are likely already indexed by Google.


Part One: Add Keywords to Your Website's Existing Text

Consulting your keyword map (which tells you which pages should target which keywords), start adding the respective keyword(s) into the text of the relevant page.


You should also add the keyword(s) to your main heading and subheadings too.


Lastly, make sure each page has a unique title tag and meta description. Title tags should include relevant keywords for the page content, as well as a call-to-action such as “Learn More” or “Sign Up Now”. Meta descriptions should provide a brief overview of the page content and also include targeted keywords for SEO purposes.


Don't forget to add image alt tags attributes to all images too - this will help boost overall visibility for keywords that show images and/or image carousels in Google results.


Having trouble fitting in keywords? You may need to add more text in order to give yourself more opportunities to naturally add keywords. I'll talk about using AI more in the next section (don't get spooked), but I love using the AI tool Jasper to write additional paragraphs of text within seconds. Then I take that text and add in as many keyword(s) as possible (while still sounding natural).


Part Two: Add Internal Links

Google follows internal text links like we follow road signs. If Google has a clear understanding of what a page is about and how to get there, the algorithm is more inclined to rank it for the appropriate keywords.


For example, if you're talking about how to clean yoga mats, you may link to your mat cleaner spray, specifically linking the text "yoga mat cleaning spray" so that it is a clear road sign that the linked page is about the keyword "yoga mat cleaning spray."


Next, we’ll talk about adding new pages to target additional keywords.

Key Takeaway: To optimize your website for SEO, ensure that each page has a singular keyword focus, and that you use that keyword in the body text, heading, subheadings, image alt text, meta description, and page title.

Other Important Note: You will want to phrase things exactly how your customers are typing them into Google (except correcting for grammar) - no matter how awkward! This is because to rank for the keyword, you have to phrase it as close to exactly as possible.


For example, this saxophone lesson YouTube video addresses the search term “how to blow into the saxophone.” This is not the way this is phrased by teachers and is not the way the teacher would like to refer to it, but you have to first meet the reader/searcher where they are and then teach them the correct terminology (such as “how to form a saxophone embouchure”). You also cannot expect to rank if you don’t use the keyword the way it’s phrased in searches.

Add New Optimized Pages/Blog Posts

When doing DIY SEO, you will also be responsible for creating new pages and blog articles based on the relevant keywords that you found that you didn’t already have a page for.


When writing new pages and posts, it's important to create content that both answers questions people are asking, as well as promotes your services or products. The top priority is to answer the reader’s question though. You also have the opportunity to show in featured snippets or answer boxes, like this by formatting questions as a direct question and answer. For example, “can you DIY your SEO? Yes, you can DIY your SEO by…"

Key Takeaway: Creating SEO-friendly content can be done yourself; incorporate relevant keywords into service or product pages and blog posts.

How to Scale Content Creation

Likely within moments of planning out your new pages, you're going to wonder how you'll EVER get this finished. There is so much content to write!


Let me introduce you to my favorite employee when it comes to blogging and long-form content: Content At Scale. I know that AI is all the rage right now, and you may still feel a bit...spooked out by it. But I assure you it is a fantastic tool to create 1,500-word plus articles in an hour or less (compared to 4-8 hours of writing it manually).


My content-writing tool of choice for blogging (AI): Content At Scale

Already using Jasper or ChatGPT for other content creation? Although Content At Scale is specifically made for blog post generation (and excels at it), you can consolidate costs by using Jasper for blog posts too. You'll just want to create a content outline first, plug that into a Jasper document, and then have Jasper fill in the paragraphs.


Getting People to Link to Your Website (Naturally and Ethically)

If you watched the How SEO Works video here, you saw that having other people link to your website (Google's version of word-of-mouth) is the most influential part of an SEO strategy. Here are some tips and suggestions for getting people to link to your website:

  • PR efforts and news releases (make sure they link to your website)

  • Collaborations with other businesses (ask them to link to your website when mentioning the collaboration)

  • Influencers (have anyone promoting your products or services link to you)


My Preferred Tools for Getting S**t Done

Something you should know about me - I am a one-woman show. I don't have any employees. But I do have a team of tools working for me and literally quadrupling what I can get done on my own. Here's my tool stack:

  • Keyword research, tracking rankings, and stalking competitors: Semrush

  • Social media and short-form/paragraph copywriting: Jasper (you can use Jasper for blog posts too, it just takes some additional prompts/guidance).

  • Large volumes of blog posts: Content At Scale

  • My in-house copy editor: Grammarly


FAQs About DIY SEO

Can you do SEO on your own?

Yes, it is feasible to accomplish SEO without the assistance of a professional. However, it requires a deep understanding of how search engine algorithms work, and some critical thinking to apply those principles to your own website and business in a way that makes sense. But yes, it is possible to DIY your SEO.


Consider a hybrid approach as well where you might bring on an expert to consult on strategy and then complete the steps yourself. Business owners or CEOs who lack SEO experience may find consulting with an expert to be advantageous, as they can access expert advice to support the execution of the SEO work.


Is it hard to do your own SEO?

It can be a challenge to try and tackle SEO by yourself simply because it requires a thorough understanding of search engine algorithms and how they work, as well as some light, technical web development knowledge (such as how to add image alt tags to your website).


Can I DIY local SEO?

Local SEO, or SEO for businesses with at least one brick-and-mortar location, has a few additional steps to take, but it is also totally possible to DIY these SEO steps as well. The additional steps you will take will be to create and optimize your Google Maps listing, as well as Yelp and any other industry-specific websites such as Angie's List or TripAdvisor. Finally, build relationships with other local businesses by networking online through social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. For any collaborations, have them link to your website.


How do I know if my article is SEO-friendly?

SEO-friendly articles are those that have been written with the intent to improve a website's ranking on search engine results pages while still answering the reader’s questions and meeting their needs. To determine if an article is SEO friendly, look for key indicators such as keyword usage throughout the entire article (matching as close to the exact keyword as possible), quality content, and backlinks from reputable sources.


Conclusion

In conclusion, it is possible to DIY your SEO, but it requires a deep understanding of how search engine algorithms work and the necessary keyword research. With patience and dedication, you can optimize existing pages on your website as well as create new pages and articles that are optimized for maximum visibility in organic searches. Taking the time to understand SEO principles will help ensure successful results when attempting to do it yourself with your business's organic presence.


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