How to do SEO yourself (for your website)

February 23rd, 2024
How to do SEO for your website

Whether you have a company website, online store, blog, or personal website, your goal is to be visible and seen online. That is why you need website search engine optimization. By the time you reach the end of this SEO tutorial, you’ll have a good understanding of what search engine optimization is, why it’s important, and how to do SEO yourself with good results.

Index:

SEO basics for beginners 

SEO is gaining popularity and website owners are hearing about it from all sides. Often, they would like to get into SEO but don’t know where and how to start. While it might seem intimidating at first, you can easily learn SEO basics and start with SEO for your website. So what is actually behind this often spoken, but still mysterious to some, acronym?

What is SEO and how it works 

The term SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It can be defined as a marketing discipline that improves where your website displays in organic search results. Simply put, the better your SEO is, the higher you will rank in search results (and the more likely people will be to find and click through to your website).

The mission of search engines like Google is simple–find all the content that is created on a topic and sort it according to its quality and relevance to the users’ questions.

When you use website SEO, you want to “convince” the search engines that your content is more relevant, higher quality, and more accessible than the content on the same topic from other websites.

organic search results

Working to improve your SEO optimization is crucial to the success of your website, but keep in mind that it is a long and continuous process. Therefore, it is advisable to use a strategy as a guide if you plan to do SEO yourself.

Strategies make your job easier and determine the direction of optimization. Each website is unique and is in a different stage of development, so there’s no one-size-fits all strategy. Your SEO strategy will also evolve over time.

What is the goal of SEO

The goal of SEO is to try to improve the visibility of your site in search results. The more phrases you cover and the higher you rank in the search results, the more visitors you will get. A number of SEO methods and activities are used for this purpose, for example:

  • Keyword analysis
  • Content analysis of competition
  • Web speed optimization
  • Optimization for mobile devices
  • Building backlinks

Many people think that the goal of SEO is to please Google or other search engines. In reality, however, the goal is to please people. Search engines only respond to people’s behavior. They try to guess their needs and rank the results according to what they like.

Google has developed an evaluation algorithm–a set of metrics and factors it employs to measure website relevance. The list of pages in the search results is then sorted for each user according to this evaluation.

The algorithm is constantly evolving and improving. In fact, Google releases an update every month. Unfortunately, the algorithm is not public, so it’s important to stay up to date with the latest SEO trends.

Why SEO is important for your website

Do you know why search engine optimization is important? It’s not just another source of traffic. In addition to making your website more visible and easier to find in search results, SEO also supports the growth of all your channels. This is because website optimization improves the look, function, and quality of your site. 

Benefits of SEO

There are many benefits to well thought out and executed SEO optimization including:

  • Ranking higher in search results, which makes it easier for your website and content to be discovered by the right people
  • Improving the accessibility of the website and user experience–whether visitors are using a PC or mobile phone, are in a place with a poor internet connection, or are visually impaired
  • Making it easier for users to explore your site by making it possible for them to search and navigate through your web content effectively in just a few clicks
  • Persuading users to spend more time on the website because you provide all the information and resources they need in one place
  • Less costs for paid search positions as you will be needing to pay for fewer keywords

All website visitors will benefit from these factors. The improvements you make when you do SEO yourself will help build the authority of your domain and the reputation of your site.

SEO terminologies

When it comes to DIY SEO for beginners, there are a few key terms you’ll want to make sure you understand before you get started.

On-page SEO factors 

On-page SEO includes the settings and adjustments you can make directly on your website. For example, creating effective titles and meta descriptions for your webpages or ensuring that users can navigate to all content within as few as three clicks. The advantage of On-page SEO is that you have them completely under your control. 

Off-page SEO factors 

Off-page SEO includes off-site actions that can impact your website’s ranking. For example, building backlinks or working with social media. 

Off-page factors are not as easy to control as on-page factors. Getting a backlink to your website is not as easy as creating a title for a web page. On the other hand, Off-page factors can have a greater effect on page ranking. Relevant backlinks from an authoritative website trusted by search engines will be appreciated by search engines more than a properly set page title.

Technical SEO 

Technical SEO involves activities that try to make your site safe and indexable. This does not necessarily mean that your site will be interesting for users. However, properly mastered technical SEO will allow a user to visit the site in the first place. Therefore, technical mistakes can be fatal. Technical SEO tasks include domain registration and setup or page speed optimization.

Keyword research 

Keyword research is an essential part of website SEO. To do this successfully, you’ll need to understand which keywords your intended audience is searching for and how much competition related to those keywords already exists in search engines.

Once you know which keywords you have the best chance of ranking for, you can incorporate them into your content–making it easier for search engines to understand that your website will be useful for people searching for those words.

Linkbuilding 

Linkbuilding involves getting other websites with high authority to include links to your website in their content. These links are typically included in the blog section. A website is considered authoritative if it is trusted by search engines, providing truthful, high-quality content and up-to-date information. Authoritative websites are typically very popular, referenced on other websites, shared on social networks, and have a rich web history.

How to do SEO for a website step by step

1. Find relevant keywords for your website 

When thinking about how to do search engine optimization yourself, keyword research is one of the first places to start. It is necessary to conduct a keyword analysis to find out which phrases and keywords you should use in your content.

You can do this for the whole website, however, it is often better to do a smaller analysis first. Focusing only on the content you’re currently creating is a faster and easier process, but you’ll need to repeat it for every piece of content.

There are a number of tools that will make this work easier. Thanks to them, you don’t have to invent keywords or phrases or take any guesses. However, your own ideas are also an important resource and often the initial step. Some tools for keyword research are paid but there are also plenty of unpaid SEO tools available.

The search engine itself is a great free tool to start with. Let’s say you’re writing an article about rebuilding an ebike. Open an incognito window so your past search history won’t skew the results. Then, type “ebike conversion” into the search bar and watch a list of variations and potential keywords magically appear before your eyes.

Google AutoFill feature

Sometimes Google also offers related queries. You can find them at the bottom of the page below the search results. These are thematically related types of queries that users ask Google.

Related queries on Google

Google will also provide a FAQ box for some questions people ask. When clicked, it also offers an answer with a link to the page. This is a great way to check out user questions as well as the competition. As you start clicking on the answers, more new questions will appear. You can find many query phrases for your keyword analysis with this process.

Google People also ask

The disadvantage of data from search engines is that there are no metrics for the keywords. You know the phrases were searched for, but you don’t know how often or how much competition there is. It is then difficult to evaluate the importance of the phrase for SEO optimization.

These metrics are usually provided by paid tools but you can also use Google Trends to find some of this data. It provides data on the most searched queries, including search volume and trend metrics. However, the data can be difficult to find and the tool displays only short generic phrases.

Google Trends interface

If you use paid advertising in search and use Google Ads, you can use the keyword planner tool. However, the data isn’t very accurate.

Keyword planner interface

Create a list in Excel or a similar spreadsheet editor to keep track of your keyword research. Here you can sort phrases alphabetically and delete duplicates.

keyword analysis

If there are a lot of phrases, you can group them according to their meaning. Most importantly, you can start sorting and classifying them. There is no one-size-fits-all approach as every website is unique. In principle, however, you should determine:

  1. Search Intent
    • The purpose is to estimate the intention with which the user will ask the query. The phrase “conversion kit for 350w e-bike” is likely to be used when searching for a specific conversion kit. However, the phrase “conversion to e-bike experience” may be used by someone who is just looking for more information about converting an ebike conversion.
  2. Context
    • What type of content you want to use the keyword for (eg. category, blog, product, etc.). Determining the type of content is closely related to context. For our example article, the phrase “350w e-bike conversion kit” might be used as an entry in a list of engines whereas the phrase “conversion to an e-bike experience” could be the title of a separate chapter in a piece of blog content.
  3. The keyword difficulty and search volume
    • It’s common to think about search volume when prioritizing keywords but don’t forget about competition and relevance as well. The keyword “electric bike conversion” has almost 400 searches per month. However, the “conversion to a central-wheeled electric bicycle” expresses much more precisely what the user is looking for. The long-tailed phrase has only 25 searches, but lower competition. An article optimized for this phrase will be easier to get to the first position in a search engine but a smaller number of visitors will likely see it. However, there is a high chance that they will click through to the site and be satisfied with the content.
  4. Where to put keywords
    • You will use generic and searchable keywords such as “conversion to an e-bike” mainly in the H1 title or headings. You can use synonyms or specific phrases such as “mountain bike to e-bike conversion” in subheadings H2 – H6, the body text, link texts, or image titles. Important keywords can also be highlighted in bold.

Your spreadsheet will help you create a clear classification, which in our example may look like this:

keyword prioritization

2. Optimize the content of your site

Content is the base of successful search engine optimization. Without quality content, setting titles or meta descriptions will never have the sufficient effect. It’s important to keep in mind that you create pages for visitors, not robots.

Search engines can evaluate the quality of content by user behavior. If the content isn’t compelling enough, users will leave the site and stop visiting. This is a signal for search engines to stop showing pages in search results.

When you do SEO yourself, it is always important to identify the target group of readers for your contents and to understand their needs. Try asking yourself these questions:

  • Who is your site intended for? Is it suitable for the younger generation or older readers, for a narrower group of people in a certain field, or is it for a wide range of readers?
  • What language does your audience use? Do they speak formally or do they use slang?
  • Do your visitors expect content full of images and videos, or prefer plain text without unnecessary distractions?
  • Will your site be visited primarily from mobile devices or computers?

Your content should always be unique, related to the purpose of the website and written with your target audience. It’s also a good idea to research the best SEO tips for how to structure different types of content. For example, an optimized blog article might include:

  • Text length: min. 1000 – max 3000 words
  • Max. paragraph length: 5 lines
  • Use headings H2 and H3 for easy navigation
  • Use a numbered list or bullets
  • Insert a featured image
  • Insert min. 2 internal links

3. Create optimized meta titles 

The meta title is the first point of contact between your website and a potential visitor. It is the first thing they will see in search results. With this in mind, it should clearly indicate what your site is about so the searcher can understand if it is relevant to their needs.

Titles have the power to persuade users to click on your page in search results or continue their search. The title is also taken into account by indexing robots and is therefore an ideal space for inserting the most important keywords.

SEO title of the page

The title of the page in the search results

Webpage titles also appear in the previews of posts on social networks whenever someone shares your site. You will also see it on the browser tab. This makes it easier to navigate between the individual search tabs.

SEO title on the browser tab

Display of title on the browser tab

  • The title should clearly describe the content. Create a unique one for each page of the site.
  • Create a title primarily with the user in mind. Remember that the main goal is to entice readers to visit the site. The text should attract attention and make the user click on it.
  • The length of the title depends on the characters used. The maximum length is 600 px, which corresponds to about 60 common characters. If the title is longer, it will not be displayed fully. As a rule of thumb, short, readable titles are best.
  • Try to optimize the text from left to right. Keywords or calls to action are ideally listed at the beginning of the headline, where they attract attention first. But don’t overdo it. Ideally, use one or two of the highly searched keywords that are most relevant to your content.
  • If you have space left in the title, you can mention your brand name at the end.
  • Be creative. You can use numbers or emoticons in the title.

What happens if you don’t add a meta title? Then, the main title of the page will be displayed. However, it’s better to use a meta title that has been optimized for SEO.

Meta title in the Webnode website builder

Meta title in the Webnode website builder

4. Create optimized meta descriptions 

The meta description has a similar function to the title. It appears in search results or on social networks and tries to attract users. It’s an additional text that aims to introduce the content on your website.

SEO description in the search results

How meta description appears in the search results

You can use it to increase your click-through rate by creating a good description that will engage and persuade users to visit the site. Search engines will respond positively to a better click-through rate and then the position of your site will improve.

What if you don’t fill out the meta description? In this case, Google will display an excerpt of the page content. This isn’t ideal as there may end up including excerpts from different places in the content and the text will not be continuous. Google can also choose to display other text if it evaluates that snippets of the content are more relevant to a search query than the manually generated meta description.

  • Create a meta description for users. Remember that the primary goal is to persuade readers to visit the site and increase your click-through rate.
  • Try to optimize the description for a specific search query or group of related queries.
  • The description limit is about 160 characters. This corresponds to two or up to three short sentences. If the description is longer, it will not be displayed fully.
  • Present the benefits, call to action, or other important information about the product, offer, or contact details in the meta description.
  • Try using numbers or emoticons in the text to increase its attractiveness.
SEO (meta) description in Webnode website builder

Where to insert the meta description in the Webnode website builder

5. Optimize images 

Images are often overlooked when thinking about how to improve SEO. However, more and more people are searching the internet for images. They are either looking for the images themselves or looking for more detailed content based on the image. It would be a shame to ignore this opportunity and not adapt your website to it. 

You can also get to the top positions in image searches using relatively generic keywords as the competition is lower than in full-text search. Therefore, it is worthwhile to focus on image SEO optimization.

Before embedding an image on the website, optimize its data size. This is done in two steps:

  1. If necessary, adjust the image to the maximum size that you will use on the web. For PC displays, a size of approximately 1400 x 800 px will generally suffice. You can do this in any image editor.
  2. Use software to compress the data size of images. Compression may slightly degrade the image quality. However, the difference is not discernible to the human eye. There are many applications on the Internet that do compression for free. Just enter the search term “image compressor” to find these resources.

Reducing the data size of an image will improve the loading speed of your site. This is one of the important evaluation factors for search engines.

Now you need to optimize the image information:

  1. The name itself plays an important role in SEO. Name the image file before uploading and use keywords in the title to describe what the image is.
  2. At the same time, don’t forget to fill in the title of the image in the editor, which Google indexes as an alternative description (or alt text) of the image. This is displayed to users instead of the image if it fails to load. It also helps blind users navigate the content.
Webnode image title settings

Why enter these labels at all? Even these days, search engines are still unable to identify exactly what is in a particular image. Instead they analyze text related to the image for indexing purposes. In addition to the title and alternative text, the search engine also examines the surrounding text.

6. Get backlinks 

Linkbuilding is an important SEO strategy for obtaining external links back to your website. The number and quality of backlinks is one of the most important factors in page ranking:

  1. Backlinks help search engines find your site.
  2. When other sites cite your website, it’s a sign to search engines that it’s important.
  3. Users can visit your site through backlinks. Traffic from this source is usually lower, but more relevant.

Linkbuilding is a difficult part of search engine optimization because you do not have full control over external links. You cannot simply add or edit them as content. You need to persuade other sites to place and maintain links leading to your website.

If you build quality content, good services, and a strong brand, you can get a lot of links naturally. People will refer to you because it’s useful. However, it takes time to create quality content and become known as an authority in your field. There are a number of tactics that you can employ to actively seek out backlinks and improve your link profile:

  • Existing relationships
    • Do you have a business and do you collaborate with other companies or suppliers? Ask them to include a link to your website. They might be interested in promoting you to their customers and then you get a relevant link. Did you do interesting work together? You can suggest that they include a “success story” article on their website.
  • Unlinked mentions
    • If you come across relevant content focused on a specific topic, but it doesn’t point to an important source of information that you created or that already exists on your site, you can notify the author and suggest that they add a link. Usually, this tactic is applied to mentions of your brand.
  • Broken links
    • If you find a link that does not work or leads to outdated or poor quality content, you can notify the author of the site. In exchange, you can offer them a piece of your own relevant content to link to instead.
  • Guest posting
    • You can arrange a cooperation with the author of a website to create content for them. In return, you can place a link to your site in the content. The topic should always be related to the content on your site.
  • Case studies
    • Create an analysis of your niche with fresh data and news. You can contact other professionals to answer questions related to your field and include the answers in the content. If the data is interesting, you will receive links from other related websites, and if other people have participated in creating your article, they may help promote it on their social networks.
  • Community link building
    • Go through thematically-related discussion boards and try to answer user questions. If applicable, insert a link to a relevant source of information on your website. It is important to choose a discussion thread that is active and spam-free.

Remember, it is not just about getting a link. You should try to build relationships and think about the long term strategy. Bringing value to the other party is essential in order to succeed. Also, you don’t have to target only articles. Explore videos too. Find out if there are any DIY discussion forums. Check groups and discussions on social networks. Get creative.

Linkbuilding can be time consuming and expensive so you’ll want to make sure to evaluate whether or not the opportunity is worth it when it comes to improving website SEO by checking factors such as domain authority, page authority, and relevancy.

Also, don’t forget to take care of your existing links. Check your link profile regularly to make sure that your linked pages are working and not leading to an error page.

7. Check technical SEO 

While content and links are crucial, it’s also important to consider the technical aspects when looking at how to improve SEO on your website.

Page loading speed, for example, is an important factor in technical SEO. If your website takes too long to load, visitors will quickly click away. Navigation and structure can also fundamentally affect the user experience as they allow users to quickly find information and navigate the content. They also make it easier for search engines to crawl and index pages.

Designing a navigation structure will help you create a content plan, determine the right places for topics and keywords, and create a system of internal links. Using a Webnode template can help simplify this process.

the navigation structure

Removing broken links, checking that there is no duplicate content, and making sure that the website is secure will also boost your website’s technical SEO. 

8. Track and improve SEO 

Setting milestones for your website SEO efforts will help you understand which metrics to track and which areas could use some improvement. This allows you to choose the appropriate analytical tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs Webmaster Tools for free, or Google Analytics.

Google Search Console is a free tool from Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and evaluate your site’s presence in Google Search results.

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a free SEO tool that offers diagnostic data for websites. Allows you to scan web pages and report problems found. Allows you to monitor site keywords and backlinks.

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service from Google that allows you to analyze data about visitors on your site. The Acquisitions report in Google Analytics provides data on how visitors come to your site: from search engines, social networks, or referrals from other websites. The report will help you determine which online marketing tactics are bringing in the most visitors to your site.

With the use of these tools, you can realistically evaluate how long it takes for SEO to start producing the desired results and which tactics are working (and which aren’t). This will help you plan better in the future by setting realistic goals and expectations.

How Webnode helps you with DIY SEO 

If you decide to create a website with a Webnode website builder, you will save a lot of time and money on SEO optimization as it can handle a lot of the groundwork for you.

Webnode creates responsive websites 

Nowadays, users no longer browse websites only on their computers, but also on their mobile devices or tablets. Therefore, Google has switched to mobile-first indexing. This means that Google behaves like a mobile device as it crawls the page and prefers mobile displays. If a site does not have a mobile version, it will receive a negative rating. This is an important evaluation factor for website SEO.

The website can have either a mobile version or a responsive design. The mobile version is a standalone website that is customized for mobile devices. The responsive website is programmed to accommodate a smaller size of the display. The images, titles, texts and other elements remain the same and only their arrangement and size change.

Both methods are equivalent when it comes to SEO for the website. It is only important for Google whether the chosen solution works properly.

All Webnode templates are fully responsive. We take mobile-first indexing seriously. Even the Webnode website builder is accessible on mobile devices so you can create and edit the content of your site directly on your phone or tablet.

Webnode secures your site 

Has Google ever warned you that the site you want to visit is not safe? Security is one of the evaluation factors of the Google algorithm and insecure sites are disadvantaged in search results.

Secure site connection icon

Secure site connection icon

Webnode uses HTTPS to secure the site with an SSL certificate. Thanks to this, you don’t have to worry because your site will have a secure connection. We will generate a free SSL certificate even if you use your own domain for your project.

HTTPS (= HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) is an encrypted variant of the HTTP Internet protocol for transferring web pages. The protocol allows protected access to the web server by encrypting all transmitted traffic using the SSL or TSL algorithm. This is important when transmitting sensitive information (such as credit card numbers).

Webnode creates SEO-friendly URLs 

Each website page has a unique URL. If we write this address into the address bar, we will get straight to that page. This is how a lot of users visit their favorite sites so it’s important to have professional URLs that don’t contain a long string of numbers or other characters. Fortunately, Webnode only creates comprehensible URLs. 

Webnode Setting up your own page URL

The editor sets the address automatically according to the name of the newly created page. However, the format of the URL can be modified if you wish. Here are some tips for creating URLs:

  • Above all, the address should stay permanent since each URL builds authority. The content of the page may change over time but you should try to keep the same URL unless a change is absolutely necessary. A new address always competes worse with the older ones.
  • User-friendly URLs should be easy to read and remember, and appear credible. For example, the URL of a blog article could look like this: https://www.mydomain.com/natural-and-memorable-article-name/
  • With the right URL structure, you can make the website easier for users to navigate. However, you will need to be careful if you change the categories in the future as the URL navigation would then be out of date.

Webnode optimizes website speed performance 

Page load speed is also one of Google’s important ranking factors. Webnode templates are therefore created with an emphasis on loading speed with SEO website performance in mind.

You can influence the performance of your website by optimizing the data size of images and other content such as videos. At the same time, avoid a large number of ads, banners, and pop-ups. If you follow these recommendations, you won’t have to worry about site speed at all.

Webnode handles duplicates 

One of the common problems SEO deals with is the duplication of content. Search engines evaluate duplicated content negatively. They can also consider content that is not the exact copy as a duplicate. If a search engine encounters duplicate content, it always selects the oldest or most authoritative variant. Other duplicate pages are then ignored or displayed deeper in the search results. There are 2 basic forms of duplication:

  1. External duplication – usually your content copied and posted on another page. The rule here is simple – just don’t copy someone else’s content.
  2. Internal duplication – occurs when multiple pages with identical content are created on a single website. It can be, for example, similar products or categories, another language version of the same page, etc. Webnode helps to deal with internal duplications.

Due to internal duplicates, some pages may stop appearing in the search results and may have indexing issues. A large number of internal duplications can penalize the entire site.

In order for your site’s content to be included in search results, it must be included in the index. Indexing is the process of crawling and storing web page content in a search engine database. The search engine index is similar to the index in the library. It contains information about the available books. However, instead of books, the search engine index lists all the websites it has visited and considers to be original, secure, and trustworthy. When a search engine visits your site, it detects new and updated pages and updates the index.

Different types of internal duplications are handled differently:

  1. Redirection
    • Duplicate content on the old page is redirected to the current version using status code 301.
    • When you change a URL, Webnode automatically sets up a redirect.
  2. Language version solution
    • Use the “hreflang” tag to distinguish among pages with identical content in another language.
    • Webnode allows you to easily create different language versions of the site and sets the hreflang tag for you.
  3. Canonical version
    • For a large number of identical pages (e.g. different product colors), the “rel canonical” tag is used to determine the preferred page.
    • Webnode website builder allows you to create various variants and set the correct canonical version.

The hreflang attribute tells Google what language you’re using on a particular page and which region it is intended for. For example, if you have similar content on one page in German for Germany and another in German for Austria. The search engine can then show this result to users searching in the relevant language and region.

A canonical tag is a way to tell search engines that a particular URL is the primary version of a page. Using a canonical tag will prevent problems caused by identical content that may appear on multiple addresses (for example, by offering a package size selection for a product, each variant may have its own URL). The canonical tag tells search engines which version of the URL you want to appear in search results.

Webnode takes care of the domain and hosting 

Both the technical and the content SEO are important for websites. It is therefore necessary to develop both areas equally. However, Webnode provides a great advantage because it will take care of the technical SEO for you so you can focus on the content.

The domain is the web address. It’s the name under which people will know and search for your site.

Webnode provides an opportunity to create a website on a subdomain, such as “webname.webnode.cz”, for free. This is a simple, fast and cheap way to start a website. 

Webnode also will provide you with hosting and will guide you smoothly through the entire process of purchasing, registering, and setting up a domain. You won’t have to deal with any external hosting services.

Web hosting service is a rental of space for websites on a third-party server. With hosting, you can place your website on the Internet without having to have your own server.

And if you already own a domain, we can help you easily transfer it to Webnode.

DIY SEO FAQs 

Is it possible to do SEO yourself?

Yes, it is possible to do SEO yourself. However, it can be a time consuming process and there are many factors that go into it. Using Webnode for your website can help make the website optimization process easier as we take care of the technical SEO for you.

Is it better to pay for SEO or to do it yourself? 

It depends on your goals, your expertise, and how much time you have to devote to improving the SEO on your website.

How long does SEO take to work? 

SEO cannot be set up with a single click. It is a process that you continuously develop overtime and the results will appear if:

  • You regularly produce content.
  • You keep your site up and running, regularly checking that your links are working and don’t lead to 404 error pages
  • Build authority for your domain by getting backlinks, promoting it on social networks, and participating in discussion forums

Conclusion

When done correctly, search engine optimization can make your website more visible to your target audience and drive traffic to your content. You can do SEO yourself, but it will cost you time, learning and effort. For more extensive and expert SEO, we recommend hiring an SEO specialist to save you these challenges.

For other ideas on how to increase traffic to your website, check out 13 Tips How to Boost your Website.