I have a secret that no one in digital marketing wants to tell you:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is actually free.
If you are willing to invest some time into educating yourself and implementing the best practices, you can save thousands of dollars a year on search engine optimization. It's all about technique. Here's my four-step, do-it-yourself (DIY) guide to SEO in order to free your search marketing efforts from agency CEOs:
Before you even take a single step or type a single letter, you have to know what you're up against. That means conducting market research, discovering the most relevant keywords, and performing a site audit.
While much of SEO can be done without tools, certain tools are critical. I've already identified Google's Keyword Planner and Search Console as two essential tools for SEO beginners, but so is Bing Webmaster Tools. These tools are free, but many third-party tools can be costly or are only available with a long-term subscription. Others have trial periods, and still others (like Screaming Frog's Spider Tool) are free to a point. Here are just a handful of the ones you should be using regularly:
These are some of the top free tools SEO DIYers should be using, but there are plenty of others. Check out Moz.com's Open Site Explorer tool to check your site's backlink profile and ranking authority, SEO Spyglass's downloadable tool to check your backlink profile and those of your competitors and SimilarWeb's insight tool for a quick, easy-to-understand glimpse of your site traffic.
If you've done your research and found some good tools to help analyze your website's metrics, trends and overall searchability, you are now ready to develop your SEO strategy.
Once you've optimized your site and your content and implemented your SEO strategy, you can't just sit back and relax. Oh, no.