Website Specialist

Doing SEO yourself

Getting started with DIY SEO

This is one of a series of pages on search engine optimisation, which comprises the following:

Introduction to SEO
How SEO works
SEO and search engines
Doing SEO yourself
SEO prices

The content of these pages is also available – with additional material, including other sources of information – in my blog post A guide to search engine optimisation.

Can I do SEO myself?

If you understand how your website is structured, can add and amend its contents, know where and how to use headings and to add metadata, can write reasonably well, and have plenty of time and patience, then ‘yes’ you can do search engine optimisation yourself.

You might also need to improve the speed at which your pages load by, for example, making sure you have a quality hosting package and compressing your images.

And don’t forget to ensure a good user experience for people viewing your site on mobile devices.

If you’re happy you can manage all of this, then go for it. Just be aware that SEO is an ongoing process, which can take anything from weeks to years to bear fruit – hence the need to be patient.

However, if you’d like me to improve your SEO and get your pages ranking higher on Google, then please get in touch.

Where do I start with SEO?

A good place to start your SEO journey is to do some reading around the subject. My own reading list comprises a few books and lots of online sources, including:

Printed books

Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies

SEO 2022: Learn Search Engine Optimization With Smart Internet Marketing Strategies

SEO for Growth


Google: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide

HubSpot: How to Create an SEO Strategy for 2022

Mangools: The Complete SEO Guide for Beginners

Moz: Tracking SEO Performance

Revenue River: How to Start an SEO Campaign

Yoast: SEO tutorial for beginners: How to start with SEO?

5 ideas for starting with SEO

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information available. If you’d rather just focus on a few steps to get you started with SEO, try these five ideas:

1 – Build a keyword list

Think about how your website visitors might search for your products, services etc and build a list of 10-20 keywords that you think they’ll use.

Bear in mind that in the context of SEO, the term ‘keyword’ refers both to single words and to phrases.

You should find it easier to rank higher for what are known as ‘long-tail’ keywords: phrases of three or more words that have relatively low search volumes.

That’s because these longer, more specific search terms have less competition than ‘short tail’ options, which attract more searches.

In my own case, for example, on 1 January 2023 I ranked number one on Google for the long-tail phrase ‘wordpress website designer north wales’, but didn’t even make the first 10 search results pages (SERPs) for the more general keyword ‘wordpress designer’.

Although long-tail keywords attract less attention individually, if you can rank highly for enough of them, then collectively they can generate sufficient traffic to make the effort worthwhile.

Further reading:

Keyword generators

Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator

Google Keyword Planner

Moz Keyword Explorer

Semrush Keyword Research

Long-tail and short-tail keywords

Ahrefs: Long-tail Keywords: What They Are and How to Get Search Traffic From Them

Ahrefs: Short-tail keywords

Backlinko: Long Tail Keywords

HubSpot: Top 12 Tools For Finding Long-Tail Keywords in 2022

2 – Search Google yourself

Using your keyword list, do your own Google search for each one and see where your pages appear in the SERPs (it’s probably not worth looking further than the first 10 pages).

SEO is about improving your keyword ranking, so note the date of the search and where each term appears in the SERPs (page number and position), so that you have something to act as a baseline to chart your progress.

3 – Set your SEO goals

Once you’ve got an idea of how your keywords are ranking, set yourself some goals.

You might want to choose a few key phrases and set the target of getting them to page one within a certain period.

Or you might want to rank higher than a competitor, or generate a minimum number of visits to your website.

Whatever goal you choose, be realistic. It’s better to achieve smaller gains and remain positive than to set yourself an unrealistic target and give up. And remember – success with SEO can take time.

4 – Install an SEO plugin

If, like me, you’ve built your website using WordPress, then think about installing an SEO plugin.

A plugin such as Yoast, Rank Math or The SEO Framework (which I use) can help enormously in improving your SEO results.

There are lots to choose from; some are free, others cost money; some can be relatively easy to set up, other more complex.

You can always uninstall something that you don’t like, but before committing yourself try Googling ‘wordpress seo plugin’ and read some of the articles which compare, contrast and recommend plugins to learn more and find one that suits you.

5 – Write good content

The key to getting your page to rank highly on Google is good content. Google wants to know why it should display your page above those of your competitors.

Publishing material that is both unique and valuable will answer that question and ensure that your pages are indexed, their contents added to the engine’s database, and that they are displayed on SERPs in response to keyword searches.

Focus on building content rich pages for each topic your site covers, make sure your site includes a blog which is added to at least once a month, and share your content on social media.

For more on the importance of blogging for SEO, see:

Ahrefs: Blog SEO: The Complete Guide

Backlinko: Blog SEO

HubSpot: Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content

WPBeginner: 11 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO Like a Pro