Attention: This post is Part 2 of a two-part blog. If you have not read Part 1, please read it here: Top SEO Tips For Beginners – Part 1.
Tip 6: Use tools that are available to you.
Some SEO firms have launched useful tools to help you succeed in your all-around SEO duties, from linkbuilding to optimizing your website so that you get your maximum ROI (return on investment) for your efforts.
First, get your company or client to pay for an SEOmoz (@seomoz) subscription. Their tools are invaluable to a serious linkbuilder. Open Site Explorer (OSE) is quite useful when learn a new niche and to find your competitors’ backlinks.
Ontolo has also launched a series of tools to help the everyday SEO, and I have found them especially useful as a beginner. Ontolo’s Google search generator, called Link Query Builder V2 (come on Garrett and Ben, a better name please!), is based on keywords. This tool provides you with many high-level Google searches to help you find quality prospective link opportunities. Also, Ontolo’s lead SEO, Garrett French (@garrettfrench) is always willing to help with Ontolo questions.
Finally, the almighty Google (GOOG) provides a number of easy-to-use tools. They include:
- Reader – Subscribe to the RSS feeds of useful sites (insert article here). Set the feed to pull into your Google Reader so that the new information published on these sites is pulled into one place. I begin every workday by reading articles published overnight so that I can use the information during my workday.
- Analytics – Use Google Analytics to track your visitors and locations, keywords, and content. It is also possible to track eCommerce once you have learned the basics. I recommend taking a course if you do not have any prior experience using Analytics.
- Docs – The SEO team that I work on would not be able to function well without Docs. We use Docs for tracking links and link prospects, editing collaboratively, and identifying new ways to build links and improve our site. I personally use Docs to scrape websites for potential links and to write new blog posts.
Tip 7: Learn to use Microsoft Excel
SEOs use Microsoft Excel multiple times every day for linkbuilding and website tracking purposes. I use it to keep track of keywords for specific pages on our website, as well as scrubbing exports of backlinks in order to make them actionable for SEO purposes.
If you are unfamiliar with Excel when you start as an SEO, I would recommend either taking a class or finding someone in your company who is an Excel afficionado who is also willing to teach you and answer your questions.
Tip 8: Learn to write a well-crafted, focused email.
SEO is marketing. In order to succeed, you must know how to tell people what they want to hear, when they want to hear it. Whether dealing with a skeptical client, a stubborn boss, or the webmaster of that PR6 site yoy’re trying to finagle a link from, you need to know how to write for people. Be direct, flatter (but not too much), and be honest. Don’t give away all your tricks, but be willing to be a likable human when dealing with your contact.
Tip 9: Be careful of “paralysis by analysis”
This goes back to Tip 3 (DOUBLE CHECK #). Be careful that you do not spend too much time reading and learning instead of practicing what you are learning. A fine balance exists between keeping up with the latest news and trends (which is all too easy with Social Media) and implementing what you have learned. Plus, if you implement what you have learned and make new discoveries, you will benefit the whole world of SEO when/if you decide to publish your findings.
Tip 10: Build a website from the beginning.
If you are a new SEO, I would recommend developing a website of your own from scratch, if you have never done so before. Building a website from the beginning will allow you to implement your new SEO knowledge into your design. You will also have a better understanding and appreciation for how websites are built, and therefore you will be able to better optimize the sites you are working on for search engines. Also, if you have your own sites that you are able to easily implement changes to, you will have hands-on learning experiences at your fingertips. You will have a website that you can change and experiment with, which will increase your SEO knowledge and skill.
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Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of my suggestions, what I missed, and what you’ve learned as an SEO.