A common question about search engine optimization (SEO) is how does it work? Or, in other words, how do you do it?

SEO can get complex, and this is just a very simplified answer to get you started, but generally speaking there are three main ingredients you need for a successful search engine optimization campaign. I call them the 3 R’s: research, relevance, and reputation.

1) Research

By research, I’m talking about researching the keywords that people are searching into the search engines.  If you want to be showing up in Google when people are looking for your products and services, it’s helpful to know what the exact keywords that people are using.

Google actually has a free keyword research tool that allows you to do this research quickly and easily, located here: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

You just type in your most obvious keywords describing your product or service, and the tool will tell you what your prospective customers are searching and how often. As you’ll see when you start using the tool, there are big differences between just minor variations of different keywords phrases.

2) Relevance

OK, so now you’ve chosen your keywords.

If you want your website to show up for those keywords, you need to make your website relevant to the keywords.  You do that by editing certain parts of your website that are most important for search engine optimization.  The most important parts of your website to edit are:

  • Title tag
  • Body copy
  • Headers (H1, H2, etc)
  • Meta description

Of these, the most important are the title tag and body copy of your web pages.

Also, be sure to make each web page optimized just for one keyword.  A good way to get organized is to create a spreadsheet and map out all the pages of your website and indicate what keywords you’ll target on each page, and the edits you’ll want to make to the title tag, headers, meta descriptions, and body copy.

3) Reputation

By reputation I mean getting incoming links to your website from other websites.  Incoming links are the number one factor that Google looks at when trying to figure out which website to rank over other websites.

There’s a variety of ways to generate links to your website. Three link-building methods we always recommend are:

  • Directories: Submitting your website to relevant directories
  • Article marketing: Writing and syndicating articles with links back to your website in the article byline
  • Press releases: Writing and syndicating press releases to online press release websites

To summarize, those are three ingredients you need for a successful SEO campaign: demand, relevance, and authority. If you want to get started now, start doing some key word research to see what key words your potential customers are searching into Google.

Do It Yourself or Outsource?

The next question many people have is whether to do SEO in-house or hire an outside expert.

How to Choose an SEO Company

We created a free report that outlines the common mistakes to avoid when hiring an SEO company, as well as 8 questions you should ask any company before hiring them.

Get free report: How to Hire an SEO Company

How to Do It Yourself

If you’re managing your own SEO campaign, watch this free video:
How to Rank #1 in Google Without Hiring a SEO Company