SEO from Scratch: What to Expect and How to Master

The SEO industry has matured a lot over the last decade, but there is still a lot of confusion as to what it is (or should be) and how to manage it effectively.

How to start an SEO strategy for a new company site? When to expect results? What is a doable budget?

Let’s try and cover some of the most popular SEO from scratch questions here.

Where to Start?

SEO starts with setting up your site. A lot will rely on which platform (or content management platform) you choose. It also all comes down to your needs.

If your business is going to be in an ecommerce business (enabling people to buy something from your site), you will likely need some ecommerce set up help. In this case, contact an agency that will help you with both set-up and SEO fundamentals.

If your website’s goal is to inform your future customers of your expertise or services, it is a good idea to set up a blog because there are a few powerful blog management platforms that will allow you to easily handle most of your content and SEO needs from home. Plus, you may even be able to set up the site yourself. Starting a blog is pretty easy these days, so you may be able to handle it yourself.

The next step would be creating content for your first landing pages. These should inform the potential customers of what you do and how it can help them solve their problems. These can be services pages, product pages, as well as pages explaining your business terms as well as talking about your team and brand story. These are all important for sending positive signals to both people and search engines.

When figuring out which pages to create first, use Text Optimizer which will analyze your target query and use semantic analysis to identify most popular concepts and questions behind it:

What Does SEO Entail and Is It Doable In-House?

Fundamentally, search engine optimization consists of three major areas:

  • Fixing (and/or monitoring) technical issues (e.g. making sure there are no broken links, unnecessary redirects, etc.)
  • Content creation that matches relevant search queries (so this task also includes keyword research)
  • Link building (which is - sadly - a never-ending, ever-evolving task). Link building in itself can include dozens of tasks involving content creation, graphic design, PR / outreach, influencer marketing, etc. etc.

Depending on the size and needs of your business, you may be able to handle much of this at home. For example, content is something many businesses choose to manage in-house. You are likely to need help for technical SEO and link acquisition.

To sum up:

Search engine optimization...:

  • Takes a lot of planning
  • Always changes
  • Includes diverse tasks
  • Never really ends…: (Once stopped, you cannot just turn the switch back on. It will take lots of time to recover)

So it is a smart decision to build a management team at home while outsourcing certain tasks to trusted providers

How Long Will SEO Take to Deliver Results?

The best advice I can give here: Be in no hurry.

All long-term SEO issues tend to come from a business being too impatient in chasing those organic search positions.

Start your site as if you didn’t plan to achieve those rankings: Start slow and steady. If you are looking for quick leads, start with Facebook and Google ads (or other ways to grow traffic).

Realistically, it takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months for a brand new site to start receiving a solid amount of traffic, but you really need to start with long-tail search queries that don’t have a high competition.

You can find those using this keyword exercise over and over again.

Do I Need SEO?

Beyond doubt.

To put simply, these days if you are not findable on Google, you don’t exist. According to a study conducted by SparkToro, Google is the single-largest traffic driver to websites. Across various industries, Google accounts for about 57.8% of total clicks the surveyed websites were getting:

Google is the only most effective online traffic source. With more than three and a half billion searches a day globally, a presence on Google isn’t really an option. It’s what your business cannot exist without.

When it comes to SEO vs PPC, SEO delivers 83% of organic search traffic from search engines, while paid search generates only 17%

Google is where most buying journeys start and continue. Unlike social media marketing which is usually interruptive, Google search is able to send free pre-qualified leads (thanks to matching results to the search intent). People use Google when they want to find you (or another brand that does a better SEO job).

How to Measure My SEO Effectiveness

There is no perfect answer to this.

The best way to approach this question is to track a combination of various criteria:

  • Rankings for relevant search queries
  • Organic search traffic
  • Organic search traffic leads

If all of the above is slowly or surely growing, you are on the right path.

You can monitor your rankings using rank monitoring tools. You monitor your search traffic and how those organic clicks convert into conversions using Finteza which allows you to keep an eye on your organic traffic without requiring a tedious set up.

Simply install the script, and then click through to Google to filter all your further reports to Google’s organic traffic. So you can see how your organic traffic is following through your sales funnel, for example:


SEO is truly not rocket science but you need to approach consistently and strategically. Don’t try to trick the algorithm and

Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at Ann has been into Internet Marketing for more than 10 years, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of the regular Twitter chat #vcbuzz

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