Ranking Up (Day 1): The Journey of an SEO Startup

The start of a long or short SEO Journey

SEO is hard to do.

That's what we all hear. It's how any good marketing agency's sales pitch might begin. Everyone tells you it takes 12-18 months, even if you know what you're doing, and you execute a great SEO strategy.

SEO experts will tell you not to DIY your own SEO strategy. They'll say that the DIY SEO tools are too hard to use. They don't generate results, and you end up paying an arm and leg for them with no obvious ROI from your efforts.

They are all right. Or at least they were. The story people always tell you of "DIY SEO is too difficult to do" is very much a 2021 problem. And this is 2023.

A new approach to SEO

What's changed? The entrance of Sage SEO into the world to help small businesses do exactly that...DIY their SEO.

By way of introduction, Sage SEO has been around for almost 18 months. We're a startup that helps small businesses and startups run compelling and effective content marketing strategies through the use of powerful and easy-to-use software tools that are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). In essence, we help you DIY your SEO but make it much easier than if you were off in the DIY jungle of SEO tools. Trust me, I was there two years ago, and it was unpleasant.

So why the blog and the whole "Day 1" title? Well, even though we've been active for a while, we've only recently started our own SEO journey by kicking off our content marketing strategy for ourselves. While we're not technically on day 1, we're most certainly in the infancy of the SEO process for our website.

Our first piece of content on SEO for small businesses was published just six weeks ago on December 17th, 2022.

I thought it might be fun to share our SEO journey with our customers, blog readers, and anyone else who wants to follow along to hopefully learn about both our successes and our failures. We'll incorporate the learnings from both into our software and our methodologies.

First things first, let's start with a metrics baseline of how we were doing in November of 2022 and then see how this compares to each subsequent month afterward. Obviously, our goal is to rank highly for search terms that are relevant to SEO software, small business SEO, and DIY SEO.

Our beginning SEO metrics -

The old adage that you have to start somewhere is an apt one here. We have a bit of what I would call SEO baggage when it comes to our website content. I'll get into that more in the next article and discuss some of the cleanup we're doing to make sure our website is optimized for ranking highly for relevant search terms to our business.

There are a few important SEO metrics that we monitor for both ourselves and our customers. These metrics help us determine what our current SEO state of affairs is, as well as how our content marketing efforts are doing to improve that baseline.

Here is a quick list:

  1. Total search impressions: this number represents how many times any single page from our website appeared in a Google search result and was included on the search engine results page (SERP)
  2. Top Ranked Keywords: how many keywords a domain is ranked for in the Top 100 search results
  3. Organic Traffic: how many website visitors we receive to https://sageseo.ai via an organic search click
  4. Top search queries: how many of the top search queries (ordered by search impressions) are relevant to our business; as mentioned above, for Sage SEO, those terms would be things that include DIY SEO, small business(es), etc

With those qualifications in mind, here is a look at our November stats.

1. Total Search Impressions - November 2022

You can see that our search impressions for queries with "SEO" in the month of November are almost 6,000, a respectable number. But search queries that include "small business" are basically non-existent. We have some work to do.

Google Search Console (GSC) Search impressions for queries containing "SEO"
Google Search Console (GSC) Search impressions for queries containing "small business"

2. Top 100 Ranked Keywords - November 2022

Similarly, you can see our ranked keywords for important search terms are also starting very low at only 38 in the top 100. In addition, most of those keywords are very low in the rankings as you can see below.

Ranked keywords that include "SEO, DIY, small business, google"

A deeper look shows we rank for only one search term in the top 3 and one more in the 11-20 range of Google search results. A total of 36 are in the 21-100 range, which means we aren't getting any organic traffic at all from them.

3. Organic Search Traffic - November 2022

Speaking of, let's take a quick look at our top-performing SEO content pages. We've left off all of our old tech-torial content here as it's not relevant to our business and is being cleaned up and removed from our website.

Website URLOrganic Traffic
/ (home page)52
Top organic traffic by destination URL

4. Top Search Queries - November 2022

Below, we've broken down our overall top 10 search queries along with our search queries that include "SEO" and "small business", respectively.

The important thing to note here is that you don't see a single search query containing any keywords that are relevant to our business. This means that all traffic that results from those clicks is very unlikely to convert into any meaningful action on our website.

Someone searching for "reset google nest" isn't looking to sign up for SEO services. So this is a problem we need to start addressing immediately.

Top queriesClicksImpressionsPosition
how to reset google home54,0387.7
reset google nest202,8956.7
nfl.com activate52,86410.1
nfl activate12,6289.5
reset google wifi102,3806.9
factory reset google nest152,2766.5
how to reset google nest102,2416.6
nfl game pass32,13839.9
how to factory reset google nest22,1367.6
factory reset google wifi71,9327.1

If you look at our search terms with "small business" in them, they are all pointing back to our articles about setting up Wix or Squarespace. The impression numbers are also quite low. And we don't even have a "top 10". We only had 5 search terms that include "small business" in them. Yikes.

Top queriesClicksImpressionsPosition
wix website for small business01173.5
small business websites squarespace01090.2
wix for small business0373.7
wix small business0275.5
wix for small business website0283

You can also see we're getting search queries for SEO terms but most have no meaningful "search intent" behind them. It's very hard to determine what people are trying to find when they search for terms like verify SEO.

Top queriesClicksImpressionsPosition
ai seo01,20391.3
sitemap seo0445110.3
seo ai044264
seo verify website033641.3
seo verify033262.5
verify seo029862.3
seo yahoo017879
xml seo015685.1
seo verification014770.8
google seo ranking0142100.5

We need to show up in search results for some meaningful queries ASAP! Don't worry. We have a plan! 🧌

Final Thoughts

One of my key takeaways is just how important it is to have a content strategy that aligns with your business. The more distance between your content approach vs. your business's product or service, the harder it is for Google to decide what to rank you for and which visitors to send to your website.

A good DIY approach is going to help identify those topics through a combination of data, your subject matter expertise, and a little bit of help from artificial intelligence.

Hope you enjoyed this article and please feel free to comment, ask questions, and throw out ideas along the way.


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