June 22, 2023

SEO for Solopreneurs 101: A Beginner’s Guide

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SEO for solopreneurs can be a massive undertaking, especially when you're new to establishing a digital footprint.

I've been building my business for 5 years. Throughout my journey, I've experienced many of the challenges you're probably facing in growing your online presence.

That's why I want to let you in on my straightforward approach to SEO.

In this article, I'll break down the 4 key pillars of SEO. Then, I'll share sustainable ways you can improve your search rankings and attract more customers.

For context: I'm not an SEO expert.

For my business, I turn to my SEO friends (who I’ve called upon for this article), use Ahrefs, and write against boring old copy briefs for my site.

What solopreneurs need to know about SEO

You may wonder: What is SEO, exactly?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

It's the process of optimizing your website's searchability. Optimizing your website for higher search engine rankings increases its visibility to potential customers.

Before diving into the 4 key pillars, let's go over the basics of SEO every busy solopreneur should know:

  • It can bring you free, organic website traffic
  • It's a long-term strategy and takes time to establish
  • It's not a one-and-done deal; it requires ongoing effort
  • It improves the user experience for your website visitors
  • It can give your website more consistent traffic than social media

By investing in SEO, you can outrank competitors in search results and capture more of your target market.

4 pillars of SEO

Now that we've covered the SEO basics, let's explore the 4 pillars of a successful SEO strategy.

Understanding them will help you prioritize your efforts:

1. Technical

Technical SEO involves making sure your website is easily crawlable, indexable, and user-friendly.

Many people overlook this because it requires some tech know-how. But it's crucial because it can impact your website's rankings.

Pay attention to these main elements:

Site speed

A slow-loading website can hurt your rankings and frustrate visitors.

Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to analyze your site's speed and find areas for improvement.


With the majority of web traffic coming from mobile devices these days, it's critical to ensure your site is responsive and looks great on all screen sizes.

Google's Mobile-Friendly Test is my go-to tool for identifying issues.

Secure connection (HTTPS)

Migrating to HTTPS is paramount for two reasons:

  1. It improves security for your visitors
  2. It gives search engines a positive signal

Make sure your site has an SSL certificate installed and properly configured.

Clear site structure

Organize your content in a logical, easy-to-navigate structure with a well-planned hierarchy of pages and categories.

This helps search engines understand your site's content while making it easier for people to find what they're looking for.

Fix broken links and errors

Regularly check your site for broken links, 404 errors, and other technical issues that negatively impact your SEO.

Semrush has an awesome tool to help you spot and resolve broken links.

Optimize your XML sitemap

An XML sitemap helps search engines understand your site's structure and crawl it more efficiently.

Make sure it's up-to-date and submitted to Google Search Console.

2. On-Page

On-page SEO revolves around optimizing the pages on your website to rank higher and drive more traffic. It involves tweaking content and bits of HTML to make your pages more search engine-friendly.

Keyword research

Figure out which keywords and phrases your ideal customer is searching for. Then, sprinkle them naturally throughout your content.

Use popular keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, or Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords with good search volume.

Optimize title tags

Make sure each page has descriptive, unique, and keyword-rich title tags. Keep them under 60 characters to ensure they display properly in search results.

Craft compelling meta descriptions

Write engaging, informative meta descriptions that encourage people to click on your site in search results. Aim for 155 characters or less and include your target keywords.

Use header tags

Break your content into easily digestible sections with clear headings. Use H1 for your main title, H2 for subheadings, and H3/H4 for further subdivisions.

Optimize images

Oversized images halt your website load time.

First, compress and resize them to reduce file size without compromising quality. For reference, full-screen background images should be between 1,500 and 2,500 pixels wide. Aim for a maximum width of 800 pixels for other images.

If you're on WordPress, some plugins can do the heavy lifting for you. Smush, for example, automatically compresses photos after you upload them.

Finally, use descriptive file names and include keywords in your photos' alt texts.

Add internal links

Link to relevant pages on your own website within your content. This makes it easier for search engines to discover and index more of your pages. Your website visitors also get additional value from seeing them.

3. Off-Page

Off-page SEO is all about the external efforts that boost your website's visibility and credibility. These activities enhance your site's SEO authority.

The goal of off-page SEO is to build a strong online reputation and earn valuable backlinks from reputable sites.

Build high-quality backlinks

Earn backlinks from authoritative, same-niche websites to boost your site's credibility.

Reach out to influencers, guest post on well-respected blogs, and create shareable content to attract natural links.

Engage on social media

Social media signals may not directly impact your search rankings.

But having an active presence on platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter can increase your brand's visibility and drive traffic to your site.

List your business in online directories

Submit your website to local and industry-specific directories to increase your online presence. This improves your chances of potential customers discovering you.

Be present in online communities

Join forums, Q&A sites like Quora, and online groups related to your niche.

Share your expertise, answer questions, and engage with people to build trust and direct traffic back to your website.

4. Content

Stellar content is what attracts and engages your audience while improving your search rankings.

Create content for your audience

Understand your target audience's needs, pain points, and interests. Then, create content that addresses them.

Remember: Avoid keyword stuffing. It's 2023 — people can tell when you're writing solely for search engines. Instead, weave in relevant keywords where it's natural. Doing it this way will help you build trust and industry authority.

Focus on long-form content

In-depth, long-form content (1,500+ words) tends to rank higher in search results. When done right, it also provides more value to users.

Strive to create comprehensive, well-researched articles that cover a topic thoroughly.

Pro tip: "Long-form content" doesn't mean more words for the sake of length. Don't write to meet a word count requirement. Give real value instead.

Use a variety of content formats

Everyone consumes content differently. One person may prefer watching a YouTube video, while another may opt for reading an article.

To find out what your audience prefers, experiment with different content formats:

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • How-to guides

The goal here is to cater to diverse audience preferences and increase engagement.

Update and repurpose old content

You don't have to reinvent the wheel to be a master at SEO. If your website has existing content, don't let it sit collecting dust.


  • Optimize for current SEO best practices
  • Regularly audit your website content
  • Update outdated information
  • Add new insights

Finally, remember to repurpose high-performing content into new formats to reach a wider audience.

Let's say one of your LinkedIn posts got better engagement than usual. You can turn it into an infographic for a kick-ass blog post or delve deeper into it in a podcast episode.

Be consistent

Consistently publishing new content keeps your audience engaged. But it doesn't end there. Consistency also shows search engines that your site is active and up-to-date.

I've found it helpful to create a content calendar where I plan and schedule content in advance.

How to start SEO for solopreneurs

Now that you're familiar with the 4 SEO pillars, you're ready to boost your online presence and drive organic traffic to your site.

Let's break down the process into manageable chunks, so you can optimize your website and reap the benefits.

1. SEO setup

To measure, analyze, and optimize your website's performance, you need the right tools.

Google Search Console

This free tool allows you to monitor your site's performance in search results, identify issues, and submit your sitemap for indexing.

Start by verifying your website and submitting your XML sitemap to ensure Google can crawl and index your content.

Google Analytics

Track your website's traffic, user behavior, and conversion rate with this powerful analytics tool.

Set up a Google Analytics account, install the tracking code on your site, and start monitoring your performance. You can then make adjustments based on the data you see.

SEO tools

SEO-focused products like Ahrefs and SEMrush offer keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink data, and more to help you optimize your website.

Pick a tool that suits your budget and needs. Most of these have free trials where you can familiarize yourself with their features before committing to a paid plan.

XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a roadmap of your website that helps search engines understand its structure and crawl the pages more efficiently.

Use an online tool or plugin to make an XML sitemap. Then, put it into Google Search Console for indexing.

Essential SEO plugins

You may find SEO plugins helpful if you're using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.

For example, Yoast helps you streamline on-page optimization and improve your site's SEO performance.

2. Keyword research

Keyword research uncovers phrases your target audience uses in searches related to your niche. With this insight, you can focus on the right topics and optimize content for higher rankings.

By targeting the best keywords, you can:

  • Improve your search visibility
  • Attract more qualified traffic to your site
  • Boost the likelihood of converting visitors into customers

Brainstorm topics

Start by listing the main topics relevant to your niche or industry.

What questions are your ideal customers asking?

What problems are they trying to solve?

Generate keyword ideas

Come up with a list of keywords and phrases your audience might use when searching for information related to your topics.

Use keyword research tools

As mentioned earlier, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Ubersuggest can help you find additional keyword ideas, analyze search volume, and determine keyword difficulty.

Pro tip: Look at Google's "People Also Ask" and "Related Searches" on a search query for more keyword ideas.

3. Audit your existing website and content

Auditing your existing website and content involves:

  • Identifying areas for improvement
  • Evaluating your site's current performance
  • Uncovering opportunities to enhance search visibility

Why is auditing important?

By taking stock of your site's current state, you can make informed decisions on where to concentrate your SEO efforts.

You'll know exactly what issues are holding you back. Fixing them ensures an optimized website.

Technical SEO audit

Examine your site's technical aspects:

  • Site speed
  • Crawl errors
  • Broken links
  • Mobile-friendliness

Use Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, or GTmetrix to identify and resolve issues.

On-page SEO audit

Review your sites:

  • Content
  • Title tags
  • Headings
  • URL structure
  • Meta descriptions

Make sure these are optimized for your target keywords.

Finally, look for opportunities to improve readability, formatting, and internal linking.

Content audit

Analyze your existing content to identify gaps, outdated information, and low-performing pieces. See what you can do to update or repurpose this content.

Google Analytics can help you track content performance and engagement metrics.

Backlink audit

Assess your site's backlink profile to identify low-quality or spammy links. These will prevent your site from ranking.

Use Ahrefs or SEMrush's backlink checker to analyze your backlinks and get rid of any toxic ones.

4. Optimize your existing website

A well-optimized site goes a long way in helping search engines understand and index your content. It also provides a better user experience, increasing the likelihood of conversions and repeat visits.

Improve site speed

Cold truth:

Nobody will wait more than a few seconds for your website to load.

That's why slow-loading pages hurt your search rankings and user experience.

Optimize your site speed by compressing images, enabling browser caching, and minimizing CSS, JavaScript, and HTML files.

Ensure mobile-friendliness

Your website design should be responsive on all screen sizes.

Run your URL through Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to check your site's mobile compatibility. Then, make the suggested adjustments until it passes the test.

Enhance user experience

Factors like readability, layout, and visual design create a user-friendly site that people want to visit. As a result, they'll be more likely to stay longer and engage with your content.

Use clear calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide people through your site and toward conversion.

5. Create new content with SEO

Producing SEO-focused content means crafting high-quality pieces. These should be engaging, valuable, and optimized for target keywords. The goal is to rank well (ideally on the first page) in search results.

Why does SEO content matter?

It drives search traffic, builds niche authority, and converts visitors into customers.

Focus on quality and value

Search engines are becoming crowded with low-quality to mediocre-at-best articles.

Stand out by creating in-depth, engaging content.

Again, what questions do your readers likely have? What problems do they need to solve? What insights can you provide to get them on the right track?

Don't rehash what your competitors are sharing. Be a thought leader.

Optimize on-page elements

Incorporate target keywords naturally. Include them in title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and body text. For blog articles, try to weave in your primary keyword in the first sentence of your introduction.

Also, remember to use media to enhance content and engagement. For example, photos, graphics, and videos can really bring a text-heavy piece to life.

Format for readability

First, make sure your website has a clean and appealing design.

Then, break your content into digestible sections. Use clear headings and subheadings. Write in short paragraphs and use bullet points where it makes sense.

For long-form content, I recommend running it through Hemingway to spot areas for improvement. Aim for 7-8th grade readability.

Don't forget important links

Including internal and external links is an excellent way to guide users to more helpful resources, support claims, and build credibility.

6. Build authority with backlinks

Building authority with backlinks means earning links from reputable websites. These point to your content, signaling trust and credibility to search engines.

Create link-worthy content

Develop high-quality, valuable content that makes it a no-brainer for people to reference and share. Focus on original research, in-depth guides, and thought-provoking insights.

Outreach and relationship-building

Connect with influencers, bloggers, and industry experts. Share your content with them and explore opportunities for collaboration or guest posting.

Leverage social media

Share your content on social platforms to increase visibility and reach.

Interact with your followers and ask them to share your content with their networks:

  • Answer questions and welcome your readers' insights in your blog section
  • Make it easy to share your content by including social media buttons on your blog

7. Monetize your traffic

The ultimate goal of your SEO efforts?

Converting website visitors into revenue and passive income.

You can achieve this through various methods like ads, affiliates, and selling physical products and services.

Display advertising

Though not my favorite way of monetizing, you can use platforms like Google AdSense to show ads on your website. You'll earn revenue based on ad impressions or clicks.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing has been all the rage in recent years.

This works by you partnering with companies to promote their products or services. You then earn a commission every time they get a sale or lead from your unique affiliate link.

Sell products or services

This is how I personally monetize my website.

Offer your own products, services, or digital goods. Create a seamless shopping experience with a user-friendly eCommerce platform.

I love Kajabi, but it's pricey if you're new and still gaining traction.

A solid free option is WooCommerce (WordPress). You can start here and upgrade as you scale your online business.

Email marketing

Once you build a personal brand on social media, start an email list to nurture your relationships. Create an attractive lead magnet and use it to entice sign-ups. As your email list grows, it can become a sales funnel for your offers, products, or services.

Just make sure promotion isn't all you do. People also want to receive free value from newsletters:

  • Discount codes
  • Recent informative blog posts
  • Exclusive industry tips and insights
  • Trials for services they may find useful
  • Free resources you use that they'll love

Start with SEO for your solopreneur business

More people are building one-person businesses than ever before.

To rise above the noise, you need a powerful ally: SEO.

Contrary to what SEO gurus may say, this isn't a sprint. Getting maximum results is a marathon.

By embracing these strategies, you can lay the groundwork for driving organic traffic, establishing authority online, and unlocking revenue streams.

Search engine optimization requires upfront work that can be a huge time-suck for some people. Hiring help from an SEO agency is an option if you have the budget and prefer not to DIY.

If you're doing it yourself, have patience, stay committed, and track your progress.

That's my guidance on SEO for solopreneurs.

Thanks for reading.

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