If you do not know what SEO is, it can be hard to imagine that you will ever be able to do it yourself. It can seem daunting and overwhelming to work on optimizing your site for search engines when you still have to work on the people aspect! The truth is that you can do it if you just have the right information available. Here are some effective ways to boost your SEO efforts so you see more traffic and more sales on your site.

1. Understand what you are up against. Check out the sites of your competitors and compare yourself to them. That can be a tough thing to do, but they probably have compared themselves to you! Check out what they are doing well and what they need to work on. Join their newsletter! From an SEO perspective, try to identify the keywords they are using and the site coding they have in place, like title tags and headers. By doing this, you get an idea of what actions you need to take to be a success.

2. Know your target market. This is critical in any marketing plan, but even more important for SEO purposes. You need to know what kind of keywords they use when looking at search engines, for example. You also need to know where they go on the internet, so that when you try to publish your articles elsewhere to get a link to your site, you can start there.

3. Develop a clear plan with clear goals. Don’t just “do SEO.” Get a complete plan in place. Make a guide for yourself with steps to be followed and adhered to. That way, you always know what work you need to do on any given day. You also can keep the larger picture in mind and not be frustrated when certain things happen. Detail which sites you will target for links, and what kind of on-site SEO you will work on.

4. Concentrate on a neat, well structured web site. This will help the search engine crawlers do a more thorough job of assessing your website. This is even more true when you have an XML site map. XML site maps are extremely helpful to you if your site is new and onsite SEO makes up the bulk of your marketing efforts.

5. Take time to seriously consider whether you need to hire a professional SEO firm. You have a lot to do in your business day; do you have time to tweak your site and do all of your SEO work yourself? A professional can do a good job for you since he or she has experience that you simply do not have. However, before hiring someone, check for proof of his or her SEO claims.

Never stop learning. Always keep looking for new keywords, and always keep looking for ways to learn about SEO and how you can increase your efforts. Sooner or later, it will pay off for you.