The 7-Day Quick Start Guide to SEO + Cheat Sheet

Dhanisa Mashilfa

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We all start somewhere.

For you, it’s your very first day of SEO.

Or, more precisely—for the sake of this guide—your first seven days of SEO.

If you do any kind of web marketing, you know that business and website owners frequently ask for SEO advice. Answering can be difficult because, short of hiring a professional, it’s hard to explain to absolute beginners where to start.

For example, what do you tell the small manufacturing business owner who wants to learn the SEO ropes but doesn’t have a year or two to master the finer details?

The best answer has always been “read the Beginner’s Guide to SEO.”

And that’s a great answer. For over a decade, the Beginner’s Guide has served as a solid and frequently updated resource for those looking to cover the basics, mixing in-depth theory with practical application. I’ve personally referred people to it literally hundreds of times.

To which the busy business owner replies, “That sounds great, but what do I do about SEO today? We need results ASAP.”

To fill this gap and to help more people, we needed a different type of SEO resource.

Improving the time it takes SEO to work

Unless you work for an agency or want to make a lifelong career out of SEO (an excellent choice), most folks don’t learn SEO for the sake of learning SEO.

For example, I started in SEO because I built a website that needed marketing. Other people may want to reduce spending on social media advertising. Still others simply have a new product that needs demand.

In other words, people seek SEO because they want results.

And they typically want those results sooner than later.

“How long does it take SEO to work?” is one of the most common questions in our industry. The truth is, of course, it depends. Different activities are impactful over different time periods, from mere days to long months.

Here’s a rough estimation of how different SEO activities might impact Google traffic over various timeframes:

  • Quickly (days to weeks): Indexability, title tags, search appearance

  • Medium (weeks to months): Keyword targeting, content creation

  • Slowly (months): Link building, site architecture

Professional SEO agencies, when looking for “quick wins” for clients, often implement a handful of tried and true tactics, things such as a simple health check, title tag optimization, structured data, and internal linking.

Here’s the deal: you want the same quick wins that professional SEOs look for, while at the same time setting yourself up for long-term success.

Getting SEO results more quickly

To solve all of these challenges, we created the Quick Start Guide to SEO.

You can find it incorporated into the Intro Chapter of The Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Since most people reading the Beginner’s Guide are very new to SEO, it made the most sense to put it there.

The Quick Start Guide includes seven days of actions to check the SEO health of your site while putting you on the path of sustained improvement. To make it actionable, the Quick Start Guide is short and sweet, but if you want something even more compact, we also created the SEO Quick Start Guide Cheat Sheet. This serves as a one-page sheet you can use for easy reference.

Get a free downloadable copy by clicking the link below.

Get the SEO Quick Start Cheat Sheet

Quick Start Guide to SEO: An overview

More detail can be found in the Beginner’s Guide, but here’s a quick overview:

How to use:

  • Each task is a day

  • You can start, and in many cases even complete, each task in an hour or two. That said, several tasks take much more than that. An SEO professional might spend 7-20 hours on an audit. (Some audits take 40 hours or longer.) Of course, you’re starting from scratch, so some things might take significantly more investment of your time.

  • The key is to introduce yourselves to these concepts so that you’re set up for future success.

Here’s what each day covers:

Day 1. Gather your SEO data

SEO is all about working with the right data, and you want to make sure you’re looking at the right stuff. Setting up analytics and registering for free with search engines is a simple first step to gathering the data you’ll need for most SEO tasks.

Day 2. See how your site is indexed

This day you’ll do a quick “health check” to ensure your site is eligible to appear in search results. Learn a few core tricks of the trade to make sure your site isn’t stopping itself from fully appearing in Google search results.

Day 3. Target specific keywords

This is where the “magic” happens. SEO is all about providing useful content for exactly what users are searching for. Making sure there’s a match between what users ask and what you deliver is the key to success.

Day 4. Optimize your search appearance

At this point, you will examine how your website “looks” in Google search. Do users want to click your result? Have you taken advantage of the various appearance options Google offers? Dialing in your SEO here may make the difference between simply ranking and actually getting visits to your site.

Day 5. Create content like a boss

SEO relies on content. Whether you are creating new pages to capture more keywords or optimizing existing pages, you want to make sure your on-page optimization is solid. From keyword placement to images, we’ll cover the basics here.

Day 6. Internal links & site architecture

Here we want to explore how easily users — and search engines — can navigate your site to find what they’re looking for. Examining your navigation, site structure, and internal links can often lead to significant wins.

Day 7. Gaining popularity via link building

You most likely won’t conquer link building in a single day, but you can definitely get started. Promoting your site and getting links from others is a bedrock of good SEO. Link building can be challenging, but we’ll show you how to gather your data, help you see where the opportunities are, and hopefully inspire you to a few good ideas.

That’s it! Hopefully, you enjoy the new Quick Start Guide. If you haven’t already, you can download your one-sheet copy of the Cheat Sheet here.

Get the SEO Quick Start Cheat Sheet

Best of luck with your SEO!

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