The purpose of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to get your website ranked at the top of the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!) for your most relevant keywords. In doing so, whenever someone is looking for the products or services that you offer, you gain highly-targeted exposure to that potential customer.

With several hundred million searches performed each day on Google's search database, the potential for free traffic to your website is enough to warrant a significant investment in gaining top rankings for your most valuable keywords.

The purpose of this guide is not to educate you on how to perform SEO. There are enough guides from enough other companies out there that are much better than anything we could put together for you. Instead, this SEO guide is here to help you better understand the high-level process of search engine optimization and to point you in the direction of beginner, intermediate and advanced tools and practices for your SEO campaigns.

This guide to SEO is constantly changing and being added to. Consider bookmarking it and returning often.

Table of Contents

The Four-Step Process of SEO

Like most complex strategies and objectives, SEO and getting ranked higher in the search engines can be broken down into just a few simple processes. Here at Ontolo, we've identified the following four, core processes to SEO and ranking your site higher for your desired keywords.

1. Keyword Research & Website Analysis
2. On-Site SEO
3. Off-Site SEO or Link Building
4. SEO Reporting

Let's dive in.

1. Keyword Research & Visibility Analysis

Keyword Research & Visibility Analysis Tactics

The first step is figuring out where you want to go, and figuring out where you are now.

"Where you want to go" is top rankings for your most valuable keywords. This is accomplished through keyword research.

"Where you are now" is your current rankings and the current state of your own website in terms of search engine visibility.

Keyword Research entails identifying what keywords and key phrases people are searching that relate to your products or services. Next, you identify how often specific keywords are searched. And, finally, you assess the value of the keyword in terms of total times it's search, how far along the buying process it represents, etc.

Key considerations in Keyword Research:

  • How many times is the keyword searched per month?
  • How competitive is this keyword?
  • How targeted is this keyword to your products or services?
  • How far along in the buying process is someone who is using this keyword?

Visibility Analysis is an assessment of how your website is structured and how it impacts rankings. Some website development practices may prevent search engines from viewing the content on your website that you will want to be ranked in the search engines. Likewise, there are other web development practices that may make your website more attractive to search engines for your targeted keywords.

Key considerations in Visibility Analysis:

  • Am I doing anything to prevent search engines from seeing content my website?
  • Am I not doing something that may make my website more attractive to search engines?
  • What development standards can we put in place so that our website is more visible and attractive to search engines in the long term?

Keyword Research & Visibility Analysis Guides

Keyword Research & Visibility Analysis Tools

2. On-Site SEO




3. Off-Site SEO / Link Building




4. SEO Reporting




List of SEO Tools

List of SEO Guides

SEO Experts