Search engine optimization is a labor intensive job; before you realize it, the process could suck hours of time away from you and there is no immediate gratification from the work either. But, in the long run, if your strategy is sound, there are big payoffs through increased traffic.
Through our current body of educational material, we've given you many different types of keyword research tools to use. We specifically mention Keyword Eye and Google Keywords on a regular basis.
Ever wonder how long it takes *us* to do keyword research? Here's our normal process and the amount of time it normally takes us for each step.
1. Figure out what you would like to be optimized for. Take a look at your QuickBooks sales report and determine inventory or jewelry brands to target. (25 minutes)
2. Look at the search results statistics in your Webmaster Tools account to figure out where you are positioned already (15 minutes, 45 if you over-analyze)
3. Determine which pages of your site are associated with your chosen inventory/brands. (10 minutes)
4. Use a keyword research tool to find 3-word phrases associated with your inventory/brands. (10 minutes to discover each good phrase; let's assume at least 30)
5. Optimize your title tag and rewrite content on each page using the newly discovered 3 word phrases. (20 minutes)
6. Rewrite your meta description as if it were a sales letter headline. Keep it 150 characters or less. (10 minutes)
7. Submit your sitemap back to Google Webmaster Tools (3 minutes)
8. Post links from other websites back to each new page after you finish working on it. This is called "Building Links" and it's a never-ending job. If nothing else, you should at least post links on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. It's better to find other local websites to get links from (we'll say 30 minutes to start)
So how much time does it take us to do simple keyword research and associated SEO? That all totals up to 143 minutes or 2.38 hours, which is a lot of time to commit from any retail jeweler! Oh, and that's just for 3 phrases used on a single page.
Don't get overwhelmed. If you don't have time every day then just do 1 page each week. This is like a tortoise & hare race, and your slow progress will pay off better than rushing through it.
Of course you could always hire an SEO expert while you relax on your back porch (or office) with a frosty beverage instead. Just make sure your expert is up on the latest concepts (like the Dodo Meta Description we mentioned yesterday) and keep asking them what they are doing and why. Please don't just blindly spend money on any SEO or online marketing company without understanding what they are doing for you.