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How To Do SEO Without Even Thinking About It

SEO can become second nature for you. Since SEO is one of the most important components of an online business, you need to be doing SEO automatically, reflexively, and instinctively. All the time.

So how do you get there? How can you start doing SEO automatically? How can you develop SEO reflexes? What habits and knowledge do you need?

Here’s your handbook to becoming an SEO expert without even thinking about it.

1. Make data omnipresent.

Data is the biggest ally of the SEO. Without data, metrics, numbers, and information, you cannot do SEO properly.

If you want to do SEO without even thinking about it, you need to saturate your online existence with SEO data. When you see relevant data wherever you go, you’ll be in constant SEO performance mode, and not even realize you’re doing it.

Here are a few specific ways to do that.


The Mozbar, integrated with my Chrome browser, helps put SEO information before me all the time. Whenever I google something with the Mozbar activated, here’s what I see:

how to do seo serp

Displayed on the every SERP entry is the PA (page authority) of a site, the number of links, and the DA (domain authority). This SEO data helps me intuitively analyze the respective SEO features of a site.

Use your SEO service or reporting tools.

Most people in the online marketing space are using some form of reporting data. There are a ton of SaaS companies and agencies that provide reporting platforms. If you have a subscription to such a service, use it on a routine basis.

If you don’t have any reporting service, use the following two sources:

1. Regularly check Google Analytics.

Analytics is free and ubiquitous. Chances are you already use it as part of your daily or weekly responsibilities. If not, go in and check around. The data is voluminous and valuable.

2. Do a once-weekly check of Google Webmaster Tools.

GWT is a treasure trove of information for the SEO. Google Webmaster Tools is not just for webmasters. I recommend that you check in at least weekly to see any fresh alerts, and to take a look at your latest link data.

Bottom Line

Constantly be looking at SEO data. Force yourself to see it. It’s all about getting data before your eyes and in your mind.

2. Google.

You probably use Google already without thinking about it. With a bit of practice, you can become an SEO genius without even trying. Just do your regular Googling, and think about what you see.

One of my reflexive keyboard strokes is CTRL + T, which opens a new tab on my browser. My cursor is automatically positioned in the search bar, and I start typing. I perform hundreds of Google searches a day, and it hardly even cognitively registers that I’m searching.

SEO can become the same way. What you’re doing when you search Google is learning how the search engine works, thinks, performs, and returns results.

Google, Look, and Think.

Every search is a lesson in SEO. Every SERP is a lesson in SEO. The next time you google something, ask yourself these questions as you look at the search engine results page:

  1. Google: What did I google?
  2. Look: What do I now see?
  3. Think: What does this mean for search?

By asking yourself these questions, you’re able to determine the underlying processes of algorithm performance. You’re doing SEO without even thinking of it.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say you’re doing spring cleaning, and want to wash your pillows. You google it. (Note: My SERP below uses the Moz SERP overlay, discussed in the point above.)

how do i wash pillows

Now, ask yourself the three questions.

1. What did I google? You googled a question, “how do I wash pillows”.

2. What do I now see?

  • You see several sites with the title “how to wash pillows.”
  • You see a pictured Google author profile. You also see a Google+ authorship profile without a picture (which may be going away for a while).
  • You see a famous name (Martha Stewart) on a not-so-famous site (
  • You see a popular how-to site.
  • You see a blog, presumably with a lot of content (

3. What does this mean for search?

  • Google authorship profiles are important.
  • The pictured ones are even better.
  • Popular sites rank well.
  • Not-so-popular sites with lots of content rank well.
  • Even sites that have middle-range DA levels but possess a lot of content rank well.
  • Titles that advertise “pictures” can be appealing.

A simple query on a simple everyday cleaning task automatically becomes a lesson in search engine optimization. You can benefit even more from this daily habit by implementing the Mozbar SERP overlay.

A banal query like “how do I wash pillows” makes me want to forget about pillow washing and do a few other things:

  • Optimize my Google+ authorship profile
  • Blog like crazy.
  • Add pictures to my content.
  • Put something about “pictures” in the title of a blog article, and see how it performs in organic search.

Bottom Line

Google. Look. Think.

3. Create a schedule, and stick to it.

Content marketing is less about marketing genius, and all about raw, gritty persistence.

Steve Jobs said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

steve job meme

Image from WeKnowMemes.

The kind of persistence that pays off is the tough and sometimes unpleasant persistence of content marketing. I speak from experience.

Doing content marketing on a daily schedule is doing SEO without even thinking about it. A schedule helps to automate life. It makes things to happen that would normally be left undone. It reduces the mental burden of decision-making.

It lets you do SEO without thinking about it.

Since SEO is content marketing, and you’re making content marketing an automatic addition to your schedule, then you’re doing SEO without thinking about it.

Bottom Line

Make your editorial calendar, carve out a time each day, and do content marketing. SEO knowledge will grow.

4. Make meta a habit.

SEO inevitably gets around to meta tags, titles, descriptions, and all that jazz. Is it possible to do this level of SEO without even thinking about it?

You’re going to need a little help, though. The help that I’ve used has come in the form of the form of Yoast. Yoast is a plugin for WordPress that helps you to remember to add important SEO elements.

Depending on your CMS, there are a variety of other things that can help you to add SEO metas. The important thing is that you make it habitual.

Yoast is particularly helpful in this way. When creating a WordPress page or post, the Yoast plugin displays this:

wordpress seo by yoast

Every time I go to create a new piece of content, I can’t help but enhance my SEO. I don’t even think about it. It even fills in some of the content automatically for me!

Bottom Line

Doing SEO without even thinking about it is about making habits. The habit you need to form is creating your metas. If you’re a WordPress user, try Yoast.

5. Stay up to date with SEO current events.

If you saturate your mind, email, and news feed with SEO information, the process of SEO becomes reflexive and second nature. You should incorporate SEO information into your daily intake routine.

Here’s what I suggest:

Email Subscriptions

1. Subscribe to Quicksprout. Plenty of good stuff here, coming at you plenty often.

Subscribe to the KISSmetrics blog. Another great source of actionable information.

Subscribe to Search Engine Journal. As one of the premier search engine information sources, this publication will give you up-to-the minute information on SEO.

Subscribe to Search Engine Land. SEL also has authoritative information on SEO that will help to bring the information directly to your inbox.

Social Follows

In addition to email updates, it’s helpful to introduce SEO information to your social media feeds. You can follow the sites mentioned above, or find other ones. I’ve found that following SEO leaders on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook help me to keep SEO information in my mental periphery.

When I’m in the know about SEO, it becomes less mentally stressful. Rather than worry about some new algorithmic fury being unleashed without warning, I hear rumblings about a forthcoming algorithmic update, or information on how to prepare for new changes in search technology. When I’m informed, I’m protected.

This consistent flow of news and information helps you to do SEO without consciously trying. You don’t necessarily have to read every publication, click every link, or research every topic. You just automatically remain aware.

Bottom Line

Subscribe to SEO publications in email and social media.


The pursuit of SEO excellence is something that you have to work at, but it can become second nature. As you hone your SEO skills, they will become so deeply embedded into your online habits that you don’t realize you’re doing them — checking DA levels, digging into the SERPs, and maybe even checking out source code on a whim.

This is what characterizes a good SEO, and that’s exactly what you can become.

The truly amazing thing is, these second-nature skills have direct impact on your business. If you’re automatically doing SEO on your own site, and viewing your competitor’s site through SEO lens, you’ll become really, really good at what you do. Your own site’s SEO will be evolving and advancing to the point where you are dominating your niche, and beating the competition.

Welcome to the world of doing SEO without even thinking about it.

What SEO practices are you doing without even thinking about it?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

  1. SEO is very very hard thing to do it took me ages to get my website near the top but this is useful reading!

  2. I’m a journalist by profession and a graduate of political science. My career has been kinda a whirlpool by I do feel that I can excel in digital marketing particularly in content marketing and social media marketing, Doing the things you mentioned above are some of the steps that have helped me in immersing in online marketing. The post is affirmation that I’m on the right track :) Thanks Neil!

    P.S. I also watch lectures on Quicksprout University :)

  3. hi Neil

    Let me tell you,your smiling face attracts visitors to your blog. I have never used MOZ, i use seo quake. Wanted to know is this free tool?

    Also i found that things you have shared are actually so common but humans we tend to ignore the common awareness and make our life complicated. Good that you reminded us to think about common things.

    Point # 3 – Create a schedule and stick to it with perservance – i like this and think i lack it too. Upvoted on

    • Harish, thanks for all the kind words of support and the insights. Moz does offer a free option and there is a paid tool as well.

  4. Morison Menon Jul 07, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    great!!!you are included all important points in seo.Thanks for your valuable informations

  5. Some how SEO becomes a way of life. Someone is news talks about domain if authority of a political party but our mind just jumps to the term “domain”

    And many other terms..

  6. Reverse engineering #1 spots as you point out with mozbar as an example will always tell you what the current algo likes.

  7. SEO is one of the most important thing, if you want to spread brand awareness of your business online. There are many ways and techniques which need to done on daily basis and carefully if you want to get good rank in SERP. SEO is not only about getting ranking and to be on top of SERP, beyond of this it consist of brand spreading and getting business. It is one of the dynamic post and define schedule of SEO like our daily routine.

  8. Suprabhat Kumar Jul 08, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Loved the conclusion part :)

  9. Nowadays SEO is one of the hard method of internet marketing and i do not think that it you can make your brand via SEO Easily that’s you should consider more in white hat ways like guest posting, do follow link creation.


  10. Awesome tutorial about SEO you will glad to know that before reading this article i m doing the same and also using SEO by Yoast.
    Before writing a article I search that particular keyword on Google and found that many of the Sites with less DA and well optimized content ranking well, So content matters a lot.

    I have little doubt that on which should i focus more
    1. Email List Building
    2. Social Media Profile Building

    Waiting fr ur Answer

    • Garry, glad I could help. Can you be more specific with your question. Not sure what you are asking?

      • Like some people use Social media to get more traffic from them
        Some uses Build email list to reach out their readers or customers

        On which should i focus more on Building email list
        Or Social media ??

        Hope you understand now

  11. Patrick Williams Jul 08, 2014 at 7:34 am


    Great stuff once again my man! I have been trying to “stick” to a content and blogging schedule. I thought It would be hard to come up with new a fresh content, but with all of the info from sprout and kiss etc.. it’s pretty simple to find stuff to blog and write about. SEO is important and I’m learning new strategies and tips to help my clients every single day. Thanks for all of the great info!

  12. Hi Neil,

    Thanks a Ton yet again for sharing such an informative article. I am delighted to come across Quicksprout and Kissmetrics every time. We follow your blogs and are really inspired by you. Thanks yet again..You have taught us to do the SEO in a right way.


  13. Hope you dont mind Niel I m doing same before reading your article
    In mean time while search a keyword and see status on MOZ toolbar you watch that some Websites having less DA outrank the High DA sites only because of the great content
    Am i Right ??

  14. Ha ha. So you;re telling me that it’s OK that I obsessively compulsively monitor my Google Analytics and Webmaster stats several times each day, along with my rank placements and Ahrefs? Thanks! Now i feel almost normal.

    In all seriousness, some of the tracking and scheduling, and simple writing down what I’m doing advice you offer is very helpful.

    At the end of the day the only way to become an expert in anything (including SEO) is to just do it over, and over, and over again…

  15. I don’t know any seo that does work without obsessing over every detail, lol. This does put it in perspective though, of how to do basic seo without thinking about it. Whenever we post on moz, its most often the simple questions that people want to know the answers to. Great post. Will be sharing

  16. Neil,

    Great article (again). I do most of this with the exception of the Moz plug in for Chrome. I had unsubscribed my pro subscription to Moz some years ago and kind of forgotten them. Thanks for refocussing me!

    All the best,


  17. This is all fancy to read but doesn’t work.
    I have a tech site where I have been doing all these things from past three years and I am still not getting the kind of traffic my competition is getting, even when I receive a lot of feedback that my site has better content, better design, better user experience than my competition but still.

    I love Social Media more that working blindly to figure out traffic from Google.


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