Search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on increasing the visibility and ranking position of a website in relation to a specific phrase or keyword on search engine results pages (SERPs). What is SEO?
Most people using search engines do so with the intent to take action – whether it be to find more information on a subject or buy your product. Capitalize on this intent by creating and implementing a sound SEO strategy.
Before we start with what a good SEO strategy includes, let’s have a quick look at how Google and other search engines work.
How search engines and Google work
Google is your most knowledgeable and helpful friend. Its only goal is to provide the most relevant matches or answers to your queries. It does this by using “spiders” to crawl through every page on your website to see how relevant the page content is to a search query. The better the content matches the search query, the higher it is displayed in the organic search results. How well your website is recognized on the internet also plays a huge role in determining the ranking of your website page.
This makes your brand, product, or service more visible to people who are searching for solutions that you can provide.
According to a study by Chitika, websites listed on the first page of Google take 92% of all search traffic for that search query, which just goes to show that competition for the first page is tough.
Figuring out the role of your website
The first step toward developing your SEO strategy is to figure out the purpose of your website. Remember, people have too many choices nowadays and they have to be constantly reminded that your business exists. The best way to reach them is where they spend a good bit of time, online.
The internet offers incredible marketing opportunities. In the past, these were only available to larger organizations, but now anyone with the right knowledge and tools can increase their brand’s online visibility.
Once you decide on your website’s role in your business’ success, you need to think about how you turn your visitors from searchers into customers.
Define your target audience and their interests
As the saying goes, “content is king.” People are serial content consumers. Whether it’s listening to your mindfulness podcast on the way to work, downloading your free marketing eBook, or just watching funny cat videos on YouTube, everyone consumes and searches for new content on a daily basis. To improve your SEO efforts, you need to have a lot of quality content around topics that are relevant to your target audience.
Understanding who your primary audience is will help you to understand what sorts of things they are searching for online and how you can tailor your content for them.
For example, let’s say you run an invoicing website aimed towards mostly small businesses. After doing some research, you discover that your audience is also interested in inventory management. This means that you should prioritize content that provides information specifically on inventory management in an invoicing context.
When in doubt, talk to your team – especially the sales team. You have a whole room of experts who regularly interact with your current customers. Don’t waste that valuable resource. Ask them questions about what pain points your customers have or what their common needs are that don’t get fulfilled.
Now that you have identified your target audience, it’s time to think about how they can actually find you. It’s quite common for there to be a mismatch between how you describe your industry or product and how your audience describes them.
To start, think about general topics that you want to rank for. These might include topics like “public relations (PR)” or “digital marketing.” Then start to branch these out such as “what is public relations?” or “best PR practices.” Long-tail keywords that are more specific work the best.
You should now have a list of keywords that you believe match what you do and what you think your audience is searching for. Note: This isn’t your final list of keywords!
If you have Google Analytics (GA) set up for your website, that’s a great place to get real information on how visitors arrive at your website.
Head over to the “Acquisition” tab in GA, dive into “Queries” and see what search terms people are truly using to visit your website. Here the click-through-rate is the most important metric to pay attention to.
Other tools such as the Moz Keyword Explorer and the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool are great ways of identifying new keywords.
Where’s the opportunity?
Again using Moz or Google Ads Keywords Planner, you can gain insights on the monthly search volume and competition a particular keyword or phrase HAS.
The best keywords or phrases are the ones that have a high monthly search volume and low competition. We call these opportunity keywords because they provide the best opportunity for you to get indexed on the first page of search results.
Define your top competitors
You might have already done your competitor analysis as part of your marketing plan, but here we’re more interested in competitors that appear on SERPs.
A great way to begin is to type a couple of search terms into Google and see what results you get. Make a list of 5 competitors who appear on the first page for that keyword. Repeat this process for your top keywords, and soon you’ll have a list that shows you exactly what your competitors do well.
Tools such as Moz and SEMrush (get ten free keyword searches if you sign up) can also help you discover what the best keywords are for any domain address you enter.
Keywords, check! Competitors, check! Now what?
If your competitors are ranking for similar keywords as you, then it makes sense to try and improve your rankings for these as well. Sift through your existing content and identify the areas you can optimize it rank better and help it perform better.
Take a look at any gaps the competitors have in their content and keywords. Is there a market need for the things you could do better than your competitors?
Create lots of new content both on existing topics to make sure you rank against your competitors but also create new content to help you stand out and improve your website’s visibility on SERPS.
The final step is prioritizing. We know that it’s been a lot of work to get here and we know there’s a lot of work to do, so naturally, we have to prioritize.
Don’t just focus on the easy things first. Of course, we all need some quick wins from time to time, and these will make a small difference to your SEO, but the focus should be on the things that are going to make the most significant difference to your SEO efforts.
Tracking your results
A good SEO strategy outlines how you will keep track of your efforts. These should align with your business goals, be specific, measurable, and timely. If the company’s goal is to increase the number of leads through the website by 20% by the end of the year, some example trackable metrics could be domain and page authority, page rank, unique users with page views, or engagement.
Need help creating the perfect SEO strategy?
With the right SEO strategy, you’ll go from zero to hero when it comes to generating qualified and organic leads to your website.
If your business needs some expert advice on how to take the first steps towards SEO perfection, we’re here to help. Get in touch today – let’s make it big together!