Marketing 101: 6 Best Practices for an SEO Strategy That Rocks
In spite of the influence social media possesses in terms of how people discover content, search engines still rule the roost. More than half of all web users use search engines as their primary resource for obtaining information, which makes an analysis of your business’s SEO strategy more important than ever. Failure to capitalize on the opportunities SEO offers can be damaging to a company’s marketing and, by extension, its bottom line.
Of course, successful SEO isn’t something that just happens overnight. Developing an SEO plan that rocks requires a long-term strategy that’s carefully cultivated; it also requires a company’s patience to see their strategy through to the end. Here are six ways you can get the ball rolling with your own SEO action plan and get the website traffic you’re looking for.
1. Get to Know Google
Google is the biggest search engine in the world. Therefore, your SEO analysis should focus primarily on ways in which your site can become more Google-friendly. This is a task that’s much easier said than done. Google updates its search engine algorithm as much as 600 times each year, although only a handful of these updates are worth noting. Google’s algorithm updates are geared towards making sure searchers retrieve the most relevant information possible. If you produce high-quality content without resorting to black hat SEO tricks, your content won’t be penalized each time the algorithm changes. However, it’s a smart idea to stay on top of these changes to make sure you’re in the clear.
2. Define Clear Outcomes
Sometimes it’s difficult to understand exactly what you want out of SEO. At first, you probably just want to increase your exposure via Google, and that’s fine. But before long, you’ll want to create some goals for your SEO campaign. A page one ranking is not a lead - and your marketing goals should be about deploying marketing that generates leads.
Your first step should be to figure out where you’re at right now — where you rank on Google, what your daily traffic is like, where your visitors come from, etc. This way, you’ll know for sure whether your efforts are actually working. From there, you can figure out where you want to go. You should have an idea of who you want to appeal to, and what sort of impact you want to make with this audience. You may want to refine your desired outcomes as you go, but getting specific from the start will help your execution to be on point.
3. Focus on the Searcher
Since SEO is a form of marketing, it’s natural for companies to think about it in business-centric terms. “If we do X, we can expect result Y.” However, SEO doesn’t really work like that. The endgame of SEO may be getting your page to climb the rankings, but that won’t happen unless you deliver the goods with your content.
There’s a reason why Google prioritizes the highest quality content, and it’s because that’s what end users want. Give it to them! Figure out what people really want when they search for a given term, then exceed their expectations. If you deliver a great experience for people performing web searches, you’re well on your way to crafting a winning SEO strategy.
4. Link Building
A major part of SEO is link building, which essentially means that the search engines want to see that high-quality, reputable sites link to yours. It’s like a referral of sorts. If Google sees that big-name sites think highly enough of your content to direct traffic towards your website, it goes a long way in their rankings. To build links, or earn media — you’ll have to reach out to contacts at established companies and ask them to link to your website. And, offer to link to their content on your site so that it’s a win-win situation for each of you.
The downside to link building is the potential for unsavory sites to damage your rating by linking to yours. It’s always a good idea to be aware of who’s linking to you. If an unreputable site links to your site, you can always ask them to remove the link.
Since you already gauged where your company currently ranks in the SEO world, you’re one step ahead of the game. Now all you have to do is keep an eye on how those metrics change over time.
Maintaining a vigilant eye on your key SEO metrics will go a long way towards executing a top-notch strategy. Knowing what’s going on with your campaign will enable you to really focus on the “optimization” part of SEO. Your knowledge of your metrics at various points of your campaign will enable you to hone in on what really moves the needle, sending your results into the next stratosphere.
6. Implementing Keywords
If SEO is all about the user, you should have an idea of what a user might query to obtain information about a problem they’re trying to solve. From there, you can use that keyword to your advantage by focusing your campaign around it. Simple enough, right?
The most critical component of marketing is understanding the needs of your customers. SEO is no different. Think about what your buyer personas need and, more importantly, try to understand the real intent behind their web searches. Once you nail these two points, you’ll be able to focus on the keywords that really drive searches, which puts you in a prime position to capitalize on their queries and include them in your content. The key to keywords is relevancy.
If Your Strategy Rocks, You’ll Find SEO Success
To the uninitiated, SEO can be a little intimidating. However, it’s not really as bad as it sounds. Your SEO analysis should begin and end with identifying what your customers want, figuring out how they’ll go about finding that information and then making sure your ideas for beefing up your SEO are compliant with Google’s latest algorithms. If you can handle that while still maintaining the quality of your content, you’re sure to find success with SEO.