SEO (search engine optimization) is used to increase the amount of organic traffic to a website. It focuses on improving the performance of a website in organic search engine results; that is, search results that are not paid for. It includes the use of a range of different techniques, all of which can help to improve performance in various ways. As well as increasing the quantity of traffic to a site, it also involves increasing the quality of traffic. Good website traffic should not just consist of many visitors, but should also consist of visitors who are relevant to the website. There are many different factors that count toward SEO performance, from keywords used on the page to the number and quality of links to the site on other websites.
All businesses should have a website, and all businesses need SEO to drive traffic to that website. SEO provides many benefits to businesses, helping to bring customers to their websites. Organic searches are often the primary source of website traffic for businesses, so it’s essential to maintain it. Good SEO performance helps to build trust in your brand and it provides a better user experience too. It’s also an effective and affordable way to stay in touch with your audience.
Businesses need to have a SEO strategy in place to achieve the most from their SEO practices. An SEO strategy sets out a clear roadmap for how to build SEO success. Without an SEO strategy, the SEO performance of a website will either improve very slowly or won’t improve at all. Additionally, a good SEO strategy also helps to keep a website up to date and in line with current SEO guidelines.
If your business doesn’t yet have an SEO strategy, this guide will tell you all that you need to know to create a successful strategy for you and your marketing team to follow.
Decide on digital marketing goals
The first step to creating any sort of strategy is defining your goals. Without clear goals, it’s difficult to give your strategy any direction. There are a number of goals that you might set out for your business to achieve.
Some of the digital marketing goals that you might aim for include:
- Lead generation
- Increasing traffic
- Boosting e-commerce sales
- Increasing brand awareness
- Protecting your brand and managing your reputation
- Providing customer service
- Targeting a specific audience
Once you have defined the goals that you want to reach, the next thing that you need to do is consider which KPIs can be measured to determine if your goals are being met. It’s essential to have measurable goals and to be able to measure whether you are making progress.
There are some top KPIs that you should be tracking if you want to measure your goals. Some of the KPIs worth paying attention to are:
- Number of organic sessions – ideal if you want to increase traffic
- Keyword ranking – a good metric for brand visibility
- Leads and conversions – track these if you want to generate leads or increase sales on your site
- Bounce rate – this can help to determine the relevance and accuracy of your SEO
- Pages per session and time on your site – how long do people spend looking at your website?
- Page load time – website speed is essential for good SEO performance
SEO can help you to achieve your marketing goals by increasing your exposure and growing brand awareness. Good SEO requires you to not only use the right keywords on your website but also ensure you’re providing the right user experience for your audience.
Choose Keywords to Focus On
There are many different elements to an SEO strategy, but keywords are still a vital part of SEO. A keyword can be a single word, but it is also often a string of several words or a full phrase. Some people might say that keywords are no longer relevant, but the truth is that keywords are still important to SEO. Keywords are important to SEO because they signal what people are looking for. By using the keywords that your audience is using, you tell them and search engines that your content is relevant to them. Keywords signify intent and tell you all about what your customers want.
Which keywords should you focus on?
Working out which keywords to focus on can take some work. It requires thorough research to identify the most useful keywords for your brand. There are several steps to take to find the right keywords.
You need to know your audience if you want to know the best keywords to use. Understanding the words and phrases they use when they’re searching for your products or services is essential. Keyword research tools can help you to find out what keywords your target market is using. There are several free options, such as the Google Ads keyword planner, as well as paid options that give you more features.
Paying attention to your competitors is another important way to find out which keywords you should be using. It can help you to see which words they are using that you can compete for, as well as those that might be better to avoid because there’s too much competition.
Remember to consider different types of keywords when doing your research. Long-tail keywords, which have multiple words, might receive less traffic but they can also have a lot less competition. It’s essential to consider these keywords to ensure you target a range of options. You can have more success with long-tail keywords, which are more specific, compared to short keywords.
Using keywords to improve SEO strategy
After identifying the best keywords to use, you need to know how to use your keywords to improve your SEO strategy. There are several places to use keywords to make sure they are as effective as possible.
You should use keywords in:
- SEO page titles
- Meta descriptions
- Page content
- Image alt text
- Anchor text
- Social shares
- Directory entries and listings
Some of these things are seen as more important than others by search engines. For example, the SEO title of your page is a key factor to consider. Social shares don’t have a direct impact on SEO but they can help to improve visibility in search engine results.
Review and Update Content
Good content is an essential part of SEO. You might have heard the phrase “content is king”, which emphasizes how important it is. Content is so important for SEO because it signals that your website is useful and relevant to your users. Although you are trying to please the search engines with your website, search engines, like Google, want you to make your website for humans, not machines. That’s why they’re constantly checking that you have useful content that’s relevant to what your audience is looking for. When dealing with content production, you should keep SEO in mind.
Reviewing existing content
If you have existing content that you want to optimize for SEO, it is important to put time into reviewing and updating it. It can also be beneficial to use an evaluation form to keep track of which blogs and elements need improvement.
There are a number of steps that you should take if you want to review content for SEO and ensure it’s up to date.
- Outline the content and structure of your article
- Spend time crafting the ideal SEO headline
- Ensure the intro is captivating
- Use a table of contents to skip to different sections
- Ensure content can be skimmed easily and is readable
- Make sure all of your content is accurate
- Add internal links
- Use different types of content, such as custom graphics and video to support text
- Match your content to the search intent of your audience
Focus on on-page and off-page SEO
SEO can be largely separated into on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. Both on-page and off-page SEO are important for your website.
On-page SEO includes all of the elements on your site, including the URL, title tag and meta description, heading tags, keywords, content, speed, mobile-friendliness, internal links, and images.
Off-page SEO is the things that are outside of your website. Elements include external links, social media, content marketing, reviews, citations, and more.
If you want to improve on-page SEO, you should:
- Use keywords on your pages
- Optimize your titles and meta description with keywords
- Make sure your content is relevant to your audience
- Optimize your URLs
- Use internal links
- Make your site faster and use a responsive design for mobile-friendliness
Off-page SEO has a strong focus on building backlinks for your site. It’s not just the quantity of links that matters, but the quality. You should focus on getting links from quality, relevant websites. Other methods that you should be using include social media marketing, guest content, and local listings, which all help you to build links to your site and mentions of your brand.
Best SEO Strategies
A successful SEO strategy requires you to start by defining your goals. You can then decide how to measure them and outline a plan of action. Start with keywords research, before identifying the best ways to build and improve SEO for your site. Both updating existing content and adding new content are good for your SEO performance.