You may be thinking you don’t need to worry about finding your SEO strategy because you’ve found one that a company you admire uses. Or the one that works for your competition looks like an SEO strategy that could work for you. Or nuts to it all, you’ve got a metric ton of keywords you’re just going to pad your online content out with.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but in 2019, you need to do a little more SEO work to get your website to rank than that.
Whilst it is a good SEO strategy to see what SEO best practice looks like for your industry, we hate to be the ones to break it to you, but what works for one company won’t necessarily work for another, even for businesses that are in the same vertical. Shocking, we know. And cramming content full of keywords is considered black hat SEO for which you will be heavily penalised.
We don’t want to teach you to suck eggs, most businesses know why SEO is important and anyone charged with digital marketing will have an understanding of the basics of SEO, and know that it stretches far beyond simply creating content around the keywords that your customers are searching for.
What is an SEO strategy
An SEO strategy is the way by which webmasters organise and create content for their web pages in order to help search engines, such as Google, understand what the website is offering when a user is searching for a particular topic or piece of information.
By optimising your website around the topics that you think your audience are searching for, employing keywords that you believe your users to use when searching within your topic, you will demonstrate your expertise in your field to the search engines, thereby ranking well in the search engine results pages (SERP).
Different types of SEO
There are three types of SEO that you should focus your efforts on:
- On page SEO – this is where you optimise the content on each of your web pages to help boost your website’s ranking in the SERP.
- Off page SEO – this is where you focus on building credibility away from your website, ie through backlinks from other websites, towards yours. By increasing the number and quality of backlinks to your website you not only become more authoritative in the eyes of your users, but in the eyes of the search engines too, thus helping boost your website’s position in the SERP.
- Technical SEO – unless you are a tech guru, technical SEO is best left to the experts. In essence, this type of SEO focuses on how your website is built, digging into the backend of the website to improve how it is set up. Because Google doesn’t just care that you’re providing your end users with useful and relevant content, they care about the user’s overall user experience (UX). And that involves ensuring certain things such as the pages loading quickly, or being able to view all of your content on their mobile phone.
This is where you want to find your specific SEO strategy, because not every website will have the same SEO requirements, because not every industry is the same. Audiences expect different things from different industries, so knowing what is important to your users and ensuring that you not only meet their expectations and answer their questions, but exceed their expectations, is vital to improving your position on the SERP.
So if want to improve your SEO strategy, make sure you’ve considered all of the below 9 SEO bases, as it’s a good place to start to find your SEO strategy.
- Define what you do.
This may be teaching you to suck eggs, so apologies if you’re beyond this step. But make sure that you know exactly what it is that you do and what it is that you’re offering your users.
Because if you can’t define what it is you’re offering, or if you are hazy about what you specialise in, you can bet your bottom dollar your end users and the search engine’s spiders will be even more confused. And it won’t end well for your ranking position.
- Write a list of the topics associated with your industry, your service or your product.
- Use Google Keyword Tool to help you identify their prevalence in users’ searches.
- Use the keywords’ search volumes and the competition to narrow down your preferred list of short tail keywords.
- Rank this list of keywords based on their relevance to your business and their popularity with your users.
- Create a list of keywords, including long tail keywords, based on what you do.
Using the list of short tail keywords that you created, start to identify long tail keywords that are bespoke to your business, using the short tail keyword as the foundation for the long tail keywords.
- Create 5+ different long tail keywords that really drill down into each short tail keyword, making each one unique to you.
- You don’t want to risk pitting your content against itself in the SERP by having too few keywords that you rank for, so make sure you have a wide selection, and mix up their usage.
- The more long tail keywords you have, the more you can target different cohorts of your users, because not all users are searching for the same thing, even though the end result is you. How they get there won’t be identical.
- These long tail keywords will not only allow you to come up with subtopics for you to blog about that are pertinent to your business, without repeating yourself over and over. But by talking about your topics from many different angles, you’re demonstrating to the search engines your expertise on the subject, and you will rank higher in the SERP for your efforts.
- Create web pages to cover what you do, including the keywords you researched.
Now, rather than trying to rank for all of your keywords on one page, which is nigh on impossible, create multiple pages covering all of your keywords. Doing this not only helps your end users find exactly what they’re looking for, but it demonstrates your authority to the search engines.
Just don’t keyword stuff. This is a big no no and you will be heavily penalised for it.
- Start a blog.
There are only so many webpages you can create for your users without them feeling like they’re Alice in Wonderland every time they use your site to explore certain topics.
One of the best ways to set yourself up as an authority on what you do is by starting a blog. It’s a great way of ranking for your keywords, but more importantly, it’s a great way to engage with your audience and provide fresh content for the search engine spiders to crawl frequently. Essentially, a blog is another way for you to improve your SERP.
- Create internal links within your site from your blog – link to your pillar pages from the blog each time you delve into one of your keywords. By doing this, you’re telling the search engines there’s a link between your evergreen content and the long tail keyword you’re wanting to rank for.
- Try and post a new blog post regularly. Regular for you will depend on your industry and your audience, so don’t post more frequently than once a week or you risk spamming your readers, and don’t forget to write for them, not for the search engine spiders.
- Write about topics and subjects that your audience are interested in, not what you think they want to hear.
- Develop a plan for building backlinks.
Start your off-page SEO efforts by planning your backlink building approach.
The simple premise of building backlinks is through building relationships with other webmasters. You don’t have to know them, you just have to provide them with something useful, whether that’s fresh, relevant content for their site, or highlighting a broken link that their site might have.
- Ensure your website is mobile friendly.
Google is on a mission to ensure all sites are mobile friendly, so if yours isn’t, you won’t feature in the SERP. End of. If you aren’t sure how to make your site mobile friendly, we’ve written a guide for you.
- Improve your site’s loading speed.
This is one for the tech savvy amongst you. It’s a small, but vital step in your SEO strategy, because research has shown that sites that take longer than 2 seconds to load will lose more that 40% of visitors.
- Stay up to date with current SEO practices.
The easiest way to ensure your SEO strategy is winning is by staying up to date with the search engine landscape. New and improved developments are coming out all the time, and what once once a popular SEO tactic can fast become a black hat SEO technique.
Basically, ignorance is not an excuse.
Check out these SEO news sites to stay on top of your SEO game.
- Measure your metrics.
Like everything in life, how will you know if you’re succeeding if you aren’t measuring your efforts. Plus, SEO takes time, and you don’t want to be wasting time on unnecessary and unfruitful tasks.
Whilst there are a great many metrics you could be measuring to check your SEO efforts, the ones to start off with are your organic traffic numbers, your ranking for each of your long tail keywords, what pages are indexed, inbound links, and your position on the SERP.