Search engine optimization (SEO) is hugely important for building your website’s ranking on search engines and generating more traffic for your website. The best part is that SEO techniques are usually free and, therefore, a good idea to implement in your website from the beginning.
An SEO strategy involves all the steps you can take to boost your organic traffic.
These steps are proven techniques and activities that you can perform before and after you create content in order for it to be optimized for search engines. It is important to implement an effective strategy in order to cover all ground and opportunities for optimization.
Even if you’re just getting started with SEO, keyword research is definitely something you will have come across. Keyword research may seem simple, but it is a thorough and essential process for your content to rank well in search engines.
Keyword research includes analyzing long-tail keywords and keyword variations. Brainstorm some topic ideas that your niche audience will be interested in and use tools such as Google and Pinterest autofill suggestions to come up with long-tail key-phrases.
Inputting these phrases into free and paid tools can show you data such as keyword suggestions, search volume, how competitive the phrase is and the top-ranking pages. Just because the search volume is high does not mean it should be a keyword to target – when competition is extremely high, it decreases your chances of ranking high on Google.
This research can show keywords with more potential for ranking highly – keywords with lower competition and a fair amount of search traffic. Additionally, keyword research means you can develop your content to be targeted at your audience and not too general. Content that meets your audience’s needs can lead to higher conversions.
Keyword research naturally leads to competitor analysis as part of your SEO strategy. You cannot blindly create content to rank highly in search engines without knowing more about the content you are competing with. You need to know information like:
This information – particularly the number of backlinks – is needed to inform the next steps in your strategy. Knowing the number of links gives you an idea of how many you will need to compete with them, as links contribute massively to search engine results.
Now you’ve now analyzed the competition, you don’t simply want to copy what they’ve written and add a little more. You want your content to be different, unique and more valuable in order to rank.
Google’s algorithm is highly complex and no one really knows how to crack it. However, the algorithm is intelligent enough to know valuable and original content. So: How are you going to stand out against your competition’s outstanding content? By making outstanding content of your own.
Create content that:
Do you have different thoughts, controversial ideas, or knowledge that changes the point of view completely on that topic? This can be what sets your content apart from the competition and can add more value to your audience.
Are you an expert in your field or is your website a trusted brand/name that will attract people to click on your content? If not, how can you match the authority of your competition? Something like expert interviews or endorsements from trusted people directing them to your content could be the answer.
The content you create needs to add more value to your audience. This typically means longer and more in-depth content. You can create skyscraper content, merge multiple, related pieces of content into one or create ultimate guides like pillar pages.
SEO consists of many elements that are split between on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO contributes to your website’s ranking and includes:
Search engine crawlers will analyze this data on each of your pages and evaluate it in relation to search queries. That’s why it’s not just the content you create that is important, but also your website and visitors’ experience of your page.
Paying attention to these elements of your content has other benefits, such as reducing bounce rates and increasing the number of leads you generate from your content, ultimately contributing positively to your SEO ranking.
As a result, your content should include more visuals, audio or video content that is SEO-optimized for visitors to enjoy, as well as headings and subheadings that break up content and optimized metadata and URLs.
You can perform regular site audits to check on the health of your site and these on-page SEO elements as part of your strategy (more on this later).
In addition to keyword research, you want to make sure your content meets the requirements of the target audience. This is why long-tail keywords are important to ensure that the focus of the article is correct for search intent.
Users should not land on a page with content that is irrelevant to their queries. This will only harm your SEO, as visitors are likely to bounce off your page when they do not find what they are looking for.
Therefore, putting yourself in the shoes of your audience allows you to create targeted and valuable content for them. Ask questions like:
This will result in better and more targeted content.
Backlinks are seen as one of the most important elements of SEO. Once you’ve made your outstanding content that will be able to rank highly, you need to acquire links that will boost it to the top of SERPs.
The saying, “Publish and they will come” doesn’t work. You need to get it out there in order to obtain traffic and natural links. Reaching out and manually obtaining backlinks is essential for this to happen.
Outreach is a great way to get your article in front of many potential links. You can use outreach for:
Creating an effective plan for link building is necessary because of its weight in search engine results. Also, from the research you conducted on already ranking pages, you know how many links you need for your page to rank.
So, consistently reaching out for links, even months after publishing your content, is going to be necessary for your SEO strategy.
Link building can seem challenging when contacts are limited. However, a good technique for building your contacts for outreach can be analyzing the links your competitors have.
Using free and paid tools, you can find pages on the same topic you are writing about and find a list of all the linking domains to that one page. These would be ideal potential backlinks as they are already linking to similar content. Maybe they haven’t discovered your website yet and can be converted into a fan!
Make sure to exclude websites that have already linked to you or have already been contacted through your outreach strategy.
Including these contacts in your emails can be more successful than reaching out to irrelevant sources. This research should give you a huge bank of contacts for future outreach.
Typically, blog owners create a piece of content, have a list of the usual things to do to promote the post and then leave it. The work really starts after your content is published to get it ranking on Google.
A study by Ahrefs revealed that 5.7 percent of pages make it to the top 10 in Google within a year:
This goes to show that social sharing, contributing to communities and all the other activities after publishing a post might not help SEO as much as you think. The graph also shows that websites with a high domain ranking tend to get to Google’s top 10 much faster.
Therefore, building your website’s authority and backlinks can speed up the process of ranking.
A website audit was briefly mentioned earlier and is definitely something you want to add to your SEO strategy. This is because an audit can evaluate the health of your website and various elements of on-page and off-page SEO.
Performing a site audit regularly is a good idea in order to continuously improve your website’s SEO. This helps to avoid errors, reveal potential areas for better optimization (in titles and metadata, etc.) and so improve your website’s chances of ranking.
Now that you have completed a website audit and improved the optimization of your site, revisiting your old content should also be part of your SEO strategy. “Fresh” content has the potential to rank better in SERPs, as Google will see the information as relevant, new and up to date.
Often, outdated and inaccurate content can rank poorly. Updating old content makes it more relevant to search queries. Also, don’t forget, all the links you worked hard to build will still be there on the old content, meaning it has better potential to rank high.
When going through old content, keep an eye out for pages that are duplicated and pages that could possibly be merged to form better content. Also, delete any content that is no longer relevant and doesn’t produce much traffic. This can boost your SEO as pages that do not add value to your visitors can negatively impact your overall ranking.
An effective SEO strategy is detailed and thorough but is essential in order to have the highest potential for ranking in SERPs.
Although ranking high is the ultimate goal of an SEO strategy, when done right, it can have other benefits. For example, using keyword research, search intent and creating outstanding content means you receive highly targeted traffic, resulting in higher conversions, more sales and more subscribers to your website.
Now it is down to you to implement an SEO strategy for better search engine ranking.