Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – the act of getting your web pages to rank high in search engine results page (SERP) – is more competitive and difficult than ever.
A search on Google for your target keywords will probably return millions of results and people rarely look past the first page of Google. In fact, a popular internet meme joked that the best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google Search results page.
What is more, the SEO tactics that used to work before don’t work anymore and Google is constantly tinkering with their web search algorithm.
Add those to the deluge of SEO tools and the arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in SEO industry and you get a sense that the SEO game has changed for good.
To gain any traction and do well in ranking your website in the search engines, you need an effective SEO strategy.
Simply put, an SEO strategy is a “game plan” on how to rank your web pages high in Google and other web search engines for your chosen keywords.
An SEO strategy can target image search, news search, video search, local search, academic search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.
Webmasters, SEO practitioners, bloggers, and website owners use SEO strategy as a guide for their website optimization and internet marketing efforts.
An SEO strategy is often documented so that the goals to be achieved and the things to do to achieve them is clear to everyone involved in doing SEO for organizations.
An SEO strategy is flexible and open to additions and subtractions to make it more effective and achieve specified marketing and business goals.
Every company with an online presence needs an SEO strategy for the following reasons:
i. Online success – it is has been rightly said that failure to plan is planning to fail. Since an SEO strategy is basically a plan, it can prevent the failure of your online business and help you succeed.
ii. Competition – As noted earlier in this article, the number of websites competition for the same traffic in your niche is mind-boggling. Your competitors are strategizing and so should you. It is difficult to win without an SEO strategy against competitors who are armed with an effective SEO strategy.
iii. Forced reflection –developing an SEO strategy forces you to reflect deeply and come up with winning solutions you might not have thought of.
iv. Online direction – an SEO strategy provides an organization with direction for their internet marketing campaign and serves as a compass to let them know when they go off course.
An effective SEO strategy often include the following key elements:
In addition, an effective SEO strategy puts a continuous improvement system in place to keep up with changes in the SEO industry and technology generally and achieve greater results.
To develop an SEO strategy that works, do the following:
Goals give you what to aim for as you embark on optimizing your website for online visibility.
Examples of goals you can set include traffic generation, creation of brand awareness, attraction of business partners and talents, building of domain authority, building of email list, increase in social followership, positioning of self or business as a thought leader in the industry, becoming an influencer, increase in revenue, business growth, increase in blog readership, and gathering of market intelligence.
Be as specific as possible and ensure the goals of your SEO strategy aligns with your larger internet marketing strategy and objectives.
The great Roman statesman, Cicero once said, “If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings, and speak my words.” Nowhere is this truer than in SEO and internet marketing generally.
Knowing your target audience affects everything you do – it will guide you on the keywords to use, the meta titles and meta descriptions to test, the format of your contents, the length of your contents, how frequently you publish your contents… everything!
Keyword research is the systematic search for terms that your target users are using to search for information online.
The research for keywords is often done using different online sources. Keyword research helps you to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
Other benefits of doing keyword research to base your SEO strategy on include:
SEO, at the basic level, is a competition. Google, for instance, ranks you in relationship to your competitors. Therefore, it is essential that you analyse your competition to discover what to do to outrank them.
First, take a look at the search engine results page and see the websites and contents that are ranking in the top ten.
Analyse the results to see what they are doing well that you can take a cue from and what they are not doing well that you can improve on to outdo them.
Many years ago, Microsoft founder, Bill Gates asserted that content is king. His assertion is still true today – SEO revolves around content. No content, no SEO.
Contents create thought leadership, contents positions you as an influencer, contents earn links that create domain authority over time.
So, as part of your SEO strategy, you need to plan on content creation. Your plan should include the types and formats of content to create, how frequently you will publish your contents, the design of the contents, and how you plan to make your contents better than your competitors’.
Some of the type of contents that do well online include complete guides, ebooks, workbooks, videos, slides, infographics, online courses, and blog posts.
On-page optimization is the organization, design, and development of your landing page to make it easier for both search engines and humans to understand.
When search engines understand what your content or web page is all about, they rank it. When humans understand what your content is all about, they visit it more and engage with it which leads to higher search engine ranking and visibility.
Essentially, your on-page optimization tactics should include the following: making your pages load very fast, internal linking using keyword-rich anchor texts, semantic SEO, inclusion of multimedia, inclusion of outbound links, inclusion of engagement mechanisms to increase dwell time, and very importantly, awesome design of your content.
Google says backlinks are one of the three major ranking factors currently, so it is a must that inbound links form part of your SEO strategy.
An effective link building plan covers both link building and link earning. While link building is manual, link earning is organic – both are needed to get backlinks that will increase your website’s domain authority and help you rank high in search engines.
Some of the effective ways webmasters and SEO practitioners build and earn links are sending outreach emails asking for links, guest blogging, directory listing, creating crowdsourced content, and interviewing industry influencers who have large followership.
Search engine optimization is largely scientific – you can test, track, and measure what works and what doesn’t work.
As part of your SEO strategy, you need to decide how you will track and measure your key performance indicators (KPIs).
In SEO, the important KPIs to track include backlinks, ranking position in the search engine results page, organic search traffic, organic clicks, organic impressions, organic clickthrough rate, organic conversion rate, mobile ranking, mobile search traffic, and dwell time on website.
An SEO strategy is not something that once created cannot be changed or improved.
Things change quickly online, analytics show new insights, your KPIs reveal what is working and what is not working, more ideas pop up every now and then, search engines change their algorithms, competitors make bold moves – all these require adaptation and change of strategy.
To achieve your SEO goals and maintain your success online, you need to put a continuous improvement system in place. Your SEO strategy should include this very important element.
To rank your website high in search engines such as Google and Bing, you need an SEO strategy.
An SEO strategy, among other things, will spell out exactly what you will do and won’t do to win. Developing an SEO strategy is absolutely essential to your online success. You need the services of website content writers such as Daily Posts to help you create contents and enhance your search engine visibility.