Search engine optimization is a big topic – and it should be, since it’s so valuable for digital marketing. But it’s not enough to just cover the basics of SEO. You also need to develop a thoughtful SEO strategy. Without a strategy, you’re just stuffing keywords into blog posts and hoping your prospects find you. Let’s talk about how to develop a thoughtful SEO strategy for your business.
SEO Strategy Basics
If search engine optimization is the art of helping users find your content on search engines, then SEO strategy is the backbone that ties all those individual efforts together.
An SEO strategy helps you organize your site by content, which in turn helps Google and other search engines understand their users’ intent when they’re searching. Without this organization, you’re just blindly creating content based on a glance at a search volume metric. Before you begin churning out content, you need to think through what you’re trying to achieve with SEO.
Set your goals carefully. Using SEO to get as much traffic as possible isn’t a good goal. Traffic by itself won’t do your business much good, because traffic is not sales. It’s just eyeballs. And if you’re attracting a lot of eyeballs but not a lot of purchasers, you’re not going to get that bump in sales you need.
Set Smart SEO Goals
What’s a better goal? This is where your wider digital marketing strategy comes into play as well. Who is your target market for your product? That’s your traffic target too. Now start thinking about what problem your product or service is solving for them – are they looking to save money, lose weight, get healthy, or care for a pet? Those are the types of questions or needs you should be using to create content. If you’re selling budget travel, you don’t want to attract people who are looking for a luxury package vacation – they’re not going to buy what you’re selling.
Your SEO strategy should cover what your target audience is searching for – not just the target keyword they’re using, but what kind of information are they seeking? Are they searching with the intent to make a purchase, or do they need to be nurtured to a sale? Are the topics you’ve decided to cover really relevant to the people who actually purchase your product?
These are the questions you need to ask to get started developing your SEO strategy. But there are a few more pillars of the strategy to include as well.
This is, quite simply, SEO for content that’s actually on your page. This can be anything from the pages of your website describing your product or service, your blog posts, or anything else that’s contained in the content on your site. This is what most people think of when they think of SEO.
Setting your strategy for on-page SEO is where you are thinking about what your audience looks for when they’re online. What brings them to your page through organic search, and what keeps them there engaging with your content? This is a more thoughtful form of keyword research – not just looking for what’s popular, but what’s relevant to your audience.
One under-used piece of SEO strategy is using long-tail keywords. Sure, target keywords can be short like “blender”, and those shorter keywords tend to be popular with both searchers and content writers. But there’s a lot of opportunity in longer keywords as well. They won’t have the high search volume that the shorter, more popular keywords have. But they can dig deeper into the content topic you want to cover.
Long-tail keywords help you attract people who are attracted to various parts of what you offer. They bring in a wider variety of prospects. So “blender” becomes “fastest blender on amazon” and “easiest blender to clean under $200”. Now you’ve started to attract people who want to buy your blender because it’s fast, and people who are interested in it because it’s easy to clean. Use all three keywords in one past, and you’ve got some SEO juice coming your way.
Now we get into the less-known (but still critically important) parts of SEO strategy. Off-page SEO is the search engine optimization that focuses on links to your website from other parts of the internet, mostly other websites. Search engines like Google will rank your site more highly if other reputable web pages link back to your site. This is because it shows your site is a credible and useful resource – it must be, if other sites are sharing a link to it.
These links are called backlinks, and they’re vital to getting your site ranking up. You can wait to attract backlinks by putting out great content and hoping it gets noticed – but that takes a long time. Or you can ask other local businesses if they would include a link to your website on their page in exchange for a link on yours. Guest posts for other businesses or blogs that are in your field are a great opportunity to get a link to your site too. And those posts can even bring in some new traffic on their own – paying off double for one effort.
The third leg of the SEO stool is technical SEO. It’s the least glamorous part, but still vital to a well-rounded SEO strategy. The technical part refers to the architecture of your website. Google pays a lot of attention to how your pages are set up, as well as the content.
Having solid technical SEO means that search engines can easily find, assess, and categorize your website. Fortunately, most technical SEO best practices will be built into your site by your web host or your digital marketing agency.
One place you can ensure your technical SEO is up to par yourself? Make sure you’re keeping the title URLs of your blog posts short, lowercase, and relevant. URLs have a big impact on SEO, so you want to be sure yours are all clear and easy to understand.
SEO Strategy as a Whole
As you can see, SEO strategy has several related and interdependent parts. You need to think about who you want to find your site, come up with a plan to figure out what they’re searching for, and create content that speaks to their needs (not just their search terms). And with the three pillars of SEO, you are in a position to make lots of organic traffic happen for your website. When that traffic is people who are interested in your products or services? Well, you’ve got some new customers now. And that’s what growing your business is all about.
Get Expert Help
Even with all the information above, we know SEO strategy can still be confusing. How can you target your ideal customers? How can you make sure you’re keeping all three types of SEO in great shape? If you don’t want to leave the growth of your business to chance, give ContentFirst.Marketing a call. We’ll help you design an SEO strategy that’s customized for you, create content that delivers, and help you measure your results.