Search engine optimization (SEO) is a fundamental part of your digital marketing strategy. SEO is a set of criteria that you have to follow so that your website shows up on the first page of search results.
The higher your website ranks the more traffic you get. This increases the chances of gaining more customers.
At first glance, search engine optimization may seem complicated — especially for beginners.
However, at its core, SEO isn’t complicated at all.
Even with little experience, you can implement SEO strategies to help improve your website search engine ranking.
If you’re wondering how you can go about applying SEO, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, we will lay down the groundwork for crafting an effective SEO strategy.
Step 1: Audit Your Website for Searchability
Before you get started with creating an SEO strategy, you need to make sure search engines can read, or crawl, your website.
If your website has everything in HTML text format, then search engines won’t have a problem reading and indexing your website.
To know where your website stands in terms of searchability, use tools like Google cache or the MozBar. These will help you see what parts of your website are visible to search engines.
Here are two ways to work around non-HTML text elements:
- Add alt-attributes to images. This allows search engines to read visual content and helps rank the page.
- Provide a transcript for audio or visual files. Doing this is another way to help search engines crawl and index your website.
Step 2: Define Your Target Audience
Knowing your target audience is key to your SEO strategy. The more you know about your target audience, the better you can understand what they’re searching for and how they use search engines.
To better understand your target audience, consider the following:
- Where do they live?
- How do they receive information?
- What communication mediums do they frequent? Social media? Email?
- What is their income?
- What are their interests?
- What are their values?
Based on these, you can better know how your website’s content can serve your audience.
Step 3: Do Keyword Research
After you’ve thoroughly defined your target audience, it’s time to research relevant keywords. This is the secret sauce to ranking high on search engines.
Through keyword research, you’ll find out which phrases people commonly use for websites like yours.
Keywords are what help you target people who have the highest chance of showing interest in what your business has to offer.
Also, keywords can give you insight into exactly what consumers are looking for. This allows you to further tailor your website and services to fulfil their needs.
When we talk about keywords, there are three primary types: generic, long tail, and broad match.
Generic keywords: Simple words like “washer”
Broad match keywords: More specific than generic keywords like “Maytag washer”
Long-tail keywords: Descriptive and leads to point-of-purchase like “where to buy a Maytag washer”
Generally, you want to aim for broad match keywords, but it’s also helpful to include long-tail keywords.
To help you find the most ideal keywords for your niche, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner. It’s free and easy to use.
Simply enter your words related to your niche and the keyword planner will show you relevant keywords. It will also show you the search volume and competition level.
Aim to target keywords that have good search volume with low competition. By doing this, you can get ranked quicker and without too much trouble.
Step 4: Use Keywords Strategically
Now that you’ve found the right keywords, it’s time to strategically place them on your website.
It can be tempting to place keywords all over your website, but avoid doing this. Keyword stuffing could potentially get your website demoted in rankings or removed from search engines.
Your keywords should fit naturally on your website. For long-tail keywords, aim for a keyword density of about 0.5% to 2%.
For example, if a web page has 1,000 words, the keyword should not appear more than 20 times.
Using your keyword in page titles, URLs, meta descriptions, and blog content all help improve your ranking.
Step 5: Build Links
Search engines use something called backlinks to determine page ranking. Backlinks are links from other pages to yours.
For example, when a page links your website, this is considered a backlink. If you link another website, they have a backlink from you.
The more backlinks you have, the more page authority you have, and the more authority you have, the higher your ranking.
One way to get backlinks is to reach out to other webmasters and ask them to include links to your content. Publishing guest blog posts on high-authority websites is also a great way to increase backlinks to your website.
Step 6: Get Social
Social media isn’t typically a component of SEO, but it does have an influence on your ranking. When you post content on your social media, it gets shared and seen by a lot of people.
Not only does this increase traffic to your site, but it increases the chances of someone including your content on their website. This could give you a valuable backlink.
Now You’re a Digital Marketing Pro!
See, we told you SEO wasn’t complicated. By following this guide, you’ll be closer to ranking high on Google and seeing exponential growth in your business.
Remember, seeing results from your SEO efforts take time. Stick at it.