How to develop an SEO strategy in six simple steps
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. This we know. But what exactly does it mean? Well, in short, it refers to a variety of techniques you can use to ensure search engines like Google, Yahoo! or Bing love your website truly, madly, deeply.
Done well, it puts your site in front of your ideal audience – ideal because they’re looking for a brand, product or service exactly like yours. It’s a match made in heaven, the relationship grows, you both reap the rewards and round and round we go.
Sure, starting your own SEO strategy can be a daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve even broken it down into these six easy-to-follow steps to help you start out on the right foot… and for any follow-up questions, you know where to find us!
Kick-off with keywords
The key to getting started? Keywords (see what we did there?). But not just any keywords, you need to hunt down the right keywords for your specific field. Why? Because without them you’ll be generating the type of traffic that is highly unlikely to convert into actual customers. Traffic – yes. Customers – no.
So, here’s how to turn that ‘no’ into a ‘hell yeah’:
- Pick a keyword search tool. We recommend SEMrush, ahrefs and Ubersuggest. While the first two are paid tools, they do offer either free or low-cost trial periods, so it’s worth giving them a whirl.
- Know what you’re looking for. That means a high CPC, high search volume and low competition, and begin by focusing on 10-20 keywords, tops.
- Set up Google console. You won’t need this right away, but once you’re up and running this free tool will help you keep track of how your website is travelling. Word to the wise: you will need to have Google Analytics already set up on your website in order for the the console to do its job.
Get friendly with the competition
If you’re not entirely sure exactly what keywords you should be targeting, check out folk who have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. You can do this via SEMrush or Ahrefs – simply type in your URL and boom! – a list of your closest competitors will appear. Keen to dig a little deeper? Type in your competitor’s URL and you’ll see:
- Keywords they’re buying traffic for using paid ads on Google.
- Keywords they’re ranking for on Google.
- What pages on their website are ranking for those keywords.
- How many visitors they’re generating from those keywords.
Define the details
Now’s the time to optimise your on page code – sounds a tad technical right? It’s not. It’s just all the internal details that work their magic to ensure your site’s genuinely useful for each and every visitor. That means your page titles (with keywords), any internal links and header tags, meta-descriptions and user-friendly URLs.
For most website platforms, like Squarespace and Wix, you can do this simply through in-built settings – and for the WordPress folk among us, we suggest using Yoast SEO Plugin – it’s free, simple to use and will handle the majority of your on page SEO needs. It also provides step-by-step instructions on how to optimise your site and will tie-in beautifully with both Google Analytics and Google Console. Combined, these resources will arm you with everything you need to see your website traffic, what keywords in particular are driving traffic and specifically what’s working on your website – full stop.
Create killer content
Now comes the content. It needs to be good, consistent and engaging – remember Google can tell if your viewers are seriously enjoying your content by tracking the amount of time they spend on your website. Freaky right? To kick-off we’d suggest creating one blog, article, video or audio content every week.
Follow these top tips to keep Google (and your viewers) super happy:
- Use a conversational tone – that means zero jargon.
- Go easy on the keywords – yes, use them, but don’t jam-pack every sentence.
- Include subheads – this helps break up your content so it’s easier to read.
- Try to keep paragraphs short – again, it improves the overall reader experience.
- When it comes to blogs, go large – we’re talking well-researched, in-depth pieces around 1000-2000 words in length. Just make sure to break them up into easy-to-digest bite sized bits of goodness (that's legible!)
- A picture says a thousand words – use them (and title them with SEO rich words!). Audio and videos are wonderful too, where appropriate.
Build your dream… with backlinks
First things first – Google gives more weight to authority links (links from people/websites with authority in your field) and relevant links (links from similar sites).
Now you know that, you need to collate a list of potential authority websites that might be up for offering authority links to your own site – these can be businesses that operate in your space (think non-direct competitors (you don't want to send your traffic to a competitor, now do you?), but like-minded kin) or media outlets in your space.
Now, they’re probably not going to do this out of the goodness of their heart (read: they won’t), so you need to bring something to the table. Start by building a relationship with them... don't go reaching out cold (cause you might be greeted by hostility!). Show them how your content is similar, but also offers up new and engaging info that will make their own readers or customers happy – in turn, strengthening their relationship with their own peeps!
It’s a time-consuming task, there’s no denying it, but if you can strive for 10-20 backlinks per month, you’ll be off to a mighty strong start.
And finally, sharing is caring
Do social shares directly influence SEO? No. But do they help your end goal because the more people who share means more traffic, more eyeballs, more engagement and more chance of others linking to your content? Yes.
So make it simple for yourself by including social sharing buttons on your website, encouraging your viewers/followers to share your content and stay focused on those backlinks.
Still find yourself with a query or two? Want to develop a killer SEO strategy to roll out across your website? Let’s chat, we do the SEO thing erry day.