Whether you’re a new business or just new to SEO, there’s a formula to making a successful SEO strategy. Curating high-quality content, understanding the basic principles of HTML, and knowing how to build relevant links are all part of the formula. But simply knowing the formula isn’t enough; SEOs must also know how to implement the elements of the SEO formula themselves. Below are the top 6 most essential SEO elements when beginning a new SEO strategy, and how to implement them.
Targeted, Relevant, and Rich Content That Is Updated Frequently
Incredible content marketing lives at the core of any successful SEO strategy. Easier said than done.
Some businesses struggle with content marketing because they just don’t have the time or people resources to do it well. Coming up with new content on a regular basis takes people power. Those people need to be able to identify important trends in your industry and write about them quickly. Coming up with the right people and resources to accomplish can be difficult.
Despite the resource struggle, I cannot say it enough: content marketing is HIGHLY important. The more relevant and in-depth content your team can create, the higher you can expect to see yourself in organic search results. The higher you are in organic search, the more traffic your website will receive. The more traffic to your website…well you get it. In short, good content = more customers. Here’s how one CEO was able to streamline his content creation strategy and successfully write eight blogs every week.
How to implement: Having a blog is the most obvious, the easiest, and arguably the best way to implement a content marketing strategy quickly and efficiently.
Once you have implemented a blogging strategy and come up with a steady cadence, the next step is to move on to longer form content (i.e. white papers, eBooks, etc.). Then, pair the content you create with social media and you’ll be able to get more eyes on your resources. Social media paired with content marketing will also help with the next strategy we are going to discuss: link-building.
Related Resources from B2C
» Free Webcast: Using Data and Design to Create a Knockout Email Nurture Program
Well-Crafted, Intelligently Structured Link-Building Strategy
There is the right way to build links and the wrong way. 2014 has already brought many changes to the way SEOs are formulating their link-building strategies. Google’s denunciation of guest blogging for SEO was just one of a few updates in 2014 that changed the link-building scene.
Creating shareable content, also known as creating “link bait,” is a surefire way to build quality links back to your website. By definition, link bait is shareable content that builds good quality links back to your website.
The wrong way to build links: SEOs can no longer engage in shady link-building techniques. Google’s algorithm detects that kind of behavior almost instantly and your links will be devalued. Buying links is one example of the wrong way to build SEO; paid links will not make the Google algo happy, and in turn your website’s SEO will be sad. Commenting on blogs used to be considered a good way to build links, but the times have changed. Almost all blog comments are now marked as “nofollow,” which means these links will not get indexed by the search engines, so don’t waste your time.
The right way to build links / how to implement: Again, proper link-building will come from curating content that is useful to your audience, to other readers, and to followers within your industry.
Building a social presence and sharing this content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ will help build quality links back to your content. Here’s a checklist I wrote awhile back for creating shareable content:
- Does the content provide value to our audience?
- Is this original content that has not been duplicated elsewhere?
- Is the content free of grammatical errors?
- Are any links in the post pointing to spammy sources?
A great tool to monitor where your backlinks are coming from and the content generating them is the Moz Open Site Explorer link analysis tool.
A Functional Keyword Planning and Tracking Strategy
There are a few different ways to plan out a keyword strategy. The first is obvious. You know your industry, you know your product or service: which words does your target audience use to describe what you do? Start there.
The next step is looking at traffic inside of Google Analytics. Although Google has removed most of the keyword data from inside of this platform, you’ll still be able to see some high-level keyword traffic.
Once you have your starting list of 10-20 solid keywords, sign up for a Google AdWords account (if you aren’t already running on this network). Once you’ve signed up for an account you can use the Keyword Planner tool to discover which keywords have high search volume that are relevant to your business. There are few other keyword planning tools that I recommend:
How to implement: Now that you have a solid list of keywords (depending on your industry and offering, this number could range anywhere from 35-200) you can implement a strategy for using them.
Remember that blog you started? Struggling to find a topic to write about? Pull out your keyword list and take a look. Be sure to include the keywords you are trying to target in the content you write, but be careful about being overzealous with them. There is no need to repeat the same keyword over and over again. This is called “keyword stuffing” and search engines will mark keyword-stuffed content as spam.
Consistent Tagging Schema With Title, Heading, and Alt Image Tags
This is where the basic HTML piece of the SEO formula comes into play. Don’t let HTML scare you away. If you aren’t familiar with HTML, fear not: titles and tags are very basic.
How to implement title tags: Remember those keywords you planned out in the step above? Here’s one of many places they will come in handy.
Every time you are giving a title to a page on your website, be sure to include the relevant keywords you planned for. Keep the title under 65 characters (under 50 if you can), and for your homepage be sure to include the name of your company.
Amazon’s homepage title tag reads “Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & More”
How to implement heading tags: Heading tags tell Google what the content on your page is about.
A heading tag, also referred to as an H1 tag, should only be found once on each page. For example, the H1 tag on our call tracking page reads:
“Track Phone Calls Back to Any Offline, Online, and Mobile Source with SourceTrak™ Call Tracking Software”
The headlines below are H1, H2, and H3 tags. Be sure to again use the keywords you have planned for in your H1, H2, and H3 tags. It is ok to have more than one H2 or H3 tag on a single page, just limit the H1 tag to one per page.
How to implement alt image tags: Any time you upload an image to your CMS, be sure to give it a name that makes sense and also fill out the alt image (or alt text) tag option.
If it makes sense to use one of your keywords in the tag, do so; but only if it makes sense. Here’s what it looks like when you upload an image to a WordPress blog:
A Mobile Strategy for SEO
With more than 1.75 billion smartphones worldwide (eMarketer report, January 2014), you can’t ignore the mobile aspect of your SEO strategy. If mobile isn’t a core piece of your new SEO strategy, it needs to be. Responsive website design vs. a separate mobile website are your two choices when it comes to mobile SEO. The difference between the two is that with responsive design you have one website that shrinks to fit any type of mobile device, smartphone or tablet. With a separate mobile website you have two websites (one version for desktop and one for mobile devices).
How to implement: There has been debate about the SEO impact of a responsive website vs. separate mobile website.
The #1 reason to go with responsive design is that Google recommends it. Google has stated that responsive design is the industry best practice for a mobile SEO strategy. A responsive design helps you by only having one website for all devices, rather than redirecting mobile visitors to your separate mobile website. Managing one responsive website is less of an undertaking than committing to managing two websites, two SEO strategies, and so on.
Optimized Local SEO Elements
The same elements that impact national SEO also impact local SEO (content, link-building, basic on-page HTML, etc.); however Google does have different algorithms set up for national SEO vs. local SEO, so it’s important to have an outlined strategy for the local piece.
Google uses IP addresses to serve local results to searchers. For example, if I search for “hardware store” I am served local Chicago results because my IP address is tied to Chicago. If I search “hardware store Miami” I will be served local Miami results because I used a location keyword.
How to implement: The first thing you can do is set up your business’ local listing with Google on Places for Business.
The next thing you need to have set up is your NAP citation on your website (name, address, phone number) on one page. Be consistent with how you list your name, address, and phone number. It is also critical that businesses manage local directory listings such as Yelp or other review sites. Make sure your profiles on these websites have a consistent name, address, and phone number.
(Note: Read this blog if you are an Ifbyphone customer using call tracking and curious about the impact of dynamic phone numbers on local SEO rankings).
33% of clicks go to the first result in Google searches, followed by 18% and 11% to the second and third results (Search Engine Watch). That’s over 50% of clicks from Google to the top three organic results. Implementing these 6 SEO elements will help your website perform better in the search engines.
To learn more about call tracking and how it relates to SEO and PPC, download the eBook “Marketer’s Guide to Call Tracking for Google SEO and PPC”.