Developing Your SEO Strategy in Under 10 Minutes
Listen, we get it. With the explosion of social media marketing, it’s easy to dismiss developing an SEO strategy because it’s not as ‘flashy’ or ‘trendy’.
And to be fair, there’s nothing wrong with having a social media marketing component to your general marketing strategy.
But make no mistake. Developing an SEO strategy is the way your website and content communicate with Google.
And in today’s constantly shifting digital media landscape, there’s one constant that hasn’t changed: if Google doesn’t know who you are, no one does.
Using the latest tips and tricks is great, but it’s never going to be a replacement for marketing fundamentals.
So, if you’re looking to maximize your digital marketing potential, prioritizing your SEO strategy is a great place to start.
Which brings us to an important question. What on earth does an effective, efficient SEO strategy look like?
That’s why today, we’re going to dive into the SEO fundamentals that every business owner should know.
By the time we’re done here, you’ll have the tools and knowledge you need to develop a rock-solid marketing foundation for your website and business.
1. Backlinks Decoded
Whenever anyone brings up the topic of SEO strategy, the term ‘backlinks’ typically gets thrown around.
If you’re completely new to the world of SEO, never fear. The term ‘backlink’ is just a reference to a hyperlink on another website that points back to either your site or a piece of content.
Why does that matter so much? Well, backlinks are one of the many ways that Google determines what the ideal search result is for any particular query.
Still confused? Here’s the easy way to think about it.
Google’s job as a search engine is to do one thing: give its users the best possible answer based off their query.
In order to maximize the chances that an answer will be relevant, it uses backlinks to identify the content that has the highest relevance and online authority.
Which makes sense, when you think about it. If a piece of content is routinely used as a reference point for everyone else in the industry, there’s a good chance that it’s reputable.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why backlinks are so important to the effectiveness of your overall digital marketing strategy.
2. Understanding Local SEO Strategy
For whatever reason, we tend to think of digital marketing as something reserved for tech startups.
But the truth is that most brick-and-mortar businesses can take advantage of these tools and tactics to maximize their marketing potential in the process.
Case and point: local SEO.
If you’ve ever wondered how businesses manage to rank highly on Google for local search, local SEO strategy was likely their secret weapon.
And if you don’t think local search is a big deal, consider this.
What does it mean, from a marketing perspective, to have your business appear at the top of a “bakeries near me” search?
What if that result came with directions to your business and a 4.7 star rating?
Sounds pretty good, right?
The key to getting this level of exposure and support from Google is to register for their ‘Google My Business’ service.
This free business listing is the easiest way to quickly start building your visibility in both Google Search and Google Maps.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Being included in the business listing is nice, but we’re trying to appear at the top of the SERPs (search engine results page).
So, in order to maximize the effectiveness of your Google My Business page, make sure that all your business info is consistent.
It may sound like a minor detail, but if Google doesn’t have your name, address, or phone number properly listed, you’re going to miss out on the exposure down the line.
Beyond that, you’ll want to have several, up-to-date photos featured, a clearly labeled primary category for your business and a strategy to promote your reviews.
3. Some Tags Do Matter
If SEO is the way your site communicates with Google, then tags are one of the languages that Google speaks.
The idea behind tags was to design a simple way to classify content. That way, both readers and algorithms could navigate the site and find what they were looking for.
Now, to be fair, the popularity of meta tags has dwindled. They’re just not as important as they used to be.
Title tags used to be incredibly important from an on-site SEO perspective. These days, while they’re still important, they work more in conjunction with the other tags.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about header tags.
For the sake of simplicity, the term ‘header tags’ will refer to the HTML markup that’s used to differentiate between headings and subheadings. They can go from H1 to H6, although most blog posts will only use the first three.
Tags may not seem that important at first glance, but rest assured that your ability to provide a high-quality experience for your users is an easy way to increase engagement.
Not only can it encourage visitors to click on multiple pages and stay on your site, you’ll also get the undeniable on-site SEO benefits that come with effective tagging.
And speaking of the user experience…
4. Mobile, Desktop, and The User Experience
Here’s where things start to get interesting.
When most businesses think about their website, they’re usually imagining it as a desktop page.
Which is reasonable, obviously. After all, most of the built their website with the desktop experience in mind.
But the e-commerce market is growing more and more every year, with no signs of slowing down.
And even if you’re not offering services through e-commerce, there’s no getting around the fact that more people are searching for businesses on mobile devices than ever before.
Why does this matter? Well, because your user experience is everything when it comes to your ability to bridge the gap from marketing funnel to sales funnel.
So, if you’re ignoring a massive portion of your audience because they chose to use a mobile device instead of a desktop, you’re going to end up leaving plenty of money on the table.
And remember what we said earlier about Google’s job as a search engine being to find the best results for people?
Well, if they’re searching for a business on a mobile device and your site isn’t mobile-friendly, there’s a good chance that it’s not the best answer Google could provide.
That’s why Google has already gone on record saying that if your site doesn’t pass their mobile-friendly test, it’s going to appear below your competitor’s mobile-friendly site.
That’s right. No matter how much better your content is, if it’s not on a mobile-friendly site, it’s not going to appear as high on the SERPs if there’s another business with similar content and a mobile-friendly site.
Moral of the story: prioritize the user experience of your entire audience not only because it’s a better way to encourage engagement, but because Google will quite literally punish you if you don’t.
5. Quality Over Quantity, No Matter What
This is something that most digital marketing professionals know, but is easy to miss if you pay attention to the ever-changing digital marketing ‘tactic of the day’ approach that pops up on most blogs.
Content might be king, but low-quality content will never perform as well as high-quality content.
Why? Because the modern consumer has no patience for gimmicks.
Okay, let’s backtrack a bit.
There’s a strong sentiment in the digital marketing community that if you’re going to be creating content, you’d better be making a lot of it.
And to a certain extent, there’s some truth to that idea.
The modern consumer does go through content quickly. Plus, they do expect a consistent output of content or they lose interest.
No one is denying that there’s a certain element of consistency needed to thrive in the content marketing world.
And with content marketing being such an important part of the marketing funnel (often one of the driving factors that get people into the sales funnel), it’s clear that developing an SEO strategy and your content marketing strategy need to work together if you want either of them to have a massive impact on your business.
There’s just one tiny problem.
Low-quality content is still low-quality content, no matter how quickly it’s produced.
So, instead of focusing on pumping out as much content as possible, your priority needs to on creating high-quality content.
What does high-quality look like?
In its simplest form, quality comes down to the amount of value that’s being offered by a piece of content.
Right off the bat, what does the presentation look like?
Are your blog posts just giant walls of text? Or are they broken apart by images, videos, and infographics?
Resist the urge to just write essays. Instead, figure out creative ways to add more value to your content by turning it into a multimedia experience.
Beyond that, we need to talk about the content itself.
When you create a blog post, what’s your focus?
If your primary focus is to sell something, you’re already off to a bad start.
Let me be clear: there’s nothing wrong with wanting to promote your own products/services. You are a business, after all.
The problem is when you pretend that your content is objectively useful to your audience when it’s really just a thinly-veiled attempt at self-promotion.
Your marketing content shouldn’t be an ad, it should be a conversation starter.
Sometimes that conversation will be about your products/services, but more often than not it’s about the nature of your particular industry.
Which brings us to an important point: creating objectively valuable content.
The easiest way to think about this is that value (at least from a content marketing perspective) is often presented in one of two ways:
- Educational Content
- Entertaining Content
Depending on your business, industry, audience and general brand goals, there’s plenty that you can do here to create content that offers undeniable value in a way that none of your competitors can.
6. Site Speed And Friction
The idea of site speed is something that shouldn’t be understated.
It matters, and it matters a lot.
Slow load times are annoying, yes. But there’s more to it than that.
Slow load times are a symptom of a much bigger issue: allowing there to be friction on your site.
When most business owners think of friction, they’re typically viewing it through the lens of objections in-store.
But when you’re thinking about friction through the lens of SEO, you need to view your entire site as a potential friction landmine.
Every time a visitor struggles to find the right tab, navigate the site easily, or has to deal with a slow load time, you’re creating yet another hurdle for your business to jump over.
Site speed is important, but the real lesson here is to remove every type of friction from your sales process.
The idea of building an SEO strategy from scratch can be an intimidating prospect.
And it’s no surprise why. A poorly executed SEO campaign can be an exercise in frustration, while a properly executed one can give you some pretty fantastic results for your trouble.
Developing and managing an SEO strategy for the first time requires a deep understanding of plenty of complex concepts.
Learn to embrace the power of backlinks and build them to boost your site’s online authority.
If you’re a local business, take the time to focus on local search and take advantage of Google’s local business support tools.
Prioritize your user experience and content quality by default and reduce friction wherever you can.
It may not be easy, but If you manage to internalize these key principles, the rock-solid foundation that is your SEO strategy will help you navigate the ever-changing digital media marketing landscape.
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