Spurred by the pandemic, companies and brands got a crash course in online communications, by being forced to hold everything, from events and meetings, to client calls and campaign pitches, online. Even if it appeared simple at first glance, in reality things proved more complex and required a long learning curve. But this was the most valuable lesson that the pandemic gave us: we can always adapt and refocus our marketing efforts.
One of the techniques businesses used during these times is actually an old (circa 1991) and tried method: implementing an SEO strategy.
What is an SEO strategy?
In short, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of optimising your website in order for Google and other search engines to show your links higher than the competitions. It involves having good content and a well structured website. By using SEO as part of your online marketing strategy, in time, you can position your business or brand as the authority on a certain topic.
SEO is classified into three types:
- On Page SEO refers to the content of your site such as texts, page titles and subtitles, images, internal links, meta descriptions.
- Off Page SEO refers to what you are doing outside your site, such as promoting organically your content on social media or listing your website in local business directories.
- Technical SEO as the name implies is concerned with the architecture of your website such as site code. You must ensure that your site is mobile friendly, has a secure HTTP connection and fast loading times.
You’ve probably heard that content is king, but user experience and knowing your audience are also important. Without these essential steps your SEO strategy will not work.
Top essential steps before building your SEO strategy
1. Secure your website
Check that you have a secure HTTP connection. Not only because search engines require it, but also because it gives your visitors confidence. You wouldn’t trust a site that has a “Not secure” warning, would you?
2. Improve your loading time
People nowadays expect things to move quickly to meet their needs. Even if your content is excellent, visitors will abandon your site if the loading time is too slow. Search engines prefer fast-loading sites, so if you have any issues with loading speed you should repair it. Otherwise, it will not be ranked higher in the search results pages.
Short guideline! Make sure your site doesn’t have any large images, unnecessary code or other things that can slow down the loading time. A very useful tool for checking this is Page Speed Insights by Google.
3. Make a list of keywords & topics that are relevant for your business
The most common association with SEO strategy is keywords. For this step, make a list of about 10 words or groups of words that are associated with your products or/and services. After you’ve finished your list, start typing these words into Google’s search field and see what are the most popular topics that people are looking for on the internet. This way you will know what topics to cover on your website to attract the right audience.
You can also use a keyword research tool like Google’s Keyword Tool. It’s more useful because it provides you with not only synonyms for your keywords, but also the monthly search volume for each keyword. If you use a keyword research tool don’t forget to set up your location and language.
Short guideline! To finish this step, try to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and find out what he wants to know about your products or/ and services.
4. Don’t forget about meta description and page titles
This information is also important for SEO strategy. Search engines use them to generate the featured snippets that appear on the search engine results page.
The meta description influences the click-through rate. Make sure you have a good one so that visitors will want to access your site.
The titles of your pages have an impact on how high your site ranks in search results. Make them appealing!
Short guideline! If you have a WordPress website, you can optimize them using the YOAST WordPress plugin.
5. Use a structure and a content formatting
Having a clear website structure will help people and search engines understand your site. It’s important that they easily find the information they require. A structure is like a sitemap where you locate your content: home page, contact, about, blog, portfolio, blog, services, and so on.
Use H1-H6 headings formatting to make the text easier to read. Typically H1 heading defines the title of your page, while H2-H3 are subheadings that define different parts of your content. These elements aid search engines to recognize different sections in the same web page.
6. Pay attention to usability (UX & UI) and mobile-friendly web design
A study from Google Analytics’ Benchmarking feature stated that in 2020, 68.1% of all website visits were made from mobile devices. As a result, having a mobile-friendly web design is essential. This means that users can easily read, zoom, and click buttons.
Of course, your content should be well-displayed on your desktop or tablet too, but the mobile phone is the most commonly used device. You can check your Google Analytics account to see which types of devices are accessing your site.
However, a mobile-friendly design is insufficient. You must ensure that your website functions properly and looks good. And it is at this point that usability comes into play. If your site’s visitors have a positive experience, it means you’ve met your goal.
7. Other things to look out for in your SEO strategy:
- Add internal & external links for relevancy.
- Examine your competitors’ websites to see what keywords they are using.
- Complete your Google My Business profile for more visibility.
- Use social media to attract visitors.
- Track your analytics to see how your site is performing and where you can make improvements.
In the end…
All of this information about SEO strategy may appear to be a little complicated at first, but if you take these steps one at a time, everything will fall into place. There are numerous ways to improve your SEO knowledge, ranging from free internet articles to paid courses and workshops. Finally, you don’t have to do this all by yourself – you can enlist the assistance of an SEO professional.