SEO is hard, but it’s not impossible.
In this guide, we’ll detail the key components you need to have in your SEO strategy going forward. The foundations of this strategy are built around 3 core pillars.
- Link Building
- Technical Optimisations
We’ll go into each of those 3 pillars in more detail, so you know exactly what you need to do. If your strategy or seo package doesn’t contain these things, you’ll likely not achieve great results.
SEO can be a tremendously valuable channel for any website, whether you are marketing for a start ups, an eCommerce website or taking care of SEO for a B2B website.
So, let’s get into it…
Keyword research is really where it all begins. It’s the life and soul of a complete SEO strategy.
Whilst this task can be time consuming it can also make or break your SEO strategy. In-depth keyword research can help you identify potential quick wins and hidden gems of keywords. If you don’t want to spend a huge amount of time doing this there are ways to speed this process up.
For example, you could use Python & Google Sheets to scale your keyword research. This will save you quite a bit of time and get you all the data you need. Once you have all your keywords, it will be important to classify them, so they align with the buyers’ journey.
You’ll also need to investigate search intent to ensure you have the right top of content that has a chance of ranking.
You’ll want to have a mix of competitive high-volume keywords and low volume long tail keywords.
There are many ways you can carry out keyword research effectively.
One quick and easy way to do this using a Chrome Browser Extension called Keywords Everywhere. Once this is all set up you can start searching with your seed keywords and the tool will do the rest.
You’ll be able to see what other people are searching for and ‘favourite’ ones that are relevant. Then you can export these into a CSV file.
Once you have all these keywords you can go one step further and add these into a keyword tool to build them out even more.
The likes of Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and SEMrush Keyword Overview tool can all do this for you.
Once you have all your keywords identified, the next important step is to review the current SERP. You need to do this so you can see what type of content Google has identified as serving searcher intent.
Going back to our coffee example you can see the type of content that is ranking the most is reviews of coffee machines.
So, in this instance, it would be best to create a listicle type article along the lines of “The Best Coffee Machines In 2021 [Complete Review]”
You’ll need to do this for each keyword, or keyword group, that you have identified. This is time consuming, but if you don’t do it you may create the wrong type of content and have no chance at ranking.
This is where your keyword research and classification will become invaluable. Next step is to plan out your content marketing strategy.
As part of any winning SEO strategy you’re going to need a resource centre. Or at least a blog.
Either of these two will allow you to open your keyword footprint and go after pretty much any keyword you choose.
A blog will be found on any website in any niche. From eCommerce websites to B2B websites, and even small businesses working on their SEO.
Depending on what industry you’re in your content strategy can also be more than just blogs. For example, you can create:
- Case Studies
- Video Content
Only having a resource centre will allow you to store all of these. You also get the added benefit of having somewhere to store your linkable assets, so content and link building can work together nicely.
There’s no resting on your laurels either in SEO. Just because you’ve hit top spot doesn’t mean you’re going to stay there. You need to continually optimise and test page content.
For example, you may find you have some key pages that rank on page one for some high-volume keywords. Whilst building links to them may help, you can also test on-page SEO elements such as Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and Hx tags.
Tweak your page title to see if you can improve CTR by adding in numbers, brackets or using power words. Compare your content to those above you and see if you’re missing out any key sections that they cover.
You may also be able to add schema to your pages to help them stand out in the SERPs. This can be especially useful for product pages. Adding Review Mark Up and Pricing Information will be a big plus here. You can also add Schema to blog posts in the form of FAQs which display in the SERPs.
In a recent SEO study by Sitechecker, they analysed the top 100 SEO blogs to see how often they did this. They tracked changes on the chosen top 100 SEO websites from August, 1 to August, 30 on a daily basis. The results speak for themselves!
Link building can sometimes be a controversial topic in the SEO world. However, there’s no doubt that your website will need them if it’s to have any chance at ranking.
Why you need to build links
A study by Brian Dean, found that pages with the most amount of backlinks ranked highest in Google. In fact, he found that the #1 results had on average 3.8x more backlinks than the results rankings #2-#10.
Think of a link as a vote for your website and its content.
When a reputable website links to your website it shows they trust and confirm your content and expertise on a particular subject. It’s a vote of confidence in Google’s eyes.
The more votes you get, from different websites, pointing to the same page, the more search engines will begin to trust that content is worthwhile linking to.
This makes it more trustworthy to show to users.
How can you build links?
Building links can be one of the hardest and time-consuming tasks. There are many ways you can try and build links to your website, some work better than others.
Below are 4 fairly easy ways that you can build backlinks to your website.
Guest posting isn’t dead. Doing it at scale on hundreds of random websites is. But that’s not the type of guest posting we are talking about here.
To use guest posting effectively and avoid the risk of any penalties, you need to find high quality websites in your industry/niche. Relevance is key here.
You may already have an idea of what websites you want to pitch, or you may be starting from scratch. If you don’t know where to start, check out this list here of 300 websites that accept guest posts. Now you just need to find those relevant to your website.
Another way is to use search operators. Just replace the keyword with your chosen topic. E.g. email marketing inurl:write-for-us.
keyword intitle:”write for us”
keyword “Guest Post Guidelines”
Go through each website and evaluate whether a link from them will be worthwhile. If it is, pitch them some content ideas.
One important thing to keep in mind here is that these opportunities are easy to find. Your competitors are likely doing the same thing.
Whilst building links in this way will be good it may only let you compete, not dominate your market. You need to combine this link building method with others to create a winning backlink profile.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
Whilst this is a great link building method it won’t work for everyone. You’ll need a well-established brand for this to work best.
If you do have a well-known brand people may be writing about you, your work, any research you have done etc and not giving credit.
This is where your opportunity lies.
The process here is straight forward. Identify any unlinked mentions and email the author to add a link. Simple.
If they are citing your brand or research, they obviously think it’s valuable. Giving them a little nudge and asking for the link isn’t too much to ask.
Finding these unlinked mentions can take a bit of time, and you will more than likely need a tool to do it. If you’re looking for a free way you can set up a Google Alert to monitor your brand terms.
If you wish to purchase a tool, there are plenty to choose from. SEMrush, Ahrefs, BrandMentions & Buzzsumo can all do this. Each one also comes with a handy guide.
HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
HARO could quickly become your new best friend if you use it correctly.
HARO will put you in contact with some of the most well-known websites in the world, all of which are looking for contributors or experts to quote in upcoming articles.
Sign up for a free account and you will start being sent opportunities the very same day. You just need to go through the emails and look for the right opportunities.
Podcasts have become extremely popular over recent years and chances are there will be some in your industry,
Podcasts provide you with a combination of benefits. First, they are great way to get in front of your target audience. Second, they give you a chance to show your expertise and build trust. And third of course, build some links.
A simple google search of “keyword + podcast” should give you a couple of options to research. Give them a listen, see if you like the vibe, if you do, pitch some topics!
The third and final pillar in our winning SEO Strategy is focused on Technical SEO.
Technical SEO can seem a little daunting. It can get pretty, well, technical. In simple terms, what we are really talking about is ensuring that a search engine can easily explore your website and read your content.
This part of an SEO strategy can often be overlooked. More exciting parts like creating content and links get the headlines.
Nevertheless, the impact technical work can have on a website can be just as big. If this part is neglected and not maintained the consequences can be disastrous.
Much of these technical SEO aspects can be ticked off with your initial website build.
The key is to ensure your website builder understands how web development can impact SEO. I.e. build the fastest website possible that’s mobile optimised.
It’s not the end of the world if your website wasn’t launched that way, you’ll have a bit more work to do though.
Just like link building, technical SEO is a very deep and broad topic. Each website can have different technical issues that need addressing.
To stay on top of these issues it’s important that you regularly crawl and fix any issues found. Again, it may be worth investing in a tool here.
Website crawler tools will go through your website the same way Google does. However, you get the bonus of having issues pointed out.
These types of tools have grown in popularity over the years because of how useful they are. This also means there’s plenty to choose from no matter your budget.
Three potential tools to look at are:
Deep Crawl: A well-known and well thought of crawler that provides insights on SEO health and viability. It’s expensive though, so best for those seriously investing into their SEO.
Screaming Frog: One of the best-known crawlers in the SEO world. The UX can make it feel a little daunting at first. Once you understand how it works though it’s really is all you need. If you have a small website there’s also a free version.
Sitebulb: Fairly new crawler, but since its launch has won multiple awards. Just like DeepCrawl, it does all the work for you. You’ll get detailed reviews of technical problems in simple language. Sitebulb also has a knowledge base that explains every issue that has been flagged and how to fix it.
A Quick Technical SEO Checklist
There are also some standard technical SEO optimisations that apply to every website. There’s a lot more than can go into this list but these 11 checks are good starting point.
- Ensure all pages are HTTPS
- Ensure all pages are mobile friendly
- Check page speeds and optimise accordingly
- Keep an eye on Core Web Vitals in Google Search Console
- Regularly crawl and review your website
- Check Google Search Console for any crawl errors, fix accordingly
- Review site hierarchy
- Review and optimise internal linking, fix any broken internal links
- Optimise images and set relevant alt text.
- Optimise and test meta data on key pages
- Review Schema usage
- Check Canonical tag implementation
Possibly the most important part of an SEO strategy is to have patience.
Good, sustainable results can take time to achieve. Even if you’re paying an agency thousands a month, results can take time.
Focus on the three core pillars above and your organic traffic will inevitably increase.
Have patience, track your work, monitor your results, and stick with it.
Want more content marketing and SEO help? Check out:
- A Guide to Inbound Marketing
- The 35 Most Important Google Ranking Factors
- How to Consolidate Your Website’s Content For SEO Growth
- How to Find Old Content That Guarantees Clicks From Google
- What are LSI Keywords? And How Do They Affect My Search Ranking?