We all want to be on Google page #1 for the hottest keywords, right?
I know this isn’t a problem for the big guns. They know what to do and have the budget to run complex SEO campaigns to get their entries to the top of SERPs.
But for many beginners or intermediaries, it’s tough. Sometimes it’s so hard that they end up abandoning their search campaigns.
However, I want to suggest four steps to help you revive your search marketing and boost your search traffic.
I’m of the opinion that SEO is not hard if you figure out what to do and play your cards well. The following four steps have given me proven results. If it works for me, it can work for anyone. Let’s get going:
1 – Keyword Research
This is definitely the most crucial phase of any search engine marketing campaign. The simple reason is that there is no successful search without a keyword. Whether it’s voice or text, search engines rely on keywords to fulfil their purpose.
According to Neil Patel, Keyword research is the blueprint for your online marketing efforts, driving every decision you make.
Keyword research allows you see exactly what your potential customers are actively looking for. That way, you can position yourself to give them what they want.
I have read some SEO experts advise marketers not to worry about doing any keyword research. I think this is a careful statement to drive these marketers to failure and then try to sell to them their SEO services.
If you want to win the SEO battle and rank for some keywords, you need a seed keyword to target in your content. Here are some very quick ideas to lay a solid search marketing foundation by way of keyword research:
- Avoid very popular and difficult keywords unless you have the corresponding strength to stand the fight.
- Go in for keywords with a minimum of 1000 monthly searches. Sometimes I go for as low as 500. But note that this doesn’t necessarily mean the is less competition.
- I would recommend going in if the keyword difficulty is below 30. This is a SEMrush metric that shows you how difficult it would be to outrank your competitors in the Google organic top 20.
- Focus on evergreen topics. I’m not against seasonal search (Black Friday related for instance). The reason is once you are on the top position, you may struggle to maintain it.
- Don’t stress about whether it’s a long or short tail keyword. This is because a lot is changing in SEO. Streamline your search by narrowing to a specific market segment.
Recommended post: How to Find Keywords That Generate More Organic Traffic
OK, now you’ve found that sweet keyword. The next step is where there is a big change in SEO.
2 – Don’t Just Optimise Content for the Keyword
That headline is not an error.
It’s telling you there is a huge shift in SEO. Google and other search engines don’t rank content if it is guilty of keyword repetition or strategic keyword placement (e.g. in every H2).
That was the main message of OnPage SEO in previous years. Of course you need the keyword in your content to help search engines know that’s what you are writing about, but nowadays, the question Google tries to answer is if you really have mastery of the topic.
Optimising for keywords means you have your seed keywords in the title of your post, permalink, meta description, introduction, headlines, body, image alt tags and conclusion. Of course you will still need this, but your ranking won’t be largely influenced by it.
Recommended: How We Optimise Every Page and Blog For Search
One of my new students contacted me with a message of disappointment. She does all her on-page keyword optimisation (even for very long tail keywords) but her entries are never near page 2. Of course, on-page optimisation is not the only factor to take into account when judging her SEO results, but you can see that on-page SEO won’t take you immediately to page #1.
What do you do instead?
3- Optimise Content for the Topic
This is exactly the same thing I have been using to improve my search traffic in recent times. Optimising for topic is the way to demonstrate your expertise and develop in-depth content.
The simplest way to optimise for search intent is to topically cover relevant subsets of the main theme you are trying to rank for.
If for instance your keyword is “new york seo agency”, your main topic is “SEO” but you want to rank for that particular keyword.
How well you demonstrate your understanding of SEO is what’s important. Adding to that, this is a “Where to find…” kind of keyword. So a demonstration of your knowledge of New York will add to your boosting.
What I’m talking about here is Semantic SEO. You write to meet the intent of the searcher. Shallow, keyword-focused content has proven to fail. As no one knows exactly what the searcher wants, going deep, covering and answering every possible question will certainly help him find the answer to his query.
Semantic Search Engine Optimisation is hard without the right tool, but many top SEO tools in the market today include semantic analysis, making it quite exciting. I wrote a post on my blog on my Semantic SEO experience, let me know what you think about it.
4 – Build Backlinks
One of the areas many SEO beginners think is hard is link building. That’s because you can’t go to content out of your blog and simply drop a link.
Webmasters and bloggers today have become more careful when it comes to linking to other domains. Google has tightened the rules of the game and everyone who wishes to remain in business is making corresponding adjustments.
But there are still SEO link building exercises with positive results. Some of these are:
- Submitting guest articles on relevant blogs
- Creating and publishing link-worthy content
- Converting mentions on other blogs to links
- Requesting for link insertion on relevant articles
- Bribing your friends to slide your links on their guest post articles
- Contacting webmasters to replace broken links with yours on relevant pages
- Buying links from links sellers (with a huge risk)
- Hiring SEO Link Building agencies
- Commenting for links (however, these are almost always no-follow links)
Recommended post: Is Link Building Dead? Answer: Yes, No, Maybe
Some link building tactics raise red flags.
It’s a good thing to work with SEO link building firms but many of these are responsible for toxic backlinks that end up ruining your SEO campaigns. As I mentioned in this post on my blog, some of my clients (those whose backlink profile audit has a dangerous Toxic Score rating) confessed having outsourced their link building to agencies.
You have to do your investigations properly before engaging with any so-called link building experts. Most of these unskilled SEOs outsource to spammers on Fiverr and related micro job sites.
Needless to say you should flee these markets as well. Buying any link building package from these platforms is a risky game. You actually deliver your business to a bad service.
And finally, avoid visiting and participating in SEO black hat forums. If you care about your long term healthy SEO link profile, you should exclusively practice white hat methods to boost your rankings. Google and other search engines are improving and becoming wiser by the day.
If your SEO is boring, it’s because you are not getting results. If you are not getting results, it’s because you are not following a method that works.
While I recommend you trying out these 4 simple steps for your next articles, grab this free SEO Page Optimisation Checklist.
I look forward to interacting with you in the comment box
Awesome and Very Informative Post. Google has 200+ Ranking Factors and working on them is really a tough job for webmasters and bloggers. You have shared some very helpful points here to make your blog SEO optimized and rank better in search engines. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.
Thanks for showing up and dropping a comment. A lot is changing in SEO and that makes it very challenging. However, keywords, content quality and backlinks are still top right? I personally think quality content is going to be king in the few years ahead 😉
Hope you are having a great day