Now more than ever, an effective SEO (search engine optimization) strategy is necessary for organizations to be successful in today's society.
In fact online marketing and online brand presence are as much, if not more, an essential part of business as the more traditional elements like a brick and mortar location and staff. Which means that having an effective SEO strategy should be high on the priority list for any company.
However, since technology changes quickly, new ideas and practices are introduced into the mix, which means organizations need to ensure they're keeping up with what will help them achieve goals more efficiently. As you work on your SEO strategy, here are ten things you should include to maximize your results.
#1 In-Depth Analysis (on a Consistent Basis)
The only way to really know if your SEO strategy is working is to analyze it regularly. Select and analyze key metrics to understand how different campaigns and strategies work for your SEO goals so you can adjust, if needed. Many organizations conduct an analysis prior to implementing a strategy so they know what actions to take for their goals. However, once the strategy is in progress, don't stop analyzing. If you find out that part of your strategy is not working, you can make changes immediately rather than continuing to run a campaign that doesn't bring a successful return on investment to your organization. It does no good to keep doing things that don't work, and you won't know whether they work without analysis.
First and foremost, every page on your website should be secured with an SSL certificate and all of your website URLs should resolve to HTTPS (rather than HTTP).
Why you ask? Well, imagine one of your potential customers are searching for products or services and find your website and then are greeted with a warning message stating your website wasn't secure. That potential customer, or existing customer for that matter, probably would think twice about trusting the information on your website (if they can even click on it to begin with) and will also think twice before visiting again.
This is the exact scenario you want to avoid.
So take the time to ensure your pages are secure and provided a trusted experience for your potential visitors.
#3 High Quality, Accurate Content & Keywords
In the early days of SEO, it was enough to stuff your content with keywords to be ranked highly in search results.
Today, however, algorithms are getting smarter. Programmers recognize that people want accurate, high-quality information in their search results instead of content that just happens to include the keyword they typed in. That means your SEO strategy need to be as much about research and high-quality content as it is about the keywords that appeal to your target demographic.
#4 Focus on Your Local Market
Did you know that searches that include local terms or keywords like “near me” or “close by” have increased by 900% in the last few years? And that of those local searches, 88% that were conducted on a mobile device resulted in a call or a visit to the local business within 24 hours?
Those are some pretty impressive stats!
So how do you optimize your local business to ensure that your online presence shows up for those searches? Use these steps to get you started:
- Make sure that all places where your business is listed are up to date and consistent with your business name, address, and phone number.
- Ensure that your own website also has this information displayed in the footer.
- Give your Google My Business listing some love, make sure that not only the information is correct but that you've added photos, videos, have reviews and appear active.
These simple steps take a minimal amount of time and will have a maximum return.
#5 Clustered Content
Since content has become so important in online marketing, many organizations have pieces of content that both relate to one another and in many cases overlap. And while this makes information more readily available it can also make it more difficult for visitors to find what they are looking for or know exactly what they are looking for causing them to feel lost on your website.
Clustering your content is a way to keep like information together under a "pillar" that grants organized access to that content. That way, when someone comes to your website, they can easily access all the content that relates to their topic of interest (whether that be topic or keyword) instead of having to search through your website to find it.
Making information easy to find means visitors are more likely to spend more time on your website, and return, for future needs.
#6 A Great User Experience from Start to Finish
Online experiences are integral to what people think about your organization and it is imperative that you provide an excellent experience on your website from beginning to end. So when you build your SEO strategy, make sure that you think about how your users will interact with the content.
Here are some top tips to provide a killer and dynamic user experience:
- Include content in different formats (written word, photos, videos, etc.).
- Utilize white space - the last thing you want is a busy cluttered website.
- Ensure that your page speed is optimized.
- Incorporate attractive calls to action (CTAs).
- Make sure that your content is well written and concise along with well written headlines and supporting copy.
- Address any broken links (404s).
- Invest in a responsive, or at the very least, a mobile-friendly website.
#7 Mobile Compatibility
Speaking of a responsive website, your SEO strategy should also be built for mobile compatibility.
Don't create content that can only be viewed on desktop computers. More people rely on mobile devices for their primary online access, including tablets and smartphones, than ever before. If your content can't translate to mobile devices, people won't take the time to access it, even if it's exactly what they need.
#8 Building a Brand
If you use online marketing, you've probably heard the importance of building a brand. Your online brand is a cohesive idea of who you are as an organization, what your online presence looks like, and how you interact with others. Everything you create should fit into the brand personality and image you build as part of your organizational strategy. Building a brand is valuable because it gives your customers something to rely on when they interact with your brand. They know what kind of content you'll create, what kind of voice you'll use in your writing, and what kind of relationship they will have with you. Once you have a brand, be sure to keep building it through consistent SEO content.
With stats like:
- 80% of users who will watch a video while only 20% will read your content in full
- 92% of mobile video consumers sharing videos with others
- 70% of the top 100 search results listings include video
- Video viewers being nearly 2 times more likely to buy a product than non-viewers
it's easy to see how impactful video can be. And why search engines — especially Google, pay attention to video when ranking you for SEO.
By embracing video in your SEO strategy, your business will rank better in search, will attract more qualified leads and with increased engagement you'll convert more users into customers faster than ever before.
#10 Schema Markups
One of the most powerful ways to optimize your website for search engines is through schema markups.
In its' most simple form a schema markup is code that is added to your website that allows search engines to find, and deliver, the most important information to customers through search results.
Schema markups help the search engine to understand and access the information is the most important for visitors to know at a glance, and then that information is displayed directly on the search result. This not only increases the amount of clicks that you'll receive, but also the likelihood that the information is in fact what they wanted which will then increase engagement and decrease your bounce rate.
Whether you're developing your very first SEO strategy or you're making changes to try and be more successful, implementing these ten tips will kickstart your 2020 SEO strategy and get you one step closer to the top of the list.