Most of you have heard the term SEO thrown in related to digital marketing, internet companies or internet circles in general. Regardless, you'd be surprised how many people just remember those three letters but never really understand what they mean.
If that's you, we've got you covered, and if this is your first time seeing this expression, you're in luck. In this post, you'll learn everything you need to know to run an effective SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. We will discuss:
- What is SEO and why is it more important than ever.
- Basics of SEO strategy (keywords, metadata and link-building, technical components).
- Eight specific tactics to help you achieve SEO success based on
61% marketers believe that SEO is the key to online success, which is why modern companies spend an average of 41% of their marketing budget on it. In short, taking the time to outline the right SEO strategy can revolutionize not only online traffic, but your entire business as well.
The basics of an effective SEO strategy
Table of Contents
- 1 The basics of an effective SEO strategy
- 2 2. Metadata
- 3 3. Linking
- 3.1 8 tips to use in your SEO 2021 strategy
- 3.2 1. Write for people first, then for search engines
- 4 2. Use your keywords in all the right places
- 5 6. Remove anything that is slowing down your site
Quantity also plays a big role. Writing more content, using more links, and using a wider range of keywords is a great way to rank higher over time - this is called "scaling", and it actually sounds like it.
Keywords are phrases that are searched frequently on Google, Bing, etc. and are a key element in determining your site's ranking. Use the right amount of keywords in the right places, and over time your pages will climb up the rankings.
Keywords that the car dealer can search for.
The keyword strategy has changed and over the years there was just as much stuff as possible there, but a lot of content turned spam and sites were ultimately penalized by Google's algorithms. These days, you need to do your research, use a wider range of keywords, and naturally match them. Google is getting smarter day by day, so they make you work.
Not only is metadata important, but it's arguably the most direct way you can trick someone into visiting your site, as it's one of the first things that both Google and potential users will see. Google uses so-called "worms" (imagine tiny robots-spiders) to scan web sites and gather information that matches your search terms, hence the rankings: most relevant at the top.
When sites are indexed, the first time a URL is indexed, metadata is one of the next things on their checklist. This includes meta titles and meta descriptions - i.e. the page title and the short preview line you see when you search for something on Google - as well as alt tags for things like images (almost like a middle name if Google is having trouble reading the first one). You can think of metadata almost like a shop window.
4. SEO techniques
Why are SEO and organic search results important?
If you are looking for longevity and cost effectiveness when it comes to yours digital marketing . Organic SEO driven search strategies are unbeatable.
SEO cheaper than paid advertising, but its effects last longer. While PPC campaigns need to be renewed and bidding costs fluctuate, SEO tracking tools use organic data to build keyword lists and continue to throw more content ideas the deeper you dig.
SEO can seem slow at first. Nevertheless, you may start to see a serious increase in overall traffic and rankings after a few months.
Moreover, the longer you stick with it, the more backlinks and site authority you build, meaning you can pick even bigger and better keywords and so on.
There is also a long tail link building strategy (phrases containing 3 or more keywords)
This is a great way for SMBs to see results early and build a platform for momentum.
8 tips to use in your SEO 2021 strategy
It's not always about trying to pick the most popular slogans and expecting that we're about to be able to compete with the big fish. It's about getting to know your audience and trying to deliver the content, information and general service they want / need. With that in mind, here are eight SEO tips, which are as effective now in 2021 as ever.
1. Write for people first, then for search engines
As already mentioned, Google's algorithm is getting smarter by the day and with constant human input, it still adapts better to our way of thinking. That being said, there is no clever loophole or magic formula to outsmart the search engine, so don't try. Write for people first, then for search engines.
Ultimately, your priority should always be to give your audience what they are looking for, and only do so by writing engaging and essentially naturalistic content. Anyone can spot a keyword that's been chained to your shoes, and stuffing is even more blatant, so match it where it makes sense and let your keyword targeting pick up the information and valuable content.
2. Use your keywords in all the right places
While the motivation should always be people first and search engines second, keywords are the cornerstone of the whole process. Not only do they go to the heart of what users and Google are looking for by isolating frequently searched terms, SEO also generates over 1000% more traffic than organic social media, which dominates more than half of all online traffic. So, if keywords are the heart of SEO, they should also be the foundation of everything you do.
However, it is not scattered left, right, and center. It all starts with keyword research. Use SEO toolssuch as Google Ads, Ahrefs, and even simple on-page search bars to identify search intentions and "seeds" of keywords. Then, dig deeper to find more long-tail variants, research your competition to find keyword gaps, and don't forget to include them in your metadata and in your link anchor text. Adjust them naturally so as not to interfere with legibility.
3. Focus on the user experience (UX)
There is nothing worse than having to navigate through a site that is barely usable. In fact, after a few seconds of frustration, most people won't bother and Google will have a hard time getting the most out of it as well. Things like dead links, error pages, and a messy site structure will have an impact on what people take from your site.
Not only do users value a good experience and easy navigation, this fluidity also helps Google crawlers scan your content and determine your SERP rankings. Use headings and short, easy-to-read paragraphs, organize subfolders and optimize for mobile devices. All of these things will help reduce your bounce rate, improve your rankings, and generate a better conversion overall.
Speaking of experience, are you ready for Google website performance update?
As mentioned, another key aspect of building your domain's reputation / authority for your website is link building. We have already pointed out why outbound / external links are important: not only do you improve the information you provide, but you can receive reciprocal backlinks through outreach etc.
Bots / crawlers discover your content by following links to subsequent pages and judging how relevant they are to your search query. This also applies to internal links, so don't be afraid to link to other useful pages on your site where necessary and where it's natural to do so. 51% marketers notice the impact after one to three months of implementing a link building strategy.
5. Content formatting for featured excerpts
Recommended snippets mostly rule the SERPs these days. You probably know them, even if you haven't heard the term before. These are the highlighted response fields that appear at the top of the pages for most queries. If you can get a piece with honors, you're doing something right.
There are some formatting and styling choices you can make to increase your chances of landing a featured snippet: bullets, numbered lists, infographics, and direct answers to search-based questions, just to name a few. While there is data that shows snippets, it doesn't always result in direct clicks, as the search query answer is in the Google preview itself.
6. Remove anything that is slowing down your site
Once again, it cannot be overstated how easy it is to get the right technical information to make your website and specific content speak for themselves. Whether you're writing news blogs, selling a product / service, or just pointing someone in the right direction, your website needs to be fast available and easy to use. Nowadays, people expect immediate information and immediate results.
There are many ways to improve your site speed and overall UX fluidity: remove old / non-functioning plugins, clean your code, optimize and compress images, make sure subfolders flow and make sense, and use tools like Google Page Speed Insights or GTmetrix to continue monitoring in the future.
7. Pay attention to the updates of the Google algorithm
We have already touched on this topic briefly, but Google is getting smarter and more intuitive day by day. Basic algorithm updates and fixes are constant and often unexpected, and sites either benefit or are penalized for how strictly they adhere to the latest update.
Rankings and penalties depend on various factors: availability, speed, excessive advertising or spammy content, etc. While it may not always be avoided, there are a few simple steps you can follow to stay connected. First, subscribe to industry websites and forums to follow the latest / upcoming updates. The Google Search Console community is a good start - be sure to follow your traffic closely with services like Google Analytics and SEMrush to see where updates may have occurred and then adjust accordingly.
8. Correct existing content and add missing subtopics
SEO strategy. Constant updates and a fight against competition mean there's always something to do, not to mention that you can still improve on what you've already done. If you're not using SEO properly yet, getting back and updating your content with keywords, backlinks, and improved readability is a great way to get started. You can even ensure that the better-performing pages maintain their traffic growth or follow this standard by updating them regularly.
Coming back to your keyword research, this is a great opportunity to use those phrases and your competition analysis as the foundation of your long-term content plan. Each keyword should branch into tons of others, and with that comes more content ideas. Instead of writing, say, one section of a specific topic, make it a "core" article from which a series of more specific ones will emerge. The actual content audit can be done using tools such as SEMrush and Yoast; Adding and updating old content can double your traffic. Make sure you use that internal and external linking we talked about.
All these tips will help you significantly increase traffic on your website. So don't hesitate and implement them on your own website.