Your SEO Strategy
If your site has compelling, broad, relevant and timely content that is easy to download, navigate, works across all platforms with no errors and a large number of reputable sites link to it because they think your site is valuable, then your SEO strategy is on the path to success! However, this is not always the case, and most companies don't have the time or resources to manage the key factors that make up a good SEO strategy.
In this article, we will look at SEO in its current state and how it applies to your digital marketing strategy. We will look at how to build an effective and relevant plan by keeping the SEO triangle in mind. We will touch briefly on the technical elements of SEO, consider how content affects your SEO, and link building strategy for SEO improvements.
The SEO Triangle
SEO can be a confusing and often misunderstood term. When it comes to increasing or optimizing your site for search engines' natural results, there three important considerations to take into account. These three considerations are best pictured as the three sides of a triangle. All the SEO activities you focus on and all the key ranking factors can be driven by these three considerations. They are Technical SEO, content, and Links.
1. Technical SEO
Technical SEO is often referred to as "on-page" SEO because the activities that make up technical SEO are related to the code and site structure that is used for your web site. In this section, we'll take a high-level look at the primary technical considerations; however, it is recommended that you work with an agency to assist you if you do not have in-depth knowledge or the resources in this area.
HTML tags are used to create HTML elements on your web site, such as sections, paragraphs, titles, and other elements. The two most important tags for your SEO are the title tags and meta descriptions.
The title tag is used to provide a brief description of the page content. You should create title tags for each page of your site, they should be unique to the content on the page it is describing, and ideally less than 75 characters. They should also have important keywords near the front of the description. This description will be visible in the search results and used by search engines to interpret your site pages. It is also good practice to include your brand or company name at or near the beginning of the title.
The meta description is a longer description of the page content; usually, no more than 160 characters are recommended. This description is also displayed within the search engine results if Google feels it is relevant content. They should be readable, relevant, and, hopefully, contain some of your focus keywords. The meta description does not influence rankings directly; however, a well-written one can increase your click-through rate, which in turn might help to improve your rankings.
You should also consider heading tags in the correct structure to give the search engine bots clear signals for your site's layout. Additionally, submitting a site map to the search engines is an excellent way to provide them with an idea of your site's structure. Having a clear layout site structure will assist the search bots when they are evaluating your site's content.
2. Content and SEO
SEO has become reliant on a good content strategy over the past few years. Google uses robots to interpret your site. Therefore, good content helps inform or guide the robots as to the relevance of the content on your website. A technically sound site with good functional content will go a long way, but to get real traction, your site will need to be popular with your target audience. To do this, you will require engaging content that gets attention from your target audience wherever they may be online. Engaging content done well will be published elsewhere, and other sites will link to your site. These links or citations act as signs to Google that you are producing something of value to others and might warrant a higher position in the search engines for related terms or keywords.
The key to your content strategy as it relates to SEO is not to optimize your content for search engines, but for your audience. This strategy requires that you do your research and use relevant keywords naturally in the content that you create. Next, you must keep producing relevant content. While your online content will not disappear (unless you delete it!), Google likes to see fresh content. So, it is essential to ensure that you are creating new content regularly. Finally, be sure that you have a home for your content. The content you produce should live on your website, so Google knows the origin and so that other sites have a reason to link back to your site. This may seem obvious, but many companies have focused on producing content for social media platforms at the expense of the content on their website and as a result, can harm their SEO performance.
A link strategy is the third side of the SEO triangle. This is one that you should be very careful with if you have no experience in generating links for your site. Google frowns upon websites that take the approach of only acquiring links. They believe that if your content is relevant and engaging, it will attract links, and therefore Google offers value for that link building.
Your link strategy should not include buying links or sharing links with others that agree to link to your site. This strategy is often referred to as "Black Hat SEO" and must be avoided so as not to damage your SEO rankings. If you acquire as many links as possible in a short period of time, Google will know that there is something unnatural going on. Additionally, a significant number of links from poor sources will hurt your SEO.
Instead, your link strategy should be about creating engaging content on- and off- your web pages that encourage quality links. This can be done through PR, outreach, or through your content strategy. Your content strategy could include advice or tools, and you'll also need to monitor it and make sure you avoid any penalties.
SEO is an ever-changing environment; techniques that were the focus a decade ago can now result in penalties that negatively impact your SEO rankings. To avoid these negative impacts, you should focus your SEO strategy on not optimizing for search engines but instead optimizing it for consumers and specifically your target audience. Ultimately, this is what search engines are trying to do too. So, if you set the focus of your SEO strategy on your target audience, you will not have to worry about changing algorithms or evolving consumer behaviors as you will be one step ahead of both.