Search engine optimization. What a buzzword. Most people have heard of it, some marketers may have tried it, but very few people have a true understand what a real SEO strategy entails.
“But Carly, SEO is basic stuff,” you might say. “I know about optimizing for Google, writing meta descriptions, writing keywords, yadda yadda. I can just plug Yoast in and call it a day, right?”
Bad. So very wrong, my friend.
There’s more to SEO than you probably think because it’s constantly changing. I didn’t want to be late, so I signed up for the Moz SEO Essentials Certificate Classes. If you are looking to update your marketing knowledge and avoid becoming an SEO dinosaur, highly recommend. But if you want to save time and money, stick with me as I journey through the world of SEO.
What exactly is SEO?
We’ll start with the basics. Moz defines search engine optimization as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality traffic to your website via organic search engine results.”
Alright, so what does that actually mean? Let’s break it down a bit further. Getting tons of website traffic is great, but what you really want is quality traffic – relevant leads who are genuinely interested in what you offer. There are many ways to get users to access your websites, like post ads and direct links, but SEO focuses on organic traffic from Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing, and other search engines (seriously, some people Actually use Bing).
How it works
While you may think of Google as the mysterious genius that can answer all your questions, there’s a lot to put together that magic list of search results. Google constantly sends out Googlebot spiders to find what pages exist on the web. These little robots crawl known websites and find new ones through links. Then they hint what they found. They attempt to understand content by looking at page titles, keywords, and formatting structure. Using all this information, Google serves and ranks specific pages based on a user’s search query.
It is estimated that Google uses more than 200 ranking factors to determine where your page lands in search results. Ultimately, good SEO will help you meet these factors.
Implementing an SEO strategy the right way
Good SEO starts with a good strategy. Moz suggests you stick with their proven methodology, which includes 5 steps: Research, Audit, Optimize, Amplify, and Iterate. Where many marketers go wrong, they jump straight to Optimize because it contains the most important stuff like titles, URL slugs, descriptions, and other metadata. Although these things are important and have a lot of value, they are only a small piece of the puzzle!
If there is one thing to take away from this blog, let it be this: Don’t skip the research and audit steps. Proper keyword research will lay a solid foundation for the rest of your strategy. Not only is this a great exercise to see where your brand stands in a competitive industry, but it will also help set the stage for new web content creation and give a comprehensive view of your strengths and weaknesses at different stages of development. ‘funnel.
Keyword Research for Dummies
One of the easiest ways to create a good keyword list is to create a matrix, Mr. Anderson. You can start by creating a grid sorted by sales funnel and semantic topics. Some example topics might be your buyer’s needs, buyer personas, or product/service line.
Why are sales funnel stages relevant, you ask? It is estimated that approximately 80% of searches are informative. This means that the searcher is usually at the top or middle of the sales funnel and may not even know what their problem is yet. Since these searches are further away from conversion, there are usually fewer ads to compete for for the keywords. It’s easier (and cheaper) to capture the audience at the top and guide them through the funnel than to capture them at the bottom.
Once you’ve built your matrix, you can create a list of keywords from each cell. Moz suggests 400-500 keyword variations per cell. It might seem like a lot, but there are tons of handy tools out there to make your life easier, like the Moz Keyword Explorer. When you’re done building your list, it’s time to filter and sort to identify target keywords. You want to search for keywords with high search volume, high organic click-through rate, and low difficulty rankings.
Completed? Then you are well on your way to becoming a master SEO strategist. With this matrix at your fingertips, you can take the next steps of the SEO methodology by mapping your new keywords to the right pages. You will come back to this matrix over and over throughout the optimization process, so keep it handy.
Google is constantly changing its algorithms
Even if you follow this SEO methodology to the end, your SEO strategy will never be really To be finished. In the field of marketing, everything is All the time changing and SEO is no different.
Over the years, Google has made significant changes to how, what, and why its search engine algorithm displays results. Does anyone else remember the good old days when searching for something on Google resulted in a long list of simple, blue links? Search the same query today and you’ll likely be bombarded with Google Ads, image results, similar questions, map packs and more. You will probably have to scroll quite a few ways before you find a real organic link.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: Google doesn’t want you to leave Google. OK, maybe everyone already knew that. If you stay in the search results, you are more likely to click on an ad and earn money from it. Google now updates its algorithm on a monthly or even weekly basis. Although most of these changes are insignificant and go unnoticed, you need to be prepared when something big happens.
These groundbreaking updates, like mobile-focused indexing – can completely change the way links are displayed and ranked organically. When mobile-first indexing plummeted in 2018, businesses with slow, non-mobile sites said goodbye to organic traffic. The strategy you use today might be useless tomorrow. The only constant is change.
Fortunately, Google usually announces what and when they’re going to do it. They are also kind enough to provide advice and tips on how to prepare for the upcoming changes. We recommend following the Google Search Link Twitter account to keep you informed of any changes. For more information and strategies, see Moz, Yeast and Search engine countries. There is no shortage of online resources to help you with SEO. The first step to becoming a master is to admit and understand that you are not a master. There’s a lot to learn and there’s no better time than the present to start.