Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is arguably the most cost-effective and rewarding aspect of digital marketing. But that comes with a price. SEO is typically the most complicated part of digital marketing to organize at its foundation. Whether you are a new business planning to launch a website, or you are auditing your current standing and have had a website for years, it’s crucial that you understand the basics of SEO before diving in. We want to make this easier on you by providing some concise—and very necessary—tips to keep in mind when building an SEO strategy for your brand.
Perform a Website Audit
First and foremost, if your company already has a website, you need to find out where your company’s website health currently stands. There are many free tools available for auditing various aspects of your website. The most important part here is to make sure that your Google Analytics and Google Search Console are set up and that they are actively reporting on data from your website. Google Analytics offers extensive information on user demographics, behavior, acquisitions, conversions, and so much more. Google Search Console will show popular search queries that are leading users to your website, and if any issues need to be resolved for Google crawling and readability.
Google crawls thousands of web pages each day and trillions of pages per year, collecting information and organizing it so that users can find the most relevant websites relating to their search queries. So, how does your website land on the first page above the competitors who offer almost identical services? Descriptive keywords.
Keywords give Google insight into the topics of the pages. If the search query is relevant for a blog that you have written for your business, and Google has crawled it, you have a higher chance of showing up in a search above a website that is lacking rich, high-volume keywords incorporated throughout the copy. Not only does the copy of the blog need to have relevant keywords within it, but it’s important that all page titles, meta descriptions, headers, featured snippets, and alt-text descriptions on images have these keywords as well.
Keyword Planner by Google is a free and effective tool for keyword research. Green Apple recommends SEMrush, the top-rated keyword tool we use for our clients.
Audit and Build Your Backlinks
Backlinks work exceedingly well to improve your rankings on Google. To increase business rankings for “near me” searches, you’ll need to acquire high authority/relevant backlinks, and more importantly, backlinks on websites that are relative to where you want your business to show up.
The first step for this could be to research relevant websites and competitors to figure out who you are targeting backlinks from. SEMrush offers comprehensive reports to monitor competitors’ backlinks, backlink audits for sites that have already linked to your website with an anchor text, and, depending on your keyword goals, which sites are relevant to pitch your content to. HARO requests are also a great way to be featured on trusted, high-traffic websites by responding to reporters in need of content for their articles.
Internal linking is also important for ranking. Google will not prioritize your website if it does not fully understand the hierarchy of your pages. Internal links connect your content in an organized way, and Google can make sense of your website structure. The great thing about this aspect of linking is that it is absolutely in your control, and you have the power to guide users through the conversion process you are aiming for.
Organization is the key to successful SEO. Building a foundation of content for the year will help accomplish this. The best way to plan out engaging content for the entire year is to analyze competitors who are experiencing success (high traffic, shares, and backlinks) with their published blogs and articles. In addition, use descriptive keywords that you strategically choose from your research to see what articles populate in Google. These actions will help you with blog topic inspiration and crafting the content you will publish on your website and push out on social media—ultimately establishing yourself as an industry leader.
Our team recommends using an SEO template to lay out structured data of content that you have already published, which will help you audit your content with SEO friendly elements and target specific keywords you want to rank for in the future.
The best way to understand user experience is to use PageSpeed Insights to run a free diagnostic of your site. PageSpeed Insights analyzes the content of your web page and then generates suggestions to make the page faster. In 2020, it is recommended that page load speed is below three seconds; otherwise, users lose interest and abandon the website before they enter a landing page. You will need to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, user friendly, and that user interaction happens within three seconds from when someone clicks on a link to your website. If you need to cut load speed, there are technical solutions like image compression, redirection, and minification.
Need Help with Your SEO Strategy?
In the end, our biggest piece of advice is investing the time, patience, and research to make sure you have built a solid SEO strategy that makes sense for your company. Every company can experience success, but not always with the same approach because no business is alike. Curious what will work best for you? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.