Search engine optimization is a long-haul game that, if carried out correctly and consistently, will pay off by getting you that high ranking in the Google search results. Since SEO is such a multi-faceted process, it is usually up to an SEO manager to choose which area to prioritize first. Still, there are essential stages of the process that form the foundation of every successful SEO campaign. Let’s start with those, paying close attention to the areas that often get overlooked.
Keyword Research and Analysis
Google Keyword Planner is a comprehensive tool that can help you with the initial keyword research, and if you want an even better insight into the highest-ranking keywords, you could also use Ahrefs or SEMRush along with it. Still, while any of these tools can offer you the most popular keyword searchers, the data may not always be enough to compete in the noisy digital crowd.
For example, which is better — long-tail or short-tail keywords? Should common searches be your dominant focus (short-tail), or should you rather target a narrow audience with specific, long-tail keys? The truth is neither here nor there — ideally, you should balance both to achieve the best results.
You can always eliminate irrelevant searches on short-tail keywords by creating negative keyword lists — this strategy is an absolute must when running Google Pay-per-Click ads. For example, if you sell casual shoes, your negative keyword list can eliminate running, tactical, nursing, or stiletto shoes.
The same logic applies to practically any seed keyword —you need short-tail keys because they are the backbone of your SEO campaign. Still, it is important to eliminate and/or narrow down as much as possible to ensure the best results.
Tip: always check out the competition for the keywords they use in their campaigns. You do not have to copy everything the competitors do, but a quick peak can give you useful information about practices that have already proven useful or, on the contrary, ineffective.
Finally, do not think that keyword research and analysis is something you can do once and forget all about it. It is indeed uncommon to change website headers every week, but a regular keyword audit is a must if you want your website to rank on top of Google search results one day. Besides, Google does love an update, and popular keyword queries can change from one month to another, too.
Meta-Data: Why Mind the Invisible Part?
The importance of meta tags, title and description, is overlooked surprisingly often — but these are the parts Google will analyze first. So, even if your website visitors will not see the meta-data, it should be keyword-rich and carefully optimized. Most importantly, meta tags should not include any information that is not discussed on the landing page they are assigned to. Often, the temptation to cram in a few more key phrases is just too big, but you should do your best to resist.
Tip: Write a meta-description as if you were addressing people. Most of the time, human visitors will never see them. But sometimes, especially if they come across your keyword-optimized content via Google search, they will.
One more commonly overlooked part is the URL structure and readability. Making links to your content readable is not just a matter of aesthetics — it plays a vital part in SEO, too. When writing blog posts, for example, it is not uncommon to duplicate the blog title into a link, but we suggest making these two a little different to ensure better SEO coverage. The same with landing pages — the URL should be as unique as any other meta-data on your landing page.
Top SEO Content Writing Tips to Remember
SEO and quality content always work hand-in-hand, which is why the role of content manager implies such a deep understanding of SEO practices. And, while content writing is a largely creative task, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure the content can also work for SEO purposes.
Strategic Keywords Placement
Your top, most important keywords should appear at the beginning, middle, and final lines of your text, as well as its headers. This rule applies to landing pages just as it applies to blog posts and any other forms of content. Such strategic placement makes it easier for search engines to scan and analyze your texts. From a more human perspective, it helps readers stay on track with what you are saying — so this is a win-win scenario.
Scannable Easy-to-Read Structure
Another golden rule of SEO writing that works for search engines and for people. Texts that are easy to read usually rank higher, but there is a catch — you must keep the header tags in proper order. While you can use practically any text formatting you think will be appealing to your readers, headers are part of your meta-data and have to be structured accordingly. So, you start with H1 (your page title, as a rule), and keep going down to H2, H3, and so on. You cannot jump from the second to the fourth header tag — the ‘skipping numbers’ is another beginner’s mistake you should avoid.
More Keyword Research
A blog section is one of the most functional ways to promote a website, but blogs are powered by ideas. One idea that can never go wrong is to monitor new keyword requests, especially long-tail queries, and answer those questions. This way, you kill two birds with one stone — find new content ideas for your blog and do more keyword research. Not only will your posts be keyword-optimized, but they will also address real questions and stand a better chance of attracting new audiences.
Organic link-building, pretty much like organic SEO, is a long-term game, but it’s the only one worth playing if you want to win. Creating quality content is a good start, but you may also look for partners who would accept your posts on their sites and offer them the same favor in return — that should give your first link-building efforts a boost. Still, it is important to make sure the sites you associate with are in a similar niche — everything should make sense.
Unique Imagery as SEO-Booster
Unique images are a great way to boost your website SEO — so if there is a way to create your own visuals, do it. Unlike text, unique pictures with relevant SEO descriptions can stay in the Google Images search section for months, redirecting ever more people to your website.
Putting Your Audience First
Ironically, the last tip on our list is about putting your audience first. Often, crafting SEO content distracts managers from what truly matters — informing, educating, and entertaining their audiences. Even though the content you create to increase Google ranking should be keyword-optimized, do not forget that your main readership is people.
A good piece of advice here is to constantly monitor new trends and analyze the results of your past campaigns. You can never go wrong with answering the questions of your readers, just like you can never go wrong with learning from your mistakes. Keep searching for more ways to engage your followers, align your SEO and content creation efforts with social media promotion, and see your website climb to the spot it deserves.