Building An SEO Strategy
Posted by Alicia Quilantan on Apr 18, 2023 8:15:00 AM
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content are best friends. SEO is nothing without content and the best content is driven by SEO. The two go hand in hand. Tribute Media’s content and SEO specialists work together to provide the best results for our clients, in fact, you can read the conversation about how we approach Google’s Helpful Content Update.
The goal of an SEO specialist is to help you rank higher for relevant keywords and increase your organic traffic and conversions (but there’s a lot more behind conversions than SEO work, alas; another topic for another time). The goal of a content specialist is to take the keyword research and develop content related to those searches so the audience is engaged and informed before making the decision to work with you,
As an SEO specialist at Tribute Media, I like to approach SEO tasks by putting myself in the shoes of the business’s buyer personas. By doing this, I am able to think like the ideal audience and identify solutions based on the business’s product or services. I find that it is important to have an open mind and not be fixated on what you “think” the keywords are and accept what the search terms your audience are using are. I won’t be using marketing filler words like winning, killer, or best when I describe this strategy. It’s just how I approach SEO and it works for our clients which works for me.
What is SEO (& why does it matter)?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the continual optimization of a website and its content to improve visibility and ranking on popular search engines like Google. The goal of SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of organic traffic to your website by improving search relevance in the eyes of the search engine while remaining helpful to your target audience. All nerdy language aside, SEO is what gets your business found online by the right kinds of people.
Anyone can just build a website and put themselves out there but that doesn’t automatically mean their target audience is going to find them immediately and the leads will start pouring in. Don’t we all wish it were that easy? An SEO strategy forces you to dig a little deeper into what your audience is searching for, like their pain points and the solutions to them.
steps to approaching seo
Step one is to grab some coffee… just kidding (kind of). A strategy is built after you understand the client’s business and their goals for the site. I make time to meet our clients and understand their business before starting a marketing engagement to make sure we are on the same page about what success looks like and what our end goals are.
Conduct an SEO audit
An SEO audit is an important task when starting SEO engagements so you understand where you are starting from and what needs to be done in order to move the needle. Items we identify are technical SEO issues that may affect your website's performance, like broken links, slow-loading pages, duplicate content, and incorrect use of meta tags. You can use tools such as Google Search Console, semRush, or Screaming Frog.
Keyword research is a huge part of developing an SEO strategy. Here is where you define your target audience and the keywords they are likely to use when searching for your products or services. It is important that you also take the time to understand your audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. This is called market research. You can conduct this through a variety of methods such as surveys, focus groups, and chatting with your sales team. This will help you create content that is relevant to their interests and optimize it for the keywords they use.
Identifying long-tail keywords
What are long-tail keywords? These are very specific keywords related to a broad topic, for example, “Digital marketing” is a broad topic keyword. A long-tail keyword would be “Digital marketing agency Idaho”.
My favorite long-tail keyword-identifying free tools are:
- Google Trends (add the glimpse chrome extension, you can thank me later)
- Keyword Tool
- Keyword Surfer
- Answer The Public
You are reaching a targeted audience when you optimize for long-tail keywords vs trying for a broad keyword. Plus sometimes they are easier to rank for!
On-page SEO is optimizing the content on your website for the keywords you want to rank for based on your research. This includes optimizing the title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and image alt text, among other things. It’s important that your website's content is well-structured and easy to read, and uses relevant keywords, naturally. You don’t want to just stuff your keywords in a blog for the sake of having them in the blog. In fact, Google does not like this and you will be penalized for that. Now more than ever Google understands intent over verbiage.
Write Related Topic Blogs
Focus on creating high-quality and engaging content that provides value to your readers. As I mentioned before, great content is built from SEO research. By creating content your audience is already looking for, you can increase your blog's visibility and attract more traffic to your website.
- How to Write Content for the Right Reader
- Yes, Content Length Matters for SEO
- Outsourcing Content Writing
Follow SEO Best Practices
There are a million different ways to get your page to rank on Google. Here are a few staples you should always consider when creating or editing your web content.
Optimizing metadata: Descriptions and page titles
Updating a page title is important because page titles are what you see at the very top of a website page when you are searching on Google and they typically describe what that web page content is about at a high level.
Meta descriptions are quick summaries of what solution the page has to offer for the reader's problem. Here are some best practice tips to follow when writing a meta description:
- Address what problem this page helps solve for the reader.
- Give them a clear benefit for clicking on the link and reading the post.
Remember, while the meta description you write isn’t always used by Google, it does help Google understand what the page is about. I found that updating these two pieces of metadata has increased the click-through rates for pages for our clients. By including more relevant and helpful information and keywords here, you are more likely to draw the attention of your ideal audience.
Page speed is determined by a multitude of factors like file size related to your images, videos, HTML, or third-party codes (like Google Analytics or Hot Jar). My favorite tool to use is Google PageSpeed Insights. It will deliver a report showing recommendations to improve your site speed. Take that with a grain of salt because it is a recommendation. If you need a fundraising code on your side because that is how your organization collects donations, you have to keep it because it works for your site. If you need a video on your page because your audience engages with it a lot and it helps you convert leads, you need to keep it.
Local SEO is all about attracting visitors from your local area. Using local phrases when optimizing your main navigation page titles and meta descriptions with local terms makes you more likely to attract local visitors. More importantly, use a conversational tone so it reads naturally for the everyday reader.
Keep content relevant
As your services change or your audience’s search habits change, you need to adjust your content to keep it as relevant and helpful as possible for users.
Continual Content Success Measurement and Tracking
Regularly monitoring your website's performance is crucial to understanding how your SEO strategy is working. You can use tools like Google Analytics to track your website's traffic, rankings, and conversions. Analyze this data to identify areas for improvement and make changes to your strategy accordingly.
Written by Alicia Quilantan
Alicia is the Search Engine Optimization specialist at Tribute Media. When she is not completing a new certification or reading blogs about SEO and PPC. She is spending time with her dog, traveling the US, and studying French.