Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and that’s certainly the case when it comes your website’s Search Engine Optimization. It’s safe to say that SEO best practices are a moving target with Google’s dedication to innovation and a constant stream of updates since inception. To hit that target, you need a content marketing plan and a good engagement platform. There are two main components of an SEO strategy, on-page, and off-page.
This cheat sheet will focus on on-page optimization and pointers to help you stay on top with less effort and more continuous, measurable results.
The Key to Keywords
Keywords are a large part of a solid on-page SEO strategy: they make the content your audience already loves appear equally enticing to search algorithms. But if your CEO asked you about it in the elevator, could you confidently explain your keyword strategy? Do you know which keywords you should be ranking for in the first place?
Nailing down a precise, targeted list of keywords is the very first step to conquering SEO. To begin, brainstorm a list of keywords you would like to rank highly for.
There are four ways to do this:
- Manually cull keywords from your existing sales and marketing materials, your current content, and the words you use to describe your products and services.
- Type those manually generated keywords into Google, scroll to the bottom of the results page, and see what other, related search terms Google is recommending.
- Generate a list of high-performing keywords from your marketing automation software.
- If you have a physical location, add the names of a few local cities to your top keywords for highly targeted variations.
Whether you use one of the above techniques or combine them, you’ll end up with a very long list—it could be hundreds of words long. Now it’s time to be ruthless and edit it down. Hone in on the keywords most likely to drive the right type of traffic to your content in the highest numbers—maybe 150, max.
Trim the Fat:
- Use critical thinking to banish tangential keywords. Remove any words that aren’t really related to what you sell, or that your ideal customers are unlikely to search for. EXAMPLE: You sell sweaters for cats that you make by hand. An example of an irrelevant keyword phrase: “make cat sweater.” Yes, you make your own cat sweaters, but the person searching is probably looking for instructions, not for sweaters.
- Sort your keywords by volume and degree of competition. A keyword might be a popular and relevant search term, but if everyone is using it, it’ll get diluted—which means you’ll have a hard time ranking highly for it. Conversely, if a keyword doesn’t have a lot of competition, but no one ever searches for it, there’s no point using it. The Holy Grail is the keyword that ranks high in search volume but isn’t too competitive
- Weed out branded terms. If one of your keywords is the brand name of a competitor, you might not want to bother targeting it. If Go to the full article.