With nearly 2 billion websites on the internet, have you ever wondered what makes one professional website more successful than another? 🤔
The answer is SEO.
If your website is not optimised for search engines it’s akin to being adrift in a vast online ocean. Imagine a search and rescue operation desperately trying to find you but, without a reflective vest.
SEO is your website’s reflective vest.
So let’s begin with what is an SEO strategy.
An SEO Strategy is a process of optimising and organising website content to make it visible to search engines.
Why is SEO so important?
The more visible your website is the more opportunities you will have to attract traffic to your site to convert prospects into customers.
But how do search engines rank your content? 🤔
Search algorithms look at a combination of factors including relevant high-value content, backlinks, keywords, trustworthiness, topic authority, and more…
Search engines crawl, index and rank your content.
Google sends crawlers (bots) to crawl web pages, these bots crawl your site, index the pages and rank your content solely based on how relevant your content is to users. But let’s be clear.
You should always choose quality and relevancy over optimisation. Always write with the user in mind, rather than search engines. Don’t let the need to write for search engines impact the quality of what you write and why you are writing it.
If you write an article that is just SEO-friendly then what you write will likely bore your audience and it won’t rank. Likewise, if you write a compelling piece of content that is not SEO-optimised it also won’t rank.
The key is getting the balance right. A successful content strategy requires a piece of content to be compelling AND to be SEO-friendly.
But let’s quickly get back to how search engines crawl your site.
Upon discovering your content the crawlers decide how relevant your content is based on
the keywords in your content
the value of your content to users
and the quality of the backlinks to your content
If your content has quality backlinks, crawlers will recognise this as authoritative content and deem it important to rank highly.
So what do we mean by quality backlinks?
Put simply, the more websites you have linking to your content the more easily search engines will recognise it as valuable to users. Or as Moz better explains: backlinks "represent a vote of confidence from one site to another."
There are a number of elements involved in creating a strong SEO strategy.
Keyword research is hugely important to your SEO strategy, as knowing what your customers are searching for will push your content creation in the right direction.
Understanding the keywords users search for will help your content convert. For our agency, customers search terms such as ‘headless’, ‘B2B’, or even ‘SEO’ so we publish content around those search topics.
It’s also important not to overload your content with keywords. This is often referred to as keyword stuffing and as we mentioned Google will penalise you for writing just for search engines so make sure what you write is valuable to your audience.
Short-tail keyword – also known as a head keyword, short-tail keywords are made up of three words or less and have a high search volume. For example, ‘SEO strategy’ could be a short-tail keyword.
Long-tail keywords – these types consist of more than 3 words and have a lower search volume than short-tail keywords. For example, ' SEO strategy for B2B’ would be a long-tail keyword.
Several keyword research tools are available to help you find relevant keywords for your content.
We used AnswerthePublic to find keywords to create this article. Keywords we’ve used to help search engines find this piece of content include, ‘what is an SEO strategy’, ‘why is SEO important’, and in the title we implemented ‘how to create an SEO Strategy.’
For more on how to develop a keyword strategy read our blog How to Develop a Keyword List for Your Business.
2. On-page SEO
This is the process of optimising parts of your web pages so that they rank higher on search engines. Follow best practices for page headings, title tags and external links.
Your page title should have an H1 Tag. Subsequent headings should have an H2 or H3 tag etc…. Crawlers use these headings to crawl the importance of content; H1 being the most important and so on.
Include primary keywords in your title tag and keep your meta title 60 characters or under. Always remember when writing title tags to write a title that will answer a searcher’s question.
Do a content audit. It’s best practice to update and refresh old content to be more relevant to your target audience and make your content more visible to search engines. It’s also worth creating new content using relevant keywords and adding CTAs to improve the UX journey.
Videos can be highly effective in improving SEO. Videos are great at attracting prospects to your website and having a mix of visual and textual content shows Google that your page is highly informational.
And when you think that users retain 95% of a video message compared to static content in text format video is undoubtedly a valuable tool to include in your strategy.
Topic clusters are another great way to improve your on-page SEO.
A topic cluster is when you link multiple pieces of content that share a common theme/topic so that when a visitor is searching they will be able to seamlessly link from one web page to another enhancing their search experience.
3. Off-page SEO
While on-page SEO relates to the actions you take on-site, off-page is the actions you take outside of your own website that will help enhance your SEO efforts and backlinks are a critical element of SEO.
Backlinks are links from one page on one website to another page on another website. So if someone links to your website, you have a backlink from them. Having backlinks on your website builds authority. The more quality backlinks you have, the better you will rank and the more organic traffic you will have.
Backlinks are important for SEO because they are endorsements for your website and demonstrate to search engines that your website is trusted. However, backlinks from websites with higher authority will be more valuable than others.
Being mentioned by trustworthy websites with help boost your brand. And some ways to get quality backlinks include having compelling visual content such as illustrations or infographics highlighting key information, publishing original research and conducting your own surveys. The key is to create valuable content for the user that they can use to enhance their own content.
4. Technical SEO
Finally technical SEO. This involves a process of checking technical elements of your website to ensure search engine spiders can crawl and index your site more efficiently.
Critical elements that can affect site performance and SEO include
If your site is not mobile friendly
If your site is not secure
Out-of-date XML sitemap
However regular website maintenance will fix all these issues ensuring you have a technically strong fast performing website.
You can also register your site with Google Search Console, a free tool from Google, where you can submit your website to their search engine for indexing and easily monitor site performance.
To find out more about on-page and off-page SEO factors that affect your ranking check out our blog What Does Technical SEO Entail.
SEO Strategies take time
A solid SEO strategy has many aspects and elements that all play a part in a page’s results and ranking.
But persistence is key.
SEO is about making your website more favourable to search engines.
Get those quality backlinks, use tools to source keywords, refresh old content and ensure your site is properly maintained. And remember to use your title tags correctly so search engines will understand what your page is about.
All these elements will positively affect how your business appears in organic results making your website more visible so that you can reach even more people. 🙌