Most business owners nowadays are fully familiar with the concept of SEO and the benefits that it brings to the table.
But when they set out to develop and execute an SEO strategy, they only tend to focus on keyword analysis and create content around them. This approach to SEO is not suitable for any business.
What is SEO?
A Search Engine Optimiser is marketing professionals who are experts in developing optimised strategies to rank higher on search engines and generate organic traffic. In simple terms, SEO is a type of highly streamlined content, focused on helping a business generate higher traffic and, in turn, a higher conversion rate.
They help a business identify common queries that people search via different search engines.
There are three types of important SEO practices:
- On-page SEO: This type of SEO practice is carried out on the content that is present on the page and how you can optimise for maximum ranking and benefit.
- Off-page SEO: This type of SEO is the backlinks that direct a user to your website from other pages. Backlinks of different publishers demonstrate you as trustworthy for search engines, such as Google. This boosts your ranking as a result.
- Technical SEO: Technical SEO is exactly what it seems to be, it is related to the website’s architecture and the backend code, to track its technicality. Google is as much interested in the code as it is in the content.
However, it is important to keep it in mind that every business cannot operate in the same way. Each business has different SEO needs and they need to be dealt with different approaches. An SEO agency is responsible for analysing the needs of the audience, developing a strong SEO strategy, and presenting content in the best way possible.
That being said, here are 9 steps, which you can follow to ensure that your strategy is covering all the SEO bases.
SEO Content Strategy
- List all the topics
- List all the keyword phrases and long-tail keywords
- Build separate pages for each topic
- Set up the blog
- Blog consistently each week to develop page authority
- Establish a link building strategy
- Compress all media files before uploading
- Stay updated with all the SEO trends and practices
- Don’t forget to track, monitor, and report content success
List all the topics
Keywords are the core basics of SEO, but they are not the first stepping stone towards an organic growth rate. The actual first step is to list everything that you want to cover in your blog monthly.
Start by putting together a list of the first 10 keywords that come to your mind whenever you think of your product or service. Then leverage the power of SEO tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and others to analyse their search volumes and come up with different substitutes, which best fit your organisation.
You will then connect the topics with short tail keywords, but you won’t create an individual post for each one of them. The keywords are too simple to help you rank higher on Google if you are just starting. We will discuss these topics in a while.
Enlist help from both the search volume data and competition as your measure, and bring down your list to almost 10 or 15 short keywords. They must all be important to both you and your target segment. Then list your keywords in priority order according to relevance and search density.
Here is an example for better understanding, if you own a business, which deals in Home gym equipment and you want to use the keyword Home gym. This keyword receives 6,600 searches per month in Australia. This one-word keyword can be used to represent the overall topic, around which you will create content.
The content designers will then try to figure out other longtail keywords associating with this one. The keywords should ideally have reasonable searches per month and must be relevant to the topic, which is home gyms.
The next step discusses the longtail keywords in detail.
Each of these short-tail keywords is also known as a pillar, which serves as the base for a cluster of longtail keywords.
List all the keyword phrases and long-tail keywords
In this step, you will focus on on-page optimisation for a certain keyword. The pillar that we discussed earlier plays a significant role here. Each one of the pillars is used to find out 10 longtail keywords, which will further elaborate on the original keyword.
For instance, we regularly post content on SEO, but it is still a difficult task to increase our rank on the search engine results page, as SEO is a very popular Initialism. We are also at risk of competing against our other pages, as they are all targeting the same keyword.
That is why we post about conducting thorough research on keywords, image optimisation, and planning an SEO strategy, and many other related topics.
Use the subtopics, which you came up with in step one, and write blog posts or web copies with each one. Then analyse these subtopics with a keyword research tool to figure out the best longtail keyword for each blog post.
When all of these subtopics come together, they form a cluster. Therefore, if you started with 10 pillars, they should ideally transition into a cluster consisting of either 5 or 10 subtopics. This approach to SEO is known as topic cluster and all the search engine algorithms are based around this concept only.
To understand this better, consider this: if both your content and your audience’s query is extremely specific, then you have a better chance of enhancing your conversion rate. This is how Google defines a website’s worth.
The webpages that best define a user’s query are always on the top.
Build separate pages for each topic
It is harder to rank a single page for multiple different keywords. But here is how you can optimise it to the maximum:
Consider the 10 pillars that you came up with in step one and design a webpage for every single one, which can outline the topic. Use as many keywords as you require from the clusters in step 2. The pillar pages on SEO will describe the gist of SEO in small sections, which will outline the keyword research, SEO strategy, graphics optimisation, and other such topics. The pillar page is more or less like the table of contents, where you are telling the audience what to expect of the following pages.
Refer to the keyword lists that you prepared in the previous steps and determine the number of pages that you require. Ideally, the number of webpages should be equal to the number of services or products your company offer.
This would make it so much easier for prospective clients to find your webpages from search engines.
Always remember that each page should include appropriate and relevant content for the potential customers as well as images and backlinks to present an overall suitable image. More about this in the next step.
Setup a blog
Blogging is the best way to rank higher for keywords and boost engagement. This is because whenever you add a new title to a blog post, you are giving yourself another chance to rank in the search engines. If you don’t already own a blog, then you should set one up immediately.
This is the best way to brush up on each subtopic and gain Google popularity.
Keep in mind the following three-pointers when you write a blog post for the clusters;
- Keep the keyword’s density to a maximum of 3x or 4x throughout the entire page. Using keywords excessively can lead to keyword stuffing claims and Google is not a fan of it. They will penalise you and your rank will drop.
- Don’t forget to link the article to the pillar page you have on your website.
- When you publish the article, add a backlink to the pillar page, which is in connection with the subtopic. Use a one-liner and hyperlink the text.
By connecting the two that is the pillar and the cluster, you are telling Google that there is a connection between the longtail and the overarching topic you have written about.
Blog consistently each week to develop page authority
Each one of your blogs doesn’t need to relate to a cluster. Writing about topics that might interest your consumers is an excellent way to gain authority with Google. This way Google will pay some extra attention to your domain as you write about different primary topics.
So you should try to post one such blog in a week. Keep in mind that the primary blog is for the audience not for the search engines. Focus on topics that your users want to read about. Include relevant keywords wherever possible, but try to avoid stuffing words just for the sake of it.
However, it is essential to remember that not each keyword will be of equal importance, and as your clusters evolve, your priorities will also change. So, it will be fruitful if you list the web pages that you want to create and prioritise them.
Then come up with a posting schedule and start getting those pages built.
Keep your goals and lists updated and your priorities in check, this is the only way to achieve realistic goals.
Establish a link building strategy
The topic cluster model is not the only approach to rank your website content higher after it has been created.
The first five steps in this guide were focused on on-page SEO. However, the sixth step is dedicated to off-page SEO, which is also a massive factor in your search engine ranking. So what is link building, you might ask?
Let us explain it to you. Link building is essentially the procedure of attracting backlinks to your webpages from different websites on the internet. This will contribute directly to the page authority, always remember the more page authority your website has, the higher would be the ranking of it.
Take time to brainstorm how you can add backlinks to your website. Start with a small yet achievable goal, collaborate with other local businesses, and put up links for their website on yours. Other than that, share your blogs on forums, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Medium.
Approach other similar bloggers and look for guest blogging opportunities, which can link back to your parent website.
The best way to attract backlinks is to be in the loop at all times. Write articles for current affairs or trending topics. This will pave way for your blog to be linked in industry influencer or other bloggers from the same niche.
Compress all media files before uploading
This is one of the most important steps in SEO. Whenever your blog will grow, you will have tons and tons of data, including images, gifs, and other media on it. All these are an excellent way to retain attention, it is also easy to forget that they are all computer files and have file sizes.
If your file is larger then the internet browser will most definitely have trouble loading the website. Also, just so that we are clear, speed is one of the most important ranking factors.
So the general thumb rule is that the smaller the size of the file, the faster will be your website loading time. In turn, you will rank higher on the Google search engine. But you must be wondering how you can shrink the file size.
So for starters start by finding out the actual file size. If it is in MBs, then it is better to compress it using the tools before uploading. Online tools such as TinyPNG is an excellent way to compress multiple images at once. Or you can always use Squoosh, which is a product by Google, thereby, it is incredible.
It is better to keep the files in KBs so that the webpages can load without an issue.
Always check the image after you’ve compressed it. Sometimes, the tools can majorly mess up the image quality. You want to make sure your banner images look good on someones 27 inch iMac.
Stay updated with all the SEO trends and practices
Just like everything else on the internet, search engines are also evolving at all times. It might get difficult to stay on top of the trends at all times, but there are many resources available on the internet, which will help you stay afloat. Here are a few of the best ones:
Don’t forget to track, monitor, and report content success
Nailing the optimal SEO strategy can take both time and a lot of effort. But what is the point of it all if you can’t measure the success or see the results? By utilising different metrics, you can keep a track of the daily, monthly, or even bi-weekly results to measure success.
The most important thing that you must track is the organic traffic, therefore, find out the best tool, which will allow you to track the overall organic traffic and the ranking of each one of your keywords. SEMRush is our preferred software for traffic tracking.
Maintain a dashboard with Excel or Google sheets to monitor the traffic from the search engines and also from the backlinks.
You can also track individual traffic for pillar pages, conversions, leads, inbound links, search engine ranking pages, and ROI. These analytics will help you gain feedback about what is your most powerful resource in terms of generating traffic.
Once you can come up with the perfect SEO plan for each month, you should keep on optimising it to include any new keywords that you might require. Here is how you can do that:
Update old content
Take out some time every month to update your old blogs with new information. Just like we do with this one. Up to date information ensures that you continue to rank higher with SERPs. You can also use this practice to optimize original posts with missing text.
Keep a track of new keywords and changes
After a couple of months, track all your blog posts ranking and the keywords, which generate the most traffic. This will enable you to redesign subheads and text to maximise keyword ranking.
Add value to your content
At times, your old posts can get out fashioned. In this case, you can take an old article and give it a new form with an SEO update and a rewrite. Try rewriting the article by adding new stats and sections to the original article to add a new dimension. You can include new sections or quotes, which will make them more time relevant.
Write down new content and updates that SEO will require each month
Keep your SEO strategy fresh with a refinery each month. Refine your monthly plan by putting in new updates, then carry out the plan with a new document and monitor it over the next month.
Here is some of what is included in one of our SEO plans.
SEO Plan with Little Ripple Marketing
- Keyword research and selection
- Google my business optimisation
- Local search optimisation
- Image optimisation
- SEO copywriting
- Webpage refreshes
- Ongoing weekly reporting
To learn more about our SEO services follow the link.