There is a lot more to SEO than seasoning your website content with a couple of keywords here and there. Be it SEO for ecommerce website or SEO for a small business – to truly achieve high ranking and visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), a business needs to have a sound SEO strategy that taps into the full potential of on-page SEO as well as off page SEO.
This blog takes you through the steps to create an SEO marketing strategy that can significantly boost your website’s organic traffic. But first, let us be clear on the basics…
What Is an SEO Strategy?
An SEO strategy is a plan of action to improve organic search rankings and visibility for a website.
The strategy organizes a business’s website content as per topics to increase the odds of the website’s pages appearing higher in search engine results. It is essentially a strategy to follow for maximizing the opportunities to direct organic traffic to your website from popular and widely used search engines like Google.
Why Is It Important to Create an SEO Strategy?
It is important to create an SEO Strategy because it helps content marketers stay on track while creating SEO content for a website. Rather than creating what they think potential customers are looking for, content marketers should have an SEO strategy that ensures that they create the SEO content that their brand’s target audience is actually searching for online. A well-made, complete SEO marketing strategy maximizes a website’s organic traffic in the long run instead of just giving its search rankings and visibility a slight, short-lived boost. Therefore, whether it is SEO for ecommerce website or SEO for small business, a digital marketer should have an SEO strategy ready before creating any SEO content. An effective SEO strategy will lead to reduced expenditure on paid ads to generate traffic in the long run.
What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO refers to the various SEO techniques that aren’t approved by popular search engines and involve some deception. They are techniques that go against the current search engine guidelines. It’s not only unethical but unsafe to include them in your SEO strategy.
Black hat SEO includes techniques like blog comment spamming, hidden text, and links, link farming, and keyword stuffing.
What Is White Hat SEO?
White hat SEO refers to the ethical set of techniques to achieve high search rankings. They comply with the current SEO guidelines and make no attempts to deceive a search engine’s algorithm. They are safe to be included in your SEO strategy.
White hat SEO includes techniques like website redesign, content editing, metadata editing, research, and analysis.
What Should an SEO Strategy Include?
A complete SEO strategy always includes:
- Keyword Targeting
Keywords are textual words or phrases that users search for on search engines like Google and Bing. Adding them to your website content, which is called keyword targeting, increases the likelihood of the website showing up higher in the SERPs for those keyword searches. But you shouldn’t just stuff your web content with as many keywords as possible because search engines like Google now have algorithms to penalize such websites. Keyword research and natural usage of a wide variety of keywords without much repetition are therefore necessary for SEO these days.
- Optimizing Metadata
A web page’s meta title and meta description on a SERP are together called metadata. Metadata is like an online shop window that tries to attract customers. It influences users to click on search results. But that isn’t its sole purpose. You can include keywords in your metadata (along with heading tags and image tags) to make Google quickly detect the relevance of your web page. Google uses something called ‘crawlers’ for scanning through web pages and collecting such information, which shows its relevance to search queries.
- Building Backlinks
Acquiring backlinks is a crucial factor that contributes to SEO performance. A link to your website that is added to the content of another website is called a backlink. Backlinks not only help you gain doma in authority but also directly increase the probability of people visiting your website when it shows up on other domains that are reliable. Domain authority is a search engine’s ranking score from 0 to 100 that estimates how likely it is for a website to rank high in SERPs.
To earn organic backlinks, a website should regularly post web content like blogs/articles that interest relevant people or companies enough to be referenced in theirs. Other than that, marketers must provide links to their brand’s website in all their digital marketing content, including social media page bios and emails.
- Performing Technical SEO
A website could have various technical issues in its back end, e.g. not being very mobile-friendly. Fixing them can make a dramatic improvement in the website’s overall SEO performance. Ultimately, if a website’s user experience is not smooth, it would be less likely for even an interested visitor to convert.
Technical SEO measures include ensuring that a website’s loading speed is fast, removing ‘toxic’ backlinks, i.e. links to sites that have been deemed unreliable or irrelevant, and creating clear XML sitemaps with clean URL structures.
- Tracking SEO Metrics
SEO metrics are absolutely essential to gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. Marketers must have an in-depth understanding of their SEO metrics and create consolidated SEO reports in order to test, analyze, and improve their SEO strategy or even prove its results. An SEO report typically contains SEO metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) like organic traffic, click-through rate (CTR), exit rate, and pages per session.
How to Perform Keyword Research as a Part of Your SEO Strategy?
Following are the steps to find out the keywords you must target to attract your target audience to your website:
- Enlist the topics that are relevant to your business.
Create a spreadsheet containing topics or content buckets for the keywords your business’s website needs to rank for. These topics could correspond to categories of your business’s products/services or anything your TG would be interested in. Include about 5-10 topics.
- Enlist the keywords or phrases your customers use to find content on each of those topics.
Collect data from website analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to find the keywords people already use to visit your website. This isn’t your final list of keywords. However, it is a good opportunity to identify data points and make your keyword research more effective and targeted.
- Discover related search terms.
Add more keywords to the keyword lists under your chosen topics by:
- Entering a keyword in the Google search box and scrolling to the bottom of the SERP, to see the related search phrases.
- Clicking on one of the related searches and checking out the list of related search phrases at the bottom of that page.
- Using the website named AnswerThePublic which allows as many as 3 searches per day and delivers a chart of search phrases relevant to a given topic.
- Using keyword research tools like Semrush and WordStream.
- Determine the strength of your keywords.
Use a keyword research tool like Google’s Keyword Planner or Semrush to find out:
- The exact search phrases: To ensure that your keywords match the search phrases people use.
- The search volume: Determine the keywords with the greatest search volumes.
- The competition: Look for keywords with the greatest search volumes and least organic search competition.
- Discover the related search phrases with high search volumes and less organic search competition that may have been missed out.
- Find out how your business’s website ranks in its industry.
If your business’s website is battling with popular brand names that have taken up the first SERP of Google for most of your keywords, it would be wise to tweak your SEO strategy to target long-tail keywords that aren’t as sought after.
- Verify your potential customers’ intent for searches.
It is crucial to have a good understanding of your potential customers’ search intent. Type your enlisted keywords, one at a time, into Google’s search box. After that, see which websites already rank for those keywords and what they are offering. It should be too different from what your business is offering. Also add a note about your potential customers’ intent for searching the keywords, in your spreadsheet.
How to Create the Best SEO Strategy to Improve Organic Search Rankings?
Here are some brilliant tactics for on page SEO as well as off page SEO, which you can include in your SEO strategy to beat your competitors’ websites in the search engine race for more clicks:
- Formatting Your Content for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are the highlighted boxes – with answers to user’s search queries – that appear at the top of most SERPs. Featured snippets get the most visibility among all search results. If your website appears as a featured snippet for a relevant keyword search, you have pretty much won the SEO game. These appear mostly when users ask:
- search queries in the form of questions,
- search for definitions,
- ‘how-to’ steps,
- direct comparisons,
- or other factual informational content.
The particular formatting choices you need to make to increase your website’s odds of appearing in a featured snippet are:
- Bullet points
- Numbered lists
- Long-tail question keywords in your website content, e.g. “Which is the best software for 3D design”
- Direct answers to those questions right below
Don’t forget to mention your brand/product name in these answers to make the viewers aware of your brand/product.
- Including Keywords in Your Web Page URLs
Your keyword research can be useful in optimizing your web page URLs too. Add the most commonly searched keywords to the URL, which are also relevant to the content of the web page. It’s best to include your primary keyword in the URL. The shorter your URL, the better it is for SEO.
- Conducting Thorough Competitor Analysis
SEO is nothing but a ‘competition’. Therefore, knowing your competitors’ websites and their SEO strategy is the key to outperforming them. Use software like Semrush to study your competitors’ website’s best-performing web pages. You can also use it for conducting a detailed competitor keyword gap analysis to find out the keywords your website doesn’t rank for, but theirs does. Each of these keywords offers an opportunity for your website to gain more organic traffic that is likely to convert.
- Ensuring Voice Search Optimization
Voice search optimization is on its way to becoming a critical part of an SEO strategy due to the increasing number of people using the voice search option to search the internet in order to look for the answers they want. What’s amazing is that the way to ensure voice search optimization is exactly the way to land a Google featured snippet: including long-tail question keywords and their direct answers right below them. This is because people tend to ask full, conversational questions while using voice-search tools.
- Consistently Publishing Blogs
Blogging is the ideal way for a website to rank high for keywords while engaging its target audience. That is because every blog/article post is not only a new web page but also a new chance to rank high in SERPs. In case your business doesn’t have a blog, do consider creating one. You can reach out Pop Communications – to help you build a rich content library with blogs that will increase your organic traffic. Creating a consistent posting schedule, with relevant blog topics and creating timely content will ensure you stick to the plan of consistently publishing. But if you are working with an SEO agency – like Pop Communications, they will manage it all for you.
Every blog you post doesn’t have to be a part of a single topic cluster. To build domain authority with Google’s algorithm, you can even post blogs on interrelated topics that your customers care about. One blog post per week is a good frequency for most industries.
- Keeping an Eye on SEO News and Google Algorithm Updates
The rules of SEO and search engine algorithms aren’t carved in stone. The SEO landscape, just like all marketing, is ever-evolving. Google is constantly getting more intuitive and smarter. The tweaks to Google’s algorithm can be unexpected, and your website could be penalized for how much it deviates from the updated guidelines.
So, make sure you are up-to-date with the current SEO trends and are well aware of the best SEO practices of the current time. You can actually follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram to keep tabs on what’s new in the world of digital marketing including SEO. We regularly post marketing news and updates.
- Minimizing Your Website’s Page Loading Time
Greater internet speeds have made people impatient. They expect instant results when they look for information. If your website takes even more than 3 seconds, visitors may simply move on to another one – most likely your competitor’s website.
Some of the simplest ways to improve website loading speed as well as the smoothness of its UX are:
- Deleting old/defunct plugins
- Cleaning up your code
- Optimizing and compressing your images
- Ensuring that your sub-folders make sense and flow well
- Leveraging tools such as Google Page Speed Insights or GTmetrix to monitor your website
It’s best to eliminate any element that increases your site loading time to over 3 seconds.
- Hiring Experts or Outsourcing Your SEO Efforts
It’s a wise decision to hire an SEO agency to ensure that your website is fully optimized for SEO at all times. An SEO consultant or digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO can audit your website, analyze its SEO performance, and make appropriate changes to substantially boost its organic traffic. A good SEO agency will be able to enhance your Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and continuously optimize your SEO strategy with changing industry trends and algorithm updates.
How to optimise Social Media with an SEO Strategy?
Social media users now use the search boxes of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn just the way they use search engines like Google – to find the content they are looking for. This has unlocked the opportunity for brands to optimize their social media profiles and content for searches so that more of their target audience is drawn to their pages.
Here are some tips to optimize your business’s social media page:
- Add Website Links to Profiles/Bios
Include the clickable/tappable link to your brand’s website or online shopping portal in the ‘website’ section of your brand page’s profile or bio on social media platforms. On platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter you can add such links to post captions as well.
- Optimize All Text with Keywords
Conduct keyword research for social media platforms and include the high-ranking and relevant ones in your brand page’s bio, post captions, and even comments under social media posts.
- Use Popular Hashtags
On platforms like Instagram, you can tap/click on a hashtag to see the top posts that have used it as well as the number of users who follow it. Make sure you add the relevant hashtags that have the most followers – to your bio, post captions, and stories.
- Include Links/Buttons to Your Social Media Page in All Marketing Content
Add profile badges of your brand’s social media handles to its website home page and marketing emailer. Include social media sharing buttons in your brand’s newsletters and blog posts. Include links to all your other social media handles on each of your social media profiles/bios.
- Collaborate with Relevant Brands and Influencers
Put up posts in collaboration with the profiles of brands and influencers that can complement your brand and add value to it. Also, exchange profile mentions, likes, shares, and comments with them to increase your social content’s visibility.Make sure they mention your primary keywords in captions when they post about your page and request for website backlinks.
- Measure Your Results and Change Strategies Accordingly
Track your social media metrics to gauge the outcome of your social SEO strategy. Without analytics, all your efforts are only a shot in the dark. You can even use third-party tools like Semrush to gather more data from social media.
How to Optimize Images for SEO?
Apart from making your content more appealing and accessible to users, images on web pages play a significant role in ranking the web pages higher in searches – making them a crucial part of your SEO strategy. Image SEO involves the use of high-quality images in an ideal resolution, format, and size to maximize user engagement and also the accurate labeling of images with metadata so that search engine crawlers are able to read them and figure out their web page’s context.
Here are some actionable tips to ensure image SEO:
- Resize the Images
Image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop provides options like ‘Save for the Web’ which automatically minimizes file sizes while keeping the image qualities optimum.
- Optimize the File Names of the Images
Name image files including keywords that are high-ranking, relevant, and descriptive. Begin with the target keyword. Avoid underscores and separate words with hyphens instead.
- Include Alt Tags
Without alt tags or alternative texts, search engines are unable to index the content of an image with accuracy. Write alt tags in greater detail than file names, using 10-15 words to describe images in detail.
- Make the Images Mobile-Friendly
Make your images as well as website layouts responsive to mobile phones. Specify image sizes based on the width of mobile devices by adding some custom CSS code to your website. Click here to find appropriate codes.
- Optimize the titles of the Images
Optimize image titles the same way you optimize image file names, using appropriate primary and secondary keywords. Image titles give you an opportunity to provide some more context for alt tags.
- Use Images That Are Unique
Stock images do not help web pages rank high as much as unique, authentic images do. Search engines prefer those that are designed or photographed by a brand’s creative professionals themselves rather than overused, common stock images.
- Ensure That the Text Complements the Images
The text above or below an image can help search engines gauge the relevance of the image. Include text that describes your images well, right above or below them, maybe in the form of captions.
- Include Structured Data
Structured data is just an association between an image and the web page on which it is seen with the markup. Click here to find out how to add structured data to your web pages as per Google’s structured data guidelines.
- Enter Every Image into the Site Map
Simply put, a site map is a map of the content of a website. It informs search engines about the website’s structure and pages.
For each image entry in a site map, include the image’s title, description, caption, URL, as well as license information.
SEO Strategy Tips for Small Businesses
SEO offers a great opportunity for small businesses to get their brands noticed by their target audience in a cost-effective way.
Here are some tips for small businesses to make the most of SEO:
- Post Ample High-Quality Content
Publish as many high-quality blogs as you can, on the relevant topics or content buckets you have shortlisted for your brand. The blogs shouldn’t just market your brand and its offerings, but add value to your potential customers’ life.
- Leverage Relevant Social Media Platforms
Make sure you post content regularly on social media platforms that are used by significant sections of your target audience. End your posts with CTAs that urge viewers to visit your website and check out your web content or products/services.
- Change Your Targeted Keywords If You Must, but Get on Page 1
Even the 2nd page of search results gets negligible visibility, so make sure your website ranks on the 1st SERPs for the keywords you target. If it is difficult to compete with popular brands, target other, long-tail keywords. But make sure your website is on page 1.
- Follow Emerging Search Trends
The best keywords to target may change with the times as new trends pop up online. Small businesses must always be on the lookout for new keyword opportunities as well as content gaps which they can fill by adding value. Post website content that answers specific questions your TG may have in the present time, according to trends.
- Hire an SEO Agency
A D-I-Y SEO strategy may be too overwhelming for to create and execute all by yourself. Work with an expert SEO agency to support your business so you can be rid of all the stress and just enjoy the fruits of SEO – higher traffic, more leads and more visibility. Pop Communications, is a seasoned SEO marketing agency that can help improve your brand’s search rankings. The agency has extensive experience in SEO for small businesses as well as SEO for ecommerce websites.
SEO Strategy Tips for Ecommerce Websites
Ecommerce businesses heavily rely on SEO to stand out from their competitors. Here are some ways to give your ecommerce business an edge over the rest:
- Create a Simple Site Architecture
One key rule to be considered while creating your site architecture is that each product page must require less than 4 clicks to reach from the home page. Here is an example with 2 site architectures, A and B, for better understanding:
Visitors can easily access any product page on site B in 3 or lesser clicks. Other than enhancing user experience, it makes it simpler for search engines to categorize as well as index your product pages.
- Write Unique Product Descriptions
Avoid duplicating product descriptions for products of similar categories as it could negatively impact your site rankings on search engines.
- Keep Your Website Secure
Search engines like Google take the security levels of websites into consideration while ranking them for SERPs.
- Make Sure Your Products Are Indexed
Google’s web crawlers can miss web pages if they aren’t linked to other web pages. You can avoid that by leveraging tools like an XML sitemap and the Google Merchant Center. Merchant Center product feeds help Google discover each and every product on websites.
- Confirm the Accuracy of Your Products’ Prices on SERPs
Google may extract incorrect pricing data from your ecommerce website’s product pages. To avoid that, you must make sure your product pages have structured data and provide its structured feeds to the Google Merchant Center.
- Enable Rich Results for Your Products
For getting the special rich product presentation format, it is recommended by Google to add structured data on your product pages and provide a product feed in its Merchant Center. This helps Google understand how to extract product data and showcase it in rich results.
- Share the Local Inventory Data of Your Products
Make sure the products available in your local stores are discovered by potential customers who enter queries with phrases such as “near me.”
Register the real location of your stores in your Google Business Profile, and create a local inventory feed for the Merchant Center.
- Sign Up for Google Shopping
Structured data and product feeds are not enough to be included in Google Shopping. For that, you need to provide your product data feeds via the Merchant Center and then apply for ‘Surfaces Across Google.’
Searching for help to get your brand seen through searches? Pop Communications is an SEO marketing agency with a team of professionals who are experts in the field of technical SEO as well as content creation. We are also a full-service marketing agency that can further support your needs for crafting a brand communication strategy, brand identity, and architecture, creating powerful marketing videos, website designs, and social media content. We can not only produce human-written, insightful, well-researched, and relevant SEO content for your website blogs/articles but also help you design a new website from scratch.
To let go of your SEO and digital marketing worries, reach us at:
Email: [email protected] | Call: +1 647 846 6601
May your website POP in the SERPs!