While Google’s algorithm updates sound eerily similar to roll call at the zoo (Panda? Penguin? Hummingbird?), SEO is no monkey business.
I know, I know, that wasn’t my best pun, but I got your attention, right?
While SEO plays a huge role in helping a business achieve recognition, it’s never been the easiest thing to master. I like to blame it on a combination of fast paced updates, limited credible resources, and the need to juggle the interests of both humans and robots.
Needless to say, we thought you might need some help coming up with a manageable SEO strategy (most people do), which is why we’ve identified a four step process that should help you get a grip on the basics.
Make a list of keywords
In order to give your SEO strategy more direction, it’s important that you start by identifying a list of keywords that make sense for your business.
This means identifying keywords that are relevant to the content provided on your website. To ensure this, evaluate each term by asking yourself if a searcher would be easily able to find what they are looking for on your website if they plugged in that keyword.
When putting this list together, don’t rule out long-tail keywords. Often times these keywords convert better because the person searching is more in-tune with what they’re looking for. For example, someone searching for “handbags” might not be as sales-ready as someone searching for “Where to buy a Kate Spade totebag.”
If you’re a HubSpot user, you can use the Keyword Tool to organize your keyword research and uncover relevant insights such as:
- The specific rank position of each keyword
- Difficulty rates for front-page results
- Website visits generated by each keyword
- Leads generated by each keyword
Not a HubSpot user? There are other tools out there to assist you in your research. Here’s a few to get you started.
Start producing remarkable content
First, you want to be sure that you have website pages focused on each keyword. Each of these focused pages will serve as the foundation of your website.
If you don’t have a blog in place, now is a great time to get one started. Each new blog post you publish translates to another opportunity to appear in search results. While it’s important to have a clear keyword in mind when creating blog content, don’t lose sight of who you’re really writing for.
This means putting forth content that while optimized for search, speaks to the wants and needs of your buyer personas above all else. Anytime you’re able to provide them with a solution to one of their pain points, you’re proving your value to them.
As marketers, what do we do when we come across really valuable resources? Share them with out networks.
Create an on-page checklist
Let’s face it, when it comes to on-page optimizations there’s a lot to remember. In other words, there’s a lot to forget.
To avoid any oversights, we suggest creating an on-page checklist to ensure every bit of content you put forth is set up to perform well in search results. This list should consider the following optimizations:
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags
- Alt text
- Anchor text
- Internal links
With HubSpot Professional and Enterprise accounts, users have access to as-you-type SEO recommendations. It’s a feature built into their blogging platform that allows content creators to optimize for a specific keyword by providing them with tips and reminders along with the impact that particular factors have on their search performance.
This includes considerations such as:
- Title optimizations: Does your title contain a keyword? Is it under 70 characters?
- Body optimizations: Are there keywords in the body of your post? Are the overused? Does the post contain internal links? Does the post have a clear call-to-action?
- Image optimizations: Does your post contain an image? Did you optimize the image’s alt text?
- Meta optimizations: Are there keywords in your URL? What about your meta description? Is your meta description the proper length?
Whether you’re a HubSpot user or not, these questions serve as an excellent guide to ensure that your content is on track.
Stay on top of changes
While building an SEO strategy has the ability to help your business achieve greater resonance, all it takes is one algorithm update to shake the foundation you’ve built.
The simple truth is that SEO best practices move fast, so in order to keep pace, you not only have to have an SEO strategy, but a strategy for staying up to date on news and changes.
When it comes to uncovering the latest on SEO, we’re really selective in terms of the resources we trust (there’s a lot of crap out there.) To ensure that you aren’t putting yourself at risk of getting wrapped up in the wrong stuff, here’s a list of our go-tos:
- Google Webmasters
- Search Engine Land
Still have questions?
We’ve scoured some of the sources we mentioned above to answer your most common SEO questions. Simply fill out the form below and the free guide is all yours.