The phrase ‘search engine optimization’ or the knowledge about ‘keywords’ is nothing new. They have been a part of website building for well over a decade. As such, many people walk into a meeting with a website designer or developer and eventually ask a question regarding keywords or SEO. However, while many people may toss these words around with ease, they don’t truly understand what they mean or what goes into crafting an effective SEO keyword strategy.
If you have heard of SEO or keywords but don’t fully understand what that means- no worries! SEO uses words specific to your industry/business (keywords) to help improve your website thus improving the quality and quantity of website traffic. SEO keywords are chosen to accomplish this improvement organically (unpaid) versus using a paid approach.
But there is a bit more to SEO keywords than simply integrating them into your site’s content. To be truly successful, you need to have a well-crafted SEO keyword strategy.
Developing a Successful SEO Keyword Strategy
Don’t confuse the words ‘strategy’ and “tactics. Tactics are the tools you and methods you use to accomplish a goal. Strategy is your plan for using and implementing those tools and techniques in order to achieve a goal. You need both to move your company’s web presence from where it is to where you want it to be and ultimately improve your website’s standing on a search engine results page (SERP). Here are a few of the tactics employed in an effective SEO strategy.
Search engine optimization won’t just happen due to adding words to your website…. unless, those words are chosen with care. Your website’s content needs to be crafted using a wide variety of keywords combined with internal and external inks, behind-the-scenes SEO and a variety of other aspects working together to improve your site’s SEO. These elements comprise your keyword strategy.
So how can you determine what the keywords are for your website? Several tools available such as WordStream’s keyword tool, the Google Keyword Planner, the SEMRush, Ahrefs or Ubersuggest. Another approach is to go directly to your Google search bar, and begin typing what you believe to be a keyword for your website. As you start typing, Google will immediately begin populating a list of suggestions. Ideally, these are words you will want to use as part of your website content as they are words identified by Google as important. For even better long-term results, chose several words for example “chocolate ice cream” rather than merely “ice cream”. Using a string of ‘connected’ words, although likely to have a lower search volume will actually net you greater long-term results.
Metadata one behind-the-scenes actions that must be taken as part of your SEO keyword strategy. Metadata is the verbiage used on the backend of your website to describe images, pages, blog posts, videos and any other element you add to your website. As you craft these descriptions, incorporate your keywords tastefully! Do not try to fit every keyword into all of the metatags and descriptions, as this is referred to as keyword stuffing and is frowned upon and even penalized by search engines!
Link building should be internal and external. When you can link a page within your own site to another page on your site – say a blog post to a product page- that is an internal link. Having links connecting your site with other websites is external link building, a.k.a. acquiring backlinks. Having backlinks with authoritative sites within your field helps you improve your reputation and the chances of new visitors clicking links that take them to your website. A few methods of acquiring external links include:
- Providing testimonials on other sites
- Writing blogs for another website, though not a competitor’s
- Answering questions on forums
- Creating graphics that are shareable – i.e., videos or infographics
WARNING: There are a lot of companies out there that promise to get you a ton of backlinks, but quite often the backlinks they build for you violate terms with Google, so you may not get any additional SEO ranking from that effort. The best strategy is to product great content on your website that other websites want to link to.
Create a SEO Keyword Strategy that Works for You
So now that you are aware of a few of the tools, you can use – and there are many others that the Page Progressive team will implement in helping you achieve your SEO goals- let’s focus on some strategy. As with any endeavor in life, what works best for someone else might not be the same for you, but some factors that will stay the same.
- Note your starting point. Before you can take your website to the next level(s), you need to know where you are. Simply saying you want it to perform better is not enough. Use a tool such as SEMRush Organic Research Tool combined with data from Google Analytics to note aspects such as organic visibility, types of traffic your site gets, bounce rate, revenue, leads generated and how your current keywords are working for you.
- Check out your competition. Knowing how your site is doing is only part of the equation. You need to know how your competition is doing and you stack up against it. Look at their site to see what keywords and SEO tactics they are using and note how well-or not- they are working for them. After all, learning from our own shortcomings is good; benefitting by copying the mistakes of others is better still!
- Define your goals and KPIs. Determining what you wish to accomplish is vital as you need to know where you are going. The KPI (key performance indicator) is a metric that shows your progress toward reaching those goals. Having specific benchmarks along the way to your goal helps you see what is or is not working for you. Tracking your progress makes it easy to see where changes need to be made to reach the ‘prize’.
- Create your list of keywords. Ideally, you should have at least ten keywords/long tail phrases that you will be incorporating into your website, meta data, social media, forum posts, and other places you will be interacting on the web.
- Do a site audit. Just because your site isn’t everything you want it to be, it doesn’t mean that everything on it is awful. Use one of the many content audit tools to identify which content should be kept, updated or deleted.
- Create a list of topics. Determine what topics, products or regions you want to focus on, then begin building a list of ways to focus or incorporate them in your website.
- Update the SEO. Whether adding in new metadata or identifying and correcting any technical SEO problems, taking time to improve your site’s SEO is vital.
- Review and refine your SEO keyword strategy. Remember step 3? Goal setting and KPIs are not a one-and-done processes. You will need to assess your SEO keyword strategy often (the frequency is up to you) and make changes accordingly.
Planning and tactics- both are necessary to have an effective SEO keyword strategy. They aren’t impossible tasks and can be even easier to achieve when you work with a team that understands the ins and outs of SEO and website design, while having your goals and plans in mind. Talk to the Page Progressive team to learn how we can help you craft a successful SEO keyword strategy.