Whether you’re launching a new site for your business or want to boost your organic traffic and reach more customers from an existing website, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of SEO. When done right, an effective SEO campaign can drive 100s of qualified leads to your website and increase sales, without the need for an expensive pay-per-click campaign.
The truth is that SEO takes skill and time. You cannot expect to rank on the first page for a competitive search term overnight. But if you are consistent and have the right processes in place, you’ll soon begin to climb the search engine results pages (SERPs) and reach more users. A good SEO strategy involves organising and optimising your website’s content in a way that appeals to the average searcher and conducting off-site work to further increase the visibility of your brand. And there are good reasons for doing so – here are just a few:
- 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine
- 70% of marketers believe SEO is more effective than PPC long-term
- The top page listed in a Google search has an average click-through rate of 32%
- 86% of people ignore paid ads and only click on organic search results
- 28% of local searches result in a purchase within 24 hours
Below, we’ve put together some tips to help you get started…
Do your research
There’s little point in investing in an SEO campaign if you don’t know what you want to achieve or who you will target. Spend time researching your competitors to see where they rank on Google and for what. Several tools are available on the market to help you do that: SEMRush and Ahrefs are two of the most popular products.
Analyse their keywords, the structure of these keywords on their website, and their positions. If you’re a Dundee-based recruitment agency, for example, you might want to rank for a keyword like Dundee jobs or Dundee recruitment. Make a list, and once you’re happy, identify and plug gaps, and then analyse each of the keywords based on its competitiveness, search volume, and search intent. Choose the best 5-10 keywords to take forward with you.
Think about long-tail keywords
Although you’ll naturally favour hard-hitting keywords, long-tail keywords should not be overlooked. These keywords are longer variations on a standard keyword – so, instead of ‘estate agent’ a long-tail keyword might be ‘South London rental estate agents’. Not only are these keywords easier to rank for in the long run, but they are loaded with search intent: the average person that searches for ‘South London rental estate agents’ is likely a landlord or property investor looking for a rental company or property management company. If you rank at #1 for a keyword like that, you could drive hundreds of additional leads to your website.
Another benefit to long-tail keywords is that there are so many of them, which makes them less competitive. Rather than fighting over a few broad keywords, identify your niche and zone in on a handful of long-tail keywords to find qualified leads faster. This also means you can scale your SEO over time and hone in on different micro-communities and searchers.
Incorporate your keywords into your website
Once you’ve identified some keywords you’d like to rank for; the next step is to add them to your website’s content strategically and sympathetically. Tools such as Yoast SEO can help recommend keyword placements and frequency. You want to stick to one keyword campaign per page on your website and avoid overusing them or ‘stuffing’ as this makes it harder to rank. SEO professionals agree keywords should not appear more than once per 200 words of copy – but they also agree that long-form content is the best way to rank for keywords, so don’t be afraid to add more text to your web pages and look for natural opportunities to add in a keyword or two. And it’s not just text where you should add keywords – find appropriate opportunities to add keywords to website images, meta titles and descriptions, and more.
Create content consistently
Content is king when it comes to SEO. The more quality content you can add to your website, the better, as search engines like Google value informative posts and content that answers users’ questions. Add a blog to your website and develop a consistent content strategy: 1-4 blog posts per month is a good starting point, and you can scale your efforts as you start to generate results. Blogs, white papers, and how-to guides serve as valuable lead-generation tools on their own and offer opportunities to incorporate keywords into your site.
Get into the mindset of your average user and prepare blog posts and content that speak to them. We’ve put together a few ideas for content, but this is far from an exhaustive list:
- A how-to guide on using your product or service
- Industry trends and predictions for the year ahead
- Talk about working in your industry and career opportunities
- Quotes and statistics on your niche (with primary research)
- Answer some frequently asked questions
- Speak to industry influencers and experts
- Share a product roadmap of where you’re headed next
- Highlight customer stories
- Debunk some common myths about your industry
Think about link building
Another essential part of an effective SEO campaign is link building. It involves acquiring links from other websites to your own and is used by search engines to signify authority and relevance. For example, if 100s of websites link back to yours in their articles about recruitment agencies, then Google will view your website as a key player in the recruitment sector and rank you higher. Acquiring links is time-consuming and complicated, but it’s one of the most valuable ways to boost your SEO efforts and outrank competitors on SERPs.
Link building is about much more than acquiring links: it allows you to build relationships with other bloggers and website owners, sends referral traffic to your landing pages, and builds your brand. It’s worth noting that search engines actively discourage buying links. Instead, you should ‘earn’ them by creating quality content that others link back to and outreach campaigns to your recommended resources. Digital PR is helpful for link building, and guest posting can also be considered, though this practice is fallen out of favour in recent years.
Measure performance over time
Finally, a quick word on patience. The SEO work you do in January might not impact your rankings until April or May, or even at all. A good SEO strategy is about optimising your website to make it as user-friendly as possible whilst incorporating relevant keywords that your target audience is searching for. It’s worth investing in an SEO tool and analytics tool to monitor your keyword positions and traffic over time and look for opportunities to optimise and adjust your campaign. For example, if you start ranking for a keyword you haven’t been focusing on, you might want to adjust your strategy to boost its position and get to rank one.
The ultimate goal of an SEO campaign is to make your website more visible. If you’re climbing the ranks and driving more traffic to your website, your campaign is working. Nothing is guaranteed in search engine optimisation to have clear expectations, monitor what does and doesn’t work, and be prepared to experiment and make changes over time.
If you’re looking for support putting together an SEO strategy for your website, the team at Zudu is on hand. Give us a call on 01382 690080 to learn more and arrange a consultation.