SEO is often viewed as behind-the-scenes algorithm manipulations and trickery when, in reality, it’s just a series of core steps and actions you need to take to make your website rank better. An efficient SEO strategy can be broken down into the following three components, which make the whole thing look less intimidating after all.
Step 1: On-site Optimization
On-site optimization strategy consists of the following elements:
- Your Content
- Website Structure
- The layout of your website
Search engines regularly crawl your website to better understand its contents and display it respectively in search results. The most important general on-page ranking factors include:
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions help Google understand the topic and purpose of a certain web page. Both of these should be written in plain simple language with one main keyword included. Don’t toy around with keyword stuffing, as it’s likely to bring you no good.
Website Navigation should be simple to follow, free from cumbersome subcategories of subcategories, and easy-to-navigate both for users and search engines.
Website Speed has become one of the major ranking factors lately, especially when it comes to mobile. Run a Google Speed Test to get some insights. Optimize your images, keep the code clean, and consider ditching flash.
Interlink Your Content to make sure it takes a few clicks to get from one page to any other page on your website. Interlinking your content also helps search engines understand the relations between different pages on your websites and identify their hierarchy in terms of importance.
Optimize Permalinks Structure. Keep the URLs short, sweet and descriptive e.g. /seo-strategy/ instead of /how-to-develop-a-winning-seo-strategy-for-startups/.
Relevant, Unique Content. Don’t write for search engines – write for your users. While including relevant keywords in the content and sub-headings is essential, again, don’t place your bet on keyword stuffing. A landing page should have at least 500 words of unique content, and most times, the more words – the better.
Website Security. Keep an eye on your Google Webmaster Tools alerts and fix all the problems immediately. Hacked, insecure, or broken websites quickly disappear from search results.
Step 2: Creating Better Content
Considering you have sorted out all the tech ends of your website, optimized existing service, landing pages, and website navigation, it’s time to move to content marketing. Producing and publishing quality content regularly should be a major part of your SEO strategy. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Blogging and content marketing increases the number of pages search engines can index, meaning more search terms you can rank for.
- Your blog posts can serve as linkable assets to attract organic links and mentions from other resources, meaning higher domain authority and better overall rankings.
- Google tends to rank higher websites, which publish fresh content regularly rather than those, which don’t.
However, the benefits of publishing regular content do not end with SEO. The main purpose of content marketing is to leverage your brand, seed awareness about your company, connect with a new audience by offering valuable and educational content, and increase trust.