It’s 2020, and most business owners understand the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) and can grasp some of its basic concepts. But, what most still get wrong is thinking that SEO still relies on creating content around a few keywords. That’s not the case at all.
Nowadays, an SEO strategy refers to the process of planning, implementing, and monitoring several steps that can help you rank high in Google’s search results (it can be other search engines too, but let’s face it, Google is the search engine that can reach to the widest audience.) And that goes beyond strategically placing a few keywords here and there.
A good SEO strategy implements various facets of the elements that can help your web pages rank higher in search results and drive more organic traffic. We’re talking here about:
- On-page SEO – focuses on optimising the content so that it answers the questions that people are asking the search engines;
- Off-page SEO – focuses on building links from other authoritative web pages. High-quality backlinks can help you earn the trust of the search engines and get you a higher rank.
- Technical SEO – focuses on the structure of the website and how easy it easy for crawlers to understand what the content is about, for example.
As you can see, the keywords are just a small fraction of what a thorough SEO strategy means. It’s up to the business owner or marketers to determine the areas of their website that need improvement and the steps they need to take to offer prospects what they want, namely valuable content, a good user experience, and a possible answer to their problems.
With that in mind, here’s how you create a profitable SEO strategy in 2020.
Start with Keyword Research
We know, we said that keywords are not the backbone of SEO anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can just forget about them. It’s true that the ways people use keywords nowadays (take voice control as an example) and how search engines are able to interpret them have changed significantly in the past years, but keyword research is still an essential part of search engine optimisation.
What we are saying is that you need to adapt your strategy for 2020. Instead of focusing on short-tail keywords, which have a high search volume but are also very competitive, try to identify the long-tail keywords that your audience may be using when searching for content related to your products or services.
Start typing your keyword into Google search and look through the suggestions. You can also look at the bottom of the search engine results page for a certain keyword where you will find other suggestions. These are usually variations of the key phrases your target audience is using when looking for content related to your business.
Create a list of about ten keywords and then use SEO tools like SEMrush to check the search volume competition for those key phrases.
Look at the Content Ranking High on Google
Before you start creating content around the keywords that you’ve identified, have a look at what’s already ranking high in Google. That way you can see what type of posts Google shows users and what makes those articles rank high.
Let’s say that you are a yacht charter company and want to create a blog post about the best sailing destinations. You type in the keywords “best sailing destinations” and notice that most articles are list posts, contain short descriptions of each destination, and images. So, if you would want to include a similar piece of content on your website, you would have to follow some of these requirements to increase your chances of ranking high in the search engines.
Make Your Content Stand Out
Simply creating another blog post about the best sailing destinations may not be enough to get Google’s attention. You need to stand out by making your content better or approaching it from a different angle.
For example, if most articles list the Top 10 best sailing destinations, then publishing another list of ten destinations won’t do the trick. Instead, you can go bigger and create a list of 100 sailing destinations that are worth to see.
Or, instead of another list, you can create a guide to sailing the Cyclades Islands in Greece and provide in-depth information about the routes, best anchorages, marina fees, weather patterns, and so on. This type of content, which is better, bigger, and different than most blog posts, is sure to stand out, get shared, and generate a lot of organic traffic.
Get Others to Link Back to Your Content
One of the most difficult steps when it comes to creating a good SEO strategy is getting other people to link back to your content. But, link building is one of the most important ranking factors and a pillar for all good SEO strategies.
You could, for example, reach out to influencers relevant to your niche and let them know that a piece of content you’ve recently written may be of interest to your audience.
While this type of outreach is effective, there is a time and place for it. You can’t do that for every blog post as you risk tiring and annoying everyone in the industry.
One way to go about blogger outreach would be to write content that is better and bigger than what they’ve written. This technique is called “The Skyscraper technique” and it works something like this.
The Skyscraper technique
Let’s say that an influencer in your niche wrote an article about Google Search Console tips. The Skyscraper Technique means that you take this content and make it better either by adding more details, making it longer, or presenting a different point of view. Be careful, though, it doesn’t mean that you are stealing their content only to make a few alterations here and there. You write your own, unique content and try to make it better than the articles that already rank high in Google. Then, you email the blogger and let them know that you’ve enjoyed their article and have recently written something that may be a nice addition to their page. Don’t ask for a backlink directly, but be a bit subtle about it. Most likely, if the content is good, they will be happy to link back to it.
Another strategy could be to look at what other people are linking to when writing about a certain topic. For example, the articles about the best sailing destinations might contain a lot of links to marina information. So, you could create a guide that is packed with info about the marinas in the sailing destinations listed in the articles, such as fees, contact details, wind protection, tides, mooring, and so on. That way, you increase your chances of others linking back to your content naturally.
Optimise Your Content for Search Intent
We’ve focused a lot on what search engines want and how to create an SEO strategy that is in line with Google’s primary ranking factors. But, at the end of the day, your content should be written and optimised with your target audience in mind. Because it doesn’t matter if your articles match all the boxes of off-page SEO. If people can’t find what they are looking for or if they have a poor time navigating your website, then it doesn’t matter how good or well-optimised your content is. They will simply leave without taking any action.
That’s why it’s imperative to create and optimise your content with search intent in mind.
Let’s imagine that you’ve created a list with the best 5 vegan chocolate chips cookies that everyone should try and it doesn’t do very well. After a bit of research, you realise that your content doesn’t really match search intent. People don’t want a list of recipes to choose from. They want one simple recipe that they can follow and bake their cookies without much effort. So, you tweak your article to match the search intent of your audience – you post just one recipe, give simple instructions, add a video, and optimise your meta description so that people know from the start what they will get. After this, you notice a boost in search engine traffic.
Constantly Measure and Track the Performance of Your Content
SEO takes time to show results and if you are not tracking the performance of your content on a regular basis, it may be hard to see the progress you’ve made.
Make it a habit of checking your Google Analytics daily and create a weekly or monthly dashboard where you write down relevant stats like the traffic coming from organic search. Track your keywords, inbound links, and leads too to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.
Keep up with SEO Best Practices
Like everything else digital marketing, SEO is constantly changing and evolving. If you are not keeping up with the latest news and best practices, you may discover that the strategy you’ve worked so hard to create and implement has become obsolete. It can be a bit frustrating, but the fact of the matter is that you always have to monitor and tweak your strategy if you want to keep your site relevant to the search engines.
Here are a few resources that you can check regularly to see what’s new in the SEO world:
- Search Engine Journal
- Our blog
Do You Need Help with Your SEO Strategy?
While search engine optimisation can be rewarding, it requires a lot of work and fine-tuning to get to the top of the search engine results. It can be a lot of pressure to hold in your shoulders, especially if you are also busy with perfecting your products and services, selling them to your customers, and generally growing your local business.
If you need any help with your SEO endeavour or your social media or content marketing for the matter, we are the perfect team for you.
We have perfected our skills over the year and have helped numerous companies grow. In fact, the SEO and PPC strategies we’ve created for our clients have helped them grow from $1 million in sales to $50 million in sales in only four years. And, we have no intention of stopping anytime sooner.
If you want to learn more about what we can do for you and how we can help you grow too, get in touch with an SEO expert from Australian Internet Advertising.