This three-part overview will serve as a primer as we dig deeper and deeper into these concepts in the coming weeks.
Let's get started with how to get started the right way.
Part 1: Laying The SEO Foundation
Define Your Objectives
Then I had nothing to show for it because I didn’t know what I was measuring. Today I do not remotely approach a project without clearly defined objectives and goals. Goal-setting in SEO is a fundamental element of a successful campaign.
Some common digital marketing goals include:
- Increase in site visits
- Increase in page duration
- Decrease in bounce rate
- Increase in blog views
- Lead generation
- E-commerce / sales
- Service requests
- Email sign-ups
- Social media growth
- The list goes on and on.
Have a primary goal and secondary goals for anything and everything you do. If you change a page title, maybe you will measure its efficacy in click through rate. If you change the fields in a submission form, maybe you will look for a decrease in abandonment rate.
As this is our first post on SEODeconstructed.com, I am eager to measure pageviews and average time visitors spend on this page. Socially, I will share this on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. And so, I will look at social traffic as a referral source. You can find these metrics and so much more in Google Analytics - More on that in part three.
Longer-term, we might measure this page's success in the volume of keywords it ranks for, and the number and quality of other websites that link to it - More on that in a surprise part four that you're not supposed to know about yet. #SpoilerAlert
Research Your Buyer & How They Search
It's probably safe to say you know what your buyers are looking for, but do you know HOW they're looking for it? What words are they using to find you or someone like you? What synonyms are used by customers looking to buy your product or service? Or to just learn more about your product or service?
People might not know how to search for you and so they rely on Google's auto-complete to point them in the right direction. There could be dozens, if not hundreds of search terms (called queries) that people type into the SERPs (search engine results pages) or even speak to Google, and guess what -- all these queries have different search volume, click volume, competition, and even cost-per-click (or CPC as we'll explore in the future).
Wouldn't it be great to know a few different permutations of these keywords you can sprinkle into your content? High-volume, low-difficult keywords that you can title your page with, or title your sections with? You’re going to want to do just that, though tactfully. There is a fine line of optimizing your copy to appeal to both your visitors and the search engines.
SEO is a competitive global-scale word-game, you better believe it.
Research Your Competitors
After you’ve identified your target search keywords, here’s what you do next: Search for them! What do you see?
Let's take this blog post for example - If I search for "seo checklist", Google returns results from some of the most influential content creators in the SEO industry. We get articles from Moz, SEJ, Backlinko, Ahrefs, SEMRush and more. What do these publications have in common? Besides being leaders in the industry and sources that I turn to often for answers and insights… They are doing everything right:
- They have carefully crafted their page titles and meta descriptions to boost CTR.
- Their content is pleasing to look at and is well-written.
- It's broken down into "nugget" sections with bullet points.
- It's integrated with media: images, videos, infographics.
- Social sharing is easy.
- Comments are enabled.
- I can easily scan these articles to find what I'm looking for.
- These pages have hundreds of backlinks - Other websites that agree this content is so good, they want to talk about it on their own blog.
- As I said the content is well-written, but it's also written with an aim to rank. Backlinko's article ranks for more than 300 keywords globally.
The key takeaway here is to feel free to spy on your competitors and model, do not copy -- Model your strategy around them. I'd be lying if I said I didn't. You can glean the best keywords to target, the optimal content to focus on, or the link sources to approach, based on what's already working for others, and incorporate your own unique spin into it.
Now that you're sweating in your SEO hat, it's time to start imagining what your online identity could look like.
Coming Soon: SEO Checklist Part 2 - Painting The Picture