How to Optimize Your SEO Marketing Strategy
By this point, you’re probably familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You grasp the concepts and understand that it’s an important facet of any business’s online success. But, where you might run into some trouble is knowing how to best utilize SEO.
If this describes you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many businesses struggle to properly incorporate and align their SEO efforts within their overall digital marketing strategy. Because this problem is so commonplace, we’ve created a guide that you can use to adjust your approach and position your digital marketing campaigns for success.
Want to learn how to optimize your digital marketing strategy in SEO? Then read on.
How to Optimize Your Digital Marketing Strategy in SEO
Unlike many other subjects, SEO optimization is more of science than an art. While the creative side is vital—particularly when it comes to high-quality content—there are clear steps you can take to improve your search rankings and draw more users into the top of your sales funnel.
The end goal of your SEO optimization efforts is to reach the top of Google’s first results page since that’s where most internet traffic goes. As iMPACT notes, “Websites on the top get 42% of the traffic; the second gets 11% and third only gets 8%. So, it clearly indicates why your website needs to be on top.”
But it’s not just about getting more clicks. SEO-driven rankings also help your brand increase its:
- Name recognition
Keywords – The Kings and Queens of SEO
Although creating high-quality content is a critical part of your digital marketing strategy, when it comes to SEO, keywords still take precedence over everything else. But the right approach to SEO isn’t focused on stuffing in as many keywords as possible, it’s about finding the right target keywords—those that your website can rank for.
But how do you identify the right keywords and then execute upon that information? By following three important steps:
- Perform a competitor analysis – To perform a competitor analysis, you can use the SEO tool MOZ to look at your website’s Domain Authority. MOZ uses a scale ranging from 0-100. The higher the number, the more authoritative Google considers you to be. You can use this to compare your website’s ranking against competitors and then identify high volume keywords or new audience opportunities.
- Build a relevant keyword map – Once you’ve determined what ranks and what doesn’t, you’ll need to build a relevant keyword map, which will serve as the blueprint for your content and website’s overall structure. You can locate keywords with good search volume and ideal keyword difficulty using tools such as SEMrush, Google Adwords, or Ahrefs. Once this is completed, you can map them out by:
- Grouping keywords that touch upon the same topic or question
- Creating potential URLs and bucket keywords beneath them
- Using the keyword buckets to create potential URLs and/or content
- Optimize on-page content – Now that you can build out content that utilizes the proper keywords, you’ll need to practice optimizing your web pages for both users and search engines. On-site optimization steps you can take include:
- Add target keywords within the first 100 words
- Give the blog post title an H1 tag
- Give subheadings H2 tags
- Keep keyword frequency high (without keyword stuffing)
- Utilize external (outbound) and internal links
- Optimize URLs for SEO
- Use unique keyword-rich meta descriptions
- Break up the content for easy readability
Google’s core mission is to answer the user’s searches by providing the user with the most relevant, useful, and up-to-date content possible. Successful content isn’t about simply garnering clicks. The goal is to entice page visitors to stay on the page and then convince them to keep on returning for more content.
Audience engagement is the name of the game.
Although they may seem at odds, SEO and content marketing are interconnected complements that should and can be synergized. So, whether it’s your blog pages, web copy, or any other form of written content, each piece should:
- Provide useful information (backboned by research and credible sources), present it in an engaging and digestible format, and tailor messaging to your brand and its voice.
- Have a well-thought-out sales message that addresses the target audience’s primary pain points as well as their desired outcomes.
- Include relevant keywords that answer search queries related to your brand.
- End with a call to action (CTA) that propels the reader onward to the next step in the sales funnel.
Internal Linking & SEO Outreach
One of the factors that domain authority measures is the quantity and quality of links going to and from a page. So, when others link to your page, or you include links to your other pages, you boost both of their search rankings. According to Forbes:
Google uses links to find out what content on your site is related to the search and the value of that content. Building a good internal linking infrastructure will guide the bot when it crawls your site. The bot follows these links to render pages and determine why they are relevant to the search result — what are the relationships between each page, and which page is more important on your website?
With that in mind, there are two internal linking strategies you should exercise:
- Spread link equity – Per Moz, “Once colloquially referred to as “link juice,” is a search engine ranking factor based on the idea that certain links pass value and authority from one page to another.” For best results, it’s important that you spread out link equity from page to page so that each page has link juice.
- Nurture the low-hanging fruit – There are easily attainable links that don’t necessarily hold the same value as high-quality links, but are worth adding throughout to enhance your overall internal linking efforts. Examples might include:
- Cross-linking with your other company websites or blogs
- Social profile links even if they are “no follow”
- Local business listings
- Press releases
- Social share/mentions
Also known as schema markup, this is a newer form of optimization within a digital marketing strategy. And, because it’s so new, element markup is underutilized.
But what is it?
It’s code added to your website that helps search engines pull more useful information for searchers. Element markups lets you tell Google what your site data means and not just what it says. For e-commerce websites, product schemas can show:
- The star rating
- The product price
- Stock status
All of this information and more can be included in the search results (rich snippets). This gives you more search engine real estate, and leads to higher click through rates (CTR).
If you find this interesting, you can use schema.org to mark up elements and aid you in your SEO efforts.
Avoid Technical Issues
If your platform has any SEO technical issues, it can prevent the website from showing up in search engines. Although there are a host of potential issues—both big and small—that you need to be on the lookout for, some of the more common issues are:
- Duplicate page titles
- Missing page titles, meta descriptions, and H1 tags
- 404s and links to redirected URLs
To avoid technical issues, there are several steps you can take, including:
- Inspecting crawlability
- Finding out what pages Google has actually indexed
- Forcing Google to index your site using Search Console
- Checking for Errors in Search Console
Robots.txt & Sitemap.xml
Robots.txt files are one of the primary ways you can direct a search engine—telling it where it’s allowed and not allowed to go. Its code informs Google what pages should get crawled and indexed, and which shouldn’t (AKA marked noindex). Some CMS’s have built-in sitemaps with basic functionality to handle this, but if you use WordPress, you should turn to Yoast SEO for more information.
In an oversimplification, Robots.txt are text files that Google’s search engine spiders read, and that adhere to a strict format. Because it’s a direct line of communication to the “spiders” that are engaging with your website, just one error can negatively impact your entire platform. According to Yoast, “Search engines index the web by spidering pages, following links to go from site A to site B to site C and so on. Before a search engine spiders any page on a domain it hasn’t encountered before, it will open that domain’s robots.txt file, which tells the search engine which URLs on that site it’s allowed to index.”
The point: Robots.txt files are your website’s gatekeepers, directing Google when its spiders are deciding what to index.
Canonical tags are a way to inform search engines that a specific URL serves as the page’s master copy. By using canonical tags, you can help prevent duplicate or identical content from showing up on several URLs. Below are some best practices to follow:
- Canonicalizing the home-page
- Using canonical tags that are self-referential
- Spot-checking dynamic canonical tags
- Avoiding mixed signals
- Canonicalizing cross-domain duplicates
- Being careful when you canonicalize near-duplicate pages
Optimizing Your Digital Marketing Strategy in SEO
If your goal is to rank higher on SERPs, engage your audience, and drive them further down the sales funnel, optimizing your digital marketing strategy for SEO is a necessary action you must take. The good news is that there are easy steps you can follow to ensure that your website is optimized. From utilizing keywords, producing high-quality content, to internal linking, these are just a few SEO options at your disposal.
Augmenting your website’s SEO efforts requires time, dedication, and trial and error. But optimizing your SEO strategy can pay significant dividends in the future. An enhanced digital marketing strategy. Expansive reach. Sales through the roof. These are the many things an effective SEO campaign can manifest.
To learn more about an effective SEO strategy contact Power Digital Marketing.
- iMPACT. How Important Is a Top Listing In Google? (And Why?) https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/important-top-listing-google
- Forbes. Improve Your Brand’s Online Reputation With SEO. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2019/12/10/improve-your-brands-online-reputation-with-seo/#101e9c7b19cc
- Moz. What is Link Equity? https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-link-equity
- Yoast. The Ultimate Guide to Robot.txt. https://yoast.com/ultimate-guide-robots-txt/