Savvy online marketers know that their website is a great tool for branding, content promotion and demand generation. They recognize that search engine optimization is one of the most effective ways to increase website traffic and conversions, but a common question among online marketers is, “How can I take my SEO strategy and results to the next level?” This white paper will explore, in detail, five areas you can leverage for ongoing SEO success.
But how are you ensuring that your search engine optimization strategy is still working for you? If you simply modified page elements at some point and never looked back, it probably isn’t. Chances are that, if you have a website, you’ve already investigated how to get it to show up in search engine results. You may have even completed keyword research and optimized webpage elements such as title tags, meta info and URLs on your site.
Through this white paper, you’ll gain insight into new and inventive ways to continuously improve your search engine results, including:
- Website Audits
- Content Development
- Competitive Analysis
- External Linking
- Internal Linking
1. Website Audits
Before you begin any new work, make sure that all the SEO optimization you intended in your initial website implementation has actually been completed and is still relevant. You may find, in some instances, that you’re short a few keywords in the body copy, or that a title tag includes a keyword you decided you didn’t want to utilize. Or, you may find that you’re in good shape and ready to continue with the next steps. Either way, take a few hours to ensure that every detail and every element has been optimized with one of your target keywords so that you don’t have to continuously revisit this fundamental step when you’re executing more advanced techniques.
2. Content Development
If you’ve made it to the stage where you’re looking for more advanced optimization techniques, your website may already be rich with keywords on targeted pages. However, a very important factor in keyword visibility is, and always will be, fresh content. For those of us who sell an established service, solution and/or product, it isn’t always easy to produce new web content. But this doesn’t need to be an insurmountable challenge. Here is a list of methods that can help you to develop new content quickly:
- Expand Your Existing Content – If you optimized one page around “SEO” think about how you can create a section that includes pages optimized on several variations of the core term.
- Create Media Content – Identify opportunities for content that can be easily created as well as easily syndicated through viral marketing and link building, including:
- Videos, photos, webinars, podcasts, and white papers
- Press releases – Companies often reserve press releases for breaking news. However, it might be time to revise your press release strategy if you’re serious about improving keyword visibility. Perhaps you’re releasing a new white paper, sponsoring an event or introducing a new partner. All these announcements are great fodder for press release content that could then be posted on your website and yes, you guessed it, search engine optimized. Press releases are also a great way to keep the latest news section of your website fresh and up-to-date, whether this is featured on your home page or has its own place on your site.
- Leverage Blogs – Blogging is not only a great way to share relevant news, information and thought leadership content, but it’s also a great way to post new keyword-optimized content a few times a month, if not a few times a week.
3. Competitive Analysis
When you initially selected your keywords, you probably went through several lists of words, several Excel documents of data and several tedious meetings. If you could have your way, the keywords you have in place today wouldn’t change for a very long time. Unfortunately, at any time your market may start referring to something that was once considered “a process” as “a function.” A simple find/replace may not be sufficient to realign your keywords to what Google tells you people are searching for. And you don’t want to have to tell your sales team that website traffic and conversions are down this month because your keywords are outdated.
Conduct an ongoing competitive analysis, look at your website analytics, talk to your sales team, and talk to your field marketers to ensure that the keywords you have optimized on are still relevant (and don’t forget to write a blog post that addresses these changes).
4. External Linking
External linking is an integral component of a search engine optimization plan, as it covers two different, but not exclusive, tactics—link popularity and traffic. When hunting for link-building opportunities, try to find websites with related content; a simple tip is to mine your competitor’s websites for their inbound links.
Link popularity is a device created by search engines to help rank and categorize relevant sites within their index. Each link is essentially a vote for your site’s content. And the more votes your site has, the more popular you’ll be in search engine results. There are a few elements that you should keep in mind when building these links:
- Follow vs. No-Follow – In your search, you may find several sites that will allow you to place a link back to your website and say to yourself, wow, this is easy. However, ask yourself this simple question first: Will Google care? Websites have the ability to put a no-follow tag on a link so that Google spiders will not “count” it as a link. There are several tools out there to help you tell the difference between a follow and a no-follow link. Try the Mozilla Firefox plug-in SeoQuake. Note that, not all no-follow websites should be ignored; see the paragraph immediately following this bulleted list.
- Paid vs. Unpaid – Google does not count links that you’ve paid for. Therefore, it’s important to be strategic about your link-building methods. Some of our favorite “free” links that Google counts are listed below:
- Article directories
- Blog comments (only relevant, non-promotional comments, of course)
- Press release submissions: If you use a third-party vendor for your press release dissemination, check to see if it offers an SEO enhancement option. You may be able not only to include links back to your site, but also to use anchor text in these links.
- Anchor Text – Including a keyword in your anchor text is highly recommended. Google will not only see that there’s a link on a domain that leads to your website, but it also will see that the link itself includes the keyword, and if you completed your SEO audit successfully, the URL and landing page will be optimized for that keyword as well. It’s a simple equation: Anchor text + link + URL structure + landing page + SEO keyword = SEO success!
External linking should also be used for generating traffic. As stated above, there are several no-follow sites that may not get you link credit but can drive relevant traffic such as:
Search and social media signals are merging as more and more users turn to their peers for gathering information. Sure, certain businesses lend themselves to success in social media and others don’t, but as the properties and the audiences in this space expand, so do the rewards for those involved.
This shift is influencing Google organic search as well, as is apparent in its increasing emphasis on and new product development in local search. As the iPhone and other smart devices become more popular, local search will play an even more important role in a consumer’s ability to make purchasing decisions on the Internet. You can easily adapt to these changes by including your location in your tags and throughout your website.
SEO’s overall goal is to increase website traffic, so don’t ignore some of these popular websites that, if used properly, can really help take your inbound traffic to the next level.
5. Internal Linking
This is the last piece of the SEO puzzle that will help increase your keyword visibility. Internal linking should be used throughout your website on optimized pages. Remember our “voting” analogy for external linking? The same can be said for internal linking. Include links to your most important pages to help spiders easily identify which pages they should pay close attention to. Visitors will also benefit from internal linking since you’ll be promoting related or more in-depth information on a given topic. Lastly, don’t forget to optimize your anchor text for links on your own site.
Search engine optimization should be treated as a living and breathing organism—it needs constant attention in order to be truly successful. By conducting ongoing analysis and leveraging these new and inventive ways to continuously improve your search engine visibility, you’ll stay a step ahead of the competition.
Nowspeed is a search engine marketing firm that drives leads—from click to customer—for companies like yours. Our packaged services include a blend of search engine marketing, website design, social media, lead nurture, and marketing analytics so that we can deliver complete end-to-end solutions to our customers. For more information, contact us!