Optimizing your website for the search engines is the most important aspect of your online marketing initiatives. A high-performing website is the backbone of all other campaigns. A high-performing site drives traffic, converts leads, and generates buzz on social media. Everything else is secondary to your SEO campaign, for it gives momentum to all other strategies you can use to market online.
60% of website clicks come from the top organic search results, not pay-per-click ads. Ranking at the top of the search engines gives credibility to your brand. However, getting to that point is no easy task. Thousands of other businesses are optimized for the same audience that you’re trying to reach. In order to beat out the competition, you need to constantly update your SEO strategies and stay current with Google’s algorithm changes.
SEO strategy can be divided into three core competencies: technical optimization, content creation, and competitive analysis. Taking the time to audit your website for these three areas can save you a lot of frustration long-term.
Keywords are the foundation of SEO. The search terms your customers are using should be the framework for your content. The better optimized your site is for high-use keywords, the more traffic you can drive to your site over the competition.
Keyword analysis can be broken into two parts: finding which keywords are bringing your site the most traffic, and what words are most used by your audience that you are not currently ranking for. Different tools will help you identify these keywords, which you can then use to create your content and make changes to your site.
You need to know which keywords will bring the greatest ROI for your SEO campaign. First, you will want to see what is already ranking for your branded and non-branded search terms. To do this, make a list of the keywords you are trying to target. Search each of them and make a second list to see 1) if your site ranks on the SERPs for these words, and 2) what other sites also rank for your target keywords.
Second, you want to see which keywords are bringing the most traffic to your site. Tools like SEMRush will give you a list of words that Google associates with your content, so you are able to know how customers are finding your site most frequently. You can find the top-ranking pages on your site by searching “site:yourdomain.com.” The top-ranked pages on your site will appear in the search results. Keywords on these pages are the highest-performing.
Knowing where your SEO campaign is strongest, and which keywords you need to be targeting can help you create a stronger content plan and further shape your SEO strategy to get the best ROI for the keywords you choose to target.
Be careful, however, about overusing the same keywords in all of your content. This is called “keyword cannibalization,” when two or more pages on your site compete for the same spot in the SERPs for a keyword. Each of your core pages should be optimized for a different keyword or phrase as to avoid duplicate or competing content.
The technical aspects of your SEO are just as important as your content strategy. During your audit you should do a website crawl for technical errors. These are the most common SEO technical errors that can slow down your progress:
- Canonicalization errors and redirects
- Broken links
- Sparse or duplicate content
- Problems in sitemap navigation
- Slow load speeds
- Lack of a responsive mobile version for your site
- Missing or non-optimized metadata
Each of these errors can significantly impact your rankings, so it’s best to fix them right away. A high-performance site creates a better user experience, and is easier for the search engines to crawl a site with all of these elements in working order.
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