8 Strategies for successful Search Engine Optimization in 2022
SEO is a must for any brand to grow organic reach, as it is one of the foundational elements of digital marketing. When done right, SEO can help deliver the correct information to the target audience.
If there was one thing that could guarantee brand visibility to the target audience, it is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) done the right way. With SEO, you can address the audience's implicit and explicit needs. The search engines act as mediators by offering your content to the audience using specific keywords. 71% of marketers(1) state that using strategic keywords is the number one strategy for SEO.
While choosing the right keywords is the most crucial part of SEO, many other factors can make or break your SEO attempts. These factors include ensuring that webpages containing the keywords load fast enough, linking these webpages with other related pages, using various content formats (infographics, videos) across channels, and so on.
Another important thing is to check your outlook on SEO! Are you optimizing your content with a focus on search engines or audiences? It is easy to lose sight of the fact that all these SEO activities are meant to deliver the right experience to your audience; a search engine is only the means for it.
We have developed eight strategies to help you begin with SEO. It is all here in one place to help you kick-start your search engine optimization in the right direction.
Strategies for Successful Search Engine Optimization
1. Get SEO audit done– Find out the opportunities for improvement
The first step is to conduct an SEO audit of your website. It will reveal whether your website is search engine friendly and what improvements can be made. It will help you learn about the following:
- Is your website mobile-friendly?
- Are there any indexing errors that are stopping the search engine from indexing your pages?
- Are the webpages loading fast enough?
- How is the webpage optimization done?
Benefits of SEO audit:
- Understand your website’s overall SEO performance – Find the issues that lower your website’s ranking, such as poor backlinks, internal linking, speed, and so on.
- Get to know what you rank high for – SEO audit lists the keywords you rank for. This helps you find out if your content is focusing on the right keyword or not.
- Get to know high-performing keywords – The audit report tells you which keywords generate action from the target audience and help them convert to leads.
- Get to know where you stand concerning your competitors – You can find out which are the high-performing keywords of your competitors. You can do a lot with such information, such as improving your content or focusing on another keyword to avoid the competition.
2. Develop quality content – Create valuable content for readers, not just for search engines
As mentioned before, your aim for developing content should be to fulfill the target audience's needs and not just be search-engine-friendly. Google values those pages that offer value to the readers.
As someone in charge of marketing, you would know who your audiences are, their interests, and what they seek. Keeping that in mind, the following strategies can guide you in developing content:
- Use tools such as SEMrush or Ahref to conduct keyword research. Identify the keywords that your audiences are using.
- Research what topics your audiences would be interested in. Develop content in various formats – blogs, posts, infographics, and videos.
- Incorporate the keywords in the title, body, description, and other tags of the content piece.
- Include a call-to-action button wherever possible to take the audience forward on the customer journey.
- Hire experts if required to develop content for you.
A brand that invests in content marketing with appropriate SEO strategies is bound to see good results.
For example, for a life sciences company on a digital transformation journey, we developed content in many ways and made it SEO friendly. This included LinkedIn posts, webinar invites on LinkedIn, landing pages, blogs, etc. For others, we have developed videos for their video channels or even app-based games and quizzes.
This content needs to be optimized, making it searchable by search engines.
- Optimize text – To make text search-engine-friendly, include relevant title tags which describe what the page is about, provide meta descriptions that convince audiences to click the search result, and include keywords in headings.
- Optimize images – Images should also be described for better recognition by search engines. Add alt text, which is the text that comes in place of the image when the image does not load. Add image tag, which is the text that appears when you scroll over an image. Also, use appropriate file names for images. Lastly, make sure that the size of the image is such that it loads quickly.
- Optimize videos – When posting videos on video channels, ensure that you have meaningful titles, with keywords. Add a useful description. Make these videos accessible from your website pages too.
3. Build ethical backlinks – Show credibility and expertise
Rampantly using backlinks can lead to negative points from the search engines. Relevant backlinks are valued. If prominent and reliable websites link to your page, Google will trust your page.
There are many ways of building credible backlinks
- Utilize multiple channels to post content – You can create articles and videos, post them on your website, and share them on your social media handles. This will enable people to share them too.
- Guest blogging - Collaborate with other platforms and provide your expertise in the form of blogs. Link this content back to your site.
- Organize or participate in events and circulate links – Participating in interviews or organizing events generates links, which can then be shared on your website, or social media or may even be picked up by news sites.
- Develop quality content that is shareable – Some content pieces are always in demand, such as videos, steps or guides, and blogs discussing the ‘why’ part of a specific topic. Identify the relevant content type as per your audience.
4. Build strong internal linking – Provide information to the reader in a structured way
Internal linking refers to linking the pages within a website so that the content of one page is connected to another that talks about the same topic. This helps in achieving two objectives – one is that the potential customer can navigate logically and discover everything about a given topic on your website; the second is that it helps Google and other search engines crawl the website and index the pages better, which eventually helps in better SEO ranking.
Take the example of a life sciences company providing research equipment and technology. On the home page, they showcase who they are. Then the home page is linked to specific areas of expertise; for example, they make special diagnostic equipment to identify a microorganism. So, on that equipment page, they provide links to the available reagents. Additionally, they have a link to a tutorial video on the Resources page on how to use the equipment for testing.
This helps the search engine understand the website's structure and gauge whether the audience will find the navigation easy or not. This contributes to ranking on the search engine results page (SERP).
5. Improve user experience – Get it technically right
Aren't all our digital marketing initiatives aimed at giving the target audience an unforgettable experience? So, while you may work on the content and feed it with the right keywords, you need to pay attention to the Core Web Vitals, something that Google considers while analyzing the performance of a page.
Certain parameters such as page load time and page layout are essential. If we talk specifically about Google, it generates a report on website performance based on three metrics.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This is the time taken for the largest content element to render from the time the audience clicks the URL.
- First Input Delay (FID) – This is the time the browser takes to respond to the audience's first interaction with a page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift – This refers to the number of times there is a shift in layout while a website visitor interacts with a page. Ideally, there should be no shift for a smooth experience.
These metrics may sound very technical, and in fact, they are. All you need to do is ask the right person in the web development team to run tests using tools such as Google Search Console and find out where the issues lie on the website.
Tackle these issues and improve the experience of your website visitors.
6. Repurpose your content – Make it visible in different formats
A given piece of content that offers value to the readers need not be standalone. Repurpose the content and make it available in different places and different formats.
For example, if you have developed a blog on ‘5 steps to building social media presence’, use the same content to prepare a video of it to post on social media or video channels, or create an infographic and use it along with another related blog on your website. You can even update the blog later with more tips.
If the content is promising and useful, it must reach more people. This can be achieved by repurposing the content.
7. Analyze search intent – Understand what your potential customer is seeking
Understand the intent of prospects when they are searching for a keyword. The intent can be – informational/educational, navigational, commercial, or transactional.
Once you are aware of the search intent, you can develop content that meets the audience's needs.
Let us understand with an example of 'testing blood sugar.'
- Informational – Prospect seeks information to gain knowledge. Typical search words could be 'how to test blood sugar at home' and 'ways to control blood sugar'.
- Navigational – Prospect wants to know about specific sites or physical locations. In this example, they may be looking for a lab that can conduct this test – 'diagnostic labs around me,' or they could also search for specific lab names.
- Commercial – Prospect could be doing research before purchase, such as – 'blood test charges.'
- Transactional – Prospect could be ready to purchase, so the search words would be specific such as – 'buy blood sugar testing kit.'
For each of these situations, the content must be designed accordingly. For example, if a prospect is ready to purchase, they may not be interested in a 'how to' guide.
Thus, you should develop content suiting various search intents.
8. Optimize webpage for search engines – Make it easy for search engines to rank your page
To gain visibility and higher ranking for your webpages, you need to help Google and other search engines understand the value of your page and whether it meets the needs of the audience or not. This can happen by optimizing pages. Here are a few things you should work on –
- Keywords – That is the foremost step always use the right keywords in the content, title, and main body. Use long-tail keywords or single words, depending on what your audiences are most likely to use.
- Header tags – These refer to the main and subsequent headlines. Ensure that the headlines are precise, with relevant keywords, because that helps the search engine understand what the page covers and thus provides a better ranking.
- Image optimization – As mentioned before, images should be optimized using appropriate alt text. The image size should not be so large that it takes forever to load.
- Metadata – When you add relevant metadata for a webpage, it helps the audience to know what your page is about and whether it meets their needs or not.
- Title and URL – The title tag defines the title. Both the title tag and the URL must contain relevant keywords.
- Mobile responsiveness – Since more than 50% of internet usage(2) is from mobile devices, how mobile-friendly your website is matters. It is one of the criteria for website ranking.
These are various strategies for improving the SEO performance; some are related to the content, while some are related to the website architecture. Thus, getting a holistic view of the SEO initiatives and driving improvements in all the areas will ensure good results.
If you feel you do not have the resources or the bandwidth for it, you can always hire an agency to develop and execute an SEO strategy suited to your needs.
How can Ethosh help you grow organically with the successful implementation of SEO strategies?
At Ethosh, we look at SEO as an integral part of digital marketing. Having worked with small and medium-sized brands and Fortune 100 companies to develop digital marketing solutions, our digital marketing and industry domain experts know how to formulate keyword strategies that ensure potential customers see your content. As a managed content service partner, we create high-quality content that addresses various search intents and is tailored for every stage of the customer journey.
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