Finding the golden nuggets for an effective SEO strategy
So you need an effective SEO strategy that is unique to your business? Or a plan to have people find you online? But with so much competition, how do you create an effective SEO strategy that is unique to your business? Is there a formula to follow? No, not really. If there was, it wouldn’t be unique.
You may have checked out one of the many generic SEO templates—but it fell flat. The same thing happened with the second and third templates; they all guaranteed a pathway to SEO success, but you’re no better off than you were before. There are best practices, and great learning tools out there but finding the golden nuggets of your SEO is really the key to make the plan even more effective.
The reason is that generic, one-size-fits-all SEO strategies don’t take into account what makes each company different, and how that will affect their SEO plan.
If you’re wondering about how to create your very own effective SEO strategy, here are 10 tips:
Don’t try to be anyone else.
Start by asking yourself this critical question: “How do I provide unique value to my customers?”
Don’t believe that an article called “The guaranteed plan for SEO success” is the answer for you. There is no generic plan, so it doesn’t make sense to play follow-the-leader. It takes a lot of homework and planning to implement an SEO strategy that will work for your business, not anyone else’s.
Identify customer-oriented goals.
Your SEO will bomb if you see your audience as nameless, faceless internet users. It’s crucial to find out who needs your solutions by answering questions such as:
- Who is interesting in each of your product lines or services?
- How much education do they need before they purchase?
- What are your high-value customers buying, and why?
- What are they searching on to find your products or services?
Next, think about their search intent—what problems do they have that you can solve? One idea is to try out relevant keywords and see what companies come up in the search results. Check out their online strategies to get ideas, then adjust like strategies to promote your own strengths.
Build your brand using research.
SEO techniques work best when they support solid branding efforts. Take time to:
- Make your brand look professional and appealing to customers in your niche.
- Keep branding consistent across all digital media channels and vehicles, including written content, videos, podcasts, and social media
- Highlight your positive differentiators
- Build a personality for your brand, with an authentic unique voice.
Start with a cohesive web strategy.
The hub of your digital strategy is your website, so that’s where SEO begins. Each page a visitor lands on needs to be relevant to the search result they clicked on, provide quality information, and create pathways to get to your high-value pages. The interesting thing is that even without a definitive strategy, your SEO will increase if you can keep visitors on the landing page and clicking through the website.
Here’s a basic checklist of some key factors to website effectiveness:
- Create a well-architected site that makes it easy for people to find what they want.
- Ensure your pages load quickly, no more than a few seconds.
- Provide meaningful content by writing for humans, not for search engines.
- Use high-quality photos, videos, case studies, and other assets that personalize your company.
- Make certain all the technical SEO elements are in place so Google can easily index your pages
Create quality content as a part of an effective SEO strategy.
A major SEO factor in Google’s algorithm is quality content. That’s why you can’t rely primarily on keywords for SEO success. Even if your keyword gets a high ranking in search results and attracts visitors, it’s for nothing if they leave quickly, with little-to-no interaction with your site.
Don’t skimp on quality. Content on each page has to be high-quality and relevant to the visitor’s search. For example, if an insurance company uses “affordable term-life insurance” and lands on a page that is largely about disability insurance, the visitor is likely to be annoyed and frustrated. They may not only click away on that search, but they are less likely to return in the future.
And don’t forget about readability. Use clear, appropriate language. Not jargon, overly complicated sentences, or overblown language when something simple will do.
Leverage long-tail keywords.
Here’s another tip for success. Go with narrow long-tail keywords, targeting a narrow audience segment. For example, instead of “real estate agent in Boston suburbs”, how about “affordable rental apartments in Watertown.”
You may ask, “But won’t I get fewer hits and leads? The answer is yes, but the leads will be more highly qualified—and closer to making a purchase. Other descriptive phrases about your company, products, and services provide opportunities for differentiation.
Another looming issue is how to do keyword research. Despite what you’ve probably heard, basic research doesn’t have to be that complicated. My best advice is to start by defining your company’s goals, best customers, and unique attributes. You can supplement this information with one of the many keyword research tools available—including Google’s free keyword planner, plus more advanced tools such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, and SpyFu.
Build a following.
One of the secrets of great SEO is using your social channels to grow a following. Regularly post items that are informative, topical, funny, or that highlight the work your team is doing—and include keywords. After viewing a continuous stream of posts, a follower may visit your website to learn more about you, subscribe to your newsletter, or participate in your community.
When it comes to leads, a follower is gold. If they call about a potential project, they’re already a qualified lead with a positive impression of you. A follower is much more likely to hire you than a “stranger” who is unfamiliar with your company.
Think about gradual change for an effective SEO strategy.
The good news about SEO is that you can start small. I suggest following the Japanese business process of Kaizen, or “change for the better,” a concept closely related to “continuous improvement.” Making a series of gradual changes is more realistic—and usually more successful—than a complete overhaul.
Think about it in terms of baking a cake. Your favorite cake recipe needs a little something extra, but you don’t just ditch the recipe. Instead, you improve the recipe, first by adding a pinch of brown sugar and next time adding walnuts. (In between you have a failed Craisin experiment). After adding five more minutes to the timer, your mouth is in heaven! And more ideas will follow.
Kaizen easily translates to your business: Make small changes, analyze the results, and build on past results.
Build relationships to increase backlinks for an effective SEO strategy.
Backlinking for SEO seems a bit mysterious, but it doesn’t have to be if you focus on building relationships and sharing free content. For instance, if you’re a digital designer specializing in biotech, reach out to a high-authority hosting company. Suggest writing a guest blog that links back to your site, a win-win situation. They get free content. You get lots of SEO points, publicity, and website visitors.
Here are some other techniques for backlinking:
- Participate in local events.
- Join industry associations.
- Provide free content for relevant non-profits.
- Participate in forums like Quora.
- Produce instructional YouTube videos for others to include in their blogs
Be iterative. Keep learning and evolving.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. Like any other skill, you learn bit by bit, practice kaizen, and keep learning from your results. You can learn about any topic from my two favorite teachers: Professor Youtube and Coach Podcast.
The choices are endless but watch out—it can be addictive.
Build an effective SEO strategy that is unique to your business
Without going through all 10 tips, the most important takeaway is to leverage your special attributes—the ones most valued by customers—can guide you in creating a cohesive SEO plan. The more ways you convey your uniqueness, the less direct competition you have. Be proud of exactly who you are, and use SEO to highlight your positive differences. It’s a great recipe for attracting the right clients.
Looking for an SEO Agency? Contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can work together and use digital solutions to reach your goals.