Search Engine Optimization has gone through a ton of changes over the past 20 years. But for most of that time, Google has had a stranglehold on the industry. With the vast majority of market share and constantly evolving algorithms to improve the quality of results, Google has kept users happy enough to keep them coming back. And while Google is the most prominent search engine that we want to successfully rank well with, Bing and other algorithms are similar enough that following best practices should impress all of the search engines at once.
In 2017, SEO is much different than it was in 2007. Or even 2014. Instead of tricking algorithms and finding ways to rank better, we concentrate on building campaigns that drive great authority to a website and improve rankings in a way that stand the test of time. Our goal is longevity, consistently providing returns for our clients and continuing to build relevant traffic over time.
An important part of developing an effective SEO strategy is knowing what you’re optimizing for. Keyword research is where we start. Combining likely keywords users in the target market would be searching with competitive research, market trends, and keyword research and expansion tools, we develop a comprehensive list of keywords that are likely to be effective. We’ll use keyword values and volumes to determine overall value of keyword targets, compare it to the difficulty of ranking, and weigh possible strategies to see what approach gives us the best opportunity to achieve success.
When it comes to execution, strategies can be broken into on-page and off-page strategies. As you may guess, on-page strategies involve everything you can control on your own website, from technical aspects and sitespeed to content and architecture. Off-page strategies involve tactics to build authority to your website.
- Site architecture – Structuring a website in a way that can be easily crawled. It should also prioritize the most important pages at the top level and point the most links to them, where less important pages are further down in the navigation.
- Sitespeed – Speeding up a website, on both desktop and mobile devices, correlates with better performance and even better rankings.
- Content strategy – Content strategies are extremely popular these days. The idea here is producing high-quality blogs and resources in a section of the website that targets long-tail keywords and encourages links to build overall website authority.
- Content development – The words and content on your primary website pages are important. Produce informative, useful content and you’ll have a better chance of ranking higher.
- Metadata – Title tags, meta descriptions, and social sharing metadata are important for search engine performance. They make sure your content is presented in a readable and effective way.
- Content and image tagging – Use proper tags (like H1’s, H2’s, and Image ALT’s) throughout the website to tell crawlers what content is most important, as well as what images are.
- Internal linking – Helping crawlers navigate a website with internal links can help crawl rates and build internal strength throughout a website.
- Local citations – For businesses operating within a certain area, establishing yourself as a local business (according to search engines) is important if you want to rank in that area. Providing structured citations of an address and phone number can help achieve that.
- Technical errors – Reduce errors and technical problems throughout the website. This includes, but isn’t limited to, eliminating duplicate content, setting up proper redirects, canonical URL’s, coding errors, and secure sites.
This is what has so often gotten SEO companies into trouble, and why so many business owners feel “burned” by strategies that were implemented that were later penalized. We follow best practices rather than trying to “trick” search engines. It’s slower, harder work, but the result is an effective, long-term SEO campaign that builds and is resilient to changes in search algorithms.
- Thought Leadership – Producing thought leadership content and publishing it on industry leading and business websites can be an effective way to build authority and get positive PR.
- Business Directories – We’ll make sure you’re listed accurately in prominent business directories.
- Niche Directories – If your industry has popular directories or listings for your profession, we consider adding you to these directories.
- Local Directories – Operating in a certain city (or cities) or area? There might be local wiki’s and business listing sites that we can take advantage of.
- Guest Placements – Are there industry blogs that allow guest posts? Someone on our team or someone within your organization can produce content relevant to your keywords and have it published on online magazines or blogs.
- Contests & Promotions – Running a contest or promotion can be a great way of increasing your online mentions and links. The better the promotion, the better the chances people will talk and post about it.
- Social Media – Setting up professional social media profiles linking back to your website can be an effective way to build authority. The theory is, social media prevalence will be a metric with increasing importance.
- Press Releases – While not as popular strategy as it once was, if you have something worth talking about and sharing, distributing a press release can be a great way to get eyes on it. Bad press releases don’t help anymore, but if it interests people, they can be extremely effective.
- Partnerships & Associations – Are you a member of any local or industry associations? Have professional relationships? List your website if you have online profiles or link with community members who can vouch for your business.
- Content Distribution – If you’re engaging in a content strategy and producing high-quality information on your website, reaching out to other websites and encouraging use or links to that content can be a very effective SEO strategy.
Note: Local SEO has a different algorithm which focuses much more on location than typical search engine campaigns. For many of these strategies, we partner with Redwoods Media for local seo efforts.
Search Engine Optimization is not fast, it’s not easy, and it can often be difficult to understand. We rely on the trust of our clients to build an effective strategy and achieve long-term results and growth.
Interested in learning more about our services to see if we’ll be a good fit for your business? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free quote and analysis.