Search engines serve millions of users per day looking for answers. Expectations are high and patience is low. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO Strategy encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.
We recently discussed the 2019 google ranking factors and effective SEO is up there at the top. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the internet. Let’s delve deeper into how you can integrate an effective SEO strategy for search engine success.
Modern SEO Strategy
Modern SEO strategy is the process of organising a website’s content by topic, which helps search engines like Google understand a user’s intent when searching. Rather than just focusing on a certain set of keywords, when you optimise a web page by a topic, you can rank well for long-tail keywords related to that topic. The more you discuss that topic, the more Google will rank you as an expert in that topic.
We have put together some top tips to help you build your search engine real estate!
1. Topics for organic growth
Your first step to organic growth in your SEO strategy is to make a list of topics you’d like to cover from one month to the next. To start planning around that topic, make a list of about 10 short words and terms associated with your product or service. Use Google’s Keyword Tool to identify their search volume and come up with variations that make sense for your business.
Narrow down your list to 10-15 short-tail keywords that are important to you. Then rank this list in order of priority or relevance to your business. Each of these keywords, otherwise known as a ‘pillar’ will now be the primary support for a larger “cluster” of long-tail keywords.
2. Long-tail keywords
For each of your supporting ‘pillars’ use your keyword tool to identify five to 10 long-tail keywords that dig deeper into the original topic keyword. For example, if we regularly create various content on a topic of ‘search engine optimisation’ which is a very competitive topic, we must split it into subtopics otherwise we risk competing against ourselves. Subtopics under the primary pillar of ‘search engine optimisation’ could be ‘discussing strategy’, ‘keyword research’, ‘optimising websites’ and together create a cluster. So, if you have 10 pillar topics, they should each be prepared to support one cluster of five to 10 subtopics.
This SEO model is called a “topic cluster,” and modern search engine algorithms depend on them to connect users with the information they’re looking for.
Simply put: the more specific your content, the more specific the needs of your audience are and the more likely you’ll convert this traffic into leads. This is how Google finds value in the websites it crawls when trying to best answer a person’s query, and will rank higher.
3. Building pages for search success
When building a website and aiming to rank high in search, trying to get one page to rank for a handful of keywords is very difficult. Take the 10 pillar topics you came up with above and create a web page for each one, outlining the topic at a high level then use the long-tail keywords you came up with for each cluster. Think of each pillar page as a table of contents, where you’re briefing your readers on subtopics you’ll elaborate on in blog posts.
Ultimately, the number of topics for which you create pillar pages should coincide with how many different products or offerings your business has. This will make it much easier for customers to find you in search engines no matter what keywords they use.
Setting up a blog and regularly updating it can be an incredible way to rank for keywords and engage your website’s users. After all, every blog post is a new web page that gives you another chance to rank in search engines. If your business does not already have a blog, set one up. This is where you’ll elaborate on each subtopic and actually start showing up on Google. As you write each blog post and fill up your clusters, you should consider:
- Be mindful to limit your long-tail keyword no more than three or four times throughout the page. Google doesn’t consider exact keyword matches as often as it used to. In fact, too many instances of your keyword can be a red flag to search engines that you’re “keyword stuffing.” They would then penalise your page and drop your rank.
- Link out to the pillar page you created on this topic. You can do this in the form of tags in your content management system (CMS), or as basic anchor text in the body of the article.
- Once each blog post is published, link into it from the pillar page that supports this subtopic. Find the point in your pillar page that introduces this blog’s subtopic, and link it here.
- By connecting both the pillar and the cluster in this way, you’re telling Google there’s a relationship between the long-tail keyword and the overarching topic you’re trying to rank for.
You should consider blogging at least once a week to keep up your page authority, be mindful to write for your customers and not always to gain rankings.
Need help with Blogging? Contact the marketing mind, we’ll create content with words that work for your business.
5. Keep track of your success!
SEO can take a lot of time and effort. What good is spending all this time and effort if you can’t see the results of your input? There are many metrics you can track on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to keep your SEO plan on track and measure your success.
Because the metric you care about is organic traffic (traffic that comes from a given search engine), seek out a tool that allows you to track both your overall organic traffic number and how your pages are ranking under each long-tail keyword your pages are targeting.
Create a monthly dashboard using Excel, Google Sheets, or a web analytics package so you can monitor how much traffic comes to your website from organic search.
Successful search engine optimisation starts with solid research, like an SEO audit of your website. Whether taking your first tentative steps in the digital world or building your brand there is always an opportunity to make a difference.
We’ll devise an optimised SEO strategy for your business to roll out. Contact us today