02 May The Beginner’s Guide to Launching an SEO Campaign
Ready to launch an SEO campaign to improve your search engine rankings? Hey, if you’re doing anything online, it’s always a good idea to optimize your content, allowing the right people to find you and ultimately, buy what you’re selling.
But, it’s such a massive undertaking, especially if you don’t quite know what you’re doing yet. With that in mind, we’ve put together a selection of tips that will help you get your SEO strategy off the ground.
So, What’s the Point of SEO?
It’s hard to understand something when you don’t know why you’re doing it. In SEO, or search engine optimization, the primary goal is to make your website appealing to search engines. And if your content is attractive to Google, you’ll attract more traffic to your website.
That said, just because Google can find you, doesn’t mean you’re providing value to your audience. The main idea is to build a structure based on keywords and terms that your audience is looking for.
That said, relevance matters a ton. Lots of online marketers make the mistake of thinking about SEO as a means of getting traffic for free. While it’s true in the most basic sense of the definition, your primary focus should be your ideal audience.
This means captioning pictures, writing descriptions that accurately represent your company’s offerings.
In short, you’re trying to be helpful so that you can make a sale, get a subscriber, or earn more followers on social channels.
Kick Off Your SEO Campaign with Search Engine-Friendly Design
First things first. You’ll need to create a site that search engines can understand. While most aspects of any SEO campaign should be focused on what you’re bringing to your industry’s table, Google needs to be able to comb through your site with minimal effort.
So, you’ll be designing for Google’s spiders, the program that indexes your site and assigns it a rank. Here are a few things that will make it easier on those spiders:
Key content should be in HTML text format. Search engines may ignore things like Java apps, Flash files, videos and other non-text content. So, if these elements are essential, you’ll want to include HTML text descriptions.
Make Text Readable
Skip the busy background and impossible-to-read text. You might think that white text on a pink background looks awesome, but we assure you, your audience does not.
Make sure people can read your font. When in doubt, go standard here, 12-point font, in black. And forget any “creative” fonts–stick to Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, they’re easy to read and timeless.
Don’t use confusing URLs. Use hyphens to separate multi-word addresses and avoid anything too long or irrelevant.
Make Sure Your Navigation Makes Sense
Site hierarchy needs to be clearly laid out. Navigation tools should be obvious; positioned at the top of the page with titles that make sense. This isn’t the time to be cute, save it for social media.
One more thing, if you’ve got more than ten website pages, do Google a favor and create a sitemap. This will make it easier for Google to index your pages. A key part of any SEO campaign.
Your First Crack at Keyword Research
Keyword research is an SEO campaign technique that helps match Google searchers to content that best answers their queries. This can be done through a variety of different methods.
You’ll want to use tools like Answer the Public, Google Trends, and Google Keyword Planner to uncover popular search terms. A good way to kick off this process is by entering a starter keyword and looking at the suggested terms at the foot of the page.
From there, you can do some deeper dives into which keywords best represent what you’ve got to offer.
Scope out the competition, too, by looking up your chosen keywords. Look at the businesses at the top of the page, as well as those who are paying for ads.
Optimize Your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Once you’ve put together your keyword list, you’ll want to optimize your page title. You’ll need to do this on the back end, accessing the HTMLelement, not the text box on the page. This is usually editable in your website control panel (CMS) or your SEO plugin.
The reason for this is, you’ll want to work your keywords into the page–naturally. Page titles are what Google’s crawlers turn up within the search results, so again, it’s about making your content easy find by the right people. Learn more about optimization here.
Write Good Content
Writing exclusively for search engines might initially help you rise through the ranks, but it will ultimately make for boring content that doesn’t have the human element in mind.
Our advice? Focus on customers first. Make your content easy to read by breaking the text into smaller paragraphs, writing in a conversational tone and incorporating pictures and graphics into your content pages.
Other content considerations:
- Make sure titles are interesting and capture the reader’s attention. Use a tool like Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer to check headlines before hitting the publish button.
- When selecting keywords, make sure you’re choosing with your audience in mind.
- External links should point to high-quality sites that fit within the context of what your website is about.
- Quality links show your audience that you know how to distinguish reputable sources from the riff-raff. Eventually, these small details may result in other sites linking to you.
- Pay special attention to the quality of your writing. Tools like Yoast, Hemingway, and Grammarly can help ensure you’re reducing instances of passive voice, poor grammar, and hard-to-read sentences.
- Don’t plagiarize. Aside from issues of ethics, publishing duplicate content on your site creates duplicate content, and search engines may penalize you for this.
- Most of us know that plagiarizing is bad, but you’ll also want to avoid lifting your own content if you’ve published on other sites.
- Consider hiring a content writer to help out.
Ready to Start Your SEO Campaign?
Ultimately, their goal is to have the best websites for every given topic show up at the top. So if you work hard to create the best website, and then promote it effectively, eventually they will catch up.
SEO takes time. You can’t just plug in a bunch of keywords and expect an influx of traffic to your site. You’re playing the long game. The thing about SEO is, all the items mentioned above lay the groundwork growing an audience.