Prioritizing rankings and traffic will not result in a long-term SEO strategy. You must prioritize the users.
A winning SEO strategy necessitates an exceptional user experience, unique content that answers the search query succinctly and comprehensively, and a lot of trust.
What is SEO strategy?
An SEO marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan for increasing the number of visitors to your website via search engines. On-page strategies that use intent-based keywords, as well as off-page strategies that earn inbound links from other websites, are essential for successful SEO.
Three Core Components of a Strong SEO Strategy
To optimize a site, you must improve three ranking factors: technical website setup, content, and links. So, let’s go through them in turn.
1. Technical Setup
Three things must occur for your website to rank:
To begin, a search engine must locate your web pages.
Then it must scan them in order to comprehend their contents and identify their keywords.
Finally, it must add them to its index, which is a database of all the content it has discovered on the internet. As a result, its algorithm will think about displaying your website for relevant queries.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? Nothing to be concerned about. After all, if you can visit your site without issue, why should not Google?
There is, however, a catch. A website appears differently to you and the search engine. It appears to you as a collection of graphics, colors, text with formatting, and links.
To a search engine, it is just text.
As a result, any elements that it cannot render in this manner are rendered invisible to the search engine. As a result, even if your website appears to be fine to you, Google may find its content inaccessible.
That is where technical setup, also known as on-site optimization, comes in. It ensures that your website and pages are easily scanned and indexed by Google. The following are the most important factors influencing it:
- Website navigation and links: Search engines explore websites in a similar way to how humans do it. They follow links that lead to other pages. When a search engine crawler visits a page, it uses links to find more content to examine. However, unlike humans, it cannot see images. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the navigation and links are presented in text format only.
- Simple URL structure: Search engines don’t like reading lengthy strings of words with complex structure. So, if possible, keep your URLs short. Set them up to include as little beyond the main keyword for which you want to optimize the page, as possible.
- Page speed: Search engines use the load time — the time it takes for a user to be able to read the page — as an indicator of quality. Many website elements can affect it. Image size, for example. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool for suggestions on how to improve your pages.
- Dead links or broken redirects: A dead link refers to a link that leads to a non-existent page, while a broken redirect points to a resource that may no longer be available. Both result in a negative user experience and can prevent search engines from indexing your content.
- Sitemap and Robots.txt files: To ensure that your website is properly crawled and indexed by search engines, it’s essential to create a sitemap and a robots.txt file. A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your site, making it easier for search engines to identify and crawl your content. On the other hand, a robots.txt file tells search engines what content shouldn’t be indexed, such as particular policy pages that you don’t want to appear in search results. By creating both files, you can speed up the crawling and indexing of your website’s content, ultimately improving its visibility in search results.
- Duplicate content: Having multiple pages with identical or very similar content can create confusion for search engines. In such cases, search engines may struggle to determine which page to display in search results, or may even penalize your website. This is because search engines consider duplicate content as a negative factor. Therefore, it is important to avoid having duplicate content on your website to ensure that search engines can easily crawl and index your pages.
When using a search engine, you are seeking information on a specific issue or problem.
Content can come in various formats like text, videos, and business listings.
Everything is content. For the purpose of SEO strategy, this aspect plays a crucial role in obtaining higher search rankings and increased visibility.
Here are two reasons why:
- When it comes to search, content is king. No matter what users seek, it’s content that delivers. And, the more you publish, the higher your chances of being found.
- Search engines use content to determine the relevance between a page and a search query.
When search engines crawl a web page, they analyze its content to determine its topic. They also consider factors such as page length and structure to assess its quality. With this information, search algorithms can match a user’s query with the pages they consider most relevant to it.
The process of optimizing content begins with keywords research
Keyword Research: SEO strategy mostly target potential customers, not just any visitors. However, for people to find you, your website must rank for the keywords they use when searching, even if it appears at the top of search results.
Starting with keyword research is essential for successful SEO. The process involves identifying relevant terms and topics, converting them into keywords, and conducting research to uncover related terms your audience would use.
After compiling a list of keywords, the next step is to optimize your content through on-page optimization.
On-Page Optimization: On-page optimization, also called on-page SEO, ensures that search engines:
- Understand a page’s topic and keywords, and
- Can match it to relevant searches.
You may have heard about meta-tags like title or description, but there are others. Here’s a list of the most crucial on-page optimization actions.
Note: When optimizing content for relevant keywords, blog SEO prevails on most websites. However, this advice applies equally to all page types.
a. Keyword Optimization: According to SEO experts and web analysts, optimizing on-page content with target keywords is the most effective strategy for high SERP rankings. Ensure that Google understands the main keyword you want this page to rank by including it in specific places for keyword optimization;
- Post’s title: Ideally, place the most important words at the start of the title since Google values them more.
- URL: Your web address should only include the keyword and no stop words.
- H1 Tag: In most content management systems, this tag displays the title of the page by default. However, make sure that your platform doesn’t use a different setting.
- The first 100 words (or the first paragraph) of content: Focusing on the keyword at the start of your blog post will reassure Google that it’s the page’s topic.
- Meta-title and meta-description tags: Two code elements play a vital role in displaying the search engine listings. The meta-title appears as the title of the search listing, while the meta-description provides the content for the brief description below it. Furthermore, search engines use both elements to gain a deeper understanding of the webpage’s topic.
- Image file names and ALT tags: Make sure to include the keyword in at least one image file name, as search engines can only see file names.
The alt tag is used by text browsers for visually impaired visitors, and search engines also use it as a relevancy signal.
It’s important to include semantic keywords, which are variations or synonyms of the main keyword, to improve a page’s relevancy on search engines.
Let me give you an example. You want to target the keyword “Apple,” but which one? The fruit or the tech giant behind the iPhone?
Imagine if Google found terms like sugar, orchard, or cider in the text. The choice of which queries to rank it for would be obvious.
Ensure your page shows up for relevant searches by adding semantic keywords.
b. Non-Keyword-Related On-Page Optimization Factors: On-page SEO is not just about sprinkling keywords across the page. The factors below help confirm a page’s credibility and authority too:
- External links: Linking to other relevant pages helps Google determine topic and improves user experience.
- Internal links: They help search engines find and index other pages on your website, and show semantic relationships between pages, improving relevance to search queries. It is recommended to include at least 2-4 internal links per blog post.
- Content’s length: Longer content tends to rank higher in search engines. This is because a well-written blog post with more detailed information on the subject will keep the reader engaged for a longer period of time. This is known as dwell time, which is a critical ranking factor for search engines.
- Multimedia: Elements like videos, diagrams, and audio players can signal a page’s quality and keep readers engaged longer. This shows that they find the content valuable.
After reading this guide, you now understand that relevance and authority are the two essential factors that determine a page’s ranking.
In their pursuit of providing users with accurate answers, search engines prioritize relevant and popular pages.
The two areas of focus are technical setup and content, with the aim of enhancing relevance and authority.
Popularity is determined by links.
SEO experts use the term “links” when referring to how websites are connected.
Backlink: also known as links, are when other websites mention and link to your content, providing a way for readers to find your site.
Google considers the quantity and quality of links as a signal of a website’s authority. The logic is that popular and high-quality websites are referenced more often than mediocre ones.
Not all links are equal and low-quality ones can harm rankings.
Links Quality Factors: Low quality or suspicious links, which may be intentionally built to boost a website’s authority, could harm its rankings on Google.
When building links, SEOs aim to generate high-quality references.
Like the search algorithm, the factors determining a link’s quality are unknown. However, over time, SEOs discovered some of them:
- The popularity of a linking site: Links from domains considered authoritative by search engines result in higher quality. In other words, links from websites with high-quality links pointing to them yield better results.
- Topic relevance: Links from domains related to your topic hold more authority.
- Trust in a domain: Search engines evaluate a website’s credibility based on the trustworthiness of the sites that link to it. Higher-ranked sites provide more effective links.
Link Building: In SEO, the process of acquiring new backlinks is called link building, which can be a challenging activity for practitioners.
Link building, if you want to do it well, requires creativity, strategic thinking, and patience. To generate quality links, you need to come up with a link building strategy. And that’s no small feat.
When building links, ensure they meet quality criteria and don’t appear deliberate to search engines.. Here are some strategies to do it:
- Editorial, organic links: Your website’s backlinks are generated when other websites reference your content on their own websites.
- Outreach: To improve your website’s visibility, reach out to other sites for links. Email them about your content or suggest where they can link to it. They may reference it if they find it valuable.
- Guest posting: Guest posts are articles published on other websites with a few links to your own site.
- Profile links: Creating links to your website can be beneficial for its online authority. There are many opportunities to create links, such as through online profiles. Setting up a profile often allows you to list your website as well. Although not all links carry strong authority, it’s worth pursuing them since they are easy to create.
- Competitive analysis: Many SEOs analyze competitors’ backlinks to recreate for their sites.