– JULY 31, 2020
An SEO Campaign has so many components so we have broken it down into manageable steps with our best tips, tricks, and advice! Ready to build an SEO campaign for your business from start to finish?
Step 1 – Build Your Website or Analyze Your Current Site
We’re starting from the bottom here with creating a website for your brand. If you already have a website you can skip this section! Choose a website platform like WordPress to build your site on. There are all sorts of plugins for WordPress that can literally make your site do anything. You can think of a plugin as a sort of app for your website. You can install any plugin right from your WordPress dashboard. If website building isn’t your thing and you want help with this step, we’ve got your back with our WordPress web design services.
One of the coolest plugins for WordPress is called Yoast SEO. This plugin can seriously help your SEO campaign because it makes optimizing your pages a breeze. It shows you a page analysis as well as how your title tag and meta description appear on Google.
This is how Yoast SEO looks in WordPress’ Posts tab. You can easily see the posts that need more optimization.
Other website builders like Shopify have similar capabilities but we highly recommend WordPress because the plugin options are endless and the majority of them have free versions.
You will need to create a menu for your site with important pages such as a home page, an about us page, services, FAQ, and contact. This is a basic suggestion for what pages you should have on your site. Of course you can have as many as you want and name them whatever aligns with your business.
Consider having a multi page site as opposed to a single page. One pagers are great in that they are much easier to build and design. But if you are focused on building an SEO campaign, you will want to have more than one page. The more pages you have, the more chances there are for your site to rank higher on search engine results.
For example, if you have two pages on your site and they are both optimized then you have two chances to rank. If you have 12 pages on your site that are all optimized – that’s 12 chances to rank!
There are so many components involved in building a website. You have to think about design as well as user experience and how to best build your site to align with your SEO campaign. If you do need a site or just want to update your old one, our web design specialists are ready to build you a custom designed website.
If you already have a website you will need to have a Q and A with yourself.
1. Q: When was the last time my site was updated?
A: Your site should be user friendly for your human customers as well as search engine crawlers. If it looks like it’s from 1990, (this was almost 30 years ago by the way) it’s time for a redesign ASAP! Your outdated site is unappealing to the human eye and can cause search engines to rank your site lower just because you haven’t updated it recently.
2. Q: What platform am I using?
A: If you are using an outdated platform, we strongly recommend switching to a platform like WordPress or Shopify. Why? Because these platforms are more commonly used which means that anyone you hire to work on your site will be able to easily navigate and update it. You will also have access to the newest features. Your site will perform better on platforms like WordPress (although it has been around for a while) that are constantly adding new ways to improve your customers’ user experience. WordPress has so much to offer, although it can take a while to master the in’s and out’s. Contact an Atlanta web design expert to help you build your dream site!
3. Q: What is my site’s Domain Authority?
A: Domain Authority is something you need to know before you can advance to the second step of your SEO campaign which is keyword strategy and research. Domain Authority or DA is a number assigned to every site on the web ranging from 1-100 developed by MOZ, a marketing analytics company. This number tells you what your sites chances of ranking are. If you have a DA of 9, your chances aren’t looking so good but if your DA is around 50 or 60, search engines view your site as established and trustworthy and are more likely to rank you above other sites.
You can check your site’s domain authority with a tool called MOZ or any other domain authority checker that you can find.
Step 2 – Keyword Strategy and Research
Target keywords are the core of an SEO Campaign. What words come time mind when you think of your business? Pause and think about these words for a few minutes, you can even write them down if you want.
Now. forget those keywords. Seriously. Most of the time business owners only think of what they would type into search engines to find their company. It is imperative that you think out of the box and think like a customer. We are going to show you how we do our keyword research to find keywords that can beat competitors and get you on your way to having the most profitable SEO campaign.
Begin by typing words into Google search and looking at suggestions. Let’s say you are selling tennis shoes. We don’t want to rank for the word “tennis shoes” because it is way too broad. In your SEO campaign you will want to have keywords that align with your business but are also within reach to rank for and are somewhat unique.
By typing in the word “tennis shoes” Google shows other suggestions of what other users have searched for. This can help you decide what you should try and go for.
Another helpful tool called Keywords Everywhere will make this process a lot easier. Usually when doing keyword research, you will be using Google AdWords keyword planner. This offers suggestions, shows you monthly search volume, CPC and competition.
With Keywords Everywhere you can see what words and phrases people are searching for on the web, how often they are searched, and their cost per click just like keyword planner. This is how you can get into your customers’ minds. It will help you pick out keywords that they are actually searching for.
You will also need to look at the keywords you are currently ranking for. This can be done with a program called SEMrush. In order to unlock the full potential of SEMrush you will need to pay for it, but there is a free version. With SEMrush you can pull your website’s current rankings. We like to look at how we can improve our clients keywords that they already rank for. You may already be ranking in the 8th or 9th position for a really important keyword so it’s imperative that you check your own rankings in addition to coming up with new words.
Using all of these tools, come up with a list of keywords that you think you would like to rank for. If you only have 8 keywords on this list you will need to go back and find some more. Chances are that half of these won’t work out. Depending on how many keywords you want to end up with, you should probably double or even triple that number when doing keyword research for your SEO campaign.
Once you have your list of keywords you will need to Google them. Look at the companies that come up. Look at their domain authority and what they are ranking for. Through this process you will need to determine if you can optimize your page better than they did, so that you can outrank them. Practice makes perfect when it comes to keyword research so if you feel lost, don’t hesitate to contact an SEO specialist.
Step 3 – On Page Optimization
Once you get through your keyword research you can jump right in to optimizing your site. Take a look at our SEO best practices checklist to check off each component as you build your SEO campaign.
First you will want to take some time to write out what pages align with your target keywords. If any of your target keywords do not have a page, you will want to create one. Sometimes you will have two keywords that are similar enough to go on the same page – this is perfectly fine as long as you can get these words on your page enough times without keyword stuffing.
Each of your pages will need to have a title and a meta description. Writing good titles and meta descriptions may seem challenging, but don’t stress. Here are some rules to follow.
- Keep it short and sweet. If these are too long, Google will cut them off with the dreaded ellipses…no one wants that. Save yourself some embarrassment and write a concise title and meta description.
- Use your keyword. You didn’t spend all that time doing keyword research for nothing. Your keyword needs to go in your title and it needs to go in your meta description. Do not have your title and meta look like this:
Clearly this is a bad title. There are no keywords and the company’s name is not even shown. The meta description is also lacking keywords and doesn’t make sense.
- Make sure they make sense. Sometimes it can feel forced when you add your keyword into your meta description. If it feels like this, stop and start over. When human users read your description you want it to flow. Always double check your title and meta descriptions.
- Include a call to action! Make people click on your link. Don’t just describe your business. You can say your business is the best but let customers know what you can do for them. Share how you are going to solve their problems, and then tell them to contact you now.
- Avoid excessive punctuation. Google does not like exclamation points in titles and meta descriptions. It sends the signal that this site could be spam so stick with periods even if you include an exclamatory sentence.
Next you will need to go though your pages that you have just updated with titles and meta descriptions and add H1 tags. Many people use heading tags (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6) to style the titles on their website pages. They can be different sizes, all caps, all lowercase, italic or bold.
Avoid doing this or it could harm your SEO campaign that you have worked so hard on. There should only be one H1 tag on every page and it needs to be the target keyword for that page. Google picks up on this H1 tag so that they can learn about your page and it plays a big role in your rankings.
If you already have pages with content you will want to perform an SEO audit of your site. You can use a service called SEOquake to check each of your pages for titles, meta descriptions, H1 tags and more! SEOquake will let you know if you have any major problems with your pages. It is also equipped with tips to help you improve your overall SEO.
The next step in your SEO campaign is to go through your pages and check your copy. You need to work your keywords in there several times per page. Again, make sure your pages make sense and are actually useful to your site visitors. Do not just put your keyword on your page a bunch of times in a row. Search engines like Google will punish you for this, which can cause your rankings to drop.
By optimizing their content, we were able to rank this real estate brokerage firm at the top spot for 5 non-branded keywords on Google.
You should also have a substantial amount of copy on each page of your site. Do not just have one big header photo and a short paragraph. Although big photos look nice, search engines won’t have much content to crawl. The more content you give search engines to crawl the more likely they are to rank your site higher.
Remember, you are creating your site for human users first and then search engines. Google is smart and knows when content is not helpful to people on the web.
Images on your site
Every website should have photos. They can help keep users engaged, showcase products, and even increase your rankings. Search engines can’t physically see the photos on your site but they can read alt tags. Every image on your site should have an alt tag. This is a description of your photo for search engines to read when they crawl your site. Alt tags should include your target keywords in their descriptions. If every alt tag on your page is your target keyword verbatim, Google won’t like this because it’s not useful for them to know what your photos are.
In WordPress you can find your image alt tags in your media library by clicking on any photo. You will be able to see the image URL, the title of the image, alt text and where it was uploaded. You can also see the file type and size. Make sure your images are not too big or it can slow down your site.
Your URL’s should also be optimized for search engines and for your site users. Guess what your URL’s should include? Yup you guessed it, your target keywords.
If your page has the target keyword in the URL and clearly displayed throughout the page in an organized fashion, visitors know exactly what the page is about and so does Google. If your page does not include the keyword in the URL or on the page, both your users and Google have to do extra work to figure out what your page is about.
Internal linking is a tool you should be using to build page hierarchy. If you don’t have any idea what internal linking is, Wikipedia’s internal linking game is strong. Everything in blue is an internal link that links out to another page on the site where users can gain additional information. Wikipedia’s linking is a bit excessive so you don’t have to link to this extent, but you should link back to other pages at least once if not several times per page.
Internal linking can also help users navigate your site. If there is a word they are unsure of and you have linked to another page on your site that explains that word, they are going to click on it. This means that they are visiting more pages on your site as well as spending more time on your site which makes you look good to Google.
Step 4: Google My Business
You know that side bar that pops up when you search for a business is Google? It tells you when it’s open, gives you a phone number, address, and maybe even some photos.
This is a Google My Business profile, a free listing that every business should take advantage of.
Claiming your business on Google is as simple as literally Googling “Google my business.” You can go through this process yourself or have a digital marketing company to help you set it up! It is crucial that all of your information is the same across all of your platforms so that you don’t confuse search engines. Google is smart but if you have 3 different versions of your business name, they might think these are three different business or duplicates of one business. This can be problematic and a big headache for you so save yourself some trouble and be consistent.
Google My Business can be a powerful tool to get customers in your doors. This is where Google reviews of your business will appear. You can respond and interact with customers through these reviews. You can also optimize your GMB listing so that you rank in local searches. Optimize your description, add posts and make sure you give Google all of the information they ask for. Leaving something blank could potentially hurt all the hard work you have done.
Step 5: Keep Going
SEO only works if you keep doing it by performing with the pros call ongoing SEO. Do not just stop after you have completed your on-page optimization. You need to keep your site up to date with current information and copy that engages your users as well as keep up with design trends and make updates accordingly. Your ongoing strategy is just as important as your initial optimization process. Your ongoing strategy will need to be composed of backlinks and blogging as well as keeping your content fresh and up to date. Search engines are constantly crawling the web looking for the best content to show to users. Keep feeding them new content and they’ll keep coming back to your site.