The number one search result on the first page of Google gets a CTR of more than 30%. This is substantially higher than the other results on the same page.
The best way to get on top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is to design a solid SEO campaign.
Image via Advanced Web Ranking
SEO refers to techniques that focus on bringing organic traffic from the search engines to your website. With SEO, your brand can boost your brand awareness, sales, and visibility. It’s a long-term strategy that can help you grow your business.
SEO is necessary for all businesses because the search engines do not understand the content on a website. Through an SEO campaign, you can communicate what your website is about to the search engines. This, in turn, can help you get a top ranking on the SERPs.
Now that you know why SEO is important, let’s see how you can design a solid SEO campaign.
All successful SEO strategies require consistent hard work. The prerequisite to designing a successful SEO campaign is the willingness to devote a lot of time and effort to it.
Here are the key elements that you will need to work on:
Your entire SEO campaign depends on your keywords. They are phrases or words that your audience is most likely to use in search queries. If you use the right keywords, you’re likely to get more traffic and better rankings.
Image via Google
To find the most popular keywords in your niche, you can use keyword research tools. SEMrush, KWFinder, and Google Keyword Planner are great tools to get suggestions of suitable keywords.
While picking keywords for your SEO campaign, keep in mind your audience’s interests and preferences. To understand these better, look at the kind of content they resonate with.
It’s also a good idea to identify your competitors and look at their targeted keywords. You can find your competitors’ keywords through the keyword tools mentioned above.
Another easy way to find keywords is through discussion forums. For this, enter search queries that are relevant to your business on Reddit and Quora.
On these platforms, dig in to find the most popular discussion threads. This will give you an idea of what your target audience is talking about.
In addition to this, take into account search queries that come from voice search. Typically, they are longer and have a conversational tone. Many voice search queries are local in nature and include phrases like “near me.”
Once you have a list of keywords that you think are worth targeting in your SEO campaign, it’s time to analyze them. Check how easy or difficult it is to rank for a keyword. While most keyword research tools have this feature, you can also check it another way.
For this, you need to install the Moz toolbar on your web browser. Search for your target keywords on Google and look at the first few results.
For each of the links, check out the domain authority (DA) score through Moz toolbar. If most of these sites have DA score below 50, you have a fairly good chance of ranking for it.
For any successful SEO campaign, content is always king. The quality of content you create has a great impact on your search rankings. Based on the keywords that you shortlist, you need to create high-quality content.
For crawlers to understand what your content is about, keywords are important. Therefore, you should seamlessly integrate your keywords into your content. Ideally, for long-tail, semantic, and LSI keywords, you should keep the keyword density at 0.5% – 1%.
However, do not stuff your content with keywords. It can be counterproductive for your SEO campaign. Google’s Panda update was introduced to penalize websites that indulged in unfair, black hat tactics. Duplicating content, keyword stuffing, and content scraping can put you at risk of being penalized.
To create high-quality content, try to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What are the questions they are likely to have? Your content should aim to address their questions and problems.
In addition to this, make sure your content is easily scannable for mobile users. It’s a good idea to write short paragraphs and to divide your content into logical sections.
Not only will it make your content look more organized, it will also decrease your bounce rate and increase your dwell time.
To prevent your content from becoming outdated, try to pick evergreen topics. For any non-evergreen topics, update your content regularly so that it stays accurate and relevant.
You can repurpose your old content and adapt it into different formats to create fresh content. For instance, you can turn a blog post into a podcast or an infographic.
In addition to this, you should produce more video content. A Cisco survey revealed that 82% of all consumer internet traffic would be comprised of video content by 2021. While a high retention rate is an added advantage, videos can also impact your SEO campaign directly as well.
Google now features video content in search results. So, pay attention to the meta descriptions and titles of your videos and include keywords in both. This will help make sure your videos appear for related searches.
The strength of your website’s inbound link profile can determine the success of your SEO campaign. Search engines perceive your website as a trustworthy source when several websites with high-authority provide you with backlinks.
Publishing quality content is the best way to get backlinks from high-authority websites. But that’s not all. Increasing your visibility across different platforms is also necessary for your SEO campaign. For this, guest posting is a commonly used strategy.
Another way to increase your website’s visibility is through social media. While your posts on social media platforms may not have direct impact on SEO, they can help you get more engagement.
If your content goes viral, your inbound link profile will be stronger. This, in turn, can boost your SEO campaign.
Likewise, collaborating with influencers and bloggers in your niche can help you earn quality backlinks quickly. Since their reach is massive, you can also expect a boost in your brand awareness and visibility.
Search engines want to provide users with the best user experience. So, in addition to creating high quality content, providing a smooth user experience should also be a top priority of your SEO campaign.
If your web pages take a long time to load, it can turn away potential customers. In 2018, Google announced that it was a ranking factor for mobile searches as well. According to Google, 53% of mobile users abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Therefore, for your SEO, page-loading speed is a factor that you simply can’t ignore.
To boost your page loading speed, you need to figure out what is slowing down your website. Heavy images, a wrong website theme, or even too many embedded media elements — they can all negatively affect your page loading speed.
To analyze your website’s page-loading speed, you can use tools like PageSpeed Insights tool, TestMySite, and Lighthouse.
If heavy images are bogging down your SEO campaign, you can use a WordPress plugin like Smush. It has options for lossless compression, which means that you can compress your images without affecting the image quality.
Designing a good site architecture should be at the core of your SEO campaign. Think of site architecture as a way to make it easier for crawlers to access your content and index it. At the same time, it can provide users with a smooth navigation.
All websites have some site architecture. It could be well-planned or a disorganized mess of web pages. The best way to create good site structure is to start working on it early on. With less content, it will be easier for you to organize it.
Image via Blogging Hammer
To design your site architecture, you need to be clear about your content and how you want to divide it up into categories. Establishing a clear hierarchy between them is essential.
Clearly defined categories and sub-categories are crucial for ecommerce websites. It helps users conveniently find products from different categories.
Additionally, internal links are also useful in giving structure to your site’s content. When Google’s spiders crawl your web pages, internal links make it easier for them to pull out older blog posts. In terms of your SEO campaign, this can help you get indexed faster and bring you more traffic.
Increased usage of products like Google Home and Amazon Echo has made voice searches more popular. You no longer need to sit in front of a computer to browse the internet. According to Gartner, by 2020, 30% of all web browsing will be done without a screen.
People are quickly switching to voice-based queries. Keeping this in mind, you need to adapt your SEO campaign. To achieve the top rankings for voice searches, you need to understand how these queries differ from text-based queries.
70% of requests that Google Assistant receives are not keyword specific but are conversational in tone. Even if they do include keywords, they are mostly long-tail keywords.
For example, a user may search for, “London flights,” while typing a search query. However, for voice-based search queries, users are likely to search for, “Cost of New York to London flight.”
Another common characteristic of voice-based queries is that most of them come in the form of a question. People are likely to begin their search queries with “What,” “How,” “Where,” “When,” or “Why.”
For a long time, SEO experts have stressed the need for keywords in your content. But the rules of the game are changing. Your SEO campaign needs a fresh perspective on content.
To optimize your content for voice search, you can create content to answer the most frequently asked questions. Not just that, make sure to include these questions and long-tail keywords in your headings and sub-headings.
Just like search queries, the devices that people use to browse the internet have also changed. Earlier, desktop traffic was the focus of most SEO campaigns. However, in 2018, 52.2% of global website traffic came from smartphones.
To keep up with this changing trend, you need to optimize your website for multiple devices. While designing your website, keep in mind that your website should be accessible from phones, tablets, and laptops.
Image via Hospitality Net
A responsive, mobile-friendly site doesn’t require that users zoom in or zoom out. It’s all about providing a smooth user experience. Not just that, it can directly impact your search rankings.
Google recognizes that a large number of users now use mobile phones. To make browsing more convenient for users, they introduced mobile-first indexing.
Simply put, Google uses a website’s mobile web page version for ranking and indexing. And the readiness of website for mobile-indexing is a criteria that Google uses to evaluate a website.
Because of this policy, websites that aren’t mobile-friendly are set to lose out big time. It’s clear that Google wants webmasters to choose a responsive design and gives priority to mobile customers.
Therefore, optimizing your website for mobile phones and other devices should be an integral part of your SEO campaign.
46% of all Google searches are associated with local information. People are constantly looking for places to eat and things to do in their own neighborhood. If you want to take your SEO campaign to the next level, you can’t ignore local SEO.
In fact, 69% of users search for a local business at least once a month. That means a huge opportunity for businesses looking to grow. All you need to do is focus on local SEO to make your brand more visible.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you own. Whether you run a salon or pet store, local SEO is a necessity for all businesses.
The first step to work towards your local SEO strategy is to work on your local citations and it’s working toward improving your website seo. People use FourSquare, Yelp, and other similar sites to discover new businesses. So, you need to make sure you are visible on these platforms.
Alternatively, you could also focus on your local SEO coverage and use discussion threads on Reddit, Quora, Twitter, Facebook, and other such platforms to get more visibility.
In addition to this, you should focus on creating local content. Look at what people around you are complaining about. What are the major pain points for them? Then think of ways your services or products can solve them. Based on that, create content.
Another way of incorporating local SEO into your SEO campaign is to showcase customer reviews. When other people are searching for businesses, user reviews can add social proof and lend some credibility.
Working towards achieving your goals for your SEO campaign isn’t enough. You need to constantly analyze what’s working for you. Even if you are an expert, chances are you won’t get everything right the first time you start your SEO campaign.
If you want to create a successful campaign, you need to use a trial-and-error approach. You will make mistakes, so you need to learn from them.
Conducting an SEO audit is a great way of doing this. It will tell you which aspect of your overall SEO strategy needs a bit of tweaking. Schedule SEO audits at regular intervals so that you can keep your goals in check.
To conduct your SEO audit, you can use many different tools during your SEO campaign. Here are a few of them along with their features:
From backlink research to keyword research and competitive analysis, Ahrefs can help you with everything. It’s a comprehensive tool meant to help you improve your SEO campaign. With this tool, you can even get weekly and monthly tracking reports.
If you are looking for a free tool for your SEO campaign, there is nothing better than Google Analytics. Using it, you can get insights into your page views, visitor demographics, and more. And it’s designed in such a way that it’s easy-to-use.
This SEO tool has a special focus on local SEO. Moz’s Local tool is aimed at helping you manage your local business listings. On the other hand, MozPro comes with a link analysis feature. It gives you live metrics to help you figure out how your web pages are faring. Using their keyword explorer, you can find the best keywords to target.
There is a lot more to designing a successful SEO campaign than picking the right keywords. From earning high-quality backlinks to optimizing your website for mobile devices, and page-loading speed to voice searches, there is a lot to take care of.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the Co-Founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.