SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO plays a major role in your digital marketing strategy. As a matter of fact it is so important that I have included it as one of the major 5 pillars on internet marketing.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization has been around since the beginning of search engines. It allows you to rank your website in the search engines and get 100% free traffic to your website. However, SEO is not free. It requires a diligent marketing strategy that is well thought out and executed.
Let’s look at the major components of a good SEO strategy.
- On page (your website) content designed with SEO and SILO structures
- On page internal linking
- Solid Market Research knowing the numbers you are facing
- Off page SEO plan and content distribution system
- External Linking plan to build links (off page seo)
- Video SEO
- Social Media SEO and Hashtags
Solid Market Research Knowing the Numbers You Are Facing
Once again, we turn to our first phase of your digital marketing strategy and look closely at your market research data. At this point, we are going to dig deeper into our market research and organize it in a way that will help you develop a comprehensive SEO strategy.
When you do market research, as I mentioned, you are going to want to have a good understanding of know only the number of searches being done on a specific term, but also how competitive that term is and ultimately what you are going to have to do to rank for that term.
You now know if you have been through the other pillars, that some keywords are going to be VERY difficult to attain a first-page ranking. It can be done, but realistically it is going to take a long and dedicated effort that will be both time consuming and expensive.
It is important as I have pointed out that your overall theme (mine is internet marketing and digital marketing) and your subthemes (mine are market research, website design, content strategy, SEO, Conversion, paid ads) are all related to each other and have a potential for a lot of traffic.
I know that I will not be ranking for any of those major terms anytime soon and that is fine. If I was to rank for those terms, it would be a huge influx of traffic to my website. However, it is not necessary as I know by ranking lots of lesser traffic content will add up over time.
I know that there are thousands and thousands of related terms that will support my overall theme and also the subtopic or silos of my theme. My SEO goals will be to develop content around those Silos and find terms that I can rank for, some easy and others more difficult.
When looking at SEO, it is very important to understand the term long tail phrases. Long tail phrases are phrases that typically have one of your silo keywords in them but have other words that indicated a more specific search that people do. This allows you to build content that is very targeted and solves a particular problem.
After your initial Silo structured content is developed, then you will want to proceed to build SEO content based on your market research that you will be able to rank for within a month or 2. Sometimes this can happen faster, but not usually until your website become well established. The more authoritative your website becomes, the more you will be favored in the search engines. This can only be done over time and development of solid, high-quality content.
By utilizing deep market research data, you will be able to quickly determine what content you can build initially that will allow for some traffic to begin finding your website. Also, this content will always be supporting your major silos as well. They will reinforce what your site is about.
Therefore, it is critical you have an SEO plan. You do not want to go off topic on your website.
Basic SEO and Understanding How Competitive it is.
The important aspects you are going to want to understand at this stage of your SEO plan is, how competitive is the term based on competition. If the term is too competitive then you are going to struggle to get any traffic in the beginning stages.
One of the main ways to look at competition is called All In Title. What this means is how many pages on the internet are using that exact phrase you are targeting in the title of the content.
The way to discover this is to go to google.com and put in allintitle: (keyword phrase).
This is going to give you the exact number of pages that have already used this phrase in the title of the content. Initially, if it is over 5000 pages, you may want to shy away from that phrase till your website has some traction in the search engines. Usually to rank for more difficult phrases is going to require a backlinking strategy as well.
If you built your site with the construct I have talked about, this is going to help tremendously. However, as the competition gets more difficult you will also have to have a longer and more time consuming backlinking strategy to rank that content.
Basically, the more competitive the phrase is, the more backlinks you will need to rank that content. These backlinks will come from other web properties that link back to your website.
You now understand the basis of SEO and Market Research and how they tie together. Let’s move on to the next part of SEO….
On page SEO and Silo Structure
When you first construct your website, it is critical it is designed correctly when it comes to long term viability and long-term SEO. The way to do this is discussed in the website construct and design area of this site and by using a silo site structure.
Remember we are not really concerned about ranking for these short and most often VERY difficult phrases to rank for that are being utilized for our theme and sub-topics. What we want is a solid structure that is all tied directly to the overall theme.
If you do this part wrong, then your site will most likely suffer in the long run.
As you will see on my website. I have a home page that covers all the major subtopics in a brief overview. I additionally added the Pillars of Digital Marketing page. Then I created my subtopics as PAGES not posts. These are static pages that are not going to change. The home page links out to these subtopics as well as the Pillars page, and each subtopic links back to the home page and my pillars page. It is ok to have a very small number of links pointing to other subtopics, however, do your best to keep all your links tightly related to each other and do not cross-link to other topics too much.
This type of linking structure will allow for a great user experience who is looking for information about a certain subtopic and it is also fantastic for the search engines who will come and crawl your website. You do not want to confuse the search engines and have them haphazardly crawling your website. Lead the search engines on a logical path and lead your visitors on a logical path so they find the information they are looking for quickly.
Next up is more on internal linking and on page SEO
Ongoing SEO Internet Linking Strategy
So, we have a home page and a certain number of major topic pages that link to the home page.
Next, we are going to build a strong on-page SEO strategy within our ongoing internal linking structure. Every piece of content we develop is going to fall within one of our major subtopics.
When we write that content, it will go on our blog. Our blog will also have a very tight category structure that is logical and related. An example would be when I write about the content marketing strategy sub-topic on my blog. I am going to find a keyword phrase that is related to content marketing within my market research data, and then when that piece of content is completed and put up on my blog, I will then link that blog post to my content marketing strategy overview sub-topic silo. I will NOT be linking from the Silo page to my blog. All blog content is always going to be well structured and it will point back and support my subtopics or silos and in turn that will support my overall them. It will also point to other related content on my blog as well. This will engage the visitor and allow them to find other content related to the content they entered the site on.
This brings up another important tidbit of knowledge. Many people are going to find your website from a specific piece of content, not necessarily your home page. This supports the concept of each piece of content is its own entity on your website. It has its own URL.
Internal linking is a critical component and when it is done right, again your users will have a good experience and the search engines will continue to crawl back to and support your subthemes and your overall theme of your website.
Next, let’s look at Your off-page SEO and Backlinking strategy.
SEO Ranking Includes Time On Your Website
One of the keys to a ranking website has been and always will be viewed by Google as “is this information important and do people who see it find it important?
Well, how would you know this? There are multiple ways this can be interpreted and within my SEO courses, I cover this in much more detail.
However, one of the big factors Google looks at is how long someone stays on your website. If people do not find what they are looking for when they visit, then they will quickly leave. The speed and patience of what people are looking for in time, is decreasing. If they land on your page and can’t quickly scan your content and see that you may have an answer for what they are looking for, then they are gone.
In my writing for the web courses, I discuss this in greater detail and how to structure your content correctly. It is vital you have a good understanding of how your site should be structured so they stay on your webpage.
If too many people leave quickly, Google will know this and deem your content as not relevant or important. Therefore, your content should always be of very high quality. In the olden days, you could get away with so-so content and still get traffic. Today your content must be of expert level and quality. It must answer the questions of your audience and hold value to them. Ultimately it is NOT about SEO, it is about your user’s experience. Both are important, good SEO and user experience.
Create A Back-linking Strategy
As you go through your market research data and your competition you are facing, you will be able to make some judgment calls about how difficult it will be to rank your content.
Depending on how difficult it is, you may need to write several pieces on that phrase, and you will need to obtain backlinks from other websites out there. Example…If I want to rank for Content Marketing Strategy, I will have to develop content not only on my site but have content out there on other websites and web properties that tie back or links back to my page or content on content marketing strategy. The number of links you may need depends on the quality of the link you are getting back, its relevancy, and the sheer number.
There are tools you can use to analyze your competition and where they are getting their backlinks. This is a powerful SEO strategy as when you know this data, it will allow you to sort of mimic what they are doing to get their content ranking.
Therefore, it is so critical you keep an eye on and define who your competitors are. You will have a way to pinpoint what you will need to do to outdo them.
Without this data, you are just shooting arrows in the dark and you have no real plan. You will get frustrated when your content and website is not ranking.
Next up is…
Because video is playing such a huge role today, you must acknowledge that a good part of your content marketing strategy is going to revolve around video.
Creating video is now a mainstream aspect of any website development plan. So, it would make sense that your video also has an SEO Component to it.
When you create a video say for YouTube. Once again, the title is going to play a major role in the video. Every video on YouTube has a Title. With your market research data, you should have spent some time looking at your competitors’ videos and rankings on YouTube.
Any type of content you create, including video, should have a marketing plan attached to it. With video, you are going to utilize several components to SEO your video.
Number 1 is the title of your video should obviously match your content in the video, and the title, as when you write ANY title of any content should include your main keyword and it should grab the user’s attention. This is the make or breaks aspect of every piece of content you every create. If the title does not engage the visitor, then they are on to the next video, or piece of content.
I have a whole course dedicated to this aspect of writing titles…It is that important.
Next, YouTube and other video sites, give you a place to write a description. Here is a great opportunity to link back to your website for one thing. Next, utilize this area to write a powerful description of what the video is about. Google can not SEO the actual video itself beyond the name of the video (so use the keyword before uploading the video in the name of the video file), so it is going to look at your title and your description to determine where it should be placed not only on YOUTUBE but also on Google.
Utilize this description area to the max to engage your reader as well. Use latent semantic language throughout the description to get a great reach with each video.
Also, the other aspect of the video is Hashtags. These are typically single word phrases that use the # in front of the word. This is how many of the Social media sites and video sites utilize SEO. You will always want to use some hashtags that are related to your video.
Often you can look at your competitors and high-ranking videos to get an idea of the descriptions, titles, and hashtags they are using. If they are working for them and they are ranking high in YouTube, then you should be utilizing a similar or even better title, description, and hashtags. I often look at several of the top videos around a keyword and will analyze their title, descriptions, and hashtags to help me formulate my video SEO.
Which leads us to the last topic on SEO…
Social Media SEO and Hashtags
Social Media and SEO? You Bet Ya. By using hashtags you can get found and traffic through social media. Plus engagement of your content from social media to your website is also viewed as important in ranking your website.
Hashtags are used by all social media sites to help people find content on social media sites. You are going to want to utilize them on each and every post to help people find your content on social media. You will also be using tags on your website as part of your SEO strategy. Now I am not talking about your Facebook personal wall. We are talking about your business presence on these sites. Your Facebook page, community, and groups.
With other social sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn, hashtags play a vital role in social media SEO.
I have courses that are dedicated to each social media site and how to master them to your advantage.
Social media content is handled much differently than other content, however, the impact and getting eyeballs on your content is the same. The beauty of social media is once a piece of content is picked up by others and shared, it can be a huge windfall of traffic to your website when done correctly.
Viral content can explode your business when you can create the right kind of content that people are willing to share and get excited about. Look for my class on creating viral content that will be coming up soon.
Ok so there is more to SEO then what I have covered here, however, this gives you a well-rounded idea about what SEO is about. It is so important to bring all these components together when developing your website. Maximizing every piece of content to its fullest potential is the aim of each piece of content. It takes time to create great content, so make sure you utilize it to its fullest and incorporate all the SEO you can into each one.
SEO Recap 1
Time on your website, or what is know as bounce rate is very important to SEO.
SEO RECAP 2
An excellent internal linking structure is very important to SEO
SEO RECAP 3
An outstanding backlinking strategy is very important to SEO
SEO RECAP 4
Video SEO plays a critical role today in your overall SEO Plan
SEO RECAP 5
Keyword and Market research will be utilized ongoing as part of your SEO Strategy
SEO RECAP 6
Latent Semantic Content is key to authoritative positioning
SEO RECAP 7
Hashtags play an important role in your SEO and traffic plan
SEO RECAP 8
Backlinking will be an ongoing strategy to rank for more difficult keywords