SEO: 4 Simple Steps to Better Rankings, More Traffic, and New Leads
Your business or product is for someone specific.
A specific target market, audience or community.
You solve the problems this market has. That’s your specialty. So you design your services around their needs.
Every business card, brochure, and advertising piece is scrutinized heavily to meet their expectations.
But when you move online… that message is lost.
Each page is generalized, intended for a mass audience.
But you don’t want a mass audience. You want a specific audience. The audience who wants what you sell, and is actively looking for you online.
The key to more online success is by getting specific.
And online, specific means keyphrases. That’s how people search and identify what it is you do.
But not just any keyphrases. You want specific keyphrases that match what you do and what your specific audience wants.
Keyword research is a way to target a specific keyword phrase for each page or post, in order to rank higher in search results.
It isn’t about tricking or manipulating the search engines, but rather it’s a way to let Google know exactly what the article is about by being fully descriptive. This will help you get higher search engine rankings, which exposes your content to more people.
Why do you want to rank higher? According to SEOmoz, an SEO software firm, over 60% of the time people click on one of the top four rankings for a keyphrase. The top spot alone is clicked 42% of the time.
Image Source: Moz
So our goal is to build long-term, sustainable traffic by targeting specific keyphrases.
1. Keyphrase Research Basics
So you have an idea in mind for a post or page. At this point, you’ll want to check out some possible keyword variations that you should target.
Typically, these will be based on a brand, company, location, product or service.
Remember to focus on real words that your audience would use. Don’t use complex or “academic” type words. For example, you would want to use the word “cars” instead of “vehicles”.
We’re going to target long-tail keyphrases, as a way to go after search phrases with the most volume and least competition.
Now when you look at what people search for, you’ll see a huge “head” of searches for general terms or brands. The huge drop off is called the “tail” of search engine results.
Although the search volume is much less, the entire tail actually makes up approximately 70% of user searches.
So for example, a “head” keyword might be “Las Vegas”, while the “tail” keyphrase might be “Best Show in Las Vegas”. Not only is it much easier to rank for the tail keyphrase based on less competition, but it’s also more relevant to what people are searching for.
If you wanted to find information about a show in Las Vegas, then just searching for “Las Vegas” won’t give you what you’re looking for. You’ll find information about gambling, restaurants, hotels, other shows, and other interesting things.
When people use search engines, they have intent. They use long-tail keyphrases because they’re looking for something specific. When they find what they want, they’re happy. They stay longer, and will hopefully come back.
So that’s the point of keyword research. You’re trying to make your articles as descriptive as possible so that they’re ranked higher for people looking for that information.
The 4 Basic Categories of an Effective SEO Strategy
There may be over 200 SEO factors involved in determining search engine rankings.
That’s a lot.
You can’t possibly hit every single one. Nor do you want to even try.
But you have to do something. And spreading yourself too thin will only be worse.
So you need to focus on the essential, and forget everything else.
The major SEO factors can be grouped into 4 categories.
Focus on these, and you’ll succeed.
These 4 areas have to work together. Only doing one is worthless.
It’s not hard, but it does take work. Here’s an easy SEO strategy that only takes 4 things to worry about.
1. Research the right Keywords
Any good SEO program is founded on good keywords. These are what your customers search for. These are how they’ll find you.
Keywords define your target customers intent. Use their language and pain points to figure out how they search.
Focus on keywords that are specific, but match your competitiveness. This is called a long-tail strategy.
You may not be able to compete with “Shoe Store”, but you can compete with “Orange County Shoe Store”.
Now look up specific keywords that have strong search volume.
How competitive are they? Are the sites that currently rank for that keyword much bigger and more established than you?
Do you think you can outrank them?
That’s the essence of good keyword research.
Every post you publish needs to have one main point, and no more.
This helps keep things as clear and specific as possible.
People need to immediately know what you’re talking about when they land on your site.
You do this by targeting a specific topic, and optimizing your post to make it as specific as possible.
But before you do that, you need to do some basic research that will tell you exactly what to target.
In 15 minutes, you can solve generic blog posts and give each page some meaning.
You do that by doing keyword research, and using those keyphrases in your posts and pages.
Now because you’re so busy, our goal is to do basic keyword research and make it as quick and effective as possible.
There are two things we’re looking for and comparing during keyword research.
2. Optimize your pages and posts
Optimizing your post means inserting the keyphrase into specific areas of a post that show the highest correlation to ranking factors.
If it isn’t logical, or detracts from the user experience, then simply leave it out. Our goal isn’t to force keyphrases into inappropriate places. We just want to be as descriptive as possible.
1. Title: When crafting your headline for search engine purposes, try to fit the keyphrase in towards the beginning. You need to balance the best headline with being as descriptive as possible.
2. Meta Description: The meta description is the brief intro to your article that shows in search engine rankings just below the headline. Keyphrases in the meta description don’t help you rank higher. But when people use that keyphrase, it’s given extra emphasis. You should use good copywriting in the description to try and increase your click-through-rate (CTR).
3. URL: Use the keyphrase in your URL to give a clean, informative URL structure for both people and search engines. Try to keep it as simple as possible, and avoid unnecessary words or number strings.
4. Additional Header Tags: If you’re using sub-headers to break up the text or differentiating other sections, you should use the keyphrase in sub-head tags. So you would write it as:
6. Tags: Tags are what your users are searching for within your website. So it’s smart to put that keyphrase there as well. You should put any other related words that may be appropriate for your user’s searches within your site.
7. Image ALT attribute: You should always use images in your posts. When inserting an image, you should put the specific keyphrase in the “ALT Attribute” section.
And that’s it! Simple, right? You don’t have to worry about keyword density, or anything like that.
However we’re not done yet. Once you publish it, the work isn’t over.
3. Always look for backlink opportunities
In the online world, links are considered votes. The more votes you have, the more trustworthy you become.
Links pointing to your website from other people are huge for SEO.
But only if they’re the right kind of links.
That doesn’t mean buying or swapping links. That isn’t good enough anymore.
You need to get real links from real people who like, appreciate and recommend what you offer.
4. Get social and make connections
Social media presents a unique opportunity. But only if you know what you’re doing.
It’s the best way to build an audience and increase your influence.
Audience + Influence = Success
So you need to be active and make connections with other people in your space.
Where does your target market hang out online? Where do they go for answers?
Who influences them?
Find those people slowly build a relationship with them.
Overtime they’ll recommend you. And their community will recommend you too. That’s word of mouth.
If you want to move up the rankings, build a community and make more money, then focus on these 4 simple things.
Forget everything else. It will just slow you down.