Simply put, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the set of practices that helps your organization’s website achieve a higher ranking in online search engine results. However, you may ask yourself, “Why should I worry about where my business appears in the search results?”.
Consider this: 75% of the users never click past the first page of the search results for a query and 35% of all the clicks are shared by the first three organic results on the first page.
Two aspects are quite clear from this:
1. Users really trust websites that search engines provide them in the results for their search query;
2. They compare only a limited number of alternatives before they make a choice.
Furthermore, the leads generated from organic searches have a closing rate as high as 14.6%. But it doesn’t stop there.
Your online presence also has an effect on your offline business results. An early consumer survey showed that three out of four shoppers who find helpful information online are more likely to visit stores.
This is why SEO is so crucial. With SEO, a business can earn the trust of its customers and make sure it’s part of their considered options.
So, how is SEO able to achieve this? Here’s a brief overview of what makes it work.
Step 1: Where are you right now?
SEO’s strength lies in the fact that it’s completely data-driven. Almost everything can be translated into curves and figures. Thus, we can always tell when we’re successful, when we’re not, and where we have gone wrong.
The first step of SEO would be to examine your current position and analyze your digital presence’s strengths and weaknesses. This is called a web visibility audit and it will help you outline what needs to be done and how you can define the priorities for your SEO strategy.
Step 2: Who are you up against?
Knowing your competitors is also a very important part of your SEO. Understanding their strategy and positioning, checking their own ranking, site links and social media presence – all of this will help to give direction to your own strategy.
Is it pointless to try to compete with a business that has a really strong online presence? It might be, but a comprehensive assessment will reveal your competitors’ key success factors and support your creation of a realistic campaign plan.
Step 3: Which words are used?
A keyword audit analyzes the words and phrases your audience uses to search for businesses like yours. The most common approach involves finding the relevant keywords, their potential to generate traffic and the level of competition for each one. But a complete keyword audit must go beyond the words that are used, and help you understand the way they are used.
Instead of looking for patterns, algorithms will be re-programmed to fetch results based on the meaning of the query instead of the words, providing more accurate results.
This is why semantic SEO is the present and future of online marketing. It’s no longer just about ranking for a bunch of words, but it will also take into account:
- The context and meaning of the word
- Sentiments and opinions of users about the content
- Geolocation and language
- How new and up-to-date the content is
- Author’s credibility
Step 4: What should you optimize?
Once you have a clear idea of your competition and customers, you can start working on the real optimization of your digital presence. A technical audit will reveal all the elements that can be optimized, such as:
- Site architecture and navigation
- Web crawling accessibility or traps
- Relevance of keywords to pages to which they are mapped
- URL structure
- Link health
- Duplicated content and domain
- Keyword inclusion in meta-tags, title, description, etc.
- Image titles and alternate text
- Internal anchor texts
- Schema and rich snippets
- Hreflang attribute (also referred to as rel="alternate" hreflang="x") in case of multilingual pages
Step 5: Putting things togetherYou have just started your digital channels optimization running with on-page optimization. Your next concern should be off-page optimization, where you’ll focus on additional strategies to improve the authority of your online presence and website. A complete SEO campaign includes getting quality inbound links to your website or blogs, creating content that matches your customer’s needs and concerns, and making sure it will be easy for them to find it.
If you follow this quick SEO strategy outline, you will learn the first steps to filter dead-end leads and irrelevant traffic in a way that your efforts concentrate on actual potential customers.
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