SEO is often viewed as behind-the-scenes algorithm manipulations and trickery, when in reality it’s just a series of core steps and actions you need to take, to make your website rank better. An efficient SEO strategy can be broken down to the following three components, which make the whole thing look less intimidating after all.
Step 1: On-site Optimization
On-site optimization strategy consists of the following elements:
- Your Content
- Website Structure
- Layout of your website
Search engines regularly crawl your website to get a better understanding of its contents and to display it respectively in search results. The most important general on-page ranking factors include:
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions help Google understand what’s the topic and purpose of a certain webpage. Both of these should be written in plain simple language with one main keyword included. Don’t toy around with keyword stuffing as it’s likely to bring you no good.
Website Navigation should be simple to follow, free from cumbersome subcategories of subcategories and easy-to-navigate both for users and search engines.
Website Speed has become one of the major ranking factors lately, especially when it comes to mobile. Run a Google Speed Test to get some insights. Optimize your images, keep the code clean and consider ditching flash.
Interlink Your Content to make sure it takes few clicks to get from one page to any other page on your website. Interlinking your content also helps search engines understand the relations between different pages on your websites and identify their hierarchy in terms of importance.
Optimize Permalinks Structure. Keep the URLs short, sweet and descriptive e.g. /seo-strategy/ instead of /how-to-develop-a-winning-seo-strategy-for-startups/.
Relevant, Unique Content. Don’t write for search engines – write for your users. While including relevant keywords in the content and sub-headings is essential, again don’t place your bet on keyword stuffing. A landing page should have at least 500 words of unique content, and most times the more words – the better.
Website Security. Keep an eye on your Google Webmaster Tools alerts and fix all the problems immediately. Hacked, insecure or broken websites quickly disappear from search results.
Step 2: Creating Better Content
Considering you have sorted out all the tech ends of your website, optimized existing service and landing pages and website navigation, it’s time to move to content marketing. Producing and publishing quality content regularly should be a major part of your SEO strategy. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Blogging and content marketing increases the number of pages search engines can index meaning more search terms you can rank for.
- Your blog posts can serve as linkable assets to attract organic links and mentions from other resources, meaning higher domain authority and better overall rankings.
- Google tends to rank higher websites, which publish fresh content regularly rather than those, which don’t.
However, the benefits of publishing regular content do not end with SEO. The main purpose of content marketing is to leverage your brand, seed awareness about your company, connect with a new audience by offering valuable and educational content, plus increase the trust factor.
“Content marketing is essential for early-stage startups. Considering that you have low-marketing budgets, it’s your best way to get qualified leads without paid advertising and land media coverage without paying to PR companies. Pitching your content and ideas to journalists, connecting with influencers and having them promote your product for you is easier when you have a visible trace of expertise and value offered as free content at your companies blog,” – says Kotton Grammer, owner of Kottongrammer.com SEO agency
Step 3: Off-Site Optimization
The last, but definitely not least component, of your SEO strategy is off-site optimization a.k.a. acquiring links and expanding your presence on outside platforms.
Now the first thing to remember is – one great link is worth more than a thousand of controversial links, often offered by some companies “to guarantee 1st page on Google in one week.” What they often forget to mention is that afterwards may come years of oblivion if your website gets penalized.
You should focus on acquiring links organically – that why you need an efficient content marketing strategy in the first place. Build relationships with influencers, outreach to offer cross-promotion agreements, acquire links and traffic via content re-publishing and the guestographic approach – an infographic pitch to a blogger along with along with additional commentary.