If you’ve been paying attention to the search engine optimization (SEO) marketing world for a few years, you might remember a time when everything revolved around keywords. SEO marketers talked shop about keyword densities the way baseball players talk about batting averages. While keyword selection is still important, times have changed and search algorithms have evolved. These days, you need an SEO strategy that delivers value to visitors if you want to deliver results. Here are four ways to build out your SEO marketing plan, so your online presence will stay relevant.
Build Better Clusters
Instead of thinking in terms of keywords, it’s more effective to think in terms of keyword clusters. Think of these as your main buckets of subjects. In fact, these are usually the same content categories you’ll probably be using on your website. If we look at Design at Work, for example, our content “buckets” or clusters include topics like SEO, branding, email marketing and website design.
Your industry will be different, but choose a handful of five or six subjects that are highly relevant to your clients. For example, a veterinarian specializing in family pets may choose to build content around cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, and small, cuddly rodents. Choosing the right topic clusters will help you organically find the most relevant keywords and subjects to appeal to your audience.
Once you’ve chosen the overall subjects your site will cover, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Look for long-tail keywords within those subjects and write content that explains or addresses those topics. So, what’s a long-tail keyword? It’s a word or phrase related to the topic that doesn’t have a high search volume. But, wait! Don’t you want to provide content that tons of people are searching for? We know it sounds counterintuitive, but stick with us while we explain.
There are two main reasons for targeting these infrequently searched terms. First, people who are searching long-tail phrases are usually near the end of their buying process, which means they’re ready to buy now. Second, it’s easier to rank on the first page of search results, so people will actually see your content. It’s a win-win. You’re catching people who are ready to purchase, and you’re near the top of the search pile. A quick search will yield lots of free and paid tools that will help you identify long-tail keywords for your industry.
Build a Strategy
Now you’ve got a solid start for your SEO marketing plan. You know your topic clusters, and you have some long-tail keywords. Yes, there’s a lot more that goes into a full SEO strategy. This is a great blueprint for organic traffic, but what if you want to add paid search traffic? That’s a whole beast unto itself. There are also linking tactics, Google Search Console optimizations and back-end website optimizations that should be factored in if you really want to dominate search engine results.
From an organic SEO marketing standpoint, here’s where you start building your roadmap. How many blog posts will you publish per month? What other types of content will you produce? How will you promote your content? Can you contribute guest posts to other websites? Ask yourself these questions and build out a calendar, so you’re consistently producing targeted content. Your website rankings will thank you!
Measure Your Progress
Finally, how will you know this is working? Set a baseline when you begin and define how you’ll measure success. Are you mostly interested in search engine rankings, or are site traffic and conversions more important? Decide how you’ll measure growth, then check your progress at regular intervals. That might be every quarter, or it might be once a year. When you’re deciding how often to measure your site’s progress, keep in mind that SEO changes can take some time to take effect. You may not notice much change from month to month, but if you step back to a quarterly view, you’ll start to see patterns and trends over time.
Creating an SEO marketing strategy takes time and planning. We help clients with their SEO and content optimization every day, so we know a thing or two about the process! If you have questions, or if you want to find out how we can build a custom plan for your business, give us a call! We’re here to help.