Link building is now a fairly difficult activity in SEO. Obtaining natural links through press articles or high quality blogger outreach is not something everyone can achieve. As a result, small to medium sized businesses will suffer the most because of limited resources and marketing budgets. So what’s the alternative you might ask ? Content marketing is your answer.
Creating on-site content
The strategy is simple. Create enough content around your primary keywords and start ranking for long tail keywords. But, there is a method to creating such content. It needs to be comprehensive and written to inform, educate and provide expertise in your subject area.
An example of this could be a website that sells market research services. The content that needs to be created should cover all aspects of market research from creating a market research survey to analysing market research responses. The more topics you cover with in-depth knowledge, the better your chances of ranking for long tail keywords.
How to create the perfectly optimised content
- Topic of the content – As stated above, the content should be around your primary keywords. You need to cover all different aspects of your primary keywords. This involves answering questions around your keywords, educating others about your subject area and sharing expert knowledge. This will help build relevancy for your website and help improve rankings. By writing such content, you should be able to cover all related keywords (look up Latent Semantic Indexing) for e,g. if your primary keyword is ‘social media’, then related keywords will be ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’ and ‘hashtags’.
- Content structure – It should be easy to read and follow a post. Content that is broken down into digestible paragraphs works best. Make use of bullet points and interactive elements like accordions, tabs or hover over text to display content in a cleaner format. For mobile SEO, it is important to follow such guidelines for a good user experience on mobiles.
- Outbound & internal links – There are varying opinions on how useful outbound links are. Some consider outbound links to be an important factor in indicating relevancy to search engines while others don’t see much value in them. I think they are useful and the quality of the outbound links is the most important aspect. The same applies to internal links which helps search engines find relevant content on your own website. Use keyword rich anchor text naturally in content to create such links.
- Length of content – In a recent study conducted by BuzzSumo for Moz, it was found that content between the range of 1,100 to 1,300 achieved top ranking on search engines. Neil Patel from KissMetrics follows this content strategy, and has achieved significant success.
Sharing knowledge is important and what could be better then covering your subject area in-depth for marketing purposes. It will help increase traffic and generate leads/conversions for your website. Further, if you write enough content and share it amongst a relevant audience on social media, your reputation will grow online. With SEO becoming even more competitive, following such tactics will help you achieve your SEO goals.
SEO has continued to evolve since it become a popular online marketing strategy. Most SEO tactics that were used 5 to 10 years ago are now considered obsolete. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, directory submissions and link exchanges. As we get inch closer to 2016, lets look at the SEO tactics that you should use to continue to perform strongly on search engines.
- Keyword research – Finding keywords that you should optimise your website for remains important. Using tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool, SEMRush and many others, you need to find keywords that help drive traffic/conversions. Rather than stuffing your content with these keywords, you need to write content around these keywords for e.g. if your primary keyword is ‘trade mark registration’, you should write content on subjects like ‘how to register your trade mark online’ etc. Google will put emphasis on user intent so providing content that answers the intent will help you perform well organically.
- Website optimisation – The stronger a website from a technical perspective, the better your chances of performing well on search engines. Website loading times have always been very important and will continue to play a prominent role in 2016. Mobile accessibility is going to become a major player owing to increasing mobile traffic. Make sure your website is mobile ready and complies with Google’s standards.
- Content – The more information you share, the more relevant your website will be for your keywords. User intent is a growing focus of search engines. Developing content that focuses on user intent is the way to go. If you sell mobile phones, you should write content on the best budget mobile phones or mobile phones with this best cameras. This will help you answer information searches and target long tail keywords.
- Link building – It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get links and rightly so. The link building tactics used a few years ago should not be used anymore. Getting links through blog posts is still effective, however the focus should be on creating content that gets interaction. Creating blog posts and guest posting for the sake of links is not a strategy to pursue. Shareable content, journalistic pieces and methods which generate links naturally will be the strategies to pursue. For smaller businesses that struggle with link building, the focus should be on creating great content for their website.
- Mobile SEO – Mobile optimisation will overtake desktop optimisation this coming year. Mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches which naturally makes mobile the greater focus for search engines. Websites which are fast, light and provide content in a mobile friendly format will get a better organic reach. Focus on building light websites which offer a good mobile user experience and bite seized content.
SEO is ever evolving. Following the above tactics will help you perform well this coming year. SEO is a long term effort which means that building a better website and great content will be part of a greater marketing and promotion strategy. It goes without saying that old habits die hard, but changing your SEO habits will make sure that your website doesn’t suffer organically.
If you can generate business from the internet, you need to have a website and an SEO campaign in place. SEO can be likened to fuel as it drives your website towards achieving higher rankings. Many businesses which invest in SEO are often not aware of what work needs to be done to achieve these rankings. The image above illustrates what tasks are a standard part of SEO. I’ll expand on the descriptions below:
- Keyword research – gone are the days of creating a list of 8 keywords which are targeted on and off the site; the process now involves constantly finding keywords around a select set which define your product or service
- Website optimisation – apart from the initial work on improving the websites speed and resolving technical issues; the process includes finding technical areas for improvements, internal linking and development
- Content – this can come in many forms from text to image or video; the more resource intensive and elaborate the content, the higher the costs, but it works better than standard text pieces
- Link building – getting links to your site can be a difficult task in todays world, get the wrong links and you’ll suffer or put in an effort to get good links and benefit from its results; one thing remains true, never pay for links
- Reporting – apart from the standard reports including numbers, there should be a comparison to projections, what helped drive the rankings/traffic and future scope for the campaign
You should expect this from any SEO consultant or agency working on your campaign. Working on a single element from the above won’t achieve much results. And once again, never pay to get links unless you don’t care about the future.
Update – The click-through rates have since changed, and I have updated the link to reflect the latest CTR stats.
A big part of working as a freelance SEO consultant is to convince potential clients on how much revenue they can generate from it. It’s very simple to estimate the revenue if you have the following numbers:
- Search volume of the keywords that will be targeted
- Average click-through rates (CTRs) which can be found easily online
- Average conversion rate of the clients website (you’ll need access to client’s Google Analytics if they have it setup properly)
- Average conversion value of the product or service (again, you’ll need this from the client)
As the image above illustrates, you multiply the search volume with the average CTRs and you’ll get the estimated traffic. The estimated traffic can be used to calculate conversions by multiplying it with the average conversion rate. Finally, multiply the conversions with the average value and you have the amount of revenue you can generate from just one keyword.
It’s best to make sure that the keywords you target are different from each other. This way there won’t be any overlap between the search queries. Its also wise to be clear about the time it will take to get certain ranking positions. Not every SEO campaigns results in the top position being occupied by your client.
My opinion is that SEO isn’t a process that can easily be held to ROI targets. It includes tasks that will help drive sales from other methods and not just organic search listings. But, for the sake of convincing clients of its potential, the above method ought to do.
Lets start with some background information on Schema (officially known as Schema.org). It’s a collaborative project between Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex. It was created by these search engines so that you can add the information they need to provide the best search results possible. If this doesn’t make you realise the importance of Schema, then nothing else will.
Schema tags improve the search engine result page listing by displaying the added information. Although there is no conclusive evidence of Schema having any impact on rankings, I have personally noticed improved results when I have implemented them for certain clients. The use of Schema added to the overall quality of webpage improving its rankings.
How can you implement Schema?
Schema tags need to be inserted into your HTML code. This requires a little coding knowledge and are best done by a web developer. Some CMS like WordPress provide plugins which will allow you to add Schema markups directly from the WYSIWYG editor. What needs to be added can be found on the Schema.org website. Google also provides a Structured Data Markup Helper, which is limited to specific Schema types.
In my opinion, whatever that helps search engines get more information about your site is a plus for SEO. Even without any impact on rankings itself, its proven effect on click-through rates (CTRs) is reason enough to implement it.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) seems to change very often in how its practiced but some things remain the same. Keyword research is still done the way it was five years ago. The same applies to other elements which make up SEO as we know it today. Going back to keyword research, an overlooked part of it is user intent, which basically describes the purpose of a user’s search query. Its easy to get lost in big numbers with broad keywords, but they are often the wrong keywords to rank for and target. The infographic above describes why user intent is so important when keyword research is being conducted.