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SEO Basics: 3 Steps to Mastering Search Engine Optimization

December 1, 2016 Gina Gallup

SEO analyticsPR these days seems to be all-encompassing. It’s pitching to media, writing releases and articles, facilitating interviews, creating posts and campaigns for social media, email marketing, inbound marketing, blogging, creating infographics and on and on and on. And I love that, by the way – I enjoy doing all the things. Bottom line: PR is based on content. And if you do it well (and we do it well), it can work in any medium.

Now, PR also includes analytics and search engine optimization (SEO). And those pieces are vital to any marketing strategy. We’re all searching for something – all the time – on every kind of device. That means everyone is using search engines – including your company’s prospects. A good, consistent SEO strategy drives the right traffic to your website – it targets the people who will be interested in the information that you can provide.

When someone clicks to your site, it’s intentional and measurable. And if you are incorporating inbound marketing or some way to capture the contact information of your visitors, you can understand what your visitors value, create segmented lists and directly target your current customers and prospects according to what you know they are interested in. Plus, you can track what visitors do, evaluate the effectiveness of your content and see ROI.

Probably, you already realize all of that. You’re ready to get on board the SEO train, but maybe aren’t just yet sure what to do? Here are the three steps to get you started.

Bottom line: SEO is crucial to your business. If you’re not grabbing those keywords and using them consistently, your competitor will be.

Step one: Find the right keywords
  • Learn what people are typing in, how frequently, how relevant the terms are to your business objectives and how competitive the words are.
  • To research keywords, take yourself out of your business and put yourself into the shoes of your potential customer.
    • Write out the services you offer – but remove jargon and insider language. Use language that your customer would use.
  • Look at search volume metrics and see how competitive they are. Less common variations and long-tail keywords are easier to rank for.
    • And most people change what they’re searching for and get more descriptive as they go to quickly find the results they want (e.g. from “car” to “Toyota Camry” to “used 2015 Black Toyota Camry with nav”). Those more descriptive searches are long-tail keywords.
  • Make sure you have keywords for each area of your business.
Step two: Assign keywords throughout your site
  • Go through each page of your site and distribute one keyword per page.
    • Secondary keywords may still be included in the copy; don’t remove a keyword just because it’s not your targeted keyword. But only focus on one per page.
  • Excel – and some other specific SEO analytics tools – can help you keep track of the pages of your site, the target keywords and an editorial calendar.
  • You may need to add pages to your site to include keywords.
  • The targeted keyword should go in each page’s URL, h1 tag, copy, meta title and description, alt tags of photos, file names, etc.
    • Separate words in a URL should be hyphenated so the search engine understands them.
  • The target keyword should lead to relevant content, which will keep users on your site longer and show search engines that you are providing valuable information.
  • Don’t force anything – keywords should be used naturally.
SEO analysisStep three: Evaluate the results
  • SEO can’t be set up once and left alone. There should be ongoing measurement and assessment.
  • See if visitors are using your targeted keywords to come to your site and if your site is ranking for those keywords.
  • Check if the keywords are driving conversion actions and business objectives.
  • Adjust your strategy based on what you learn.
  • Don’t be afraid to change out keywords to see if something new will work better.
  • Revisit the exploration every quarter – or at least a few times per year – to make sure keywords are still performing well or if there are new ones you should use.

Once you have your SEO strategy outlined, reinforce it with well-crafted, unique and quality content – it’s worth the investment. Write for your company’s buyer personas, blog regularly and promote with social media. Incorporate public relations tactics to get your SEO-ready content on other influential websites, and use target keywords for external links.

Bottom line: SEO is crucial to your business. If you’re not grabbing those keywords and using them consistently, your competitor will be.

 

Want to learn more about SEO? Check out the courses offered on LinkedIn, where I’ve been studying up myself, like this one on search engine optimization fundamentals.

 

 

One comment on “SEO Basics: 3 Steps to Mastering Search Engine Optimization
  1. Stephen Gallup says:

    Thanks for the information. Things continue to change exponentially.

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