Let’s talk SEO.
Search engine optimization is a popular topic these days. It seems that everyone and his brother is providing SEO services – and many “experts” are giving contradictory advice. That makes it hard to know if your SEO efforts are helping or hurting.
Beyond the myriad consultants and marketing shops that do SEO (possibly as an add-on), there are companies that only focus on optimizing websites for search engines. So, they live and breathe it every day – and even they seem to disagree on what to do: focus on links, revise the site’s architecture, target these three key terms, target this one geographic area, blog more, blog less… Help!
It takes the right combination of tactics to yield the best results. I can’t point you to the One Way to assure that your site always ranks on page one in searches. But I can tell you about the awesome tools I use a lot. These will help you see what’s going on with your site and where it could improve.
If you’re not using this, start now. Set up segments, dashboards and reports to view the things that are important to you and your business. And don’t just set up the account and leave it – look at your data regularly. And adjust your marketing strategy and verbiage based on what you learn, so your site and content are performing well for you. Learn the basics here. Also, Google’s Webmaster Tools and PageSpeed Insights give you great resources for troubleshooting problems and learning more about how to enhance your site for search engines.
Trying to figure out what keywords to target? This free tool gives you information on search terms people use, how many people use them, how competitive the terms are and more. You end up with knowledge and details to design a sound keyword strategy.
Just to continue with the Google love, their new data studio is awesome. It lets you take all the data you have – from other Google apps or from a database file – and turn it into pretty and easy-to-read charts. It’s not strictly an SEO tool, I realize, but it’s too cool to not include. Digital Marketer gives a great rundown here. This will help you present all your SEO work to your bosses in an attractive and informative way.
This free tool runs a comprehensive audit on your site’s SEO – what’s doing well and where some improvement can be made. Then, it does one better and helps you know how to make those improvements (though some may require a coder).
The underlying key to SEO though? Content. And not a lot of content, but quality content – providing information that is valuable to the reader.
For really in-depth info, check out Screaming Frog’s tool that crawls URLs for SEO issues. The free application downloads to your computer and looks at everything from meta descriptions to redirects to crawl paths to CSS styles to errors and more – quickly. It’s a big timesaver that provides detailed information.
Moz is a fount of SEO knowledge. This tool lets you research backlinks and look for opportunities to build more links. But also check out other backlink finders like Majestic and Monitor Backlinks to make sure you’re seeing everything.
The underlying key to SEO though? Content. And not a lot of content, but quality content. Don’t just crank out something so you can get your 600 words up every day. Ultimately, that’s not helping you. But if you can find your voice and have a new perspective on something – and if you’re providing information that is valuable to the reader – that will help your site’s ranking.
Search engines aren’t dumb. Their algorithms might be fooled every so often by some new method or trick – but it always comes to down to whether or not your site is an authority. If you are the expert on technology in business, for example, your site should have content that clearly and compellingly expresses your unique thoughts about technology in business. Once you have written your next thought leadership piece, then go back through and make sure you’re using appropriate keywords in a natural way. (Versus starting with keywords and trying to use them often and illogically.)
Not everyone can create content well – especially when trying to maintain a brand and voice and be persuasive. That’s why many companies turn to a PR firm – and one that specializes in content. A full-service public relations team ensures that all verbiage – from Twitter posts to YouTube videos to blogs to an op ed – are cohesive and grabbing the attention of your intended audience.
That will bring people to your site every time.