SEO (search engine optimization) is a top marketing strategy you can’t ignore if you want to succeed in online marketing. This tool keeps you relevant and visible before your target audiences. Our guide shares all the necessary facts to jump-start your SEO marketing efforts. Eventually, you will walk away with a better understanding of:
- What SEO is
- How SEO works
- How SEO benefits your business
- Top ten strategies for successful search engine optimization marketing
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Let’s start by defining search engine optimization. SEO is the practice of getting targeted traffic to a website from a search engine’s organic rankings. This practice focuses on creating high-content content, optimizing content around particular keyword phrases, and link building.
Search engine optimization differs from paid advertising because it involves organic search and rankings, meaning you don’t pay for that space. Here, organic search results depend on search engines pushing your content to the top of the page is a given search result.
Core Search Engine Optimization Components
SEO has two main components into which we shall delve shortly. They are black hat versus white hat and on-page versus off-page.
- Black hat Vs. white hat
This short-term technique focuses on risky, unethical practices like keyword stuffing and link scraping to gain higher search results in search engines. Initially, it might earn you quick returns like increased site visits, search volume, and search results. However, it backfires when search engines like Google catch you because it penalizes and blacklist your site from future rankings.
Inversely, white hat search optimization is like a marathon. It focuses on steady and small efforts that build long-term success for increased search volume. This technique focuses on your target audiences by giving them the best content they deserve and addressing their needs. Eventually, people reward you with their trust, while Google and other search engines reward you with higher rankings for competing according to their rules.
- On-page SEO and off-page SEO
You can also leverage search engine optimization in the form of on-page or off-page. Let’s look at these two in detail below.
- On-page SEO
On-page SEO zeroes on creating excellent content that improves your rankings and search volume in different search engines. It includes incorporating LSI keywords and long tail keywords into your content and pages. Google keyword planner is one of the best SEO tools that can enhance your keyword research. It ensures that any blog post or other content you post ranks high in search queries and enjoys increased organic traffic.
On-page SEO also ensures that your titles, meta tags, and meta descriptions are correctly written with rich keyword phrases. You also need to write regular, excellent content that adds value to your readers to optimize on-page SEO.
- Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO focuses on the optimization that happens off your website, for instance, earning backlinks. It fosters mutually beneficial relationships and creating content people like sharing. Succeeding in off-page SEO requires real hard work, but the prize is worth the price.
How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?
After defining SEO, it’s beneficial to learn how search engine optimization SEO works. Search engine optimization works by optimizing your website for search engines you want your site or web pages to rank in: Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Amazon, or Bing.
You must exert efforts to make search engines “see” your site or web pages as the best overall search results in organic searches. Search engines rank your site based on different search engine algorithms like relevance to search queries, loading speed, and site/domain authority. Additionally, search engines give either organic/natural or paid search results.
- Organic search results
Organic or natural search results focus purely on your website’s merit. You don’t pay Google or other search engines for your website to rank higher than other websites. These search results make your site appear above other websites when users type a given keyword. Mostly, search engines rank organic results based on your site’s trustworthiness, authoritativeness, relevance, and other ranking factors.
- Paid results
Inversely, paid search results don’t rely on any ranking factors. Instead, they rely on the ads that appear below or above search results in search engines. Paid search results rely on your willingness to pay for every visitor from a given search result set. This method is officially known as Pay-Per-Click advertising.
Top 8 Search Engine Optimization Benefits for Your Business
Here comes our guide’s most important part that answers the million-dollar “what’s in there for me?”question. Before proceeding, it’s essential to remember that most online searches start as search queries in search engines, with Google commanding a 75% market share. Below are the top eight search engine marketing benefits your business could enjoy.
- Build trust and credibility
People only interact with trustworthy websites. Leveraging search engine optimization SEO over time builds a strong basis for trust and credibility. So, be patient and avoid shortcuts.
- Enjoy cost-effectiveness
Search optimization saves you more money because its inbound nature is cheaper than outbound strategies like cold-calling. Also, it generates more leads and search volume than most outbound tactics because it targets active searchers who need your products and services.
- Increased search engine traffic
Successful search engine optimization boosts your website’s search traffic through increased organic searches because they boost your buyers’ funnel, conversion, and engagement. Remember, all top positions in search engine result pages enjoy higher clicks and impressions. Further, search optimization prioritizes optimizing meta descriptions and tags that increase click-through rates, promoting search engine traffic.
- It positively impacts the buying cycle
Effective search engine tactics impact your customers’ purchasing cycle by relaying your message for excellent deals and product launches. These Google search tactics answer your potential buyers’ questions and keep your business visible to customers.
- Better user experience
Your online visitors deserve the best experience because they’re your primary focus. It isn’t enough to become visible in Google search before your target audiences. In fact, your visibility could backfire and become a blackout if your visitors have a nasty experience.
Luckily, search optimization focuses on your website’s architecture, making your visitors enjoy their use. Don’t forget that Google and other search engines also know how to interpret nasty or pleasant user experiences and rewards them accordingly.
- Weather the competition
Staying ahead of the competition is every business’s goal because it makes businesses less vulnerable. Ranking higher within your industry means customers will see your identical offers before other websites. Results? You are most likely to get more business than your competitors.
- It’s a long-term online marketing strategy
Succeeding in any search engine activity requires time. Luckily, SEO orients your system to act with a long-term view before harvesting benefits like increased search traffic. It keeps you on a consistent path of increase and determination until you reap SEO success, for example, increased search volume.
- SEO Fosters Mutually Beneficial Relationships With Other Sites
Lastly, successful search optimization connects you to mutually beneficial sites, earning you links from reputable and high-authority websites. You can optimize these relationships to get online coverage and placement platforms to boost your brand or website. Don’t forget that even Google and other search engines favor and reward ethical website interlinking.
Top 10 Strategies for Successful Search Engine Optimization Marketing
Let’s shift our focus to the ten strategies that will supercharge your online marketing. Take a look at these indispensable SEO basics and boost your search engine rankings.
- Understand User Search Intent
Searching is the backbone of search engine optimization. Thus, we start our journey here by examining your target users’ search intent, aka user intent. User intent is the primary reason for your target audience’s Google search.
Therefore, place yourself in your searchers’ shoes to determine what they want by asking and answering these questions:
- Are they seeking to learn or know something?
- Do they want to purchase something?
- Are they doing online window shopping?
Additionally, search intent has four main categories, as discussed below.
Informational search intent comes from users seeking information about events, products, or anything they deem valuable.
Persons with navigational search intent want to visit specific websites. For instance, they can directly key in “YouTube” when they want to check out some videos.
Searchers with transactional search intent seek to buy items or sign up for services. These users already know what they need, and they only search to get to their chosen product pages.
Users with this intent plan to buy something soon and investigate specific purchases a prospect intends to make.
- Craft Compelling SEO-friendly Content
SEO marketing and excellent content work like glove and hand. Therefore, create SEO-friendly content to outrank other websites in Google search. Below are more details on how to do it.
a. Content for product and service pages
Your product and service pages are essential for SEO marketing success because they’re crucial selling points. If populated with quality content, these web pages can convert visitors into leads and customers. Below are hacks SEO experts recommend for drafting SEO-friendly product and service pages.
- Practice good keyword optimization by using your target keyword and other related keywords in your title tag because your title tag is your pages’ most important part.
- Optimize your meta description for clicks by using your main keyword and other related keywords in your meta tag and description to make your content outstanding inSERPs.
- Use tail keywords in your content but don’t stuff your content with them.
- Utilize your target keyword’s synonyms and variations throughout your content and meta description.
- Optimize images to boost image search by making it easy for search engines to understand what your images contain.
b. Hacks and tricks for writing high-quality content
Bill Gates once said that “content is king.” However, Bill didn’t tell us who the kingmaker is since all kings need kingmakers. Also, Edward Bulwer-Lytton said that “the pen is mightier than the sword.”
Combining these two statements shows us how impactful the written word is in online marketing. Here are excellent tips to supercharge your content creation or “kingmaking” process.
- Understand your users’ intent and address it before driving them to a specific web pages on your website.
- Formulate a customer avatar to understand your audience’s personalities, identities, likes, and dislikes.
- Break up your text with more white spaces or relevant images with alt tags to accommodate dwindling attention span.
- Make your content more actionable for your readers to take beneficial steps after interacting with it on a specific web page.
- Your content should carry “social value” to prompt your audience to share it on their preferred social media platforms.
- Create captivating headlines that make people want to keep reading.
- Format your content for easy readability by using short sentences or paragraphs and the active voice.
- Include relevant stats and figures from authoritative sources.
- Draft your content to connect to your audiences and solve their problems.
- Link your content to relevant high-authority sites.
- Don’t forget to incorporate relevant keywords into your headlines.
- Go Mobile or Go Home
The world has gone mobile and mobile devices have taken over the internet. No wonder Statista tells us that by April 2021, some 54.8% of all mobile interactions happened on mobile devices (excluding tablets). Therefore, optimize your website for mobile use, or you’ll miss out on this huge potential customer base and search rankings.
It’s not surprising that Google prioritizes your site’s mobile version over the desktop version. That means search engines like Google would still flag your site as slow if it loads faster on desktop but slower on mobile. Therefore, make your site more mobile-friendly if you want to boost its search results and rankings in search engines.
- Go Social
Going social is another must-have ranking algorithm because social media is the internet’s busiest and most popular wing. Google’s search algorithm and other search engines favor sites with a higher social media engagement. Beside, social media is a leading source of search volume, organic traffic, and lead generation. Thus, social media is a critical component in a successful SEO strategy.
How does social media sharing increase your Google search results and rankings? In simple ways! Your social media audience amplifies your content by sharing it on social media. This way, you gain more Google search results, search volume, and valuable backlinks that notify search engines that your site contains valuable content. So, pay attention to your social media efforts to gain more organic search volumes.
Elements of social for SEO
Your site’s social elements for search engine optimization should focus on:
- Share quality
Share quality comes in when people share your content, underscoring that it contains value worth sharing.
- Share quantity
Share quantity also directly links to quality because people share content more if they find it valuable.
Ways to boost your site’s social sharing
Do you want to boost your site’s social sharing? Here are actionable tips for doing it.
- Create content your target audience will find worth sharing.
- Post valuable content regularly to avoid prolonged gaps between posts because that could undermine your social share value.
- Make it easy for plugins to promote your content on social platforms.
- Take Care of Your Demographics
Consider your target audience’s personal factors because they affect local search results. Here, their demographic and geographical factors matter local SEO and search listings. Factor in their national and city locations because these factors vary by region.
For example, search engines interpret the same English words differently in different regions because of their dialectical differences. Therefore, it would be beneficial to go multinational, but only if it’s worth the effort and cost. You can break geographical and demographic barriers by:
- Understanding your customer’s avatar
- Producing multilingual content when necessary and possible
- Researching keywords in foreign nations
- Keywords are Still Key
Keywords are still key components of successful Google search if you use them well. Effective keyword research and use can positively affect how you define your brand or website. Keyword research also determines how you build links. Your journey will include two main components: keyword research and analysis.
The keyword research process and selection
You need to do the following to succeed in your target keyword research and selection process:
- Utilize a good keyword research tool to get a deeper insight that eases things for you. For example, SEMrush is an excellent keyword research tool that shows you keywords that your competition already ranks for. So, you can optimize this keyword tool to spy on your competition. You can also try other keyword research tool like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, Google Search Console, and Google Keyword Planner.
- Master semantics to learn the future of keyword research and avoid recycling the same keywords without increasing your rankings.
- Consider your user intent before settling for a target keyword after successful keyword research.
- Effective keyword research also requires you to spy on the competition to see what your competitors are doing and follow their lead.
Pay special attention to competition analysis before using a target keyword or keywords. Your analysis should guarantee keyword relevance and make sure your target keyword aligns with your goals.
- Improve Your Site’s Architecture
Your site’s architecture is a critical technical SEO component that affects its ranking in in Google search. It directly impacts your user experience in areas like loading speed, safe connection, and mobile friendliness. So, address the following core elements to rank favorably and enjoy more search results in search engines.
- Ease of crawling
Your website’s architecture should be easy for search engine crawlers to “crawl” and rank it favorably in search results.
- Page load speed
Page speed is one of the basic technical SEO parameters against which a particular search engine ranks your website. That means site with a low page speed will also rank low in Google search and other speed search engines.
- HTTPS and SSL
Site security is a critical technical SEO aspect search engine bots use to rank your website. Thus, Google ranks HTTPS and SSL-secured sites higher than those without because your users’ security is a high priority. This element is so critical that, according to Mozcast, HTTPS encryption helps sites secure 98.5% of frontpage search results.
- Build Consistency
Consistent posting is also critical in your SEO strategy. So, don’t just post excellent content; be consistent to give it a sense of freshness for higher rankings in search results. However, constantly update your content to maintain favorable search engine results. Why? Reduced accuracy or relevance and broken links within your content can negatively impact your search results and ranking.
- Build Your “EAT” Score
You should work on your “EAT” score to boost your search results and ranking search engines. Google has its quality evaluator guidelines that determine what a high-quality web page or blog post must have to rank highly. These three components are expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. We discuss these pillars further below.
All your content must show that you have sufficient expertise to meet your audience’s needs. For instance, a cooking blogger would rank low in expertise if they ventured into construction stuff.
Google also looks at your authority in terms of page and domain. Your website’s SEO domain authority is its general authority, while SEO page authority focuses on a given page’s authority.
Your website’s or pages’ trustworthiness is another critical EAT feature. It relies on other ranking factors like your site’s reputation and your shared topic’s relevance.
SEO tips to boost your EAT score
Here are actionable tips for boosting your EAT score and search engine results .
- Research well
Thoroughly research any relevant content you want to share before posting it. Make your content more authoritative by inviting subject matter experts (SMEs) to feature in your posts or interviews.
- Be comprehensive
Every relevant content you share must also be sufficient to answer your audience’s questions.
- Address your audience’s needs
Lastly, your featured topics must solve your audience’s problems and meet their needs.
- Optimize Link Building
Although link building isn’t still the fancy trend it was some years back, links are still essential components in your SEO marketing. You could harvest much from link building if you did it correctly, although getting it right has no quick fixes or safe shortcuts.
What constitutes excellent link building?
Successful link building will factor in two main elements: anchor texts and quality.
- Anchor texts
Anchor text is the word or phrase used below a link for successful link building. It should appear natural and relevant to the link or else it could hurt your link building efforts. For example, don’t link to a phrase like “luxury homes in Vancouver” when your link points to a supermarket in Ontario. Also, don’t use “click here” texts to point to your website because it looks spammy and undermine your link building.
- Quantity within quality
Always build enough quality backlinks but over a reasonable period. Also, these links should land your visitors to the correct pages to make people confident enough to share their confidential details with you, purchase, or subscribe. This way, your link building will earn you increased search results.
Hacks for enhancing your website’s link building
Below are actionable hacks and tricks SEO experts recommend for improving your website’s link building for higher search results.
- Take the longer, safer route
Avoid all shortcuts during link building because they become short-circuits and backfire. Therefore, take the longer, safer route if you want to harvest long-term fruits from your link building.
- Remove harmful links
You can use Google’s disavow tool to remove links that might hurt your ranking ability. However, use it cautiously lest it destroys your link building.
- Remember internal link building
Internal links are necessary for successful link building. Thus, linking related topics within similar niches makes it easier for Google to crawl your website. This move bolsters your link building.
There you are abreast of all the necessary facts for supercharging your SEO marketing efforts. We hope this guide has helped you start or continue with your search engine marketing journey. Go ahead and take the longer, safer marathon path to enjoy long-term dividends. See you at the top of your search engine marketing campaigns.