Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the trickiest marketing tactics around. One reason is Google, Yahoo! and Bing’s insistence on keeping their search algorthyms a secret. The other is they constantly change those same algorthyms. So you understand, those changes are for the users benefit and so we applaud their desire to continuously improve the experience, but those changes make it increasingly challenging for marketers to use search to get more leads for our businesses.
However, we have uncovered a few secrets to share with everyone. While these secrets don’t include any proverbial “silver bullet,” they should give most of you a big leg up on understanding search and using it to improve the performance of your marketing program over time.
Secret #1 – Create a keyword strategy
We are big believers in strategy before tactics and that applies here too. You can’t jump right to a marketing tactic without a strategy first. Who do we want to attract to our site? Who do we want to repel? Both are important to know before we start creating keywords. Think about your best customer, how are they searching. Did you know that most people start with short search terms and keep elongating the terms until they find what they want? This is why long tail keyword phrases (a series of related keywords strung together) typically convert into leads at a much higher rate. These have to be part of your strategy. An example of a long tail keyword phrase is, boutique marketing firms Philadelphia or IT consultants for small businesses Boston.
Don’t assume you know how people are searching. You don’t. Spend some time researching the search volume for the keywords you think your prospects are using and for those that Google suggests. Click here to gain access to Google’s Keyword Suggestion Tools. Once you have a list of potential keywords, Secret #2 will help you select the right keywords for your business.
Secret #2 – Develop a manageable collection of keywords and keyword phrases
Your research should generate hundreds, if not thousands, of keywords. Unless you’re Amazon or eBay, that’s way too many terms to optimize! You need to narrow that initial list down to a more manageable number. Why? Wouldn’t more keywords be better? No!
When selecting your final list of keywords, keep in mind that you are going to have to do something with these keywords like build pages, create content, generate links. More isn’t better. You want to create a collection of the right keywords. The first think you want to look for is highly searched keywords with a difficulty score of less than 70. Difficulty equals competitiveness. The higher the difficulty the more people competing for those keywords and the harder it’s going to be to rank for them. This is why you need some highly searched and some less highly searched. Why you need some short keywords, and some long tail keywords and why you need mostly low difficulty, with a few really important keywords that might be highly difficult. You need a collection or a portfolio of keywords.
Secret #3 – Install a conversion plan for your keywords
This is important and where most SEO consultants run into trouble. The goal of our SEO program is not to rank page 1 on Google, Yahoo! and Bing. It’s to drive visitors to your website and get them to convert into leads.
Do to that effectively; you have to create a conversion plan for each keyword. Again, this is why you can’t have a keyword list with 1,000 keywords. A conversion plan means you have dedicated landing pages for each keyword and on those landing pages the copy is focused on the main keyword and maybe two or three other secondary keywords. For example, here is a landing page on our site optimized for marketing strategy with an ability to turn a visitor into a leads.
Secret #4 – Create content
You need to have content related to your keywords on your website. Content means videos, white papers, tip guides, podcasts, or eBooks designed to support a single keyword. It also means website pages. This is where SEO can get tricky. One of Google’s most recent upgrades includes freshness of content. Now sites with fresh content or new pages are going to be more highly ranked. It’s not easy to add a new website page to your site every single day, but it’s very easy to do a blog post every single day and blog posts count as indexed pages on your website. For example, the Square 2 Marketing site has over 1,000 indexed pages because we blog daily. If you blog and include your keywords your ranking will increase.
Secret #4 – Track and test all keywords
Marketing is a science. You should be able to see which keywords are driving the most traffic. Which keywords are converting the most leads? Which keywords are underperforming? Spend 30 minutes each month reviewing the performance of your search program. Don’t focus on page rankings, but focus on traffic generation, conversion rate and leads.
To get some additional secrets to implementing a more aggressive Get Found strategy for your business, click here to download a Free Report titled, 4.5 Ways To Increase Site Traffic and Page Ranking on Your Website.