This blog post has been updated for 2020 with the latest information for being successful in search engine optimization.
Most topics we will cover are what is know as “on-page SEO” and have to do with direct changes to your website and your content.
Additionally, we will briefly cover:
- PPC vs SEO
- How Google Search works (small business owner terms)
It’s no secret that we are a society dependent upon access to the internet. The World Wide Web has far exceeded the estimated 1.5 billion websites represented in statistics from a year ago.
Businesses were told they need to have websites to remain relevant but rarely are they told how to get traffic to their sites.
They soon learn there is stiff competition and their site will need a digital marketing strategy to rise above the fray. It is then they learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the importance of planning an SEO campaign.
As you move into 2020, you need to think about your SEO strategy. Keep reading for our step-by-step guide to creating the perfect SEO campaign plan.
What is an SEO Campaign?
Before getting started you’ll need to have a full understanding of what SEO is. The ultimate goal of SEO is to raise your website rankings on search engines like Google. If you have a local business, your focus will be on attracting a local audience instead of a global one.
An SEO campaign is a selection of SEO strategies and techniques designed to generate a specific outcome. Reasons to create a campaign include a new product introduction or to promote an event.
Your campaign is in addition to the basic strategies you have in place.
How to Start an SEO Campaign
Every search engine optimization plan starts with research. The two most important forms of research are keyword research and competitor research.
#1 Keyword Research
Keywords are the lifeblood of SEO. Without keywords or “search queries” what are we doing here? The very first thing that happens in the lifecycle of converting an organic customer through search is that person physically types or speaks a search query into Google.
Knowing what these key phrases are is imperative to the success of your campaign. Targeting keywords with both a high volume of search and intent that promotes sales is half the game.
For example, the term “doctor” gets hundreds of thousands of searches per month. But someone searching the word “doctor” can be looking for a plethora of different topics. How to be a doctor, types of doctors, how to spell the word doctor… you get the point.
The term “vein doctor near me” doesn’t get quite as many searches but you can be sure exactly what the person making that search is looking for. Optimizing for this keyword will create more return on investment over the life of your business.
Secondly, researching “long-tail keywords” can also drastically increase the success of your SEO campaign. These search terms are often easier to rank for but ultra-specific in what the searcher wants to know.
If you looked at a graph of all the search terms related to the main topic, these keywords would be the tail end of the graph (hence the name long-tail).
#2 Competitor Research
Knowing your enemy is the first step to battle. If you want to get to the #1 spot, you need to understand what the site’s currently there are doing right, wrong, and what you can do better.
After figuring out what main search phrase you are targeting, the first thing you should do is….you guessed it, Google it! See what comes up. Different search queries bring up different style results.
Is it a local query? You will probably see a map and local business suggestions along with websites like Yelp and Angie’s List.
Is it a “how-to” query? You will probably see the best YouTube videos to answer the question along with “how-to” blogs and sites like quora.com.
Is it a review search? You will probably see a bunch of review style websites in the niche of your search.
Knowing what comes up when you execute your search will point you in the right direction when it comes to creating content.
You will find the following characteristics by going through search results:
- Text length of ranking pages – how many words will you have to write?
- Is media featured in ranking pages – videos? photos? how many?
- The content makeup of rankings pages – showing ads? popups? font size? text features (I’m using bullet points here because a list makes sense here AND it breaks up the content. Instead of just walls of text, there are other elements.)
These are the key characteristics you will discover and make note of on rankings page. As SEO professionals, we look at other factors like backlink profiles, website age, website speed, etc.
There is a lot to learn by studying your competition. If you can do it better, you will earn the spot.
Review & Improve Website Structure
Your website’s structure is incredibly important to your success with search engines.
One of the key elements of how a search engine works is how it finds new pages. They do this by actually following links on pages. When the crawler encounters a link they will then crawl that new page. Of course, the actual process behind the scenes is more complicated than that, but for our purposes, that is what you need to know.
So if you have a link on your homepage to your About Us page when Google “crawls” your homepage they will also crawl your About Us page.
In today’s society, people are attached to their smartphones and tablets. Too often businesses create websites with a focus on simply having an online space to represent their product or brand. They don’t consider the importance of having a mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive website.
With a mobile-friendly site, the focus is on providing positive user experience. The website is easy to navigate and there are minimal distractions like music or videos on autoplay. The focus is also on color themes and font sizes.
With responsive web design, it’s about creating a better visual experience. When someone visits a website on a mobile device, regardless of screen size, the website adjusts down without losing the layout. WordPress can be a great way to quickly get a responsive website up and running.
Your SEO techniques will also transfer to the mobile version of the website.
Create Social Media Pages
Your SEO strategy includes social media platforms. Just as your business needs a website, it also needs a social presence. Research the various social platforms available and choose the ones that are best suited for your business or brand.
There is no set number on how many social sites you should use. It is important that you do not try to force the issue. Your SEO campaign will have features specifically designed to attract your target audience and guide them to your website.
Social media is a perfect place to begin the sales funnel that will generate interest and ultimately lead to profit.
Incorporate Basic SEO Techniques
There are basic SEO techniques that are part of all SEO planning. Without having them as part of your strategy, your campaign will not gain any traction.
Although there are close to 2 billion websites on the internet, only a fraction of them is active. If website owners are not updating their content on a regular basis, their sites will eventually drop into the abyss.
To keep the site fresh, include a blog that is updated with a new post once or twice a week. Add new photos or post updated content about products.
Using WordPress? Here are some tips on the new “Gutenberg” editor.
As we mentioned above, keywords are a vital part of every SEO campaign. You need them to identify your product or service. Utilize a keyword finder app to see what words are trending in connection to what you are promoting.
Use the keywords in product descriptions, file names, and URLs. You can also create keyword hashtags for social media posts.
Images and Video
Use SEO to optimize your campaign by including high-resolution images and videos. Name your files using SEO standards. Create keywords when tagging the files on your site and the URL.
Since people love videos, you should see increased traffic when integrating them into your campaign.
In this SEO technique, you’re letting the search engine gods know what your content is all about. The wording in your titles contains important keywords that match what people are entering into the search engine.
Your title tags will also appear in web browsers, so if the user has multiple windows open, they can quickly get back to your webpage.
Research Latest SEO Trends
Google is always coming up with ways to measure optimization techniques used to improve search engine results. SEO specialists must stay abreast of new trends when designing SEO campaigns for their clients.
Some of the current trends in website technology include:
- Artificial Intelligence
- E-commerce platforms
- Live Streams
- 3D Technology
- Mobile Apps
Each one will have an SEO strategy template that can be applied to get your site noticed on Google. If you’re really doing things right, your content could end up in a Google featured snippet. Snippets are the best answer appearing at the top of Google search pages.
Pay Attention to Analytical Data
Once your SEO campaign is up and running you’ll want to track its success. To do this you’ll need to have access to analytical data.
Most cookie-cutter web builder platforms come with some form of reporting apps for their paid platforms.
Google Analytics can be used to track website visitors and provides insights into metrics like page speed.
Your social media business platforms will also provide insights and data to help you track how the campaign is performing.
Use the information to make tweaks and get the best return on investment.
SEO Campaign Template
Start Your New Year Off Right
Use this guide to build a successful SEO campaign for 2020. It will get you off to the right start. Give your business website the boost it needs.
If you are in need of assistance with SEO for your WordPress website, we’re here to help.
Contact us today to learn more about our services, or book a 15-minute free phone call with Patrick Scully.