Chief Marketing Officer at Newrez.
Consumers today are well-versed in researching products at great length before purchasing. Think about it: How often do you Google a product or brand to look up reviews and comparisons before making the decision to purchase something?
Google search results can make or break any sale, so it’s important for all companies, big and small, to optimize what consumers are seeing about them in their research process. That’s why search engine optimization, better known as SEO, is an ongoing, integral part of any successful sales and marketing strategy. Strong SEO is key to reaching your audience in order to sell to them and an important vehicle for gaining authority in your corner of the market.
To create or improve an SEO strategy that helps your company succeed, consider the following tips.
1. Focus On Content
So, you want to be the only company that pops up when your target audience searches for your niche, product or service. Consider yourself and your team content creators and curators. Populate the results of search queries with high-quality, relevant content. To do this, make sure you know what potential, current and former customers are asking, anticipate what they will ask, and tailor your content to fit those needs.
Populate your website with new content regularly. Blogs are a great place for customer-centric content to live. Amplify your content’s reach by sharing it on social media. Another foundation for maximizing content efficacy is using the right SEO keywords and phrases. By adding such terms and phrases to your content, you can improve where you rank in the search engines for those terms. If you don’t already have a keyword list, a great starting point would be to utilize a tool like Google Keyword Planner for SEO.
2. Prioritize Technical SEO
To build a robust SEO strategy, it’s important to prioritize the technical aspects of your website. To do this, you should focus on the website’s infrastructure rather than the content.
My best advice when it comes to technical SEO is to work with a developer to ensure your site architecture is optimized for success. A web developer can help ensure your website and server are constructed to reap the benefits of backlinking and are conducive to providing a positive user experience. This part of the SEO strategy is crucial to ensuring your site is crawled and indexed properly so that people can find you when they’re searching on Google.
3. Know That User Experience Matters … A Lot
In addition to ensuring search engines can find, crawl and index your website pages, another key element to boosting your search ranking is answering searchers’ intent.
Though Google’s algorithm evolves frequently, it generally aims to prioritize pages that best answer the query of each searcher. Looking at what keywords are most popular is a great way to determine intent. SEO research tools allow you to see what keyword variations have the most volume and competitive density and the highest costs per click. These variables can afford us insights into what terms and content people are searching for, which gives us the opportunity to deliver the best value and information possible to searchers.
Visuals, such as videos, infographics and photos, can also greatly enhance the user experience. Visuals are engaging to website visitors, and I’ve found that they can help keep them on the page longer. Always be sure that you properly compress your multimedia files to ensure that your page loading time is not too long. You can optimize images further by including alt-text descriptions in your images, which will allow search engines to crawl your site and understand the images while also improving your image-based search ranking.
To improve the user experience, it’s also important to know what devices searchers are coming to your website from. For instance, I know that many searchers that come to my company’s page are current or prospective homebuyers who are simultaneously checking out listings on real estate apps, so keeping our content and web interface mobile-friendly is a top priority for our team.
The algorithm changes frequently, so it’s important to know the staples of a strong SEO strategy, but it’s also important to test constantly. Conducting A/B tests on keywords, calls-to-action (CTAs), word count, imagery and more can give you some insight into what works and what doesn’t. To look deeper into the algorithm, you can observe the algorithm’s “weather,” or how volatile the rankings are on a particular day. “Hot” days see high rates of change in the search engine results, and “cold” days are the opposite. If a day is particularly “hot” and you see fluctuations in your content, you can look at a whole docket of potential reasons based on what you’ve A/B tested or changed on your website.
4. Know What’s Working For The Competition
The first step to beating out your competitors with SEO is knowing what works for them. Conduct a competitive SEO analysis by researching the links, keywords and content your competitors use. Start by comparing your top keywords to theirs. There are plenty of competitor analysis tools available online that are a worthwhile investment, as you should conduct competitor SEO research regularly to find opportunities for improvement. For example, analyze their top-performing content and create a better version of it. Structure your content on the same topic in a way that better fits the searcher’s intent. Survey their backlinking strategy and implement new link opportunities to build your domain authority.
SEO is an uphill, ongoing battle for every company. It requires marketing professionals to stay agile and possess a constant willingness to learn and evolve. With the right players on your team, a strong website, a hybrid blend of paid and organic traffic strategies and a commitment to quality content creation, your SEO strategy should be teed up to succeed. The most important thing to remember is that SEO is a long-term game. Think of it as a sport — it takes a team, some practice, wins, losses and competition to become better and stronger.