Search Engine Optimization is such an important part of your overall marketing strategy. For those that don’t know, an SEO strategy is your plan of action to getting ranked better on the mecca of online searches, Google, and sites of the like.
Ranking better (or having your content reach the front page or top of the front page), is what drives more traffic to your site, which is what we want!
I will be walking you through a super straightforward SEO plan that you can start implementing immediately. Like anything else, consistency and quality is key! Get your notebook and a pen, or save this post on Pinterest so you can reference all the juicy details and take notes.
If you are just starting out and have yet to hone in on your brand identity, I encourage you to read How to Create an Impactful Brand Identity which will make SEO so much easier.
*Also, I urge you to try and figure out what my focus keyword is in this post after reading through and let me know in the comments! If you guess correctly I will send you a virtual gold star sticker.*
Keywords are the meat and potatoes of your SEO strategy. It is where I personally start.
Your keywords are the words or “long-tail phrases” that help let search engines know what your content is about and also how people will find your content. In order to find the best keywords, we need to figure out your topic. What is your content about? What is the theme?
It’s important to pay attention to your own search habits. Are you simply googling one or two word searches? Or are you writing out phrases? More and more we are starting to see keyword phrases doing better than one or two words. This is because people are truly wanting to seek answers to specific questions.
Let’s look at an example and then we’ll look at my format of how I would find the keywords to better assist my content.
For instance, say you have a blog in the beauty industry and you are writing a new blog post all about DIY skincare hacks. This includes anything you can do yourself in the comfort of your home to improve your skin.
Topic: DIY Skincare
Now, we need to find the keywords that people would actively use to search that topic. In addition, we need to look at some of the analytics of each keyword.
Those analytics are: Search Volume and Search Difficulty.
Keyword Tools for your SEO Strategy
There are a lot of tools/plug-ins/Chrome extensions that assist in helping you find your ideal keywords.
Some of my favorites include: Ubersuggest, Google Trends, Google Keywords, Google Related Searches, and Keywords Everywhere.
My favorite place to start is Ubersuggest and Keywords Everywhere.
Once I have figured out my topic and focus keyword: DIY Skincare, I will then head over to Ubersuggest and get some necessary information.
When I type in “DIY Skincare” into their “keyword analyzer -> keyword ideas” page, I am given a list of keyword ideas and their stats.
Keyword Search Volume
The first column of numbers is the volume (VOL). This is the number of searches this keyword has per month. When looking for my keywords, I like to keep this number between 1k-2k.
We want our search volume to be within that bracket because the higher the volume, the more competition you face when ranking on Google, but the lower the volume, the less active that keyword is.
For instance, if you are a well-known blog, business or brand, some competition won’t harm you. If you are smaller, you can get lost in the shuffle easily.
If you go for a number that is smaller like the ones listed at 210 or 140, you will get very targeted traffic, but not a lot of traffic, if that makes sense.
My sweet spot I try to hit is of vol. of 1,600.
Keyword Search Difficulty
The last column (SD) is the search difficulty. This is the estimated competition you will face with this keyword. The higher the number, the more difficult it is to rank.
As you can see our number for DIY Skincare is 48. This is of medium difficulty. ~20-35 would be easy, ~26-50 medium, and ~51-80 most difficult.
Now, we could keep this keyword and add in some longer phrase keywords which would produce specific targeted traffic. The combination of the two could benefit our post. For this topic, I am going to keep the keyword “diy skincare” and make sure the other aspects of my SEO strategy and marketing strategy help produce the traffic I want.
Alright, now I have my “focus keyword” which is diy skincare. Now, I head over to Google and do a search with that keyword.
Now you can use Related Searches which appear at the bottom as bolded links, or you can use the Chrome plugin Keywords Everywhere. Both show the same type of keywords which I can then use as long-tail phrases to sprinkle into my content.
I like to use about three keywords that will be reoccurring in my content. So for our example of DIY Skincare I will use these:
FOCUS KEYWORD: DIY Skincare
SUPPORTING KEYWORDS: DIY Skincare Ideas and Natural Skincare at Home
So, now that we have our keywords, let’s move on to the next phase of our SEO Strategy.
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After you have found your keywords, it’s time to start searching them on Google to see what results are coming up on the front page. These are your competitors.
It’s important to see what type of content is trending and what content is authoritative on Google. As you look at the content and see what’s been written, it is key to make sure you can do it better.
The point of building your SEO strategy is to out rank your competitors and it will always come back down to having quality content.
If there are two or three competitors you are wanting to get some SEO strategy information on, I would suggest doing a competitor analysis.
An analysis on your competitors is common practice in the world of SEO. With my blog The ChaCha Blog, when I was heavily speaking on mental health topics I often times would check out mental health bloggers who I felt were “competition” to see what keywords they were ranking for. In addition, I would also check to see which of their posts were being shared the most on social media.
The point of this is to never copy, but only to see what is trending and what your target audience is interested in seeing or reading.
In order to do a competitor analysis, we need to first figure out who those competitors are. You can do a Google search on your main pillar topics, or if there are people and profiles on Instagram that you feel like are good competitors, check out their sites and get their domains.
I suggest starting a spreadsheet if you really want to get into this properly. I would list each domain and then we will fill in the relevant information we are about to search such as keywords and posts.
After you find about three competitors, it’s time to take their domains into a search tool like Uber Suggest, Spyfu, Ahrefs, or SE Ranking.
You will navigate to their SEO Research or Competitive Analysis tool and enter in the domain you are wanting to get info on.
Lots of information will pop up including how many keywords they rank for, which is their best content, how many people or posts link back to their site, etc.
You can seriously go in-depth with this but to keep things simple for now, let’s look at only a few items:
- Top Keywords
- Top Pages
I’m going to stick with using Uber Suggest for this post. I have searched a competitors site and want to check their top pages first.
I do this first because this is going to show me what content of theirs is really resonating with their audience. It also will show me how many shares on Facebook and Pinterest it has which is great information to take into my own content strategy. Also, I want to pay attention to “estimated visits” this is the amount of monthly visits from Google these links get.
After I write down the topic themes, I will then go look at keywords. As I look at the list of keywords, something I want to pay close attention to is the column that says “position”.
This is the position on Google this competitor is ranking with. If they have a number 4 in the position column with a low number in the visits column, that keyword, although ranking well, is not driving a lot of traffic, meaning it’s probably not a popular searched topic or keyword.
If both numbers are ideal (low position, high visits) then I want to go look at what that content is. I will go type in the domain (without “.com”) and the keyword into Google, find the content that is doing well, and see what it’s all about.
From there, if I feel like I can produce better quality content on that topic, I will add it to my list of keywords I want to focus on for future content.
Then I will go back and look at their top pages. I want to see what pages are driving the most traffic on their site and again, see if it could relate to my brand. If it does, I need to make sure I can either use it as an inspiration point or talk about the same topic but better.
All of this information should give you inspiration and ideas, we do not want to copy content! Don’t see a post and just reword it in your brand voice. Actually provide better and authoritative content on that topic. Your SEO strategy should be rooted in producing quality content that positions you as an authority on the topic.
Repeat these steps for all three of your competitors. You can also see who their competitors are on these analysis sites and continue doing this time and time again. It’s a rabbit hole, I’m warning you.
If you want more info on this or have questions, email me. I got you!
Moving on to another great way to boost that SEO.
Optimize File Names
Google pays attention to the files uploaded to your site! If you are adding in any images, be sure to change the name and alt-text to be keyword optimized. It’s important to have them be keyword specific and not general. We don’t want multiple files on your site in different places using the same keyword. That will confuse The Great Google (TGG).
Also, check file sizes and consider getting a plug-in like Smush that will optimize and condense files to help with your page speed.
Content SEO Strategy
Alright, now when it comes time to write your content, it’s important that you follow some best practices for making sure your content is working for you!
For starters, we do not want to “keyword stuff”. It’s pretty self-explanatory but we don’t want to over use your keyword in your content. Your keywords and search phrases should only be appropriately dispersed into your content where it is best fit. Don’t force it.
You want to make sure you choose one focus keyword. This is going to be the keyword or phrase that you use the most and are targeting to be searched for through Google. We chose “DIY Skincare”, so that will be the focus keyword.
It needs to appear in the title, in some headers, in your content, in your meta description, in your files/images that reside within the post, and in your URL.
If you haven’t guessed by now, my focus keyword is SEO Strategy. I have it in my title, in my URL, interspersed throughout my content, in some headers, and as the file name and alt-text for my graphics.
There are some great plugins like Rank Math or Yoast SEO if you are on WordPress that make it so easy to make sure you’re content is doing well for your keywords and SEO strategy (see what I did there ).
Your meta description is another important part of your SEO strategy that needs some TLC too. This is the snippet that appears under your title link on a search engine and it helps give the search engine and readers know what your content is about. This is a great moment to really hone in on that “caption copy”. Hook your readers in!
Your URL is another piece of the pie that we want to tend to. Some best practices for URL structure: – –
- Keep them short; the shorter the better.
- Change your settings for your permalinks to be “static”
- Also change your settings for permalinks to be “custom”
- Format your links as such: https://www.yourdomainhere.com/slug/insert-keyword-title
To end things here, since this is pretty hefty, be sure to monitor your analytics on Google Analytics or a comparable site or plug-in to see what is working and what isn’t. Adjusting your content is an ongoing thing that helps you know if your SEO strategy is working or not.
Be sure to get onto Google Search Console and make sure your site is being properly indexed and crawled! You can also use Webmaster Tools for this.
Always be sure to go back to older content and revise it and update it to keep content fresh. If your posts are of high quality, keep repurposing them!
Well, I think I’ll leave it there for now. I will be going more in-depth in my next SEO post about Pillar Pages and Topic Clusters and how this semi-new format of SEO is giving creators a boost!
I hope this helped you start to understand SEO more and as always, I’m just an email away if you have any questions!
Go be great!
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