Any website, whether it is a blog, an online course, or a store, needs search engine optimization to rank higher, increase organic traffic, and turn casual visitors into regular customers. SEO makes your website more visible and helps you surpass the competitors while keeping up with constantly-updated search engine algorithms.
To optimize your website successfully, you need a plan – a detailed list of actions or a so-called SEO strategy. Although it consists of multiple elements, they are quite easy to master, even if you are just getting started. Below, we discuss how to build a successful optimization strategy from scratch.
Understanding SEO Basics
Whether you are just starting your SEO career or want to boost your website’s traffic on your own, you won’t do without mastering basic optimization elements: keyword research, on-page and off-page optimization, analytics, and keeping up with the trends. Below, we discuss each of them in detail.
Conducting Keyword Research
You can’t build a strong optimization strategy without knowing what keywords the audience is using to find solutions to their problems. Start with making a list of relevant topics and break them into keywords. Then research related search terms at the bottom of Google’s results to get more ideas. We recommend sticking to high-volume keywords – those which are often searched for. Conducting competitor analysis and identifying areas where you can outrank them is also rather helpful.
While you can do keyword research manually, it is much simpler and faster to use dedicated tools. The best SEO software delivers extensive information on your positions, groups keywords, and supplies suggestions to target in your campaigns. Such instruments often come with various other features like backlink tracking, SERP checking, and lead generation.
On-Page Optimization & Off-Page Optimization
On-page SEO refers to the instruments used to optimize the website itself, while off-page SEO focuses on promoting it around the Internet and building authority. Here are the main on-page elements you should work at:
- SEO-friendly website structure. It should be hierarchical and move from general pages to specific ones. A hierarchical structure can be best depicted as a tree.
- Optimized meta tags (title, description, headers). They are essential because they influence how your website shows in the SERPs and give search crawlers extra information about your content.
- High-quality and engaging content. It should be valuable, engaging, and up-to-date.
- Proper keywords and internal linking. Help Google find, understand, and index your website by inserting appropriate keywords and links from one page to another.
Off-page optimization includes:
- High-quality backlinks. They show your authoritativeness, so the more quality backlinks your website has, the higher your ranking becomes.
- Social media. Instagram, Tiktok, and other platforms might not have a direct impact on your SEO ranking, but they boost content distribution, improve organic traffic and online presence, build up brand image, and contribute to local search engine optimization.
- Guest blogging and influencer outreach. They are great for building your brand profile, boosting referral traffic, and strengthening online authority.
Monitoring and Analysis
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and to ensure that your strategy works, you need to track your metrics and identify what you can improve. Here are a few basic principles:
- Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These are free online marketing tools that help to understand customer journeys, improve ROI, and evaluate how your website performs on Google Search.
- Track keyword rankings and organic traffic to identify which keywords are driving users to your website and which of them should be optimized.
- Analyze web performance metrics. It includes website speed, bounce rate, unique visitors, DNS lockup speed, conversion rate, and other indicators.
- Make data-driven decisions based on the information collected during the previous stages.
Keeping Up with SEO Trends
Digital marketing and SEO, in particular, are constantly evolving, so staying on top of the latest trends and practices should become a part of your strategy. Luckily, there are different ways to keep up with all these changes:
- Stay updated on search engine algorithms by signing up for Google’s newsletters or reading authoritative online resources.
- Conduct voice search optimization for people who use voice assistants instead of typing their queries.
- Optimize your website for smartphones and tablets. Google uses a mobile-first indexing approach, so if the website doesn’t work well on mobile, it is doomed.
- Add schema markup to the website to create enhanced snippets and help search engines understand your content better.
- Use AI and machine learning tools to optimize your website and speed up such processes as research, outline and content creation, editing, and analysis.
A successful SEO strategy consists of four basic elements: keyword research, on-page, and off-page optimization, monitoring and analysis, and keeping up with the latest trends. Although this may sound overwhelming, take one step at a time, and you’ll see that search engine optimization is not as difficult as it may seem at first. Good luck!