How to Develop a Winning SEO Strategy?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices are constantly pivoting to keep up with Google’s changing guidelines and developing technologies. It can look like there’s a lot to it, but really it’s about getting the fundamentals right – planning your technical SEO, and then your content SEO.
Developing your SEO strategy can help you become more visible in rankings, build greater trustworthiness with your audience, and establish authority and credibility.
Josh Mendelowitz is Senior Search Marketing Manager at London Stock Exchange.
During our chat (See here), Josh shares his expertise on how to ensure SEO success through content creation and technical metrics.
Think you know SEO?
A lot of people’s understanding of SEO can actually be outdated. It’s not just about manipulating search results to rank higher on Google.
It’s about finding your customer’s needs and centering your digital strategy around enabling potential customers to discover how you solve those needs.
Technical SEO is ensuring server optimizations that make your website pages crawlable and also search engines to index your site. Ask yourself, Can Google actually find your site? It’s a critical first step, and there are a few things to look at:
Site speed – Stay focused on site speed – make sure it performs really quickly. Whether it’s analytics, tags, videos – these can all affect the performance of your site.
A millisecond can make a 9% difference in your conversion rate!
Crawling and Indexing – Make sure what you’re creating is crawlable and indexable. Also, minimize critical errors. Lastly, ensure you don’t accidentally noindex your content, for example.
For this technical piece, validate it by bringing in your SEO teams early. Make sure they do those checks across your website early on.
Once you’re happy your site is performing well, you can move on to the content.
SEO Content Strategy
For your content strategy, it’s important to focus on dedicated pages targeting top keywords aligned to the user journey.
Brand content author pages and product reviews can help your brand build visibility by establishing expertise, authority, and trust.
Focus on generic terms that tie closely to your USP, and answer users’ queries in order to gain a featured snippet – it answers a question directly as a dropdown on Google.
Build your entire site information architecture around your SEO research, making sure there is a semantic relationship between content.
Align all of this to the user journey and the sales funnel. Use long-tail keywords for the top of funnel content, and use more specific keywords for the bottom of the funnel.
The first step here is creating linkable content. Think about what high-value content you have, and make it relevant and easy to digest.
Link worthy content
There’s essentially two types of content that you can create:
- Reactive content (such as blogs, news articles, video streams etc)
- Evergreen content (such as whitepapers, how to guides, expert talks)
However, both of these need to be visually striking, interesting, have a strong UX design in mind and utilize thought leadership to make it unique and engaging.
Keyword research is still important
It’s important to know what people are searching for so you can capitalize on these trends and make content people want to engage with. Some free tools include AnswerThePublic, Google Search Console, and Keyword Planner.
Understanding the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is super valuable because you can look up any search terms and analyze what results Google pulls in.
Identifying primary keywords
- Consider long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords have lower search volume but are more targeted for SEO, leading to better engagement and conversions.
- Make sure it matches user intent: Ensure it aligns with your audience’s needs rather than the most searched for keywords. It’s easy to get caught up in internal language, so focus on what the user wants.
- It has to work as a page title: Remember, you’re using it for content, so it has to make sense!
Page titles and descriptions
Your page title is one of the key SEO ranking factors. Test different titles to maximize CTR (Click Through Rates), and ensure it has your primary keyword for content.
Having a meta description is not necessary for SEO, but it is vital in order to have a good CTR.
It’s wise to start with a good structure for a page of content.
- Plan your headings (H1, H2) around other keywords of interest, and utilize an SEO tool to find other related keywords that are relevant to that topic.
- Ensure paragraphs are easy to read – Google looks for 2-5 sentences and around 150 words as best practice.
- The scores on tools such as Yoast (SEO plugin for WordPress) are just a rough guide, so don’t be too concerned if you have a low score.
- Making your content look great is important – think images, video, and graphs.
- Have a strong CTA (Call to Action) at the bottom of every page.
Linking and Backlinks
- Don’t forget internal links to raise your SEO – use a page that gets a lot of traffic.
- Always make sure you’re linking down the sales funnel – so from a blog post to a product.
- The best links are natural links, so outreach. Generate links to your content by targeting influencers and other blogs. Sites such as Buzzsumo can also help with trending topics.
- Utilize best practices and create link ‘cheat sheets’ internally within your business -make sure they link the right keywords, so you have the best possible link going out.
- Adding tracking links (UTM parameter) shouldn’t affect your SEO.
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