One of the many hats I wear for my clients is that of an SEO strategist. If you are unfamiliar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it’s how your website gets found by search engines like Google. I focus mainly on Google because they are the top dog in the search engine world, but there are other search engines like Bing, AOL, and Yahoo.
SEO is often seen as magic or voodoo because it’s based on algorithms (mathematical equations) that Google creates but doesn’t reveal to anyone. So, SEO strategy is part art and part science and everyone has their own opinion on the best way to beat the algorithm and rank on page one, rank one. Today I’m going to share with you a few of the more commonly accepted strategies to reach that first page.
Select the Right Keyword
Notice I didn’t say “the best” keyword, but “the right” keyword. Keeping in mind that keywords are singular words, but phrases (read more on that here), it’s important to focus on the right keywords for your business. Your keywords should be consumer-driven, localized to your niche, and obtainable. I also look at cost metrics if I were to buy an ad for that word and what the average search volume per month is for that word in my region.
When I say “consumer-driven” what I mean is that the word query is part of a sales cycle. If I sell tea, the keyword “how to brew loose-leaf tea” likely means someone already has tea in their possession and are looking only for information. Informational keywords are at the very top of a sales funnel and while they are good to go after in their own right, when you’re just getting started you want keywords that will give you a Return On your Investment (ROI). “Where to buy loose leaf tea” would be a better keyword to target in the beginning for the purpose of being consumer-driven.
If you own a brick-and-mortar business (where people actually walk into your door to buy), then localizing your keyword to your region is a must. However, if your business does sales online or you provide your service to all locations, then you want to use your niche to “localize” your keyword. I provide SEO strategist services in San Luis Obispo County primarily because I do a lot of live, in-person workshops (until COVID-19, but that’s another story). I could make my keyword “San Luis Obispo SEO strategist.” However, I work remotely for a lot of my clients, so they could be anywhere in the world, so I would use a niche like: “medical SEO strategist” or “winery SEO strategist” because I have worked with a lot of doctors for their SEO which gives me a niche, and I live in wine country (Napa is for auto parts, Paso Robles is for wine!) which means I also work with a lot of folks in the wine industry. So either of those keywords would work for me and are niche-optimized.
If I have a keyword and the number-one spot is taken by Amazon and Walmart has the second spot, that word may not be obtainable for me on my SEO budget; theirs is much bigger. Always check a keyword to see what your competition looks like and determine if you can reasonably obtain that word. If not, look at a better way to localize or niche-optimize your keyword.
Selecting your keyword is the biggest hurdle in a good SEO strategy. The next stage in your strategy comes down to your writing, which is the artsy part of being an SEO strategist. I love copywriting for SEO. It can feel a bit awkward at first, but you’ll get the hang of it in time. Each page should have one and only one focus keyword and be at least 800 words long. The keyword will be “stuffed” into the page as many times as you can manage while still sounding authentic. I use tags and headings to help boost my use of a keyword when I map out an SEO strategy for a client. In the algorithm, you used to be able to just write the same word again and again and rank well for it. Now, Google looks at cohort words being used and what I call “string remixes” for organic authenticity of a word. A “string remix” is using the same phrase but in a different order, so I could use “Best SEO strategist in San Luis Obispo” and “San Luis Obispo’s best SEO strategist” to mean the same keyword. All of the words are there, just in a different order, thus a “remix.”
The last key element in a good SEO strategy is to have links that go INTO your page as well as out of your page. Making link out of your page is easy. Here’s a link to my portfolio site. <– There, that’s a link going out of my site to another site. What’s harder to get are links on other sites coming into your pages. Don’t fall for someone selling a million links for five dollars, but do look into ways to buy links into your website like with the local chamber of commerce or other associations related to your niche.
Hire SEO Help When You Need It
An SEO strategy takes a lot of work because there are so many moving parts. Many DIY business owners struggle with SEO and thus have little-to-no SEO rankings in Google. If you need more traffic to your website and you feel like a lot of this either goes over your head or you have no interest in taking the time to learn it, hire help! An SEO strategist like myself can train you or do it for you depending on your needs and budget. The reason I have worked with a lot in the medical industry is that doctors go to school to be doctors, not SEO experts. They know when it’s time to hire help. As a small business owner, you’re already wearing many hats and I completely get it – I’m a small business owner, too! Always hire help when you need it. Contact me here and we can take a look at your SEO together and come up with a strategy to beat out your competition.