In the US and Canada specifically, SEO focuses on moving (ranking) your website closer to the top of the search results on Google and other relevant search engines (Bing being the second largest). The closer you are to the number one position, the more traffic your website receives.
What are the results of SEO?
While there are plenty of benefits of SEO, ultimately, it results in increased revenue. Search engine optimization is an investment. It’s a marketing strategy that produces an excellent ROI (compared to other marketing options). Although it takes time to see the full results, every month your website gains value through consistent optimization efforts.
There is a long list of practices that add value but at the core of it all, your website increases the likelihood of appearing in valuable searches for businesses like yours.
What is an SEO strategy?
An SEO strategy is a process of optimizing your website to generate leads and revenue from Google and other search engines. SEO focuses on generating organic traffic to your website from valuable keywords and search phrases. Organic traffic is generated from specific sections of a SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
In local SEO, the focus is appearing in what’s called the “Snack Pack” which is the top 3 results in “Google’s Local Finder” since this also appears on the first page.
Local SEO also moves up your profile in the finder and Google Maps.
An SEO strategy is usually determined by assessing a website for its current traffic generation, on-site content, on-page optimization, keyword targeting and backlink profile.
An SEO campaign is then established to target a specific goal such as ranking for a specific keyword or group of keywords.
What SEO services are included in an SEO campaign?
The key to implementing a successful SEO campaign is to increase the search visibility of your website for the most important search terms for your business. More traffic isn’t necessarily helpful if those visitors aren’t looking for what your business offers.
This is where we get into the specifics of how SEO works and what goes into a typical SEO campaign.
SEO services can be broken down into a list of specific practices that add value to your web pages. Generally speaking, there are four pillars of search engine optimization in which every SEO campaign is built around.
- Keyword research
- SEO content creation
- On-page optimization
- Link building
What is keyword research?
This aspect of SEO is crucial as it sets the foundation for your campaign. When SEO professionals research keywords, they are looking for search terms with multiple qualities. A target keyword is one that has the most volume, the least competition and falls within a realistic timeframe for ranking.
The technical side of keyword targeting means generating a list of keyword options. We can measure volume and even measure how competitive a term is. You can see in this report here, the column that says “KD” represents keyword difficulty. We can also see the number of searches for that keyword each month as well as the cost per click (the dollar amount we need to pay in a Google Ads campaign for every click).
This gives us a fairly quick and accurate glance at the value of the keyword and whether it’s worth pursuing. The second aspect of our research is to make sure the keyword represents the correct intent of the searcher.
Identifying search intent
It’s simply not enough to come up with a list of keywords that you know describe your business. Some keywords will not bring in visitors looking to buy your product or service. Research is vital to determine whether the search phrase has real business value.
For example, the term “SEO” is a broad and general search term. It’s true it may bring in some business, but it doesn’t represent as much business value as someone searching for “SEO Austin TX” because there could be thousands of people who just want to read about what SEO is. The search intent of the word SEO can be considered both informational and potentially commercial.
Narrow down your audience for more effective keyword targeting
Adding a location such as a city makes the keyword targeting much more specific. In this example, there’s a high probability someone is looking for an SEO company in Austin TX. This increases the likelihood that ranking for this term would generate higher-quality leads.
Keyword targeting is a big part of a campaign because it creates a goal and lays the groundwork for the content that needs to be published and optimized.
In fact, targeting the wrong keywords is one of the most common mistakes we see when business owners are doing DIY SEO for their business.
SEO content creation
Another pillar of search engine optimization is creating SEO-optimized content. In order to rank in the search results, a search engine needs to be able to analyze your website efficiently and identify the main topics. Creating major themes on your website contributes to the authority of your website in a specific niche.
For example, if you own a business that specializes in shingle roofing then you want the majority of the content on your website to reflect your best product-shingle roofing. If the shingle roofing service page on your website is 100 words but your flat roofing service page is 800 words, search engines will tend to categorize your website as a flat roofing company.
By targeting popular search terms within a specific keyword topic AND ranking for them, you build the authority of your website in that niche. Google loves to see engaging content that showcases expertise and authority.
This leads us to the next aspect of SEO.
An optimized page will communicate clearly to search engines which keywords the page should rank for in the search results. By today’s standards, the process of on-page optimization goes far beyond that of putting your keyword in metatags (but it’s a great start for local businesses).
By definition, an optimized page is one that is highly useful, functional and delivers EXACTLY what a user is looking for when they land on it from a search result. Therefore, when your pages are optimized for your website, they are checked for things like page speed, images, videos, length of content, quality of content and anything else that adds to the value of the page.
There are literally over 50 potential additions to make to the page to increase its optimization. One of the biggest marketing features of late is using structured data markup.
Structured data markup
In short, structured data markup is code you can implement to the HTML of a web page to improve its context and marketability in the search results. There are dozens of examples of how this works to increase click-through rates, the most common being adding rating Schema to show up in a search result:
Here’s an example of how FAQ Schema (Schema is the universal language between search engines) increases the size of your listing in the search results and pushes your competition further down the page.
Once your page is optimized it doesn’t necessarily mean it will rank highly. If there are a lot of websites competing for the same keyword, you may need to build links to your page to increase its rankability.
An external backlink is a clickable hyperlink that takes a user from one website to another. According to Google, the sign of a great website is when other sites share the URL by posting a backlink. The more times your website is shared by other websites, the more authoritative your website becomes and the higher your website ranks in the search engines.
Every SEO campaign should include an element of link building. This ensures your website is continually getting stronger by accumulating backlinks. Over a long period of time, you eventually outrank your competition based on the strength of your backlink profile.
Not all links are created equal.
There are good links and there are bad links. Good links are links from healthy, popular and most importantly relevant websites.
Bad links are links from websites where the owner uses tactics that violate the Google best practices agreement (mostly link building practices!)
For example, if a website uses automated software to build thousands of backlinks it will eventually incur a penalty. So although there may be a spike in the ranking (and traffic) once the search engines analyze its backlink profile, they will send the website way down the rankings.
This is an example of a website you DON’T want a link from.
Other examples are primarily links from websites that don’t have any relevance to your topic.
For example, if you own a bakery and you get a link from a website that sells fishing rods it’s not going to do much to help you rank for bakery keywords. If you received a link from Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker’s website, you can bet your biscuits you’re going to be beating the local competition.
Links from healthy relevant websites are effective and powerful backlinks.
What’s the right SEO strategy for your business?
Do you know what your website needs to boost the volume of traffic it receives? You could be sitting on a gold mine and not even know it. Sometimes it only takes a few tweaks and you could be making a considerable amount more money in a short period of time.
Whenever you’re ready to take your business to the next level, we’re here to help. Call or message us today for a free consultation on the traffic opportunities you can take advantage of to increase your overall leads and revenue.
Christian Carere heads the SEO team here at Austin Bryant Consulting. After building an SEO agency in Toronto (Digital Ducats Inc.) Christian was hired by founder Keith Hunn who has created a full-service digital marketing agency in Plano, TX. Christian has been published on Search Engine Watch, Venngage, Small Biz Daily, Grasshopper, Data Box, Socialnomics, and Mention.