Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for search engines and users. This helps search engines as Google read your website better, makes it discoverable and divert traffic. A successful SEO strategy for your brand encompasses both technical optimizations as well as non-technical optimizations. The aim is to make your content and website appealing in the eyes of users and search engines.
Let us begin with some elementary questions on SEO-
Is an SEO strategy essential for your brand website?
How can an SEO services agency help you with optimization functions?
Can you expect to see a bump in your website traffic post executing a successful SEO strategy for your brand?
What roles do Social Media and websites like Quora, Reddit, and others have on SEO functions?
When can I expect to start seeing results from my SEO strategy?
The goal of a successful SEO strategy is to make you climb the search rankings.
As Google is the number 1 search engine in the world, 90% of all SEO on this planet targets Google. Fair enough.
For most SEOs (Search Engine Optimizers), securing a coveted position on the first page of a result is gold. According to data from Moz, 71% of all clicks on Google happen on the first page of search results.
First page positions for brand websites translates into more Click-Through-Rates (CTRs).
More CTRs mean better traffic and engagement on the brand’s website.
Better traffic means more leads, sales, and queries for products and services.
In other words, having a successful SEO strategy for your brand is necessary for every sense of the term.
SEO Strategy and Google Search Rankings: What you need to know
When it comes to optimizing your website, most agencies and brands tend to focus on what Google wants. However, this is not the correct approach to take. Google just follows the search preferences of users and asks websites to follow them.
If you are looking for a successful SEO strategy for your brand website, you need to listen to the users.
You might turn around and say- how do I know what the users want? Google at least gives me some information to help with SEO.
You are both right and wrong!
The biggest takeaway from this line of thinking will help you ace search rankings and stay safe.
Most of the times, SEOs will look to implement shortcuts and follow ‘Black Hat Strategies’.
This involves working with spurious intentions and engaging with manipulative SEO strategies.
Google completely abhors black hat strategies like buying links, manipulating social shares, fake followers and paid engagements.
According to Google, the aim of every brand website should be to focus on providing the best information on the web. If agencies and brands focus on creating the best user experience possible, search rankings will narrate a tale of success.
By putting the cart before the horse, SEO and SEO Service agencies often miss the forest for the tree. ((Ha ha…two proverbs at one go!)
A successful SEO strategy needs to work according to the guidelines of Google to ace the search rankings. We have compiled a list of some of the top ranking factors for Google–
- Quality Content
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Social Media Sharing and Activations
- Page Loading Speed and other optimizations (title tags, meta tags, schema mark-up)
- Website Security (HTTPS)
- UI and UX functionality appeal and ease.
SEO Terms and Types you should be familiar with:
Let us now look at the three main types of SEO that we focus on when it comes to executing a strategy-
1. On-Page SEO:
The purpose of this SEO is to optimize the content on the website itself. This means doing the keyword research for various pages of a website. Trying to rank for at least three to five keywords on a site.
On-Page SEO also involves keeping an active and informative blog where articles are published regularly. A blog acts as a repository of rich long tail keyword friendly articles.
2. Off-Page SEO:
Off-Page focusses on one important factor- creating quality backlinks for your website. This is where functions like Guest Posting, Blogger Outreach, and Link Building become crucial to success.
Google sees quality backlinks as recommendations to your website by authority sites. Off-Page SEO also helps drive traffic to your website from external, but related sources. The more quality backlinks that point to your website, the better your chances of ranking.
3. Technical SEO:
The final SEO type focusses on fixing the digital architecture and infrastructure of the website. Technical SEO focusses on Mobile Optimization, Page Loading Speed, title and meta tags, alt text, schema mark-up and so on.
According to Google, how developers code a website also acts as a ranking factor for technical SEO. This involves questions like- framework and language, ease of code, security considerations and so on.
If you have been reading the article, you will see that the three types of SEO correspond to Google’s Ranking Factors. (We discussed the same in the last section).
For example, quality content is a consideration for the On-Page SEO team.
Similarly, building quality backlinks is a KPI of the Off-Page SEO team.
Lastly, Mobile Responsiveness is a function of the Technical SEO team.
Is a Successful SEO Strategy Dependent on other Digital Marketing Functions?
SEO is a rather complex and vast field of expertise. It is interdependent on numerous other areas of digital marketing like-
It also involves work between various digital marketing personnel like- content writers, designers, developers, outreach specialists, SEO experts, social media teams, and so on.
An SEO strategy cannot exist in isolation. It always needs to be supported by a wide cross-section of digital marketing functions.
Content writers help the On-Page SEO team compose keyword rich and SEO friendly content for the website pages.
The content writing team also works aggressively with the Off-Page SEO team for guest posting, blogger outreach, and link building.
Again, the content team works to create SEO strategies directed at Quora and Reddit. Not to mention several other hundred types of requirements that SEOs make from their writers.
Likewise, the social media team works closely with the SEO team to publicize website content on social media pages.
This might involve running campaigns on SEO optimized Landing Pages from social media.
We all know that social media channels also involve a keyword friendly approach.
This means that the same keywords should find mention on the website, blog articles and social channels with links.
Outreach is something that is critical to Off-Page SEO. While most SEO experts are good at their jobs, they might not be good at elementary things like compiling emails that work.
This is where they take help from content writers, to create personalized emails, which work and perform.
Not to mention, how creating quality content and pushing the same is the base of a successful guest posting and blogger outreach strategy.
Steps to Build a Successful SEO Strategy for your Brand:
A successful SEO strategy for your brand can be beneficial in terms of-
- Attracting a huge number of website visitors and traffic. Traffic that is relevant and engages to improve Bounce Rates and CTRs.
- Can help in improving SEO metrics and health of your website. Metrics like Domain Authority, Domain Rankings, Google Index Rank, Alexa Rank and so on.
- Bring about a vast improvement in your Google Search Engine Rankings Page (SERPs).
- Increase Lead Generation and Sales Conversions, thereby contributing directly to revenues.
- Build your credibility as an industry authority voice for useful information and problem-solving.
Let us now look at some of the steps that can help you build a successful SEO strategy for your brand.
1. Make a Detailed List of Topics and Keywords that you want to tank for:
Every agency or SEO expert is going to tell you that keywords matter. They would be right, only partially.
By focussing on just keywords, you would be ignoring Google’s quality guidelines, which focus on quality information.
It is essential that you create a list of topics to go with the keyword research.
This will help you understand what users are searching for in your industry. In other words, long tail keywords become as important as focus keywords (one or two words).
As competition is severe, it is difficult for brands to rank for focus keywords. Brands also need to be mindful of the fact that Voice Search Assistants take help more from long tail keywords.
Topics are pieces of quality information, one that Google ranks.
If they are enriched with keywords, it pronounces better results. This helps you align your SEO strategy with both- what search engines love, and what users are searching for.
2. Start a Blog and Publish regularly:
The world is moving towards Inbound Marketing. Users are tired of brands pushing products and services down their feeds.
They would rather want to enjoy autonomy and look for information on the web.
This is where your blog section can become a real asset for your business.
Not only can it be a rich source of topics and keywords related to your industry, but it could also become your brand’s voice.
The aim is to invest in a great content creation team and publish blogs, which are relevant. Every industry has certain questions and problems.
Your blog should be a one-stop problem solving, solution offering platform for all issues affecting your industry.
Once you are able to build credibility and traffic through quality content, the sales will follow automatically. Even though creating hundred quality long format articles is a long process, it has definite and promising returns.
3. Use Social Media to promote your Business Website:
With more than 4 billion users on social media, you cannot ignore it at all.
The dynamic appeal of social media makes it possible to promote your business website effectively.
All you need to do is create complete profiles on social media platforms that you think correspond to your TG.
You need to post quality content about your blogs, products, and services on social media.
However, amplifying content on social media helps in diverting traffic to your website.
A stunning product display can have a backlink, which takes users to your e-commerce section. An informative problem-solving blog share can take users to your blog article.
This is critical, as you will be exposed to your target audience more on social media than on Google search. At least in the initial phases of your SEO strategy.
Social media sharing is an essential component of any successful SEO strategy. The more clicks on a brand’s website from external sources, the more Google and social media companies think of the link as credible and promote it.
4. Build Quality Backlinks through Innovative Off-Page Digital Marketing Strategies:
Any successful SEO strategy will have a strong Link Building component to it. Most SEO services agencies focus on just building links. In other words, they do not focus on the quality of the links being built.
This is an elementary mistake, which has bad repercussions for your brand. Not only do you stand risking lowered metrics and search rankings, but you might also even get your website de-indexed. Relevancy of where your backlinks are is also equally important for Google.
Link building is as much dangerous as it is beneficial. The best SEO services agencies focus on content as a driving force for link building. For example, great content helps you explore Guest Posting opportunities in industry authority sites.
Guest Posting, along with Blogger Outreach is important when it comes to building quality backlinks.
In exchange for your content, a publisher allows you to place your website’s backlinks on his website.
For Google, this is looked upon as a recommendation for your website. The more quality backlinks you have, the better your chances to rank.
5. Use Quora and Reddit to Seed Content and Encourage Backlinks:
In the past couple of years, Quora and Reddit have emerged as critical platforms for SEO. User review platforms help promote an organic SEO strategy.
The aim is to engage with threads where people ask questions about specific problems with your industry. By giving detailed information and solution in the post itself, you can help hundreds of users.
Once you are able to get a good number of views, you will be able to establish your authority and credibility.
This will help you place backlinks in your post comment and redirect users to the website or blog.
Third-party traffic from reputed sites is highly valued by Google. The more people click on your link on Quora and Reddit and reach your website; the better will be your metrics.
Even though Quora and Reddit are highly beneficial from an SEO standpoint, it needs a lot of time, effort and investment.
However, you can rest assured that a sustained SEO strategy on Quora and Reddit will help you gain traction and traffic.
6. Mobile Optimization and Responsiveness as an SEO Strategy:
Last year, Google announced a Mobile-First Indexing Policy.
This means that your website’s mobile version is going to be indexed first by Google, followed by your desktop.
This was a huge announcement as it stressed the importance that Google is now placing on mobile search!
According to statistics, more than 60% of all searches on Google are done from mobile devices.
It is no wonder then that Google would want all those users to experience the best website UI and UX on their mobile phones.
Google is careful when it comes to checking the content and design variances between mobile versions and desktop versions. Any major difference leads to an automatic downgrading for the website.
All brand websites must concentrate on ensuring that they are mobile responsive.
This will open up a huge arena of possibility for them, with regard to search. By maintaining clean, consistent and user-friendly UI and UX on mobile websites, brands can expect good results.
7. Pay Attention to Local SEO (Google My Business, Yelp, and Directories):
If you are a business who is not paying attention to Local SEO, you are missing a ton of local footfalls.
Local SEO helps brands be discovered by people who are looking for things in a particular geographical location.
Let us take the example of a Chinese Restaurant in Greenwich Village.
If the restaurant maintains an active presence on GMB, Yelp and other directories it will pop up as one of the top 3 places when people search for ‘Chinese Restaurant in Greenwich Village’.
Local SEO is important when it comes to directly contribute to sales and revenue generations.
The number of local directories and platforms your brand is active on, the better will be your chances of topping the search rankings.
Google My Business (GMB) is one such active platform that is important. Brands should complete their profiles and enrich them by posting images, videos, regular updates, and announcements.
8. Always remember: Great Content = Great SEO:
You can create the best SEO strategy in the world; but, if you do not have the right content, it will not work! That is the beauty, as well as the challenge of creating quality content.
I have often felt that everyone can write.
However, not everyone can write SEO friendly keyword rich content.
That is the challenge that brands and SEO services agencies face in 2019. They have the data, they know the statistics, and they are very proficient in running the software and the tools.
Does the question remain whether they can create the right content or not? In 8 out of 10 cases, they cannot.
I have always believed that investing in content writers is the best investment that a brand can ever make.
You will be surprised when doors for the association and professional relationships will start opening because of your content.
Content, which convinces and converts, is the crown jewel of any successful SEO strategy.
Everyone knows that SEO is great for his or her business website. Does everyone know how to execute a flawless SEO strategy for his or her business website? Not so much.
This is why most brands and agencies falter at SEO, even though the basics of SEO have not changed that much.
Backlinks and quality content still dominate Google’s ranking factors. Why then are we failing when it comes to SEO?
A better answer would take note of the ‘money’ and ‘time’ considerations.
In other words, brands and agencies want to speed up the process by taking help from paid channels. Some years ago, this was not frowned upon. Most people even got away with it handsomely.
However, Google has started addressing these issues very seriously. Today, once your website gets a penalty, it will remain like that.
No matter what SEO experts, authors and commentators say. Once your website has been penalized, you will never be able to restore it back to its former glory.
I will say that only 5% of all websites that are penalized by Google manage to recover.
I hope that this article has helped you understand SEO better. I also hope that by following the steps you will be able to build a successful SEO strategy for your brand.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about SEO services.