This is part one of a three-part blog series focused on SEO.
In recent years, it has not become uncommon for the person tasked with SEO decisions and responsibilities to be someone with no formal SEO or website management training. Website marketing is after all just one method that can be used for outputting an organization’s message.
I have a lot of empathy for people in this position because I often find myself in unfamiliar territory when trying to decipher ad campaign stats and setup. I have a background in website management but no extensive, formal training in marketing. In a world where we are required to wear multiple hats and cross-collaborate towards a larger, overarching goal, just knowing what the basics are and covering those bases are the best first steps toward improvement.
To begin with, we need to make sure that we know what SEO is and why it is important so that we can take steps towards understanding where we can begin making improvements.
SEO is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization.
Search engines typically crawl the internet going from one website link to another. While crawling the “web,” a giant library of available links and their corresponding relevant words is created.
A person utilizing a search engine, like Google, then types words into a search field. The listing of different webpage link results that are displayed is listed based on SEO ranking, the search engine’s best assumption of what the most relevant webpage links from its library are.
People care about SEO ranking because it is commonly understood that a user will typically only visit so many pages of search results. In many scenarios, if you are not on the first page of search results, it is not likely to matter that you are listed at all.
An article published on the Moz website cites a Click Through Rate (CTR) study that the first page of search results gets over 70% of the website click-through traffic. In this 2014 article Philip Petrescu states that “On average, 71.33% of searches result in a page one organic click. Page two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks. On the first page alone, the first 5 results account for 67.60% of all the clicks and the results from 6 to 10 account for only 3.73%.”
This is where good SEO practices come in handy. They will allow you to improve your odds of being at the top of the list. It is worth noting that different search engines have different algorithms and most are fairly elusive on specific rules and which weighs heavier.
Begin planning your SEO strategy
If you already employ a content strategy, SEO strategy may be synonymous. A good content strategy should consider SEO ramifications.
Decide what terms are important for you
To gauge how to improve SEO, you need to first decide what terms you would like to be found via a search. Next, create a list outlining what content is important to people searching for those terms. After you have an outline, it is important to audit your website’s content to determine whether it is in line with your outline.
You may have a small enough website or worked at your organization long enough to have a general idea of what has been put out on your website. If not, you may need to utilize a tool to inventory your website content. Tools like DubBot can provide you with a page list of all of the links found within your website.
Setting aside best practices in how the content should be marked up, determine what new content should be output. This should be the content that you believe is missing from your website messaging.
We do know content updates and new content output counts.
SEO professionals have recently noted seeing improved search ranking when content is being output and updated frequently. Having an overall strategy that takes into account content output timelines is another piece of an effective web marketing strategy.
The other piece is making sure the content being output adheres to SEO best practices.
In the next blog, we will look at specific best practices for website content that could enhance your SEO ranking.