“Google algorithm” — two words that drive any search engine optimization (SEO) expert crazy, or anyone trying to gain an understanding of basic SEO.
With more than 500 updates made on average each year, how can a website owner build a solid SEO strategy? Good question; and our team here at PPA explains how an effective SEO strategy starts with defining your website’s purpose.
Many website owners obsess over rankings, which is understandable but SEO is so much more than ranking for keywords. Although rankings and keywords are important, they are only half of the ongoing SEO story. What is your website’s purpose? To sell products or services? To share information about a topic? Once your site’s purpose is identified, a strategy can be defined.
Content is the main reason people visit your site. It’s critical to establish content based around the questions your intended users are asking. Understanding these questions will help give you a better idea of your target audience and the types of keywords they are using to find you. The content on your website must represent keywords that are user-focused.
A certain term or phrase may generate a lot of traffic, but it doesn’t mean it’s relevant. All keywords must represent your site’s overall purpose. In essence, this will contextualize your SEO strategy and ensure that the traffic you do generate represents people who want to be on your site and interact with you. That’s the whole point, right?
Selecting purpose-driven keywords
Take a good look at your brand. Brand-focused keywords will assist in driving traffic from those who already know a little bit about your company and what you do. After identifying your brand-focus and keywords, take a deeper look into your own content and the content of your competitors. This is a great way to find more relevant terms.
You can use other tools such as Google Trends, check out profiles of prospective customers on social media channels, and even read sites like Quora to help give you a better understanding of the types of content people are looking for.
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of relevant, purpose-based keywords, then you can run them through your research tool to determine traffic, competition and so on.
Backlinks have always been considered an essential part of any SEO strategy. With that said, many have taken advantage in a negative way and as a result, link-building has gotten a bad name. Google is really good at identifying and penalizing spammy link-building practices, which has led to SEOs being very cautious and sometimes abandoning link-building altogether in favor of content marketing. While building and earning links has gotten tougher, it should still be at the core of your search efforts.
When it comes to a link strategy, remember that not all links are created equal. A site’s authority alone shouldn’t dictate the value of that link. Therefore, context is key and now your link strategy and content can come together. Creating content alone isn’t going to do the work for you, but when you outreach to relevant sites and look to build relevant links, your content has to be good.
Eric Ward says it best in his article, “The less useful your content, the less likely you are to ever receive a link to it.” Whatever the purpose of your site may be, you can create relevant, topic-based content that will encourage links.