Getting your content into the top position on the search engine results page (SERP) can give you a click-through rate of nearly 30%. This rate more than doubles the click-through rate for the result in the second position on the SERP. The higher the ranking that you can secure for your content, the easier you will find it to bring in new site visitors and saturate the top of your sales funnel.
To earn these top-ranking positions, however, you need to have a solid SEO strategy that helps you analyze what customers want to see and then present them with the content you need. Creating highly ranking content is not a guessing game. It requires quality strategies and a keen understanding of what the search engines and customers themselves want to see.
To help you improve your SEO strategy, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.
Research: The core of the SEO strategy
Your SEO strategy needs to start with quality research. Before you can produce content that will rank well and attract interested readers, you need to know what topics they want to read about. You also need to understand their user intent when they complete their searches.
Therefore, begin with topic research. See what else already exists on your targeted topic and keyword and the type of user intent they target. Make note of the types of content created, including textual content versus video, shopping, or images. This provides you with the likely intent of searchers and will tell you what type of content to create.
Secondly, your research should also delve into your competitors. Note the content they have created on the topic, their rankings, and potential gaps in what they have made. See where you can edge them out to rank higher or better appeal to the likely user intent.
You can also use your insight into your competitors to find keywords that would benefit you but they do not rank for. Targeting these topics can give you a good chance to outshine them on the SERPs.
Create: Translating the SEO strategy into content
Once you have completed your initial research, you can begin to develop your content. You want to make sure you delve into the topic in-depth so that you can provide interesting and helpful content for your readers. You will generally want to produce between 1000 and 1500 words so that you have the space to do the topic justice. Material that is too shallow will not perform well or keep users engaged.
As you create this content, you also want to include:
- Custom graphics and images. Material with pictures performs better and custom creations outpace any stock photos. Use images that align well with the content and support what you say. Images of products, services, customers, or your own creative interpretations can all help you get started.
- Incorporate relevant and accurate data whenever it adds to your material. This contributes to your credibility and supports your ideas. Just make sure you gather data from trusted sources.
- Include internal and external links to related articles. Show how your piece relates to the rest of the articles on your website as well as where it fits within the broader digital ecosystem. This can also help establish your credibility and let the search engines know the types of topics you should rank highly for.
Optimize: Preparing your content to rank
When you have finished drafting your content, you want to go through your piece and make sure that you have properly optimized it to enhance its discoverability on the SERP. SEO strategies call for you to use several different types of optimization. Focus on these key areas:
- Make sure the page loads quickly. Speed has become an important ranking factor. Check the Core Vitals of the page. This will tell you how long your page takes to load and how much work it needs to meet Google’s standards. Make any necessary adjustments.
- Be sure to fine-tune your content and the tags you use with it to make sure it compliments your existing content. You do not want multiple pieces of content competing for the same rankings on the site, you want them to support each other.
- Add schema markup to the elements and the page to call out important features for Google. If you list an event, provide instructions, include videos, or anything else that Google might find interesting, mark it up with a schema to make sure the search engines find it.
- Once the article is published, use PR and any important influencers in your industry to see if you can secure some backlinks. Let people know about your content and spread it on social media to help it reach the target audience.
Track: Know how well your SEO strategy performed
Once you have optimized the content, it is time to go live. Once the page lives on your site, tracking it will become critical. You want to make sure you see how your page performs across multiple metrics. See how well the rich elements of the page perform, including if they get any clicks.
Use different analytics reports, including Google Analytics and Google Search Console, to see how the page performs overall. Track the ranking that the page receives and how it changes over time as the article begins to catch people’s attention. See how many people visit the page and once they do when they arrive.
Make sure that your content has a targeted call to action at the bottom of the page. Your CTA should give your audience a specific action that you want them to take. See how many people engage with the page according to your CTA– in other words, how many click on the link you posted or fill out the form.
Use the information you gather through all of this tracking to better understand your audience. Notice what they seemed to appreciate about the content, how well they engaged with it, and the benefits it brings your business and your lead generation strategies. Use this information to help you fine-tune your SEO strategy moving forward. You might determine patterns in the types of CTAs that work best, the style of content people engage with more, or the types of content that brings in more leads. You can use this information as you produce more content.
Build your business with Milestone
If you are ready to build your SEO strategy and stay on top of the constantly evolving trends, connect with Milestone. We can help you understand how to build a strategy that will work for you in both the long term and the short term so that you can maximize your success. Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Ask our experts
What are the most important things for SEO?
The most important thing in SEO is better understanding the user intent. Google wants to provide searchers with content that matches their needs. Therefore, the key parts of SEO include:
- Understanding the customer
- Know the types of content the user wants to read
- Understanding the intent of the user when they make a search for a particular keyword
- Producing high-quality, helpful content that users find helpful
- Make your content clear and understandable to Google with keywords, schema markup, internal and external links, and in-depth content that covers the material well so it includes semantically related terms.
What SEO techniques should be avoided?
Any SEO technique that detracts from the user experience should be avoided. This includes SEO techniques that were popular in the past, such as keyword stuffing. Using keywords repeatedly to try and make your content look relevant only makes it harder for users to engage and they will find the content boring.
Similarly, users should avoid shallow content that only uses the keyword but doesn’t provide the information. Overall, site owners need to focus on providing readers with content that will help them understand their problems better and find a solution.
How do I increase traffic to my website?
To increase traffic to your website, you need to focus on a few key areas:
- Build your SEO by making sure you understand what people actually want to read. This includes using long-tail keywords to help you stand out from the rest.
- Employ social media and influencers to promote your content to draw clicks.
- Use PPC marketing, or paid ads, to bring attention to key pages of your site.
- Use headline best practices to write interesting, engaging headlines that encourage clicks.
What makes good SEO?
Good SEO comes from producing authoritative content that aligns well with the user’s intent. Your site should also provide a good user experience including fast load speeds and easily digestible content. When your content understands what customers want to see, understand, and do when they type in a particular query, then you will improve your rankings.
Search engines want to return results that align well with the user intent. Therefore, they examine the type of content you have produced, the topics you discuss, the authority and expertise you offer, and the depth you provide. This information contributes to your ranking.
What is SEO versus SEM?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, or the process of helping Google see the value in your content so it ranks highly on the organic SERP. You have to earn each ranking you achieve through SEO, as these positions represent Google’s interpretation of the strongest results to the weakest according to the user’s query.
SEM, however, refers to search engine marketing. This encompasses all the strategies you use to rank well. Specifically, it focuses on paid ads you use to boost your appearances and rankings. With SEM, you target specific searches and create an ad to appear on that SERP. If someone clicks on your ad, then you will have to pay.