9 SEO strategies that deliver results in 2017-2018

Now that Hummingbird, Penguin and Panda have arrived to weed out the low-quality websites from Google’s SERP’s, it’s more important than ever for online businesses to find superlative SEO strategies. Here are eight of the very best of them in an order that leads to a final summation of a well-defined SEO campaign. From defining target audiences through keyword research, finding the gaps and opportunities, surpassing the competition and on to thought leadership, these SEO Strategies should be helpful and informative.

Define Target Audiences.

A website must provide content that is useful and relevant to visitors to the site. The first step in this process is to clearly define the target audience and their specific interests and needs. You may need to use several research methods in defining the needs of the target audience. Research methods such as those below may prove very useful in defining the terms and phrases used by the customers you want to attract to your website.
• Market Research Studies can be valuable. It may be necessary to pay for high-quality research studies, although websites that offer free market studies do exist.
• You can discover more about the preferences and needs of your target audience by placing a survey on your site, or by directing customers to a site that generates marketing data through surveys.
• Focus groups can generate top-quality information about products. You may be able to organize a focus group yourself, but if not, many companies run paid focus groups.
• Find out if a topic or product is producing excitement, or buzz, by researching on sites that track brand-metrics.

Keyword Research.

Now that you have gathered as much information as possible about the Target Audience, the next step is to refine the keywords. Keyword Research can begin with a deeper look at either the product, the service, a topic, or the customer persona if you have created one.

Start by creating a template, such as an Excel spreadsheet. It may help to create clearer keyword categories if you use a separate tab for each keyword. Be creative and explore as many keywords as you can, as some keywords can be deleted if they do not produce the search traffic volume that qualifies them for inclusion. For the easiest keyword research, a Google AdWords template includes a column in which you can fill in the Google estimated monthly search volume for each keyword.

Start Keyword Research on the Google AdWords template, by typing in a keyword from one of your categories and then, from the Match Type Categories it is essential that you choose Exact. By going through this step, you may find further high-volume keywords that you wish to add to your categories and perhaps even your website. Export this data to your Excel spreadsheet, so that you have two columns: the terms for the keyword category and the results from the Google AdWords search. Finding the

Gaps and the Opportunities.

When we refer to Gaps we are saying that page analytics have revealed that referral volume, or visitors directed by links from other websites, is low.
When we speak about Opportunities we mean that page analytics have revealed that there is noticeable search volume for certain content that has not been included on your web page.

To define Gaps and Opportunities find the referral numbers derived by your analytics system and add them, in an extra column, to the Excel spreadsheet you have been working on. You need not obtain the referral numbers for every keyword category, but by choosing a sample set based on either high-volume or low-volume search terms, you will be able to come to some understanding about areas where you are going well as opposed to areas where you are not going so well. It is possible to pull referral data for the whole list, but remember that your time is valuable. Pull the referral numbers for the keyword categories that you know are going to give you the most insight.

Enter the correct data into two new columns, the first entitled Referrals and the second entitled CTR. Use the Excel page capabilities to calculate the CTR numbers from the Referral numbers.

Once these four columns have data in them, the Excel spreadsheet is able to reorganize the data so that the keyword categories are now sorted from highest CTR to lowest CTR. If you have scored a CTR rating of 35% or more for a keyword, that’s very good news, as even the head keywords rarely score 100%. The keywords which have scored 2% CTR or fewer reveal Gaps. Once you have assessed the reasons why this Gap has appeared in your CTR’s, note it down. Opportunities are revealed where the high-volume search terms are not matched by high referral rates and CTR. You may be able to find ways to incorporate new material into your website, the opportunity to do this having been revealed by the data generated via the Excel spreadsheet.

Defining Competitors.

Competitors could be defined directly as the companies that sell the same product or service as your own website, but competition can also be defined under the headings of the keyword categories for your site. By searching for the sites that top the listings under a series of related keywords, you may be able to discover more about what your strongest competitors are doing. For instance, a site that sells furniture is in direct competition with other sites that sell furniture, but by typing related terms into a search engine, such as cane furniture, patio furniture or dining room tables, more insight about competitors can be derived.
Record the results of such a keyword search in a new Excel spreadsheet, or go to the Keyword Difficulty Tool on Semrush.com, Alexa.com, or Moz.com.

Learning from Your Competitors.

This is the portion of the eight-step SEO Strategy in which you try to define what makes your competitors so popular by examining certain features and comparing them to similar features on your own website. The major purpose of this comparison is to find out what brings people to your competitors’ sites, what encourages people to go back there, what makes people want to tell their friends about them, basically, what makes people love this site?
An Excel page can be used to list these features, which may be the content, landing pages, social media presence, widgets and tools that appear on your competitors’ web pages. Features such as Likes and Dislikes, In-links, On-Page and Traffic are headings which could be used, but you may also analyze competitors’ web pages in whatever way you see fit to do so. Just remember that the idea is not just to beat the competition but to actually offer a better product than theirs which will grow its own natural popularity.

Site Speed.

Google has indicated that site speed and the resultant page speed are signals that affect page rankings. Both the user experience and the conversion rate are also negatively affected by a site that loads slowly. In order to reduce page speed, you must compress files that are larger than 150 bytes; there are software tools which allow you to perform this task easily. You may also decide to enhance your code by removing commas, spaces and other irrelevant symbols. On the subject of compression, it is important to ensure that all the images on your site are loaded as either PNG or JPEG files are that they are not too large.
Help your site to load efficiently by subscribing to a Content Delivery Network, in which copies of your site will be stored at data centers across the globe. By doing this, you offer users more consistent site access.

A Mobile First Approach

The Google algorithms have altered; they now reflect the user experience more than previously. Now that mobile devices outnumber desktop devices and most searches are made from mobile devices, it is crucial to develop websites that are responsive on tablets and smartphones.
The smaller screen space on mobile devices demands a simpler page design, but CSS and JavaScript should still be included. By this means, Google Smartphone bots can perceive content that is identical to that which users perceive.
For special effects on the screens of mobile devices, webmasters should use HTML5, rather than plug-ins. Rich snippets in search results and concisely worded content will stand out on smaller screens. Building an app is another method of adapting the mobile experience for users, although Google crawlers prefer the responsive web design.

Thought Leadership.

Though leadership may be an even better marketing and SEO tool than straight out advertising. Although the results may take a little longer to become evident, the brand perception of your company will be enhanced, and you may eventually find that your brand dominates its niche.
Demonstrate that your company has insight and authority by regularly publishing long-form articles that are based on highly-quality study, exploration and research, in-depth case studies, thoughtful, incisive blogs, informative infographics and finally by adding high-quality research links to your site. Due to the perception that your brand is a thought-leader, you may be able to request that higher prices be paid for your product.

Off-Site SEO

Just as important as On-page SEO, Off-page SEO may be carried out by several methods, all of which contribute to the positive branding of a website or company. One way to look at Off-Site SEO may be to consider that creating an excellent product or service is the best way to foster interest in that product or service. Word-of-mouth, guest blogs, and reviews on other sites than your own are all part of this cycle of positive publicity. Customer service, another type of Off-Line SEO, should ideally be a form of referral for your product. The key concept that applies to customer service is Positive Interaction. A smile is a form of free publicity when it is perceived from an SEO angle.

The role of social media in on-page SEO has been debated. It could be said that social media plays a changeable role in SEO, as changeable as the Google search algorithm itself. A social media account may become useful in attracting visitors to your site, even if Google page ranking spiders do not rate social media likes or dislikes. A well-managed Facebook or Twitter account may stir interest in your product and drive traffic to your site.
Some additional Off-Line SEO strategies revolve around catching the attention of thought-influencers. You may come into contact with these people at public events or seminars. With regard to Off-site SEO, put yourself out there and get an understanding of what other SEO experts are doing.

Final Thoughts and Summarising Your SEO Campaign.

Once you have completed the steps above, you may find it rewarding to place all the insights you have gained into a single document. This final step is a way of creating a new vision for your SEO Strategy. You have probably been able to derive some specific insights which you would like to go to work on straight away.
It is not wise to implement an overall SEO Strategy in a random way. By creating an overview which places the strategies in a logical order you will be more likely to re-create your website by making it different in the ways that matter most.

 

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