The basic performance of SEO can be evaluated through competitive analysis structured upon actual target markets. SEO has many uses in business and is becoming widely used in social media. SEO is based upon use of keywords in a way that increases online ranking and visibility. Using SEO at its most fundamental function, there are certain steps to take to insure that implementing SEO is seamlessly efficient and achieves the desired results.
Whew that was a mouthful. Basically there is a ton of factors that Google takes into account to determine how sites rank, over 200. Some of those are in our control and some aren't, plus there are factors that influence rank but are not directly counted by the algorithm. So how do you know which factors are going to get you the most bang for you buck?
How to Know What to Tackle First in SEO
SEO is based on the earlier database structure of search and sort. Thus, the first step to a highly developed SEO platform is data mining the most crucial information in a format that can be easily integrated into online browser algorithms.
Think of SEO as building a house. The foundation of SEO has to be firmly developed and implemented in order for growth to occur. This is the first issue to tackle. In other words, I usually start with site structure and KW targets to build a good foundation. This ensures all other SEO efforts work together in sync.
So I break it down like this:
- Keyword Research (Floorplans)
- URL structure (Foundation)
- On site: Titles, h1's , and meta's (Framing)
- Low hanging fruit KW (Drywall and paint)
- Outreach & Link Building (Finish work, baseboards, and hardware)
- Content (Furniture and decorations)
So look at what keywords your ranking for already, cross reference them with the ones you want to rank for. Then put yourself in a client's shoes and think what their user intent is when they type these KW's into Google. What do they want? What are they looking for? Where are they in the purchasing funnel? Factor in competition, search volume and PPC value. Higher PPC value indicates the KW converts to sales. Once you have gathered all this information you can draw out your floor plans.
Use this information to decide if you need to restructure your site. Get your landing page URL structure as close to the KW as possible. Optimize them with your title tag , and h1. Check your meta descriptions, this doesn't play directly into SEO but it does affect your click through rate. This is your pitch on the SERP, if people don't click even when you're ranking, Google sees that as a sign you are not what people are looking for and your ranking will drop. So meta descriptions are still very important. Make sure your sitemap is implemented, your robots.txt is good and that you don't have 404 errors.
Remember this is your foundation and the better your foundation is the better your final results will be.
Low Hanging Fruits to Consider
I start by using a tool like SEM Rush and finding out what Keywords (KW's) you are ranking for around on page 1. These are words Google already deems your site fairly authoritative for, but if you're on the second page, you're probably not seeing a whole lot of traffic. Include words with a few good links and you can quickly jump up to a rank thats going to net you some qualified traffic.
This is crucial, most people focus on KW's they researched and the long term goal. However, if you don't look for the low hanging fruits you're missing out on easy traffic. I had an example recently working on Brilliant, a premier luxury transportation company. They really wanted to target certain' KW's they had picked out. The KW's were good but it was going to take 6 months to a year to get ranking for them as they were starting from scratch. To keep the client happy I knew I needed some quick wins. I found out they were ranked #13 for their executive car service nyc page. Not a ton of traffic and very niche, but we bumped it up real quick and the client saw new business because of it. Needless to say, they are much more patient when it comes to other KW's now that we have proven we know effective SEO priorities.
Outreach and Link building
Im not going to get into how to do outreach as I wrote a good article on it here. But basically after you tackle the low hanging fruit, start tackling your long term KW's. Don't buy links, trade legit qualified niche content for a link on a site within your industry. Volume of links is not near as relevant as the quality of the links. So make that your priority.
I will keep this section short. But this is essentially "link-building 2.0". I wrote a very in depth piece on how content marketing works and another on why it works. But this is where you should be spending most of your time. This is the last step in priorities, but it is never ending.
Lastly remember that what works today may not work tomorrow. And if something works really well, do it, but keep in mind as more people abuse a method it will eventually stop working. Revisit your this list in order at least once a year to keep on top of your gameplan.