It’s one of the most commonly asked questions for marketers and business owners: how can I rank higher in search? The reason is simple: the amount of traffic you receive by ranking #1 for a specific term is tremendous compared to further down the page, which can have a huge impact on the success of your business.
But if it’s so beneficial, why don’t more companies invest in their SEO? There are three key reasons that stop companies in their tracks:
To help combat this common issue, I want to show you how you can improve your search engine ranking with a small investment each week. At the end of 45 minutes, you’ll have created a targeted, keyword focused blog post that is being promoted online. This isn’t a silver bullet to ranking #1 and excludes some key elements for a successful SEO campaign (which will be covered at the end).
At its core, SEO is all about providing relevant content to people who are seeking it out. Through this exercise, you will learn how SEO fundamentals can align with your business goals and provide the necessary skills to make an impact on your search engine ranking.
Limiting the time for this exercise provides some much-needed focus, removing the non-essential elements to concentrate on what can provide value to your search ranking.
These activities can also fit into an average work week. Even if you have an extremely busy schedule, you can look through your calendar and carve out 9 minutes per day to invest in your SEO.
To help keep this focused, some elements need to be in place before we can begin. If you answer “No” to any of the questions below, you should focus on resolving those issues before proceeding.
Search engines want to provide the best possible resources to its visitors. Websites are therefore ranked by the value they provide visitors, which is a combination of the content quality, reputation of the website, and how easily and quickly the content can be accessed. Website performance is one of the biggest missed steps when optimizing for search and can have a drastic negative impact.
To identify any issues your website might have, we recommend using the following Google-provided tools to analyze your site and see where some adjustments may be necessary.
This suite of tools provides many resources for understanding your performance via Google Search. For this exercise, we’ll focus on three key areas to review once you’ve logged in and selected your website:
This tool provides a snapshot of how your website is performing on desktop and mobile devices and provides recommendations on how to improve. A poor website experience cannot only turn away your target audience, but also cause search engines to rank you lower than the competition.
To perform an audit of your site:
Resolving the issues identified from this audit will likely require the assistance of a web developer. Depending on your website’s theme and features, not all optimizations may be possible.
SEO is all about improving your site to be the best resource for what people are looking for. In this step, we’ll zero in on who we want to target and what content we think will resonate with them.
Think of your current sales process and who the key decision makers are. Use the following questions to hone in on one specific target.
Now that you’ve identified your audience and what problems you can help them with, it’s time to determine what key terms and content are worth pursuing.
Keyword and content researching tools provide information about how often certain words are searched, the competition related to these words and relative popularity of content related to it.
Using the tools detailed below, follow this process:
There is a wide range of paid tools that can help expedite the research process. The following are some free alternatives you can use for this exercise. Feel free to explore their paid features to streamline your workflow.
Now that you have your key terms identified, it’s time to actually create your content. Search engines are looking to promote the most relevant, high quality content for people that are searching, so this step should take the majority of your time in this exercise.
As there are countless resources online that provide guidance on how to write effective blog posts, we won’t delve into any deep detail on the content creation portion of this process. To help aid in your SEO efforts, here are some key tips that we recommend when creating your post:
Now that you’ve written a post that speaks directly to your audience, it’s time to promote it. A big factor regarding search ranking is reputation – the more sites that link to your content and more people that promote it, the higher its perceived quality is.
Syndicate your content through your email marketing list, social media channels and your personal contact list. You can use a tool like Buffer to schedule social media posts in advance. Feel free to continue to promote this content throughout the year – it will be new to those who missed it the first time.
In Step 2, we recommended searching social media for people who shared the most popular content related to your keywords. It’s very likely that they could be interested in your new content. Reach out to them via social media or through a cold email to see if they are interested.
You’ve successfully concepted, validated, created and promoted an impactful post for your website. Although this can have a positive impact on your search ranking, not all aspects of an effective SEO process can be completed in 45 minutes. The following are some key areas that weren’t covered in this exercise that we’d recommend exploring further.
To understand how your SEO efforts are impacting your ranking, you need to conduct ongoing Search Engine Results Page (SERP) measurement. This helps you understand how you are rising or falling in the ranks. It’s usually recommended to use a third party tool (Such as SEMRush) to measure your SERP ranking, as it provides a more accurate indication of your performance.
Your website has a key set of pages that help define who your company is and what they do. This is your core content, which has high visibility to new website visitors as it usually lives in your top navigation. Following a similar approach to our keyword research in Step 2, you can make adjustments to your core content to make them more SEO friendly.
Although social media, email and direct promotion may provide some value to your overall SEO efforts, link building is a big part of making an impact on your SEO efforts. The higher amount of traffic you receive from high quality sites, the more authority your website will have. Proper link building requires a heavy amount of research, outreach and relationship building to be effective.