Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be intimidating. Everyone knows it’s important, but not everyone knows how it works … or how to get it. 

In the simplest terms, SEO helps drive organic traffic to your website organically, through search engines. We all want to show up at the top of the search result list, but actually accomplishing it can take some time, effort, and patience.

We’ve got five tips to share with you that can be helpful in getting started with your SEO strategy.

1. Do Your Research

While throwing things at the wall to see what sticks can sometimes work … it can be time consuming, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get the results you’re looking for. Doing some research will help set you on course for a strong SEO strategy that helps you meet your goals.

Some of the most important research you can do is keyword research. This tells you what type of information your target audience is searching for. What do they want to know? What makes them happy? If you know how to answer these questions, you can build that into your strategy. 

The right keywords, for example, can inform the types of URLs and pages you create, as well as the types of paid campaigns you should run.

So, how do you do keyword research? There are a variety of tools out there, both free and paid. The paid ones will likely provide better results, but try to look at it as an investment. A few of the most popular SEO research tools include SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz Pro. Some even offer a free or cheap trial, so you can try before you buy.

2. Self-Evaluate

It’s harder to get to where you want to be … if you don’t know where you’re coming from. Once you have your goals in mind, it’s time to take a close look at what you currently have going on. 

This is where a few different tools from Google can come in. Particularly Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google My Business. If you haven’t already been using them, they can change the game when it comes to your SEO Strategy.

Google Analytics can help you find out where your traffic is coming from, which pages get the most traffic, and how long your visitors are staying. Google Search Console can tell you about your current SEO rankings as well as keywords that are most popular with your visitors. And Google My Business allows you to set up a business profile, which can lead to more credibility in your audiences’ eyes.

After using these tools, you should have answers to questions such as the following:

  • How much traffic is coming organically through search?
  • How much traffic is coming from referrals? Or paid advertising?
  • Which pages are most popular? 
  • Which pages are least popular?
  • What type of content is performing best?
  • Who is my typical site user?
  • How do the answers to these questions compare to other points in time?

3. Focus on Content

You may have heard that content is king. But the truth is that quality content is king. That means you can’t just throw together a low-quality blog post, optimize the sh*t out of it, and hope for the best.

When it comes to looking for information and products online, your potential customers have an infinite number of choices. So they’re not going to stick around for something that isn’t providing them with value. Think about what your customers want, and give them that. Think about writing long-form blog posts that answer their questions, or explain a concept, or give your company’s take on an interesting piece of industry news. 

And keep in mind that search engines are trained to recognize quality content. While they may be algorithms, they know how to think like humans. They know what humans want to know. And they will reward you for quality content.

To help, make use of our free blog/website SEO checklist below.

4. Technical Optimization

As you build out your quality content, there are plenty of ways you can give that content a technical boost from a technical SEO perspective. Remember that keyword research you did? Establish good habits: use the keyword in post titles, URLs, first paragraphs, meta tags and descriptions, alt text, snippets, file names, and more.

But don’t keyword “stuff” … which means overusing it. Instead, use your SEO tools to find related keywords, which reflect other things your audience is likely to be interested in. Address those as well in order to provide the most value.

Even when we’re not talking about keywords, there are other ways you can improve your content’s SEO ranking from a writing perspective:

  • Shorter words, sentences, and paragraphs
  • Bullet points
  • Bold and/or italics
  • External and internal links
  • Photos

5. Keep Evolving Your Strategy

An SEO strategy isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. People’s needs and wants change, and your business might, too. That means it’s important to periodically check up on your site’s SEO health and make any necessary adjustments.

For example, 2020 has been a year that looks totally different from what anyone expected. Millions of businesses have been forced to shift their products, services, and other offerings. And if their website — and SEO strategy — hasn’t evolved to meet the times, they may be missing out on potential customers along the way.

Even during times that aren’t that drastic, giving yourself a periodic SEO checkup can expose opportunities for improvement that only lead you to more success in the future.

Need a Second Player?

Whether you’re completely new to SEO or you already feel comfortable, Sparkcade can help you meet your goals when it comes to your digital marketing and SEO strategy. We have years of experience working with a variety of clients, and we have the SEO tools you need.

Reach out to us today, and let’s chat.

Download Our Free Blog/Website SEO Checklist