The competition for ranking high in Google top listings is getting tougher each passing day.
To help you gain an unfair advantage over your competition, you need to evaluate and improve your SEO strategy. This article will show you a practical step by step guide on what you should do on each stage.
Stage #1: Start with Website Audit
If you’re trying to improve your SEO strategy, there's no better place to start than with a website audit. Because you can only improve when you know the current state of your website.
For your website audit, there are some parts of your website you need to check for their SEO performance. These parts include:
- The content
- The URL, post headline, and meta description
- Internal Linking
- Broken links
- Website navigation
- Image sizes, etc.
By checking the state of these parts of your website, it helps you to know where to focus your efforts on.
By performing an audit on their website, Auto Body Toolmart decided to prune their content to remove ineffective pages. This step led to a 31% increase in organic traffic and a 28% increase in revenue.
Site audit is not for the faint-hearted. It’s actually complicated even if you’re an expert. But it’s extremely important you do it the right way. Don’t cut corners.
To that effect, our digital marketing agency, Bloominari is based out of Southern California. We service businesses in Orange and Los Angeles County, San Diego, and nationwide. We can help you conduct a comprehensive site audit and simplify the entire process.
Stage #2: Conduct a Competitive Analysis
You may have put a lot of thought into your SEO strategy. But you’ll still miss out on some things. Because no one has all the knowledge. That’s why you must study your competitors. This would help you to improve your website efficiently overall.
Some parts of your competitors’ strategies you need to analyze are:
- Their content length and quality
- Their keywords
- Keyword density
- Their backlinks
- The internal linking
- The website design
- Search ranks for important keywords
- Local search rank
- Google My Business page
When you study these parts of their business, you should be asking 3 basic questions:
- What are competitors doing better than you that you can improve upon?
- What are they doing that you're not yet doing?
- What are they not doing that you can start doing?
With this information, you can get more insight into activities you need to start doing.
Yes, you can use the SEMRush to analyze your website. How? Simply enter your website URL into the search box and analyze it.
You can analyze your topic keywords, keyword position distribution, main competitors, and so on.
More importantly, if there are errors with your website, SEMRush will equally reveal it to you.
Now, with this information is a lot easier to fix your website errors and improve its performance in Google search.}
Stage #3: Evaluate Your Existing Keywords and Find New Ones
What keywords are you targeting presently? And how much organic traffic are these keywords bringing to your website? What are some new keywords to target?
One of the pillars of an effective SEO strategy is optimizing your pages for the right keywords. By evaluating your present keywords, you can see keywords that are no longer effective, keywords that have become more competitive, and new keywords opportunities.
To evaluate your current keywords and look for new opportunities, you need to use the right tools. Google keyword tool gives details on keywords but you may not get the full view.
While evaluating your keywords, you want to look at the search volume and level of competition. A tool like Ahrefs comes in handy for this.
To use the tool, enter your website address into the Ahref Site Explorer tool. Then click on Organic Keywords at the left sidebar. This will show you important information like the Volume, Traffic, and Your position which will inform your strategy.
How do you identify new keywords to target? The easiest way of doing this is to study your competitors. You can enter your competitor’s website address into Ahrefs.
This will give you details of what (i.e., keywords) they rank for and you’ll likely find a few keywords you want to target on your content and pages.
By targeting relevant keywords, AlphaGraphics was able to increase its organic traffic by 130% and the number of keywords driving traffic by 246%.
Stage #4: Improve On-Page SEO
One of the most important factors that will drive your organic rankings in Google is on-page optimizations. Regardless of the strategy you’re trying to implement on your website, the foundation is what’s on the page you want to rank.
When you have the best on-page optimization, it becomes easier to improve your overall off-page SEO. To improve your on-page SEO, there’s a checklist of important activities to carry out on your website.
Some of them are:
i). Specify targeted keywords: To give a page the best chance to rank, it’s tempting to target many keywords on a single page. This could lead to over-optimization if you’re careful.
The most effective strategy is to have a target keyword and create highly-relevant and valuable content around that term. This helps you to define what your content page is all about.
ii). URL Structure: Your web page address should reflect your keywords. SEO expert, Brian Dean, recommends that your URL should be as short as possible. This should be between 3 and 5 words after your domain name and should be as close to your domain name as possible.
For instance, a structure like “yourwebsite.com/main-keyword” is better than “yourwebsite.com/pg=1234.”
iii). Page title: Your main keywords should appear as soon as possible on your page title as it’s one of the most important on-page SEO factors. On your page title, the earlier a word in the title, the more weight it carries.
iv). Meta description: On the search results page, your meta description shows up below your headline. Your meta description should offer a summary of what your post is about.
Likewise, it should also contain your main keyword. Writing this well could also improve your CTR on the SERPs.
v). Internal links: When search engines rank your page, they want visitors to gain value from your page. But your website should also be a resource on the general topic. Internal links show your website as authoritative in that general topic. You should include about 3 internal links in your posts.
vi). External links to authoritative websites: Your page can’t explain everything about a topic. In some cases, a resource that’ll explain a concept better may be on another website. Linking to these websites provides more value to your readers. It’s important that you link authoritative sites.
vii). Images and Alt Text: Site users find it difficult and boring to read a long post without images. Worse, most readers won’t even go through this pain. They’ll take the easy way out and bounce off your page -- which would affect your ranking negatively.
You should have images related to your topic on the page. One (or two, not more) of these images should have your keyword in their title and alt text.
viii). Mobile responsive: Making your website mobile responsive enables easier use for mobile users. With Google mobile-first indexing, it’s important to where your page will rank. You can perform a Google mobile-friendly test to see if your website is mobile responsive.
ix). Improve page speed: Users don’t want to wait for long for your website to load. An infographic by KISSmetrics showed that a page would have lost more than 25% of visitors if it loads for more than 4 seconds. To improve your dwell time and reduce your bounce rate, improving page speed is vital.
Stage #5: Evaluate Existing Links and Acquire New Links
Backlinks are one of the three most important ranking signals along with Rankbrain and content. While evaluating your current links, you want to check some important details like:
- The current number of backlinks to your website
- The number of referring domains
- Your most linked pages
- The health of your backlinks
- Link penalties
These details will affect your strategy. If you have bad links, it’s necessary to contact the webmasters of the concerned websites to remove your links. If your request is ignored, then you can disavow the links.
If you have a low number of backlinks, you can improve your content and also find other backlink opportunities to get more links. To check your backlinks, you need tools. I’ll talk about SEMrush, Google Console, and Majestic.
You can use SEMrush to find unhealthy links on your website.
You can check details like the number of links to your website and internal links from your Google Console dashboard.
With Majestic, you can perform a links audit which will give you more details about your referring links (i.e., backlinks).
Search Engine Land shared a case study of a company that acquired the right links coupled with other off-page strategies; the site grew from 0 to 100,000 organic visits in 12 months.
Stage #6: Evaluate the Quality of Your Content
You’ve probably heard it a million times: Your content quality is one of your best SEO strategies. This is one strategy that will survive any Google update or any other change you can think of.
Because it’s about providing value to the user. The term “quality” in this instance means that the content is well-researched, valuable, helpful, and solves the readers’ questions. But what are the factors to consider in evaluating how good your content is?
i). Does it solve a visitor’s problem: In a nutshell, the definition of quality content is content that solves your visitor’s problems. For people who are going to read your post or visit through search engines, what’s the main problem they’re looking to solve? Is your content solving it?
Some of the characteristics Google expects from a high-quality page are a high-level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).
In your content, you should make your solution more compelling by backing it up with statistics from original research and sharing relevant case studies.
ii). A clear copy: Copywriting is critical when producing content that will benefit users. When you’re explaining a concept, your choice of words could determine whether you solve your visitor’s problem or even further complicates it.
You should minimize the use of technical terms unless where it’s necessary. Use words that are easy to understand by the visitors.
iii). The content length: This doesn’t always imply quality content. But it takes more than 147 words to explain a concept in details. Even though there’s no causation, there’s a correlation between the length and position of a page in search engine results as found by serpIQ.
For instance, in a study of 1 million articles by Moz and Buzzsumo, they found that longer content tends to get more shares and referring domain links. This is beneficial for SEO.
Stage #7: Encourage Social Engagement
There has been no indication by Google of whether social engagement affects ranking. But a high level of social engagement can indirectly influence the core factors that improve search rankings.
For starters, a high level of social engagement is a social proof that many people found your page useful. Social sharing will get you more views and a better opportunity of gaining backlinks.
Here are effective ways you can encourage social engagement on your website:
- Tell visitors to share your post after concluding the post. This is a reminder and most people would do that if your post has solved a problem for them.
- Place your share buttons at accessible locations. If visitors have to start looking for your share button, they might be discouraged to share your posts. BrightEdge found in a study that prominent social sharing button can increase your social sharing by 700%.
Evaluating and improving your SEO strategy is an ongoing task. It’s a task you must set a time to do at regular intervals.
With this, you can catch up on the latest effective trends that will help you to boost your search traffic, rankings, and overall search performance.