If you have been around internet marketing for any amount of time, you’ve heard the term SEO. The first recorded use of the acronym dates to 1997. But do you really know what it means? Or do you use the phrase to stay relevant and keep up with your peers, but secretly it is an enigma?

As a marketing agency, Strategy is devoted to knowing what it is, but more importantly, how best to implement an SEO marketing strategy and make it work for you. It’s the strategy that drives leads to your business and increases organic reach. Without an SEO marketing strategy, technical SEO won’t maximize your results. Your business will be missing out on the full SEO potential. In this article, you will get a better understanding of why SEO matters, and how you can use it.

Let’s Define the SEO Acronym

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. A search engine is a software program that searches for and identifies items in a database that match what a person is looking for. Think Google, Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo as examples. You type a word into a search bar, and the search engine finds information about that word and delivers it in the form of a list.

That sounds easy enough, right? Well, not exactly. If you sell widgets and your competitor sells similar widgets, how does the search engine know to find and put your widget before your competitor’s?

Enter the O in the SEO acronym. O stands for optimization and refers to making sure the technical configuration and content are written in the best way for a search engine to find it and display it first.

What is technical SEO?

Technical SEO involves the intricate configuration of the web page’s content. It refers to many elements, but the most important are a keyword or keyphrase, a title tag, and meta description.

Why your customers are searching the internet in the first place? This is search intent. When a person enters a word into the search bar of a search engine, that word is the keyword or keyphrase they want to find. The Search Engine Response Page (SERP) returns a list of web pages that match. The main title that appears in that list of search results is called the title tag. Search engines use this title tag to understand the topic of the web page and deem its relevance. Once the user scans the list of title tags on a SERP, they typically read the short sentence that follows. This is the meta description—a sentence or two of information explaining the main crux of that web page’s content.

Check out one of our previous blogs, “What is SEO,” for even greater detail about technical SEO.

What is content SEO?

Content SEO carries equal weight when it comes to ranking your webpage. It ensures that the content on the page is useful, unique, and matches the search intent. Applying technical SEO without providing helpful content will get a webpage nowhere these days. Learn more about producing helpful blog content in our blog, “How to Write a Blog for SEO.”

Ask yourself: Does the webpage speak clearly about one product, service, or topic? Or does the webpage contain information about many topics? Other content considerations include:

  • Originality of the Content
  • User Experience
  • Authority of Content
  • Engagement of the User

Put the Parts Together for an SEO Marketing Strategy

Now that you know what SEO is, how do you put all those pieces together to give your web page more views than your competitor? You can have the best product or service available, but if your target audience cannot find your business, you are sunk. It’s time to build an SEO marketing strategy—a plan of action designed to improve a website’s visibility on search engines. But how?

Identify Goals

What do you want your SEO strategy to accomplish? What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)? There is no sense in implementing any strategy if you don’t have a target established. Make sure all the business stakeholders agree and set a timeline to measure success and reevaluate or adapt as necessary.

Know Your Audience

Now that you know your goals, identify your target audience. Webpage content, backlinks, technical SEO of web pages, and more should be created to attract your target audience. This important initial work sets the foundation for the rest of the SEO elements that follow.

Conduct Keyword Research

Once goals and audience are clear, now the development of the plan to achieve those goals can begin. Start with keyword research. There are several online resources or paid services to help conduct keyword research. Try multiple words and variations of words and pay attention to the questions people are searching for that include those words. Organize the keyword research into a keyword “map” for each web page of the website. This paints a comprehensive picture of all the words you want your website to rank for and illustrates the overall SEO strategy.

Create a Content Plan

Next, use keyword research to develop a content plan. It is helpful to identify content themes at a high level first. Make sure you consider seasonality or overall target audience goals and the sales cycle timeline for your product or service. Content should be timed accordingly. A content plan can include any number of tactics, including blogs, new web pages, white papers, product updates, social media, or email campaigns. The possibilities are endless, and the organization of these tactics should be built with strategy and goals in mind.

Another aspect of the content plan is paid search ads via Google Ads. Not all marketing must include paid search, and oftentimes budgets don’t allow for it, but it is an avenue to consider depending on the industry. If it seems right for your industry, an entire campaign will be built around targeted keywords with custom, written ad copy, which will be necessary to implement the paid search campaign.

Other parts of the SEO marketing strategy could include improving your website’s user experience, leveraging social media, and more. There is a whole gamut of tactics that a business could employ.

Implement and Analyze

Once the SEO marketing strategy is developed, it’s time to implement it. Whether you keep the tactics in-house, outsource them, use AI, or a combination of the three, start producing the content and pushing it out to the market.

Then take note of performance. There are many metrics to measure and assess, so it’s essential to circle back to the KPIs previously identified. What is working? What isn’t? Remember that Google will not index or crawl your website daily. SEO optimization takes time. SEO is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” process. Search engines run sophisticated algorithms to determine what to find and display and in what order. As search engines like Google change algorithms, your optimization strategies must change with it.

Start Your SEO Marketing Strategy

Now that you know what SEO is and how to turn SEO elements into an SEO marketing strategy, you can understand the complexity involved. To get your started, we offer a free Website Audit Checklist. At Strategy, we know how to research, create, implement, analyze, and adapt a successful SEO strategy that ultimately increases traffic and generates leads. If you want help developing an SEO marketing strategy to achieve your business goals, give us a call today to get started. We can provide a web audit to pinpoint opportunities for growth.

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