Is your SEO strategy aligned with Google's?
Driving traffic has become the core to any business that moves online. Every marketer today has a keenly defined space for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in their marketing strategies. Therefore, it’s important to understand the changing dynamics of SEO and keep evolving with the change.
Principally, marketers have to invest time in understanding consumer behaviour when it comes to search. What it is that they are looking for or typing organically. This behaviour analysis forms the tool kit for optimisation. Hence, every industry and sector will have to focus on their category and tap the market accordingly.
I was searching for the rising trends in SEO for 2016 and came across a live webcast by Edwin Dearborn, author of Power Branding Secrets,on SEO Best Practises for 2016, which I think can help us reshape our SEO strategy.
Going forward, SEO search on mobile devices will be trending, as most people are searching for local business, i.e., doctors, homes for rent, cosmetics products, restaurants nearby, using mobile search. This applies to businesses that market on national as well as international levels, as these fundamentals are key to any business.
If we closely observe what Google is doing, we will find that in the last few years it has been forcing brands and businesses to avoid certain tactics with SEO, such as poor content, key word stuffing, bad links. In other words, asking them not to create a bad experience for users who are trying to find great content and great businesses.
Keeping our ears to the ground, we have to change when Google changes. Google is forcing brands to create great content and user experience by creating mobile-friendly websites that people find friendly and valuable. It has smart people advanced technology to find out whether your website is really valuable and people are sharing content on social media and has a host of signals it tracks to determine how it should rank your business.
A quote from Entrepreneur magazine:
It is a little known known secret that Google and other search engines are making a shift from traditional SEO to a focus Quality and Authoritative content. It is still important to optimize your meta data and remain on top of relevant key words. It can no longer be denied that generating organic search results using quality content with a strong focus on authority is now leading the path.
Dearborn has suggested a four-step approach to adopting the best practices for SEO, going forward. He has used a healthcare vertical example to explain what he means by these best practices.
1) Discover and target additional verticals
- Let’s say, that for the local chiropractor he identifies eight verticals that not only he offers as services but having search trends like fibromyalgia. He may not have fibromyalgia as a specific piece of page on that site. Now he needs to build that vertical of fibromyalgia and all the other topics.
- The SEO strategy should be to find out how to take our local market and expand it in specific verticals that people search for but include services that you do offer.
- There are ways that people search 'pain'. They may not type in 'back pain' or 'neck pain'. They may be looking to alleviate ailments naturally and searching for different types of resources, such as massages, diets or physical therapy.
- For example, a local chiropractor may have a website where he talks about general back pain and neck pain, but there are many other verticals for pain itself, i.e., knee pain, hip pain, and even those types of pain that can bring certain types of diseases.
2) Ensure a thorough keyword research
- Now that the chiropractor has identified eight verticals, the next step is to find out keywords related to them.
- Understand how people in those eight verticals are searching. For example, 'How do I get rid of my fibromyalgia?' or 'Natural remedies for fibromyalgia.' This is where we have now broken down the key verticals. Now we want to match the verticals with the keywords that are being used specifically for those verticals.
3) Ensure high quality content around that vertical and that keyword
- Let’s understand what HQC (High Quality Content) is: It is all content that is of value to users, giving information, answering questions, providing links to information and resources.
- Research by Neil Patel of Kissmetrics found that content that has 2,300 words or more will be shared twice more often as well as rank higher on search engines because people love to get into the nitty gritty and Google loves extensive content.
- How then does the chiropractor generate HQC? Either he will have to hire a team that is really good at understanding the subject or do a Google Hangout or video, or transcribe a talk with the doctor on fibromyalgia. That becomes a blogpost with the associated video.
- Ideally, it should be both video and the blog. He can take that video and rank it for those local search terms on YouTube, which is the second largest engine. He can take the transcription and turn it into a blog, polish it up, and also have blog rank within Google search terms.
Now we have verticals, keywords, extensive helpful content with inbound links, outbound links, list resources, and answers to questions – now it’s decent standalone content.
4) Distribute and distribute, extensively and persistently
In Dearborn’s words, “Half the work is creating the content and the other half is distributing the content.”
- How can we distribute content? Share within different groups and subgroups with each platform i.e., LinkedIn, marketing blog, retweeting.
- Distribute in detail and plan the frequency of distribution, but do it consistently i.e., emails with a large database, YouTube, how many times to retweet etc.
- Google sees there is traffic coming to it, there is a social signal, shares, activity and eyeballs on this piece of content. Doing that creates better opportunity of having that content ranked because of views and shares.
In essence, this guides us to create a SEO storyboard strategy – For the chiropractor, if he has found eight verticals and four keywords within each one - he has 32 keywords. If he does one piece of content per week, he has a six-month plan ahead of him. He can further focus on creating storyboards for each of these keywords along this vertical. Spend time on what is going to go into the content by conducting through research. Back it up with a robust, well-detailed distribution plan.
Approaching your SEO strategy diligently can help you stay ahead of the curve and of course also way on top in the Google ranking!