Everyone knows the importance of SEO, or at least they think they do. Search Engine Optimization has been around as long as page rankings themselves on the likes of Google. Although the game has changed considerably over the years, the principle has not. SEO plays a vital role in securing free online traffic to your website. The fact is, SEO must combine with your inbound marketing strategy for most effective results.
If you do that, you can achieve amazing results. You will appear more often in search engines and this will allow you to showcase more of your content. Here is how it works.
A quality blog is a central tenet of any self-respecting website due to the fact that it is integral in driving traffic through well-crafted SEO techniques. Yet the old tactic of just stuffing in those keywords has, thankfully, disappeared due to the innovation of Google’s bots.
Now you need to focus on:
• Writing effectively to an audience, which means identifying them first and then producing interesting, coherent text. Your content needs to provide value to your audience. It needs to teach them or entertain them but it needs to be useful to them. It needs to be relevant to your topic and your niche as well, because Google can tell when content is there just for the sake of being there. You need to write content for people instead of writing it for SEO purposes and then just optimize it for SEO.The priority are users.
• Prioritize headings, which hold even more weight for those Google bots. Your headings should contain keywords, but not in a way that makes them hard to understand. Find a keyword that works for your niche and try to incorporate it in a natural way.
• Optimize posts through the use of intelligent software. You can use Yoast SEO plugin which can help you reach all of your SEO goals and make sure that everything is on track. You can also use Google Analytics to check different elements of your website and to check how quickly your page loads as this is one of the most important elements of optimizing your pages.
• Post often, to keep things as up to date as possible. Also vary the length of your posts, and vary the shape and style of that content too. Your posts should ideally be over 1500 words in length. While this is not an official factor of SEO, it's an indirect one. If your article is longer, people stay on your page longer too. You can also write about your topic more extensively and have more chances of getting your article shared.
Backlinks are another crucial factor of SEO. Make sure that your content has relevant links from authority, legit websites that can support your topic and provide further reading for your visitors. You should also make sure that you add links from your own pages. Your website should also be linked to from other authority pages which means that you should guest post on other websites. When you create valuable content, people will put it in their content which will give you more backlinks and more opportunities to rank well.
Remember with your blog content that it’s not just about words either as other types of blog content such as videos, images and podcasts are now engaging audiences more than ever. Be innovative, and never produce something for the sake of it. Think about how this can be of use to your audience, because that is exactly how those bots look at it.
You can also put your blog posts in your newsletters to get even more traffic as well as share them on social media. The more traffic you get to your content, the better. However, there are some other factors you need to consider. For one, your page needs to load quickly. If not, the users will turn it off and your bounce rate will be extremely high which is a bad thing for your ranking. The bounce rate grows when people land on your page but then leave very soon. This usually happens because of the poor page loading speed but it can also happen if your content is not good enough or something similar.
Another factor is how deep your visitors scroll. Ideally, you want them to scroll through your entire text. However, you also want to make sure that they spend enough time on your page. So, these two have to be combined in a way that works. You want them to scroll through and you want them to spend enough time on your page too.
You can, of course, support your blog posts with media like videos, infographics and so on that can help you with this and also make your content more interesting and accessible to different people.
Social media plays a huge role in your inbound marketing approach, and dovetails nicely with your SEO considerations.
In fact, there are a vast number of similarities between the two aspects of the inbound approach that SEO and social media form part of, namely:
• Raising the number of followers. When searching for a solution it is a fact that many people are attracted to the solution which can boast the largest number of followers (how can so many people be wrong) and this is an aspect by which social media marketing can help. However, what matters more than your number of followers is how engaged those followers are. A page with less followers but more engaged ones is likely going to rank better on social media and in general. Engagement means comments, likes, shares and so on. The sheer number of followers isn't as relevant as it used to be, especially when it comes to social media algorithms.
• Sharing links which the bots count. If your links are getting shared on social media then these are counted back to the original source content and this forms a strong part of ranking listings under the new search terms which the likes of Google place so much emphasis on. Obviously, backlinks are an important part of your SEO strategyand you need to focus on them. However, your followers and readers won't just share links from your pages if you only post your links. You have to mix in plenty of interesting social media content with your links so that you create a conversation in which your users want to share your content.
• Optimizing things on a local scale, which means engaging on a local level in your community. Once again Google is weighting things heavily in this direction and so this should become a central theme to your social media approach. Yes, a widespread, international reach is the target, but never forget your local market which performs such a vital role in terms of SEO. Reach out on social media and cherish this audience. Remember to optimize your social media page as well as your website for local searches and especially voice searches.
Make sure keywords are more focused on intent rather than just stuffing in the words that appear to be connected to your activity. Search engine algorithms are now geared around this key consideration of how your intended audiences frames its search queries, as well as the channels and mediums by which they arrive upon their solution. You must then gear up towards a solutions-based approach which seeks to answer queries and provides content which helps solve user issues.
In producing your content, think about the questions that your intended audience is likely to ask. Think about the problems they face that drive them to your solution, so in that way you can optimize SEO and engage with your audience much earlier in the sales funnel.
To understand what your users may want to learn about, you need to research the questions they are asking. To do this, you need to use social media listening tools and see what people comment about your niche. See the comments on your own social media posts and blog posts to see if someone is asking you any important questions you could write about. You could also create a survey or ask your readers openly to give you some ideas for content. Another option is to go to Quora and see what people are asking there, looking at the most trending searches on Google Analytics and so on. The important element here is to learn more about what people want.
By targeting high-intent keywords and by optimizing your SEO and analytics, you'll start getting more sales.
Final thoughts on SEO as part of an Inbound Marketing Strategy
SEO has become far more than sprinkling those keywords liberally among your content. Google and other search engines have developed algorithms which are far more sophisticated and focus much more on quality of content and the attempt to understand user intent more than anything else. Make sure you can roll with this new sophistication by using smart SEO practices in conjunction with your greater inbound marketing strategy to get your service noticed.
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