If I asked you to guess the number one difficulty businesses face when it comes to their SEO, I’m sure you would guess a number of things: getting the keyword research right, ranking for high-volume keywords, attracting a lot of backlinks, etc. The truth is, it’s something much more basic. It’s discipline.
You want to rank on Google’s first page? You’re definitely going to need an optimized website and to activate your social media channels. But that’s just the starting point. The real challenge businesses face with their SEO is committing to doing it for the long term. Google has adjusted its algorithm to reward sites that have fresh content, which means if you want to keep your site optimized, you can’t just set it and forget it. You always have to be thinking about your SEO. Just like with getting fit, achieving the best results requires a certain mind set, hard work, and discipline.
Here are 5 strategies to get you started on the right path.
Adopt an SEO mindset.
SEO has come a long way in a short amount of time. It’s no longer just a tactic for business; it’s a full-blown marketing channel on par with PR and advertising. But there’s still a tendency to think about SEO as something that can be 100% outsourced. Getting help from a well-qualified agency is always a good idea, but the truth is, business owners can’t just delegate all of their SEO. So many aspects of your online presence count toward your rankings that to see results every team member should consider how to leverage every action, investment, and marketing dollar.
Establish a holistic strategy and commit to it for the long term.
It seems like everywhere you look on the internet, people are pushing easy SEO tactics. But investing time and resources in tactics without a larger strategy to guide them is like launching a ship into the Cyber Sea and letting it drift aimlessly. Who knows where it will end up?
You need clearly defined goals by which to measure success and an overall strategy to direct your efforts. Start with your overall objectives. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Generate more leads? Make more sales? Next set goals, i.e. specifically defined and measurable targets to attain those objectives. Then focus on those tactics that will best help you achieve those goals.
For the greatest success, your strategy must be holistic. Your SEO efforts can’t be just one aspect of your work; they need to be infused into every facet of your business. All of your content offerings must be optimized, even when you are trying to get more Google reviews!
Bake strategy into your website and content marketing plan.
Once you’ve nailed down your strategy, it needs to be woven into the DNA of your website from top to bottom. Although there tends to be a lot of emphasis on design, the content of your site is much more important for your SEO. Your website is your digital headquarters — all of your marketing tactics should be integrated there so it delivers what your customer is seeking. In order to achieve a “Know Like Trust” website, it has to tell your story in a way that differentiates you from your competitors, and it should contain valuable, relevant, and trustworthy information that your ideal customer needs.
And a website is just the start. It’s no longer sufficient to tweak keywords and get as many backlinks as possible (although both are important). Google expects you to be a content machine. If you don’t have one already, your SEO requires a content marketing plan tailored to your overall objectives and goals. You have to demonstrate your expertise and authority by investing in high-quality content that your ideal customers want to consume, engage with, and share via social media.
Create a detailed tactical action plan.
Once you have your goals and strategy in place, you can get down into the tactical weeds. Considering your resources, the environment, and your competition, what are the best ways in which you can go about achieving your goals? Popular SEO tactics include email marketing, website copy optimization, promotions, Facebook marketing, and landing page creation. An effective tactical plan incorporates multiple channels, including social media, email, and mobile marketing. These are all critical to SEO and will help you convert readers into customers.
Task management is crucial in order to keep on track. To manage your content, create a calendar and plan out what you’re going to publish when. And don’t forget to build in plenty of opportunities to check whether your tactics are working. SEO efforts generate a lot of data. How many unique visitors did your site get? What was the bounce rate? What was the average time on site? How many people got there through Facebook? And on and on. You should be tracking, analyzing, and constantly reviewing the data to measure your success and adjust your tactics accordingly.
Make SEO a part of your daily routine.
Everyone at the company should be making SEO part of their daily routine. There are so many simple tasks that can be done throughout the day, like taking pictures and videos at events for social media, engaging in relevant Twitter conversations, and asking clients for a review. Note trending topics for potential blog posts, answer a question in your field, and follow back. Make SEO focus a deliberate intention daily until it becomes second nature. When these little efforts become routine, day-by-day and week-by-week, they add up to a major SEO boost.
It’s never easy to exercise discipline in any new area. But the good news is, it gets easier over time. And the better news? It pays great SEO dividends.
About the Author
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and bestselling author Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine, The Referral Engine, and SEO for Growth which he co-wrote with Phil Singleton. Jantsch is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consulting Network that trains and licenses small business marketing consultants around the world. Follow John on Twitter @ducttape.