Creating and Defining a Successful SEO Campaign
Search engine optimization is the science of boosting a site’s search engine page rankings and increasing its visibility, and an integral part of any digital marketing strategy. If we can consider PPC to be renting the eyes of a brand, SEO is buying the house. An effective SEO campaign can guide the creation of compelling on-page content, attract backlinks, and earn more organic traffic.
Although no two SEO campaigns are alike, this guide will get your search engine optimization journey started by explaining the importance of high-quality content, quality backlinks, and other important ranking factors to help your site reach the first page of Google.
An effective SEO campaign strategy should start with:
- A comprehensive competitive analysis (or SEO audit) to determine what works well and what doesn’t for at least one competitor.
- A thorough website and brand analysis to identify primary and secondary focus keywords.
- A roadmap to plan out compelling high-quality content that leverages your relevant keywords to hook the interest and drive traffic.
- A roadmap to optimize internal webpage elements to be more easily crawled by search engines and read by visitors. This primarily includes title tags, meta descriptions, H1 tags, and keyword density.
Step 1: Keyword Research
Before optimizing anything you should first use an SEO tool like Moz to find the most relevant search engine queries related to your site. These target keywords should be sorted and prioritized into categories to guide the creation of new content against them and used to refine your existing site content.
As simple as this step seems, it’s integral for every step past this point; without properly defined focus keywords your strategy will be incomplete and difficult to refine.
Step 2: Optimize Your Content
To optimize your content you need to understand what users are searching for and what they expect once they find it. With SEO it isn’t just a matter of using the right keywords – using your keywords efficiently is just as important. They need to be incorporated into your content with care, ensuring accuracy and legibility; SEO content stuffed haphazardly with keywords and no thought to the flow of the language may work on Google’s search algorithm, but website visitors will be confused, and likely exit.
Even if you’re keeping your SEO strategy light, these four key areas should never be overlooked:
- Meta descriptions
- Meta titles
- Page URL
- Images and their respective alt tags
If the above are optimized correctly your visitors will have an easier time clicking your link and navigating your site, and so will the equally important Google search crawlers.
Step 3: Craft an Effective Backlink Profile
Attracting inbound links to your website from authoritative sources, known as backlinks, should be part of every SEO strategy. In your backlink mining efforts, you need to consider how relevant the linking site’s topic is to yours, how recent the link is, how the anchor text is used on the site, and how many other links on the site link back to yours.
Getting organic backlinks can be a challenge, so we include a robust backlink mining exercise in our weekly SEO ops. Our specialists regularly search the internet and configure notifications on behalf of our clients to locate and record brand mentions from reputable (and some not so reputable) sources. It’s an excellent idea to incorporate this process into your SEO strategy to avoid missing out on pre-existing relationships you may not be aware of.
Additionally, your content creation and social media strategies should incorporate creating blog posts and social content that can be shared easily to embolden your organic earned content efforts.
Other ways to find backlinks include:
- Identifying and repairing broken backlinks by reaching out to the webmaster of a site to report a link as broken, and suggesting a link to your content as a replacement.
- Writing guest blog posts–having your content hosted on other sites will help you build backlinks and can increase traffic to your site.
- Creating easily ingestible and shareable content, especially with embed codes, is an excellent way to create backlinks.
- Searching for sites that do regularly scheduled content roundups that fit your brand, and forwarding your new posts to them as they go live.
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Areas you should be careful to remember:
Instagram has implemented new censorship tactics to deal with sensitive topics. As a result, if you are a nonprofit that deals with areas of mental, or behavioral health, like many of our clients, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of what is and isn’t allowed. Understanding those before working with an influencer will also help you to know what you can or cannot have in your posts that will get content censored or considered sensitive content.
The other aspect to consider is the visual element of Instagram. Including something visually compelling always helps on Instagram since it is a visual app. Text-only isn’t available, and what workarounds can be taken historically don’t do as well with views, likes, and engagements.
Step 4: Monitor and Measure Your Results
SEO should never exist in a silo; the learning you can gain from your SEO efforts can help you improve what you do in other areas, like PPC and email outreach. So, monitoring the results of your efforts is tantamount to future success.
It can be hard to figure out which KPIs you should be tracking to see how successful your SEO campaigns are.
These are metrics that give you an overall picture of how your work is paying off. You can show how your efforts are making a difference, and you can also spot problems before they become problems.
The most important, quantifiable metrics that we use are as follows:
Organic Traffic measures the number of people who visit your site through organic search. If you’re using and optimizing for the right keywords and creating good content against them, these numbers should increase.
Bounce rate is the number of visitors who leave right away without engaging. A high bounce rate indicates a lack of user engagement, resulting in lost possibilities to convert traffic.
Organic CTR measures the number of people who proceed to your site from a search engine results page, which means more traffic.
ROI for SEO is based on the revenue generated against the money spent.
Conversions–generally leads or sales–are a great way to track success. We suggest knowing the conversion benchmark before you start work on a campaign, and using a three-month average to measure growth.
Organic Visibility is a solid KPI to analyze and measure for constant progress–an increase in impressions indicates increased organic visibility and growth.
Branded vs. Non-Branded Traffic–Branded traffic is frequently driven by prior knowledge or a referral. Non-branded traffic comes from customers searching for terms related to your products or services. A positive shift in the percentage split of non-branded traffic is a great indicator of progress.
Keyword Rankings aren’t as crucial as some of the other indicators in this list, but an increase in rank can indicate your strategy is working.
Backlinks are one of the most important Google ranking factors. You should regularly monitor your link profile to determine link quality and overall health. Site authority is tied to your backlink profile, so keep it clean and accurate.
Average Time on Page is a good way to determine how engaging your website is, as engaged users will stick around for a longer period. This is important because the more engaged visitors are, the more likely they are to convert.
Crawl Issues include 4xx errors, 5xx errors, noindex pages, and more. Keeping website mistakes to a minimum should be one of your main goals.
Page Speed can affect your search rankings and traffic, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. Slower page speeds can also impact your conversions, as nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed influences their likeliness to buy.
An SEO campaign is not a sprint: it’s a marathon and requires thought and preparation. Successfully running an effective SEO campaign will require patience, determination, insight, the ability to create and ingest massive spreadsheets (and remain focused while working on them), and a proven set of SEO tools.
Remember, the right tools used by the right hands can yield results–especially if both are possessed by a tenacious mind!