As we come to the end of 2014, many of us are putting our heads together and looking deep into our current content marketing and SEO strategies. Looking at the successes and failures throughout the year can help determine if your SEO strategy is outdated and possibly no longer effective since SEO is constantly changing. In this year alone, Google released 13 updates. There is a good chance your strategies need to be revisited if you haven’t looked at things closely in the last 30 days.
First, let’s describe what it is to be an “SEO winner”. In our opinion, an SEO winner is someone who creates an effective strategy that works toward a specific end goal. Whether that goal is to increase sales by 30% or increase the amount of leads; there should always be a specific goal in mind when building any strategy. Someone who meets that end goal or is on track to obtain that goal is considered a winner.
So, how will 2015 be different in terms of winning?
The good news is 2015 won’t be too much different than 2014 in terms of what Google’s looking for. Why? Because this year Google primarily focused on ranking sites that create a great user experience – and that is never going to change. Here are some ideas on how to dial in your SEO strategies to become winning SEO strategies:
SEO is More Than Rankings, It’s Marketing
Instead of having someone who only understands SEO in charge, it’s beneficial to have someone who understands SEO AND marketing in charge. There’s many different ways to look at SEO, which is why it’s a broad term. You can look at it from a technical standpoint where you’re re-architecting the website for a better user experience that also helps search engines. On the other hand, you can look at SEO as a form of marketing. Being creative with your content will help increase visibility and social shares. In return, your content will rank higher in the search results.
So for 2015, you want to make sure you’re looking at SEO as much more than rankings, but marketing as a whole. Developing a custom marketing strategy will fill the gap in your SEO. Make sure you have someone in charge who understands this. It will help keep the team working toward your bottom line.
Crappy Optimization is Out, Properly Optimized Web Pages Are In
To become an SEO winner next year, you may need to revisit your on-page optimization strategy. Spend more time on optimizing each landing page for not only the search engines, but your users as well. Here’s what each properly optimized web page should contain:
- Focus keyword + supporting keywords within the content
- High quality content on each page that’s well researched and written
- Make sure the content flows with the eyes: headers, bullet points, images, buttons
- The goal of the page is clear and concise (the user knows exactly what they’re supposed to do next)
- Call to action strategically laid out on the page more than once
- Strategically link to related pages within the content
- Each page is mobile optimized
- Each page loads quickly, no matter what device a user is on
- Meta data contains the right amount of characters along with focus keyword
- The design of each page is easy to follow and up to date
- Multi-layered content: call to action to landing page to thank you page
Get ready to work harder on each individual landing page. This stuff takes time. Start by going through landing pages that have higher bounce rates and low conversion rates.
Work with Google, Not Against Google
Google’s primary focus is providing content that’s going to benefit the end user. When you’re working with Google, your focus should be the same thing. Creating high quality and relevant content that’s going to attract a user keeps them on your website longer. Other ways to work on a better user experience include:
- A/B testing on landing pages to figure out which content, images and layout work best for your industry
- Responsive website design
- Earning backlinks with your content and social strategy
- Building up a strong social presence
- Consistent branding across all online platforms
When you don’t create the best possible user experience you can offer, you are really working against Google. What does this mean? You’re actually still doing negative SEO (keyword stuffing, low quality link building, thin content, etc.). This is going to catch up with you in a matter of time. It’s Google’s mission to get rid of all negative SEO, hence the constant algorithm updates.
Be Prepared to Fail – Accept It and Correct It
Part of becoming a winner is failing a few times. It’s part of growing as long as you’re learning from your mistakes. Not every single SEO strategy is going to be effective from the get go. Not every single client is going to be happy with their results. Be prepared to face these realities. To overcome the failing attempts toward a strategy, you must understand why it’s failing. With SEO, we all know it can be a number of reasons. Figure out why, then create a solution for how it can be fixed because there’s always a solution. If you figured out an effective solution, make sure you keep this in the back of your mind when creating other strategies moving forward.
Instead of questioning your SEO strategy from 2014, expand on it. Dial it in even further. Your content is doing well, but could it be better? Your website has a fresh responsive design but is it converting visitors into leads? Focusing your efforts on SEO as a whole, meaning: marketing, branding, and design working together will help build a highly effective SEO strategy where you and the user win. They find what they’re looking for, and you get the credit for it.
Need a professional to help you become an SEO champ next year? We have experts standing by ready to help you, just give us a shout: 800.871.4130