Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Essentials for Long-Term Traffic Growth

In my previous post, we looked at how your content strategy is pivotal to your success with digital strategy. And here, we’ll look at how search engine optimization (SEO) will fuel that success. 

What is SEO? Search engine optimization is an active process of getting get free traffic to your website through the major search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo. In contrast to paid media, like pay-per-click advertising (PPC), your SEO traffic is earned media.   
But “free” comes with a caveat. While you may not be paying hard dollars for the traffic, your return on investment will depend on your time, tools, and team. So, invest wisely by implementing the latest search engine optimization techniques. 

What are Search Engine Optimization Techniques?

The mistake many make in this area is to think SEO is a creative process. Instead, it requires demanding precision with details. Sound SEO techniques apply art AND science by delivering consistently with relevant content. Above all, you’ll find your SEO-generated content establishes authority for your website, and that means moving to the top of Google’s search results. Here’s how that happens. 

Step 1: Master the art of keyword research  

Get customer feedback about what they want from your products and service in the form of keywords and research the potential of applying these keywords to your site. Visit Google Trends for historical volume statistics, and check out keyword research tools such as Moz, Wordstream, and SEMRush for more in-depth insights on relevant keywords. 
And do paid PPC search advertising. Google ads will suggest relevant keywords that are getting competitive bids, which is a tipoff about high traffic opportunities. This will confirm your keyword picks, or push you into further research. 

Step 2: Practice the science of data-driven marketing 

Because of the need to be customer-focused on each web page, you need to write concisely. Focus each page of your site on a handful of carefully researched keywords, and limit your use of these words. Second, try variations in the form of “long-tail” keywords. For instance, “New York Yankees baseball caps” instead of just “baseball caps.” 

Third, practice smart optimization strategies for your keywords in all the elements of your page. These on-page techniques include your title, subheadings, meta descriptions, and even how you name and tag your images. 

Finally, science means technical factors. For starters, be passionate about the speed of your site, protecting yourself from malware, compressing images and producing efficient code. There’s a wealth of WordPress and Drupal plugins for bloggers in these areas. And eCommerce teams should also look at markup for how your products are listed on your site using structured data. 

Step 3: Test your SEO regularly

Always try new keywords, test hypotheses, and measure your results. Then document your work to share the knowledge. Google Analytics is a great start, but you should also check out Google Search Console for daily trends on how users are searching and coming to your site.  

Secondly, create a testing backlog where you always have new tests in your pipeline and others currently underway. 

The ROI of Search Engine Optimization

In summary, I hope you appreciate how the art and science of SEO can pay off with an enormous upside for your digital business. These are very high-level tips, and there’s lots of opportunity for mastery. And as someone who started his career as a writer, I can tell you that a great writer has the potential to write well for SEO. But a polished search engine expert is – by definition – an outstanding digital writer.  

Think long-term return on investment (ROI). Your initial victories will seem like a small road to success, but you’ll expand and iterate to the point that single road becomes a six-lane superhighway. Just keep researching, testing, and building. 

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