30 second summary:
- SEO is a reality that all marketers face and many try to avoid as they devise an all-encompassing digital marketing strategy of a reactive nature.
- Start by familiarizing yourself with the Google Page Quality Assessment Guidelines
- Create a solid SEO strategy to use every time you start the content creation process, include: audience needs research, keyword considerations, and internal linking
- Make sure you clean up and update your existing content so it doesn’t drag on new SEO-optimized content
SEO can be vague. It is blurred. It is always in a state of evolution. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a very real factor that affects your marketing, whether you plan it or not.
Many marketers discover the powerful effects of SEO when it’s too late. Their content is already underperforming. It is not ranking for the right keywords. It’s not holding readers back and has a low dwell time.
Solving the problem of bad SEO wastes time and resources. It is also completely unavoidable.
The key to using SEO to your advantage is to approach it proactively rather than reactively. If you’re in a pattern for noticing the effects of SEO on your online content and trying to make changes after the fact, here are some tips to help you take the reins and regain a sense of control over your organic search traffic.
1. Associate with the Google Page Quality Assessment Guidelines
If you want to dominate with your SEO, you need to start understanding it as much as possible. This is much easier said than done. SEO often feels more like an art form than a science. Algorithms can be difficult to follow. The results can be mixed. But there are ways to bring some clarity to the chaos.
Google provides a number of indications on how its search engine works through its own Guidelines for evaluating the quality of the page. This is a huge document that was only known to Google employees. Now that it’s public, it allows marketers and SEO experts to better inform their proactive SEO strategies.
There are several key areas of the document that shed some light how Google rates your website. For example, it is important to understand key concepts, such as YMYL pages. These are the “Your Money or Your Life” pages, which contain important information to help readers make critical decisions. Due to their greater importance, Google ranks these pages with a stricter quality standard. This means you need to keep them flawlessly informed and up to date (more on that later).
EAT is another essential element of Google ranking. The acronym stands for competence, authority and trust, a trio of elements that help define how high to rank a web page.
Google’s page quality rating guidelines can be extensive, comprehensive, and a little overwhelming. But you don’t need to read it from the cover to cover every quarter. Instead, familiarize yourself with many of the basic concepts. And, of course, keep it as a favorite for easy reference so it can continue informing your SEO strategy in the future.
2. Build each content thoughtfully from the start
Everyone and their mother know the importance of keywords and links in SEO. The problem is when you fail to address these critical content components in the planning stage, eg Before you actually create your own content.
Now, this is where things can get complicated. If you focus entirely on things like keywords, it’s easy to over-prioritize SEO at the reader’s expense, and that’s always a bad strategy.
Good SEO comes from putting the reader first and search engines second. This naturally creates content that better meets the seeker’s intent. This has the effect of increasing critical SEO criteria, such as dwell time… which still ends up increasing your SEO in the long run.
Even so, it’s important to take things like keywords and links into account in your initial content creation strategy. A good way to do this while prioritizing your audience is to use the following steps:
- Look for important keywords and phrases related to your audience: What is your target demographic looking for? What answers or advice do they need? An easy way to see this is to search for generic keywords from your audience and check the “Related Searches” section at the bottom of the SERPs. Use it to guide the content you create.
- Choose additional keywords: Use a keyword planner to add more keywords to your starting topic. Don’t be excessive. Use just a handful of additional terms to make your content stand out in search results.
- Create full content: When you go to create the content itself, try to make it as complete as possible. Full content it refers to something that not only answers an initial question, but also any subsequent question.
- Add internal links: Finally, remember to links to other areas of your site in each piece. Constant linking to important pages can tie your site together and help it run better.
By planning your keywords and links in advance, you can make sure you’re optimizing every piece of content right away.
3. Nurture existing content
It is tempting to dive straight into creating new and fresh content that is SEO-friendly. But let’s stop for a moment and think.
If your current site is already performing poorly, creating better content will only solve part of the problem. Many chronic SEO problems affect the entire site. In fact, Google has made it clear that subtle content (i.e. content without much value) doesn’t apply to individual posts. This is a site-wide problem.
This means that if you start the proactive SEO process by creating new content, you will need to overcome the flaws of your previous low-quality content before it can really start lifting your site out of SEO chaos.
Instead, as you study Google’s search engine guidelines and gain a better understanding of how to improve your SEO, begin the reform process by evaluating the status of your current content. Conduct a review of the existing content on your site by asking these questions:
As you go, try to identify the YMYL pages. Remember, those are the pages that hold a high value for readers and consequently tend to rank on a higher curve. Make a list of these and check them from time to time to keep them at maximum value.
Don’t leave SEO to chance
SEO is a powerful tool that can make or break your online content. It’s not the kind of thing you want to leave to chance. It is also difficult to overcome by reacting to poor SEO after the fact.
Instead, take control of your SEO by using the tips above. Start by familiarizing yourself with Google’s guidelines. Then create a solid strategy to drive each new content. Finally, review your existing site (especially any YMYL page) to make sure you are delivering value with past and future content.
If you can stay proactive with your SEO, you can turn it into a key element of your marketing strategy.
John Rampton is one of the top marketing leaders and founder of Calendar. Find Giovanni on Twitter @johnrampton.
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