Quick and Easy Digital Marketing Strategies for SEO Beginners
COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on the global economy as a whole. However, perhaps no group has been affected as significantly as small and medium-sized local businesses. With the dramatic reduction in brick-and-mortar visits, many organizations have had to make unfortunate operational cutbacks just to stay afloat or even be forced into closure entirely. With nothing but uncertainty in the foreseeable future, it’s more important than ever that your business establishes its online presence.
The article provides a handful of quick and easy-to-implement SEO tips that require little to no experience. These strategies outlined below will help improve your visibility (out of sight, out of mind), the traffic to your website (more opportunities for sales), and hopefully provide just enough juice to help your organization coast through this pandemic.
Why SEO is Important Now
While stay-at-home, social distancing, and health & safety initiatives are in effect, the general public has become much more reliant on digital mediums to find information, make purchases, and more. According to Forbes, since the mandatory quarantine began, internet usage has increased over 70%. With this massive boom in internet traffic and a largely dormant audience, there has never been a better time than now to ensure your SEO strategy is up to par.
As you rethink your SEO strategy, keep in mind that people still need your goods and services. The world may be changing, but this demand remains in place. Even more good news, people are looking towards local businesses more than they have in the past—especially if those businesses offer curbside services. Tailoring your SEO on a local level is extremely beneficial.
Investing in your SEO will continue to benefit your organization long after the pandemic subsides. By executing now, you will have a leg up on your competition once we return to a “new normal”.
Quick Improvements to Use Now
It can be difficult to know where to begin when entering the world of SEO. Think of these sections as SEO for beginners. These SEO strategies are quick and easy ways to improve your search ranking.
When users perform a search, it typically falls under the umbrella of intent: transactional, directional, or informational. Dependent on the keyword or phrase entered into the search engine, it’s the search engines job to index and display the most relevant results in order of relevancy and authority.
Keywords are input into a page’s content or meta data to provide search engines context about the information on the page. Where your website stands in the rankings is determined by a collection of over 200 factors decided by the search engine’s enigmatic algorithm. Keyword research comes into play by deciphering the search volume, competition, and ranking difficulty for specific keywords or phrases.
Determining which keywords to implement into the site copy usually is a result of these findings. Newer, less established sites would be wise to target local or less competitive keywords and phrases, whereas larger and more established organizations will often compete for the high volume, high difficulty keywords. Nevertheless, search volume and difficulty are perpetually changing so it is important to be aware of the trends to run an effective SEO campaign.
Before researching any keywords related to your business or offerings, It is important to first establish your digital goals. If you have a blog or informational site, broad or more generalized search phrases might be best suited for you, where, conversely, lead generation sites might opt to target longer-tailed keywords or phrases that align with a transactional query.
Based on this information, you can formulate specific keywords to research. Using keyword research tools will provide a wealth of information to help you determine the best fit. A few things to look for when determining which keyword to implement:
- Trends; is the search volume for the specific keyword increasing or decreasing over time.
- Search volume; is the market for this keyword robust enough to be effective.
- Difficulty; how long and how much effort can I expect before I begin ranking for this keyword.
- Intent; will this exact keyword bring in traffic that is relevant to my business.
There are a number of keyword research tools available. While the most accurate data will come from paid tools, there are a handful of free options available as well.
Paid tools such as Ahrefs or SEMRush provide a bevy of real-time information. Both platforms require a monthly or annual subscription but are well worth the money considering the depth of services and features provided. However, not every organization has the budget or cost-benefit of utilizing these advanced tools, especially during an economic downturn and the availability of free alternatives.
Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and UberSuggest are all free tools you can utilize to build out your keyword strategy and perform keyword research.
Google Search Console may not be the ideal tool for initial research but it will provide you insight into which keywords and phrases you currently receive impressions and clicks for. Google Keyword Planner will allow you to input broad keywords and will provide a fairly comprehensive list of results that display broad match keywords, their ranking difficulty, and more. Google Trends will show you how the search volume for specific keywords is trending. Finally, UberSuggest is a tool outside of the GSuite that will provide similar details to Google Keyword Planner.
*For the sake of this article, our assumption is that the information you would receive from Google is more accurate than any other free keyword research tool.
So, you’ve performed your initial keyword research, compiled a list of core keywords, and are ready to implement them into your site. But where do you put them?
Keyword research is often fairly straightforward. Although it does require some critical thinking and analysis to determine the most impactful terms, implementation is where many businesses fail to execute. Where the keywords are placed in the site is just as important as the keywords themselves. For the purposes of this article, we will keep the barrier to execution intermediate.
A few best practices to follow when performing keyword implementation:
- DO: Include the primary keyword for each page in the page title; the proper structure is “Primary Keyword | Brand Name”
- DON’T: Use Home, About, Services, or any generic page title name.
- DO: Include the primary keyword (only) for each page in the H1 tag; include secondary keywords in the H2 tag
- DON’T: Use more than one H1 per page; include a long sentence or irrelevant words outside of your keyword
- DO: Include the primary keyword towards the beginning of the meta description, at least within the first sentence
- DON’T: Create an overly long meta description, Google truncates it after 155-160 characters; not include your primary keyword for that page
P Tag (Otherwise known as body copy)
- DO: Include the primary keyword on each page within the first 100 characters of the P tag (or body copy)
- DON’T: Write up content that is solely for the search engine (keyword stuffing, keyword cloaking, etc.), write for the user but include your keywords naturally.
Add Structured Data to Your Website
Schema markup, or structured data, is a block of HTML code that is added into a web page that will provide search engines with more information to display for the user. It sounds complicated but you’ve most likely encountered the use of structured data numerous times on search engines.
Popular examples of schema markup include:
- Review schema – this displays the 5 star rating system with the overall rating and number of reviews for a specific product or page
- List schema – this displays a list of items or topics within a specific page or article
- FAQ schema – this will display a list of frequently asked questions that are self-generated.
The real value in schema markup is that it can significantly increase the number of clicks and click-through rate for your search listing. In a test performed by the Search Engine Journal, they found that when implementing structured data into a website, the average click-through rate increased by 43%.
That’s an average of 43% more clicks to your site simply by installing a few lines of code!
Schema markup isn’t limited to the options above. There are a number of options you can utilize to help provide more immediate information to your users. For more information on schema markup and the different types, visit https://schema.org/
Review and Improve Your Existing Content
One of the most value-to-effort strategies you can run on your domain is updating and improving old or existing content. Refreshing your older content and blogs is a great way to revitalize dwindling posts. For example, if you created an article, “The Best _____ in 2019” that received a considerable amount of traffic but has fallen off dramatically due to relevancy, it may be time to update that to 2020.
Refreshing your old content certainly gives you an SEO boost. According to SEMrush, 51% of companies said that updating old content has proven the to be the most efficient digital marketing tactic.
Additionally, Google changes their core algorithm multiple times a year, along with frequent minor modifications, so it’s a good idea to monitor your content and see if any algorithm shifts have affected your rankings or search traffic.
Finally, this gives you the opportunity to re-promote or syndicate your content via social media, newsletters, email blasts, etc. without regurgitating previously shared information.
Improve Your SEO Today
The current economic client certainly makes business more difficult (unless you manufacture toilet paper and Lysol) but it also presents a unique opportunity to take your online presence and digital marketing efforts seriously.
Code Authority has serviced the North Texas area and beyond for nearly 20 years and has helped over 600 clients reach their business goals. Our digital marketing team provides free, comprehensive domain and SEO audits so contact us today to learn how we can level up your digital strategy.