Level Up Your SEO Game Plan

Building a functional, beautiful website takes time and strategy, and once it’s published it feels good. Your new mission then becomes landing your site on the first page of search results. Yet for many, the realization quickly comes that their site isn’t showing up and their visitor traffic is lacking, or even worse, no one is finding the site. The journey to get your site on the first page of results should be marked by care for your users and knowledge about your offering.

Here’s what we mean: Ranking high on the results page means your web content is exactly what Google believes a user needs. The ranking system isn’t concerned with sales goals or marketing plans. It cares about creating a flawless user experience for those using the service… and it will force you to do the same. Its algorithm becomes more sophisticated every day which means only the best sites move up.

Good ranking comes from good, up-to-date content, being seen as an authoritative site (one that users go to for information that is actually helpful and educational), and having technical excellence (site structure and following best practices).

So what should you avoid doing?

TRYING TO GAME THE SYSTEM

Things like key word stuffing and page swapping are tactics used to “trick” search engines into ranking your page. These don’t work. Search engines are sophisticated. And more importantly, once you’ve been cited for something like this, the road to recovery is harsh.

FORGETTING BEST PRACTICES 

SEO practices you shouldn’t let slide include: keeping content fresh, using natural keywords in your content, titling pages properly, appropriately using the 301 redirect, building a linking strategy that fits your content and audience and more. Subscribing to industry-leading pubs like Moz Top 10 will keep you up-to-date with perennially evolving best practices.

FAILING TO UNDERSTAND YOUR USERS

If you don’t put in time and effort to research your users, you’re going to have a hard time sustaining a rank. The ability to keep fresh, interesting and shareable content on your site rests on your ability to think like the user. Your online authority hinges on being the first to offer something for which people are searching.

BEING ALL TALK

Using tactics to gain authority or adding user-friendly content mean nothing if your brand, your product and your marketing team can’t back it up. A spectacular website can captivate an audience in the short term, but if customer service is lacking or a PR crisis isn’t handled well, your SEO will suffer too. Your ranking in the long term is a direct reflection of the authenticity of the people behind your website.

THINKING SEO ISN’T A WORTHY INVESTMENT

Technically, the deployment of SEO as a marketing tactic is free, where most others are not. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth the investment to dedicate the time to understand how it works or even consult with or bring on a knowledgeable team. Organic search engines drive 73 percent of traffic to all business services sites. As millennials take over the target pool, the more important SEO will become. This new, younger audience searches by terms instinctively and relies on Google for all of their information.

Long story short, there’s no easy way to rank, but as you gain knowledge and perspective you’ll begin to see how the many parts work together. A good rank is a sign of a healthy marketing ecosystem. It’s easy to take pride in that.


CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

Cara Gray

Marketing Intelligence Manager