Ask any digital marketing professional what the most important aspect of any campaign in 2018 is and they will come back with the same answer - a good SEO strategy.

Search engine optimisation is a blanket term for a broad spectrum of online marketing that all ultimately serves the same purpose – to place a website further up the search rankings. But how, exactly, do you go about getting your business on page one of Google above all of your competitors?

It takes time, patience and a lot of SEO marketing know-how.

Research, Research, Research

Before beginning any work on your website, the relevant research must be undertaken. This means looking at what your competitors are doing – more importantly, what they are doing right. What are competitors in your industry doing that you aren’t? And what aren’t they doing that you can capitalise on?

A large part of SEO marketing is playing to your strengths. David didn’t beat Goliath in a battle of strength, did he? The same philosophy goes for small local businesses looking to gain an edge on major global brands.

Seek out any small advantages that you have over your competitors and key areas of development that you can quickly turn into strengths. Some of which may include:

  • Length of content – what is the average length of your competitors’ content compared to yours?
  • Landing pages – how relevant are the pages that you are trying to rank for?
  • Content GAP – what topics are being covered by your competitors? Search engines will always prefer pages deemed to be more useful to the user
  • Links – how tidy is your link profile? Is it possible that spam is decreasing the overall authority of your website?
  • User experience – are your competitors’ websites easier to use than yours? Does your website function just as well on mobile devices as it does desktop?
  • Keyword research – what keywords are your competitors targeting? Are there any relevant keywords or phrases that you can target with a good amount of search volume that may present quick wins?

Content Strategy

With a clear idea in mind as to where your strengths and weaknesses lie, the next step is to form a solid content strategy for your website. Your onsite content must be nigh-on perfect, meaning that it is well written, informative and unique – you must not duplicate content from another website as this runs the risk of being hit with an SEO red flag.

In clear terms, if you have three main competitors that between them cover points A, B, C, D and E, your content must cover all of the points on its own, as well as adding additional value by introducing point F. This should be the case on all of the landing pages that you are looking to rank for.

A good SEO strategy includes a well thought out content strategy, as presenting a high quality and informative website is ultimately the most important piece of the puzzle. Without this, it becomes so much harder to produce the desired results.


Building and Maintaining Authority

SEO is an ongoing process that is never ‘done’. It is a never-ending process and you simply can't allow yourself to take the foot off the gas – if you do, you can guarantee that your competitors will catch up and overtake you, thus taking business from right under your nose.

Once your website has built up a level of authority through quality content and links pointing back to your website, all of which will provide a nice SEO boost, it is important to keep working on your website from an SEO perspective. Not only will your website’s rankings begin to slowly drop off due to the lack of ongoing work, but it is also entirely possible that Google could change their guidelines, thus meaning that something implemented a year previously may no longer be good practice.

Once you have reached the top of page one, this is when the hard work truly begins as your competitors pull out all of the stops to regain their position. In the same way that a world champion boxer holds a target on their back (or around their waist), your business is the target for hundreds, if not thousands, of other businesses as soon as you take the top spot.

What to Look Out for

Out of date content, broken links and old SEO practices are just some of the key areas you should watch out for. Content, as good as it may have been two or three years ago, may need updating – whether it's with fresh content, extending or editing to match the business and its product in the present day.

From an offsite perspective, broken links are one of the biggest causes of a drop in authority. This could be as a result of a website containing a link going offline, a link pointing to a 404 error or a link that has simply been removed. This is where keeping tabs on your link profile is important, as well as producing link-worthy content such as blog posts in order to replace any links that may have been lost along the way.

Localised Campaign

If the majority of your business’ custom comes locally, your search marketing strategy should be centred around localised keywords. For example, a local business based in London would likely gain better conversions from targeting phrases such as ‘London bakery’ and ‘bakery in London’ as opposed to simply ‘bakery’ and ‘bakeries’.

Not only will the localised phrase be less competitive, but it will lower the chances of someone finding the website in an area of the country that the business does not serve.

What many businesses choose to do is utilise a PPC campaign to complement SEO. While this is something that does work well for many businesses, it is important not to become overly reliant on the immediate boost that can come with an AdWords account. PPC provides the option of localised campaigns, giving maximum value for money without fear of paying for clicks that won’t convert due to geographical reasons.

When it comes to forming a solid SEO strategy, it is important that you take it one step at a time. SEO is a marathon and not a sprint. Ensure that you follow best practices and cut no corners while remembering that when you reach the top of the mountain, the fun is only just beginning.

If you believe that your company's SEO strategy could benefit from an expert opinion, or you simply do not know where to begin, please do not hesitate to contact the i3MEDIA team via the contact form or by calling direct on 01733 890836.

Posted On
Jul 12 2018