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SEIRIM Guide to SEO in 2020

S.R. Schroeder // Last Updated: 26 September 2019

Sigh, SEO, the bane of many a business owner's digital existence. "We've built the website, we're the best at what we do, and now we have to start a whole new challenge?!""

Yes, yes you do.

Luckily, it's not the dystopian mess it used to be, with hacks and cheats and dirty web detritus clogging up the web's underbelly with a sludge of content for Google to churn through. That morass still exists, it still has its effects, but today's business owner can luckily operate and exist above it at higher levels.

Today's search engine rankings dystopia is still not a fun place for most owners to step into - that is until they find their niche and some success and then the taste of results catches on and all of a sudden they find some way they can really get into it.

 

 

Some folks really enjoy the sharing and promotion paradigm of seeing how far they can stretch awareness of their content, activities and website. Others revel in the craft of making great content and pushing their website's wares 'over the top' with steadily increasing quality and utility.

Whatever your personal interest can become, it's this ying and the yang of continuous website development (the great content) and the promotion of that content that has to occur for your website to gain traction and increasing audience.

 

The Content:

The chicken and the egg starts here: "Content is King" everyone says. We'll split this up into a few parts:

- Base Content:

The About us, the Services, the Product Descriptions and so on that is the 'baked in' content on your website. This content needs to be verbose, descriptive, complete. It needs to describe everything you do in varying ways, don't just let images or your reputation speak for themselves, it's necessary to spell out for your visitors (and Google) in plain English every bell and whistle about you so this knowledge gets picked up.

- Updating News:

Recent happenings, upcoming events, company and services news. Make sure your website is alive with continual updates regarding what is going on with your company and where your company is going.

- Thought Leadership:

Is an annoying term for unique, quality information and ideas relevant to your business' area of expertise. Produce articles and research regularly that help inform your audience more they can learn about everything related to your products and services. You know a lot about it - share that knowledge with them as well and as often as you can.

... That's a lot of work, right? If you don't have someone on your team that can do that, look towards getting help (from people like us) that can help put it all together and get it published regularly.

 

The Promotion:

Yay you've got great content on your website, but unless your company is already the biggest and most famous ever, and this new content is miraculously interesting, it won't 'catch on' and be regarded as amazing without some extra spark and 'priming of the pump' to help give it legs.

Yes, it's important to share the published content on your social media, but that's a crowded space and at places like LinkedIn, for example, you're getting fewer and fewer real views with each share as they continuously are presenting paid ads more and more often than user's submitted content.

You can pay to have your new content promoted via ads, but it's a tough return on investment depending on the content.

Generally, the biggest bang for your buck (in regards to search engine rankings placements) is to work with third party websites to get them to mention and cite your content (linking to it) in any of many possible ways. This is the real key to great SEO, building the connections and getting your website and its content more integrated (via being linked to) within the broader fabric of the internet.

And at a high level - you want to be referred to from the most prestigious and relevant to your niche websites and social media accounts that you can.

 

That established, here are some specific tips for zeroing in on your SEO for 2020: 

Focus on your Keywords:

The search environment is very competitive and amorphous. It is essential to choose keywords wisely and think as consumers do. For instance, you sell “cat trees”. A searcher might type a “cat house” or “cat tower”. You should understand that users search for information or products using extraordinary variety of queries. It is important to develop a website architecture and content strategies. 

  • Write down a list of key phrases related to your product or service.
  • Think strategically: find synonyms, topics that are not directly related to your product but have a connection to it.
  • Check social media platforms and forums of your niche and find out what phrases they use in their discussions.
  • Think of your product (if you have many, list it all) and create categories and subcategories.
  • Use keyword tools
  • Review competitors’ websites for more keywords

 

Customize your SEO strategy:

There is no SEO strategy that works for all types of business and always successful. Before developing the strategy, you should consider:

  • What you are promoting: service, product and etc.
  • Your target audience: men, women, organizations and etc.
  • Website structure: site architecture, URL naming, elements of navigation and etc.
  • Content assets: images, videos, articles or infographics and etc.
  • You should know your competitors. Before developing your SEO strategy, you should learn more about your competitors: their high-ranking keywords, the best links and targeted market segment.

 

Content is King:

Content of your website should be helpful for users. If it is informative and useful, more visitors will be on your website. Content also attracts potential customers (if you sell products or services).

  • It is important to link to high-quality websites, because of it the search engines classify your content as a trusted one.
  • Articles should be easy to read. Use simple sentences and less “fancy” words, unless you write it for specific group of people.
  • Establish an editorial calendar. 
  • Renew old articles, update their content to make them newly relevant.
  • Delete old articles, which do not give you any traffic. I know, it is sad, but it should be done.
  • And remember, it is better to have one well-researched article per month, rather than four ones with similar information.
  • Look out for duplicated content
  • Nowadays, people do not like to read or they do not have time to read the whole article. To make them interested in your content add awesome infographics, images and video.
  • It is subjective, but the best way to plan your SEO strategy is to use SWOT analysis. The main idea of this analysis is identifying Strengths of the website, Weaknesses of yours (lack of skills in photography, for instance) or the website, Opportunities and Threats (it is more about your potential competitors: their high-ranked websites, SEO strategies and etc.).

 

Technical SEO (who said it would be easy? :-)

Sometimes website developers do not care about SEO while building and maintaining the website. These are the things you should pay attention to:

  • URLs: they should be generated as a result of search queries. For example, you are writing step-by-step instructions on “how to bake delicious honey cookies”, then the URL should show “how to cook honey cookies step by step”. The main idea is to have it user-friendly and easy to share it with others.
  • No extra characters in URL: it might bother search engines and affect user experience at your website. 
  • Page load time: it is bad for both: indexing and crawling of a website and users are getting annoyed by it. 
  • Make your content accessible: it is always annoying to have an article hidden behind a form which should be completed (for instance, to share your email for newsletters or a pull-down list). This technique can also hide your content from search engines.
  • 301 and 302 redirects: 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. It is recommended for SEO, because by 301 redirect all SEO juice will be redirected as well. 302 redirect is a temporary one. It blocks the content from search engines, which is pretty harmful for your SEO.
  • HTML title tag: title tag for each page should be unique and clear. Make it powerful, so it will attract more readers and eventually customers. 
  • Meta description: meta description is very tough to write, because it is used to attract readers. First of all, you should write the truth about it, but at the same time do not write it universally. It should contain targeted keywords. It should describe the main idea of the article it is for. BUT, remember: do not duplicate it! 
  • Images: if you want to rank in image search, use the ALT attribute and add targeted keywords into filename as well. Choose targeted keywords carefully and be honest (describe the actual image and do not make up things).
  • Subdomains: subdomains can be considered as a separate website and definitely it will not bring any SEO benefits to the main website. It is better to use subfolders.

 

Internal Links:

Internal links are very important for SEO. Imagine your website as a spider net: all is connected, nothing is left apart. The same is with website pages.

 

Linkbuilding:

Link building helps your website ranks higher among other websites in your niche. 

  • Use different techniques, such as a skyscraper
  • Involve influencers to create content together. They will be interested in sharing your content or even linking to it. 

 

Mobile version of your website is good for SEO and for your business:

 

Social Shares

  • Just to be active is not enough, you should “read your potential customers’ minds”. Think of the time when people check it the most: morning, afternoon or evening.
  • Ask people to share your content (but do not be too annoying).

 

Track your Website’s Progress

It is absolutely recommended. It is very helpful to manage execution of SEO plan and the process in general. It is better to do it by using Ahrefs, Moz and Google Analytics.

 

Conclusion

Everything new seems very difficult to implement. Do not be afraid of new discoveries.

Do not be too confident in your skills. SEO has been developing all the time. Master your skills and learn more every day.

And remember, success is 10% of talent and 90% of hard work.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S.R.
Schroeder

Founder of Seirim, S.R. focuses on the art and science of web design, cybersecurity and web development tech to help keep driving SEIRIM's projects and abilities forward.

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