In today’s class, we’ll look at how to create SEO stratergy for 2021. It is going to be a very interesting session so stick with us till the end if you really want to know the power of SEO in this stratergy. In today’s class we’ll learn about mobile SEO stratergy , what is SEO , on page SEO , technical SEO and many more.
Here’s a true statement you don’t hear as often: your SEO strategy for 2021 shouldn’t focus on keywords.
These days, most businesses understand the basic concepts of SEO and why it’s important.
However, when it comes to developing and executing a sound SEO strategy for your business, just creating content for the keywords your customers are searching for is both arduous and, well, wrong.
In this post, we’ll explain what an SEO strategy is, and how you create your own to help you meet your content marketing goals.
What is an SEO strategy?
An SEO strategy is the process of organizing a website’s content by topic to improve the likelihood of appearing in search results. Essentially, it is the process you follow in order to maximize the opportunity to gain organic traffic from search engines.
Having an SEO strategy is important because it helps you stay on track when creating content. Instead of just creating what you think people are looking for, your strategy will ensure that you’re creating content that people are searching for.
For content marketing, an SEO strategy is a critical piece of the puzzle because it is how your content will come to be seen in the first place, especially in search engine result pages (SERPs). If your content is scattered and unorganized, search engine bots will have a harder time indexing your site, identifying your area of authority, and ranking your site pages.
Mobile SEO Strategy
Mobile SEO is an important factor to keep in mind when creating your overall strategy. Mobile optimization involves ensuring your site and site content is available and accessible to visitors on mobile devices, so they can have the same experience and receive the same value as desktop browsers.
Mobile optimization is incredibly important, as Google practices mobile-first indexing. This means instead of crawling a desktop site, the algorithm will use the mobile version of your site when indexing and ranking pages for SERPs. In addition, 61% of Google search queries in the U.S. occur on mobile devices. So, all things considered, your SEO strategy would be ineffective without prioritizing mobile optimization.
While it’s not an entirely separate process, there are distinct considerations for mobile SEO like monitoring page speed, responsive site design, local SEO, and creating content that is high-quality, regardless of device it’s viewed on.
What is an SEO?
Search engine optimizers (SEOs) are people who optimize websites to help them rank higher on SERPs and gain more organic traffic. In essence, an SEO is a highly specialized content strategist that helps a business discover opportunities to answer questions people have about their respective industries.
There are three types of SEO that an SEO strategist can focus on:
- On-page SEO: This SEO focuses on the content that’s actually on site pages, and how to optimize it to boost the website’s ranking for specific keywords.
Why is on-page SEO important?
Google looks at your page’s content to determine whether it’s a relevant result for the search query. Part of this process involves looking for keywords.
But there’s more to on-page SEO than including keywords in your content—a lot more.
Google is ultimately looking for the most relevant search result for a query, so their algorithms also look for other relevant content on the page. If your page is about dogs and you don’t mention different breeds, Google knows there are probably more relevant results out there.Before you even think about making ‘technical’ optimizations like placing keywords here or there, you need to create content that Google wants to rank. For that, you need a main target keyword in mind. Read our keyword research guide if that’s not the case.
Otherwise, here are the four things you need to master:
1. Be relevant
Relevance is arguably the most crucial part of on-page SEO, which means aligning your content with search intent. Fail to give searchers what they want, and your chances of ranking are slim to none.
Because nobody understands search intent better than Google, the best starting point is to analyze the current top-ranking results for the three Cs of search intent:
We already briefly covered this concept in our keyword research guide. But we’ll go a bit deeper here, as again, aligning your content with intent is critical.
1. Content type
Content types usually fall into one of five buckets: blog posts, product, category, landing pages, or videos. For example, all the top-ranking pages for “black maxi dress” are ecommerce category pages from well-known stores.If this happens, use your best judgment. In this case, although there’s a roughly 50/50 split between blog posts and ecommerce pages in the results, the top three are ecommerce pages. That tells us that most searchers are looking to shop, not learn, so you’d probably stand the best chance at ranking for this keyword with an ecommerce page.
2. Content format
Content format applies mostly to blog posts, as they’re usually either how-tos, listicles, news articles, opinion pieces, or reviews.
For example, every result for “force restart iPad” are how-to guides, besides those from apple.com.
To stand the best chance at ranking for either of these keywords, you should follow suit. Trying to rank a listicle when searchers want a how-to guide will be an uphill battle.
However, as with content type, the SERP isn’t always as clear-cut as in the examples above.
Just take a look at the top-ranking pages for “how to get more subscribers on youtube.” There’s a pretty even mix of blog posts in how-to and listicle formats.In this case, because “how to” is in the target keyword, that would probably be the best way to go. But it’s worth noting that there isn’t exactly a definitive answer. Everyone sees things differently, and you could go either way. We chose the listicle format for our post about getting more YouTube subscribers because it seemed like a better match for the tips we wanted to share.
- Technical SEO: This SEO focuses on a website’s backend architecture, like site code. Google cares just as much about technical set-up as it does content, so this position is important for rankings.
How complicated is technical SEO?
It depends. The fundamentals aren’t really difficult to master, but technical SEO can be complex and hard to understand. I’ll keep things as simple as I can with this guide.
How crawling works
Crawlers grab content from pages and use the links on those pages to find more pages. This let’s them find content on the web. There are a few systems in this process that we’ll talk about.
Bear in mind that every business has different objectives, so it is an SEO’s job to examine their industry, determine what their audiences care about, and develop a strategy that gives them what they’re looking for.
A crawler has to start somewhere. Generally they would create a list of all the URLs they find through links on pages. A secondary system to find more URLs are sitemaps that are created by users or various systems that have lists of pages.
All the URLs that need to be crawled or re-crawled are prioritized and added to the crawl queue. This is basically an ordered list of URLs Google wants to crawl.
The system that grabs the content of the pages.
These are various systems that handle canonicalization which we’ll talk about in a minute, send pages to the renderer which loads the page like a browser would, and processes the pages to get more URLs to crawl.
These are the stored pages that Google shows to users.
Below we’ll go over some steps you can take to ensure your SEO strategy sets you up for success.
There are a few ways you can control what gets crawled on your website. Here are a few options.
A robots.txt file tells search engines where they can and can’t go on your site.
Just one quick note. Google may index pages that they can’t crawl if links are pointing to those pages. This can be confusing but if you want to keep pages from being indexed check out this guide and flowchart which can guide you through the process.
There’s a crawl-delay directive you can use in robots.txt that many crawlers support that lets you set how often they can crawl pages. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t respect this. For Google you’ll need to change the crawl rate in Google Search Console as described here.
If you want the page to be accessible to some users but not search engines, then what you probably want is one of these three options:
- Some kind of login system;
- HTTP Authentication (where a password is required for access);
- IP Whitelisting (which only allows specific IP addresses to access the pages)
This type of setup is best for things like internal networks, member only content, or for staging, test, or development sites. It allows for a group of users to access the page, but search engines will not be able to access them and will not index the pages.
How to see crawl activity
For Google specifically, the easiest way to see what they’re crawling is with the Google Search Console Crawl Stats report which gives you more information about how they’re crawling your website.
If you want to see all crawl activity on your website, then you will need to access your server logs and possibly use a tool to better analyze the data. This can get fairly advanced, but if your hosting has a control panel like cPanel, you should have access to raw logs and some aggregators like Awstats and Webalizer.
Each website is going to have a different crawl budget, which is a combination of how often Google wants to crawl a site and how much crawling your site allows. More popular pages and pages that change often will be crawled more often, and pages that don’t seem to be popular or well linked will be crawled less often.
If crawlers see signs of stress while crawling your website, they’ll typically slow down or even stop crawling until conditions improve.
After pages are crawled, they’re rendered and sent to the index. The index is the master list of pages that can be returned for search queries. Let’s talk about the index.
SEO Content Strategy
1. Make a list of topics
Keywords are at the heart of SEO, but they’re no longer the first step to achieving organic growth. Instead, the first step is to make a list of topics you’d like your content to address.
To start, compile a list of about 10 words and terms associated with your product or service. Use an SEO tool ( Google’s Keyword Tool, Ahrefs , SEMRush or GrowthBar just to name a few) to research these words, identify their search volume, and come up with variations that make sense for your business.
By doing this, you are associating these topics with popular short-tail keywords, but you’re not dedicating individual blog posts to these keywords.
Let’s say a swimming pool business is trying to rank for “fiberglass pools,” which receives 110,000 searches per month. This short-tail keyword can represent the overarching topic for creating their content, but the business will also need to identify a series of related keywords to include in their content. For example, they could opt to use the “fiberglass pool prices,” or “fiberglass pool cost,” to achieve additional rankings for the overall keyword of fiberglass pools.
Using search volume and competition as your measurement, you can create a list of 10-15 short-tail keywords that are relevant to your business and are being searched for by your target audiences. Then, rank this list based on monthly search volume.
Each of the keywords that you’ve identified are called pillars, and they serve as the primary support for a larger cluster of long-tail keywords, which we’ll discuss below.
2. Make a list of long-tail keywords based on these topics.
During this step you’ll begin optimizing your pages for specific keywords. For each pillar you’ve identified, use your keyword tool to identify five to 10 long-tail keywords that dig deeper into the original topic keyword.
For example, we regularly create content about SEO, but it’s difficult to rank well on Google for such a popular topic with this acronym alone. We also risk competing with our own content by creating multiple pages that are all targeting the exact same keyword — and potentially the same SERPs. Therefore, we also create content on conducting keyword research, optimizing images for search engines, creating an SEO strategy (which you’re reading right now), and other subtopics within the SEO umbrella.
This helps businesses attract people who have varying interests and concerns — and ultimately create more entry points for people interested in what you have to offer.
Use your long-tail keywords to create blog posts or web pages that explain the specific topics within the pillars you’ve selected. Together, all of your long-tail keywords create a cluster around a pillar topic. Search engine algorithms depend on the relationships between clusters to connect users with the information they’re looking for.
Think of it this way: the more specific your content, the more specific the needs of your audience can be, and the more likely you’ll convert this traffic into leads. This is how Google finds value in the websites it crawls — the pages that dig into the inner workings of a general topic are seen as the best answer to a person’s query, and will rank higher.
3. Build pages for each topic.
When it comes to websites and ranking in search engines, trying to get one page to rank for a handful of keywords can be next to impossible. But, here’s where the rubber meets the road.
Use the pillar topics you came up with to create a page or post that gives a high-level overview of the topic using the long-tail keywords you came up with for each cluster in step two. These pillar pages can essentially be a table of contents, where you’re giving a description of the main topic, and briefing readers on subtopics you’ll elaborate on in other posts.
Ultimately, the number of topics for which you create pillar pages should coincide with your business needs, like the number of products and offerings you have. This will make it much easier for your prospects and customers to find you in search engines no matter what keywords they use.
4. Set up a blog.
Blogging can be an incredible way to rank for keywords and engage your website’s users. After all, every blog post is a new web page and an additional opportunity to rank in SERPs. If your business does not already have a blog, consider creating one.
As you write each blog post and expand on your clusters, you should do three things:
- Don’t include your long-tail keyword more than three or four times throughout the page as Google doesn’t consider exact keyword matches as often as it used to. In fact, too many instances of your keyword can be a red flag to search engines that you’re keyword stuffing to gain rankings, and they’ll penalize you for this.
- Second, always link out to the pillar page you created for your topics. You can do this in the form of tags in your content management system (CMS), or as basic anchor text in the body of the article.
- Once you publish each blog post, link to it within the parent pillar page that supports the subtopic. By connecting both the pillar and the cluster in this way, you’re telling Google that there’s a relationship between the long-tail keyword and the overarching topic you’re trying to rank for.
5. Create a consistent blogging schedule.
Every blog post or web page you create doesn’t necessarily need to belong to a topic cluster. There’s also value in writing about tangential topics your customers care about to build authority with the Google algorithms.
With that in mind, make it a point to blog at least once a week. Remember, you are blogging primarily for your audience, not search engines, so study your target market and write about things that they are interested in.
It may be helpful to create a content strategy to remain consistent and focused on your goals.
6. Create a link-building plan.
The topic cluster model is your way forward in SEO, but it’s not the only way to get your website content to rank higher once it’s been created.
While our first five steps were dedicated to on-page SEO, link-building is the primary objective of off-page SEO. Link-building is the process of attracting inbound links (also called backlinks) to your website from other sources on the internet. As a general rule, sites with more authority that link back to your content have a more significant impact on your rankings.
Dedicate some time to brainstorming all the various ways you can attract inbound links. Maybe you’ll start by sharing links with local businesses in exchange for links to their own sites, or you’ll write a few blog posts and share them on different social media platforms. You can also approach other blogs for guest blogging opportunities through which you can link back to your website.
7. Compress media files before uploading them to your site.
This is a small but important step in the SEO process, especially for mobile optimization.
As your blog or website grows, you’ll undoubtedly have more images, videos, and related media to support your content. These visual assets help retain your visitors’ attention, but it’s easy to forget that these files can be very large. Since page speed is a crucial ranking factor, it’s important to monitor the size of the media files you upload to your site.
The bigger the file size, the more difficult it is for an internet browser to render your website. It’s also harder for mobile browsers to load these images, as the bandwidth on their devices is significantly smaller. So, the smaller the file size, the faster your website will load. But, how do you compress images and still retain quality?
It’s worth considering the use of a compression tool to reduce file sizes before uploading images, videos, and gifs. Sites like TinyPNG compress images in bulk, while Google’s Squoosh can shrink image files to microscopic sizes. However you choose to compress your media, keeping files in the kilobytes (KB) range is a good rule of thumb.
8. Stay up-to-date on SEO news and best practices.
Just like marketing, the search engine landscape is ever-evolving. Staying on top of current trends and best practices is an important strategy, and there are multiple online resources that can help you do so. Here are a few resources to check out:
9. Measure and track your content’s success.
SEO can take a lot of time and effort, and, because of this, you’ll want to know if your strategy works. It’s important to track your metrics to understand the success of your overall process, and identify possible areas for improvement.
You can monitor organic traffic using your preferred web analytics tool or create your own dashboard using Excel or Google Sheets. Also, tracking indexed pages, conversions, ROI, and your rankings on SERPs can help you recognize your success as well as identify areas of opportunity.
Once you’ve created your SEO strategy, you should also build a process to continue optimizing for new keywords and evolving search intent. Here are a few steps you can take.
1. Historically optimize your content.
Devote some time each month to updating old blog posts with new and up-to-date information to continue ranking in SERPs. You can also use this time to add any SEO best-practices that weren’t initially addressed, like missing image alt text.
2. Look out for changing keywords and new search intent.
After a few months, track how your blog posts are ranking, and which keywords they’re ranking for. This can help you adjust subheadings and copy to leverage new search intent that your audience may be interested in.
3. Add more editorial value to your old content.
Sometimes, you’ll find that a post is completely out of date. In this scenario, you should go beyond the average historical SEO update and give it a full refresh. You can do this by updating out of date information and statistics, incorporating new sections for added depth, and adding quotes or original data to give the post more referral traffic.
4. Create a monthly content plan.
To keep up with your SEO strategy, it can be helpful to create and refine a monthly content plan. You can place it into a spreadsheet, and your teams can track accordingly. The list below is an example of a content monthly content plan that takes the above steps into account.
Create A Strategy That Supports Your Business Goals
Ranking in search pages can be difficult. While it may seem enticing to create content that is centered around high-traffic keywords, that strategy may not help you meet your business goals.
In this chapter we’ll talk about how to make sure your pages are indexed and check how they’re indexed.
A robots meta tag is an HTML snippet that tells search engines how to crawl or index a certain page.
When there are multiple versions of the same page, Google will select one to store in their index. This process is called canonicalization and the URL selected as the canonical will be the one Google shows in search results. One of the hardest things for SEOs is prioritization. There are a lot of best practices, but some changes will have more of an impact on your rankings and traffic than others. Here are some of the projects I’d recommend prioritizing.
Make sure pages you want people to find can be indexed in Google. The two previous chapters were all about crawling and indexing and that was no accident.
Reclaim lost links
Websites tend to change their URLs over the years. In many cases, these old URLs have links from other websites. If they’re not redirected to the current pages then those links are lost and no longer count for your pages. It’s not too late to do these redirects and you can quickly reclaim any lost value. Think of this as the fastest link building you will ever do.
Looking at the first URL in archive.org, I see that this was previously the Mother’s Day page. By redirecting that one page to the current version, you’d reclaim 225 links from 59 different websites and there are plenty more opportunities.
You’ll want to 301 redirect any old URLs to their current locations to reclaim this lost value.
Add internal links
Internal links are links from one page on your site to another page on your site. They help your pages be found and also help the pages rank better. We have a tool within Site Audit called “Link opportunities” that helps you quickly locate these opportunities.
Add schema markup
Schema markup is code that helps search engines understand your content better and powers many features that can help your website stand out from the rest in search results. Google has a search gallery that shows the various search features and the schema needed for your site to be eligible.The projects we’ll talk about in this chapter are all good things to focus on, but they may require more work and have less benefit than the quick win projects from the previous chapter. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them, this is just to help you get an idea of how to prioritize various projects.
Page experience signals
These are lesser ranking factors, but still things you want to look at for the sake of your users. They cover aspects of the website that impact user experience (UX).
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are the speed metrics that are part of Google’s Page Experience signals used to measure user experience. The metrics measure visual load with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), visual stability with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and interactivity with First Input Delay (FID).
HTTPS protects the communication between your browser and server from being intercepted and tampered with by attackers. This provides confidentiality, integrity and authentication to the vast majority of today’s WWW traffic. You want your pages loaded over HTTPS and not HTTP.
Simply put, this checks if web pages display properly and are easily used by people on mobile devices.
How do you know how mobile-friendly your site is? Check the “Mobile Usability” report in Google Search Console.
So , there you have it , you have learnt a lot about SEO and indexing, browsing and a lot which even i forgot. But this is not all we have….wanna learn more. Don’t worry , you don’t have to go anywhere just stick with us for the upcoming classes and i can guarantee you you’ll not be disappointed.