Launching a new website is a bit like assembling a giant puzzle. There are many pieces, and some components are best put into place first, while other elements are incorporated later on in the process. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most valuable pieces as it should be of primary concern well in advance of starting your website. A solid SEO strategy is the entire foundation of a great business website. Neglecting to lay the foundation could result in poor web development and design, formatting issues, terrible URL structures, and more!
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” is the process by which search engines “crawl” content (meaning that search engine robots discover fresh, updated content) to measure its efficacy in attracting website traffic. SEO is a component of search marketing that focuses on ORGANIC (free or unpaid) methods to gain attention in search engine results pages.
THE VALUE OF SEO:
New websites are like seedlings. Once you plant seeds, they need to be nurtured with the proper amount of soil, water, sunshine, and nutrients. Neglect equals demise, and the same principle applies to your fledgling business website. Think of indexed web pages, backlinks, and overall authority as “Miracle Grow” for your company’s website. As time goes on and your website grows and develops, Google’s algorithm frequently changes; however, if you’ve properly applied a great SEO strategy, your website will most likely be unaffected! Eventually, you might discover that your business website is dominating your competition in the organic search results! So how’s that for a motivational speech?!
Let’s break down a solid SEO strategy step-by-step:
- URL (Uniform Resource Locators):
It is the address of a web page.
Your URL and URL structuring is kind of important. And by “kind of,” I mean “SUPER IMPORTANT”. Search engines consider URLs to be one of the main ranking factors in determining the content and context of your page. In other words, your url will be associated with your SEO equity, representative of both your brand and the name of your business.
Determine an SEO-friendly URL and customize it for every webpage on your site to align with the targeted keyword for which you’d like your page to rank. This is one of the critical first steps in your SEO efforts.
- LOADING SPEED:
Your average customer won’t wait more than about two seconds for your website to load, be sure you select a high-speed host! Site speed is a huge ranking factor when it comes to SEO, and the caliber of your website hosting provider will HUGELY affect performance!
- GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE:
Set up Google Search Console to achieve optimum SEO benefits. Google Search Console is God’s gift to your website. Don’t be rude. Accept the gift. This program allows you to keep an eye on your website page(s) loading speed, average click-through rate, organic (free) keywords that bring in the most clicks on your website, overall performance and so much more! Be sure to verify your website in the program first, otherwise it won’t collect data.
- GOOGLE ANALYTICS:
A smart addition to any business website in its beginning stages, brilliantly collecting your marketing info. Be sure to review current data privacy laws first!
Make a list of your TRUE SEO competition – businesses who sell, write and maintain top keyword rankings similar to yours – and study as though your life depends on it! You don’t want to be the loser in this competition!
Look for differences and similarities between you and your competitors and learn about the keywords for which they are currently ranking. Don’t forget to check out interesting selling points and the topics of their posts and content.
- KEYWORD GAP ANALYSIS & EFFECTIVE KEYWORD SELECTION:
Perform a keyword gap analysis in order to ensure your website is ranking comparably to those of your competition. This is SEO gold as you can easily filter these keywords in order to overcome your toughest competitor!
Keywords are the nucleus of a solid SEO strategy. Search engines utilize keywords in order to determine the most valuable search results in answer to consumer queries. You need to research keywords before you can build your keyword map because keyword searches are only as effective as the corresponding search result (“search intent”).
Proper interpretation of search intent will only strengthen your website’s role in the various stages of a customer’s buying journey. Longtail, low-competition keywords which mirror your exact products and services will ensure a positive, direct effect on your company’s long term bottom line. Be sure your keywords are in keeping with your company’s products and services and that they match commonly asked consumer questions. Research search volume and know the results which appear for your chosen keyword(s).
It is not uncommon to get caught up in the keyword battle. Fortunately, a reputable Jacksonville SEO agency will have a battle plan for this process which will typically look like this:
- They will review your business website to determine current ranking, top pages and develop criteria for solid SEO and collection of statistical engagement data.
- Next, they will run a keyword gap analysis in keeping with your top SEO competition. They will then broaden the keyword list based on that research, structuring your business website around your website goals, strategizing a means by which to achieve those goals.
- An experienced Jacksonville SEO agency will know how website users will find content via Google organic searches as well as searches taking place directly within your business website.
- They will create a comprehensive keyword list, spanning the entire consumer buying journey. This list will include all correlating service and product keywords and will be organized into content which scales and compounds your organic search volume long term. This is known as “content verticals” (website sections such as “about”, “location”, “hours”, “blog”, etc.).
- The final step: the creation of your keyword map! This masterpiece involves clustering keywords into corresponding groups. Those groups are the foundation to the creation of your website’s products and services, landing pages, blog posts and more!
In its entirety, the above process is the roadmap to selecting the most effective keywords tailored to your business website according to how you want them to rank.
- CONTENT CALENDAR:
Perhaps the word “calendar” is enough to send you running to your nearest Jacksonville SEO agency as you cringe at the thought of deadlines and time constraints so commonly associated with this dreadful word. Here’s what you should know: a strategic content calendar means you will consistently and intentionally stick with a plan for attracting and retaining customers (a.k.a. “$$$). It’s so easy, even a caveman can do it.
- Prioritize your keyword map sections beginning with the pages your website needs NOW (“products” page, “location” page, etc.).
- Write your content and optimize it by incorporating keywords in your metadata, URL and H1 (similar to your title tag and describes the topic of your page and its content).
- After your content is published, you will need to track your keywords for performance. Good content can move up in search engine rankings as it gradually lends credibility, authority and trustworthiness to your business website. Be patient as this process will take some time.
- Be consistent! Determine how many new website pages you want to incorporate per week or month and stick to it! You should always be cranking out new content because the effects of SEO are COMPOUNDING. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
- URL OPTIMIZATION:
Be sure you are correctly structuring your content by incorporating keywords into your URL. Once again, your URL cannot be changed!
- CORE STRENGTH:
We all need to have our vitals checked regularly. Our pulse, oxygen saturation, blood pressure and temperature all play a role in determining our overall health. Don’t neglect your core web vitals! Google has endless contact to “weed” through in order to determine who places highest in search engine rankings. Page experience and core web vitals help search engines determine the winners! Type your domain into “PageSPeed Insights” to find errors and fix them.
Be sure that you are creating a user-friendly experience on your business website. Your ranking largely depends on this! Site-impaired consumers will appreciate your optimized alt text on your website images! For hawk-eyed consumers, bright colors can be blinding, making for a terrible user experience. Be sure buttons are properly labeled and that fonts are legible and easy to read.
While self-promotion is generally considered a social turn-off, the opposite is true when you’re running a business! Just as you would promote your grand opening or the launch of your new company website, you need to promote the heck out of your content! Most consumers won’t aimlessly wander into your virtual storefront. Share your content across as many platforms as possible: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and anything else you can think of. You’ll improve your SEO value and Google will pick up on increased consumer engagement, resulting in establishing a business website as trustworthy.
Preparing a strong SEO strategy takes time, patience and careful planning. SEO will ALWAYS be the firm foundation which supports the overall structure of your business website, growth and bottom line! SEO births organic website traffic while fostering long-term repeat business, lending credibility and trustworthiness to your brand. Be sure you develop a plan for continued monitoring and optimization in order to keep up with your competition. The results are quite lucrative!