Digital marketing is an ever-changing field. New platforms and techniques are constantly arising and marketing managers have to adapt on the fly. While it’s important to remain up-to-date with new and relevant trends, it’s imperative that marketers keep their old tools sharpened as well. One of those tools is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is still relevant in 2021, so we put together a few of the basic Do’s and Don’ts to abide by when forming your SEO strategy.
DO use your keyword early
Google has stated that they give more weight to the first 200 words of a blog or article posted on your website, which makes sense. An article’s main subject is typically established in the opening. You want to capture Google’s attention early by using your primary keyword somewhere in the opening so that Google associates the article with that keyword and correlates the article with the correct search bucket.
DON’T neglect search intent
A large portion of your keyword research should be spent on evaluating search intent. Search intent is the user’s reasoning for why they’re conducting a search, and that intent will shape the way you formulate your keywords. For example, let’s say you own a property management company in Chicago. If a user is looking for information on where to find free parking near Wrigley Field, it wouldn’t be beneficial to the user if a page leading to one of your company’s Wrigleyville properties is the first result. The user isn’t getting what they’re looking for, and you’re attracting the wrong consumer to your page. In that instance, you’ll want to take a look at how to optimize that page so it better fits the search intent. Talking to your sales team and customers can be helpful in uncovering insights regarding search intent. It’s also advisable to use a keyword research tool to gauge search volume and competition for search words you are considering for optimization.
DO avoid duplicate content
When creating a new page on your website, try to avoid too much similarity between the new page and a pre-existing page on the site. Duplicate content confuses Google, and impacts the page ranking. When Google sees two extremely similar pages, it’s not sure which page to promote. So the result is that both pages suffer in terms of visibility and ranking – it dilutes both pages. The lesson here is simple: for better search performance, make sure each page of your website is unique.
DON’T forget about long-tail keywords
Certain keywords are very popular and competitive in specific markets and niches. With popularity and increased competition comes a higher cost to get your page ranked through that keyword exclusively. If you’re having trouble being ranked for a highly competitive keyword, consider using some long-tails. Long-tail keywords are add-ons to the main keyword that are more specific and niche-narrowing. For example, say you’re the marketing manager for a Chicago-based accounting firm. Your main keyword would be “Chicago accounting firm”, which is probably a competitive keyword phrase. To counter this, you can start adding content to your website that is geared towards more specific markets and can utilize long-tail variants of the main keyword. You can add articles and blog posts that include references to the neighboring suburbs of Chicago (such as Schaumburg) or specific neighborhoods within the city. You’re still competing within the larger niche, you’re just doing so through a less-generic keyword phrase.
DO pay attention to singular vs. plural
It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers in terms of how they search for things on the internet. For example, if you own a sporting goods store, you may notice that for certain products, people search for it using the singular version of the word. A person might look for tennis rackets by searching “tennis racket for sale”. Conversely, a different product might be searched for using the plural version. A user might look for a baseball helmet by searching “baseball helmets near me”. Be sure to do your due diligence regarding user search criteria in regard to singular and plural search phrases.
DON’T forget the basics
Honing in on keywords and fine-tuning your keyword selection process is paramount to a successful SEO strategy. However, in your quest for keyword perfection, don’t forget to keep up with the other aspects of your optimization – the tried and true methods of search engine optimization. This includes creating a meta title for each webpage (50-60 characters max), using relevant title name descriptions (150-160 characters), and including alt attributes in your HTML code so that search engines index your images correctly. SEO success is dependent upon the proper utilization of all the relevant optimization elements.
DO set-up Google Search Console
A major component of SEO is how Google interprets and evaluates your website. To maintain an understanding of how your website is performing from Google’s viewpoint, we highly recommend always setting-up and using the Google Search Console. Search Console offers a robust suite of web monitoring tools including alerts that are sent to the marketing manager when the search engine encounters indexing issues, unwanted spam on your site, and mobile usability problems. The main goal with Search Console is to make sure that Google can easily find and access your website.
DON’T forget to measure
This last point is perhaps the most important. SEO decision making is based on a lot of trial and error. Do not be discouraged if your new business isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped, especially during the beginning stages. The only way to get better is by constantly evaluating your efforts and making adjustments accordingly. Initially benchmarking and regularly monitoring your SEO ranking performance is a highly recommended practice that will make you a better and more efficient marketer.
Did we miss anything about SEO strategy? Have any additional SEO inquiries you’d like more information on? Let’s talk. Feel free to contact our team at MA1440.
MA1440 is a marketing consulting and digital agency located in Glenview, IL – serving small and mid-sized businesses locally and nationally.