Top 5 basic rules for a killer SEO strategy
What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the simple concept of planning, designing, writing, developing and continuously optimizing your website to meet the standard of what search engines deem to be a quality, relevant source to answer a search query.
As search engines go, when you talk SEO you’re really talking about Google. While Google Ads and PPC exist to service the business of marketing and capturing qualified leads over the competition, Google is well… Google because of the value they place on user experience. To ensure their users keep coming back, Google sets parameters for web builders to follow in order create and keep their web content to the standard of the global web experience.
So, let’s get down to what this means for your business. Here are the top 5 basic rules to follow to build a solid SEO strategy.
On-site SEO 101
The foundation of your SEO strategy is your website. If your website is not built correctly, all the efforts below will face a steep uphill battle to gain any traction on Google. At Chatterson, we follow a strict list of best practices for all websites we build, including:
Every page should have a custom meta title and description. Meta titles typical are built using a formula; name of the business | the service being described | where you are located (for regional based services). The description is maxed at a specific character count to describe the business and include a call to action.
An example of this could be:
Chatterson | Destination & Real Estate Marketing | Calgary
Chatterson is North America’s destination marketing expert. We specialize in market strategy, design, digital, and web development for destinations. Contact to learn more!
Imagery on a website is just as valuable to Google as the written words. This is why when websites are built we add alt tags to our custom media. Simply put, alt text or alt tags is alternative text created to describe what an image is. The reason we say custom media is that not all imagery on a website is relevant to the content, so the addition of alt-text is not necessary. But if it’s a product photo, infographic or visual aid – you better add alt-text!
Create a seamless user experience
Google rewards websites that provide a good UX to their customers. For most businesses, this means that your web page is aesthetically pleasing, easy to digest and focuses the intent of the page to match the user’s search query. When planning your webpage flow, there are many things to consider to ensure your website is following SEO best practices:
- Are your headlines clear and direct?
- Is the content easy to skim (that’s skim, not read)?
- Does the language use too much industry jargon?
- If I read this to a stranger, would they understand what I’m offering?
- Does this page answer the questions people might be searching for?
- What comes next? Do users need to click through your blog to find basic info like address and contact numbers?
Sometimes it is difficult as a business owner to see the forest through the trees, so if you’re not sure if your website is providing a good user experience, lean on the expertise of others! This can mean utilizing a focus group to provide educated feedback on your website, or simply asking a friend or business associate (one who isn’t a user of your website) to try doing simple tasks on your site and see where they find roadblocks.
Optimize your Google My Business listing
GMB or Google My Business is an essential tool for brick-and-mortar businesses, not only to keep customers up to date for changing store hours or contact information, but for SEO as well. As we said above, Google rewards businesses who invest in making the “Google user experience” better. This includes adding your full service offering to your GMB, refreshing photos of your interior/exterior/menu, staying up to date with accessibility and inclusiveness (offering gender-neutral bathrooms or LGBTQ2S+ friendly).
Last but definitely not least – encourage your customers to leave you a review on Google. Again, Google wants their users to have the best experience when searching online. So naturally, the most positively reviewed place will show up well before the business with several 1-star reviews. Grab your phone and try searching for breweries in a highly concentrated area like Calgary, I guarantee the first three you see on Google Maps will have a rating of 4.7 stars or higher. If you want to succeed in a competitive space, Google reviews can make all the difference.
Build credibility with backlinking
Google likes websites that are liked by other websites. Backlink building is how you teach Google that you are a trusted source, because other websites think you’re a trusted source. The easiest way to build your backlink catalogue – just ask! Any time that a business partner is referencing you on their website is an opportunity to link back to your site. Anytime an article is written about your services/industry is an opportunity to link back to your site. For major publications, backlinking is currency, so be prepared to pay a small fee for this connection to be made. And of course, not all backlinks are worth the cost, so be sure to consult your marketing strategist before pulling the trigger on paid backlink opportunities.
SEO content is king
Now that you have laid a foundation with your SEO optimized website, it’s time to start pumping out content. The key to a solid content strategy is to always provide value. Users do not want to read a wall of bloated self-promoting text. And showing an obvious bias will lose their trust.
A good place to start as you plan your content strategy is to think of the questions people are likely asking about your business or products? What are their pain points and how can you address them? What tips and tricks could you share that would entice your customer to trust you over your competition? What products are comparable to yours?
If you were shopping for a new moisturizer for dry skin, which one of these would entice you most?
- Top 5 Chatterson Skincare Moisturizers You Will Love
- Top 5 Amazing Moisturizers to Hydrate Dry Skin
The first tells me I’m only going to see one brand so there is an obvious bias (although I’m sure if we made moisturizer it would be incredible). The second answers my question and allows me to assess for myself which brand is right for me. Of course we would include Chatterson branded moisturizers on that list, but the unbiased approach allows users to build trust with our content. Add value, don’t just self-promote.
Content does not stop with the written word. You can create content through infographics, social media reels, videos, surveys, quizzes, anything!
Finally, share the content!
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Google needs time to scan your site, rank your content, and allow for organic engagement to follow. If you rely on Google to do all the heavy lifting you will miss out on in-market leads today – so get your business out there! Share your content on the appropriate platforms and tag relevant businesses that will reshare again and again. If you are just starting out, you will likely have a lot of ground to cover with your SEO strategy, so support your marketing efforts with a paid media campaign to encourage traffic to visit your website and social media profiles. If you are looking for support with these tactics, Chatterson is available to take your Google rankings to the next level. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services.