Search Engine Optimization has increasingly become a top priority for all businesses looking to put content on the internet. With the onset of COVID-19 and the implementation of stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, almost all industries and businesses have been forced to accelerate the optimization of their digital presence and platforms. As a result, SEO has been pushed forward as a crucial consideration for businesses, as they think about their marketing and online websites.
Jawfish Digital specializes in SEO and Content Marketing because of the impact that successful SEO strategy has on a business’s online presence. This article will serve as a guide to walk you through the best practices for SEO strategy, along with 2020 SEO trends that will help inform your business SEO strategy and our recommended list of the best SEO marketing tools.
1. Onboarding and Strategy
2. Keyword Research
3. Content Ideas
4. Content Management
6. SEO Optimization
7. Content Promotion
Our process includes each step needed to create effective and relatable content. Creating unique and versatile content for your company begins with researching current trends, brainstorming and writing content that matches the style of your brand, and optimizing that content to reach the most diverse and targeted audience for your website.
1. Onboarding and Strategy
The first step in creating an effective content and SEO strategy, is to communicate the goals of your company, identify the ideal audience, and research current trends and past content. Being able to identify who your target audience is and how to promote your brand through relevant, informative content is part of why SEO keyword research is crucial.
Using keywords relevant to your industry or brand can be an effective place to start brainstorming ideas. Compiling a list of high ranking keywords to pair with your content is an important strategy for getting your content exposure.There are various kinds of content that may be appropriate for your website including longform or short articles, video content, downloadable content, and blog posts that can boost your website traffic, visibility and most importantly, be helpful to your viewers.
2. Keyword Research
Applying accurate keywords within your content drives organic traffic to both your content and website. The key factors that you should consider when doing keyword research are the Keyword Difficulty (KD), Search Volume, and Click-through-Rate (CTR). These factors most affect where your content will rank in terms of relevancy.
Thoroughly examining potential keywords for both your main website and brand, as well as your individual pieces of content, such as downloadable content or articles, allows for the google crawler to determine the effectiveness, relevance, and ease-of-access of the content.
We identify a list of opportunities that sit in the “Goldilocks Zone” (A keyword or search term that receives a significant enough amount of monthly search volume yet the competitiveness of that keyword is low). From there, we work together to decide the best keywords to target and determine frequency of placement of the keyword throughout your piece of content.
3. Content Ideas
After researching keywords and deciding which are the best potential options for your audience, the next step is to brainstorm content ideas that will boost your brand visibility and mission.
Brainstorming relevant and quality content is one key aspect for boosting SEO that can be overlooked. While it is of course important for your content to be relevant to your brand audience, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what that content might look like.
Content ideas can come from many places. One way is to take keywords with the highest ranking potential relevant to your brand and products, and create articles around the keywords. Another is to research trends within your industry: what is trending now? How can you find a new angle to approach the subject? How can your brand offer a new perspective?
Look at what articles are being written, how they are being presented and what keywords those articles are ranking for. Oftentimes, evaluating and researching current industry news and trends can get your brand in the conversation.
4. Content Management
Keeping track of the status of your content for either your own brand or your clients, is important for ensuring organization for both parties, and trust for your clients. Providing real-time updates for your clients goes beyond making sure that you are on the same page, and provides a level of transparency that allows your client to be involved.
Although there are many ways to do this, Jawfish uses Trello boards to keep both the Jawfish team and the client team up to date and informed about where the content piece is in the writing, editing, and publishing process. It also provides another communication platform for team collaboration.
During the writing and editing process, Jawfish chooses to use Google Docs to provide the greatest range of collaborative tools. Once an outline for the content piece is created, our writers provide a first draft that then goes through multiple rounds of editing, so that industry standards and best practices are ensured.
While this phase is pretty straightforward, it doesn’t mean that it’s any less important for optimizing your SEO practices. Jawfish handles the entire publishing process, after the content piece has been finalized.
One thing to think about that can boost SEO performance in the publishing stage, is to optimize formatting of how the final piece will render. Coding and design affect the overall format of the piece, and if your content is formatted in a complicated way, google crawlers will have a more difficult time understanding the quality and ease-of-access of the content.
Taking the time to research some common formats for popular pieces of content within your industry, ensures that the content you publish is more likely to be easily understood by crawlers and to be competitive for high ranking spots.
Taking into account on-page, off-page, and technical SEO can help you stay up to date on the most current practices that allows your content to stay relevant, helpful, and easily accessible.
6. SEO Optimization
At each step of the content process, SEO should be at least part of the focus. This ensures that when the content is live, it has the best chance for a high ranking. Jawfish takes this time in the process to double check the work up to this point and to take a look at the last few SEO steps.
Using a clean URL that includes your target keyword and including the target keyword in your title page, in subheadings, and throughout your piece ensure that your keyword and content has the best chance at being seen.
Optimizing keywords throughout the piece helps crawlers understand the coherence of the piece throughout rather than just having the keyword once or twice at the beginning. And to aid in increasing accessibility for a variety of readers (including google crawlers), using alt-tags to properly describe any images or other multimedia on the page can increase the understood relevance and quality of your content.
7. Content Promotion
The final and sometimes most important step to optimizing your SEO and content strategy, is promoting the content that you have created. Getting the word out about your content enables a variety of users to find it more easily, in turn, boosting your click-through-rate and time spent on the page.
By promoting your page in various ways and through multiple platforms, your content will increase in the number of backlinks and references to the page, and to your brand. The greater the number of legitimate backlinks, the better that bears for the google ranking of your page.
Promotion strategies should be focused on your target audience. Advertising and promoting your page on various omnichannels, such as social media, your blog page, email marketing and link networking, is a key way to help spread the word about your business. But having a plan in place that targets key clients and the target audience for your products, makes sure that you can focus on legitimate leads and potential clients.
Trends for SEO in 2020
Every industry is saturated with articles about the most important trends for that year. And while you should do your research about what is legitimate and what is one opinion, it is worth your time to investigate how your company’s voice fits in amongst your competitors.
Snippets versus Ranking: Which Reigns?
While SEO and google ranking are extremely important for getting your content seen, you will be surprised to know that getting a high ranking for a piece of content is not the only way that your content can be top of the page.
Google introduced “featured snippets” in January of 2018 as a way to increase ease-of-access to quick google searches, and it turns out, that the snippets pulled, aren’t always from articles ranked #1. Snippets are often pulled from articles ranking 2-5, and much of this is based on which article does the best job of answering a customer’s question in a clear way.
So, even if your content isn’t being ranked number one, there is a chance of it being placed higher on the page if the format and content quality are high and straightforward. Evaluating both what works for your content and for content that is ranking or in a featured snippet and repeating that process builds your domain authority and gets your content seen.
Influencers and Networking
Although the use of influencers has been around since the dawn of the increasingly digital age, businesses and retailers from all industries have begun to tap into their social exposure and power to do what they do best: influence. Partnering with an influencer or other potential network connection to promote your product and draw in business can be a good promotion strategy that requires little effort on your part.
Influencing does not always come in the form of an Instagram model. Instead, it looks different for each business and industry. In the marketing industry, creating solid and trustworthy client and competitor connections can be a good way to drive business. If you are a start-up looking to increase user experience of a software, offering a free demo or trial period for the software may be a good option that can get you solid feedback from real users.
Taking part in the digital wave of influencing and using various platforms to provide authentic product and service feedback and exposure is one way to reach a wider audience.
Website Optimization: Diversity
Optimizing your website for a wide audience to increase diversity in your customer base can be a great way to increase traffic on your site and content. Web accessibility is essential for brands who want to make their sites as inclusive as possible while using their products and services.
By making your website as inclusive as possible for those who experience difficulty navigating websites with and without disabilities, your content is more likely to be seen by a greater audience, inspiring trust and improving the CTR and SEO of your content and brand.
Optimizing your website and content with a user focus in mind can help draw traffic and improve the experience of your viewers while on your site, leading to greater trust and increased customer potential.
Multimedia: Apps, Videos, and Downloadable Content
Including multimedia on your website and in various forms not only improves the inclusivity of your site, but also provides a broader selection of useful content for any viewer. SEO is all about creating meaningful, quality content, but oversaturating your content and brand pages can cause viewers to leave your site.
Making sure that your content is useful and clear, tells the google crawler that your content is quality and helpful, boosting your google ranking. Depending on the content that you are putting out, it can be useful to include a helpful video, images and graphs, or other multimedia that can better display your product or process.
When searching for the right keywords and content for your brand, it is important to take advantage of at least one high quality SEO marketing tool or software that can provide insight into the way that consumers search.
While it is important to keep in mind a keywords search volume and difficulty, another key factor to keep in mind is the CTR, or click-through-rate. CTR directly correlates to the rate that your keyword, website, or advertisement is clicked on. For SEO keyword research, this rate or number is important in seeing how frequently a keyword is used as a search term or an article is clicked on from a keyword search term.
CTR is another factor that you can use to choose the best targeted keywords.
High-Quality and Relatable Content
This is really the goal of all content creation. However, creating content that is readable, interesting, and authentic can be difficult at times. The key is to research widely, think about a unique take that your brand could offer, and share your content widely.
Our Recommended Best SEO Marketing Tools
Below is a list of our most highly recommended SEO marketing tools and guides. These tools can help you not only build domain authority through good SEO practices and industry trends, they also provide your brand with the tools to create quality content.