SEO is a highly-effective inbound marketing tool. Exploited by digital marketers since the early days of the Internet, SEO has helped many businesses gain market share and drive inbound leads to their products and services.
Mastering the art of inbound marketing can be a challenge as many businesses struggle with implementing the most effective methods. When used successfully, SEO is an extremely valuable and results-driven inbound marketing channel as both a standalone tool and as part of a wider strategy.
But, it is a fast-moving game, and the techniques and methods of yesteryear might be holding your business back. So, in 2019, what’s the best approach to SEO?
Why Is SEO Important?
One of the biggest questions regarding SEO is whether organic marketing is the best option. Many businesses start with paid marketing channels such as PPC. But the truth is that organic methods can be just as successful, and far more cost-effective.
Granted, you won’t see results as quickly. But it’s more of a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach. You will be rewarded long-term with consistent results.
Utilizing the organic nature of SEO also means building up strong authority with your website. This authority is essential for high SERP rankings.
By using specific techniques and current SEO best practices, you will increase site authority, search engine rankings and link popularity. At the same time, you can drive targeted, high-quality traffic to your website.
How Can the Right Keywords Help SEO?
Keywords play an integral role in any SEO strategy, helping the right people find your business online. So, how can you find the best keywords and check their search volume?
First, you must avoid the mistake of going for the highest ranking and most obvious keywords too soon. Such obvious choices might be “trousers” for a clothing brand or “coffee shop” for a high street café.
These fat-head keywords may have thousands of searches every day or week. But the reality is that many of these keywords are far too vague to translate into reliable, targeted traffic.
You may also risk pitching yourself against highly established brands. These brands consistently dominate the first page of Google search rankings for their keywords. And they will compete aggressively to protect their position.
This creates an uphill battle for organic rankings and major keyword difficulty which can be easily avoided. A more effective route is to consider keywords with lower search volume but higher quality, otherwise known as long-tail keywords.
Checking Keyword Search Volume
Use these tools to strike the right balance between search volume and popularity. If you go too low, you risk missing out on traffic. And if you go too high, the competition may be far too fierce for you to achieve strong organic rankings.
Think highly specific, lower competition search terms and you’ll be on the right track.
You should always create a strong keyword strategy. Base your strategy on the goals and expectations of your campaign, as well as expected user behavior. This might mean choosing keywords by season for a Christmas ad campaign. Or by region if you wish to target a more specific audience. Tools like Google Trends can help you research a search term’s popularity.
Another things to consider is search intent. A person could be searching for information, looking to make a purchase, or be comparing different products or services. First work out their intent, where this is apparent. Then use this to work your way backwards to define the most effective keywords.
Paid Ad Search Term Qualification
As an alternative or in tandem with your SEO efforts, there are a number of reasons you can choose to make paid search ads (PPC) part of your digital marketing strategy. This might be if you have a specific, time-sensitive campaign you need to run, or you want fast, targeted results.
But you can also use PPC as a way to trial your SEO keywords before rolling out a full strategy. Running Google Ads to test keyword strength will provide valuable insights into key metrics.
You will be able to access the quality score – that’s how relevant Google Ads thinks your search term is. And you can measure click-through rates and the relevance of the individual keyword to the search query and ad group.
You will also be able to see your conversion rates which in turn indicates the quality of your landing page. Paying for clicks that don’t convert may be a wasted spend but it pays off in terms of qualifying how effective your keywords will be as part of a wider online marketing campaign, whether it’s using the paid-for or free route.
The Value of Good Content
Original, high-quality content is essential regardless of which online marketing route you take. That’s why choosing the right content method for your business is so important.
Think quality and don’t cut corners. You may prefer to write content in-house, and many startups being with this approach. But only do so if it pays off in terms of the time and effort made.
High-quality content writing is a skill unto itself. That means hiring someone who is well-qualified to do the job should be a no-brainer. This is not a task to be handed out in the office just to save the pennies, unless you have someone who is skilled in copywriting with a clear understanding of the intricacies of writing for SEO.
Hire freelancers if that means you will receive good quality content. This approach often translates to the best return on investment.
You should also consider including guest blogging into your strategy to build and complement a high-authority site and encourage a good calibre and quantity of traffic from your target audience, as well as generate positive activity for social media.
Guest blogging is also an effective way to build links in an organic way – another crucial element of SEO. Long-form blog posts in particular provide great opportunity to weave in links from high-authority, relevant sites and maximize the potential of your content.
You can also repurpose content and use creative methods such as infographics to build links in an effective way that will engage customers.
Does Buying Links Work for SEO and Do Search Engines Allow It?
There is one absolute no-no when it comes to link building and that is buying links.
Google and other high-quality search engines algorithms are very sophisticated. Not only will paid-for links prove worthless, but they may even impact on your quality score in a negative way.
It simply isn’t worth the risk, especially when a high quality and skilled SEO content writer will know exactly how to work links into your content organically for effective results.