As a Digital Strategist, every day I work with an array of clients who all want one thing – to be known.
My job is to help increase the visibility of our clients, growing website traffic through paid ads as well as organic search.
If you have the means to execute a successful ad strategy that’s fantastic. But what do you do if you don’t have the budget for an ad strategy? The answer to that is simple and one of the most trending marketing topics right now, search engine optimization (SEO).
“On a broad scale, I see SEO becoming a normalized marketing tactic, the same way TV, radio, and print are traditionally thought of as marketing tactics.” – Duane Forrester, Yext
Since Day 1, digital marketing with inbound methodologies has been The Squad’s thing. Content creation, management, and optimization is our jam. So it’s pretty fundamental to have an SEO mindset here at The Squad, whether you’re a Content Manager, Director of Partner Marketing, or Digital Strategist.
In 2018, The Marketing Squad had a banner year. We grew exponentially in revenue, clients, projects, and team members. For me, one of the most exciting things to come out of 2018 was the creation of an SEO-focused team in response to the growing demand for SEO.
As a part of a team whose role is to optimize websites for search engine ranking, strategy is central to everything that I do. At The Squad, we live by our core values and it should be no surprise that being a Strategic Doer is always on my mind.
Search engine optimization changes by the minute and if you aren’t being strategic, paying attention, and adapting, your website traffic will suffer the consequences. But that doesn’t mean SEO has to be a mystical process. Here’s a look into our SEO practices:
Scratching the Surface of Our SEO Tactics
Our team of experts keeps an eye on all ongoing SEO efforts and audit websites continuously.
Our SEO process begins with keyword research. Keyword research is all about getting into the mind of your potential customer as they’re googling. What are the words and phrases they’ll search when they have a specific problem or need?
When doing keyword research, we always utilize the following SEO practices:
Knowing the audience
Determining variations of keywords
Identifying areas of opportunity
Understanding the analytics
Through keyword research, we optimize website content to improve search engine ranking results. When we optimize content, some of the things we are looking at include headings, keyword density and variation, meta descriptions, alt tags, and links. All of these elements work together to influence your search engine ranking.
When we’re not in the grind of optimizing web content for our clients, we spend a lot of time working alongside The Squad’s Directors of Partner Marketing to brainstorm future content strategies aimed at growing particular areas of our program and partner clients’ businesses.
Sometimes we plan keyword strategies specific to a campaign, but there are also times when our strategy is to simply go after low-hanging fruit. That is, keywords that are already ranking fairly well and could easily be ranking higher with a little TLC.
No matter our strategy, we always start with thorough keyword research and constantly monitor and adapt throughout implementation.
Taking a Closer Look Into Some of Our SEO Tools
In a perfect world, SEO tactics come in the mail with detailed instructions. “Do this and you will move to the front page of Google.” Unfortunately, that is not the case in the real world where thousands of businesses are fighting for the top position. To compete, you’ll need a few tools to inform your SEO tactics.
Here are a few of the tools that we use for search engine optimization:
KWFinder – To even being search engine optimization you first have to complete your foundational keyword research. This is used as a roadmap for everything that follows. KWFinder is an easy-to-use keyword research tool that helps you generate keyword ideas. Through your research, you will find opportunities to gain more traffic and reach your desired audience.
SEMRush – This is currently our go-to tool for all things SEO. Here you can create a dashboard and apply a variety of SEO tools to your site. Below are four of my favorite.
Site Audit: Crawl all of your site pages to see what pages are healthy, have issues, broken completely, or need redirects.
Position Tracking: First you develop your keyword list based on research, then you plug the list into the tracker to find out how you are ranking in Google. Discover what pages are performing well and what pages need to be revised.
Organic Insights: Connect your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts to unlock ‘not-provided’ keywords and see the actual organic traffic driven by search terms.
On-Page SEO Checker: Provides a complete and structured list of things you can do to improve the search engine optimization for select pages of your website.
Setting Your SEO Expectations
We constantly get approached by clients to help them with their ranking and search engine optimization and one of the first things I tell them is that this isn’t an overnight initiative. SEO is a process and it is important to stick it out for the long haul. Forbes says it best, “Many SEO firms will tell you that it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. That’s generally accurate, but bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time. Whatever results you’re getting at 6 months should be considerably less than what you’re getting at 12 months.”
SEO is not a one-time occurrence. In order to boost your search engine rankings, you need to be constantly improving and planning SEO strategies to gain more organic traffic. Think of your site as a vehicle and SEO is an oil change. You need to revisit and refresh your SEO strategy every few months in order for your site to be healthy and giving you the traction you need.
Here at The Squad, we have a team dedicated to managing SEO for our clients. If everything you’ve just read feels overwhelming, let’s talk. Our team can help you achieve your business goals through strategic marketing tactics like SEO.
Of course, we know there are some DIYers out there who are ready to dig in and get their hands dirty. If that’s you, stay tuned for more SEO tips and tricks in the future, and don’t overlook our upcoming blogs about content creation and management.