Most companies who want to succeed online already do a basic level of SEO, in fact most have taken the intermediate steps too, either through an in house team or agency, but the vast majority companies still haven’t taken their SEO efforts as far as they could which may well be holding them back from competing with the big players in their industry.
We did a presentation on the topic of “taking your SEO to the next level” to a customer last week and thought it would make a really interesting read to you.
Some of these things you will have already implemented or are looking at, some perhaps are not suitable to your site; however the aim of this post is to give you a breakdown of the things you could be doing with SEO to take it to the next level.
The topics we are going to cover could easily require a full piece of their own but the aim of this is to give you a quick overview of them all, why you should be doing them and our brief advice.
Content – for link building
If you haven’t already now really is the time to move your link building efforts away from the spammy tactics of the past and concentrate on producing linkable content and assets on your site. Most industries will already have competitors doing this but for some it could still mean keeping ahead of the competition by getting involved now.
Our advice for this is to work on big projects which will attract links forever organically, try using some of the methods below rather than just quick and easy blog posts;
- Research and visualisation
- Create tools
- Write valuable resources or guides
Content – for internal content (such as product or services pages)
If you want to rank highly for your content it isn’t just about on-page optimisation and links anymore, search engine look at a metrics of how well your page performs in terms of answering the users query (bounce rate, time on site, interactions etc) so you really do need to make sure your pages are the best in the industry.
We always use Amazon as an example of this, whatever you need to know about the product they give it to you to make sure you don’t go anywhere else – pictures, videos, their review, customers reviews, manufacturer descriptions, tech specs etc – their product pages really are amazing!
The benefits of doing this would be an increase in rankings, increased traffic via the long tail, more organic links as people link to you as answers to questions in Q&A sites, forums etc, better user engagement and a higher conversion rate – yep, you could achieve all of those things if you really make your pages special!
A good way to ensure you have everything you need on the page is to think of each stage of the sales funnel:
- Top of the funnel:
- How does it work?
- Key differences between products
- Which brands are available
- Middle of the funnel:
- Compare top brands
- Different options available
- Best products on certain spec
- Bottom of the funnel:
- Delivery options
- Setup requirements
- Price comparisons
- After sale:
- How to fix issues
- Aftercare instructions
Social media and social content
We see a lot of people make big mistakes with social media (which are increasingly influencing search engines listings), one of them being they have no great content on their site to share so they either send people to external sites or don’t share anything valuable at all. If this is you, you really need to make sure you start producing content on your site to share through your social channels.
We have also seen people commit to doing that but with no strategy. We always advise looking at the four main content areas to ensure you are covering everything you need too with your content strategy.
- Top end of the sales funnel and appeals to rational side
- Tends to be shareable
- Examples: webinars, trends reports, how to guides, infographics
- Top end of the sales funnel and appeals to emotional side
- Tends to be very shareable
- Opens you up to people who have never heard of your brand
- Content doesn’t have to be specifically about your products or services, just make sure it will appeal to your target audience
- Examples: games, virals, competitions, events
- Nudges people along the sales funnel and appeals to emotional side
- Examples: endorsements, reviews, about us
- Helps to close the deal but not in a pushy way, appeals to rational side
- Examples: demos, calculators, FAQs, T&Cs
PR can be a very valuable but overlooked method of link building (and attracting traffic in general). The links you get from these sites are very valuable because they usually have great domain authority, are hard for your competitors to replicate and usually attract more links via syndication as other sites pick up on the story.
The first step to online PR is to build yourself as an expert in your industry. You can do this by building a solid social following and making a press page on your website which includes;
- Overview of the company
- Who the experts are in the company
- What they are experts in
- Proof you are experts
- Social proof (visits, sales numbers, followers, logos of companies you work with)
- Sites which have already featured you
- Contact details
- Resources (logos etc)
The next step is to release stories. You can do this via social media, directly contacting industry editors (DM them on Twitter or find their email address) or via the traditional PR channels. Make sure you appease the usual PR rules (know your stuff, have a newsworthy story, help the journalist as much as possible and be available to speak to them) and then release things such as;
- An opinion on industry current events
- Major company news
- Changes in industry trends
Remember after doing your PR to check who has used your story and ask for a link, not everyone will do it but some will and it does you no harm to ask!
If you run an ecommerce store, events website or information site you will probably already know about mark-up and have implemented something like Schema.org (if you haven’t, you really need to be doing this! Here is a link to the site http://schema.org/) but what are the other mark-ups you can benefit from?
Well the rise of Hummingbird and Google Knowledge Graph means that Google is trying to understand the semantics of search and your pages to give searchers results based on that understanding. To help them along consider adding more article type mark-up (particularly those which answer the who, what, where and when questions). You can take this one step further and become an entity master by using tools like Freebase and getting citations from sites like Wikipedia.
Another type of mark-up to consider is Open Graph (find the full info here http://ogp.me/). Not only will this help with the above but it will also display your content better when it is shared socially. You may notice when you share your content socially that the title, description and media are un-desirable and while you are happy to edit these when sharing, visitors to your site may not and this could reduce the amount of your content which is socially shared and its impact.
Finally, I want to talk about Google Analytics and two features which you should be taking advantage of. Firstly demographics and interests, this is a section of Google Analytics which allows you to see information about your customers, i.e. age, gender and interests. This is extremely easy to setup (read here for more https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2819948?hl=en-GB) and will help you to;
- See who your customers are
- Speak to them through text
- Engage them in social media
- Use the data in online marketing such as the Adwords DN, Facebook ads etc
Secondly we recommend you setup Universal Analytics, but make sure at this stage you do it alongside your current Analytics (not upgrading which replaces your old Analytics). Universal Analytics is new version which gives improved data on the customer, it does things which standard Analytics does not, such as following them over browsers and devices, which again gives you a better understanding of your customer and how they use your site.
I hope this post gave you some ideas of what your could be doing to take your SEO to the next level! Any questions or comments let us know below.