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Marketing funnels are a common way to visualize the customer journey. Different marketers describe the funnel in various ways. 

Marketing funnel stages are often discussed in relation to sales, paid ads, and customer service. But what about SEO? Here is a quick rundown of how a solid SEO strategy can impact visibility across the entire digital marketing funnel.

What Is SEO Visibility?

If you’re asking yourself, “What is SEO visibility in the first place?” The answer is as simple as it sounds. If you’re ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages), then you have good visibility. SEO ranking means you’re getting good attention and traffic for your website and its content. Website visibility is important, as it makes your brand discoverable, even to those who don’t know you exist yet.

There are many paid and free SEO visibility tools, each of which functions as a different version of the same thing: an SEO visibility check to see if your content is discoverable by your target audience through search engines. These tools compare your content to an SEO visibility index and use that to create a content score. 

Each site’s score can vary based on what metrics it considers. Moz, for instance, provides an SEO visibility score definition that reads, “the percentage of clicks we estimate you receive based on your organic rankings positions, across all of the keywords you’re tracking in your Campaign.” 

While the specifics can vary, SEO visibility always revolves around the key concept of how much traffic and attention your SEO is getting you. High SEO visibility is a powerful thing. It’s also an organic marketing element that has an impact on all parts of the marketing funnel.

SEO Across the Sales Funnel

So, how does good SEO visibility impact the various stages of the marketing funnel? Let’s start at the top.

SEO is never more important than at the early stages of the marketing funnel. Good SEO visibility ensures that your content is showing up when customers are searching for solutions to the pain points that you address — even if they don’t know who you are. 

As they see your brand appearing in searches, they become aware of you and the odds of them engaging with your brand grows. Awareness leads to acquisition, which then leads to activation and retention (i.e., getting an established customer to use your solutions and then become a returning customer).

Once again, SEO comes into play here. Greater search engine visibility leads to a steady stream of brand reminders. Seeing positive feedback from other customers encourages engagement. Quality search engine optimization also ensures that you’ll be at the top of the list the next time the customer does a google search for the same or similar solutions that your brand can answer. 

Investing in SEO provides a perpetual and affordable way to maximize customer retention and improve the speed at which potential customers move through the funnel for the first time. This translates to better customer lifetime value (CLV).

Finally, there’s the referral stage. Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful all on its own. However, good SEO visibility reinforces this when a customer recommends your products to a friend, and they can immediately find that product online.

Improving SEO Visibility Across Your Funnel

Good SEO visibility can improve your reach and general awareness, facilitate decision-making, and turn consumers into repeat customers and even referral machines. If you aren’t experiencing these benefits yet, here are a few suggestions for how to increase SEO visibility:

There are many ways to boost your visibility through SEO. The key is remembering the comprehensive benefits that SEO visibility offers to the entire customer journey.

Using SEO for Comprehensive Brand Visibility

Remember, don’t invest in SEO services simply as a way to generate leads or create brand awareness. Build out your organic search content with the big picture in mind. 

If you’re struggling to see results, or even to know where to begin, our team at Relevance can be your SEO expert to help craft an SEO strategy that benefits every stage of your sales funnel. 

Having a great product or service is extremely important for a business. But unfortunately, that’s not all it takes to ensure success and growth. If your products or services can’t be brought to the attention of paying customers, revenue is going to be limited.

So if you’ve been looking into building your business’s online presence, you’ve probably heard of SEO. Simply put, SEO is search engine optimization, and is all about making sure you show up in the web searches that are most valuable to you.

That’s where keyword research comes in. Keyword research is crucial for making sure your SEO strategy targets the customers who are most likely to engage with your business. While the process might seem overwhelming, here are some simple steps to get you started.

1. Assess what topics/themes your company should be known for

It’s big picture time. Start thinking about what topic or search query your company should be an authority on. As you brainstorm, you can use tools like Google Search Console to find ideas. Make sure to write down your ideas of topics and themes in a comprehensive list.

For example, let’s say your company sells winter gloves. Are you targeting your product toward winter sports enthusiasts such as snowboarders or skiers? Are your gloves specifically designed to handle lower temperatures than your competitors? Come up a keyword idea based on these questions.

Alternatively, consider the design and determine if your ideal customer is fashion-forward or looking for rugged utilitarianism. Those overarching aspects of your business or product will likely influence your specific keyword choices.

You can also get your team involved when looking for inspiration. Have other individuals at your company add to your list as they come up with search term ideas.

2. Start looking at keyword options

Now that you have some basic ideas of areas of authority, you can check keywords within those topics in a keyword tool. By doing so, you can see which keyword or keyword phrase have search volume and which ones are less competitive.

Popular software choices include SEMRush and Ahrefs, among others. Several of these tools have free versions to help you choose the right keyword. Using a keyword research tool can yield data for multiple purposes, including:

Review volume and keyword difficulty

You probably have a good list of seed keywords to use as a jumping off point. To determine what to focus on first, consider what potential keywords you could see movement on. Pay attention to the number of monthly searches, keyword difficulty, the number of keywords for that topic, etc. This data can help give you insight as to which SEO keyword to target.

If you have a lower DA, you'll likely want to try and capture a long-tail keyword with lower keyword difficulty. Once your site has more authority, onsite content, and backlinks, you can start targeting some of those higher volume, harder keywords. Highlight the relevant keyword you think you can tackle first.

Review search intent

It’s not only important to drive more traffic to your site. It’s equally important to drive the right traffic to your site.

Most SEO tools will include what the search intent for keywords is. You want to look at what people are looking for when they search that specific word.

Either check the SEO tools, or look for yourself through a Google search and see what types of content show up in the SERP.

Are they all informational blogs diving into a subject? Then it's an informational search intent. Are they all service or product pages? Then it's commercial intent.

Knowing a customer’s intent helps you know what type of content you'd need to create to rank for those keywords.

3. Look at your competitors

In school, it’s generally frowned upon to look at your classmates’ test answers. With SEO, it’s very much encouraged to see what your competitors are doing to determine potential keyword suggestions. You may find a new keyword that helps give you a leg up from the rest.

First, look at different search engines to see what they’re ranking for. They might be on page one for a keyword that you’re not even thinking about.

Look specifically at what your competitors are putting paid efforts toward. Because frankly, if they’re spending money on those terms then it’s likely they’re performing well and benefiting their bottom line.

4. Create clusters

After you’ve come up with a keyword list you want to target, you can organize the related keywords into a cluster. This list can include long-tail keywords or short-tail keywords depending on which part of the funnel you are targeting. Then rank each cluster of keywords in order of focus priority. Most times, your website “hero content” is going to be your highest priority cluster.

If you’re using pillars for your SEO strategy, your hero content will be a high-quality item like a comprehensive guide. This item will be at the core of your business and draw viewers into your site. From there, other keyword clusters can serve as offshoots or spokes of the main content hub.

Let’s go back to our winter glove example. Perhaps the main, central purpose of the product is to provide exceptional frostbite protection in subzero temperatures. Your main keyword cluster might be around “frostbite protection.”

After that main hub has been established, you might want to create related blogs focusing on keywords around “how to protect from frostbite” and “3 things not to do when treating frostbite.”

Don’t overlook semantically related keywords as you’re writing the content. This type of related keyword will ensure you’re writing a holistic piece of content that covers a topic from all angles.

Overall, it’s fairly common to have three to four overarching clusters of keywords that you focus on with varying intent, based on your business. If the winter glove company sells winter gloves, coats, and boots, they may have clusters around each of those products.

How to do keyword research? Do it regularly.

Learning how to do keyword research is a vital step in your SEO strategy. You can make your presence known not only to more customers, but also the specific searchers who are more likely to convert. Once you get your keyword list, start creating content that’s SEO-optimized and matches the keyword intent.

Just remember, keyword research isn’t a one-time deal. As your SEO efforts begin to see traction, you’ll regularly want to make sure your target keyword is getting the desired results. If not, you can always tweak your strategy or abandon certain terms that aren’t proving beneficial.



On Facebook alone, there are more than 300 million photos uploaded each day, and every minute there are 510,000 comments posted and 293,000 statuses updated. When you think about Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter those numbers just keep growing. There are also countless paid blogs, influencer posts, and advertisements to consider. The digital world quickly becomes overwhelming for marketers, and it’s harder and harder to get your audience’s attention with the amount of content acting as competition.

In a digital world where people are posting constantly, businesses have to be strategic about their posts and publications. Creating a content strategy can help you to reach new customers, build your brand, and drive conversions. In this article, we'll explore the steps you need to take to create a content strategy that works for your business.

Define Your Audience

The first step in creating a content strategy is to define your audience. This should include demographics, such as age, gender, and average income. You’ll likely also want to specify a geographical region to target. Lastly, you’ll want to consider their behavioral traits and motivations for buying your product. Behavioral traits may include details like their occupation or hobbies. Motivations may include a problem or need they have.

If you’re selling farm supplies in a rural town full of family farms, a likely target audience would be middle-aged family men who live in the area, farm for a living, and need convenient access to equipment and feed. Identifying this target audience would allow you to buy extra inventory cyclically to keep up with demand. Even more so, it would allow you to place ads on appropriate platforms. 

For onsite content, perhaps the farm supply business would post tips and tricks for planting to ensure the best harvest. Once you understand your target audience, you can create content that speaks to their needs and addresses their concerns.

Set Your Goals

Once you understand your audience, you need to set your goals. These should be specific, measurable, and aligned with your overall business objectives. For example, if your goal is to increase conversions, you might create a content strategy that focuses on lead generation. If your goal is to build your brand, you might create a content strategy that focuses on creating engaging, shareable content. The more shares your content receives, the more awareness you’ll garner for your business. 

According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, businesses that set specific goals for their content marketing efforts are more likely to see positive results. When asking marketers which goals they achieved using content marketing, 88% claimed an increase in brand awareness. A majority were also able to build credibility, educate audiences, and generate leads. Setting goals is the first step to achieving them.

Perform Keyword Research

Keyword research plays an important role when it comes to content strategy. Keywords are the words and phrases that people are typing into search engines. And this research is so important because it allows you to work backward while creating content. If you know what people are searching for, you’ll know what information is useful to them. And if you know how many people are searching for a particular term, you’ll know how popular that topic is.

Once you know what keywords are relevant to your organization, you can strategically target specific phrases and more effectively use your time and resources. Depending on your strategy, you may target long-tail or short-tail keywords, but it’s most likely that you’ll cover a variety of both (and some that fall in between). You want to make sure you’re in the game with your competition when it comes to short-tail keywords. However, you also want to increase your chances of standing out by covering some long-tail phrases.

Keyword research can inform what kind of content you should create to rank in search results, so it’s a crucial step when creating a content strategy. Each piece of material you produce should highlight a specific keyword. This ensures that your organization covers relevant topics, but it also can help boost your SEO efforts.

Conduct a Content Audit

Once you have defined your audience and set your goals, including the keywords you want to target, it's time to conduct a content audit. This involves reviewing all of the existing content on your website and identifying what is working and what isn't. The purpose of the audit is to understand what type of content resonates with your audience and what type of content needs to be improved. It’s also a way to identify gaps that your content may need to fill.

If you take time to compare your content to that of your competitors, you find ways to outperform them. For example, maybe your competition has a video that’s popular on their site while you only have blogs and infographics. This observation could tell you that your audience enjoys visual media, and you should be prioritizing video. Adding that medium to your repertoire can gain back your audience’s attention and boost your traffic.

It’s important to note, you can’t spend all your time scouring the competition’s content. It’s most important to create your own innovative and authoritative content. Just give other content a skim every now and then to stay in the know.

Develop a Content Calendar

Once you have completed your content audit, it's time to develop a content calendar. A content calendar is a plan for creating, publishing, and promoting content over a specific period of time. It helps ensure that you are consistently producing valuable content that aligns with your audience and goals. It’s also a great way to keep everyone on your team on the same page.

There are plenty of template and software options available to streamline this process. You’ll want to make sure you give time throughout the calendar for each department or member of your team. Give writers the amount of time they need to research and be creative. Schedule time for editors to accuracy check. If you have a design team, you’ll want to factor in time for them to see the content too.

A content calendar needs to include more than just when you want a piece to publish. It should consider all the steps throughout the process and how much time each person will need. You might even consider having different calendars for print, online, and social media content. Calendars really vary based on organizational needs and goals, so remember it might take some trial and error. 

Promote Your Content

Once you have created your content, you’ll need to promote it and get it in front of the right people. There are many ways you can promote your content. Social media, email marketing, and paid advertising are just a few examples. The key is to find the promotion channels that work best for your business and audience. 

If you’re targeting content to young men, Reddit, YouTube, or Tiktok, might be your best bet. However, if you’re trying to reach middle-aged women, Pinterest, Facebook, or blogs would be more likely to get their attention. Each platform has a variety of users, but each demographic has preferences and habits that have been analyzed. It’s important to do your research and strategically decide where you’ll promote your content.

Measure and Analyze Results

The last step in creating a content strategy is to measure and analyze your results. This involves tracking metrics such as website traffic, conversions, and engagement to understand what content is working and what needs optimized. The purpose of this step is to understand what type of content resonates with your audience, which promotion channels are most effective, and how your content is impacting your bottom line.

Keeping track of your data allows you to notice important trends, and you’re able to learn from your actions to better your overall content strategy. If you find long-form articles with plenty of infographics outperform first-person videos, you’ll know which type of content you should be prioritizing. If social media posts published on Facebook get more likes and shares then those on Instagram, that’s another window into audience preferences. Tracking the performance of your marketing efforts allows you to improve your content and the strategy behind creating and promoting it. 

Creating a content strategy is an essential step for any business that wants to succeed in today's digital landscape. By following the above steps, you can create a content strategy that works for your business. Keep in mind that earning your audience’s attention takes a lot of work on the back end. However, the effort you put into planning and executing your strategy will pay off in the long run.

As a marketer, you know SEO is important for your brand. You might have tried a few SEO tactics here and there. But were they rooted in a solid SEO marketing strategy? Did they achieve what you expected?

To make sure your SEO efforts are providing the best possible return, it’s important to build your SEO strategy on a strong foundation. Here’s how.

What is SEO marketing?

Let’s start with the basics. SEO refers to a set of techniques that improve your digital content’s rank and appearance in search engine results. Within a marketing context, SEO marketing is an efficient way to bring more organic traffic to your website without a high-dollar investment in advertising.

We shared some examples of SEO marketing in our post, What are examples of SEO marketing?

How do you develop an SEO marketing strategy?

SEO is a rapidly-evolving field and it can be easy to get distracted by the shiny, new tactics your favorite LinkedInfluencer is posting about. But before you get wrapped up in testing new things, make sure you’ve developed an SEO strategy rooted in the fundamentals.

After all, if you don’t get the basics right, any advanced SEO tactics you try will be like building a house on sand. Follow these five steps to develop a solid SEO marketing strategy for your brand.

1. Identify your content niche

If you’re working with an established company, this first step might seem straightforward. You’ll create content about what you know: your product. Right?

Identifying your content niche can be trickier than you think. SEO content is not sales-focused. If you only write about yourself (your brand), you’ll capture very little attention from an organic audience.

Your prospect probably won’t search for anything about your company or brand unless they’re way down the funnel and practically ready to buy. And in general, that’s not who your SEO strategy is targeting. You have sales content for those folks.

Instead, focus your SEO content on solving your prospects’ problems. This might expand beyond the problems your product solves. Don’t be afraid to create content about topics outside the specific scope of your product. If it’s related to what you do and you can speak to it with authority, it’s fair game.

2. Do thorough keyword research

Once you’ve identified your niche, it’s time to do some keyword research to find out what your prospects are searching. Here are a few simple (and free!) tactics:

Remember that the goal of your SEO content is not to sell your product. It’s to help your audience. The keyword research phase is the time to truly follow the data. If a keyword doesn’t seem like it will lead to a sale, but it’s a hot topic to your audience, include it in your SEO marketing strategy.

3. Create optimized, high-quality content

Now, choose a keyword and start creating high-quality content with your audience in mind. What do we mean by quality? Your content should be:

Of course, we’re talking about SEO here - your content must also include your target keyword. If you’ve chosen your keyword wisely, it should naturally fit into the body and headers of your content. In addition, be sure it appears in your title, URL, meta description, and image tags when appropriate.

4. Deploy your backlink strategy

Okay, you SEO maven, you’ve created some excellent, keyword-optimized content! Your piece might get some attention on its own, but to get the most value out of it, there’s more to do.

The first three steps above are considered on-page SEO (with some technical elements). When deciding which content to show in its results, Google considers more than the on-page and technical SEO factors discussed above. The algorithm also looks for signs that others have found your content helpful: backlinks.

Backlinks are links from external sites to your content, and the best way to earn them is to ask for them. Identify popular sites that your target audience visits. Track down the person or team responsible for their digital content, and ask them to consider linking to your content. Include a summary, how it benefits their readers, and where the link could go.

5. Measure and adjust

When you’ve put all this energy into researching, creating, and promoting your content, you absolutely must keep track of how it’s performing. It’s the only way to uncover how your next piece can be even better.

Some common key performance indicators for SEO content are:

As you’re developing your SEO marketing strategy, it’s crucial to be on the same page with leadership about which metrics will indicate success.

What are the benefits of an SEO strategy?

Once you understand the foundations, it’s easy to see the benefits of an SEO strategy in digital marketing. A solid SEO strategy can have many benefits, including:

There are many benefits of building a cohesive SEO marketing strategy vs. simply trying a few tactics here and there. Having a thought-out strategy ensures that any adjustments or innovations you try will be built on a solid foundation. With the SEO strategy example above, you can build that foundation and then get creative.

In 2023, Google celebrates 25 years of helping users find answers on the internet. By now, you’ve probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO). But if you’re new, SEO marketing for beginners might seem like a mysterious power that only seasoned marketers can wield.

The truth is, there’s no magic formula that gets you to the top of a Google search result. And SEO isn’t just for marketing experts. Thanks to marketing automation, you can use SEO strategy to get more traffic to your website and increase sales. 

So if you’re just getting started, here are some SEO basics for our beginners out there.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is the practice of improving your website’s rank and appearance on the search engine results page (SERP). Optimizing your site’s content for search engines takes a multi-pronged approach. Let’s start by digging into the role of search engine optimization in digital marketing.

The importance of SEO in digital marketing

Digital marketing encompasses a lot, from advertising to public relations to content marketing strategy. SEO is just one piece of your overarching marketing strategy – but it’s a crucial one. Here’s why.

Why is SEO important?

Today’s world is digital. Your target audience lives, laughs, and learns online. Your website is likely your primary online real estate. No marketer will tell you they don’t need more qualified web traffic – that is, people who are likely to be in-market for your product at some point.

Sure, you can use advertising to get those folks to your site, but that can get expensive. And while advertising can boost brand awareness, it simply can’t buy brand affinity . Plus, when you stop advertising, that traffic stops flowing in.

By contrast, an investment in SEO is a gift that keeps giving. Yes, your website will need some attention to ensure it’s still optimized. But as your content earns more traffic, it will gain more authority, making SEO a truly evergreen tactic.

What is basic SEO? Steps for beginners

SEO marketing is a vast field. We’re talking James Webb Space Telescope vast. You could hire a full-time expert or even a full-service SEO agency. But you don’t need to go that far to take your first steps toward optimization. To reach SEO success, you need to:

1. Perform Keyword Research

There are SEO tools dedicated to keyword research. But as a beginner, don’t over-complicate this step. When optimizing your website content to keywords, go with what you know best – your business and your customers. Ask yourself:

If you sell clothing for dogs, some keywords that might come to mind are:

For more inspiration, google search some keywords and see what’s suggested. If anything jumps out to you, add it to your list. It's important to pick a relevant keyword based on the search intent. And don’t worry about including every keyword under the sun – four or five keywords might encompass your offering.


Dog clothing search results for What is SEO marketing for beginners?

2. Work the keywords into your web content

Match each keyword up to a web page on your site. If a keyword is on your list but doesn’t fit any of your content, that’s a sign that you might need a new page for that topic.

Once you’ve paired each relevant keyword with a page, make sure it appears in these key areas:

Incorporating your keyword shouldn’t be difficult or sound unnatural. If you have a hard time working it in, it might not be the best keyword for that page.

3. Create a content plan

Because search engine algorithms prioritize fresh content, you should consider starting a blog if you don’t have one. Posting a high-quality blog post consistently is one of the most effective ways to build your credibility and start ranking higher for the keywords that are important to your business. 

Thanks to the keyword brainstorming you’ve already done, you should have some good ideas for topics. Keep your team on track by putting together a simple content calendar with each article’s topic, author, and target publish date.

Your SEO content plan should also include regular reviews of your static web pages. Depending on how dynamic your organization is, auditing your website content two to four times per year is usually enough.

4. Link building

One of the main signals search engines use to determine your authority is your number of backlinks – that is, how many times other sites link to yours. Link building is a great SEO tool to support your SEO efforts. If your content has a lot, people likely find it helpful and reliable.

Once you’re consistently publishing high-quality content, you’ll collect some backlinks without trying. Look at you go! But to really take your SEO strategy to the next level, you’ll need a link-building plan.

Earning a backlink can be a simple off page SEO technique. Start with these steps:

How SEO works for business

The first result on the SERP has a click-through rate of more than 28% . The tenth result? Only 2.5% of users click through. That means to have a significant impact on your business results, you’ll need to muscle your way to the top few results.

Done well, your SEO efforts can benefit your business in many ways. It can:

Simply put, SEO helps you bring more people to your website who are actively interested in topics related to your products and services. From there, it’s up to you what to do with that traffic. So, in a way, it is a little bit like magic. 

Invisibility is poison for a brand struggling to grow and earn market share. If your target audience doesn't see you at critical moments in their buyer's journey, it's like you don't even exist. Without online credibility, authority, and visibility earned through SEO strategy, it’s difficult to convert or close a deal. Everything you do in marketing is more complicated and exhausting.

SEO strategy remedies invisibility, and it's critical for brands investing in growth marketing.

What is an SEO strategy?

A search engine optimization strategy is the practice of improving your website’s ranking and appearance on the search engine results page. It’s all about aligning the content you create with your ideal customers.

An SEO strategy will help you clarify and act on the following information:

Search engine optimization techniques

SEO revolves around user experience. It’s about creating people-first content. But it still requires research, testing, technical optimizations, and content marketing expertise.

No matter what you may have heard, keywords still matter. You can’t create people-first content without knowing what people search for and how they use the info. Keyword research answers these questions.

On top of that, your website must deliver an amazing user experience that people remember and want to come back for. When your SEO strategies keep that focus, everyone wins.

What’s the role of SEO in marketing?

SEO strategy helps you meet the marketing goals that impact your company’s bottom line, like:

The benefits of SEO strategy start with more website traffic. In today’s digital world, no marketer will say no to more traffic.

But all traffic isn’t created equal. The source of your website traffic impacts its quality. And when higher quality traffic comes in, that quality cascades down your whole funnel to increase conversion rates and retention.

When you do SEO right, the organic traffic it brings in is higher quality than, say, advertising traffic. Why? Think of it this way. Every time someone clicks an ad, you're trying to build credibility from scratch. When was the last time you built a meaningful relationship with someone in a few minutes?

Advertising is also an expensive way to get traffic. And when you stop your campaign, the traffic stops flowing in. By contrast, using SEO as an evergreen marketing tactic is a gift that keeps giving long-term.

Here’s how to design an SEO marketing strategy.

SEO marketing strategy

Nearly 70% of online experiences begin with search. And as technologies like voice search become more ubiquitous, that will increase.

What’s more, 91% of websites get no search traffic because they’re not ranking for any relevant keywords. As a marketer, you must have a strategy to insert yourself into your audience’s online experiences. Because it’s not going to happen on its own.

That’s where your SEO plan comes in. Having a solid plan in place will improve three crucial areas for your brand:

These three together make you hyper-relevant in the eyes of your potential customers. They generate the benefits of SEO.

What are the types of SEO in digital marketing?

There are four categories of SEO strategy in digital marketing

1. Technical SEO

When launching a new SEO strategy or auditing previous efforts, we often start with technical optimization. That’s because a solid technical foundation is table stakes to play the SEO game.

Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin said, “Technical SEO is like the plumbing of a website… it’s crucial to ensuring everything runs smoothly and efficiently.” Creating content and building backlinks are essential strategies, but they’re only as strong as the tech they run on.

If your website has technical issues, it’s a big red flag to search engine algorithms. And that means the content you worked so hard on has a slim chance of ranking.

Here are the most important technical SEO aspects to include in your strategy.

Technical SEO is important because user experience is important. It’s one of Google’s top priorities when deciding which content to show searchers.

2. On-page SEO

Content is the backbone of on-page SEO. But by itself, great content isn’t enough to get you all the benefits of a comprehensive SEO strategy. You need a keyword-driven content strategy focused on quality.

Which, of course, starts with research.

The key to keyword research

There are many keyword research tools out there. Google’s free keyword planner is a great place to start. Competitor research is another way to contextualize your own content strategy. What kinds of keywords are in your competitors’ ad copy and SERP headlines?

keyword research example of google keyword plannerUse your keyword tool of choice to answer these three key questions:

  1. What looks achievable based on keyword difficulty? Often, the highest volume keyword or most relevant to your business isn't the best place to start. The competition for it may be through the roof. You won’t rank well for very difficult keywords if your website has a lower domain authority. Instead, start gaining traction with long-tail, niche keywords that have lower difficulty and lower volume. Then, leverage your newfound authority to pursue the tougher keywords.
  2. What has a decent search volume? With the above in mind, you don't want to target keywords that have no volume at all. No one would see it! You're looking for a sweet spot for your keyword strategy - achievable keyword difficulty with at least some volume.
  3. What aligns with your content strategy? Finally, look for keywords that align with the topics you want to be an authority on. You should never target a keyword if it doesn't relate to your brand. This would lead to the creation of irrelevant content that doesn't align with the search intent. And SEO strategy is all about aligning your goals with your target audience's goals to maximize your visibility and relevance.

Once you have enough info to select some target keywords, it’s time to get down to business and start creating high-quality content.

Pulling off high-quality, helpful content

What, exactly, is high-quality content? This isn’t a nebulous concept that marketers have to guess at and hope for the best. As the world’s largest search engine, Google has put out extensive information on what it considers when judging content quality.

In late 2022, Google’s “helpful content update” confirmed its intention to focus on people-first content. It’s becoming impossible to trick search engines with the black hat SEO techniques of yesteryear as the algorithms learn what’s truly helpful for users.

In the helpful content update, Google suggests creating content for people, not search engines. It also reminds marketers to rely on the E-E-A-T framework to ensure their content shows:

One effective content strategy is the pillar (or cornerstone) method. To start, create one substantial post for a keyword you'd really like to rank. Then create several related sub-topic posts. Link these other posts to your pillar.

This method maximizes your ROI because the supporting posts are faster and easier. But they increase the authority of the pillar they link to.

Of course, your content will be the most “helpful” if it shows up to the people who will benefit from it most: your ideal customers. And since you know exactly what keywords they’re using, you’re ready to optimize.

Be sure your focus keyword is naturally woven into these areas of your content:

3. Off-page SEO

Now the fun part: off-page. What is off-page SEO? In a nutshell, backlinks.

You can spend all day talking about how great your own content is. But there’s a reason why 82% of consumers trust reviews, and only 4% trust ads - credibility.

When ranking your content, search engines look for signs that other users have found it helpful. Lots of relevant links from high-authority websites are a big green flag.

To be clear: backlinks aren’t just a ranking factor. They’re critical. Inbound links show you're connected to a community. Your content has authority with the people who matter.

Links also show who you're associating with. Links from spammy, untrustworthy sites may hurt your ranking more than help. You want links from relevant web pages on mid- to high-authority websites.

How to get backlinks

Backlinks come from other websites you do not own.

Of course, Google wasn’t born yesterday. Backlinks you can easily build yourself (social media, Quora, ads) don’t carry the same weight as a link created by others because they appreciate your website. Still, they don’t hurt.

Backlinks can be tough to get, but the payoff is worth it. You can earn them through link-building strategies like:

The last one is a more invested strategy. But it's also the most effective. It's often employed by SEO agencies supporting many clients.

4. Local SEO

Any business operating locally can’t afford to skip local SEO. By targeting users searching for location-specific keywords, you can lower your marketing expenses and make sure your brand shows up in the right place at the right time.

How? For starters, claim your Google Business Profile and complete the information. This will ensure your business listing shows up by the map when users search for local keywords.

local seo google exampleIf there are particular keywords you know you want to rank for, be sure to include them in the services or description of your listing.

Focusing on these areas will also boost your rankings in local SEO results.

How do I create an SEO strategy?

To create an SEO strategy, start by identifying your goals and ideal customer profile. Then, invest some resources into researching your ideal customer. This investment is either your own time, money on SEO tools, or outsourcing the work to an agency.

Your research will provide context to help you determine which elements of your SEO strategy are the most important. From there, you can prioritize the four types of SEO we’ve discussed.

How do beginners do SEO?

For SEO beginners, all the strategies and tactics can be a bit overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to come up with your process from scratch. There are many checklists and frameworks out there for beginners.

Here are the basic steps to follow when you’re starting out.

  1. Set your goals
  2. Audit your site for technical issues
  3. Do keyword research
  4. Build a content strategy
  5. Develop a plan for backlinks
  6. Track progress and optimize

What is an example of SEO strategy?

Researching keywords and creating a content plan is a fundamental example of SEO strategy. Let’s say your gym offers exercise classes for night owls. Your approach might look something like this.

  1. Through keyword research, you learn that your ideal customer is searching for “is it okay to work out at night?”
  2. You develop a piece of content that answers this question. To optimize your content to the target keyword, you incorporate it in the post’s title, URL, meta description, headers, and body.What is an example of SEO strategy (2) - correct
  3. As you create your content, you focus on linkability. It’s not enough to simply answer the question - hundreds of pieces of content already answer it. Go the extra mile by citing original research, creating engaging assets like videos or infographics, and interviewing a credentialed expert.
  4. Once you publish your content, you reach out to publishers and influencers in the exercise space to build backlinks.
  5. Since your gym serves a specific geographic area, you claim your Google Business Profile and include keywords like “evening exercise class.” This will help the right audience find out about your offering.
  6. You plan to do a quarterly technical SEO audit to make sure there are no performance issues with your website.

What is the best SEO strategy in 2023?

The most effective SEO strategy in 2023 and beyond will focus on content quality. As search engines become more sophisticated and the digital world gets more flooded with content, the very best content will rise to the top.

The brands that win will be the ones that have an SEO strategy rooted in understanding their customer and content niche. Then, on that foundation, they’re willing to test new tactics and keep up with trends.

Tracking progress is critical to meeting goals with SEO. You'll have trouble influencing a metric if you can't measure it. And you certainly won't be able to test or optimize.

There are advanced tools available, but for starters, you need to make sure these free analytics tools are set up on your website.

Think about what KPIs you want to track. For SEO, track conversions, ranking, organic traffic, and new subscribers to your blog or email list.

SEO tools

Research is at the heart of a thoughtful SEO strategy. To some extent, you can do SEO research and optimizations on your own if you have the time to invest.

Eventually, you’ll need SEO tools to boost your efforts. There are free and paid tools available. The cost and functionality vary, but most fall into one of these categories: 

Many of the household names in SEO offer all-in-one solutions to help with all these phases of the process. Should you invest in one of these platforms? Perhaps, if you have the budget and the internal resources to use it.

Alternatively, you can put together an efficient plan by paying for specialized tools where you need them most. If you have a larger budget but no internal SEO professional, you might choose to hire an agency.

What are common SEO mistakes?

Nobody’s perfect. But when it comes to SEO strategy, mistakes can be costly. Here are some common SEO mistakes to avoid.

  1. Targeting the wrong keywords. Companies often target the keywords with the highest volume. Unfortunately, high-ranking results for these keywords can be almost impossible to topple. Instead, narrow down your target keywords to long-tail and zero volume keywords at first if you are starting from scratch. If you're already ranking for a decent amount, evaluate search volume and keyword difficulty to find the sweet spot for keywords to target.
  2. Not Matching content to keyword intent. Optimizing your content by inserting your target keyword in the right spots isn’t good enough for today’s sophisticated algorithms. Your content might get a user to click through, but if it doesn’t meet expectations once they get there, Google will know.
  3. Throwing resources at backlinks without focusing on content quality too. The most costly mistakes happen when you start investing in promotion tactics but don’t focus on quality onsite content to support it. Whether it’s buying low-quality backlinks or churning out content that’s just plain bad, this is a real waste of money. Focusing on quality first and foremost will make earning backlinks much smoother.

How SEO will change in 2023

The field of SEO moves fast. If you want your SEO strategy to keep performing and remain relevant, you must stay on top of changes and trends. Here are a few of our predictions for 2023 and beyond.

  1. Algorithms will get even better at identifying and prioritizing helpful content.
  2. Marketers will explore how to incorporate AI and automation into their content creation process while still putting people first.
  3. A strong technical foundation will continue to be crucial.

SEO strategy is the heart of growth marketing

An effective growth strategy includes visibility, authority, and credibility. Growth-minded businesses focus on reducing customer acquisition costs to maximize ROI. They do this by investing in sustainable, long-term branding strategies - like SEO.

An effective SEO strategy emphasizes manageable growth through fantastic customer experience.

It builds your brand on a firm foundation and creates a brand that attracts trust and loyalty through your authentic desire to help customers. It focuses on creating a welcoming and relevant user experience for your target audience.

Without these features, it’s just not SEO. And without SEO, your brand is invisible.

Is there anything more disappointing than stumbling upon a treasure map that ultimately leads to...nothing of any real value? And yet, businesses that over-emphasize the use of advanced search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to the detriment of their content strategy run the risk of doing just that.

On the other hand, companies that stress content strategy without bolstering their technical SEO efforts make the opposite marketing mistake; they are, in effect, burying marketing "treasure" (i.e. great content) in the vast sands of the internet wasteland without bothering to create a keyword map.

For search engine success, make sure you do not treat SEO and content strategy as two distinct and separate marketing disciplines. While it's certainly possible to do so, it's not a winning SEO content marketing strategy for building long-term customer engagement.

Your SEO strategy should inform your content strategy. Similarly, your onsite content strategy should be tailored to your keyword research. Consequently, great content targeted to specific keywords and arranged in a topic cluster can help your brand rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

We was like peas and carrots.

SEO and content strategy tactics can helpfully be compared to a keyword treasure map that leads to buried marketing treasure. SEO and content strategy go together like peas and carrots. Peanut butter and jelly. Pick whatever metaphor works for you; the point is that you'll need both to succeed.

As you look to begin content marketing or raise the profile of your existing enterprise, keep the following critical SEO content practices in mind. Refer to them often as you strategize, hire, acquire, reboot, conduct your keyword research, and reconfigure your content plan.

1. Zero In on Your Target Audience

The old axiom certainly proves true in the world of content strategy. "If you aim at nothing in particular, you're sure to hit it."

When engaging in online marketing, you absolutely must know who you are trying to reach. If you attempt to reach everyone with your existing content, you are increasingly unlikely to use the right keyword strategy or engage with anyone.

Do your keyword homework. The time you spend on your SEO content strategy will pay dividends later on.

Build a handful of buyer personas to guide the efforts of your writers, website developers, and marketers as they optimize your SEO strategy to hit your keyword sweet spots.

2. Pick Topics Based on Your Expertise

Avoid the SEO content strategy mistake of trying to appeal to everyone with a wide array of marketing information.

If you're like most companies, your business operates in a specific niche. As a result, you will want your SEO content strategy to remain solidly in your lane. Start asking others if you struggle to identify what makes your business special. As part of your content strategy, pay particular attention to the inquiries that routinely come your way via social media or other channels.

Many business owners are tempted to hold back a bit at this stage in the SEO content strategy. The operational (though faulty) logic is to reserve your best bits for paying customers.

However, living in a world where people consult a Google search result to answer everyday issues, this is a shortsighted content strategy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, it's been clearly shown that companies who consistently put out reliable content marketing information without paywalls tend to build up social media followers and, ultimately, customers.

3. Choose Your Keywords Carefully

Keyword research is the "secret sauce" that separates a successful content marketing strategy from one that's solidly mediocre. This is the second step at which taking the time to conduct research will be most helpful. If your content strategy focuses on a keyword that's too broad, larger corporations are likely going to bury your content marketing efforts.

Long tail keywords can be key to a winning strategy as you seek to reach a specific target audience. A long tail relevant keyword typically consists of three to five words. This keyword strategy helps your content marketing cut through the noise and yield targeted search results more likely to result in a conversion. At the end of the day you want to be targeting the keywords that your audience is searching.

4. Create Content To Build Topical Authority

Now that you are clear on your target audience, areas of expertise, and marketing keyword, you're ready to begin producing new content.

Every decision of your content strategist should be driven by the audience research you conducted in Step One. Your content marketing needs to show up wherever your people already are, not where you expect them to travel. 

Stick with what you know best and create the content that your brand should be known for. You'll struggle to rank for your target keywords if you don't have a strong web of content on your site around your key topics.

In addition, your content strategy should be tightly bound up with search intent. Are people looking to purchase when searching your target keyword? Or are they looking to get information and education on a subject? In other words, focus your content on what your users need when searching that keyword. If you are trying to rank a product page when people are looking for educational guides when searching that keyword, you likely won't see the progress you're hoping for.

5. Link, Interlink, and Backlink

If you've published high quality content, especially content that solves problems, you can reasonably expect other people to begin linking to your site. Good content is its own advertisement, though initially you might want to augment your visibility with Google Ads or some other paid content marketer service. Backlinks suggest to search engines that you are a leader in your field. This, in turn, will help boost your domain authority and your rank on a Google SERP.

You will want to interlink these pieces within your website as you produce value-laden how-to guides, white papers, instructional videos, and more. Then you can start link outreach efforts and see if you can get other authoritative sites to link back to your content. You may even start ranking for your target keywords with your rankable content. The point is that relevant keyword linking practices is a strategy that will pay off in the long run.

6. Commit to Ongoing Improvement

Search engines are constantly crawling the internet and updating their SERPs according to the latest data they can collect. As a result, a keyword that worked great as part of your content strategy just two weeks ago may already be starting to slip a bit. This is where your SEO audit comes into play.

Make sure you consistently monitor your Google Analytics and social media platforms. Similarly, collect empirical marketing data ahead of your decision-making. Dive into what is working and what isn’t for your content marketing by looking at what content is driving traffic in Google Search Console or some other SEO tool that suits your needs. You might even share your search engine data with an SEO agency and have them provide additional marketing insights.

Analytics, search engines, marketing statistics, and spreadsheets might not be "your thing," and that's OK. However, you owe it to your company's future marketing success to ensure that someone you trust is combing through the piles of search engine data to identify current trends. In a time crunch, it might be tempting to leave outdated videos on your site or hold off on retooling a page with a high bounce rate. In those moments, remind yourself of your marketing strategy. Recall how you felt when you were led to information on the web that wasted your time.

Wrapping Up

Every business, large or small, thrives by providing valuable products and services at a competitive price point. Along the way, you refine and sharpen your niche-specific expertise. When that expertise fuels content ideas and you share it freely, you kindle potential customer gratitude. In today's world of eCommerce and SEO content, successful businesses are learning the value of reliability. Trust and appreciation are vital for gaining the attention of search engines and (ultimately) making sales.

Your content strategy will probably need a tune-up every so often. However, the time you invest in SEO content marketing is well worthwhile.

Regardless of your niche, there's almost certainly a way to leverage your knowledge and insights. You can create quality content that cuts through all the search engine clutter and results in SEO success. If you are struggling in the digital marketing space or need help balancing your content strategy or other SEO services, don't go it alone! Feel free to schedule a time to chat with one of our subject matter experts.

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