Failure to plan is planning to fail—SEO success is impossible to find without the right strategy.
Whether you’re planning a date, playing chess, or marketing online, one truth stands above all others: you need to have a plan.
The online marketing world is fast becoming a haven of data aggregation and metric analysis. The numerous ways to track consumer information and behaviors has given marketers more customer insight than ever before. This has led to the development of newer and more streamlined marketing strategies and search engine optimization (SEO) initiatives that all promise success. So why, then, did a 2015 study by Smart Insights show that half of businesses doing digital marketing had no plan or strategy?
Breakdown of organizations with digital marketing strategies, as found by Smart Insights
Your guess is as good as ours.
Planning for SEO Success
No part of SEO marketing can succeed without the proper strategy. While SEO was once a beast that could be approached broadly, things work a little differently these days. Google and other search aggregators have done their best to make SEO as legitimate as possible. Black-hat SEO tricks have gone the way of the dodo. Though this is great news for the high-quality content creators out there, it also means that anyone approaching SEO without a structured plan is doomed to fail:
1. Don’t Neglect Keywords
It’s easy to get so caught up in new keyword research that the tried-and-true classics tend to fall by the wayside. Remember to include keywords that have worked for you in the past. Keywords evolve quickly, and what was in vogue years ago likely won’t have the same impact today. However, savvy marketers can track which keywords stand the test of time to discover the optimal set of queries for SEO success.
2. Website Diagnostics
Even the most advanced SEO out there won’t save a page suffering from poor performance.
Search engines take more factors into consideration than just keywords—navigation, loading times, and formatting options all play a part as well. Pages that can’t deliver when visitors arrive don’t have a chance in the competitive online environment.
Tools like Google for Developers can save you here. All you have to do is enter your page’s URL to learn how effectively your site is performing. A diagnostic evaluation of your site also means making sure that your page is viewable across any device. Access your content from desktop PCs, tablets, and mobile phones to ensure that your web design is responsive and properly adjusted to any possible resolution.
3. A/B Testing
A/B testing involves deploying two different strategies to achieve a goal, and measuring the success of each. This type of assessment is great for comparing styles of landing pages, calls-to-action, and other content marketing deliverables. For extra effect, combine A/B testing with your SEO analysis methodology to learn which marketing options show the best and most defendable returns.
These are all reliable ways to craft a time-tested SEO outreach strategy. However, online marketing can be as temperamental as the fashion industry. What’s popular one day might be considered old-hat the next. Marketers looking to make an impact must not only review what’s worked in the past, but trends for what will work in the future.
The Future of SEO
Competitive insight can’t be gained by looking backwards. Insight can only be gained by looking ahead at what trends are poised to make a splash in the upcoming years:
- Local SEO – Local search engine optimization provides opportunities for more targeted marketing. Optimize your local SEO presence by updating your information on Google Maps and local directories. If you’re specifically targeting a region, research what queries are ranking in locally to learn how to bring their eyes to your products.
- Voice Search – With Northstar Research reporting that 55 percent of teens use voice search on a daily basis, the emerging value of voice search options becomes clear. This is also evident in our push towards voice apps like iPhone’s Siri, Android’s “Ok Google,” Microsoft’s Cortana, or Amazon’s Alexa. Our tech-hungry society welcomes any advancement that frees up our hands and lets us control our devices remotely. These searches are typically phrased in the form of questions—modify your content accordingly.
- Content Integration – Your content and your SEO are tied closely together. It’s not enough to adopt SEO strategies after the fact any more. Your content must be created with your SEO strategy in mind. High-quality content should be created with well-researched keywords and topics relevant to your market.
To be truly competitive in the SEO world, marketers must be looking backwards as well as looking ahead. Classic SEO tactics may still be relevant today. Combining the time-honored SEO strategies with new industry trends like voice, local targeting, and content integration is the best way to develop an SEO strategy that is reliable enough to be effective, yet contemporary enough to make waves in your industry.