Initial Steps to Successful Search Engine Optimization
When people think of digital marketing, they first think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This remains a key component of the digital marketing ecosystem along with social media marketing; email marketing, App development, Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and cross-channel marketing.
At Synthesis: MCM we employ an approach known as Agile Development which is an iterative approach integrated across all marketing channels. This is a metric centered marketing paradigm, where we collect and analyze data on user behavior and refine our efforts based on what we have learned from our previous efforts to move us towards preset, quantifiable objectives.
This paper lays out the five key steps that we build on to perform effective SEO.
- Set up Google Analytics Account
Metrics Centered Marketing means collecting data on user behavior and modifying our digital efforts to shape that behavior to achieve desired outcomes. While there are several powerful data collecting programs, Google Analytics offers the dual advantages of power and price (free).
If Google analytics have not been set up to capture data, this is the first step. We start immediately to establish a baseline record of user behavior.
In later steps we will refine the basic Google Tracking Code to better serve our purposes.
- Determine Key Performance Indicators
While the goal of metrics centered marketing is to increase the company’s net at year’s end, we must break down that goal into a sequence of smaller, measurable steps. These steps which indicate progress towards our goals are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Some of these may be obvious but others may be less so. Often it is those less obvious steps that have the greatest impact.
For example: If we are promoting a new product, we might see:
Sales > Sales calls > Web site generated leads > visits to contact page >Visits to website > click through from Search Engine Results Page (SERP) > placement (SERP) <number of keywords optimized.
In this example, as part of our SEO program we might try to influence the click through rate by changing the description copy that appears on the SERP. This may involve statistical A/B testing of different description meta tags.
- Structural Search Engine Optimization
Structural Search Engine Optimization (SSEO) examines at a granular level factors that affect how the search engines will perceive your site. The goal of the search engines is to discover quality website and properly categorize them so that they will appear in response to a relevant search query along with the most relevant advertising. To do so they rely on an ever-changing algorithm that draws on available data. This is as varied as how long the domain is purchased for, what sites share the same IP address, the speed with which a page loads, site architecture and broken links, even spelling and grammar.
To discover these factors we conduct a State Of The Site (SOTS) audit which measures 80 variables and factors.
Competitor and Affinity Analysis
We practice in a competitive environment in the digital world. By identifying our competitors, allies and other sites that share affinities (e.g. tomatoes and gardening gloves) we can begin to understand and learn from that environment.
We do not need to reinvent the wheel; we just need to build a better one. We look at this in terms of search engines, social media, email marketing and user experience.
What keywords they are doing? What are their page descriptions?, where do they get backlinks? How much traffic do they get? How often do they email? Do they have a YouTube presence? How much social media traffic do they get?
- Keyword Analysis
Building on what we have learned on our competitor and affinity analysis, we can now develop the keywords and search terms that we seek to dominate.
We also employ tools that take our selected keywords and expand the list to associated keywords that are generating traffic.
Next we determine the traffic/ competitiveness of each term. This is the ratio of how often a search term is used over how many sites are optimized for this. We also look at how our completion has optimized for these search terms.
What we are looking for is the set of keywords that are most relevant and provide the best possibilities to win a high placement in the search engines.
Now we can begin with Search Engine Optimization.