What is the Best SEO Strategy to Rank Content in 2018?
The Best SEO Strategy to Rank Your Content and Dominate Google Search in 2018 is to have a stellar SEO content and link building strategy in place.
SEO and digital marketing can be tough.
Everyone Wants to Dominate Google Search Results, but your SEO Strategy better be ROCK Solid!
There’s a lot of competition out there–and not just from your direct competitors. You have YouTube, social media, and a host of distractions vying for your customer’s attention.
Believe it or not, there are now nearly a billion websites on the internet.
With so much information out there, it’s no wonder digital marketing is getting more difficult.
So how do you keep up?
I want you to have the BEST information available for shaping your SEO strategy, and the good news is, there are a few steps you can take to improve your SEO strategy.
Keep reading for a closer look at how to create a strong SEO strategy as part of your digital marketing to dominate Google search results.
How To Create an SEO Content Strategy to Rank Your Pages in Google?
The reality of what TRULY is driving SEO rankings and Google traffic today is largely the same as it has been for the last 10+ years:
Links and Content.
I’ve used the following information from ahrefs several times to illustrate this very point.Awesome content plus quality links = the 1-2 PUNCH of SEO strategy that will ROCK Google search results. Click To Tweet
What Exactly Is SEO?
Before we get into the weeds of how to create an SEO strategy, let’s address an important question.
What exactly is SEO anyway?
For the uninitiated, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and SEO services are simply the process of making your website rank better in search engines like Google.
Just a few short years ago, SEO was relatively simple.
If you wanted to appear higher in Google’s search results (usually referred to as ranking), all you needed to do was sprinkle your chosen keyword around your website and work on getting a few external links.
Unfortunately, many took advantage of the simplicity of ranking for many keywords.
In an effort to clean up search results, Google and other search engines updated their search algorithms and booted many of the spammy, keyword-focused websites way down the in the rankings.
With Google’s improvements and the proliferation of content, SEO has become much more difficult.
Rather than being all about keywords and useless content, SEO strategy is now more about creating good, useful content that’s focused on the topics your audience is craving ultimately positioning keywords you want to rank for.
Before Starting An SEO Strategy for Your Website!
One of the worst things you could do is start an SEO strategy for your website without doing a quick SEO website audit to check for existing or underlying issues. This is super easy and super quick, you can check your site here.
Another cool tool I use is this Google penalty checker which will match up a SEMRush graph of your website traffic to all the major Google updates. You can easily see if there have been major drops in traffic at the same time as an update came out which can signal what you may need to fix. You can also use this FREE Tool to check and see if your site has been penalized by Google. If you need help finding out if your site is recoverable or totally doomed, just leave a comment below or email me.
A Solid SEO Content Strategy is Step 1
Useful, actionable content should be the core of any SEO strategy. Poorly written content stuffed with keywords will not get you anywhere.
Your SEO strategy should include a solid content marketing component.
In fact, over the last few years, Google has put much more focus on trying to understand content, search intent, and topics.
This has actually been one of the coolest advances in Google search for SEO benefit. Google is no longer looking at searches on a keyword by keyword basis, they are looking at the intent behind the search and understanding that some searches have the same intent.
Why is this cool? You no longer need to build out different pages for each keyword, instead you build pages focused on topics to rank for many different keyword variations. Just like we did for this site:
SEO Needs Keywords
I don’t think anyone would disagree that keywords are a foundational component of SEO. Search is largely done by inputting text into a search engine, and keywords are, well, text.
But what do you do with keywords?
I like to start by dividing keywords into 2 groups:
- Keywords that you’re already targeting
- Keywords that you’re not already targeting.
To get easy wins with your SEO strategy, you can use keyword research tools like SemRush to find keywords that you’re ranking for on spot 4 or below (including page 2 of Google). Google already sees you as relevant for these terms, you just don’t rank in the top 3 for them.
By optimizing these landing pages and sending more links to them, you can increase your Google ranking a lot faster than by targeting a totally new keyword.
After that, you should find keywords that you’re NOT targeting. We call this competitive gap analysis.
Essentially, you want to compare all of your competitor’s websites using both direct competitors and indirect competitors.
Once you have a list of all these competitors, you’ll need to make a list of all the keywords THEY rank for and then exclude the ones that you rank for.
Now you’ll have a HUGE list of keywords to target and build out content (like blog posts)!
That’s where seo content strategy comes in. Your keywords must fit integrally into the content.
SEO Craves Content
Try to think about it like this: SEO should form the requirements, the outline if you will, and the content fills out the meat of your strategy.
Your content does the heavy lifting.
If you could just throw random keywords on a page and rank for them, SEO would be pretty easy. Instead, your keywords must be a part of an awesome topic with carefully crafted content.
Google will not be your friend if you’re just stuffing keywords into poorly written content, but you’ll go far if you can couple keywords with quality content.
Create Content for People, Not Search Engines
Now that you know what your SEO digital marketing strategy needs, how do you implement an effective SEO strategy?
For many people, creating content–more specifically writing–is an intimidating process. The idea of putting readable, engaging words on the screen is terrifying.
And in many ways, they’re right.
Creating something that people like and want is hard. But it’s no more difficult than creating a great product or service.
Begin with Your Customers
The customer is always right, right?
Ultimately your goal is to position yourself as an authority in order to build a relationship of trust with your audience,
If you’re scratching your head looking for content ideas to fill out your content marketing SEO strategy, the best place to start is with the people already giving you money.
If you have a solid understanding of what your customers want and a set of products or services they’re paying you for, you’ve got a great place to start creating content.
Keywords can be established around your customer’s interests and their search habits. From there, you’ll just need to build out your content around those topics and keywords.
Take a Look at Your Competitors SEO Marketing Strategy
Don’t worry, it’s not cheating. Analyzing your competitors is a natural part of researching and understanding your market.
If you have competitors actively doing digital marketing and that appear to have a good global SEO strategy, take a closer look at what they’re doing. If it’s working, you’ll get a better idea of what works in your industry.
If they’re not doing so well, at least you’ll know what not to do.
You should by no means copy your competitors content or blog posts, but you should be able to glean some solid ideas from what they’re putting out.
Look at some of the things they’re addressing and try to come at them from your own unique perspective.
Keep an Eye on What’s Trending
Whether it matters to you or not, what’s trending on Facebook or Twitter matters to a whole lot of other people.
If you can connect your product or service to current events or trending social media topics, you’ve got a great way to draw customers into your content.
Use trending topics to hook your audience, then do what you can to tie the issue back to your business.
Using trending social issues won’t work for every topic, and you’ve got to be careful to tie-in useful content. But if you can do it well, you can create great hooks.
What Your Content Is Missing
If you already have a strong SEO content strategy going and have lots of great content, but aren’t seeing engagement–you may be suffering from a common technical problem…
Engaging headlines are the linchpin to great content. Without them, your content is destined to languish in obscurity as readers pass it by for more interesting headlines.
The thing about headlines is that people read them. About 80% of people, to be exact, will read your headlines. But only 20% of those readers will actually dive in and read your content.
Here are a few tips for writing better SEO headlines.
Start Your Headline with “How to”
Nothing says read now like a how to post, and with good reason. A how to post offers readers a lot of value, a vital component to a good content marketing strategy.
List headlines are, by far, one of the most effective formulas for drawing readers in.
Not only are they eminently readable, list-style posts are also more likely to be shared than other types of content.
Ask a Question
Another great way to grab a reader’s attention and improve your SEO strategy for digital marketing is to pose a question. When you ask a question, readers tend to assume that you also have the answer.
The best question headlines address the reader and their needs.
Inject a Little Emotion
I don’t have to tell you that emotions, particularly strong ones, tend to drive people into action.
Positive or negative, if people feel something, they act. If you can get your readers to feel something, they’ll be that much more likely to dive into your content.
Don’t Forget Long-Form Content
In case you haven’t heard long-form content is key.
In the world of content, long-form content truly is king. The data is clear, long-form content–including blog posts and web pages–performs better than shorter content hands down.
Long-form content has been found to perform up to 30% better than shorter content.
When it comes to content marketing seo strategy, longer content tends to get more links too–another important aspect of any SEO strategy worth its salt in 2018.
What About Links? Your SEO Link Strategy
Though the game has changed, link building is still a vital component of any good SEO strategy.
Good relevant links from quality sources can do wonders for your SEO.
Low-quality links, on the other hand, won’t do you a lot of good.
What is an SEO Linking Strategy?
Link Building, along with keyword optimization and great content, is another vital component of SEO marketing.
While keywords form the basis of how people find your site through the search engines, links help let the search engines know your site is there and that it’s worth visiting.
Links, both internal and external, are used by search engines to crawl the web and find content. With links, you’re helping Google and others more easily find your site.
Links give your site a little injection of additional authority too.
At its core, link building is simply the practice of obtaining links from other sites to yours.
See how after only 3 months of using this very same content plus authority linking strategy this site was able to rank for thousands of keywords with earning potential! Check it out!
Link Building: A Brief History
Much like keyword optimization, link building was once ruled by less than scrupulous practices.
Massive blog networks and black hat link building techniques could get a site ranked quickly, even with questionable content.
Google changed all that in 2012 with their Penguin update. Now good links get rewarded and poor ones are penalized.
How an SEO Link Strategy Should Look
Like we saw above, external links are used by search engines in two ways:
- To find new content and web pages
- To decide how a page should rank in search results
After a search engine has crawled a page, the content then gets added to their index and analyzed. If the quality is there, the page could begin ranking for certain keywords.
Google and other search engines look at another factor at this point also: the number and quality of links pointing to the page.
A link, especially from an authoritative high-quality site, works like a vote of confidence with the search engines.
In the search engine’s eyes, if another page is pointing to yours, it must be a good resource.
In addition to improving your standing in the search engines, external link building allows you to do a few other things that also play an important role in digital marketing:
Build Relationships in Your Industry
To get links, you’ll need to reach out to others in your industry.
This is a great opportunity to not only mutually benefit each other through links, but to build a solid relationship and share insights.
Build Your Brand
By gaining links back to your site and content, you’ll begin to establish real authority in your field or niche. Link building techniques like guest posting are a great way to show others that you have real expertise in a given area.
By having another site–especially a high traffic, authority site–link to you, you’re sure to see a bump in traffic. Especially if you’ve submitted a useful piece of content.
How to Create an Effective SEO Linking Strategy
Link building can be broken down into two simple components:
- External link building and
- Internal link building
Internal link building can be done naturally as you add content to your website. By linking to other posts or pages on your site, you create a more connected web of information that’s easier for Google and other search engines to crawl and index.
External link building, on the other hand, requires a bit more legwork.
To get good external links, you’re going to have to reach out to other websites.
The best way to incorporate external link building into your SEO strategy is guest blogging.
If you’ve never tried guest posting, don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you think. The biggest challenge is reaching out to other website owners and getting them to say yes. From there, you just need to produce the content.
SEO Link Building Strategy for 2018
Yes, there is a strategy to building links to your website.
Generally speaking, I see website owners grasp the idea of creating in-depth content pretty quickly, but then not knowing what to do with it. Like I said, content plus links is the backbone of your SEO strategy. Knowing where and how to build links isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
What Type of Backlinks Do I Need to Rank Content?
You’re going to want a wide range of links pointing to your content in order for it to rank well in Google. This includes:
- Social Profiles – super easy to obtain, natural and important for social signals as a ranking factor.
- Socially Shared Content – a little harder to get, natural and important for social signals as a ranking factor.
- Press Releases – super easy to get, great for brand diversity from authority sites.
- In-content links – takes a bit of work, allows you to create a mix of brand, natural, and low competitions keywords / long tail variations from Web 2.0 type sites.
- High-powered links – Very hard to get, These are typically created by guest posting on high authority industry related sites where you can create in content exact match links making sure to NEVER repeat the same anchor text!
Your Linkbuilding Strategy Should Have Relevance
In trying to determine if a link is relevant or not, you need to understand the context of the link more than anything else.
If you got a link to your online furniture store from let’s say, The New York Times (a DA94 site), would that be bad?
At first glance you might wonder how the New York Times would be relevant to your furniture business…
But if there was an article that was “2018’s Hottest Outdoor Furniture” and that article linked to your website, that would be absolutely awesome!
This type of context relevancy happens all the time, are fantastic, and pass juice!
What’s important to understand with a link building strategy for seo is that the context of the link is far more important than having domain to domain relevancy.
Don’t Make These Mistakes in Your Link Building Strategy!
There are typically three BIG mistakes I see with sites failing at link building:
1) Anchor Text Ratios:
The biggest problem I keep seeing is people still over-optimizing anchor text. Stop over-optimizing exact match terms! Focus on building a Butt Load of natural links and only use a handful of exact match anchors.
2) Not Building Enough Links:
Don’t be a quitter! I see way too many people “try” SEO for like 30 days and quit because they “haven’t seen any results”. Google takes time to evaluate your site and any changes that are made to it or may affect it in search rankings. The industry standard is 90 days to evaluate an SEO strategy and track it’s performance. During that time your site is going to jump around.
3) Building Spammy Links (Link Schemes):
By now, it should be NO SECRET that backlinks play a HUGE role in how your content ranks. Simply put content with good high-quality backlinks will rank above content without links and above content with a TON of crappy links. The key is building natural links.
Download This Free SEO Strategy Template
Now that you’ve got the essentials to run a complete seo website audit, you can download our complete website SEO audit template and plug in your information to start tracking progress on your SEO campaign strategy.
Putting It All Together
With SEO, there’s a lot of moving pieces.
And if history is any guide, techniques and best practices are likely to change.
The two factors that have remained consistent and vital to a strong SEO strategy are:
- Quality, keyword-focused content
- White hat link building practices
Keep your digital marketing SEO strategy focused on these points, and you’ll lay a solid SEO foundation for your organization.
Let us know how your SEO strategy is shaping up in the comments. Or get in touch for a free SEO audit.