As the digital landscape changes and search engines continue to make major updates, the power of SEO remains as important as ever. While SEO techniques change over time to keep up with these search engine changes, it is certainly not a dying tool and one that has proven to bring in effective results and immeasurable benefits. As an intensive investment it does require a decent amount of effort to set up for longevity. However, as over 75% of users never even scroll past the first page of search results, the work that goes into SEO is a valuable compromise if you hope to gain any sufficient consumer base. SEO becomes discouraging when people don’t appreciate the fact that its success doesn't happen overnight. If you expect to make it to the top spot of the search engine results page (SERP) immediately, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. In fact, it can potentially take years for even the most efficiently optimised site to achieve number one on SERPs. While reaching number one isn’t the only indicator of a successfully optimised site, if you do end up in this position it is no reason to let your SEO efforts relax. SEO is all about sustainability and consistency, and once your strategy is clearly working for you it is only an indicator to keep growing and improving. Unless you are constantly fighting for optimal SERP position, your competition is going to beat you every time. In an era where black hat SEO tactics are a thing of the past and certainly won’t help you further your goals, we are undoubtedly promoting sustained success the proper way. While ethical SEO tactics have changed over the years, we have provided a list of essential steps to ensure your strategy stands the test of time.
Planning a Long-Term SEO Strategy
Create quality content
Google Algorithms updates have the potential to influence your marketing success as they increasingly alter their demand and classification of optimal content. Nonetheless, the algorithm always has a heavy focus on quality, whatever that means in response to particular updates. Despite changing standards, content remains king. In fact, Google has stated that even if a site is poorly designed with an average user experience, it can still rank highly if the content is superior. Understandably, high-quality content, along with link building, is the most important element contributing to your SERP ranking. Ultimately, to appeal to the algorithm you need to create content that is recognisably high quality, that visitors will truly appreciate, and is trusted by other sites. This often means ensuring your content is original, well researched, in-depth, and incorporates trustworthy links in an organic manner. While it can be tempting to jam as many keywords as possible into an article, this is one of the purest forms of black hat SEO. Rather, focus on delivering value and writing content that people actually want to read. Begin by writing a good article and let the keywords shine through naturally.
Plan your keywords
Keywords are seemingly simple, but as any marketing strategist will know, they are much more logistical than they seem. Specifically, the difference between a few words can have an extremely powerful impact on your SEO when done with purpose. Keywords obviously cannot be chosen without efficient thought or consideration and require solid keyword research to effectively target the right search terms that bring in the right people. Conducting keyword research can not be done flippantly, but requires a strong web foundation that is built on your marketing goals. If you don’t target or rank for the right terms, the audience you are actually trying to reach won’t be able to find you. There is substantial software on the market to assist you with this research process. However, any software is just as good as its user, so ensure you familiarise yourself with the procedures and what you are trying to achieve. Researching appropriate keywords is essential, but it's not enough to simply know them. After you spend hours choosing the right words, you have to then use them in the right way to ensure SEO longevity. This can mean using keywords carefully and in conjunction with other SEO practices.
In addition to your efforts in producing quality content, it is important you also make this a regular occurrence. Ultimately, consistency will be the driving factor behind your SEO success. Remaining consistent among the many other marketing tasks on your plate can be difficult, so we recommend taking it back to your roots. Old school tactics of using manual spreadsheets is an underrated method of planning, and can ultimately be a simple and effective way for you to visualise where you are at in terms of your SEO and content progress. The importance of consistency cannot be stressed enough, as constantly adding new and quality content is what helps maintain the relevance of your site in the eyes of the algorithm and audiences.
Create with the user in mind
While content is used as an SEO tactic, it is ultimately produced for the user. So while it is important to write high quality content, you also have to write about topics that people actually care about. Keyword research can help you prioritise content and schedule based on demand for certain topics. In addition to creating outstanding content, you also need to ensure there are no other hurdles affecting your readers' experience. User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are also key elements in any SEO strategy. So much so that 85% of online shoppers say they wouldn’t return to a site if they had a poor user experience. Making your site look incredible is one thing, and keeping up with trends is important to an extent. However, creating a design that considers your target audience's response is the key to effective UX and UI for SEO. Throughout this process, it is important to consider web accessibility and enhance your site so all users can have an optimal experience. Lastly, ensure your site is optimised for users no matter what device they access your site on. It is predicted that by 2025 nearly 73% of internet users will solely access the internet via mobile, making mobile view an important element to focus on.
Pay attention to links
Along with quality content, link building is the most vital element to successful SEO. This includes both internal and external links that contribute to your strategy individually. While ideally, your content should be good enough on its own, participating in extra strategies to build external links is always a good idea. Guest posting, producing quality content, and remaining a trustworthy presence can encourage external sites to link to yours and positively contribute to your SEO. Internal link building is also extremely important, and something you have slightly more control over. A shocking 91% of pages never get any organic traffic as the result of having no backlinks, making it unreasonable for your strategy to exclude this step. Internal links can help for a variety of reasons including creating easy navigation and enhancing the quality of content.
Bluntly put, keeping up with trends, competition and your own SEO efforts is lesson one in digital marketing. As SEO is all about long term efforts, constantly seeking to improve is guaranteed to keep you on an upwards and long term trajectory. Keeping up includes regularly performing competitor analysis. This can be done with the use of software and through general competitor research. It is important to remember that your SEO placement is relative and you need to analyse exactly what it is your competitors are doing, and who, what, where, when and how they are getting links, viewers and keywords. Ultimately, this analysis will help you understand how to do better and stay that ideal one step ahead.
While it’s noble to research the industry trends, at the end of the day this is your marketing campaign and you need to stay true to your business endeavours. Staying creative is another underrated tactic that can truly set you apart from the competition. Creativity is the key to producing quality content on a consistent basis that actually adds value to your audience. Not to mention, embracing your creative side can be a nice break from the logistics and planning that are an innate part of any marketing campaign.
While there are a multitude of strategies and tactics to help improve your SEO, we cannot stress enough the importance of consistent and sustainable behaviours that can help you achieve long term results. The tips we have provided are not a list of steps to tick off once completed and never return to, but rather elements of an ongoing process you should put time, energy and resources into if you are hoping to achieve SEO success. Short term results may provide an instant dopamine hit, but that's not the purpose of marketing. For more advice on how to enhance the longevity of your SEO efforts visit our blog or contact us at Anchor Digital for more information.