SEO Strategy is tailored roadmap to build authority, relevance and trust, pillars of optimizing user experience and gain visibility. It is evolving from answering a question to AI & ML assisted audiences intent-based conversational journey optimizing the user experience
We operate in an increasingly competitive, complex and connected meshwork of interconnected digital world and a relentless obsession with customer experience.
Table of Contents
- SEO Strategy
- User Experience
- User Intent
- Meta Description
- AI & ML
- Mobile First
- Voice Search
- Social Media
- Local Search
As entrepreneurs & marketers, we work tirelessly to improve our web content authority, trust, and relevance, the three pillars of optimizing customer experience and a successful SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is an umbrella term for increasing a website’s visibility in search engine results pages, encompassing both paid and organic activities. It is a longer-term investment than other digital marketing channels.
SEO Strategy is a road map that defines a systematic approach to reach a specific goal, be it RoI on digital spend, increase visibility, customers experience, conversion, or something else.
Search engine optimization has come a long way, from stuffing keywords on the page as many times as possible, to understanding user intent, and making the user experience as one of the primary aspects of ranking and growth. Google has long started penalizing sites that are not user-friendly and promoting user-friendly ones.
The SEO Process can be defined as a continuous circle. The circle includes technical and non-technical areas of search engine optimization.
Today, SEO optimization is all about helping businesses do a better job at reaching, attracting, and converting their target audience than just search engine rankings. Your customers are best SEO’s and for any business to grow, they have to focus on their customers first.
An SEO strategy is a systematic process of optimizing your web content to establish your authority around the topic and long-tail keywords. To gain visibility, we have to be constantly creative. It's a constantly moving target and many factors impact SEO success. In 2019 we not only have to focus on these but also on:
Developing your SEO strategy
Four Areas of SEO
Technical SEO -Anything affecting the performance or, visibility or, how search engines access your site, includes but not limited to, indexing and crawling, schema, page speed, site structure, URL structure, and much more.
Semantic content optimization (On-page optimization) - Your web pages (text, images, video, or audio), as well as elements that are only visible to search engines (HTML tags, structured data).
Off-page optimization (Links etc.) - Your website’s authority, relevance, trust and building an audience, including link building, social media marketing, PPC marketing, reviews, and user-generated content.
Usability/Conversion optimization - The key to the user experience and to maximizing your visitor to customer ratio. Engagement & Traffic/Query Data includes Data SERP engagement metrics, clickstream data, visitor traffic and usage signals like bounce rate. Quantity, diversity, and CTR (Click through rate) of queries both on the domain and page-level are included.
1. User Experience Optimization - Even though 93% of online experiences begin with a web search, today search engines, and technology provider are focusing on building and optimizing consistent brand experience by target audiences in all places content can content reach or appear, be it website, mobile apps, gaming devices,, videos, app store or anything else. It is becoming the center of optimizing ‘User Experience’, making it an integral part of SEO strategy. Idea is to provide optimized and engaging users experience, that you can provide, A memorable experience that travels with users where they go.
2. User Intent - Understanding user intent helps in zeroing down what users want, when they are searching the web, and guiding to desired results. Google refers to these search experiences as moments, with four of the biggest being: I-want-to-know. I-want-to-go. I-want-to-do. I-want-to-buy. SEO content writers focus on keywords( long & short tail ) matching user intent while developing content. Today, you cannot succeed by stuffing keywords in content, without relevance and answering user's questions. Optimized content will not only answer users' questions but also able to anticipate related follow-up questions will include its answer.
3. Engaging Content - Optimized content that not only answers users questions but also answers user's anticipated questions based on their initial query. Content that draws a cord with its users and develops a long term lasting and emotional connection.
4. Meta Description - A meta description is a summary of what is a page about, its an HTML tag of 170 characters that explains pages content. A short description of SERP to users telling about your page, they are like short-ads, when optimized properly can help drive more customer actions and increase CTR. They act as “a pitch” in the SERPs, which you can use to control the narrative around your site. The better you deliver your message with a unique copy, the better chance you have of driving more traffic to your pages and increasing CTR.
5. Snippets - The snippet is the bit or bits of text selected by google from the relevant webpage whose URL appears in the search result to display below the title in the search result. It’s a Google-generated summary of your content, and it’s already playing a role in ranking factor, Google only generates featured snippet content from first page results. And it makes sense, remember it all boils down to user experience and relevance. First SERP contains the most helpful and highly accurate results for the user. Thus, if a featured snippet is to be shown, with the intent to facilitate the user, it would have to be taken from those first 10 results.
6. SEO Branding- Google has always given preference to brands, they are penalized for wrongdoings however only to resurface again, compared to unknown or small brands. An effective SEO search strategies mediate a unique brand experience, levering search results to build relevance. Big brands get to showcase in the SERPs. Google is trying to answer the query. With content from other people. Without requiring them to click to view the source. Google now pulls data directly into the SERPs. It’s a known fact that only 60% of search results in clicks, a good 40% generates zero clicks and it is expected to hit 50% soon. Smaller fish trying to swim past the reef, that’s bad news.
7. Building Trust - We’re creatures of habit and do what we feel comfortable, what we know and what we can trust. Trust is one of the most important factors in making a purchase decision, offline or online. You’re going to click on what you know and trust. And that all comes down to branding. It's a known fact that Google has given brands preferential treatment for years now. And that preferential treatment only increases with each minor and major update. A Nielsen study found that consumers are far more likely to buy new products from familiar brands. Sixty percent of consumers would rather buy new products from a familiar brand that they recall, rather than switching to a new one. Brand recognition ranks on top for the vast majority of consumer brands, for driving clicks and sales. Branding is our only hope for conducting better SEO in 2020 and smaller brands need to commit more financially and long term strategies to build a memorable brand.
8. AI ( Artificial Intelligence) & ML (Machine Learning)- AI & ML are here and they are here to stay, adding incredible speed to Google’s ability to - data accumulation, interpretation & reaction. With AI & ML, Google has ever-increasing ability to understand the world around us, as well as our personal needs and wants. According to some experts, Google is fast-moving from mobile-first to machines (AI & ML) first. This is its power and this is what defines what we all need to do next. We have to make sure our content is device-agnostic, responsive and speaks to target audiences, when they like, where they like how they like. As an SEO professional in a machine learning world, you need to view keywords more for the question and intent that they imply rather than as a blunt instrument to include on a page and in the anchor text. Machines will help us understand what our visitors want so we can figure out ways to provide it. Why? Because that’s what the machine will be looking for – a satisfied user. They’ll have all the metrics they need to know whether you – or one of your competitors – is doing the best job in delivering one.
9. Mobile First - Even though Google added mobile indexing in spring of 2015 it is fast becoming the backbone of Google indexing, and going forward it will be the only indexing used by Google, they are not creating a separate indexing for mobile-first, they will be using a mobile version of your page’s content going forward if your site is not already on mobile indexing, it will be soon. According to Google, they only use one index, their bots primarily crawl and indexes with smartphone agents, however, they will continue to show the URL most appropriate in search results. Since 60% of web traffic comes from mobile devices Google is placing a high emphasis and top priority on mobile users' experience. They are rewarding sites that are user-friendly and penalizing ones that are not.
10. Voice Search - Voice search is expanding, by 2020 50% of all searches and will only continue to play a fundamental role in how we not only seek and consume information but also, how Google ranks and surfaces it. Over the past year, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have all announced the release of either new or new versions of their video smart speakers: voice-assistant-enabled devices that are also equipped with video capabilities. And before video smart speakers came about, there were the original voice assistants -- the Siris, Alexas, and Google Assistants -- on call to answer our questions, schedule our reminders, and queue up our phone calls. As a result of this convenience, at least 20% of all mobile search queries on Google are done by voice: a number that many predict will continue to rise. Even though this technology is still a work in progress -- we’ve all had a frustrating Siri experience before -- but that doesn’t make it any less important for marketers to begin exploring the space. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out this post with expert advice on how to optimize for voice search. (What are you waiting for? Read it before your competitors do!)
11. Social Media - It is a well-established fact that social media plays a role in web ranking and there is a correlation between social shares and web ranking factors, it is but natural that people will share content that satisfies their search and help them find answers to their questions and they are more likely to share it among their friends and family. According to a recent HubSpot survey, 70% of emotionally connected customers, not only spend twice the amount they spend on other brands but also 81% more likely to promote the brand with friends and family.
12. Local Search - Local search is all about optimizing your content and web pages for local audiences. According to a study, 90% of purchases take place in physical stores and 80% of US disposable income is spent within 20 miles of home? Having a solid local SEO strategy is the first step to put you on the map.According to the latest Moz, “The State of Local SEO: Insights for 2019,”
35% of marketers have no local link building strategy in place.
17% of enterprise businesses with 1,000+ employees don’t have a full-time SEO on staff!
31% of companies haven’t leaped mobile-first.
Other things to consider while developing an SEO strategy.Company's product/services offerings, target audiences, geo's, key differentiators.
Target audiences' primary Persona details, brand copy text and messaging
Website structure (Site architecture, navigational elements, file/URL naming conventions)
Current site content assets (including images, videos, pdf files, white papers, case
Plan of which content can be modified (involves the CMS and web development
Editorial resources and calendar of content development (what content is developed, by whom, and on what timeline)
Competitive landscape, organization's strategic goals - increase web traffic, RoI on digital investment, improve brand visibility and awareness, etc.
Web Search is moving from searching answers for a specific query to, AI & ML assisted, user intent-based conversational journey, and we have just scratched the tip of the iceberg