In this short blog series, Lewis covers some tips & techniques that could help you achieve better search marketing results.
It's been a little while, and no doubt you've been on tenterhooks awaiting the thrilling conclusion to my previous article. Click here to have a read if you missed it - to summarise, we went through an example of Google's methodology in tracking browsing behaviour and how they use it to inform search rankings, as well as a few mistakes that site owners often make which diminish the user experience and make it difficult to access content. A bad user experience means a high bounce rate, fewer clicks, poor rankings... and perhaps most importantly, visitors still don't have the advice they need on which Uggs to buy this winter. (Still looking for an answer to that - I was thinking metallic driftwood for the colour? Please tell me, I need this.)
So, how do we make sure our websites stay on top of the game when it comes to content delivery? Look no further, because we have the solution!
Our quick-start guide to creating, optimising and improving content
There's so much we could say about this topic that we could write a seemingly endless number of blog posts, but for the sake of making this article 1,000 words instead of 30,000, here's a run-down of a set of steps you can take on your journey to create great SEO content. Remember that this is an iterative process, and not necessarily performed in order either.
- Know the keywords people are using to find you - Before you do anything else, you need to know how people are searching. There's no point in making a perfectly optimised page for one set of keywords if nobody's going to search using those keywords! Google does quite well with combining similar terms ('campervan' and 'RV' results are often shown in the same results page, for instance), but don't rely on it.
- Understand the metrics you need to gauge success - Ask yourself; what's the purpose of your website? Is it brand awareness, maximising conversions on your online shop? I'll be discussing this in greater depth with my next article, but in a nutshell: make sure you know what you want from your users.
- Create website pages that appeal to these users - In some ways this stage is both the easiest and most difficult, and you'll seldom get it right first time (but that's what the later stages are for). To start with, simply make sure you're writing content that you think people would be interested in, based on the keywords they're searching for. Appeal to the humans reading it, not the search engines crawling it. I'd strongly advise against doing the reverse, because in a worst-case scenario you'll write content so stuffed full of keywords and search terms that it will make little sense to the reader.
- Collect the data - Make sure you have some way of measuring various factors that matter. If your site makes sales or takes booking, these are great raw figures to look at. To make it even better, consider adding tools such as Google Analytics so you can see your traffic, and get an understanding of how your visitors behave on your site.
- Analyse the data - Now all the fancy services you signed up for in the previous step come into play, and you'll be thankful you did. Take the data you collected and look for connections - consider why your traffic is higher on one page versus another; find out why your enquiries are high but your conversions are low. You may have to correlate things based upon intuition, and the conclusions you draw may end up being nothing more than educated guesses, but have confidence in yourself and forge on to...
- Make informed changes - This is the stage you'll find yourself revisiting the most often, because there's every chance a change you make may not be for the better. That's completely okay - you'll never possibly know what works and what doesn't 'til you try it. Fix up what you think needs fixing, and wait. Remember that changes to search rankings don't happen overnight, so give it some time for your changes to affect your metrics before you make any decisions. Like that new pair of Uggs you bought after my last blog post, sometimes you just need to give it a little time to adjust and get comfortable.
Perhaps a lot of this seems pretty obvious to you, in which case you're already on the right track. You'd be surprised how often a principle so simple as 'cater for your visitors' is overlooked, but alas, not everyone is so conscientious. The good news is that you're less likely to stumble upon these sites, because as noted above, the ones that deliver a poor experience will suffer in rankings as a result.
SEO is a constant cycle of creation, evaluation and improvement. There's no shame in mistakes; for every idea that doesn't pay off, there's an opportunity to learn and adapt your strategies in order to maximise the potential of the content you create. We understand that this can be a daunting task, but you don't have to do it alone - content creation is one of the many things we at Vital Hike are adept at, from creating information pages, to writing blog posts, and working with our clients to make sure the in-depth knowledge in their field is exemplified, while making sure their site is user and Google-friendly. Our services as a digital partner are wide and varied, but as the saying goes... if the shoe fits, wear it!