How to Beat Your Competition in SEO
Regardless of the industry, or length of time, one has been in business—staying on top of SEO trends is essential for achieving success in the online world. Whether the search engine by Google, Yahoo, or Bing, there is common ground when it comes to determining the quality of keywords. Business owners who manage their own online marketing and marketing professionals who want to stay up-to-date with the most common online marketing trends should consider the following if they want to edge out their competition and step up their SEO game.
Content Is Key
According to Forbes contributor Jayson Demers, the quality of online content is more important now than ever. While the primary goal of all online content is to drive more traffic to a website, landing page, or online store, it must be written with great attention to detail. This is not to say that content cannot have personality, but that it must be well-thought-out, original, and relevant to the target audience’s wants and needs. However, this is not to imply that all content is or should be directly related to the industry, business, or products and services provided.
Understand What the Target Audience Wants
In order for content to be of great quality, website owners must perform the necessary market research to accurately identify their target audience and that audience’s desires. Many who are new to online marketing or online content creation make the mistake of focusing only on content that is promotional or sales-heavy. The most important thing is what a business’s clients want and need, above and beyond the products or services being provided, and this should be the focus of the majority of the content. An understanding of what customers want can be used to create engaging content that will keep readers coming back for more. For example, a business owner who provides home storage solutions may create online content related to DIY home arts and crafts. DIY crafting is not directly related to home storage but is still within a shared area of interest.
Understand How Keyword Placement Has Changed
The way in which keywords are recognized by search engines has changed drastically over the last several years. For a long time, identifying long-tail keywords and placing them once every hundred words or so was a successful method of improving optimization. However, online marketers soon began to manipulate this success, stuffing unrelated keywords into irrelevant, low-quality content. Now such keyword placement is likely to hinder success in optimization.
Understand What Makes Quality Keywords
While the exact formula for SEO success will never be shared by popular search engines, what is clear is that short-tail keywords and individual keywords related to both the industry and target audience are essential for achieving success. For example, keywords for a wedding planner might include bride, groom, flowers, bridesmaids, wedding, honeymoon, makeup, or rings.
Keywords Must Flow Naturally
Using the example of the wedding planner, the suitable keywords above will be easy to incorporate into the business owner’s online content. That being said, the keywords must flow naturally. This means that content must be created for trending topics within the industry, notes digital marketing blogger Tyler Tanigawa, without force-feeding the keywords. In fact, overuse of keywords will negatively impact SEO.
Since long-tail keywords are no longer as relevant, many online marketers have even eliminated their subscriptions to costly keyword tools. Currently, some of the best ways to identify effective keywords within an industry that will appeal to a target audience are to utilize Google’s free tools, which include Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Google Analytics. These tools are fairly intuitive and allow online marketers to stay on top of their SEO strategies and monitor their effectiveness. The tools can also be used to identify keywords industry competition is using.
Also, take a look at competitors’ websites to identify the title tags and meta-keywords they’re employing to bring them success, says AJ Kumar, an Entrepreneur contributor.
Effective SEO methods are constantly evolving, but one thing is for sure—content is king, and quality content is never a losing strategy.