5 Elements of a Killer SEO Strategy

317952268_14e96a11bb_oImplementing the right strategy to propel your company to those coveted Google positions takes research, initiative, and the right strategy. While there is plenty of noise and trendy ideas dictating what’s considered an effective strategy, there are some steps a business can take to maintain long-lasting SEO success that won’t get washed away with the next algorithm update. Here are some features of a solid strategy to keep in mind.

Understand the Current Competitive Landscape

 Search engines change the rules of how they rank all the time, and the time it takes for those updates to affect search engine rank can be hard to pinpoint. Even though it can be difficult to keep up with the changing tides, an effective SEO strategy should be flexible enough to adapt to any new changes that are announced or slyly introduced.

Imagine a company that rolled out an SEO strategy three years ago – “Let’s focus on inbound links and guest blogging” – but failed to scrap or amend that approach when those features fell out of search engine favor. Imagine another business that remained unaware of Google’s mobile-friendly website initiative and failed to adjust. Oversights like these can undo years of work to increase brand visibility.

With tools like the SEMRush API, you can pull the top 20 results for any individual keyword or a list of keywords into Excel and then analyze content to pick up on patterns that Google seems to be preferring. You can also view link data for these results with the Mozbar. The API option enables you to aggregate results for hundreds of keywords at once, giving you a clear picture of the competitive landscape.

Content That Will Beat the Competition

If there’s one thing that will stand the test of algorithm updates, it’s quality content. In fact, most changes to SEO guidelines are meant to weed out plagiarized, poorly written, unqualified, and otherwise less valuable information for the consumer.

While a person can get caught up in producing content targeted to certain updates or new SEO guidelines, it is far better to produce quality that is valuable to consumers. There’s no better way to both rise to and stay in coveted top ranking positions and beat the competition than with material consumers consider authoritative and valuable.

To identify this content, the Moz top pages report and even the free version of Buzzsumo can show you what pages have garnered the most links and shares. Once you’ve identified the content that is currently winning in social and/or organic search, you can brainstorm the type of content that will serve the user better, be more entertaining, or approach the need from a fresh perspective to get some media attention.

Clear Goals for Keywords You Want to Rank Organically

Of course, getting that high-quality content recognized and prioritized by web-crawlers takes some deliberate planning. A business should take care not to introduce keywords haphazardly or based on what other companies and competitors are doing.

It is far more valuable to target the specifics of what sets an enterprise apart from all others, and with the rising emphasis on the value of mobile compatibility and consumer comfort, it’s important to make sure keywords are targeted to the locations a business can serve. This ensures keywords are as relevant to a search as possible and boosts organic rankings, which is far more valuable to shoppers and organizations alike.

For example, a financial technology company might be tempted to target keywords like “account reconciliation” or “journal entry” because people searching for those keywords might be interested in purchasing their software. However, these terms deliver content that is very basic and more general knowledge oriented.

Instead, the company will probably need to focus on technology terms where Google is preferring some of their direct competitors or solutions that have been created to automate basic accounting processes.

An Outreach Plan for Key Influencers

A killer SEO strategy needs to consider where a business’ client base is turning for information. Who do they consider thought leaders, and who are the “celebrities” of the industry? Meeting consumers where they are, in this case, means incorporating an outreach plan for key influencers. After researching these industry leaders and their preferences, have a method of contact and proposition ready to go – whether it’s an interview, a request for a product review, or a pitch for an advertisement.

Impacting Other Channels

Alternative channels, like social platforms and social media advertising, can have an effect on SEO, too. A comprehensive SEO strategy would be incomplete without weighing the value of these nontraditional SEO mediums. Considering an audience’s tastes and where its influencers do business is an important consideration. If a target demographic spends its time sending Vines or watching YouTube videos, Facebook posts or Tweets will have little impact.

Ultimately, a killer SEO strategy takes research and careful planning. It can be easy to go off of trends or what’s accepted “good practice,” but with so many changes being constantly released, mindfulness and initiative are the only ways to realize long-term ranking success. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to climbing and holding a top position on popular search engines.